Day 1: New Zealand –– Beijing
Your exciting tour of China starts the moment you board a flight from New Zealand to Beijing. Upon your arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), you will be met and transferred to the hotel.
Day 2: Beijing (B)
Choose to get out and begin your discovery of Beijing or opt to join one of the optional activities.
Optional: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Join your trip leader and head to Tiananmen Square. Admire this grand public plaza’s enormity as you stand in its centre, and then enter the grounds of the Forbidden City. Once the strict realm of emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City is a sprawling complex of imperial palaces, courtyards and opulent rooms. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Hutong Tour
Clamber into a traditional rickshaw to discover Beijing’s maze of hutongs (alleyways and laneways). There is a meal with a local family before returning to the hotel. Additional cost applies.
Day 3: Beijing (B,L,D)
Travel to the mountainous landscape north of Beijing to China’s most symbolic sight: the Great Wall of China. You will scramble up a section of this ancient defensive structure and learn about its history as you admire the sweeping views. Stop off at a jade factory on the return journey to Beijing and visit some of the stadiums used for the 2008 Summer Olympics, including the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. An end-of-day reward comes in the form of a restorative foot massage at a centre for traditional Chinese medicine.
Day 4: Beijing – – Jinan – Tai’an (B,L)
Leave Beijing behind as you board a bullet train and venture to Jinan. A tour guide will greet you before an excursion to Daming Lake and Black Water Spring. Later this evening, the tour continues to Tai’an and checks in at the hotel.
Day 5: Tai’an (B)
A day of leisure to discover Tai’an at your own pace.
Day 6: Tai’an – – Hangzhou – West Lake (B,L)
Travel by bullet train to Hangzhou and then head out on a city tour upon arrival. As well as being the political, economic and cultural centre of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is also the location of West Lake. This area has long entranced artists, poets and other creatives who have drawn inspiration from the surrounding temples, pagodas, pavilions and gardens. As well as admiring the natural beauty of the area for yourself, there is also a visit to a local tea plantation where you can learn about how green tea is hand-picked and pan-fried.
Day 7: Hangzhou – Suzhou (B,L)
Seek out Suzhou and explore the Master of the Nets Garden, a quintessential example of classic Chinese garden design.
Optional: Suzhou’s Grand Canal
Take to the water on a boat ride along Suzhou’s Grand Canal. Some sections of the canal date to the 5th century BC and admiring the old buildings and houses that line the canal makes for a truly beautiful outlook. Additional cost applies.
Day 8: Suzhou – Shanghai (B,L,D)
There is a trip to a working silk factory following breakfast, where you can gain insight into how this luxurious textile is produced and the role it played in Chinese history. A bus transfer takes the group to Shanghai where, upon arrival, you will visit the Nanjing walking district and the Shanghai Museum. Continue to The Bund, the waterfront precinct in central Shanghai.
Optional: Huangpu River Cruise
Enjoy an evening on the Huangpu river as you take in Shanghai’s riverside sights from a watery vantage point. Expect to see the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Oriental Pearl Tower on the journey. Additional cost applies.
Day 9: Shanghai – – Yichang (B,D)
A high-speed train takes you from Shanghai to Yichang, where you will board the ship for your cruise of the Yangtze river. Settle into your cabin before departure tomorrow.
Day 10: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Begin your first morning cruising the Yangtze by taking up the opportunity for an exercise session. The day’s activities are up to you: remain on-board or join one of the optional excursions. Travellers return to the ship in the evening to attend the Captain’s welcome banquet, which includes entertainment.
Optional: Excursion to Three Gorges Dam Site
Additional cost applies.
Optional: Excursion to the Tribe of the Three Gorges
Visit the only scenic spot in the area that has not been touched by the work involved in the Three Gorges Dam project. This location also showcases the Ba and Shu Cultures. Additional cost applies.
Day 11: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
The ship continues its journey along the river, heading towards the western section of Xiling Gorge in the afternoon.
Optional: Lesser Three Gorges or Shennong Stream
Step into a smaller vessel to explore either the Lesser Three Gorges or Shennong Stream sites. Additional cost applies.
Optional: White Emperor City
Choose to discover White Emperor City, an ancient temple that sits atop Baidi Hill. Additional cost applies.
Day 12: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Pass through the mountains of eastern Sichuan and make the most of your last day aboard the ship. There is a farewell dinner tonight.
Optional: Fengdu Ghost City
Fengdu Ghost City is made up of temples, monasteries and shrines all dedicated to the afterlife. Additional cost applies.
This 12-storey pagoda is built into a rocky hill near Chongqing. Take note of the steles and inscriptions made by past dynasties that are located on each floor. Additional cost applies.
Day 13: Chongqing – – New Zealand (B)
Disembark the cruise ship and make for the airport for an New Zealand-bound flight.
Day 14: New Zealand
Arrive home today.