Exquisite China


Indulge yourself with a Yangtze cruise and opulent hotels as this relaxed itinerary takes you from imperial treasures and Terracotta Warriors to vibrant cities, adorable pandas and delicious gastronomy.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Beijing (3N) - Xian (2N) - Chengdu (2N) - Yangtze River Cruise (3N) - Shanghai (3N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Fly to the imperial capital of Beijing. On arrival you will be accompanied by one of our experienced National Escorts to the hotel.
Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Day 3: Explore Imperial Beijing
Begin the day like many locals with gentle exercise, as you partake in a private Tai Chi lesson with a master in the Temple of Heaven park. Cross vast Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City – a monument to a dynastic past, the palace served as the home of emperors for 500 years. Your visit includes entrance to the intimate Treasure Hall, a glittering gallery showcasing the everyday trappings of royal life. Dine on Peking Duck and enjoy an optional Chinese kung fu show (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Day 3: Explore Imperial Beijing
Day 4: Champagne on the Great Wall
From the Gobi Desert to the Bohai Sea the Great Wall stretches thousands of miles. Visit the beautiful Mutianyu section, stopping at the ideal spot to enjoy a glass of champagne whilst admiring the views of the Wall as it snakes over craggy peaks. Return to Beijing via a jade factory, then take a rickshaw ride through the hutongs where you’ll stop for a lesson in calligraphy with a learned scholar. Enjoy a free evening at lively Houhai Lake where dinner is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 4: Champagne on the Great Wall
Day 5: Ancient City Walls
Fly to Xian. Walk on the 14thcentury walls for an excellent overview of the city. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the facilities of your hotel. This evening, watch an optional Tang Dynasty dance performance (at your own expense). (B,L)
Day 5: Ancient City Walls
Day 6: The Terracotta Warriors
Fortuitously found by local farmers digging a well, the Terracotta Warriors are one of the world’s most famous archaeological discoveries. View the enigmatic ranks in the company of an expert who works at the site and who will put their story into context. Next, we have exclusively arranged for you to meet the man who discovered the Warriors – learn about the moment they were uncovered in 1974. On the way back to Xian, visit the workshop of the craftspeople who recreate Terracotta Warriors in the style of their ancient counterparts. Tonight there is an option to take a city tour, which includes the dazzling fountain display in front of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Day 6: The Terracotta Warriors
Day 7: Chengdu
Explore Hanyangling Mausoleum. The artefacts, viewable from the glass walkways above, give a fascinating insight into daily life during the Western Han Dynasty. Fly to Chengdu and enjoy the rest at the day at leisure. Puzzle over a national secret at the optional Sichuan Opera – the face changing art of Bian Lian (at your own expense). (B,L)
Day 7: Chengdu
Day 8: Pandas with an Expert
Visit Chengdu’s Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where an expert will explain about the centre's work and talk about the pandas themselves as you observe these peaceful bears in surrounds that mirror their natural habitat. Stroll through the bustling People’s Park to Matchmaker’s Corner. Enjoy a traditional hot pot dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Pandas with an Expert
Day 9: Yangtze River Cruise
Transfer to Chongqing and visit Ciqikou, a historic district full of traditional architecture – spend a free evening here exploring the ancient town before boarding the Century cruise ship. (B,D)
Day 9: Yangtze River Cruise
Day 10: Captains Welcome
The Yangtze has long played a pivotal role in the history, culture and economy of China – a cruise is the perfect way to gain insight into its importance. The first excursion will be to Shibaozhai, a hill-top pagoda beside the river. This evening the captain will host a welcome reception followed by a lavish dinner at the à la carte restaurant.
Day 10: Captains Welcome
Day 11: Dramatic Yangtze Gorges
Prepare for breathtaking vistas as you sweep through the Wu and Qutang gorges before cruising along the scenic Shennong Stream on a sampan to further explore. Back on the boat, expand your knowledge of the dam project with a presentation by the river guide.
Day 11: Dramatic Yangtze Gorges
Day 12: Three Gorges Dam
Created to harness the power of the Yangtze, it is difficult not to be awestruck as you stand on the viewing platform. Also, visit the Three Gorges Dam exhibition centre. Disembark, travel to Wuhan and fly to Shanghai for dinner. (B,L)
Day 13: Zhujiajiao
The 1,700 year old Zhujiajiao boasts old stone bridges, wood panelled houses and numerous atmospheric waterways once used to transport goods. Return to Shanghai where the afternoon is free for you to enjoy the facilities of your hotel, or enjoy a acrobatic show (at your own expense). (B,L)
Day 13: Zhujiajiao
Day 14: Stylish Shanghai
Walk through the Old Town in the Yu Gardens, a classic example of Chinese horticulture. Visit the colonial Bund and the Silk Museum, before admiring the collections of the Shanghai Museum. Enjoy a farewell dinner at Meiyuancun and toast the end of the tour with a cocktail at Cloud in Jin Mao Tower with views of the Pudong skyline. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Stylish Shanghai
Day 15: Depart Shanghai
This morning is at leisure before you are transferred to Shanghai airport to board your overnight flight to New Zealand. (B)
Day 15: Depart Shanghai
Day 15: Arrive New Zealand
Arrive home today.

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:


Single Supplement from $3,350
Land Only (Beijing to Shanghai) 14 days from $8,380 per person
Additional charges: Customary tipping - RMB1030 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
04 Oct 2019 and 01 May, 02 Oct 2020 departures coincides with Golden week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.

 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies.

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.


Why Book This Tour?

This is a relaxed-pace tour with many special experiences as you journey through China indulging in a deluxe Yangtze cruise, staying in opulent hotels and sampling delicious cuisine along the way.

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