Highlights of China with Yangtze River Cruise 2024

China is a vast and diverse country, home to a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and modern cities. Beijing, the capital, is the center of Chinese politics and society, with a history spanning over 5,000 years. Xi’an is home to the incredible Terracotta Warriors, an army of life-sized terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of the first emperor of China. And the Yangtze River Cruise is a must-do, offering the chance to see the dramatic scenery and rushing waters of the three great gorges in Sichuan and Hubei provinces. These are just a few highlights of the many that China has to offer.

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We are delighted to again offer this comprehensive tour to China as part of our 2024 tour programme. China, as one of the largest and most populous nations on earth, has so much to offer the traveller. A journey through China is a journey through 5000 years of history with the ancient and the modern standing side-by-side, and of course the history and culture is very different from our own. As was evidenced during the very successful Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China is changing. The last 20 years has seen this vast country rapidly progress to become a major player in the industrial and commercial world. In saying that, let’s not forget the history and mystery of ancient China spanning 5000 years – it is never far away…

Highlights include:

  • Beijing – the nation’s capital and heart and soul of Chinese politics and society for over 5000 years
  • Xi’an – home to the incredible “Terracotta Warriors” – they must be seen to be believed
  • Shanghai – the most prosperous city in China where the old and the new sit side by side
  • Guilin – famous for its scenic rivers and limestone peaks covered with lush greenery
  • Yangtze River Cruise – The tour will spend 4 nights on board a first class river cruise ship, (MV Century Paragon), cruising on China’s longest river. The three great gorges in Sichuan and Hubei provinces are regarded as one of the greatest scenic attractions in China. Sit back in comfort and enjoy the passing dramatic scenery and rushing waters

Additional information

Tour Departs

Tour Length

22 Days

Sunday 05 May                       Auckland – Hong Kong

This afternoon we join our flight to Hong Kong, where we will overnight at our airport hotel to rest before continuing on to Beijing.


Monday 06 May                     Arrive Beijing                                                             (D) 

We continue our journey this morning with a flight to Beijing where we are met on arrival and transferred to our hotel for a 4 night stay. We have time to relax in the afternoon and rest up after our flight. A leisurely dinner is at the hotel tonight.


Tuesday 07 May                     Beijing                                                                          (B/L/D)

Our full day tour takes us 40 miles north of the city to the Great Wall. The original construction of the Great Wall started in the 7th century B.C. to keep out the warring invaders. Additional sections were added for nearly 4,000 miles. A walk along this Great Wall is truly inspiring. The afternoon is equally as memorable and of a different era as we visit the icons of the Beijing Olympics – Bird Nest and Water Cube. This evening, enjoy a traditional Kung Fu performance.


Wednesday 08 May                Beijing                                                                         (B/L/D)

Beijing has been the heart and soul of Chinese culture, politics and society for over 5000 years. We commence our sightseeing programme of this fascinating city with a walk through the landmark Tiananmen Square, followed by a visit to the Forbidden City – the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Thereafter, we spend time at the Summer Palace – once a summer retreat for the emperors and their families and now one of China’s best-preserved imperial gardens. Enjoy this masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. Tonight, enjoy a western dinner.


Thursday 09 May                   Beijing                                                                          (B/L/D)

This morning we visit the Temple of Heaven where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped. The surrounding grounds of the Temple will give us an insight into the local’s daily activities. In the afternoon we visit Beijing’s famed Hutongs near Houhai Lake. This evening, we get together to enjoy the traditional Peking duck dinner at a local restaurant.


Friday 10 May                         Beijing – Xian                                                              (B/L/D)

We have the morning free for further exploration or some shopping before transferring to Beijing West Train Station in time for our high-speed train to the ancient city of Xi’an – home to one of China’s most famous tourist attractions. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 2 night stay.


Saturday 11 May                    Xian                                                                          (B/L/D)

Today we visit the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century, the life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses as they guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. The life-sized terracotta soldiers and their horses were discovered in 1974 having been preserved in an underground vault of earth and timber for 2000 years. At the completion of our visit, we return to the city and see the ancient City Wall and Grand Mosque. This evening, we enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner and cultural show featuring music, dance, and traditional costumes..


Sunday 12 May                       Xian – Hangzhou                                                         (B/L/D)

Today we have a free morning, before transferring to the airport for our flight to Hangzhou. Upon arrival, we are met and transferred to the hotel.


Monday 13 May                     Hangzhou                                                                     (B/L/D)

A full day tour visiting the Hua Gang Park and West Lake. You will appreciate the fabled scenery, such as ‘Broken Bridge’, ‘Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake’ and ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon’. We take a short cruise tour on the West Lake then visit the Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum. The museum presents visitors with a style of antique architecture, alongside a treasury of traditional Chinese medical science and technology. With Hangzhou being famous for Longjing Green Tea; we visit a tea plantation to taste its famous tea and learn about the ancient tea making process.


Tuesday 14 May                     Hangzhou – Suzhou                                                      (B/L/D)

Enjoy some free time this morning until we depart by coach for Suzhou – a small town, often called the “Oriental Venice”, and famous for its classic gardens. We visit the Master of the Nets Garden and the Humble Administrator’s Garden, two of the finest and most recognised gardens in China. Later, we board a traditional boat in Suzhou and cruise the canals that date back 1,000 years. We overnight in Suzhou.


Wednesday 15 May                Suzhou – Tongli – Shanghai                                         (B/L/D)

After a leisurely morning and lunch, we drive to Shanghai. En route, we visit Tongli – a river village known for its ancient bridges. This is the China of picture books, complete with narrow streets, simple homes, tea houses and intriguing shops. We arrive into Shanghai late afternoon for a 2 night stay.


Thursday 16 May                   Shanghai                                                                       (B/L/D)

Stroll the Bund promenade along the Huangpu River, where the old meets the modern in Shanghai; then to the Old Town with its winding alleyways lined with shops, tea houses, restaurants and to the elegant and tranquil Yu Garden. Xintiandi is a new attraction in downtown Shanghai, featuring the city’s unique “Shikumen” houses and a maze of narrow alleys which have been converted into cafes, restaurants, bars, art and retail shops. In the evening, enjoy the breathtaking Shanghai Acrobats whose circus-like acts originated during the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago


Friday 17 May                         Shanghai – Yichang – Yangtze Cruise                          (B/L/D)

This morning, we transfer to Shanghai Airport in time to join the flight to Yichang. There is time for a city tour and dinner at a local restaurant before we transfer to our first class river ship for the start of our 4 nights on the Yangtze River.


Saturday 18 May                    Three Gorges Dam                                                       (B/L/D)

The Three Gorges Dam is the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man. The Dam is 2,335 metres long, 185 metres high, 18 metres wide on the top and 130 metres wide at the bottom.  The Dam has raised the river to a level of 175 metres above sea level.  The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and power generation began in 2005. We enjoy a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam. Alternatively, you have the opportunity to pass through the Ship Lift (optional) and then visit the Three Gorges Dam.


Sunday 19 May              Qutang & Wu – Lesser Three Gorges                                   (B/L/D)

Before breakfast, the ship approaches the entrance of the second of the Three Gorges – Wu Gorge.  Below Wushan is the 25 mile long Wu Gorge, with cliffs so sheer that the sun barely penetrates the precipices. This middle gorge is best known for twelve unique peaks.  Often hidden in swirls of mist, six peaks line the north side of the river and six staggered peaks stand to the south. After breakfast, on arrival in Wushan we will disembark for a shore excursion to Shennv Stream. Return to the ship, and lunch is served.  Continue sailing upstream to the Qutang Gorge – the last, shortest and most dramatic of the Three Gorges. This afternoon you have the opportunity to take part in an optional shore excursion to White Emporer City.


Monday 20 May                      Fengdu                                                                          (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we disembark for our shore excursion to Shibaozhai, with its impressive wooden pagoda, appropriately named the ‘’The Pearl of the Yangtze’’. Shibaozhai Pagoda is built along the cliff face of Shibaozhai. First built in Qing Dynasty by the local craftsmen, Shibaozhai Pagoda is the existing largest wooden architecture with crossing bracket type. The pagoda is 12 layers in total, with a height of 56 meters, and all of them were made of wood, without using any single nail in the construction. We return to the ship for lunch and spend the remainder of the day cruising on the scenic Yangtze River.


Tuesday 21 May            Fuling – Chongqing – Guilin                                                 (B/L/D)

We disembark from our river cruise ship in Chongqing after breakfast and then onto Chongqing Zoo to see the Pandas before joining the high speed train to Guilin.  Enjoy some time at leisure this afternoon before we meet up for dinner.


Wednesday 22 May       Guilin – Yangshuo                                                                (B/L/D)

Today we enjoy a cruise with lunch on the Li River. See the mist-covered mountains that loom above the river, and quaint villages on its banks. Throughout this cruise, we see the most extraordinary limestone peaks, lush bamboo along the riverbank and fishermen in small boats working the river which provides a transport route for a mix of vessels. At the end of our leisurely cruise, we will check in to our hotel before meeting for dinner this evening.


Thursday 23 May       Yangshuo                                                                                (B/L/D)

After breakfast we will take a leisurely walk around Yangshuo with a stop included for lunch. Our guide will then lead us through the Yangshuo market before we get the chance to take part in a cooking class. Tonight, we will enjoy a farewell dinner followed by the River Li light show. This show will leave you mesmerized at how the performers seem to be floating on the river as they portray life and culture of the local Yangshuo people.


Friday 24 May              Yangshuo – Guilin – Hong Kong                    (B/L)

After a leisurely breakfast this morning, we check out of our hotel and journey back to Guilin, upon arrival, we will visit Elephant Trunk Hill and enjoy a farewell lunch before heading off to  join our train to Hong Kong. We arrive mid-evening and are transferred to our overnight accommodation.


Saturday 25 May        Hong Kong – Auckland                                    (B/D)                                     

Today is yours to explore Hong Kong at your leisure. Our transfer to Hong Kong Airport has been arranged for 5pm and we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant en route to the airport. Flight departs at 9pm.


Sunday 26 May           Arrive Auckland

Welcome Home!

“We had the most amazing tour of China in 2019/  The itinerary is packed with highlights, well organised and great tour guides.  We felt safe and enjoyed every aspect of the tour.  Thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting to see history, wonderful sites and scenery.”

– Robyn and Bruce

“A first class tour to visit ancient and modern China.

There were many highlights. Main ones were walking the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, silk factory, Yangtze Cruise and River Li light show, Shanghai river cruise at night.”
– Meredith Crawford

“I thought we saw a great variety of sights. Loved all places. This was my first escorted tour and I would go again anytime.”
– KH

“A very interesting and exciting tour. We were amazed at the building and roading being done.”
– M&E S

“I recommend China as a holiday destination and Mahers have put together an excellent programme.  So many highlights, and exceeded my expectations.”
– CO, Auckland

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