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(Beijing, Xi'an, Yangtze, Shanghai)
As the sun rises over the mighty Yangtze River, the traditional villages of mainland China slowly come to life as farmers tend the terraced hills and fisherman pull nets from the deep.
You’ll witness life on the Yangtze from the five-star comfort of your cruise boat as you glide past rural scenes that could be centuries old. But first, your trip kicks off in the ancient city of Beijing where your private tour guide will reveal the secrets of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven. Then you’ll discover the historic military might of the Great Wall of China and visit the sprawling Summer Palace that’s used as a royal lakeside retreat. More than 1000 years of history – including the imposing Terra Cotta Army – awaits in Xi’an before it's on to an unforgettable multi-day cruise of the Yangtze. Finally, marvel at the futuristic architecture of 21st-century Shanghai.
The Yangtze River truly is the lifeblood of rural China, and to know the river is to know the country. It’s a genuinely five-star experience with all the old-world glamour of cruising well preserved and combined with the most modern of amenities. Enjoy divine local cuisine, then retire to the deck with your favorite tipple to watch the changing landscapes of mainland China drift past. On dry land, the knowledgeable English-speaking guides present a side of China that you’ve only read about.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
The Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing is a modern oasis, right in the heart of Beijing's bustling cultural, commercial, and entertainment centre. With its superb location, spacious facilities, and personalized service, the Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing is the ideal choice for all guests. The Lodging reflects the many changing facets of contemporary Chinese culture, where ancient cultural sites vie for space alongside high-rise buildings and an intricate freeway system. The Park Plaza is just minutes away from several popular attractions, such as Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, and the Forbidden City. Guests may also enjoy the complimentary high-speed internet access, security safe box, and currency exchange centre. All guestrooms feature Western décor and are furnished with lounge chairs in sandstone colours.
This full day of private guided tour explores Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven with a stop for a deluxe lunch. Tiananmen Square was built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty and stretches a vast 440,000 square meters. The Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex with 9,999 buildings. The Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty reigned here until 1924. The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 AD during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven.
Enjoy a private guided tour of the Great Wall at Mutianyu, located 45 miles northeast of Beijing. This section winds along lofty, cragged mountains for 1.4 miles and holds a prominent place in Chinese military history. Construction started in the northern Qi Dynasty (550 - 577) and was restored in the early Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). There is an abundance of natural springs, which feed a great variety of verdant plants and ancient trees. Built mainly from granite with 8 metre high walls and 5 metres wide at the top, the wall is notable for its 22 watchtowers that suggest a significant military importance. Next, you will visit The Summer Palace, a sprawling suburban compound used by royalty as their summer retreat and best known for its stunning grounds around Kunming Lake. The Summer Palace occupies an area of 294 hectares (726.5 acres) of which three quarters are water. Classically designed as an archetypal Chinese garden, it is ranked among the most noted gardens of the world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Lunch is included.
Fly from Beijing to Xi'an.
This half day private guided city tour takes you to some of the highlights of 3,100 year old Xian, which is besides Rome, Athens and Cairo one of the four ancient capitals. Start with the Shaanxi History Museum which is with its 370,000 exhibits one of the nation's best. The next stop is the Xi’an City Wall, which is the most complete to survive in China and one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers still stand ready to repel attackers. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, you can walk, rent a bike or take an electric cart around the full 14km circuit, with great views of the city on either side. Finish this tour with the Great Mosque, located in the heart of Xi'an's Muslim quarter. The Mosque is one of the largest in China. Remarkable for the melding of Chinese architecture with Islamic practice, the courtyards align from east to west facing Mecca. The pavilions, halls and gateways are wonderfully decorated. This is an active place of worship for the Hui descendants of Silk Road traders and travellers.
Built to meet the elaborate standards of China's new platinum five-star hotel rating, the Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square is the ultimate accommodation facility in the ancient city of Xian. Its design is of astounding contemporary concept. With a full range of spacious and well-appointed rooms, suites and apartments, state-of-the-art business facilities and exquisite dining and recreational options, the Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square is a perfect choice for the most astute of business and leisure travelers.
This morning you will visit the Terra Cotta Army and Banpo Museum lead by a private guide. This tour includes a deluxe lunch. The over 7,000 Terra Cotta life size warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are China's greatest archaeological excavation. They symbolically guard the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who was the first emperor of the Qin dynasty (246-209 BC). The Museum Banpo is located next to the archeological remains of Xian’s first settlement. The museum and Neolithic site display nearly 10,000 production tools and the remains of 200 cellars and 45 houses.
Fly from Xi'an to Chongqing.
Transfer between the airport and the pier with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide.
This evening you will board the luxurious Victoria cruiseship and depart at 9:00PM from Chongqing. By 10:00PM all passengers will have checked in, and you will overnight on the ship.
Victoria's Cruise ships are specially designed to navigate the Yangtze River, and are all officially rated five stars by the China National Tourism Administration, its highest rating. Enjoy all the comfort and elegance of river cruising, attentive and professional staff, delicious onboard meals and spectacular scenery from every stateroom and public area. The Victoria fleet offers over 5 ships offering passengers cozy accommodations and impeccable service. China has one of the world's great culinary traditions. You will experience the joys of Chinese cuisine, expertly prepared with fresh high quality ingredients. Victoria's award-winning dining experience is reflective of China's evolving culinary landscape, with a fusion of Chinese and western dishes. Meals are served in a single-seating Dynasty Dining Room. Sumptuous Western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. An elegant Captain’s Farewell Banquet is served on the final night of the cruise. In addition to the main Dynasty Dining Room, Victoria Cruises offers a separate a la carte dining room on all the ships.
Today, you will take a guided shore excursion to either Fengdu or Wanzhou. Both are cities greatly affected by the Three Gorges Dam, and interesting places to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the Project on the local farming families. Visit the Daoist Temples and bustling markets of these charming river villages.
In the morning you will visit Wu Gorge, which is the most beautiful section of the Yangtze River, flanked by high peaks that are often capped by fog or clouds. The steep slopes of the gorge are green with trees and bushes. Also see Qutang Gorge, which is famous for its sheer and spectacular precipices, with uniquely beautiful rock formations in every direction. Visit the Shennong Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze River. With crystal clear water, this stream flows swiftly from north to south through deep gorges. A sampan tour will allow you to experience a high speed adventure along this unspoiled river. An arrow-like sampan glides through the four-kilometer-long Mianzhu Gorge and then enters the main stream of the Shennong. Next pass by Xiling Gorge, which starts at Badong County and zigzags for 76 kilometers down to the Nanjin Pass in Yichang. It is the longest part of the Three Gorges system with dangerous rapids like Xietan, Qintan and Kongling, collectively known as the Three Rapids of Xiling. The swift current carries boats down river at the rate of seven meters per second. It is a thrilling ride.
This morning you will take a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Project, which is one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by mankind. This great dam, the largest of its kind in the world, provides China with tremendous power generation and flood control services. Visitors see the panorama of Three Gorges from the highest point of the building site, the exhibition house, natural scenic spot Maogongshan and Huangling Temple.
Arrive into Yichang and disembark the Victoria cruise at 1:30PM. Continue on your journey through China!
Meet your driver for an airport or pier transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Fly from Yichang to Shanghai.
Discover unmatched hospitality, an unbeatable location and luxurious amenities at the new Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre. Located in the heart of downtown, our Shanghai hotel is within walking distance to Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street, People's Square, the Bund and the metro station. Premier among Shanghai hotels, we are the perfect place to unwind when traveling for business or leisure. Enjoy international cuisine and local favorites from our chefs as they prepare various choices at our five restaurants and lounges. After a day in the city, take a dip in our indoor pool, visit our fully equipped gym or have a relaxing massage at our spa. Among hotels in Shanghai, amenities include a business center, 24-hour room service and concierge. More than 2,000 square meters of dedicated event space await with two pillar-free ballrooms and seven additional meeting rooms.
Experience a full day private guided tour of Shanghai visiting the Shanghai Museum, Urban Planning Museum, Nanjing Road, the Bund, cruising on the Huangpu river and enjoying the views from the Oriental Pearl Tower. The museum is an authentic treasure house of ancient Chinese art and holds around 120,000 precious relics. Bronzes, pottery, paintings and calligraphies are distinctive features of the museum's collection. The nearby Urban Planning Hall is a fun and informative introduction to Shanghai’s exciting past and future. Strolling down Nanjing Road, which was once listed as one of the most interesting streets in the world, you will arrive at the historic Bund. Enjoy a cruise on the Huangpud river that divides old Shanghai from the futuristic Pudong, before venturing across the water for a trip up the Oriental Pearl Tower to view the city from above. The majority of this tour is best to be done by foot.
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
Denise Abadi ,
June 21, 2013
"We have just returned from our trip to Malaysia and wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the itinerary you put together for us. Our guides were personable and very knowledgeable about the various places we visited. We were amazed by the sights, sounds and friendliness of the people we encountered. Needless to say, it was a most memorable trip and one of the
highlights of our traveling careers!
July 11, 2013
"Sunita, my wife and I had a wonderful time in China. The hotels were superb. Our guides were excellent. They spoke good English, were knowledgeable, and flexible. It was a wonderful trip. We particularly enjoyed the Yangtze River cruise. We will certainly consider your firm for international travel in the future."
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