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Panda and Yangtze cruise

Beijing - Xi'an - Chengdu - Chongqing - Yangtze River cruise - Yichang - Shanghai

Chengdu giant pandas

A tour combining the highlights of any tour to China, with a chance to see the country's famous giant pandas in Chengdu and take a leisurely cruise on the Yangtze River through the imposing Three Gorges. Optional extension to Hong Kong.

A tour based on top city 4- and 5-star hotels and 5-star Yangtze cruise boat. All cabins on the boat have private balconies. Guaranteed departure dates with minimum of 2 passengers.



Day 1  Depart London Heathrow or regional airports.

Day 2  Arrive Beijing. Met on arrival and transfer to the Holiday Inn Express Dongzhimen, popular with westerners, or similar. Rest of the day free.

Day 3  Pick up from your hotel by your driver who will take you through Beijing's traffic to four iconic sights within the city: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. Self-guided tour (entrance fees payable locally) (B)

Day 4  Optional join-in coach tour to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. Excursion to the Great Wall at Badaling, about one hour's drive from the city centre. Climb up to the wall and walk along this marvel of human construction. Then visit the tombs of the Ming Emperors, in particular Changling, the tomb of the emperor Zhongle. Also visit a jade carving workshop and silk shop. Lunch included. (price £ 30pp) (B, L)

Day 5  Transfer to railway station for high-speed train to Xi'an (about 5 hour journey). Met on arrival and transfer to 4-star Somerset Xindicheng Xi'an Hotel or Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel (B).

Day 6  Day excursion with your own English-speaking assistant and driver to to the life-size warriors of the world-famous Terracotta Army in the morning, created in the 3rd century BC to guard the tomb of China's first emperor. Also visit Xi'an's Grand Mosque and the streets of the Muslim Quarter. Lunch included. (B, L)

Day 7  Transfer to railway station for high-speed train to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province (journey time 3 hours). Met on arrival by your driver and transfer to 4-star Yinhe Dynasty Hotel or similar. (B, L)

Day 8  Pick up from hotel by your driver and self-guided tour of the world famous Panda Research Base on the outskirts of Chengdu, where many giant pandas are kept and which runs a breeding programme dedicated to preserving the species. See numerous pandas, including the chance to see the babies in the nursery. Then travel to view the imposing Giant Buddha at Leshan, one of the world's largest Buddha statues carved from a cliff overlooking the Min River in the 8th century AD, a feat that took 90 years to complete. (B, L)

Day 9  Transfer to railway station to join your high-speed train to whisk you through the countryside on the two-hour journey to Chongqing. Transfer with driver and local English-speaking assistant to your 5-star Yangtze cruise boat from American Victoria Cruises for departure later than evening. (B)

Day 10 to 11   Yangtze River cruise downstream through the dramatic and beautiful Three Gorges, including shore excursion to Shibaozhai and a trip in small boats through the narrower gorges of the Goddess Stream, one of the Yangtze's tributaries. (B, L, D)

Day 12  Yangtze River cruise, including shore excursion to the impressive ship elevator at the Three Gorges Dam. Arrive Maoping dock and transfer to Yichang around lunchtime. Transfer by driver to airport for flight to Shanghai, the economic powerhouse of modern China. Met on arrival by your driver and transfer to 5-star Ocean Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 13  Optional join-in coach tour around the vibrant city of Shanghai, first visiting the old town and the beautiful Yu Garden, before exploring China's rich artistic heritage in the Shanghai Museum, and its more recent history on the Bund, or waterfront. Explore the Tianzifang art district and the former French Concession. Also visit a pearl shop and the Shanghai History Museum. Lunch included. (price £55pp) (B, L)

Day 14  Free day to explore the exciting city of Shanghai. (B)

Day 15  Own arrangement to Shanghai Pudong airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day. (B)

EXTENSION TO HONG KONG - £375 per person

Day 14  Transfer by your driver to airport for flight to Hong Kong and shuttle bus transfer to Eaton Hotel (4 star) in Kowloon. (B, L)

Day 15  Big Bus deluxe 24-hour ticket: Access to the Big Bus double decker tour bus service, allowing you to hop on and hop off at will around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and explore exciting Hong Kong for yourself. Includes the Victoria Peak tram and Star Ferry. (B)

Day 16  Shuttle bus transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day or early the following morning depending on airline schedules. (B)

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