China’s rich cultural heritage, natural landscapes and delicious cuisine make it a destination of choice for travellers from all over the world. This tour of China covers the very best experiences and attractions in an action-packed itinerary across vibrant cities and important landmarks, always with an expert guide to talk you through every step of the way.
Travelling between Beijing and Shanghai, you’ll explore an array of cities, towns and local villages, cruise down the mighty Yangtze River, visit the beautiful giant panda, and walk across the Great Wall of China. Chinese food may be renowned the world over, but on our Magnificent China tour you’ll soon discover a whole new world of local cuisine and regions specialising in their own traditional dishes.
Learn more about the storied history of this incredible country and how it evolved from an ancient civilisation into a modern-day superpower. It’s fair to say few countries offer such breadth of fascinating experiences and natural wonders, which is why it really pays to have a clear plan to make the absolute most of each day on your Chinese adventure.
At Hayes & Jarvis, our team of China tour experts are here to help plan out your ideal trip of a lifetime. We’re always on hand to discuss your options and ensure you get the absolute maximum out of your experience - and we can tailor each of our tours to suit your wishes.
- Travel between beautiful valleys and gorges as you head down the fabled Yangtze River as part of a three day boat cruise
- Explore the iconic Forbidden City, China’s largest complex of ancient buildings and home to two dynasties of imperial rule
- Visit the Giant Panda Research Base at Chengdu to understand China’s remarkable conservation efforts to save this beautiful creature
- Learn about the history of human evolution at Banpo Neolithic village, one of the oldest-known sites of its kind
Start your Journey
Arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport, you’ll be greeted by an English-speaking guide before being taken directly to the wonderful Presidential Hotel for a three-night stay in the capital. There’ll be plenty of time to drop off your bags before heading out into the city to start exploring.
Beijing has an amazing history dating back almost 3,000 years, so there’s certainly no shortage of museums, galleries and landmarks for you to discover – including the National Museum of China, the Capital Museum, and the China Science & Technology Museum. Spend the evening at your own leisure sampling local cuisine before heading back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep in preparation for the next day of your adventure.
It’s an early breakfast at your hotel on day two as you prepare for an early morning drive over to the iconic Tiananmen Square, one of the largest squares in the world and the site of the infamous 1989 protests. From there, head over for a full tour of the magnificent Forbidden City, where the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty lived and ruled for over 500 years from 1420 to 1924. The main palace remains a symbol of ancient Chinese culture.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll visit a vast collection of lakes, parks and gardens that surround the Summer Palace, another imperial complex built during the reign of the Qing Dynasty. You’ll also have the chance to take an optional boat ride on the Empress Cixi Water Way, perfect if you’re looking for the best views of the beautiful scenery on both sides of the river. Return back to your hotel by late afternoon, giving you the chance to spend your evening at leisure.
The Great Wall
Another early start on day three as you hit the road for a two-hour drive to the world-famous site of the Great Wall. Truly one of the greatest man-made wonders on the planet, the wall is an incredible feat of ancient engineering and holds an enchanting history that dates back thousands of years. You’ll be able to walk, climb or, for an additional cost, take a cable car to view the wall in all its splendour.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant near the Great Wall before heading back into Beijing later that afternoon. From here, you’ll have another chance to explore the city at dusk, taking in an evening’s entertainment before retiring for the night.
After breakfast in Beijing, it’s time to make your way over to the train station for a high-speed connection to Xi’an. But before that, there’s plenty of time to visit the famous Temple of Heaven, where emperors worshipped and offered sacrifices to the gods in an effort to guarantee a rich harvest. Enjoy a spot of lunch before boarding the train to Xi’an, a journey that will take roughly 5.5 hours.
Having arrived in Xi’an, you’ll check into your accommodation at the Tianyu Gloria for two nights. Depending on time, you may want to take an evening stroll around the town before bed.
This morning you’ll be picked up from your hotel for an hour’s drive eastward to the Banpo Neolithic Village. This archaeological site is situated in the Yellow River Valley and contains the remains of several remarkable Neolithic settlements, a fantastic insight into the evolution of early mankind dating back over 6,000 years.
From here, it’s another short drive to Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, where you’ll find the world-famous Terracotta Army, a collection of sculptures that depict the armies of the empire. Spend the day exploring the museum and the history of the mausoleum, stopping for a delicious meal at lunchtime.
On the way back to Xi’an, make a quick stop at the Terracotta Replication Factory, a chance to pick up a few souvenirs for friends and family, before arriving back into the city by late afternoon. Spend the evening at your leisure and tuck into a few dishes of local cuisine before returning to your hotel.
Train to Chengdu
After a good breakfast, it’s time to catch another high-speed train to Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province. Here you’ll transfer directly to the Xinliang hotel, drop off your bags and explore the city at your own pace. There’s plenty to see and do in the city, including a visit to the wonderful Jinsha Site Museum where you’ll find a wide range of ancient exhibitions and artefacts.
Chengdu is most famous for its Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a non-profit facility that is dedicated to supporting the welfare and population growth of pandas and other rare wildlife. Here you’ll have the chance to walk through lush vegetation and nature trails while spotting animals in their natural habitat. Make sure to stop by the baby panda nursery for a quick look at the younger cubs. You may want to grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafeteria, though there’s also the option to visit a local restaurant for a hot meal.
After that, it’s back to the train station for another high-speed train to Chongqing, roughly 2.5 hours away. You will be met off the train and taken to the nearby port, where you’ll board the cruise boat for a three-night stay as you cruise down the magnificent Yangtze River in splendour.
Yangtze River Cruise
Rising in the Tibetan Plateau and flowing all the way east along the entire width of the country, the Yangtze River is Asia’s largest river and features some of the world’s most spectacular waterways. It is known by many as the marker between northern and southern China.
You’ll spend three days cruising along the Yangtze, stopping at plenty of iconic sites and historical landmarks, such as the Ghost City Fengdu and Pagoda Shi Bao Zhai. There are few routes that can compare with the Yangtze’s immense natural beauty, misty mountains and deep river gorges. On board, you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner hosted by the captain and crew before a comfortable night’s sleep in your own personal cabin.
Yangtze River Cruise
For your second day on the Yangtze River it’s time to explore the Three Gorges, a mountainous stretch that includes three distinct areas: Qutang, Wu and Xiling. Here you’ll have chance to cruise along placid waters while gazing in awe at the incredible views and natural landmarks of Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge – all before lunch!
Later that afternoon, you’ll be taken to a smaller boat in order to take a trip down the Shennong River, a smaller tributary of the Yangtze that is famed for its narrow passage through steep cliff faces and gorgeous coves. A farewell dinner will be held that evening to celebrate your last night aboard the ship, again hosted by the captain and crew.
Three Gorges Dam
After breakfast on your ship, it’s time to disembark for a quick excursion to Three Gorges Dam, a feat of modern engineering and home to the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity. Then it’s onto the largest of the Three Gorges, Xiling, to enjoy yet another incredible display of natural beauty and mountainous rock faces.
Later that afternoon, you will be taken to the local train station in Yichang for a high-speed connection to the city of Shanghai, your final stop on this Magnificent Chinese adventure. Here you’ll check-in at the Ambassador Hotel for two nights, perhaps even taking the time for an evening stroll upon arrival in the city.
Following a good breakfast at the hotel, your tour guide will pick you up for a morning sightseeing tour around a selection of the city’s best attractions. This will include the Yu Garden, local bazaars, tea houses and the Bund, where you’ll have the chance to take a memorable stroll along the riverside promenade before lunchtime. There’s also an extra option if you wish to book a 45-minute tour at a local pearl factory after visiting the Bund.
After a bite to eat at a local restaurant, head over to the old French Concession, an area filled with leafy boulevards, beautiful architecture and trendy cafes and shops. Here you’ll also find the Tianzifang neighbourhood, an up-and-coming district known for its winding alleyways that house some of the city’s best arts and crafts artisans, galleries and boutiques. Enjoy your last evening in Shanghai at leisure, perhaps taking the chance to visit one of the city’s many renowned lounge bars or jazz clubs.
As your unforgettable Chinese adventure draws to a close, you’ll have plenty of time to plan your next return as you are taken from your hotel to the local airport.
Given its relative proximity to Shanghai, many of our guests decide to take the opportunity to extend their trip with a visit to the vibrant city of Hong Kong. Get in touch with one of our China tour experts to discuss your options and see what’s available to you.
- International flights and airfare taxes
- Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 11 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
- Board basis is Full Board: breakfast, lunch, and dinner during Yangtze River Cruise; Half Board: breakfast, lunch/dinner in Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, (1 day) Shanghai; Breakfast only in Chengdu (1 day)
- Train tickets in 2nd class (for high-speed trains) where indicated in the itinerary
- Private/small group (air-conditioned) transport / transfers
- Meeting on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
- English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
- Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
- Visa arrangements and fees
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
- Porterage and baggage handling
- Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
- Gratuities for drivers, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
- Meals (unless specified)
- Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)
You might also like these
Take a look at these other inspiring itineraries. Our Destination Specialists would love to create something perfect for you.
Discover The Beauty Of China Tour
Luxury Guided Tour Japan
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
Sign up to our newsletter
Receive the latest travel inspiration and destination news.
How we tailor make your holiday
The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.