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Grand Tour of China

16 Days from$4,495
per person
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You are viewing the 2018 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: CYG18)

Discover China's highlights on a single tour

A dizzying mix of ancient cultures, tumultuous history, breathtaking natural beauty and dynamic urban landscapes, China is a feast for all the senses. Magnificent Beijing, the legendary Terracotta Warriors, captivating pandas and a cruise through the Three Gorges combine to offer an unforgettable experience.

  • Beijing
  • Great Wall of China
  • Xi'an & the Terracotta Warriors
  • Chengdu & Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute
  • Leshan & the Giant Buddha
  • Yangtze River Cruise & the Three Gorges
  • Wuhan & Yellow Crane Tower
  • Suzhou & its UNESCO-listed gardens
  • Shanghai and the Jade Buddha Temple
What’s Included
  • First Class Rail
  • 12 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
  • Selected Departures Guaranteed

Grand Tour of China 2018Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Heaven Temple, Beijing
Heaven Temple, Beijing

To Beijing

Meet your group and Tour Manager at the Novotel Peace Hotel in Bejing, the rest of your day is free to begin your investigations of this captivating city.

Day 2 Tiananmen Gate, Beijing
Tiananmen Gate, Beijing

Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City

Today we discover the sights and sounds of China's vibrant capital. We visit the infamous Tiananmen Square, which, at over 4 million square feet, is the largest city square in the world. Stretched out across this space are several vivid reminders of China's political history, including an imposing portrait of Chairman Mao. We also take in the neighbouring Forbidden City, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Boasting almost 1,000 buildings, this magnificently restored complex - with its historic pagodas and traditional Chinese palace buildings - makes a dynamic contrast with the square.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Tour of Beijing
Day 3 Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

This morning we visit the world-famous Great Wall of China. Listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this masterpiece of Chinese workmanship stretches thousands of miles from the Gobi Desert to the Korean border - and is truly an awesome sight to behold. We visit the Mutianyu section, a beautifully preserved stretch which offers incredible views over the seemingly endless mountain scenery. After ascending by chair lift, we have the opportunity to walk along the wall before returning to Beijing. Here we see the 'Water Cube' and the 'Bird's Nest', the main arenas used in the 2008 Olympic Games. Tonight we enjoy a traditional Peking duck dinner together.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursion to The Great Wall
  • Visits to 2008 Olympic Sites
Days 4-5 Great Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an
Great Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an

To Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

Leaving Beijing behind, we join the rail service to Xi'an. Our journey on the new high-speed service takes us through the beautiful landscapes of rural China. In Xi'an we transfer to the Grand Mercure Hotel for two nights. On Day 5 we discover the famous Terracotta Warriors - one of the world's greatest archaeological finds. The 6,000 figures - some with horses or chariots, but all with unique features - were buried in 210 BC, yet only discovered 40 years ago. The life-sized statues were built as part of an elaborate tomb of the Qin Emperor, believed to protect him in death just as his real army had in life. Built on an incredible scale, the soldiers - all grouped in rank order - are a breathtaking sight. Later we discover more of the walled city of Xi'an, taking in the Great Mosque, the city's lively bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. Dating back to the 8th century, the towering structure is a leading example of Tang Dynasty architecture.

  • Excursions
  • Day 4 - Breakfast
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Days 6-7 Giant Buddha, Leshan
Giant Buddha, Leshan

Chengdu, Leshan and the Giant Buddha

We transfer to the airport today for the short internal flight to Chengdu, where we spend two nights at the Tibet Hotel. On Day 7 we travel into rural China to Leshan, and visit the ancient Giant Buddha Statue. Carved into a towering mountain range, it is the world's largest stone statue at 233ft tall. We have time to admire this immense structure before returning to Chengdu. Here we see the Wenshu Monastery, one of China's finest Buddhist structures, as well as the historic teak buildings on Jinli Street.

  • Day 6 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 7 - Breakfast, lunch
  • Flights
  • Chengdu Giant Buddha
Day 8 Chengdu pandas
Chengdu pandas

Chengdu and the Yangtze River

Today we visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute, which is spread out over 200 acres and is now home to more than 100 of these magnificent creatures. The project allows us to see the Giant Panda, an incredibly enchanting and rare creature, at close quarters with almost uninterrupted views. Later we transfer to the station for the high-speed bullet train service to Chongqing, situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Here we board the luxury 5-Star Century river ship for our three night cruise along the Yangtze River, through the dramatic scenery of the Three Gorges.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Giant Panda Breeding Centre
Days 9-10 Yangtze River
Yangtze River

The Yangtze and the Three Gorges

This morning there is an optional excursion to Fengdu Ghost City. This afternoon we visit the stunning Shibaozhai Pagoda, rising 12 stories up a sheer cliff face. Our cruise continues on Day 10 with a journey through some of the most wonderful scenery on the river - the Three Gorges. First we enter the shortest but most dramatic of the gorges, Qutang Gorge, with steep mountains on either side of the 5 mile stretch. Continuing through the Wu Gorge, we then transfer to smaller river boats for a trip along one of the narrow Yangtze tributaries. This evening, enjoy the Captain's Banquet on board, as we descend the awe-inspiring feat of engineering that is the complex lock system at the Three Gorges Dam.

  • Excursions
  • Days 10-11 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Days 11-12 Yellow Crane Tower, Wuhan
Yellow Crane Tower, Wuhan

To Wuhan and Suzhou

We visit the colossal Three Gorges Dam, which is now the world's largest hydro power project, before our lunchtime disembarkation in Yichang. From here we travel by highspeed train to Wuhan, for a night at the Marco Polo Hotel. On Day 12 we visit Wuhan's distinctive Yellow Crane Tower, the subject of many local legends, before transferring to the railway station for our eastward journey to Suzhou. We spend two nights at the 5-Star Pan Pacific Hotel.

  • Day 11 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 12 - Breakfast, lunch
  • Three Gorges Dam
  • Yellow Crane Tower
Day 13 Suzhou

Exploring Suzhou

With its beautifully preserved centre, Suzhou is known as 'China's Garden City', and today we discover some of its standout attractions. We visit the Master of Nets, a traditional garden with many classic architectural styles. Later we enjoy a rickshaw ride along the pretty Pingjiang Canal and through the narrow, bustling streets, before taking a cruise on the charming Shantang Canal.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Excursions
Days 14-16 Nanjin Road, Shanghai
Nanjin Road, Shanghai

To Shanghai

We travel by high-speed train to Shanghai, a fast-paced metropolis where centuries-old street markets jostle for position with soaring skyscrapers. On Day 15 we explore Shanghai's great variety of landmarks. We visit the Jade Buddha Temple, a mighty structure with many statues made from precious stones. We also see the attractive Yu Garden in the city's historic core. Later we head to the Bund, a glamorous boulevard stretching out along the river, lined with colonial buildings. The rest of your day is at leisure. On Day 16,  your tour conludes.

  • Days 14-15 - Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 16 - Breakfast
  • Shanghai tour
Visa Requirements

Visa Requirements

It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and travel during your tour

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • All internal flights as described
  • First-Class, high-speed rail travel throughout

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 12 nights' 4 and 5-Star hotel accommodation
  • 3-night cruise on board a 5-Star cruise ship on the Yangtze River

Delicious meals included

  • 36 meals, including 15 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 8 dinners, including an authentic Peking duck dinner in Beijing


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Tours of Beijing, Xi'an, Suzhou and Shanghai
  • Excursions to the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall of China
  • Tour of Xi'an
  • Visits to the Giant Buddha Statue in Leshan and the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute
  • Excursion to Wuhan's Yellow Crane Tower

Not Included

  • Flights and airport transfers
What our customers think

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Tour Rating

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Yung-Mei Choi
Annika Blau
Grand Tour of China

Discover China's highlights on a single tour


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