Highlights of China & the Yangtze
11 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Rating:
Day 1 – Beijing
A Uniworld representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the Ritz-Carlton, a luxury oasis in the heart of Beijing.
Day 2 – Beijing
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: The imperial heritage of China's capital: Forbidden City and Peking Duck lunch
Delve into the grandeur of imperial China on your first full day in Beijing. Tiananmen Square, the center of modern-day civic life in the city, is your gateway to the Forbidden City, the vast complex of palaces, gardens and offices that housed China’s emperors for 500 years. Here bureaucrats and concubines schemed for power and artisans created treasures of the Qing and Ming dynasties. Savor a treasure of a different kind over lunch—Peking Duck, served to emperors since the 13th century—and wonder at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO-designated site where the emperors performed the rituals that guaranteed the empire’s safety. (Uniworld has arranged a surprise here that lets you experience a cherished local custom.)
Day 3 – Beijing
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Culture, history and intrigue: pandas, hutongs, teahouse and Welcome Dinner at the base of the Great Wall
Start the day with smiles from the giant pandas at the zoo before exploring the labyrinthine alleyways of the residential neighborhoods—known as the hutongs—dating back 500 years. Explore the area near the Forbidden City, first via rickshaw and then by sitting down for lunch with a local family. Two towers mark the neighborhood; one, a 600-year-old bell tower, hosts a traditional tea ceremony that will remind you of tea’s central place in China’s culture. Cap off your day with another unforgettable highlight: the Great Wall, the legendary ramparts that protected 4,000 miles of China’s ancient borders—followed by a Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine at the base of the Great Wall itself.
Day 4 – Beijing, fly to Xi'an
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Grace and art—Beijing’s Summer Palace and Xi’an’s traditional dumpling banquet
Emperors fled the summer heat to relax by the shores of Kunming Lake, where they created a Qing Dynasty garden that embodies the highest achievement in Chinese landscape design. Stroll the inviting Long Corridor, admiring the bridges and temples that adorn the man-made lake, and drift over its peaceful waters in a boat that offers ravishing views. Empress Cixi’s (the Holy Mother) marble boat, “moored” on the lake, is the only sign the lake ever had a naval function, though legend says that Emperor Qianlong observed naval maneuvers on it.
From Beijing, you’ll fly to the ancient capital of Xi’an, where you’ll settle into the serene Shangri-La Xi’an hotel and enjoy a traditional dumpling banquet.
Day 5 – Xi'an
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: China’s first capital—Terra-cotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Tang Dynasty dinner show
Twenty-two centuries ago, Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified a huge swath of the country (and gave it his name)—and he intended to keep what he conquered, even in the afterlife. He created an astonishing Terra-cotta Army to guard his tomb, which laid undisturbed until the 20th century. Only about 8,000 of the UNESCO-designated Terracotta Warriors and Horses have been excavated, and they still stand in battle formation to face his long-dead enemies at the museum dedicated to this amazing archaeological discovery. From the battlefields, seek peace and pleasure at the serene seven-story Big Wild Goose Pagoda, sacred to Buddhists since the seventh century; legend states if you throw a coin through the pagoda’s windows, it will bring you good luck—give it a try. A lovely traditional dinner and a cultural performance that re-creates the music, folk dances and gorgeous silk costumes of the Tang Dynasty provide the perfect ending to a day in China’s ancient capital.
Day 6 – Xi'an, fly to Chongqing, cruising the Yangtze River
Cherished for 10,000 years, jade is valued for both its intrinsic beauty and its symbolic meaning. Watch artisans carving intricate designs. Transfer to the airport and fly to Chongqing, where you’ll board your ship and settle into your Executive Suite.
Day 7 – Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai
FEATURED EXCURSION: The Three Gorges—the Yangtze’s fairytale landscape
Limestone cliffs sheathed in greenery loom above the water; mountains wreathed in mist tower in the distance; every view of the Three Gorges is a picture straight out of China’s iconic watercolor illustrations—breathtaking, ethereal and unforgettable. A stop at Shibao Pagoda, built into the side of a steep hill that is now an island as a result of rising waters from the Three Gorges Dam, offers you a colorful encounter with some unusual legends. Later, enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Reception with complimentary wine, giving you a chance to mingle with your fellow passengers.
Day 8 – Cruising the Yangtze River, Goddess Stream
FEATURED EXCURSION: The magical Goddess Stream
Float through one of the world’s most exquisite landscapes: The pristine turquoise waters of the Goddess Stream shimmer and bubble around your small boat and sheer cliffs rise high overhead. The day offers one of China’s most amazing contrasts, for your ship will leave these peaceful waters to navigate the enormous Three Gorges Dam locks. Bid adieu to the river with a Farewell Dinner.
Note: Due to water conditions, we may substitute a Shennong Stream boat tour if the Goddess Stream is not available.
Day 9 – Cruising the Yangtze River, Yichang, fly to Shanghai
FEATURED EXCURSION: Powering China's Future - Three Gorges Dam
The world’s largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam is designed to control flooding on the Yangtze and provide electrical power for a huge part of the country. The controversial project has forever altered the landscape, but its scale is a tribute to the nation’s ambition. Later, catch a flight to Shanghai, where your elegant room at the Fairmont Peace Hotel awaits.
Day 10 – Shanghai
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Spectacular skyscrapers, famous dim sum and acrobats
Past, present and future combine on the exciting, busy streets of Shanghai. Astonishing skyscrapers soar far overhead, and the Bund, Shanghai’s famed waterfront promenade, reminds you that this city, once known as the “Paris of the Orient,” was the West’s gateway to China. Do a little last-minute shopping while taking in the spectacular views. Could you leave China without a traditional dim sum lunch? It’s waiting for you at your hotel. Cap off your journey with one last highlight experiencing spinning plates, flying knives and whirling Hula-Hoops as agile acrobats dance across swaying tightropes and perform death-defying leaps as the famous Shanghai acrobatic troupe performs their gravity-defying routines.
Day 11 – Depart Shanghai
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your adventure with a memorable optional extension in Hong Kong.
All This Included
A spellbinding odyssey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history.
Journey through a land of contrasts—skyscrapers and ancient temples, serene gardens and bustling city streets—to discover the heart of this ever-changing country. From China’s staggering architectural monuments—the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Great Wall—to the natural beauty of the Yangtze River’s Three Gorges, this itinerary introduces a discerning traveler to China’s highlights. The unique experience that is China fills your senses from the moment you arrive: the sound of Mandarin in Beijing’s streets, the scent of delicate Xi’an dumplings, the detailing on terra-cotta figures that have survived for millennia. Simultaneously ancient and contemporary, China must be heard, seen and felt to be understood—and Uniworld’s experts will be on hand to guide you through this vast land, as you delve into China’s cultural legacy and timeless wonders.
Xi'an: Shangri-La Xi’an
Cruising: Cabin onboard Century Legend
Shanghai: Fairmont Peace Hotel
Pre and Post Add-ons
Hong Kong | Discover Hong Kong’s vibrant blend of Eastern and Western cultures
As Britain’s last major colony until it reverted back to China in 1997, Hong Kong has a truly fascinating and multifaceted cultural heritage and offers much to explore. Visit Repulse Bay and the fishing village of Aberdeen, and take a ride in a traditional sampan. Head up to Victoria Peak—the island’s highest point—for a panoramic view of the city and harbor. Hong Kong is also a shopper’s paradise, with chic boutiques, gem factory outlets, and the famous Stanley Market, filled with incredible bargains galore.
INCLUDED IN YOUR 4-DAY STAY:
Note: Price depends on season of travel.
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.