The Imperial Yangtze
• Great Wall • Beijing • Terracotta Warriors • Xi'an • Chongqing • Three Gorges Dam• Yangtze River • Yichang • Shanghai
Starting in Beijing, you'll explore historical imperial treasures such as the Forbidden City, Great Wall and the famed Summer Palace. Visit Xi'an, home of the Terracotta Warriors and a facinating walled city and then fly to Chongqing - considered perhaps the largest city in the world in terms of population.
Here you will begin cruising the legendary Yangtze River. Snaking its way 6,300 kilometres from Western China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the East China Sea, the Yangtze River stretches nine provinces and serves as a drain for 695,000 square miles of land. It is less in length only to the Amazon and Nile, and spans so many regions that it has acquired half a dozen names along its length. For centuries the Yangzte has served as a transportation highway and commercial thoroughfare. Ocean-going vessels can navigate up the river for 1000 km and steamers can travel as far as Yichang, 1600 km from the sea!
Glorious scenery is enjoyed as you pass through the impressive and wildly beautiful Three Gorges eventually arriving at the engineering marvel of the Three Gorges Dam. Pass through the locks at the dam before reaching Yichang where you connect by high speed train to Shanghai.
Shanghai is the 'new' China and the economic power base of the country. Enjoy the city on your private tour and be amazed at the acrobatic performance we include on your final night. If you wish to extend your time in Shanghai, this can be arranged at additional cost.
Day 1: Arrive Beijing Upon your arrival at the Beijing airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2: Beijing First on your tour this morning will be a visit to the Temple of Heaven, where Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties used to attend annual ceremonies of prayer for a good harvest. You might also see some of the local people doing their morning exercises in the park outside the complex (weather permitting). Afterwards continue to Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world and spiritual heart of China. Here, you'll walk through the Tiananmen Gate into the Forbidden City, which houses the Imperial palace from the Ming and Qing dynasties and is one of the grandest palace complexes that remain today. Continue to the enchanting Summer Palace, the imperial summer resort of the Qing dynasty, located on the northwestern outskirts of the City. Included in the tour will be a 15-minute boat ride on the lake set in the middle of the magnificent gardens.
Day 3: Beijing Today's full day tour starts with a 1.5 hour drive to the magnificent Great Wall, the longest wall in the world that stretches around 6,700 km and was built over 2,000 years ago. Travel by cable car to the Mutianyu section of the wall, where you can walk along the ramparts and enjoy the gorgeous views as well as be amazed by the incredible construction of the wall itself.
Lunch will be provided at a restaurant nearby, before you continue to the Chang Tomb, the largest and best preserved of the 13 tombs near Beijing. The layout is identical to the tomb of the first Ming emperor in Nanjing and similar to a miniature version of the Forbidden City. Afterwards visit the Ding Tomb, the burial site of Emperor Wanli, the 13th emperor of the Ming Dynasty, who ruled for 48 years until his death in 1620.
Day 4: Beijing > Xi'an Morning flight to Xi'an, the ancient imperial capital of Chang'an and eastern departure point of the Silk Road. Upon arrival, you will be met and sightseeing is arranged for you to the infamous underground army of Terracotta Warriors. Six thousand intricately-carved, life-size clay statues of terracotta warriors and their horses stand in battle formation, and have been protecting the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor in Chinese history, for over 2,200 years. In the evening you will be taken to the Tang Dynasty Palace, a leading theatre and restaurant, where dinner will be served while you watch the Tang Dynasty Show, featuring cultural music and dance performances from the Tang Dynasty.
Day 5: Xi'an > Chongqing > Yangtze River Cruise This morning enjoy a walk on the ancient City Walls, one of the oldest and best preserved walls in China. Afterwards visit the Islamic Quarter, home to a sizeable community of Chinese-Muslims, and stroll along Muslim Street, a narrow bazaar-style street lined with shops selling local delicacies, snacks and souvenirs. Continue to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built to house the sutras brought back from India by Xuanzang, a Chinese Buddhist monk famous for his travels in the early Tang Dynasty. Continue afterwards to the airport for your flight to Chongqing where, on arrival, you will be transferred to your comfortable 5-star Yangtze River Cruise vessel. Note, embarkation is in the evening and dinner tonight is included.
Day 6: Yangtze River Cruising For the next couple of days you will cruise downstream on the Yangtze and discover a river full of amazing natural beauty and historic relics. Make the most of the onboard activites, shore excursions, buffet meals and evening entertainment, all arranged to delight and enthrall you.
Start your morning with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck before breakfast, in preparation for the day ahead. A morning optional tour is arranged to Fengdu Ghost City, a large complex of shrines, temples and monasteries dedicated to the afterlife and located on the Ming mountain (cost is CNY 290 per person). In the afternoon, a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda is arranged. Shibaozhai is the name of the rocky and craggy hill upon which the pagoda was built, providing a walkway to the Buddhist temple at the top of the hill. The pagoda was built during the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Ch'ing Dynasty, with its own unique style of architecture that follows the natural lines of the hill against which it lies.
Day 7: Yangtze River Cruising Once again, you can join the Tai Chi class on the sundeck before breakfast and the optional morning optional excursion to White Emperor City. Also known as the White Emperor Temple, the complex is located on an island, as a result of rising waters from the building of the Three Gorges Dam. It is also one of the best places to admire the views of the Kui Gate, at Qutang Gorge (cost is CNY 290 per person).
The remainder of the morning is spent cruising, first through the Qutang Gorge, which, at just eight kilometres in length, is the narrowest stretch of the river on your cruise itinerary "“ and just 150 metres at its widest point. The banks are guarded by sheer cliffs soaring 1,200 metres in height. You continue cruising through Wu Gorge, the second gorge of the Yangtze River, with its strange peaks and rock formations, as well as fog and clouds, making it the most notable of the three gorges. Due to the long and deep canyons in the Wu Gorge, the daily period of sunlight is short which impedes the dispersal of airborne moisture within its confines, thus creating clouds and fog in a variety of fantastic shapes!
In the afternoon, you will disembark for a ride along the Shennong Stream on a traditional longboat (sampan) to visit Bamboo Gorge. As you float gently through this stunning riverine gorge flanked by verdant forest, you'll see evidence of early settlements. You'll also visit a traditional trackers village where you will have a chance to get a fascinating glimpse into a traditional, rural Chinese community.
Day 8: Yichang > Shanghai Enjoy a final breakfast onboard the vessel before disembarkation at Maoping pier in Yichang. Upon disembarkation, enjoy an excursion to The Three Gorges Dam Site, the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man. The construction of the dam, which has been a dream for several generations of Chinese people, began in 1994. This incredible structure is 2,335 metres long, stands 185 metres high, is 18 metres wide on the top and 130 metres wide at the bottom.
After your visit to the Three Gorges Dam Site, you will be transferred to Yichang East train station to board your fast train to Shanghai, which takes approximately 8 hours to travel the 1,100 kms. On arrival in Shanghai around 9.00pm, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for the night.
Note: There is an option (at additional cost) to miss the dam visit and transfer directly to the airport in Yichang and fly to Shanghai.
Day 9: Shanghai A full day of visits have been arranged for today, including the Shanghai Museum, often ranked as China's best museum, with a fine collection of over 120,000 pieces of Chinese artifacts, followed by a stroll through Yu Garden to enjoy a beautiful landscape of pagodas, pavilions, rockeries, fountains, ancient trees and precious flowers. Outside Yu Garden, get a taste of Shanghai's local life in the Yuyuan Market. You will also visit the Jade Buddha Temple, an active temple with 70 resident monks that is mostly known for its sitting Jade Buddha and a reclining Jade Buddha. In the late afternoon, walk down the Bund along the Huangpu River, where trading houses and banks were headquartered in the 1920's and 1930's, and then enjoy a bird's eye view of modern Shanghai from the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
Note: The Shanghai Museum is closed on Mondays. Depending on your day of arrival, the order of sightseeing in Shanghai may need to be changed.
In the evening you will be treated to an incredible Acrobatic Show, held in a typical Shanghainese setting. The Acrobatic Show is one of the oldest performing arts in China, with its history tracing back to Neolithic times, absorbing during its development through the years the features of opera, dance and Chinese Kungfu. Enjoy the many breathtaking and stunning performances, such as Hoop Diving, Silk Stripes and the Pyramid of Chairs, each as unforgettable as the next.
Day 10: Depart Shanghai
The morning is free to spend at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
• Tailor-made journey with private English-speaking local guides and driver (except on Yangtze cruise when tours may be shared with fellow guests) • 3 nights on board your Century cruise vessel on the Yangtze River cruise • 6 nights' hotel accommodation • Economy Class flights Beijing > Xi'an > Chongqing • Fast train Yichang > Shanghai (4 Star hotel category in 2nd Class seat, 5 star hotel in 1st Class seat) • Transfers and transport • Sightseeing and entrance fees (other than where shown on the Yangtse cruise) • Port charges • 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Departs Daily subject to Yangtze Cruise schedules
Daily subject to Yangtze Cruise schedules
Booking conditions New Century Cruises proudly offer one of the finest Yangtze River experiences aboard one of their luxurious vessels. They provide 5 star services on board their very young fleet and their excellent cuisine with a blend of western and Chinese dishes has won them many awards. With the largest standard cabins aboard any Yangtze fleet, each with their own private balcony, award winning movie channels and CNN, you can be assured of a memorable voyage. The ships have elevators to the spacious restaurant, bars, gymnasium, boutique and public areas aboard. Lectures and evening entertainment round off a wonderful Yangtze experience
New Century Cruises proudly offer one of the finest Yangtze River experiences aboard one of their luxurious vessels. They provide 5 star services on board their very young fleet and their excellent cuisine with a blend of western and Chinese dishes has won them many awards. With the largest standard cabins aboard any Yangtze fleet, each with their own private balcony, award winning movie channels and CNN, you can be assured of a memorable voyage. The ships have elevators to the spacious restaurant, bars, gymnasium, boutique and public areas aboard. Lectures and evening entertainment round off a wonderful Yangtze experience