China, Tibet & the Yangtze
Embrace the yin and yang of wonders old and new on this soul-enriching expedition.
Your itinerary starts in Beijing, with visits to Tiananmen Square—the largest public square on earth—and the Forbidden City, hidden away for years from the outside world. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through Beijing’s hutongs, the city’s old maze-like neighborhoods, and dine in the home of a local family. Gaze in awe at the ornately decorated Temple of Heaven, a Ming Dynasty pagoda built without a single nail. Walk along the majestic two-thousand-year-old Great Wall, which offers wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. Fly to Xi’an to see the famous Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses—all eight thousand of them—each completely unique and buried more than two millennia ago to watch over China’s first emperor.
Onward to Lhasa—the “place of the gods”—one of the highest cities on earth (at 11,450 feet) and Tibet’s spiritual heart. Visit the 13-hundred-year-old Jokhang Temple, the epicenter of Tibetan Buddhism, its flagstones polished by centuries of prostrating religious pilgrims. Venture within the Potala Palace, former residence of the Dalai Lama, an architectural masterpiece containing one thousand rooms. You will also visit Sera Monastery, where monks gather to debate Buddhist philosophy.
Observe giant pandas at the Chongqing Zoo, then embark upon your Yangtze River cruise through the Three Gorges. Savor the spectacular scenery as the ship winds through dramatic narrow passageways. Stop en route at the 12-story-high Shibao Pagoda, situated on an island that was a mountain peak in the days before the Three Gorges Dam. Conclude your journey in Shanghai, renowned for its architecture, dim sum, and amazing acrobats, all of which you will have opportunities to experience first-hand.
Who will enjoy this cruise/tour
This 14-day itinerary is for travelers seeking a soul-enriching and spiritually enlightening journey that encompasses China as well as the mysterious, remote region of Tibet—places that often seem light years apart and thus make for an irresistible travel experience. This cruise/tour also includes 4 days on the Yangtze River, exploring its mystical Three Gorges.
Your Cruise/tour Package Includes:
3-night Yangtze River cruise in a riverview Uniworld Signature Suite with a private balcony onboard the Century Legend*
10 nights in luxury hotels, including buffet breakfast and all service charges, taxes, and porterage*
Tips for local experts and drivers
All transportation throughout your trip, including flights within China
All transfers on arrival and departure days
13 buffet breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
Peking Duck Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine in Beijing
Captain’s Welcome Reception and Farewell Dinner
Complimentary house wine, local beers, and soft drinks during onboard dinners
Special themed meals: hutong family-hosted lunch, traditional dumpling banquet, Tang Dynasty dinner, dinner with folk show in Lhasa, and dim sum lunch
11 days of captivating, fully escorted excursions with English-speaking local experts
Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise/Tour Manager throughout your trip
State-of-the-art portable audio-headset system on select excursions throughout your trip
Exclusive VIP benefits onboard
Exciting evening entertainment, including a kung fu show, a Tang Dynasty show, and the Shanghai Acrobats
*Ship and hotels are subject to change.
You will visit the following 6 places:
Chongqing, formerly known as Chungking, is a major city in southwestern mainland China and one of the five national central cities. Administratively, it is one of the People's Republic of China's four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and the only such municipality in western China. The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the sub-provincial city administration that was part of Sichuan Province. In 2007, the municipality of Chongqing had a population of 31.4 million. It has jurisdiction over 19 districts, 17 counties, and four autonomous counties. With an area of 82,300 km² (31,800 mi²), it is the largest direct-controlled municipality, larger even than one province and an autonomous region, as well as Taiwan. It is possibly the world's largest municipality by population and one of the largest by area.
Yangtze River is the largest in China and the third largest in the world after the Nile in Africa and the Amazon in South America. It is about 3,964 miles in length. It stretches across eleven provinces and cities from west to east, including Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai. Finally it pours into the East China Sea at Shanghai.
Shanghai is the cool, confident face of modern China, and its energy is infectious. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yu Garden as well as the extensive Lujiazui skyline, many skyscrapers, and major museums including the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum. It has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China. Go to its heart, The Bund, to watch ships on the river and marvel at the huge variety of architectural styles on display, or watch the crowds go by in People's Square!
Lhasa is a city and administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Lhasa, which means "Land of the Gods" and is over 1,300 years old, sits in a valley right next to the Lhasa River. In the eastern part of the city, near the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor neighborhood, Tibetan influence is still strong and evident and it is common to see traditionally dressed Tibetans engaged on a kora (a clockwise circumambulation or walk around the Jokhang Temple), often spinning prayer wheels.
Beijing is a metropolis in Northern China, and the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the most populous cities in the world. Governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government, Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjing Municipality to the southeast. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries. Beijing has a glorious past, but is by no means stuck in the past. Standing side-by-side with old Beijing's crimson palace complexes are the city's modern buildings, the super-modern Olympic Village, with the Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube; the dazzling shopping malls in Wangfujing Street and the colorful entertainment center of Houhai. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China!
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held that position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. It is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. Xi'an is, for certain, one of the most popular tourist destinations among foreign travelers. A tour to Xi'an is something that any tourist to China would not want to miss, as it serves as a window on China's ancient civilization.
A Uniworld representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the opulent Ritz-Carlton Beijing.
Featured Excursions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, hutongs tour with home-hosted lunch, and Peking Duck Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine
Your first full day in Beijing takes you to Tiananmen Square, which is both a center of contemporary civic life in Beijing and the gateway to the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, you’ll take a rickshaw ride through the hutongs, the historic neighborhoods of Old Beijing. A local family will invite you into their home for lunch. Later in the evening, you’ll enjoy a Welcome Dinner of succulent Peking duck, a signature dish of the city, served with wine.
Featured Excursions: The Great Wall and kung fu show at Beijing’s Red Theatre
Walk along the UNESCO-designated Great Wall. Later in the evening, be treated to a mesmerizing show that combines kung fu prowess with acrobatics and dance; it’s the best performance in town.
Beijing, fly to Xi'an
Featured Excursions: Temple of Heaven and traditional dumpling banquet
The Temple of Heaven is a UNESCO-designated site that dates back to the 15th century. A masterpiece of architectural and landscape design, it influenced architecture throughout China for centuries. After lunch, you’ll fly to the ancient city of Xi’an, where you’ll settle into the elegant Shangri-La Xi’an hotel. Later, head to a local restaurant to feast on
the delicious dumplings that are a specialty of the region.
Featured Excursions: Museum of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, City Wall, and Tang Dynasty dinner show
Visit the museum that is home to over eight thousand life-sized Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. You’ll then see the ancient city wall built to protect Xi’an from invaders. This evening, enjoy a traditional dinner with rice wine and a cultural performance that re-creates the music, folk dances, and traditional costumes of the Tang Dynasty.
Xi'an, fly to Lhasa
Fly to Lhasa, the ancient cultural and religious center of Tibet, and check into the supremely comfortable Shangri-La Lhasa hotel, where you’ll enjoy dinner in the evening.
Featured Excursions: Jokhang Temple and Tibet Museum
See the holiest site in Tibet: gold-domed Jokhang Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains a seventh-century statue of Buddha. Tour the rich collection of prehistoric artifacts at the Tibet Museum. Visit a Lhasa family’s home, then savor dinner accompanied by a traditional folk show.
Featured Excursions: Potala Palace and Sera Monastery
The vast, UNESCO-designated Potala Palace is exceptionally well preserved. Wander through its chapels as pilgrims make offerings at thousand-year-old altars, and admire the religious paintings called thangkas. From here, you’ll head off to see Sera Monastery’s colorful murals and mandalas.
Lhasa, fly to Chongqing, cruising the Yangtze River
Featured Excursion: Chongqing Zoo
Fly to Chongqing, where you’ll visit the giant pandas at the city’s wonderful zoo before boarding your comfortable ship.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai
Featured Excursion: Shibao Pagoda
Mist-shrouded peaks loom above the winding Yangtze for miles as you cruise through the Three Gorges region. Every view is a picture straight out of China’s iconic watercolor illustrations. Your ship will stop at the Shibao Pagoda, a colorful 12-story temple built into the side of a hill that is now an island as a result of the rising waters from the Three Gorges Dam. Enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception with complimentary wine in the evening.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shennong Stream
Featured Excursion: Explore Shennong Stream
You’ll get a close-up view of the breathtaking landscape as you board a small boat and cruise along the Shennong Stream, a tributary to the Yangtze. Later in the day, your ship will navigate the enormous Three Gorges Dam locks. In the evening, a Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine will be served.
Note: Due to water conditions we may substitute a Lesser Gorges boat tour for the Shennong Stream boat tour.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Yichang (disembark), fly to Shanghai
Featured Excursion: Three Gorges Dam
Before you disembark in Yichang, you’ll tour the world’s largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam, which supplies power to millions
of people. Following your visit, you’ll fly to Shanghai. Settle into your lovely room in the peaceful Pudong Shangri-La and relax over a buffet dinner at your hotel.
Featured Excursions: Shanghai city tour, dim sum lunch, and Shanghai Acrobats performance
Shanghai, located at the mouth of the Yangtze, has been a trading center for four hundred years. Today, it’s an economic dynamo with one of the busiest ports in the world. Stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s famed waterfront promenade, and take in its historic buildings and its spectacular view of the high-rises that typify China’s largest city. Savor a dim sum lunch at your hotel, then take some time to browse through the district’s unique shops. In the evening, prepare to be dazzled by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobats.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your adventure with one of our memorable optional extensions.