Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders
Take an adventure through China's ancient and modern wonders. Travel from bustling Beijing, with its Great Wall, to ancient Xi'an and its Terracotta Warriors, cruising the Yangtze River en-route.
Your tour begins with a flight from London to Beijing, arriving into this bustling city on Day 2. On arrival, you have plenty of time to settle in to this wonderful country.
This morning begins with a rickshaw tour of Beijing's hutongs, or backstreets, known for their association with the city's history.
Later, enjoy a highlight of your holiday, with a visit to the iconic Great Wall of China. You visit the Mutianyu section of the wall, one of the best preserved and most visited parts of this worldfamous structure. This particular section is one of the oldest sections of the wall, and it was first built in the 6th century. After time to explore this magnificent piece of ancient engineering at your own pace, you return to Beijing, pausing en-route at the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube - examples of Beijing's modern architecture - for a photo opportunity. After a busy day exploring Beijing's best attractions, you enjoy a dinner of authentic Peking duck tonight.
Spend the morning exploring Beijing with a guided tour. Visit Tiananmen Square, the location of the now infamous 1989 uprising and, at over 4 million square feet, the largest city square in the world.
You continue this afternoon to the Forbidden City - a palace and garden complex once inhabited by the Chinese royal family, and now preserved as a testament to China's long history. The incredible complex was built on a grand scale, with 980 buildings spread over 180 acres housing the family, their staff and the royal guard from 1406 to the abdication of the last Chinese Emperor in 1912. Constructed to reflect the Purple Palace, where it was thought god resided in heaven, the Forbidden City's opulence is testament to the Emperor's role as a divine ruler.
Leave the capital behind this afternoon, as you board the high-speed train to Shanghai. On arrival, you are met by a local English-speaking guide, who takes you on a sightseeing tour. Discover the iconic Bund, part of the city's famously futuristic architecture, as well as the French Concession, where distinctive western architecture pays testament to the history of French colonialism in this region. There is also time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Nanjing Road, a largely pedestrianised thoroughfare and major shopping centre in Shanghai. Afterwards, dinner is served at a local restaurant.
Continue your tour of Shanghai on Day 5, with a visit to some of the city's hidden attractions. Yu Garden is an oasis of peace amidst Shanghai's lively streets, situated in the older quarters of the city. The extensive gardens are spread out over 5 acres, and have a serene feel, with the typical features of Imperial gardens created by China's former rulers - from ornate pavilions and tranquil pools filled with brightly-coloured fish, to curious stacked rockeries and decadent halls with traditional winged roofs. You also visit the Old City of Shanghai, the Chinese enclave that resisted the influences of the foreign concessions in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, and the Yuyuan Bazaar, a busy shopping quarter adjacent to the city's oldest street.
This afternoon, transfer to Maoping, enjoying China's excellent high-speed rail from Shanghai to Yichang, to board the Century Diamond or Sun cruise ship, for a journey by water through some of China's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.
Today, your scenic cruise along the Yangtze River begins. You take a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam today, before your ship passes through the striking Xiling Gorge. On Day 7, the ship makes its way through the Qutang and Wu Gorges, both renowned for their beauty.
On Day 8 you visit Shibaozhao Pagoda.
Disembark from the ship today in Chongqing, where you board the high-speed train to Chengdu. On arrival, you take in the city's highlights, including the Wenshu Monastery, and lively Jinli Street.
On the morning of Day 10, enjoy a visit to the Panda Research Centre where more than 120 adorable giant panda cubs have been born over the years, before lunch at a local restaurant. Following this, you visit the beautiful Renmin Park, built in 1911 as 'the people's park'.
After breakfast, transfer to Xi'an, the ancient former capital of China, by rail. Tonight, sample some local specialities with a dumpling banquet for dinner.
On Day 12, you visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, which were discovered on the outskirts of Xi'an in the 1970s. Later, return to the city for a guided tour, taking in a wealth of ancient sites - from the imposing city walls, to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the Great Mosque.
Board your scheduled flight from Xi'an to London Heathrow today. Your tour concludes on arrival in the UK.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Enahancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 9 verified reviews
Our tour coincided with May Day holiday week so crowded stations and tourist sites. Our visit to Shanghai was less than 24 hours. Very little free time apart from cruising the Yantze.
Great organisation and very knowledgeable local guides and tour manager
Great itinerary, really friendly group, excellent tour and local guides. Would happily recommend Rail Discoveries. Meals a bit of a let down, always the same evening meal and so much time wasted taking us to restaurants 40 mins from the hotel. Long days would have concluded better if we'd had a little time to relax and then dine in at the hotels. Also we'd have had more time to get to know one another.
Excellent trains. Brilliant group. Good flight and hotels
Good company, saw everything we wanted ,trip just to hectic no spare time need another holiday to get over it
It was a fabulous holiday. The willingness of the tour manager to adjust the itinerary appropriately made sure we got the best experiences we could possibly get of China and its people.
The tour and "most" of the arrangements were first class, and the overall experience was brilliant. The only main problem was on the tours out from the hotels, the local guides were very difficult to hear. With 37 people, mainly of "an age" the only one that really worked well was in Beijing. We were all given an earpiece, and could hear clearly from a good distance away. However when we went elsewhere it was only those closest that could hear. I myself have a hearing problem, and wear hearing aids,and was affected by the noise from other groups, with their tour guide, making a lot of noise, which drowned our guide out.
Very good holiday enjoyed it very much. I would have liked a bit more free time in some of the places. The first day after a long flight was a bit hard going.
Sane all the things we wanted to see. Our tour manager and local guides were first class.
Good Holiday,Very full on, certainly a Discovery ,but to much Crammed in , Chinese guides , Enthusiastic , Knowledgable
Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders