Discover China by High Speed Train with Yangtze River Cruise
From Beijing To Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing,Yangtze River, Yichang, Shanghai - 13 Nights

Departing from:
Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing,Yangtze River, Yichang, Shanghai
13 Nights
This escorted tour has regular departures scheduled from March to November in 2023
Tour Operator:
Vacations By Rail
Reference Code:



Price per person

Package Details


From the Great Wall of China to the Yangtze River, China is brimming with amazing sites to behold. This 14-day voyage begins the vibrant city of Beijing, and from here, we embark on excursions to places like Tiananmen City, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven. The tour continues to Xi'an by train, and here we enjoy a look at the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and savor a traditional dumpling dinner. As the trip moves to Chengdu, the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute offers a rare glimpse at Asia's most majestic animal. We travel the Yangtze River and make stops in Yichang and Wuhan before arriving in the bustling city of Shanghai. The culture of this city is simply unbelievable, and we soak it in through a guided tour and visits to famed landmarks. Unforgettable experiences await at every turn on this tour.


Day 1 – Beijing

Arrive in the dynamic Chinese capital of Beijing and transfer to your hotel. Beijing is one of the world’s greatest cities, with futuristic skyscrapers situated beside ancient wonders. Meet your Tour Manager and fellow travellers at your hotel for a welcome drink followed by dinner. Overnight Beijing.

Day 2 – Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City

Today we discover the sights and sounds of China’s vibrant capital. We begin by visiting the impressive Tiananmen Square, which, at over 4 million square feet, is the largest city square in the world. This incredible public space also acts as the gateway to the Forbidden City, which we visit next. The palace complex was built in the 15th century as the Imperial household; now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s fascinating to discover with its historic pagodas and traditional Chinese palace buildings.

We continue to a local tea house, where we have the chance to experience one of China’s oldest traditions in authentic surroundings before we explore the sprawling Summer Palace, set in a beautiful spot surrounded by lakes and gardens. Overnight Beijing.

Day 3 – The Great Wall of China

We visit the world-famous Great Wall of China today. 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, through deserts and mountain passes, and across plains and plateaus. We visit the Mutianyu section, a beautifully preserved stretch which offers incredible views over the seemingly endless mountain scenery. After ascending by cable car, we have the chance to walk along the wall and admire the sheer scale of one of the greatest human-made wonders of all time.

We continue to a cloisonne factory for a guided tour, learning about the intricate art of Chinese enamel cloisonne, which is made by embedding gold or powdered minerals on ceramics. We also see the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest, the main arenas used in the 2008 Olympic Games. We end the day with a delicious Peking duck dinner, a traditional local dish that’s been popular in the city since the Imperial era. Overnight Beijing.

Days 4 – Temple of Heaven & Train to Xi’an

We begin our day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a beautiful edifice in central Beijing. In the afternoon we leave Beijing behind, and join the rail service to Xi’an, experiencing the fast, sleek and modern trains that China is known for. Our journey on the high-speed train takes us through the beautiful landscapes of rural China.

After transferring to our hotel in Xi’an, the evening is free to begin exploring on your own. Perhaps walk a section of the city’s walls, a great vantage point from which to get a real insight into life in the city. Or visit the Muslim Quarter, where you can mix with locals while sampling some delicious traditional snacks. The street is famous for its cuisine, and it bursts with life on an evening, with its bustling street food stalls surrounded by traditional red lanterns and bright neon lights. Overnight Xi’an.

Day 5 – Terracotta Warriors

Today we discover the famous Terracotta Warriors – one of the world’s most fantastic archaeological finds. The 6,000 figures – some with horses or chariots, but all with unique features – were buried in 210 BC, yet only discovered in 1974 by local farmers. 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 truly breathtaking sight. Later, we discover more of the walled city of Xi’an, taking in the Great Mosque, the largest mosque in China. We also see the city’s lively bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, which dates to the 8th century and is a leading example of Tang Dynasty architecture.

We enjoy a dumpling-making lesson this afternoon, learning all about how to make delicious local dumplings. We sample this tasty local specialty this evening as we sit down to a traditional dumpling banquet for dinner. Overnight Xi’an.

Days 6 – To Chengdu by Train

Our day begins with a shopping stop, where you may find some lovely jade products and jewellery. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel on the new high-speed rail service from Xi’an to Chengdu. Dinner this evening is at our hotel. Overnight Chengdu.

Day 7 – Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute

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 enchanting and rare creature, at close quarters in a near-natural habitat setting. We then return to Chengdu for some sightseeing. We see the Wenshu Monastery, one of China’s finest Buddhist structures, as well as the historic teak buildings on Jinli Street. Overnight Chengdu.

Day 8 – Tea Tasting & the Yangtze River

We head to Renmin Park, or the People’s Park, this morning. Boasting artful landscaping, bonsais, and two tea houses, this park is the venue for various local cultural activities. Afterwards, we enjoy a traditional aspect of China with a tasting in one of the local tea houses. 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 our luxurious 5-Star Century river cruise vessel for our three-night cruise along the Yangtze River and its dramatic scenery. Overnight ship.

Day 9 – Fengdu

We start the day with tea, coffee and pastries, then we rejuvenate ourselves with a Tai Chi session on board. After the ship moors, there is an option to visit the Fengdu ghost town (payable locally), a temple complex dedicated to the afterlife. This afternoon we visit the stunning Shibaozhai Pagoda, rising twelve stories up a sheer cliff face. This evening, we attend the Captain’s Banquet on board and enjoy a cabaret performance by the crew. Overnight ship.

Day 10 – Yangtze River Cruise

There is an option of visiting the temples of the White Emperor City (payable locally) this morning. Our cruise then continues through the scenic locales of Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge, before we make a shore excursion to Shennong Stream. Here, the cliff sides soar steeply away from the near-emerald waters of this beautiful waterway, a truly breathtaking sight. Overnight ship.

Day 11 – Three Gorges Dam/To Shanghai

We disembark at Yichang today, where there’s an optional tour of the Three Gorges Dam (payable locally). After lunch, we take a flight to Shanghai, where we spend three nights. One of China’s most exciting and contemporary cities, Shanghai is a city in which old collides with new; the Bund region harks back to the emergence of the city in the 1920s, while the east of the city boasts an ultra-modern vibe with a booming financial district. Overnight Shanghai.

Day 12 – Shanghai Sightseeing

Today’s guided tour of Shanghai takes us to the city’s historic Yu Gardens, where we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. We also visit the bazaar, where we stroll amongst traditional shops selling a host of enticing goods, and through streets where vibrant street performers play. After lunch in a local restaurant, this afternoon we visit the Jade Buddha Temple, a beautiful, tranquil temple and active Buddhist monastery. Overnight Shanghai.

Day 13 – Shanghai Museum & French Concession

Today takes us to the Shanghai Museum to admire the fascinating Chinese artefacts found in the collections here, including ancient coins from the Silk Road. Next, we head out to explore the Bund, seeing the waterfront that is bordered by some of the iconic buildings that define futuristic Shanghai.

We have a little free time on Nanjing Road, one of the world’s most famous shopping streets, to look around and grab lunch. Afterwards, we visit the beautiful French Concession, a former foreign settlement full of leafy boulevards and European-style buildings. This evening we round off our stay in lively Shanghai with a cruise along the Huangpu River, taking in the brightly lit cityscape while we enjoy dinner onboard. Overnight Shanghai.

Days 14 – Tour Conclusion

Your tour concludes after breakfast with a private transfer to the Shanghai airport.

Please note

Please note that throughout your tour you will need to be able to transfer your own luggage on and off each train we travel on as porterage is not included.

Chinese Railways

Chinese RailwaysDuring this tour we travel by the Chinese rail network’s modern high-speed trains. These efficient units with streamlined power cars are all air-conditioned, with well-furnished interiors in ‘soft seat’ class.

Novotel Peace Hotel, Beijing

Novotel Peace Hotel, BeijingIdeally situated in the heart of Beijing, the 4-Star Novotel Peace Hotel is a short metro ride away from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Its facilities include a lobby bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as a selection of hot and cold snacks. There are two restaurants serving international and French cuisine, as well as an indoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre. Massage therapies are available (payable locally). The air-conditioned rooms feature facilities such as a telephone, television, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi. A dry cleaning and ironing service is available at this hotel (payable locally).

Tibet Hotel, Chengdu

Tibet Hotel, ChengduLocated in the city centre, Tibet Hotel (Chengdu), which is also near the Jinjiang River and connecting to the JinniuWanda Business District in the north and Wenshu Monastery in the south, is a luxurious 5 -star Tibetan culture theme l. Featuring a Tibetan theme with a hint of modern art, not only the decoration, but the whole building stylistically evokes Lhasa’s Potala Palace. Hotel interior is decorated with prayer wheel, hand-woven carpets and Tibetan furniture. 271 rooms are available to choose.

Pullman Shanghai Jing’an, Shanghai

Pullman Shanghai Jing'an, ShanghaiThe Pullman Shanghai Jing’an (Formerly Grand Mercure Shanghai Central) is ideally situated in the heart of Shanghai, just minutes away from some of the city’s attractions. The rest are all in easy reach from Shanghai’s efficient Metro system, only a two minute walk away. The hotel boasts an impressive variety of both local, greater Chinese and international cuisine from its three restaurants, as well as a host of refreshing beverages from the bar. There is also a fitness and wellness centre, including a gym and sauna, and massages are available. All well-appointed rooms are en-suite and are equipped with air conditioning, desk, satellite television, telephone, safe and tea and coffee-making facilities. The hotel offers a laundry/dry cleaning service.

Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian

Grand Mercure Renmin Square, XianWithin the ancient walls of Xian, Grand Mercure Xian on Renmin Square is surrounded by serene courtyards and enchanting gardens which encapsulate the historic riches of the region. Fifty years of Renmin Square history is reflected on the magnificent décor of the hotel’s 194 guestrooms and suites. Combining chic Chinese design with modern touches, the rooms are fully equipped for comfort and convenience: room safe, satellite television and a variety of deluxe amenities.

Century river cruise ship

Century river cruise shipWe enjoy our cruise on the Yangtze River on one of Century’s fleet of river cruise ships. The ship used varies by departure date, but all are modern comfortable vessels, with state-of-the-art amenities and spacious public areas.

Along with the rest of the ship, the air-conditioned cabins are equipped with facilities to rival a 5-Star hotel. Each ship also boasts a restaurant serving fantastic cuisine – both traditional Chinese dishes and other international flavours.

As each ship carries a large crew (approximately one crew member to every two passengers), you can be assured of attentive service throughout your time on board.


We offer a selection of upgrades and ‘add-ons’ designed to help you make the most of your holiday – and make it even easier!

Extend your stay

Many of our guests choose to spend additional nights before or after their trip.


    • First-class high-speed rail travel (one journey in second-class)
    • Hotel accommodations for 10 nights’ 4 and 5-star hotel accommodation
  • SHIP
    • 3-night Yangtze River cruise onboard a local 5-star cruise ship
    • Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
    • 31 meals, including 13 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 8 dinners, including an authentic Peking duck dinner in Beijing
    • Cancellation & Travel Insurance is not included in the price of the tour but can be arranged
    • Flights and Airport transfers
Tour highlights
  • Tours of Beijing, Xi’an, Suzhou and Shanghai
  • Visit to the Great Wall of China
  • See the Terracotta Warriors
  • Visit the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Institute
  • Wuhan’s Yellow Crane Tower excursion


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