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Yangtze River, China

Highlights of China including Yangtze Cruise

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

15 Days

Prices Start from

$5,180pp (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.

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.

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.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1 - 3

    Beijing

  • Day 4

    Beijing - Chongqing

    Fly from Beijing to Chongqing on the banks of the River Yangtze

  • Day 5 - 6

    Yangtze River

  • Day 7

    Yichang - Wuhan

    Disembark in Yichang and travel overland to Wuhan

  • Day 8

    Wuhan - Xian

    Fly from Wuhan to Xian

  • Day 9

    Xian

  • Day 10

    Xian - Guilin

  • Day 11

    Guilin - Yangshuo

    Travel overland to Yangshuo

  • Day 12

    Yangshuo

  • Day 13

    Yangshuo - Guilin - Hong Kong

    Return to Guilin and board the train bound for Hong Kong

  • Days 14 - 15

    Hong Kong

Day 1 - 3

Beijing

The Forbidden City, China

Arrive into Beijing and spend three days exploring the vast array of temples, parks and museums within China’s capital city. Lose yourself within the vast scarlet walls of the Forbidden City, home to two dynasties of imperial rule and head north to Mutianyu, a quieter section of the Great Wall, surrounded by beautiful countryside best viewed from the wall itself as you walk along the ramparts.

Day 4

Beijing - Chongqing

Day 5 - 6

Yangtze River

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

Spend three nights on the Yangtze River gliding through hidden tributaries witnessing rural Chinese life, beautiful scenery and 5,000 years of culture. Experience a China unchanged for thousands of years, alongside the incredible modern technology of sites such as the Three Gorges Project. During your cruise you will have access to fascinating lectures and immersive masterclasses, from dumpling making to calligraphy and Chinese history as well as the chance to relax in the spa.

Day 7

Yichang - Wuhan

Day 8

Wuhan - Xian

Day 9

Xian

Full frame of terracotta warrior torsos.

Visit the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang, better known as the Terracotta Warriors who stand guard over Emperor Qin’s tomb. In the afternoon explore the Old City of Xian and learn more about its links to the Silk Road – visit the old City Walls and the Islamic Quarter as well as the Great Mosque, a beautiful spot in the midst of peaceful gardens.

Day 10

Xian - Guilin

Terracotta Warrior, Xian, China

Enroute to the airport, visit the less known but no less impressive miniature warriors.  A museum here houses many of the artefacts including male and female warriors, eunuchs, servants and various farm animals. The tomb itself is still under excavation so there is the chance to walk around the actual burial chambers (protected by glass) and possibly observe the ongoing excavations of the miniature warriors. Fly to Guilin.

Day 11

Guilin - Yangshuo

Day 12

Yangshuo

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

Spend today at leisure exploring this scenic area on foot, by bicycle or on the water by traditional bamboo raft.

Day 13

Yangshuo - Guilin - Hong Kong

Days 14 - 15

Hong Kong

Tourist Tram, The Peak, Hong Kong, China

A fusion of two cultures, Hong Kong is a city with something for everyone. From great shopping to accessible beaches, local history and culture, sky scraping modern architecture, a wide choice of restaurants and cuisines and an atmospheric nightlife. Spend time exploring, using local transport including the Victoria Peak tram and the Star Ferry.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More 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.

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

Why we recommend the Yangzi Explorer Ship

The Yangzi Explorer has the highest staff to passenger ratio on the river plus the highest level of service and personal attention. 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.

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.

Rice Terraces, China
Rice Terraces, China

Longsheng Rice Terraces

An optional side trip – three hours’ drive from Guilin lies the village of Ping An, 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. Visit in spring or autumn when the sun reflects on the water filled terraces fields or when blanketed in vibrant yellow at harvest time.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this 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 £££££

  • China

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

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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.

China

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling and accommodation choices. In this itinerary we have suggested accommodation ranging from international and boutique city hotels to a luxury riverside property and the best cruise ship on the Yangtze.

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
Low Season
From $5,180 Per person
High Season
From $6,469 Per person

When to travel

China in January

Around Beijing and the mountainous areas such as Tibet, winter can get very cold, with some snow. However, there are also many crisp days with clear skies across the country.

China in February

Chinese New Year takes place in late January or Early February, and is the biggest event in the calendar. Fireworks and lanterns light up the night sky, but be aware that public transport and accommodation may be hard to come by.

China in March

The start of spring see temperatures rise across the country and fruit trees start to blossom. Although not as widespread as Japan, the blossoms in rural China can still be stunning.

China in April

The spring blossoms are in full swing, and the countryside is lush. The north and mountainous areas may still be chilly, but generally, spring is a good time to visit most places.

China in May

A very good time to visit many places in China. Southern regions are getting very warm, but there is an increased chance of rain. The northern and mountainous regions are pleasantly warm but lack the humidity of the summer.

China in June

A very good time to visit many places in China. Southern regions are getting very warm, but there is an increased chance of rain. The northern and mountainous regions are pleasantly warm but lack the humidity of the summer.

China in July

The ideal time to get out into the mountains of Tibet and Yunnan province. The alpine landscape is verdant and enjoys long hours of sunshine. Temperatures can be sweltering, especially in the south.

China in August

The hot weather prevails throughout the country as it is the peak of summer. Many places, especially in the south are unpleasantly hot and humid to travel. The mountains are the perfect place to escape the heat.

China in September

Temperatures decline gradually, but it is less humid and wet than summer in many regions. The mountains are still a good place to hike in, especially as snow has receded as far as possible. This makes it an excellent time for journeying along the Silk Road.

China in October

The majority of October is perfect for travelling, with widespread mild temperatures and little rain. However, it is worth avoiding the first week of October, as it is a national holiday.

China in November

This is the time to take in the beautiful autumn colours, especially in the northern and central regions. Snow may begin to fall in the north, but the tourist hotspots are much less busy as locals don’t tend to travel at this time.

China in December

It is cold in most of China at this time, but it is a great time to visit Beijing and surrounding areas. There are many cold and crisp days, and the tourist hotspots will be much quieter. Western China is bitterly cold though and Southern China is milder but damp.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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