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
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 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.

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?

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

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 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. 

Kuoni highlights