Spirit of the Yangtze
3 5 5

Spirit of the Yangtze

review score 5 reviews read here

Cruise the mighty Yangtze River on a 6 night voyage of discovery after enjoying some of China's most renowned and awe-inspiring sights. This itinerary blends majestic nature, cultural heritage and modern wonders

tour duration 18 Days from
tour price On Request
tour type Group Tour

Places Visited

UK - Beijing (3N) - Xian (2N) - Chengdu (1N) - Chongqing (1N) - Yangtze River Cruise (6N) - Shanghai (3N) - UK

Tour Highlights

Take a rickshaw ride through the warren-like hutongs
Dine on traditional Shaanxi Dumplings in Xian
Puzzle over the mysteries of the Face Changing Opera
Visit the historical capital of Nanjing and the characterful city of Wuhan
Wander the calming lanes of Zhujiajiao Water Town
Toast your journey with a farewell cocktail overlooking the Huangpu River

Exclusive Experiences

Tai Chi with Master
Forbidden City Treasure Hall
Champagne on the Great Wall
Chinese Calligraphy
Dumpling Demonstration
Archaeology Expert
Hanyangling Mausoleum
Panda Expertise
Face changing show
Shanghai Cocktails

Day 1-2 Fly to Beijing
Arrive at the airport by chauffeured transfer and fly overnight to Beijing. On arrival you will be accompanied by one of our experienced escorts to the hotel. (D)
Day 1-2 Fly to Beijing
Day 3 Explore Imperial Beijing
Begin the day like many locals with gentle exercise, as you partake in a private Tai Chi lesson with a master in the Temple of Heaven park. Cross vast Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City - a monument to a dynastic past, the palace served as the home of emperors for 500 years. Your visit includes entrance to the intimate Treasure Hall, a glittering gallery showcasing the everyday trappings of royal life. Dine on Peking Duck at the excellent Quanjude restaurant and enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Explore Imperial Beijing
Day 4 Champagne on the Great Wall
From the Gobi Desert to the Bohai Sea the Great Wall stretches thousands of miles. Visit the beautiful Mutianyu section, stopping for a glass of champagne whilst admiring the views of the Wall as it snakes over craggy peaks. Take a rickshaw ride through Beijing's hutongs and stop for a lesson in calligraphy with a learned scholar. Enjoy a free evening at lively Houhai Lake. (B,L)
Day 4 Champagne on the Great Wall
Day 5 Ancient City Walls
Fly to Xian. Walk on the 14th century walls for an excellent overview of the city for an excellent overview of the city. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening, watch a colourful and sometimes humorous Tang Dynasty dance performance. (B,L)
Day 5 Ancient City Walls
Day 6 The Terracotta Warriors
Fortuitously found by local farmers, the Terracotta Warriors are one of the worlds most famous archaeological discoveries. View the enigmatic ranks in the company of an archaeologist who works at the site and who will put their story into context. Next meet the discoverer of the Warriors - learn about the moment they were uncovered by talking to one of the farmers who stumbled upon them in 1974. On the way back to Xian, visit the workshop of the craftsmen who create miniature Terracotta Warriors. Study with local dumpling chefs to learn the art of creating these cultural delicacies. In Xian the preparation of these bite-sized morsels has been perfected into an art form with their delicate wrappers crafted to represent their filling. Tonight there is an option for a city night tour that includes the dazzling fountain display in front of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. (B,L)
Day 6 The Terracotta Warriors
Day 7 Sichuan Hot Pot
Explore the fascinating Hanyangling Mausoleum, burial place of Emperor Jing and Empress Wang of the Western Han Dynasty. Fly to Chengdu. Tonight enjoy the quintessential Sichuan hot pot dining experience before puzzling over a national secret at the Sichuan Opera - the face-changing art of Bian Lian. (B,L,D)
Day 7 Sichuan Hot Pot
Day 8 Pandas with an expert
Visit Chengdu's Panda Centre where an expert will talk to you about the centre's work and the pandas themselves as you observe these peaceful bears. Visit the Shu Brocade and Embroidery Museum, then transfer to Chongqing and visit Ciqikou, a historic district full of traditional architecture - spend a free evening here exploring. (B,L)
Day 8 Pandas with an expert
Day 9 Welcome aboard
Board your cruise vessel and begin to enjoy your private balcony and VIP package. The Yangtze has long played a pivotal role in the history, culture and economy of China, and this voyage is the perfect way to illustrate its importance. The first stop will be Fengdu, a complex of structures and statues that represent Diyu, the concept of the underworld in Chinese mythology. (B,L,D)
Day 9 Welcome aboard
Day 10 Dramtic Yangtze Gorges
Prepare for breathtaking vistas as we sweep through Wu and Qutang gorges before cruising along the scenic Shennong Stream on a sampan to further explore. Back on the boat, expand your knowledge on the dam project with a presentation by the ships river guide. (B,L,D)
Day 10 Dramtic Yangtze Gorges
Day 11 Three Gorges Dam
This massive feat of engineering saw the century-old dreams of Chinese luminaries come to fruition. Created to harness the power of the Yangtze, it is difficult to not be awestruck as you stand on the viewing platform. Also visit the Three Gorges Dam exhibition centre. (B,L,D)
Day 11 Three Gorges Dam
Day 12 Hubei Provincial Museum
Take a shore excursion to the city of Wuhan and the Hubei Provincial Museum. (B,L,D)
Day 12 Hubei Provincial Museum
Day 13 Mountain scenery
Delight in beautiful mountain panoramas on an excursion to Jiuhuashan. (B,L,D)
Day 13 Mountain scenery
Day 14 Imperial Nanjing
Visit historical Nanjing and the mausoleum of Dr Sun Yat Sen, the 'Father of the Nation'. Enjoy a farewell banquet on the boat. (B,L,D)
Day 14 Imperial Nanjing
Day 15 Travel to Shanghai
Disembark in Shanghai. Visit the antiquities of the Shanghai Museum and this evening, savour the vast number of dining options and the mid-19th shikumen architecture of the lively Xintiandi district (B,L)
Day 15 Travel to Shanghai
Day 16 Zhujiajiao water town
Explore the atmospheric alleys and waterways of ancient Zhujiajiao, a typical Chinese water town, before returning to Shanghai. Take a trip on the super-fast Maglev train. This afternoon is free with the option to take part in a cooking class. (B)
Day 16 Zhujiajiao water town
Day 17 Stylish Shanghai
Walk in the Yu Gardens, admire the collections of the Shanghai Museum and wander along the colonial Bund. Sample mouthwatering shanghainese cuisine at Meiyuancun for your evening meal and toast the end of the tour with a cocktail at the Cloud 9 Sky Lounge, named one of ‘The World’s Great Gathering Places’ by Newsweek. (B,L,D)
Day 17 Stylish Shanghai
Day 18 Fly Shanghai to UK
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK, arriving home the same or following day. On arrival you will be transported home by chauffeured transfer. (B)
Day 18 Fly Shanghai to UK

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking local guides in each destination

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

Regent Beijing Wangfujing
Regent Beijing Wangfujing - Beijing (3 Nights)
hotel star rating

Within steps of the vibrant Pedestrian Zone of Wangfujing, the Regent Building offers a grand choice in sophisticated, centrally located accommodation. This luxurious hotel provides meticulously designed rooms with a King Size bed and 42" plasma screen TV. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Serenity Spa.



Xian Shangri-La Hotel
Xian Shangri-La Hotel - Xian (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

The luxury 5 star Shangri-La Hotel Xian has spacious, marble en-suite rooms which include a large flat screen satellite television, free Wifi, air conditioning, tea making facilities and a safety deposit box. The hotel’s onsite restaurants serve Chinese, Thai and Western flavours, and the bar serves hot and cold drinks. There is also a fitness centre and a luxurious spa with heated pool.



Chengdu Shangri-la Hotel
Chengdu Shangri-la Hotel - Chengdu (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

The artistic 5 star Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu has spacious, marble en-suite rooms which include a large flat screen satellite television, free Wifi, air conditioning, tea making facilities and a safety deposit box. The hotel’s onsite restaurants serve Sichuan and Western flavours, with views of the Jinjiang River to enhance your dining experience. There is also a fitness centre and a luxurious spa with heated pool.



Le Meridien
Le Meridien - Chongqing (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

Located close to Nanping walking street, Le Meridien Hotel offers spacious and elegant rooms equipped with a flat screen satellite television, an iPod dock, a safety deposit box and an en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries. The hotel also boasts an indoor pool, a spa and a fitness centre. Guests can enjoy Chinese, Japanese and Western cuisines in the four onsite restaurants.



Grand Central Hotel
Grand Central Hotel - Shanghai (3 Nights)
hotel star rating

The luxury Shanghai Grand Central is located next to the Bund and Nanjing Road: perfect for exploring Shanghai. It offers 353 en-suite rooms equipped with Wifi, air conditioning, safety deposit box, tea making facilities and a minibar. There are two onsite restaurants featuring authentic French cuisine and contemporary Cantonese delicacies.



A visa is required by all nationalities. A visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. Calls may cost £1 per minute to the UK, plus a 10% service charge, but will vary by location. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. Many websites, including most Google Products, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China and therefore inaccessible. If you need to access your email via Gmail whilst in China, please use an alternative email account whilst in the country.

Tipping while on holiday is common in most parts of the world and China is no exception. However, it is not always clear who it is appropriate to tip and how much. Furthermore, travellers may not have the right amounts of cash available at the right time. In order to avoid any inconvenience Wendy Wu Tours operates a tipping policy where a stated amount is given to your national escort at the beginning of your tour and tips are distributed to local guides and drivers throughout your tour. The amount is designed to be at a reasonable level for travellers while being fair to the local people and includes a gratuity for the national escort. If you are travelling in a smaller group with local guides only, then tipping is paid in each destination.  To be fair to the guides we ask for slightly higher amounts per traveller with small groups. Yangtze cruise companies operate a service charge policy and this is paid separately when boarding the vessel.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre or post tour arrangements, you should allow 65 RMB per person per day for the guides and 35 RMB per person per day for the drivers.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
 
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.

Hotels in China are bound by Government laws which mean that air conditioning is switched on nationally in May and the central heating in November (this may vary slightly depending on the region).

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What's Included

International flights and current taxes
UK airport chauffeur transfers within 50 miles of the airport
Domestic transportation
5* accommodation
Meals as stated
Touring with guides and entrance fees
Visa fees for UK & EU passport holders

Why Book This Tour?

This tour is suitable for those with a reasonable amount of time available to travel and who are looking to tour the most iconic and popular destinations and cities in China. This tour is a deluxe tour and is suitable for the more discerning traveller. This tour is suited for those who are looking for a longer cruise on the Yangtze River.

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