14 days

Yangtze & Beyond

Yangtze & Beyond

Shanghai

Terracotta Warriors of Xian

The Forbidden City

Chengdu's Giant Pandas and Sichuan cuisine

Trip rating
  • This trip weaves together China’s most famous icons. Shanghai’s bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into modern China and the dazzling global future. Zhouzhuang, the Venice of the East, is all canals, alleys and bridge arcs, where Marco Polo once wandered and wondered at the empire’s dynastic might. In Chengdu we observe the unique giant pandas in their struggle for survival. We relax on a Yangtze River cruise through the beautiful mountains above the Three Gorges dam, passing by picturesque rural villages still reliant on China’s most vibrant waterway. In Xian, the famous Terracotta Warriors fascinate for their evocative detail, while a walk of the wider city finds us deep in the rarely seen exotica of the Muslim Quarter. The narrow streets, colourful markets and quiet mosques are surviving remnants of Silk Road caravan days. A sleeper train away, we walk an original section of the great wall and revel in the big show of Beijing. A city within a city of incredible scale and detail awaits, as well as serenely set palaces of sublime beauty and construction, and the full panoply of China’s people.

    Why we love it

    • This trip weaves together China’s most famous icons. Shanghai’s bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into modern China and the dazzling global future.
    • Zhouzhuang, the Venice of the East, is all canals, alleys and bridge arcs, where Marco Polo once wandered and wondered at the empire’s dynastic might.
    • In Chengdu we observe the unique giant pandas in their struggle for survival.
    • Relax on a Yangtze River cruise through the beautiful mountains above the Three Gorges dam, passing by picturesque rural villages still reliant on China’s most vibrant waterway.
    • In Xian, the famous Terracotta Warriors fascinate with their evocative detail, and a walk of the wider city will leave you deep in the rarely seen exotica of the Muslim Quarter.
    • The narrow streets, colourful markets and quiet mosques are surviving remnants of Silk Road caravan days.
    • Walk an original section of the Great Wall and revel in the big show of Beijing.
    • A city within a city of incredible scale and detail awaits, as well as serenely set palaces of sublime beauty and construction, and the full panoply of China’s people.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Shanghai

    • On arrival in Shanghai you will be transferred to your hotel located near the famous Bund or waterfront area, where dozens of imposing European colonial buildings, remnants of the concession era, line the promenade.
    • In the evening you will meet your tour leader and the other group members for a pre-tour briefing.
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Shanghai

    • The Bund is an excellent place to rub shoulders with the locals.
    • The shopping area on Nanjing Road is situated nearby.
    • You will enjoy free time in Shanghai, and your tour leader can show you how to get to the famous Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar, a fascinating highlight of the city and worth exploring for its tranquil Chinese garden and wonderful food stalls.
    • There is also the option to see the impressive Shanghai acrobats perform or have a beer in the highest bar in the world.
    • Shanghai certainly looks impressive from the 87th floor of Jinmao Tower.
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Zhouzhuang - Shanghai

    • In the morning a private coach will transport you to Zhouzhuang where you will spend the day exploring this ancient, well-preserved town.
    • Zhouzhuang is the most famous water town in China and you can walk where Marco Polo once walked as he roamed these streets in the 1200s. It is known as the Venice of the East.
    • In the evening you will return to Shanghai.
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - Chengdu

    • You will catch a flight to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. Sichuan is known for its hot, spicy dishes, considered by the Chinese as the best cuisine within China.
    • In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat.
    • A history of trade built on cottage industry, handicrafts have had a major influence on the development of Chengdu.
    • Recent changes in the regulations in China have seen a revival of this tradition of private industry, and, at almost every turn, you will see signs of a thriving market.
    • There will be free time to explore the city.
    • There is a large statue of Chairman Mao in the middle of the city and the tranquil Renmin Park is well worth a visit, with its beautiful gardens and interesting teahouses.
    Chengdu Garden City Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5-7 - Chengdu - Yangtze River Cruise

    • In the morning you will also visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base situated near the city.
    • The giant panda is one of the world’s most endangered species and has become an icon for conservation movements everywhere. It is still found in parts of the Sichuan province, but is very difficult to spot in the wild.
    • In the afternoon you will take a train to Chongqing, where you will board a boat for a cruise on one of the great rivers of the world. Before boarding, you may wish to purchase some small snacks to take with you on the boat.
    • At 6300 kilometres, the Yangtze (also known locally as the Chiangjiang River) is the world's third longest waterway. It winds deep into the heart of the province of Qinghai, to the north of Tibet, and flows relentlessly eastwards until it empties into the East China Sea near Shanghai.
    • Effectively dividing the country into north and south, the river not only supplies the rural heart of China, but has also spawned many industries reliant upon its power. The Yangtze has also inspired poets, writers and travellers over the centuries.
    • You will travel along one of the most picturesque sections, through the renowned Three Gorges. The 'Sanxia', as they are known in Chinese, stretch for 200 kilometres and vary from 100 metres to 300 metres in width.
    • You will enjoy your cruise on a tourist-class boat between Chongqing and Yichang.
    • This is a much more comfortable way to travel than on the local boats that ply the same route, and offers a fascinating insight into life along the river. You will spend three nights on board and sleep in twin share cabins with private facilities in accommodation similar to a small hotel room.
    • Bedding and sheets are provided, as are all meals throughout the cruise. Please note that all rooms on the Yangtze cruise are on a twin share basis. If you are not already sharing a room with someone from your group, you may be required to share with someone (of the same gender) from outside your group. This could be a member of another tour group or a local person.
    • If you have paid a single supplement, please note that this does not cover the cruise.
    Yangtze cruise
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Yichang - Wuhan - Xian

    • After disembarking from the boat, you will enjoy a tour of the amazing Three Gorges Dam. You will then be transferred to the airport in Wuhan to catch an early evening flight to Xian.
    Union Alliance Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9-10 - Xian - overnight train

    • Capital of Shaanxi Province and the largest city in northwest China, Xian is a wonderful place to explore.
    • Food options are excellent here, ranging from delicious Muslim fare to great little dumplings in Chinese cafes. Widely regarded as the first capital of a united China in 221 BC, the city is rich in history.
    • A half-day tour to the renowned Terracotta Warriors introduces you to these entombed statues, considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.
    • Over 6000 of them were individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height, and even facial expression. They are standing in battle formation, facing east in order to protect the tomb of China's first emperor, the great Qin Shihuang.
    • Peasants digging a well only discovered the underground vault, which was home to this army for two millennia, in 1974.
    • Xian also has a wonderful Muslim Quarter. A free day can easily be spent wandering the narrow streets where you will find quaint shops, lively markets, groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes, and the Great Mosque, one of the most important in China.
    • You will depart Xian on the overnight train bound for Beijing tonight, travelling in the ‘soft-class’, four-berth compartments.
    Union Alliance Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 11-13 - Beijing

    • Beijing offers endless opportunities for exploration. The enormous Forbidden City, built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all that time, is a truly amazing place.
    • Its size might surprise you (it is huge!), but what makes it truly fascinating is that every square metre is interesting, ranging from intricately carved walkways to colourful, painted ceilings.
    • The Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace are other fine examples of extraordinary workmanship. You will visit one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section, used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.
    • Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience.
    • There is also ample free time set aside in the itinerary, allowing you to make your own discoveries.
    • Your hotel is located in the south of the city and a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises. There are good shopping opportunities at the various markets around the city, such as the centrally located Dashilan Market.
    • In the evening, you will have the chance to enjoy a performance of the unique Beijing Opera (optional).
    Dong Fang Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 14 - Beijing

    • The tour will come to an end today after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included, however your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Arrival transfer
    • An experienced, English-speaking local Peregrine leader and specialist local guides at some sites
    • Authentic Accommodation includes: 9 nights comfortable hotel, 3 nights cruise boat, 1 night sleeper train
    • Meals: 12 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
    • Domestic flights from Shanghai to Chengdu and Wuhan to Xian
    • Three-night Yangtze River cruise sailing through the Three Gorges. Accommodation in a twin-share cabin with private facilities on a tourist-class riverboat with all meals provided
    • Overnight train from Xian to Beijing in a ‘soft-class’, four-berth compartment
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): the water town of Zhouzhuang; Terracotta Warriors; Shanghai Acrobats; Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square & Summer Palace
    • Visit to Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
    • Walk on a the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
    • Chinese visa support

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Departure transfer
    • Visas
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip

    Safety Information

    China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safetly concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, laptops, mobile phones, purses and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, Beijing International Airport, major international events and conferences and popular bar areas after dark.

     

    There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint.

    Counterfeit bank notes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine bank notes for counterfeits. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so.

    Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.

    Fire protection standards in Chinese accommodation are not always the same as at home. Check fire precautions including access to fire exits.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Yangtze & Beyond

    annette - Australia, 26 Apr, 2012
    4
    Overall Rating

    Great trip, great food, Chinese people delightful, happy, honest. Our tour leader was excellent - even ringing us 3 days after tour had finished to remind us (again) that our transfer to the airport had been organised. We choose to travel with Peregrine because their leaders are great - this trip just reinforced our view.

    Yangtze & Beyond

    Walter & Susan - Australia, 5 Apr, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    well planned and covering all there is to see. a very positive expereince overall and most enjoyable.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PCYB
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Shanghai, China
End City: Beijing, China
Style: Small Group

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