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19 Days China and Tibet Highlights Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

19 Days China and Tibet Highlights Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

(STT019) Shanghai - Yangtze River Cruise - Chengdu - Lhasa - Xian - Beijing

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The tour offers you an in-depth discovery journey to the most attractive destinations in China and Tibet. Not only will you take in the essence part of Shanghai, Chengdu, Lhasa, Xi’an and Beijing, but also you will enjoy a spectacular Yangtze River cruise along the longest river of Asia, with excellent shore excursions and breathtaking shoreside views. The tour starts in Shanghai and will take you westwards to Chengdu and Lhasa, before turning back to Xi’an and Beijing. You will also get the chance to enjoy the legendary Tibet train experience and high speed train ride as you transfer among these cities.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Shanghai

As you arrive in Shanghai, the megacity and financial hub of China, our local guide will be expecting you at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Later, the guide will escort you to your hotel. After you check in, the rest of the day is for you to have a good rest or explore the surroundings yourself.

Stay overnight in Shanghai

Day 2: Shanghai Tour: Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, and Oriental Pearl TV Tower, The Bund

Today we are about to visit some of the highlights of highlights of Shanghai Tour. Starting with fascinating Shanghai Museum, the magnificent 4-story building houses an incredible collection of bronzes, sculptures, ceramics, coins, paintings, calligraphy, costumes and other exhibits in different dynasties. It’s the perfect place for fans of Chinese history and art.

Next comes the Yu Garden. Built in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty, the Yu Garden used to be the private residence of a senior Government administrator in the Ming Dynasty. For passionate photographer, never miss the chance to photograph Old Street of Yu Garden

In the evening, we will visit the most iconic building of Shanghai, i.e. Oriental Pearl TV Tower. You can enjoy the amazing panorama of the skyline of Shanghai at night. And as you stroll along the Bund, you will get amazed at the spectacular Huangpu River and dazzling light from buildings of Pudong.

Stay overnight in Shanghai

Day 3: Fly to Yichang from Shanghai, Board Your Yangtze River Cruise Ship

Today, you will be escorted to Shanghai airport for the flight to Yichang. Upon arrival, you will be picked up by the local guide and then transferred to Yichang Port to board the ship. Your once-in-a-lifetime Yangtze River Cruise starts!

Stay overnight onboard your Yangtze cruise ship.

Day 4: Yangtze River Cruise: Three Gorges Dam

In the morning, you can wake up leisurely and enjoy the gentle sunshine shinning over the Yangtze River. The ship will first pass through the Xiling Gorge, which is the longest one among the Three Gorges, with the length of 76 km in total. The winding river and strange stones make Xiling Gorge is popular attraction along Yangtze River cruise.

In the afternoon, you will follow your local English-speaking guide and make a shore excursion to the famous Three Gorges Dam. As the largest and most complicated hydropower project in the world, Three Gorges Dam was designed and constructed for the benefits of flood control, river shipping, navigation etc. It is the place where you can get a comfortable sightseeing of natural flowers, flood discharging etc.

After that, the ship will sail through the five-stage Three Gorges Dam Ship Locks, the world’s largest ship lock system as tall as a high building of 40 floors.

In the evening, you can take part in the Captain’s Welcome Party which is well prepared by the cruise company. You can not only taste kinds of delicious food and drinks, but also have great fun with dance and music.

Stay overnight onboard your Yangtze cruise ship.

Day 5: Yangtze River Cruise: Lesser Three Gorges

Keeping sailing westwards, the cruise ship will head to the destination of today, the Lesser Three Gorges. As a popular place among tourists with superb natural sceneries, Lesser Three Gorges is situated on the Daning River which flows into the Yangtze River. Consisting of Longmen Gorge, Bawu Gorge and Dicui Gorge, the Lesser Three Gorges features rapids with clear green water, sheer cliffs and steep hillsides. Also, the surrounding forest is inhabited by monkeys and wild animals. After arriving at Wushan, the local guide will lead you to visit this beautiful place.

Stay overnight onboard your Yangtze cruise ship.

Day 6: Yangtze River Cruise: Fengdu Ghost City, Shibaozhai Shore Excursion

Today’s highlight will be the shore excursion to the Fengdu Ghost City. Called “the Homeland of Divine Comedy in China”, Fengdu Ghost City is the only place to present the Chinese culture of the afterlife. There are buildings, structures, dioramas as well as statues, all related to the afterlife in hell. When visiting this city, you will know about the mysterious stories about the underworld and various kinds of devils and Chinese demons.

Then enjoy a Shibaozhai Shore Excursion at about 16:00. Shibao Zhai Village is a tower with 12 floors. It is one of several high wooden buildings in China nowadays. It is the typical and symbolic buildings characterizing of Chinas southern folk architectural techniques.

Stay overnight onboard your Yangtze cruise ship

Day 7: Disembark at Chongqing, High speed train from Chongqing to Chengdu

In the morning, your ship will arrive at Chongqing Port, where you will go through the check-out procedures and disembark. Upon arrival, the local guide will pick you up and escort you to the train station for the train to Chengdu.

Stay overnight in Chengdu

Day 8: Chengdu Tour: Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center, Jin Li Street and Wuhou Shrine

Chengdu is the major overland gateway to Tibet and home to giant pandas. In the morning, we will drive about half an hour to Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center, where you will catch pandas' feeding time, they are at their most active, both Adults and Babies. There's a wealth of information and a panda museum in this 230-hectare park 10 km (6 miles) north of Chengdu. It takes about 2.5 hours to visit this site.

In the afternoon, we will move back to downtown Chengdu to visit Jin Li Street, a vivid replica of the old commercial street of Qin, Han, and Three Kingdom dynasties. You can take a leisurely stroll along the street and buy some souvenirs. After that, we can tour the famous Wushou Shrine, where tourists can learn more of the celebrated warriors of Three Kingdoms and many more Chinese poetry and calligraphy, etc. can also be seen.

Stay overnight in Chengdu

Day 9: Free to Explore the City, then Board Train to Lhasa

The whole day is free for you to explore around the city. In the evening, you will be transferred to Chengdu Railway Station for the train to Lhasa. Your Tibet Travel Permit will need to be checked before boarding.

Stay overnight on the train

Day 10: Train to Lhasa, Scenery View of Tibet Railway

Today, you will spend the whole day on the train to Lhasa. It is quite a long journey from Chengdu to Lhasa, for about 36 hours in total. You will pass through two important provincial capital cities in northwest China, Lanzhou and Xining. Xining is known as the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

You will witness the most beautiful scenery along Qinghai-Tibet Railway. From the deserts to massive grassland, snowy mountains to turquoise lakes, all these landscapes will continually appear and strongly appeal to your eyes.

Stay overnight on the train

Day 11: Arrive in Lhasa

The Chengdu-Lhasa train will arrive in Lhasa in the morning. Upon your arrival, your tour guide will hold a board with your name on it at the exit to welcome you. A private car will take you to the reserved hotel. You may view the Yarlung Tsangpo River (the longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa River on their way to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Tips: If this is your first visit to Tibet, you will need to acclimatize to the increased elevation, to prevent altitude sickness. This is best done by resting in the hotel and minimizing any physical exertion.

Day 12: Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street

Today's tour will first bring you to the Potala Palace which is the winter palace of the Dalai lama. It was put to use since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.

Then after lunch, tourists head to Jokhang Temple which was founded by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century, in order to promote the Buddhist religion. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve, perhaps the only most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. Around the temple is Barkhor street where you can do kora (a religious circle of a building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals, in the meantime you can buy souvenirs.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 13: Lhasa Tour - Drepung and Sera Monastery

In the morning ,you are going to visit Drepung Monastery which is one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. Ganden palace used to be Dalai lama’s palace in the Drepung before he moved to the Potala palace.

In the Afternoon, Tourists will visit Sera Monastery which is another one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. The hot attraction is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 14: Fly from Lhasa to Xi’an

The guide will transfer you to the airport and help you board the plane bound for Xi’an. After around 3 hours’ flight, you will land in Xi’an. The local guide will escort you to your hotels. And the rest of the day is for you to have a rest.

Stay overnight in Xi’an

Day 15: Xian Day Tour: Terra-Cotta Warriors, Banpo Neolithic Village

The day tour in Xian is impressive too. The Emperor’s Terracotta Army is also one of the eight wonders in the world. These terracotta warriors and horses are the size of a real army, and were buried alongside the Emperor in a vast underground palace.

In the archeological site of Banpo Village, built more than 6,000 year ago, you will see how the resident matriarchal tribe used to survive in the Neolithic age.

Stay overnight in Xian

Day 16: High Speed Train to Beijing from Xi’an

In the morning, we will first pay a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaanxi History Museum. As a landmark of Xi’an, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built for storing Buddhist sutras in AD 652, and is seven-layered with a height of 64.5 meters.

Located to the northwest of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum is China’s first large-scale national museum. There are more than 370,000 pieces of cultural relics collected in the museum, ranging from simple stone tools of ancient humans to various kinds of objects in social life before 1840.

After the tour, you will be transferred to the station to take the high speed train to Beijing. Upon arrival, your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel in downtown area.

Stay overnight in Beijing

Day 17: Beijing Day Tour – Forbidden City and Summer Palace

Today is guided tour to Forbidden City and Summer Palace which are the traditional must-see places in Beijing. The Forbidden City is the best preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. The splendid architecture of the Forbidden City represents the essence and culmination of traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment.

The Summer Palace is the largest royal garden in the world built in Qing Dynasty. The grandeur and beauty of the Palace is overwhelming and is sure to impress anyone.

Stay overnight in Beijing

Day 18: Day Tour to Mutianyu Great Wall

The Great Wall tour proves that China was one of the strongest countries in its history. Stretching thousands of kilometers, the Great Wall protected the ancient Chinese against the invasion of the enemy from its north side for more than 1000 years; the Great Wall was listed as one of the world's eight wonders. Mutianyu Great Wall, featured “graceful”, enjoy the best quality among all Wall sections, 80km north-east of Beijing with 22 ancient watchtowers, about one every kilometer. (Cable car is optional if you do not want to walk)

Then you will visit the Ming Tombs, the burial site of the emperor Zhuli, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty who ruled for 22 years until his death in 1424.

Stay overnight in Beijing

Day 19: Depart from Beijing

In the morning, you will first visit the historic Temple of Heavens, which is the largest city square in the world and the spiritual heart of China, and then move on to the famous Hutongs, the traditional courtyard residence in narrows alleys in Beijing. It is a great place to know the folk culture and old quarters of Beijing city.

After that, you will be transferred to airport for your flight to your next destination. The tour ends.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
  • First aid kit;

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

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