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Discover China


Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders

13 daysFrom £2,095 per person
This tour is operated by our sister company Raildiscoveries

2020 Tour code: 20CVS

About the tour

Take an adventure through China's ancient and modern wonders. Travel from bustling Beijing, with its Great Wall, to ancient Xi'an and its Terracotta Warriors, cruising the Yangtze River en-route. This tour is operated by our sister company Rail Discoveries.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - To Beijing

Your tour begins with a flight from London to Beijing, arriving into this bustling city on Day 2. On arrival, you have plenty of time to settle in to this wonderful country.

Forbidden City, Beijing
Day 3 - The Great Wall of China

This morning begins with a rickshaw tour of Beijing's hutongs, or backstreets, known for their association with the city's history.

Later, enjoy a highlight of your holiday, with a visit to the iconic Great Wall of China. You visit the Mutianyu section of the wall, one of the best preserved and most visited parts of this worldfamous structure. This particular section is one of the oldest sections of the wall, and it was first built in the 6th century. After time to explore this magnificent piece of ancient engineering at your own pace, you return to Beijing, pausing en-route at the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube - examples of Beijing's modern architecture - for a photo opportunity. After a busy day exploring Beijing's best attractions, you enjoy a dinner of authentic Peking duck tonight.

The Great Wall of China
Days 4-5 - Shanghai’s secrets

Spend the morning exploring Beijing with a guided tour. Visit Tiananmen Square, the location of the now infamous 1989 uprising and, at over 4 million square feet, the largest city square in the world.

You continue this afternoon to the Forbidden City - a palace and garden complex once inhabited by the Chinese royal family, and now preserved as a testament to China's long history. The incredible complex was built on a grand scale, with 980 buildings spread over 180 acres housing the family, their staff and the royal guard from 1406 to the abdication of the last Chinese Emperor in 1912. Constructed to reflect the Purple Palace, where it was thought god resided in heaven, the Forbidden City's opulence is testament to the Emperor's role as a divine ruler.

Leave the capital behind this afternoon, as you board the high-speed train to Shanghai. On arrival, you are met by a local English-speaking guide, who takes you on a sightseeing tour. Discover the iconic Bund, part of the city's famously futuristic architecture, as well as the French Concession, where distinctive western architecture pays testament to the history of French colonialism in this region. There is also time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Nanjing Road, a largely pedestrianised thoroughfare and major shopping centre in Shanghai. Afterwards, dinner is served at a local restaurant.

Continue your tour of Shanghai on Day 5, with a visit to some of the city's hidden attractions. Yu Garden is an oasis of peace amidst Shanghai's lively streets, situated in the older quarters of the city. The extensive gardens are spread out over 5 acres, and have a serene feel, with the typical features of Imperial gardens created by China's former rulers - from ornate pavilions and tranquil pools filled with brightly-coloured fish, to curious stacked rockeries and decadent halls with traditional winged roofs. You also visit the Old City of Shanghai, the Chinese enclave that resisted the influences of the foreign concessions in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, and the Yuyuan Bazaar, a busy shopping quarter adjacent to the city's oldest street.

This afternoon, transfer to Maoping to board the Goddess II cruise ship, for a journey by water through some of China's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.

Yuyuan Gardens, Shanghai
Days 6-8 - Cruising the Yangtze

Today, your scenic cruise along the Yangtze River begins. You take a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam today, before your ship passes through the striking Xiling Gorge. On Day 7, the ship makes its way through the Qutang and Wu Gorges, both renowned for their beauty.

On Day 8 you visit Fengdu Ghost Town.

Yangtze River
Days 9-10 - Chengdu and its pandas

Disembark from the ship today in Chongqing, where you board the high-speed train to Chengdu. On arrival, you take in the city's highlights, including the Wenshu Monastery, which boasts the title of Chengdu's best-preserved Buddhist temple, and lively Jinli Street. On the morning of Day 10, we visit the Panda Research Centre, where pandas are studied and cared for. This afternoon we head to Remnin Park for a tea tasting, the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Panda, Chengdu
Days 11-12 - The Terracotta Warriors

This morning we travel by rail to Xi'an, the ancient former capital of China. On arrival your afternoon is spent at leisure before sitting down to a dumpling banquet for dinner tonight. On Day 12 you visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors before a guided city tour.

The Terracotta Warriors
Day 13 - Return to London

Board your scheduled flight from Xi'an to London Heathrow today. Your tour concludes on arrival in the UK.


Additional information

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


The Presidential Hotel

The Presidential Hotel, Bejing

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Xin liang Hotel

Xin liang Hotel, Chengdu

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Ambassador Hotel, Shanghai

Ambassador Hotel, Shanghai

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Tianlang Jincheng Art Hotel

Tianlang Jincheng Art Hotel, Xian

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Chinese Railways

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Discover China

Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders


Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson