Classic Cities & Yangtze

E-403: 12 Days Tour of Shanghai - Yichang - Yangtze River Cruise - Chongqing - Xi'an - Beijing
Tour Type: Independent Travel
Accommodation: 3-star decent hotels, with the option for your own choice

  • Must-see sights in China - Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Army
  • View the soaring city skylines and feel the pulse of modern Shanghai
  • Unwind with a Yangtze River Cruise tour & see the Three Gorges
Day 1 Arrival in Shanghai
As one of the most developed metropolises in China, Shanghai is comparatively easy to explore on your own, so we do not include guided services in this city. Upon arrival, please find your own way to the hotel we have booked for you.

There are several ways to get from the airport to your hotel. If your flight lands in the Pudong Airport (PVG), you can take subway Line 2 and get off at Guanglan Road, go to the opposite to continue your trip to People's Square Station, then change to subway Line 1 (Fujin Rd. Direction) and get off at Hanzhong Road after 2 stops. From the exit, walk about 5 minutes to your hotel. The Maglev train also runs between Pudong airport and Longyang Rd. Metro Station. The standard class ticket for a single trip is CNY50 per person and it only takes 8 minutes. From Longyang Road you will need to take a taxi to your hotel that will cost around CNY50 - CNY60 per cab.

If your flight lands at the Hongqiao airport, the subway is the most economical choice. Take Subway Line 10 to South Shaanxi Rd. Stop and change to Line 12 to Hanzhong Rd. Station. From the station you can easily find the hotel. Of course, you may prefer to take a taxi especially if you have a lot of luggage. It will cost around CNY200 per cab from Pudong airport and CNY100 per cab from Hongqiao airport to your hotel.

Accommodation: Golden River-view Hotel
Day 2 Shanghai
The Bund
After breakfast in your hotel, you can start your sightseeing today. Here is our suggested itinerary for you that includes the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, Yu Garden and the Bund. We suggest you go first to the Urban Planning Exhibition Center, which is a good introduction to the city. You can rent a personal Audio Guide for CNY20 or hire a professional English-speaking Guide for CNY200. Allow about one hour for your visit. To get there, you can go to Hanzhong Road Station to take subway Line 1 for 2 stops and get off at People's Square. Come out from Exit 2 or 3 and then you will see the museum.

After that, take subway Line 8 (Shendu Highway Direction) for two stops to Laoximen Station, change to Line 10 (Xin Jiang Wan Cheng Direction) for one stop to Yuyuan Station and exit at Exit 1 to Cheng Huang Miao (City God Temple) area. Yu Garden is located in the center of Cheng Huang Miao area. There are many restaurants, snack shops and cafes where you can have lunch.

After lunch, you can go to the “postcard” of Shanghai - the Bund. Return to Yuyuan Station to take subway Line 10 to East Nanjing Rd. Station. Leave through Exit 1 and walk east along the pedestrian street for about 15 minutes, you will reach the Bund. We highly recommend the one-hour Huangpu River night cruise that costs CNY100 per person. If you are tired after so much walking, we suggest you consider taking a taxi back to your hotel (about CNY25 per cab). Your train ticket from Shanghai to Yichang will be delivered to your hotel today, so please remember to pick it up from reception.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 3 Shanghai to Yichang by Bullet Train
Today you will take a bullet train from Shanghai to Yichang on your own. Walk to the Subway Station at Hanzhong Road and take subway Line 1 (Fujinlu Direction) for one stop, get off at Shanghai Railway station. Normally the train departs from Shanghai Railway Station at 09:30, however, please do check the departure time when you get the ticket. In order to get to the railway station at least one hour before the train departure, you should leave the hotel before 08:00. So, you should get up earlier and have a big breakfast. You are also suggested to buy some food and bottled water the day before at a nearby supermarket to take on your 7-hour train journey. Although there is a dining car available on the train, the food is simple and the quality not as good as that at a normal restaurant.

It is a unique experience to have a daytime train trip and we hope you enjoy the scenery along the way. The train arrives in Yichang at 16:16 if it is on time. Please take a taxi from the railway station to the Three Gorges Tourist Center. Then you will take a shuttle bus arranged by the cruise ship company to the pier to board your cruise ship. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Accommodation: President No.7/No.8 with balcony
Day 4 Yangtze River Cruise
Captain Welcome Party
The cruise ship will set sail early in the morning. After having buffet breakfast in the dining hall, we suggest that you go up to the sun deck to view the first Gorge as you pass through. Xiling Gorge is the longest of the three gorges and has the most beautiful natural scenery along the river. Lunch is served on board and you will be assigned to a table in advance. In the afternoon, there will be a two-hour shore excursion in smaller groups to the Three Gorges Dam, the largest water-control project in the world. After you return to the ship there will be time if you want a short rest in your room. A welcome dinner will be held at around 18:00. After dinner, there will be a lively evening party. The programs are created and performed by the crew themselves. We hope you enjoy the party.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Yangtze River Cruise
Shennong Stream excursion
After your buffet breakfast in the morning, you will have an exciting excursion to Shennong Stream. Differing from the majestic and grand landscape of the main river, the scenery along the Shennong Stream is elegant, graceful and peaceful as the stream narrows and becomes clearer. First you will take a sightseeing boat for about 40 minutes, and then you will change to a pea boat that will take you even further upstream. The boat tracker will show you the primitive way of towing a boat, and the local guide is happy to sing a folk song for the passengers. You will return to your ship in time for lunch. After lunch you will have the opportunity to view the gorgeous Wu Gorge and precipitous Qutang Gorge

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Yangtze River Cruise
The last onshore excursion is to Shuangguishan National Forest Park. It has been a famous place of interest since the Song Dynasty and a great number of writers and poets have been attracted here. Here you can also see old pavilions and temples commemorating important historical moments and some of the great people who have visited the place. For the remainder day, you can either relax in your cabin, or enjoy the view on the deck, or attend some scheduled cultural activities for free. Tonight, there will be a farewell party after dinner.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Chongqing to Xi'an by Flight
The ship is scheduled to dock at around 09:00 in the morning. Follow the check-out procedure announced by the Cruise Company.

You will take an afternoon flight to Xi'an. Before that, you can have a brief tour in Chongqing, such as the Panda House in Chongqing Zoo and  Ciqikou Village. This is a historical street with buildings mainly in Ming and Qing architectural styles. The village is bustling with shops, where you can see many traditional crafts, such as refining sugar, making dough figures and Sichuan Face Painting. You will find various traditional snacks and tea houses here too. Lunch is on your own today. After lunch, take a taxi to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. Upon arrival, take a taxi at a cost around CNY120 to the hotel we booked for you.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Accommodation: Days Inn City Centre Xi'an
Day 8 Xi'an
China is one of the world's four major ancient civilizations and Xi'an was once the imperial court for 13 dynasties. It is definitely an ancient historical city with a rich cultural heritage. So we would like to suggest you take our guided Xian Mini Group Day Tour to have an insight into this ancient city.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 9 Xi'an to Beijing by Overnight Soft Sleeper Train
Terracotta Army
Today is by your own arrangement. This is a suggested itinerary. After having breakfast in your hotel, check out and store your luggage with the concierge. Walk south along the street for 20-25 minutes until you arrive at the South Gate of Xi'an City Wall. The 12-meter-high wall was built to protect the imperial city. If you like to bicycle, you can rent one for CNY40 and ride on the wall. A deposit of CNY200 per bicycle is required. A short Warrior Parade Performance is held in the Barbican of the South Gate at 10:30 and 16:30. Do not miss it if your time allows. Leave the City Wall via the south street. Here there are many restaurants to choose from for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Bell and Drum Tower. The Bell Tower is located in the city center just 5 minutes walking distance from your hotel. The ticket office for the Bell Tower is in the underground passage. A joint ticket for the Bell and Drum Towers is CNY40 per person. The Drum Tower is in the north-west side of Bell Tower. Behind the Drum Tower is the Muslim street, where you can taste local snacks, buy some local souvenirs and prepare some fast food and water for your dinner on the train.

It is not easy to catch a taxi in Xi'an especially during the rush hour from 16:00 - 20:00. We suggest you take a bus to Xi'an Railway Station. You can catch the double-decked bus number 608/616 from North Street Station. It takes about 30 minutes to arrive at Xi'an railway station. The sleeper train has four berths in one compartment and the door can be closed at night. You can put your luggage on the baggage rack or under the lower berths. The train attendant will give you a card and take your ticket when the train starts running. They will give the ticket back to you before your arrival in Beijing. Boiled water is available on the train and you can also buy bottled water from the train seller. The overnight train takes about 11 hours to reach Beijing. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight soft sleeper train
Day 10 Beijing
Forbidden City
The train arrives in Beijing at around 07:20 if on time. After getting off the train, please go out of the station following the stream of people and take a taxi to the hotel we booked for you. It takes around one hour at a cost of CNY120. After a short rest at the hotel, you may take our One Day Beijing Mini Group Tour to travel around the city. 

Meals: No meals
Accommodation: Hotel Yoo Beijing
Day 11 Beijing
Another Beijing Mini Group Day Tour is recommended to you. You will visit the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Bird’s Nest and old Hutongs. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 12 Departure from Beijing
Your impressive exploration of China ends today. Please check out of the hotel before 12:00. There are two international airports in Beijing: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). To avoid any problem, please make sure from which airport your flight takes off. A taxi ride to the capital airport will take around one hour and to Daxing will take 1.5 hours. However, traffic jams have become more and more serious in Beijing, please take this into consideration when you plan your pick-up time.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
This trip can be customized to meet your individual needs!
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