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1 / 65

Imperial China & the Yangtze River

15 days Land & Cruise Tours
China’s sheer size is impossible to fathom until you walk across the expanse of Tiananmen Square or gaze at the seemingly endless Great Wall. Take a leisurely cruise down the Yangtze River and ride the world’s fastest train. Discover this magnificent country, from pristine landscapes to towering cityscapes, from ancient sites to modern marvels.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 13 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 10 lunches, 7 three-course dinners with beer

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Beijing today.

Beijing 4 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Beijing

Land in the historic city of Beijing and make your way to your hotel.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Beijing

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Delve into more than 2,000 years of Beijing’s history with a local guide.

• Stroll the expanse of Tiananmen Square

• Wander through the Imperial Palace, a maze of palaces also referred to as the Forbidden City

Later, get to know your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Beijing

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get to know Beijing even more on another guided tour.

• Walk among the structures at the Temple of Heaven 

• Go behind the scenes at a pearl factory

• Wander through the Summer Palace with its famed Long Corridor and Marble Boat

• Cruise along Kumming Lake to soak in local scenery

Day 5: The Great Wall

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Head outside of Beijing to witness one of the world’s most impressive structures—the Great Wall.

• Experience the Great Wall and enjoy free time to explore on your own

• Journey to the Sacred Way, a path of sculptures of ancient leaders and animals

• Stop at Beijing’s Olympic Park, home of the 2008 Summer Games

Later, enjoy a free evening in Beijing or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Kung Fu Show $45*pp Details

This exciting theatrical performance, The Legend of Kung Fu, tells a story of a young boy who dreams of becoming a kung fu master one day. The show’s performers, a collection of some of the country’s best kung fu artists, put on a spectacular display that will leave you mesmerized.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

Yangtze River Cruise 4 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Flight to Yichang & cruise embarkation

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Fly to Yichang and embark on a cruise of the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia.

Day 7: Three Gorges Dam

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Step on shore at the Three Gorges Dam, where a guide explains the history of the man-made site.

• Learn about the history, construction and lasting impact of the dam

• Spend the afternoon at Xiling Gorge, the first and largest of the Three Gorges

• Choose to meet the native tribes who inhabit the gorges on a shore excursion

Day 8: Lesser Three Gorges

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drift along the Daning River and Shennong Stream, passing the mysterious ancient hanging coffins.

• Board a wooden boat called a sampan to explore the river’s tributaries

• Cruise to Qutang Gorge and gaze upon the Meng Liang staircase

Day 9: On-shore city visit

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Take an on-shore excursion to either Fengdu, known as the Ghost City, or Wanzhou, famous for its natural sites.

Xi'an 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Chongqing

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Disembark in Chongqing, where a local guide leads you through this mountain city. Then, pay a visit to Chongqing Zoo, home to some of China’s famous pandas, before catching your flight to Xi’an.

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Xi’an

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Take in the highlights of Xi’an on a guided tour.

• Marvel at the Terra-Cotta Warriors, an underground battle formation of 8,099 life-sized pottery soldiers

• Uncover the Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Temple of Great Goodwill

Later, enjoy a free evening in Xi’an or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Tang Dynasty Evening $79*pp Details

After a Chinese dinner at a local theater, enjoy a colorful performance dramatizing the famous Tang Dynasty’s period of rule over Xi’an, portrayed through traditional Chinese dances, music and costumes.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Shanghai 3 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Flight to Shanghai

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Shanghai today. Later, a local guide leads you on a walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s historic waterfront promenade, on the way to dinner.

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Shanghai

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Continue your insider’s tour of Shanghai on visits to the Jade Buddha Temple, Nanjin Road and Yuyuan Garden, the “Garden of Happiness.”

Then, enjoy a free evening in Shanghai or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Dinner & Acrobatic Show $59*pp Details

Dinner and a show is a little different in China, as you'll see tonight. After enjoying dinner, you'll be treated to a gravity-defying acrobatic show that might make you rethink your idea of "dinner theater."

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $69)

Day 14: Free day in Shanghai

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend the day exploring Shanghai on your own or add an excursion.

In the evening, say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Suzhou $85*pp Details

Spend the day in Suzhou, a gorgeous city on the shores of tranquil Lake Tai. On your tour of Suzhou, you'll visit the Suzhou Museum, a stretch of the Grand Canal, Tiger Hill, the leaning Huqiu Tower and a local silk factory. A Chinese lunch is also included.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Ride the Shanghai Maglev “Magnetic Levitation” Train—the fastest train in the world—on your way to the airport. Then, board your flight home or fly to Hong Kong to continue your trip.

Add Hong Kong $1,199 pp

Immerse yourself in the complexity and contrasts of Hong Kong. Your first impressions will be the skyscrapers of glass and steel and the hustle-bustle of passers-by. But look past the shiny new surfaces to discover an ancient culture that gives the city an exotic flavor and its citizens a unique outlook.

Hong Kong 3 nights Hotel info

Day 15: Travel to Hong Kong

Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, fly to Hong Kong, a former British colony known for its striking skyline and range of global influences, and enjoy a free day in the city.

Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Hong Kong

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Uncover Hong Kong on a guided tour.

• Pass by Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Fishing Village and Stanley Market

• Enjoy panoramic views of the city’s world-famous skyline

Later, enjoy a free evening in Hong Kong or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Hong Kong by Night $105*pp Details

Experience the magic of Hong Kong while taking in the city’s bustling nightlife. After an included dinner, you'll visit the Temple Street Night Market, the perfect place for bargain hunting and rubbing shoulders with the locals. Wander through the market, then enjoy drinks aboard a leisurely cruise of Victoria Harbor.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $115)

Day 17: Free day in Hong Kong

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Hong Kong or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - New Lantau Island Tour $119*pp Details

When you first arrived in Hong Kong, you may have noticed that in this city where “east meets west,” mountains rather than high-rises dominate the view—especially to the south, where a giant Buddha sits perched on a hilltop. This is Lantau Island, a quirky island replete with temples, rugged mountain paths and wandering cattle. On this full-day excursion, you'll visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. You'll also enjoy a cable car ride over the island and the South China Sea.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Day 18: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Beijing, China
  • Xian, China
  • Shanghai, China
  • Hong Kong, China
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa

In order to enter China (as well as Hong Kong on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the reentry date.and at least two blank pages. Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in advance in order to enter China.  You may choose to obtain your individual visa by applying directly to the Chinese consulate or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Health

There is some risk of the following diseases in China, mostly concentrated in rural areas: dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. Travelers should make sure to wear protective clothing and insect repellent when outside, particularly in forested or rural areas. Sun protection is also highly advisable. No vaccinations are required for entry. However, it’s always advisable to check with your health-care provider at least eight weeks prior to departure for recommendations and the latest updates on requirements. For updated information on travel in this area, call the Centers for Disease Control and Protection at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877- 394-8747) or visit its website and view the sections on East Asia. 

Important Health Tips

In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:

  • Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.

Cuisine

The diversity of Chinese cuisine reflects China’s long history. With each dynasty, new recipes and cooking styles emerged. The food on tour will introduce you to many of the country’s “Eight Cuisines”— Shangdong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Anhui. Sichuan cooking features three peppers (Chinese prickly ash, pepper and hot pepper), three aromas (shallot, ginger, and garlic), seven tastes (sweet, sour, tingling, spicy, bitter, piquant and salty) and eight flavors (fish-flavored, sour with spice, pepper-tingling, odd flavor, tingling with spice, red spicy oily, ginger sauce and home cooking). Hunan cuisine stresses the use of oil, dense color and techniques that produce crispness, softness and tenderness as well as savory flavors and spices. Popular dishes include stewed fins, fried fresh cabbage with chestnuts and Dong Anzi chicken. Along the Yangtze River, you may sample Ahhui cuisine. Some traditional Ahhui dishes include braised turtle with ham and Fuliji grilled chicken.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Beijing and depart from Shanghai (Hong Kong for extension) Internal flights from Beijing to Yichang, Chongqing to Xi’an and Xi’an to Shanghai. All other included transportation is by private motor coach or river boat.

Clothing & Packing Tips

Please note that, depending upon the season, China’s climate can change drastically as you move from one destination to the next. Due to the varying climates on your trip, we advise that you pack in layers. Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is also recommended for shore excursions and exploring the cities. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and rainwear are advised. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Please contact your airline directly for more information on your airline’s baggage allowance. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be select times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage. Please note: On internal flights included on tour, you may be charged for any baggage over 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

Currency

Chinese money is called Renminbi (RMB), which means “People’s Currency.” The popular unit of RMB is yuan. Better rates of exchange are available in China, because exchange rates are fixed throughout China. In Hong Kong, the currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping. The cruise line will automatically bill a flat service charge of 150 yuan (equal to $22.50 USD/CAD) to each passengers’ credit card upon check-in. (Please note: Currency rates can fluctuate.) This charge will cover tips to the onboard crew, including housekeeping and restaurant staff. Tips for the river cruise guides are not automatically billed. The cruise line recommends approx $5-6 USD/CAD per person, per day.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 5/6/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

China and Yangtze River Cruise

China was fascinating. I thought the itinerary was a bit hectic, not enough down time between excursions. My wife is disabled. I recommend indicating on the tour info, that it requires quite a bit of walking and climbing. We, and other disabled people, slowed the group down a bit. The river boat was too crowded. The room was way too small, meal lines were too crowded. Website for the boat was misleading in terms of accommodations. Wife needed medical care on board, and was disappointed that the doctor was NOT an MD, and did not speak a word of English. Meals in general were OK. I would have liked a more varied menu, and soft drinks and water should have been more plentiful. Michael, the tour director, was excellent. He went above and beyond to help my wife move along with the group, etc. He spoke good English, was very friendly and accommodating, and made you feel like family.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/6/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Service with a smile

I was so impressed by the willingness of the Chinese guides and service personnel to please us. They couldn't do enough to make sure our needs were met and to make us feel welcome. Even when there may have been a language problem, they would look for someone to interpret to make sure our needs were met. And they did it with a smile!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/1/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

Michael was an exceptional guy who accommodated every request from a very diverse 22 people...Great guy and an asset to the China tour. This tour is for people who want to explore the culture of the great Chinese people...Glad I went with my girlfriend Pat and her choice to go with Go Ahead Tours was exceptional...Will do it again in the future.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/10/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

China the adventure!

This was a very nice tour, that included all the right things to see and do in the right amount of time. Another great tour, thanks Go Ahead!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/8/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: WA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

What an experience

This was a fun trip and full of many different experiences. The days were full of things to see and do. The cruise on the Yangtze River was well done and the staff on the river boat were awesome. The number one highlight of the trip was the ability to climb part of the Great Wall of China. If you are looking for a new adventure I would highly recommend this tour.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/10/2014

Number of Past Tours: 8

From: SK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Another great Tour!

A fast paced tour that takes in a lot of historical and cultural highlights of this fascinating country. I was very surprised to actually see how far this country has come in a relatively short period of time. The infrastructure and architecture are amazing! Accommodations were all first rate with very good locations. Food was very good and there was plenty of it! However, do not expect chicken balls and eggrolls! Andy, our tour director, is another shining example of what makes GoAhead the best! He was outstanding. We had excellent weather for the most part on the entire tour with the exception of a day of rain on the River cruise. It was very easy to access an ATM anywhere and we had no issues with using credit cards etc anywhere on the entire tour. I continue to be asked about highlights of this tour. For me it was the visit to the Hutangs in Beijing, Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and Hong Kong. Then there was the River Cruise, Three Gorges Dam, temples, Forbidden City, and on and on. As always I will appreciate this tour even more as I reflect upon it in the weeks and months to come.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/10/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: LA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Andy the Awesome Tour Director

I also took advantage of the a Hong Kong extension and have to say that this entire trip was AWESOME. The people in the group that I was placed with were all seasoned travelers. Everyone was courteous and took advantage of everything this tour had to offer. We were always on the same page with everyone looking out for each other. Andy the awesome tour guide had every question basically answered before it was asked, we wanted for nothing. Highly recommend this tour but beware it is quite challenging, there are many many steps to climb in China and LOL, there is no lift or elevator at the Great Wall of China.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 8/6/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour and Companie

Everything was grey excellent . I would like to go again

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 19

From: NC

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Seeing the Big Three.

First, this is equivalent to a grand tour of Europe. You are covering a vast territory and 2500 years of history. A lot is packed in and a lot is passed by. The Big Three -- the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Forbidden City -- receive the attention they well deserve. They are each impressive. Even with the extensive time allocated, we could have spent more. Our Great Wall trip was to the pass just north of Beijing where the wall encircles the pass. You can choose to walk a little bit as I did or walk the circuit as some others did. I am not a cruise fan, however the Three Gorges cruise was pleasant. It combined included excursions with additional, optional excursions. You got to set your own pace. Watching the cities along the river (this is an economic development area designed to move people away from the coasts) and the still scenic landscapes was great. The other aspect of the tour was seeing all the development and modernization going on in China. Everywhere we went there was construction for industry and housing. One sees a boom economy that has brought the beginning of "prosperity" to many of the Chinese. On the negative side, China heavily suffers from smog (and we were not there during any dangerous period). While the shopping experiences can be individually interesting, there are just too many of them. On other trips, guides have arranged optional shopping trips for those interested during free time. This might be something for GoAhead to consider.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: SC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

"One Great Trip!"

The tour to China was amazing! Every day was filled with something to do, we kept busy but not so much that you couldn't enjoy what we saw and did. Our Tour Guide, Michael, was great! His knowledge of the places we went to see is fantastic! Michael was great, he joked with us, shared stories with us, if there was more than one thing to do/or see and time was limited Michael gave us a choice on what we wanted to do. Michael made our group feel comfortable and a part of the tour!!! You'll get to see some amazing sights like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Three Gorges Dam, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Giant Pandas. You'll experience a river cruise on the Yangtze River and shore excursions that are out of this world. You will also get some free time to go shopping! The people of China will make you feel special and are so friendly!!! If you are thinkin' of going to China...Do It!!!

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