Starting in Shanghai and ending in Beijing, this all-encompassing tour offers days filled with ancient monuments, natural landscapes and scenic cruising. Visit the pandas of Chengdu, cruise the Yangtze River, marvel at the magnificence of the Terracotta Army and spend time in the Lijiang region. This is the tour for those wanting to really get to the heart of China.

• Shanghai: 3 nights

• Yangtze Cruise: 4 nights

• Chengdu: 1 night

• Lijiang: 2 nights

• Yangshuo: 2 nights

• Xi'an: 2 nights

• Beijing: 3 nights

18nights Escorted Small Group Tour

Starting in Shanghai and ending in Beijing, this all-encompassing tour offers the complete China experience. Visit the Giant Pandas of Chengdu and spend days cruising the Yangtze River, marvel at the magnificence of the Terracotta Army in Xi’an and explore the dramatic mountain scenery around Lijiang. This is the tour for those wanting to really get to the heart of China.

• Shanghai: 3 nights

• Yangtze River Cruise: 4 nights

• Chengdu: 1 night

• Lijiang: 2 nights

• Yangshuo: 2 nights

• Xi'an: 2 nights

• Beijing: 2 nights

• Mutianyu/The Great Wall: 1 night

18nights Escorted Small Group Tour
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Shanghai Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai Transfer to your hotel for a three-night stay. An early check-in is guaranteed so you’ll be able to get to your room as soon as you arrive. Freshen up and spend the rest of the day relaxing or sightseeing at your own pace. This evening, meet the rest of your group at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). D.

Day 3: Shanghai This morning begins with a guided tour around the city. You’ll start in the Old Town, which sits inside the ancient city walls, before continuing to the beautiful Yu Garden, and the leafy tree-lined streets of the French Concession. This afternoon take a stroll along the famous Bund waterfront before embarking on a private cruise along the Huangpu River. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Shanghai Today, you’ll drive to the charming waterside city of Suzhou (approx. 1½ hours west of Shanghai). Known for its culture, canals and classical gardens, a full morning tour will start at the UNESCO-listed Administrator’s Garden, before continuing to other iconic sights like historic Pingjiang Road, Garden of the Master of Nets and the famous Pan Gate. Following lunch at a local restaurant, head back to Shanghai where the rest of the day is free to spend at your own leisure. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, L.

Day 5: Shanghai to Yichang Spend a morning exploring the city before transferring to the airport for your afternoon flight to Yichang. On arrival, transfer to Maoping Pier to board the luxurious Century Sun for your four-night Yangtze River cruise. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Century Sun. B.

Days 6-8: Yangtze Cruise Set sail and over the next three days enjoy a selection of excursions (for more information see our Gorges of the Yangtze tour). Stay: Century Sun. B, L, D.

Day 9: Chongqing to Chengdu Disembark in Chongqing and transfer to the station for your morning first-class high-speed train journey to Chengdu. This afternoon, spend time at the Panda Research Breeding Centre, before sitting down for dinner at a local restaurant. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B, D.

Day 10: Chengdu to Lijiang This morning visit the Wenshu Monastery and take a walk down the city’s ancient Jinli Street, before transferring to the airport for your flight to Lijiang. On arrival, join a walking tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Town, exploring the charming Black Dragon Pool and the largest culture relic museum of Dongba. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours. Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Lijiang (or similar). B, D.

Day 11: Lijiang Begin the day with a visit to the beautiful Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Park, and admire the scenery as you take the cable car up to Yak Meadow. Continue with a tour of the temples in the nearby village of Baisha, and visit the former residence of explorer Dr Joseph Rock. Following an afternoon at leisure, you are free to enjoy dinner in the town before taking in a traditional Naxi orchestra performance this evening. Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Lijiang (or similar). B, L.

Day 12: Lijiang to Yangshuo This morning explore the city at leisure, before transferring to the airport for your afternoon flight to Guilin. On arrival, you’ll drive directly to the charming town of Yangshuo, where following dinner at a local restaurant, you’ll have the chance to watch the incredible ‘Impression of Liu Sanjie’ performance. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Green Lotus (or similar). B, D.

Day 13: Yangshuo Begin the day with a charming cruise along the River Li, towards the ancient town of Fuli. Join a tour exploring this quaint riverside town full of traditional houses, pagodas, temples and beautiful scenery. Later this afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in a local hillside cooking class. Stay: Green Lotus (or similar). B, D.

Day 14: Yangshuo to Xi’an Early this morning, drive back to Guilin for your flight to Xi’an. On arrival, spend some time wandering the busy Muslim Quarter, a historic neighbourhood and foodie heaven famed for its market stalls, buzzing local atmosphere, and unusual culinary treasures. Afterwards continue with a visit to the Great Mosque, one of the oldest and largest mosques in China. This evening enjoy a traditional dumpling dinner, before catching a dramatic Tang Dynasty Show. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D. 

Day 15: Xi’an An entire day of sightseeing awaits, beginning with an early morning visit to the Iconic Terracotta Warriors (approx. 1½ hours from the city). You’ll arrive just as the doors open to avoid the crowds that head here later in the day. If an archaeologist is available, then a meet and greet will be scheduled for you to chat about the work they’re doing. Following lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll continue to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a landmark temple set in beautiful gardens. The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, L.

Day 16: Xi’an to Beijing After breakfast, transfer to the station for your first-class high-speed rail journey to Beijing. On arrival, you’ll transfer to the hotel where you’ll be able to refresh before heading out for a classic Peking duck dinner. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, D. 

Day 17: Beijing Your tour of the capital begins with an early morning visit to Tian’anmen Square, followed by a wander around the Forbidden City. After lunch at a local restaurant, the tour will continue at the Summer Palace, home to a vast number of lakes, gardens and palaces. A boat ride on one of the lakes is included here (subject to weather conditions). The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L.

Day 18: Beijing Today begins with an early morning visit to the beautiful Temple of Heaven; you’ll arrive at the temple just as the gates are opening, thus avoiding the crowds that head here later in the day. Afterwards you'll have the opportunity to take part in a t’ai chi lesson. Following lunch, you’ll have the chance to visit the Mutianyu section of the iconic Great Wall (approx. 1¾ hours from Beijing). You’ll take the cable car up on the wall, which is noted for its meandering chain of Ming Dynasty guard towers. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 19: Beijing Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

Tibet 4 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Lhasa
Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Lhasa. On arrival, a local guide will transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B.

Day 2: Lhasa
After breakfast, spend the morning at the Sera Monastery; one of three famous university monasteries in Tibet. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before spending the afternoon with a local family where you'll learn all about life in Tibet. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Lhasa
Start the day at the famous Potala Palace, the magnificent winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Following lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the Jokhang Monastery – the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism – and take a stroll along historic Bakhor Street. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Lhasa to Beijing
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return flight to Beijing. The rest of the day is free to for you to explore Beijing at your own pace. Approx. journey time: 4 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B.

Day 5: Beijing
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Day 1: UK to Shanghai Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai Transfer to your hotel for a three-night stay where an early check-in is guaranteed. Freshen up and spend the rest of the day relaxing or sightseeing at your own pace. This evening, meet the rest of your group at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). D.

Day 3: Shanghai Head out for a guided tour around the city. Begin in the Old Town, which sits inside the ancient city walls, before continuing to the beautiful Yu Garden and the leafy tree-lined streets of the French Concession. Later, take a stroll along the famous Bund waterfront ahead of a private cruise along the Huangpu River. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Shanghai Today, you’ll drive to the waterside city of Suzhou (approx. 1½ hours west of Shanghai). Known for its culture, canals and elegant gardens, a morning tour starts at the UNESCO-listed Administrator’s Garden, before continuing to sights like historic Pingjiang Road, Garden of the Master of Nets and the famous Pan Gate. After lunch, head back to Shanghai where you can spend the rest of the day at leisure. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, L.

Day 5: Shanghai to Yichang Spend the morning exploring the city at leisure before transferring to the airport for your afternoon flight to Yichang. On arrival, transfer to Maoping Pier to board the luxurious Century Sun for your four-night cruise along the Yangtze River. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Century Sun. B.

Days 6-8: Yangtze River Cruise Embark on a three-day river cruise, enjoying a selection of excursions and onboard activities (for more information see our Gorges of the Yangtze tour). Stay: Century Sun. B, L, D.

Day 9: Chongqing to Chengdu Disembark in Chongqing and transfer to the station for your first-class high-speed train journey to Chengdu. This afternoon, spend some time at the Panda Research Breeding Centre before eating dinner at a local restaurant. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B, D.

Day 10: Chengdu to Lijiang Spend the morning at the Wenshu Monastery; an ancient Buddhist temple built in the Tang Dynasty. Take a walk down historic Jinli Street before transferring to the airport for your flight to Lijiang. On arrival, embark on a walking tour of the city – highlights include the UNESCO-listed Old Town, the charming Black Dragon Pool and the largest culture relic museum of Dongba. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours. Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Lijiang (or similar). B, D.

Day 11: Lijiang Head towards beautiful Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Park, and admire the scenery as you take the cable car up to Yak Meadow. Continue to the temples in the nearby village of Baisha where you’ll also visit the former residence of explorer Dr Joseph Rock. Have an afternoon at leisure before rejoining the group to watch a traditional Naxi orchestra performance. Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Lijiang (or similar). B, L.

Day 12: Lijiang to Yangshuo Take this morning to explore the city at leisure before transferring to the airport for your afternoon flight to Guilin. On arrival, you’ll transfer to the town of Yangshuo. Have dinner before watching an incredible ‘Impression of Liu Sanjie’ performance. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Green Lotus (or similar). B, D.

Day 13: Yangshuo Begin the day with a cruise along the River Li towards the ancient town of Fuli. Join a tour exploring this quaint riverside town, which is full of traditional houses, pagodas and beautiful scenery. Later this afternoon, you’ll take part in a traditional hillside cooking class. Stay: Green Lotus (or similar). B, D.

Day 14: Yangshuo to Xi’an It’s an early start as you drive back to Guilin for your flight to Xi’an. Spend some time exploring the Muslim Quarter, a foodie heaven famed for its market stalls and unusual culinary treasures. Continue to the Great Mosque, one of the oldest and largest mosques in China. This evening, enjoy a traditional Chinese dumpling dinner ahead of a dramatic Tang Dynasty Show. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 15: Xi’an It’s an entire day of sightseeing, starting with an early morning visit to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors (approx. 1½ hours from the city). You’ll arrive just as the doors open to avoid the crowds that head here later. If an archaeologist is available, a meet and greet session will give you the chance to chat about their current work. After lunch, continue to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a landmark temple set in beautiful gardens. The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, L.

Day 16: Xi’an to Beijing After breakfast, transfer to the station for your first-class, high-speed rail journey to Beijing. On arrival, head to your hotel where you’ll have the chance to freshen up before you rejoin the group for a classic Peking duck dinner. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, D. 

Day 17: Beijing Your tour of the capital starts with an early morning visit to Tian’anmen Square, followed by a wander around the Forbidden City. After lunch, the tour continues at the Summer Palace – home to a huge number of lakes, gardens and palaces. A boat ride on one of the lakes is included here (subject to weather conditions). The rest of the day is free for you to spend at leisure. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L.

Day 18: Beijing to Mutianyu Begin your final day with an early morning visit to the Temple of Heaven; arriving just as the gates open to avoid the crowds that head here later in the day. Take part in a guided t’ai chi lesson and have lunch in a local restaurant before you continue to  the Mutianyu section of the iconic Great Wall of China (approx. 1¾ hours from Beijing). This evening you’ll stay at the stylish Brickyard Retreat; a boutique converted tile factory where each room overlooks views of the Great Wall. Tonight, join a farewell dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Stay: Brickyard Retreat (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 19: Mutianyu After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

Tibet 4 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Lhasa
Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Lhasa. On arrival, a local guide will transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B.

Day 2: Lhasa
After breakfast, spend the morning at the Sera Monastery; one of three famous university monasteries in Tibet. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before spending the afternoon with a local family where you'll learn all about life in Tibet. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Lhasa
Start the day at the famous Potala Palace, the magnificent winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Following lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the Jokhang Monastery – the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism – and take a stroll along historic Bakhor Street. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Lhasa to Beijing
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return flight to Beijing. The rest of the day is free to for you to explore Beijing at your own pace. Approx. journey time: 4 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B.

Day 5: Beijing
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

The perfect tour if you want to explore all that China has to offer; although there are full days of sightseeing throughout, there's also free time set aside to explore independently.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Special diets, including vegetarianism, cannot be adequately provided for in China

• Many stairs and steep slopes at the Great Wall of China

• A busy itinerary packed full of experiences allowing you to see a lot in a short space of time. There are also a few early mornings and late evenings

• Crowds at the main sights

• 20kg baggage allowance on internal flights

• A compulsory cruise tipping fee of RMB150 per person, paid locally

Accommodation on tour

We have selected quality city hotels that are perfectly located for local exploration. On the Century Sun ship, your home for four nights as you cruise along the Yangtze River, each cabin features floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony. In Yangshou, our hand-picked hotel – the Green Lotus – sits on the bank of the River Li, and we have opted to feature river view rooms which have a small balcony.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £1145

Is this for you?

Although demanding at times, this small group tour is perfect if you want to experience lots of what China has to offer.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey, where the minimum age is 10)

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests on the land tour. The ship can accommodate 306 guests so expect to share activities and excursions

• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions

• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag.

What to expect

• Special diets, including vegetarianism and gluten free, cannot be adequately provided for in China

• With many stairs and steep slopes at monument and the Great Wall, this tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties

• There are early mornings and late evenings throughout to help maximise your sightseeing opportunities and experiences

• Expect crowds at the main sights

• Baggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg; excess luggage fees will apply locally

• Optional cruise excursions are bookable locally, and payable once on board

• A compulsory cruise tipping fee of approx. RMB150 per person is payable locally
• A good level of fitness is required.

Accommodation on tour

We’ve selected quality city hotels that are well located for local and independent sightseeing. The luxurious Century Sun is your home on the Yangtze River, which has some of the largest cabins on the river, each with floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. On land, you’ll spend your final night at the Brickyard Retreat in Mutianyu. In this stylish converted tile factory, all rooms look out to superb views of the iconic Great Wall.

Single travellers

Sole-use room from £6059

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2019 Mar 28; Apr 18; May 23; Sep 05; Oct 10

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient  (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice for a supplement from £1735 per person.

Tour dates

2020 Mar 19; Apr 16; May 21; Sep 03; Oct 08

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient  (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on selected dates from £6526 per person.

Kuoni highlights

This is an in-depth tour that certainly makes the most of your time in China. The main sights of Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai, the natural beauty of the Yangtze River and the Lijiang region, and the giant pandas of Chengdu are all covered in a duration of just under three weeks. We’ve really packed this itinerary full of cultural, historical and natural experiences.

Kuoni highlights

This in-depth tour certainly makes the most of your time in China. Chat to a resident archaeologist at the Terracotta Warriors, visit the famous Giant Pandas in Chengdu and master the art of Chinese dumplings in a local cooking class. Round off your experience with a four-night cruise along the Yangtze River, and marvel at the iconic Great Wall when you spend your final night at the Brickyard Retreat in Mutianyu.