Enquire About This Tour Code JGCYY Yin & Yangtze
Duration: 15 Days Route: Beijing to Shanghai Style: Adventure Tours Price: US$3,299.00
Starting this wonderful expose of China in Beijing, we journey into the heart of China marvelling at all its ancient wonders along the way; from the Great Wall and Beijing's Forbidden City to the Terracotta Warriors on guard in Xi'an. Cruise the mighty Yangtze River and while dwarfed by steep slopes either side of you before ending in decadent Shanghai.
Tour Dossier Introduction
- Dossier Last Updated: 26-03-2014
- Tour Code: JGCYY
- Duration: 14 nights / 15 days
- Joining City: Beijing
- Departure City: Shanghai
- Nearest Joining International Airport: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
- Nearest Departing International Airport: Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)
Please check this document just before departing in case of last minute changes to your tour.
Great Wall of China
Guided Tour of the Forbidden City
Rickshaw ride through the Hutongs
The Summer Palace
Yangtze River Cruise
City tour of Nanjing
Arrival & Departure Transfer
10 nights in hotels, hostels & guesthouses, 1 nights on overnight trains, 3 nights on Yangtze cruise boat
14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
Travel by train, taxi, on foot, 1 flight(s)
Tucan Travel Representative, English-speaking local guide(s) on excursions
What's not Included
Tipping kitty of USD$35-90 payable at the start of your tour and administered by your tour leader.
Entrance fees to some national parks and sites.
International flights and departure taxes
Domestic flight taxes if applicable
Visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
Optional excursions - Please see our optional excursions guide on the dossier page for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
Day 1 to 3 - Arrive Beijing
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
For centuries the political heart of this hugely historic country, Beijing is an ever changing city and a looking glass between old and new, with an abundance of activities to enjoy.
Beginning the day with a pre-departure meeting, we soon head off on a guided sightseeing tour of the nation's capital, host of the 2008 Olympics. For 800 years Beijing has served as capital for several powerful dynasties. We visit iconic Tiananmen Square, home to the mausoleum of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the founder of Communist China and also the infamous scene of a student uprising and subsequent killings in 1989. On one side of Tiananmen Square is possibly Beijing's most famous sight, the Gate of Heavenly Peace. The gate is the main entry to the Forbidden City. A vision in grandeur, this 'city within a city' was once forbidden to anyone not on imperial business until as late as 1911. It is reported to house 9,999 rooms over 720,00 square metres. Later that day we take rickshaws through the maze of Hutongs that are made up of a lattice work of back alleys, courtyards and compact house, which provide a wonderful insight into a timeless way of life amongst an exploding city. In the evening we will be treated to a meal of traditional Peking duck and the opportunity to further get to know the rest of the group.
The following morning we head out of town for the not-to-be-missed highlight that is a visit to the Great Wall. We travel to a place called Badaling, where we will walk along sections of the wall. No amount of photos can do justice to the sheer scale of the wall and the enormity of the undertaking in constructing it as a line of defence. The whole wall stretches for a seemingly-endless 7,000 kilometres over mountains and through desert all the way to the north-eastern corner of China. Now a UNESCO-protected site, the wall's construction spanned 2,000 years and some 20 different dynasties. The vigorous walk up and along the wall provides a rewarding vista of the rest of the wall winding its way past the horizon and of the surrounding countryside. On the way back to Beijing we will check out a cloisonné workshop, where we'll see practitioners of this ancient craft creating beautifully enamelled metal pieces. In the evening we enjoy an included Chinese acrobatic performance, complete with swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids, to mention just a few of the spectacles performed.
Day 4 to 4 - Overnight Train to Xi'an
Still in Beijing, we begin the day with an optional trip to the myriad of clothing shops that make up the famous Silk Street, where few visitors find themselves leaving empty-handed. We then head to Kunming Lake, the picturesque setting for the Summer Palace. The present buildings only date back to the beginning of the 20th century but the site dates back to the 12th century. The lake is completely man-made and the excavated earth was used to make Longevity Hill, upon which the palace sits. There is much to see at the Summer Palace and the 730-metre covered Long Corridor with hand-painted scenes of Chinese history and legend adorning the walls.
Tonight we will catch an overnight train to Xi'an.
Day 5 to 6 - Xi'an
On our first morning in Xi'an we visit one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century: Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors. Made up of some 7,000 life-sized soldiers standing in military formation in excavated pits under what can only be described as a great big aircraft hangar. Made of local clay, no two soldiers' faces are alike, as each is said to be an individual portrait, which does little to make it any less eerie.
Emperor Qin's army of 2,200-year-old soldiers was discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well. The reason for the warriors was that emperors were buried with their slaves, but slavery had been abolished by the time of Qin. To compensate, the emperor had the warriors made to protect him in the afterlife. Many of the soldiers are severely dismembered, said to be the result of a peasant revolt after the emperor's death rather than the passage of time. The emperor's tumulus (ancient grave mound) is located about a mile away and, according to folklore, contains untold treasures and so far nothing but a few exploratory digs have been attempted to find out. In the evening you have the option of a Tang Dynasty dinner and a performance of Chang'an music and dance, originally performed for the illustrious emperors.
We begin the next day with a tour of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the enduring symbol of Xi'an, which was first built in 652 to hold sutras collected in India by a wandering monk. We then go for a leisurely bike ride on Xi'an's medieval city wall and visit to the Muslim Quarter. The spectacular wall and moat is 15 kilometres in perimeter and dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Later in the day there is an optional excursion to see pandas at the Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Centre, a two-hour drive from Xi'an. The centre offers care to a small number of injured giant pandas from the around the region.
Day 7 to 7 - Chonging
The morning is yours free to explore Xi'an at leisure before we fly to Chongqing, the starting point for your Yangtze river cruise. The afternoon will allow you time to the People's Square in the city centre.
Day 8 to 9 - Yangtze River cruise
After spending our first night onboard the boat, this morning we begin our epic cruise down the mighty Yangtze River. One of China's most important arteries and stretching for over 6,000 kilometres, the Yangtze is the third longest river in the world and naturally dissects China from north to south. In the higher reaches of the river we travel through the utterly stunning Three Gorges. The first we sail through, the Qutangxia Gorge, is the shortest but narrowest. Here the river squeezes through 1,000-metre high limestone peaks that seem to spring up in and out of the mist. We step on to dry land for two hours at either Fengdu 'Ghost City' or Shibaozhai 'Stone Treasure Fortress'. In the Chinese vision of the afterlife, the dead must undergo three major tests to enter the netherworld. These tests are taken at three locations: Nothing-To-Be-Done Bridge; Ghost Torturing Pass and the Tianzi (son of heaven) Palace. These three locations are among many attractions in the Ghost City. At Shibaozhai you can explore the beautiful 12-floor fortress, laden with fascinating murals, artefacts, paintings and statues. You will have the option to also visit White Emperor City.
On the second day of the cruise the Yangtze draws us through Wuxia Gorge. Here the scenery has changed and we are treated to lush green trees and rising mists at every turn. We will hope to spot the twelve peaks that penetrate the mist. Today's excursion is to Shennong Stream where we transfer to a smaller 'peapod' boat and visit the serenely beautiful Shennong Lesser Gorge a tributary of the Yangtze. There is a host of wildlife we may see from monkeys and birds above us to different fish below. As we head up the gorge we pass curious caves and the coffins of the Ba people surreally suspended from the cliffs.
Day 10 to 12 - Nanjing & Suzhou
Still on our cruise, today we pass through the Xiling Gorge which is in fact made up of several smaller ones. After lunch we disembark the boat for the last time and move on to Wuhan for the night.
The next morning it's all aboard the high speed D3008 (Hankou - Shanghai) train bound for Nanjing. Reaching speeds of 250 kilometres per hour it's not long before we pull in to Nanjing. This afternoon we have a sightseeing tour of the city that was capital during the Ming dynasty and that of the China Republic from 1911-1949. We will visit the Fuzi Mao (Temple of Confucius) and the Memorial Hall to the Nanjing massacre, more commonly known as the Rape of Nanking, a moving experience and reminder of darker periods in this country's history.
After Nanjing a short train journey east takes us to Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. This 'Venice of the east' is made up of a patchwork of canals and waterways. We will get to cruise the Grand Canal, which at over 1,800 kilometres in length is the longest canal on Earth. Later in the day there will also be a visit to a silk workshop.
Day 13 to 14 - Shanghai
The name Shanghai is synonymous with wonder and oriental decadence. Prior to 1949, the city was a magnet for fortune seekers, idle foreigners, explorers and the dispossessed. The reason for this laissez faire attitude to all things commercial and social was to do with the notion of extraterritoriality, which meant foreign nationals were not bound by any local laws but by the laws and norms established by their respective consuls. Basically anything went. Until 1949, foreigners dominated commerce, banking and industry, amassing huge fortunes and transforming the landscape of foreign concessionary sections of Shanghai. This all came to a spectacular end in 1949, when the People's Liberation Army under Mao took power. One legacy of these heady times is Shanghai's Bund, where several colonial buildings line the promenade.
For the next two days you are free to explore Shanghai at your own pace. You might want to consider taking in the stunning Oriental Pearl TV tower, the Jade Buddha Temple, the charming Yuyuan Gardens as well as the Bund and Old City. In the evening a cruise on the Huangpu River is a popular way to enjoy your last evening in this fabulous city.
Day 15 to 15 - Depart Shanghai
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
This itinerary is a guide. Changes may be made before or during your tour to improve the running or due to unforseen circumstances.
On this tour we operate a compulsory tipping kitty system to save you money and embarrassment in countries where tipping is a way of life and where requests for tips can be infuriatingly persistent. Each member of the group contributes approximately US$90 per person to the kitty. The tour leader uses this kitty to pay tips to any people who provide services to the group as a whole e.g. guides, porters, drivers, housekeeping staff in hotels etc. Your tour leader does not benefit from this kitty.
This tour has an average group size of 15-20 passengers per Tour Leader
We have a detailed packing list for all of our Adventure Tours here.
On all of our Adventure Tours, you will be required to carry your luggage long distances down unpaved and uneven roads or up flights of stairs when elevators are not available. It is important that you choose a durable and lightweight soft bag that you can carry comfortably on your back.
You will also need a small daypack, large enough to carry everything you might need on overnight excursions.
Add-ons & Extras
On many of our Group Tours, we spend one night in our arrival and departure cities. If you want to explore these cities more we can book pre and post tour accommodation, city tours and airport transfers for you. Price information can be found on the price page of each tour. We also have Add-ons - short packages that can be booked alongside a tour or on their own and have been carefully designed to ensure you don't miss out on popular highlights.
Day by Day Itinerary
|Day 4||Overnight train to Xi'an||B|
|Day 8||Yangtze River cruise||BLD||✓|
|Day 9||Yangtze River cruise||BLD||✓|
(B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner included)
Please note the day to day itinerary above is given as a GUIDELINE ONLY.
For tours that include the option of a single supplement, a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available.
This package has a compulsory single supplement, unless we can find you a roommate of the same gender who wishes to share a room. This means that you may be charged a single supplement at the time of booking, but could potentially receive a refund at a later date if another solo passenger books. If you would prefer not to share and would rather have a single room, you can opt to keep the single supplement on your booking
In the day-by-day grid above a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available to those who have purchased a single supplement. If there is no offer for a single room this is usually because you will be on an overnight train or bus, or camping.