Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in the capital city of Beijing, China’s longtime seat of power, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.
Beijing | China’s Dynastic Capital
Today, participate in a privately led tai chi lesson taught by a master instructor at the Temple of Heaven, a stunning example of classical Ming period architecture. After lunch, take in the sweep of history at Tiananmen Square before exploring the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner at your hotel.
Beijing | View the World from the Great Wall
This morning, Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong, a vast yet intimate neighborhood of small, winding alleyways dating to China’s dynastic period. Then, travel to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Ride a cable car to the top of the wall to take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. After experiencing this wonder of the world, return to Beijing.
Xian | Key to the Great Silk Road
Fly to Xian, a modern city cloaked in over 3,000 years of history. Once the eastern terminus on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Upon arrival, enjoy a Chef’s Table noodle-throwing demonstration, followed by lunch. Visit the old city’s Muslim Quarter with its teeming markets and beautiful Great Mosque, a 14th-century national heritage site. A blend of classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments make it one of the most fascinating sites in Xian.
Xian | Terra Cotta Warriors, Army for the Afterlife
Today, accompanied by an on-site specialist, visit the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the life-size army created during the Qin Dynasty to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife. More than 8,000 remarkably crafted soldiers are spread throughout three dig pits, each revealing a unique face. After lunch, stroll along the impressive ramparts of the City Wall. Tonight, gather for dinner.
Chengdu | Exploring People’s Park
Travel by bullet train to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. For lunch, enjoy a spicy Sichuan hot pot, a regional specialty. Afterward, immerse yourself in local life and culture at People’s Park, where area residents play traditional Chinese instruments, practice calligraphy and engage in tai chi. Then, learn about unique, centuries-old matchmaking techniques still in use today, before checking in to your hotel, where you observe a traditional tea demonstration.
Chengdu & Chongqing | Giant Pandas
Today, visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. Enjoy the rare opportunity to observe these endangered creatures roaming freely in their specially designed habitat. Then, board a high-speed train for a ride through the Chinese countryside to Chongqing, where you embark on your river cruiser, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer,’ for a three-night journey to Yichang. Settle into your cabin as the ship sets a course downstream to the stunning Three Gorges region.
Cruising the Yangtze | Along Asia’s Great River
Start your morning with tai chi on the deck before breakfast. Disembark in the small city of Fuling for a visit to the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. Descend 150 feet underwater to see centuries-old rock carvings. Afterward, continue to a local market to gain insight into the region’s rich culinary culture. Back on board, learn about Chinese traditional medicine and reflexology. Tonight, attend the Captain’s Reception.
Cruising the Yangtze | The Three Gorges
Early this morning, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer’ navigates the Qutang and Wu gorges before anchoring at Badong, where you board a ferry and travel up Shennong Stream. Transfer to “peapod” boats, poled by Tujia boatmen, to view a scenic gorge. The Tujia are members of a local minority culture famed for their boat-building skills and keen knowledge of the Yangtze. Gain insights into their daily lives on a village visit. Return by ferryboat to your ship. Tonight, savor a “Taste of China” dinner, followed by onboard entertainment.
Yichang & Shanghai | Disembark ‘Yangzi Explorer’
This morning, disembark in Yichang and fly to Shanghai, stopping briefly to photograph the Three Gorges Dam, a project that resulted in the resettlement of 1.2 million residents of the cities submerged behind it. Upon arrival in Shanghai, transfer to your elegant hotel, located on the city’s historic Bund.
Shanghai | Design Your Day
Explore dynamic Shanghai, where stunning modern skylines meet classic street markets and gardens. Head to the observation deck of the Shanghai Tower, where you are treated to a bird’s-eye view of the Huangpu River, the Bund and Shanghai’s panorama of skyscrapers.
This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:
Walk Shanghai’s Historic Jewish Quarter and learn how it became a haven for Jews fleeing Europe in World War II.
Enjoy a Shopping Excursion to the trendy French Concession to browse the superb selection of artisan shops and navigate the maze of shikumen homes.
Savor a Street-Food Tour, sampling local specialties, such as soup dumplings and steamed crab.
Then, toast your day with a relaxing Scenic Sundowner.
Shanghai | Curator-Led Museum Experience
Today, walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s most popular promenade, and then explore the Shanghai Museum accompanied by its curator, viewing exceptional collections of historically significant art and housewares, including bronzes, ceramics, jade, furniture and coins. Savor lunch at a local restaurant, and later stroll the streets of Old Town and visit the 16th-century Yu Garden, with its pavilions and ponds.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart for home.
Travel Privately with A&K | This itinerary is available as a private journey, Signature China & the Yangtze.