Imperial Jewels of China River Tour

Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai, imperial Beijing and the Terra Cotta Army, and enjoy a 6‑day Yangtze River cruise.

With this tour you will walk the Great Wall and around Beijing’s Hutong neighbourhood. Contrast the stylised sculpted beasts guarding the Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs with the lifelike statues of Xian’s Terra Cotta Army. You will then cruise between the bamboo groves and limestone pinnacles of the Yangtze’s Goddess Stream. This 14-day cruise tour is the perfect introduction to China, showcasing its most important cultural centres and the mighty Yangtze.

Day 1: UK & Beijing
You will fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years, then transfer to your hotel. After check-in you have free time to relax or explore the city.

Day 2: Beijing
This morning  you can visit the enormous Tiananmen Square, which can accommodate over 1 million people. Then, you will tour Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Made up of nearly 1,000 buildings, it is the world’s largest surviving palace complex. You will have the opportunity to walk its grounds among the opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards and imperial gardens within the 26-foot-high walls. After lunch in a local restaurant, you can take some free time to explore Beijing on your own or do some shopping. Enjoy your dinner this evening, or attend The Legend of Kung Fu for a beautiful display of this performance art, which has roots that date back 4000 years. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Beijing
After breakfast, you will travel to the Badaling Hills. There, you behold one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China. This 4,000-mile-long series of sandstone and earthwork fortifications was built and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century AD, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  After a lunch of local specialties, you will visit the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue guarded by massive sculptures of elephants, lions and camels leading to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, dine at a local restaurant and relax at your hotel, or enjoy an optional Peking duck dinner, the region’s famous dish. (B, L, D)

Day 4: Beijing & Xian
Today, you will tour Old Beijing’s hutongs (narrow alleys) via rickshaw. Discover the sights and sounds of traditional Chinese life. After lunch, you will fly to Xian, key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 AD, this dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods spreading its influence throughout Asia into Europe and Africa. In the evening you can have dinner and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 5: Xian
After breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago. Here you will see the thousands of life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors, archers and infantrymen that were buried with him, each man and horse moulded with its own distinctive features. The walkways provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire necropolis where the Terra Cotta Army was discovered in the 1970s. After lunch, you have free time to further explore Xian. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colourful era. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Xian & Chongqing
Today you will leave Xian and fly to Chongqing, the gateway to the Yangtze. Here you will board your ship and enjoy a Western dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Shibaozhai
This morning,  you will visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. You can tour the pavilion and temple before returning aboard for lunch. Enjoy Yangtze River scenery as you cruise this afternoon and through the night. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Wu Gorge
For the next 150 miles, you will travel the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze as it forces its way through a spectacular series of limestone ridges known as the Three Gorges. During breakfast, cruise through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the three large gorges. Then, board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Goddess Stream. You will sail through these remarkable canyons flanked by towering cliffs. Along the way, see fascinating sites including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, and spend the afternoon sailing through Wu (‟Witches”) Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery. Dinner is served aboard. This evening, sail through the 5-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Wu Gorge 
This morning, you disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam. Here you can learn about this immense engineering masterpiece and what it means for the Chinese people and the Yangtze. Lunch and dinner are served aboard while you cruise through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Jingzhou
This morning, arrive in Jingzhou, where you will visit an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises. You are greeted and entertained by the children, then return to your ship for an afternoon of scenic cruising. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Wuhan
After breakfast, you will disembark in Wuhan. You can visit the Hubei Provincial Museum where you will hear the music of ancient bronze bells and view relics from 400 BC. Return to your ship for dinner on your final night on board. (B, L, D)

Day 12: Shanghai 
After breakfast, disembark in Wuhan. You will then Fly to Shanghai, China’s largest city and one of the world’s most important ports. Here, you can see the modern metropolis of the financial district juxtaposed with the older sections of the city. You will then check in to your hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 13: Shanghai
This morning, you can see Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views. Then tour the Shanghai Museum, featuring displays of ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy and paintings. After lunch, you can spend some time at the exquisite Yuyuan Garden, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before seeing the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe from the best seats in the house. (B, L, D)

Day 14: Shanghai & UK
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Departure Dates & costs per person
16th September 2018 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3195
28th September 2018 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3196
7th October 2018 (Shanghai to Beijing) – £3195
19th October 2018 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3295
19th March 2019 (Beijing to Shanghai)-  £3,765
28th March 2019 (Shanghai to Beijing) – £3,765
31st March 2019 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3,545
12th April 2019 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3,965
3rd May 2019 (Shanghai to Beijing) – £4,165
30th May 2019 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3,745
15th September 2019 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3,745
18th October 2019 (Shanghai to Beijing) – £3,945
21st October (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3,745
2nd November 2019 (Beijing to Shanghai) – £3,345