Highlights of China & the Yangtze 2019
11 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Rating:
DAY 1: Beijing
Arrive at the Beijing Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to your luxury hotel.
DAY 2: Beijing
Your adventure begins with two quintessential experiences in China’s capital city. Off limits to commoners for 500 years, the Forbidden City was once considered the cosmic center of the universe (and for good reason, as you’ll see for yourself). Peking duck is another cultural gem you’ll experience today, a dish originally prepared for Chinese emperors. The political and cultural capital of China and home to more than 20 million people, Beijing exemplifies everything visitors find most intoxicating about China: Spectacular ancient monuments contrast with ambitious modern high-rises, and traditional crafts flourish alongside booming international businesses. Exquisite art, stunning UNESCO sites, serene parks and teeming streets all contribute to the unique flavor of this astonishing city.
The imperial heritage of China’s capital—the Forbidden City and Peking Duck lunch
DAY 3: Beijing
Certain images immediately spring to mind when you think of China. Panda bears. Tea houses. The Great Wall. Believe it or not, all three of these are on today’s agenda, as well as a rickshaw ride through the city’s ancient hutongs. Be sure to charge up your camera and get ready to experience some truly epic bucket list moments.
Culture, history and intrigue—pandas, hutongs, teahouses
DAY 4: Beijing, Fly to Xi’an
Leave the hustle and bustle of Beijing behind today and head north to the serenity of the Summer Palace, home to one of China’s most beautiful classical gardens. From there, plunge into the past in China’s first capital, where you’ll celebrate your first night in Xi’an with a traditional (and incredibly labor intensive) dumpling banquet. You have one more special excursion to enjoy in Beijing this morning, then you’ll fly to Xi’an for the next leg of your Chinese adventure.
Grace and art—Beijing’s Summer Palace and Xi’an’s traditional dumpling banquet
DAY 5: Xi’an
Xi’an’s terra-cotta army has been called the 8th wonder of the world, and it’s certainly the most extraordinary archeological find of the 20th century. Prepare to be amazed! You’ll also visit one of the holiest Buddhist temples in China, and enjoy a traditional Tang Dynasty dinner show with fabulous food, music and flamboyant costumes. The imperial capital for 10 ancient dynasties, Xi’an achieved its greatest renown under the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), when it was a great international metropolis and the eastern terminus of the legendary Silk Road. Today it is the capital of Shaanxi Province and most famous for a museum devoted to the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. Of course you will visit this amazing archaeological find, but your day incorporates two other special Xi’an attractions.
China’s first capital—Terra-cotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Tang Dynasty dinner show
DAY 6: Xi’an, Fly to Chongqing (Embark), Cruising the Yangtze River
Before you leave Xi’an for Chongqing, you have one more expedition: a visit to the Jade Carving Center, or Jade Factory, as it’s also known. Jade has been cherished in China for 10,000 years; it is valued for its intrinsic beauty, of course, but it also has tremendous symbolic meaning. Watch artisans carving intricate designs and learn what to look for when buying this special stone. 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
Do you believe in magic? The bright red Shibo Pagoda was originally built into the side of a mountain peak, but that peak became an island after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. Step ashore here to do some exploring, perhaps climbing to the top to ensure that all your dreams come true (or so an ancient legend says). The capital of western China and one of the largest cities in the country, Chongqing on the upper Yangtze has seen explosive growth in the past half century. Although the city is a major metropolis, the region is chiefly known for its mountains, hot springs and dense forests, which shelter temples, tombs and karst caves. Relax onboard as the ship cruises from Chongqing towards China’s fabled Three Gorges, stopping en route to visit Shibao Pagoda.
The Three Gorges - The Yangtze’s fairytale landscapes
DAY 8: Cruising the Yangtze River, Goddess Stream
Today will be a highlight of your journey—a full day cruising the Yangtze River’s mystical, beautiful and completely mesmerizing Three Gorges, with scenery that has captivated artists and poets for thousands of years. The Yangtze is the third-longest river in the world (only the Nile and the Amazon are longer), and the days you spend onboard your luxurious ship will show you some of its most beautiful sights. The river itself, deep and powerful, busy and serene, will work its enchantment as it carries you past bucolic fishing villages, hillside rice paddies, ancient cliff carvings and historic temples. Relax and prepare to be dazzled.
The Magical Goddess Stream
DAY 9: Cruising the Yangtze River, Yichang (Disembark), Fly to Shanghai
The Three Gorges Dam was a hugely expensive and controversial undertaking, a project that involved relocating entire villages and submerged a number of cultural treasures behind the rising waters of the Yangtze. The dam itself is an engineering marvel, one that you can see from a breathtakingly up-close perspective today.
Powering China’s future—Three Gorges Dam
DAY 10: Shanghai
After days of pandas, ancient warriors and timeless Chinese landscapes, Shanghai and its futuristic skyline can be something of a shock to the system. Yet beyond the building boom and the avant-garde architecture, you can still find traces of Shanghai’s colorful and fascinating colonial-era history. Enjoy a taste of both old and new today, as well as dim sum and a performance by the gravity-defying Shanghai acrobats. Nearly 24 million people live in Shanghai, China’s largest city. An international economic hub, it has drawn entrepreneurs from all over the world for 150 years. But while Shanghai may be the “city of the future,” you can still find remnants of its history in Old Town and the area known as the concessions, which were controlled by European interests in the 19th century.
Spectacular skyscrapers, famous dim sum and acrobats
DAY 11: Depart Shanghai
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport for your flight Home, or extend your trip 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.
Beijing: Ritz-Carlton or similar
Xi'an: Shangri-La Xi’an or similar
Cruising: Cabin onboard Sanctuary MS Yangzi Explorer
Shanghai: Fairmont Peace Hotel or similar
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.