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Yangtze River, China

Highlights of China including Yangtze Cruise



15 Days

Prices Start from

£4,000pp (ex. flights)

This classic holiday encompasses many of the highlights China has to offer, including Beijing and Xian as well as a Yangtze cruise and the beautiful karst limestone peaks of Guilin. A great first holiday to China with a fabulous mix of Chinese history and beautiful scenery.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

The Forbidden City, China 1

The Forbidden City

Lose yourself within the vast scarlet walls of the Forbidden City, home to two dynasties of imperial rule.

Yangtze River Scenic Spot, Xiling Gorge, Yangtze River, China 2

Cruise the Yangtze

Glide through hidden tributaries witnessing rural Chinese life, beautiful scenery and 5,000 years of culture.

Banyan Tree Yangshuo, View towards karst peaks, Yangshuo, China 3

Guilin and Yangshuo

Stay on the shores of the Li River surrounded by dramatic karst landscapes.

Tourist Tram, The Peak, Hong Kong, China 4

Hong Kong

Explore fabulous shops, beaches and restaurants in atmospheric Hong Kong.

Why we like it

Anyone travelling to China for the first time, seeking an overview of this fascinating country, this is the perfect trip. Travel by air, train and boat combining highlights, from the Great Wall to the Terracotta Warriors and river landscapes where life remains unchanged. Cruise the Yangtze on board the extremely comfortable Yangzi Explorer while gaining an insight into China from the passionate and knowledgeable guides. Relax at the Banyan Tree amidst ancient karst scenery on the shores of the Li River before a high-speed train journey delivers you to Hong Kong to end your holiday amidst waterscapes, skyscrapers, shops and world class dining.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Internal Flight
Boat Journey
Train Journey
  • Day 1
  • Day 2 - 3
  • Day 4
    Beijing - Chongqing
  • Day 5 - 6
    Yangtze River
  • Day 7
    Yichang - Wuhan
  • Day 8
    Wuhan - Xian
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
    Xian - Guilin
  • Day 11
    Guilin - Yangshuo
  • Day 12
  • Day 13
    Yangshuo - Guilin - Hong Kong
  • Day 14
    Hong Kong
  • Day 15
    Hong Kong

Now for the details

Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China

Walk on the Great Wall of China

Located to the north of Beijing the Great Wall of China was begun in the Warring States period (475 – 221) as a defence against invasion. It is the worlds largest military structure. Not one complete wall, but several structures, and although many of these sections have been linked, many still remain separate. To this end, it is almost impossible to calculate the actual length, and you may well be told a figure anywhere in between 2,400 to 5,000 kilometres.

Mutianyu is a quieter section of the wall and is surrounded by beautiful countryside best viewed from the wall itself as you walk along the ramparts.

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Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, China
Cookery class onboard Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer.

Why we recommend the Yangzi Explorer Ship

A cruise on the Yangtze River offers a wonderful chance to witness a China unchanged for thousands of years, alongside the incredible modern technology of sites such as the Three Gorges Project. The Yangzi Explorer has the highest staff to passenger ratio on the river plus the highest level of service and personal attention. During your three night cruise you will have access to some fascinating lectures and immersive masterclasses, from dumpling making to calligraphy and Chinese history.

Days can be spent relaxing with a Tai Chi lesson or spa treatment while off the ship there are visits to remote river communities, dramatic gorges and vast underground caverns, formally a top-secret nuclear base. The ship is also continuously striving to implement sustainable practices and give back to local Yangtze River communities.

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Terracotta Army, X'ian, China
The Terracotta Warriors, Xian, China

Terracotta Warriors Big and Small

Once the terminus of the Silk Road Xian is home to the world famous Terracotta Warriors. Stumbled upon by peasants digging a well in 1974, this 2,000 year old army of clay warriors is a fascinating record of artistic achievement and a grandiose expression of imperial power. As well as the terracotta warriors, this holiday includes a visit to the less known Han Jing Tomb and Museum. Discovered in the early 1990’s by road workers the terracotta figurines uncovered here are much less imposing but just as fascinating and far more varied.

They include male and female warriors, eunuchs, servants and various farm animals. A museum houses many of the artefacts and the tomb itself is still under excavation. Walk around the actual burial chambers (protected by glass) and possibly observe the ongoing excavations of the miniature warriors.


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Rice Terraces, China
Rice Terraces, China

Longsheng Rice Terraces

Three hours’ drive from Guilin, the village of Ping An is located on a hill high above the valley. The rice terraces here have been created over a period of more than 500 years by the Zhuang People, many of whom still wear their colourful traditional clothes. Explore the local village and the surrounding Longsheng rice terraces offering wonderful scenery. Visit in spring or autumn when the sun reflects on the water filled terraces fields or when blanketed in vibrant yellow at harvest time.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Banyan Tree Yangshuo £££££

  • China

Located alongside the Li River with a spectacular backdrop of mountains and karst limestone peaks, Banyan Tree Yangshuo is built in a local style to sympathetically blend in with the remarkable surroundings. The 142 suites and villas offer views of the central pagoda lake, the river or the mountains and some have a private balcony or terrace. The outdoor swimming pool occupies a superb location overlooking the Li River and the choice of restaurants serve a wonderful array of regional specialities.

View Property

Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer £££££

The contemporary Yangzi Explorer offers a luxurious cruise option in China. The smallest ship on the Yangtze, each of the 62 cabins has floor to ceiling windows and a private balcony, creating a sense of exclusivity and space on board. The boat has a full spa and state of the art fitness centre and the restaurant is run by internationally trained chefs who create innovative a-la-carte menus, combining Chinese and continental cuisines. The Yangzi Explorer offers a level of comfort that was hitherto unavailable on Yangtze river cruises.

View Boat

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Complete our enquiry form and start your next journey.


Paul put together our trip very quickly, within a month of leaving! He did a great job and we loved the little add ons such as a cookery class and fan making. All of the guides, drivers and vehicles were amazing.


A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £4,000 Per person

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