Day 1: New Zealand – – Chengdu
Depart New Zealand for the flight to Chengdu. Touch down in Chengdu Airport and meet your tour guide, who will escort you to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 2: Chengdu (B,L)
Your introduction to Chengdu begins with a visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. The base was first opened in 1987 and is a semi-wild area where pandas roam freely. Then move to Jinli Old Street, one of the city’s ancient thoroughfares that was the commercial heart of the Shu Kingdom. This 550-metre-long stretch is lined with traditional-style buildings and street food vendors.
Optional: Sichuan Opera
Enjoy an evening of Sichuan Opera, an important fixture of Chengdu culture. As well as singing and martial arts performances, the Sichuan Opera also features fire-breathing, changing faces and pottery juggling. Additional cost applies.
Day 3: Chengdu –– Yichang (B,D)
Board a high-speed train for the journey from Chengdu to Yichang. Once arrived in the city, hop over to your Yangtze River Cruise ship to set off on your 4 night voyage down this mighty river.
Day 4: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
On the itinerary today is a morning Tai chi lesson and a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam site. The latter is one of the largest man-made construction projects in the world; it is also the biggest hydropower project. Return to the ship in the evening to attend the Captain’s welcome banquet, which includes a Chinese dancing ball.
Optional: Visit the Tribe of the Three Gorges
Visit the Tribe of the Three Gorges to look in at this scenic spot; an area not touched by the dam project and that showcases the Ba and Shu cultures. Additional cost applies.
Day 5: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Join a shore excursion to Lesser Three Gorges or Shennong Stream. Both sights are reached by smaller boat travel and the journey to either passes a lush landscape of sheer cliff-faces and imposing mountains. Look out for Qutang and Wu Gorges, Meng Liang Stairway and the hanging coffins. There is also an option to see the White Emperor City. Return to the ship and continue the cruise into the western section of the Xiling Gorge.
Optional: White Emperor City Excursion
See this ancient temple complex, which sits atop Baidi Mountain and flaunts stunning views across Qutang Gorge. Additional cost applies.
Day 6: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Choose to visit either Fengdu Ghost City or Shibaozhai pagoda today with optional excursions. Travellers return to the ship in the evening and the cruise sails through the mountains of eastern Sichuan. Tonight is your final night aboard and there is a farewell dinner.
Optional: Fengdu Ghost City Tour or Shibaozhai Pagoda Visit
Fengdu Ghost City is a sprawling complex made up of temples, monasteries and shrines – all dedicated to the afterlife. The complex clings to the side of the Ming mountain. The 18th century Shibaozhai Pagoda rises for 12 storeys and visitors can climb to the top floor. Additional costs apply for both excursions.
Day 7: Chongqing –– Xian (B)
Disembark from the Yangtze river cruise and be transferred from Chongqing to Xi’an by high-speed train. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to the hotel for check in. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 8: Xian – Terracotta Warriors (B,L)
The ancient wonders of Xi’an are yours to discover today. This city served as China’s capital for more than 1000 years and is home to a number of precious relics and historical sites. One of the most famous of Xi’an’s sights is the Terracotta Army. The 1974 discovery of the Terracotta Army site was a complete accident, but this collection of more than 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots has since become a massive drawcard for travellers. The army was created to guard Emperor Qin’s tomb and has done so since 201BC. Discover the army in the morning and then, after lunch, head to Muslim Street to explore.
Optional: Tang Dynasty Dance Performance
See the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, a performance of ancient music and dance. Additional cost applies.
Day 9: Xian –– Beijing (B)
A high-speed train whisks you from Xi’an to Beijing, China’s capital city. A tour guide will meet you upon arrival and transfer you to the hotel. Enjoy free time in the afternoon.
Day 10: Beijing – Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City (B)
Set out to uncover Beijing’s top sights and attractions today. First up is Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public plazas in the world. Pass through the gates into the Forbidden City – a world once only accessible to emperors – and admire the complex with an in-depth tour. There is also a visit to a silk factory where visitors can brush up on their history of this luxurious textile.
Day 11: Beijing – Great Wall of China (B,L)
Travel to one of the symbols of China: the Great Wall of China. There is opportunity to climb this once-defensive structure and you will be able to take in the extraordinary views offered of the surrounding mountain landscape. Learn about jade at Beijing’s largest factory dedicated to this precious stone, and visit the various sites used in the 2008 Summer Olympics, including the structures affectionately nicknamed the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. Unwind with a rejuvenating foot massage before heading back to the hotel.
Day 12: Beijing –– Shanghai (B)
There is optional tour this morning to head to the Temple of Heaven to practice Tai chi. Otherwise, wait for the afternoon’s journey by high-speed train to Shanghai. A tour guide will meet you at the station and escort you to the hotel for check in. Use the rest of the day to relax.
Day 13: Shanghai (B,L)
Get to know China’s largest financial and commercial centre in Shanghai today. Visit the Nanjing Road and explore Shanghai Museum. Head to the Bund by Huangpu River to admire the juxtaposition of Shanghai’s old and new architecture.
Optional: Huangpu River Cruise
Cruise along Huangpu River and take in many of the city’s famous sights, including the Monument to the People’s Hero, the Oriental Pearl Tower, the International Passenger Station of Shanghai Harbour and the fort relics in Wusong. There are great outlooks of the Pu Dong’s skyline, too. Additional cost applies.
Day 14: Shanghai – – New Zealand (B)
You will be transferred to the airport as necessary, to board the return flight to New Zealand.
Day 15: New Zealand
Arrive home today.