Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise

19 days
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4.7/5 Excellent
100+ reviews  
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Cancellation Policy
Small Group Tour
The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and giant pandas – China’s iconic sights need little introduction, and we visit them all on this comprehensive, va­ried journey. Equally inspiring are the great natural attractions, including the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River and the serene limestone mountains around Yangshuo. China remains one of th...
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Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Trip pace
Balanced schedule


    • See the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an
    • Visit a quieter section of The Great Wall
    • Cruise down the Yangtze River past the Three Gorges Dam
    • Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base near Chengdu
    • Discover rural Yangshuo and its limestone karst scenery

What's this trip about?

    The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and giant pandas – China’s iconic sights need little introduction, and we visit them all on this comprehensive, va­ried journey. Equally inspiring are the great natural attractions, including the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River and the serene limestone mountains around Yangshuo. China remains one of the must-visit destinations; from ultra-modern Shanghai to the ancient villages, this trip reveals a country as fascinating and beguiling as ever.Embark on a comprehensive China tour covering the length and breadth of the country


Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 18 people
Age range16 years and up
Flights and transportAll internal ground transport included
Start CityBeijing
End CityShanghai

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • Nature & Wildlife


  • Asia
  • China


  • Beijing
  • Chengdu
  • Shanghai
  • Three Gorges
  • Yangshuo


  • Culture
  • Nature

Trip includes

    • 18 breakfasts, nine lunches and three dinners
    • All accommodation
    • All transport and listed activities
    • Tour leader throughout
    • Arrival and departure transfers

Popular Trips


Travel Map

Day 1 Arrive Beijing

Catch your free airport transfer to the hotel in the centre of Beijing. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, in which we meet our leader and the rest of the group. For dinner, we can get our first taste of authentic Chinese cuisine – ask your leader for their top tips on where to go. Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel (or similar)

Day 2 Sightseeing in Beijing

The exploration of Beijing today will include the Forbidden City, with its innumerable courtyards and temples, as well as Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world and able to hold more than 1m people. We take a walking tour of the hutongs (narrow alleys) to s...

Day 3 Visit the Great Wall

We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, around a two-hour journey to the north of the city. We go to one of the best-preserved parts: Mutianyu, an impressive sight as it snakes into the distance across mountains and valleys. The wall her...

Day 4 Beijing; overnight train to Xi'an

This morning, we visit the Temple of Heaven, followed by the Summer Palace where you can witness how vast the exclusive playground of China's emperors and their concubines once was. In the evening, we board an overnight train (approximately 12 hours) to the ancient c...

Day 5 Morning walking tour of the Muslim quarter and mosque; free afternoon or optional cycle ride

Xi'an is a former capital and one of the few cities in China to have retained its city walls, probably because they are so massive that no revolutionary was willing to tackle the huge task of removing them. Today, after a Chinese breakfast, we embark on a walking tou...

Day 6 Day trip to the Terracotta Warriors

Today we visit the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin. Originally four life-size and life-like armies were planned, marking each point of the compass. Three have been found and it is assumed the emperor's successors decided enough was enough before the fourth was begu...

Day 7 Bullet train to Chengdu; afternoon sightseeing tour

We transfer to the train station and catch a morning bullet train (approximately 4hr 15 min) to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, arriving around lunch/early afternoon. This area is recognised throughout China as being the spicy province, and it certainly live...

Day 8 Giant Panda Breeding centre; sightseeing trip to Leshan Giant Buddha; return to Chengdu

With an early start, we visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Hopefully, these intriguing and rare animals will be feeding, as this is when they're most active; otherwise, we can watch them indulge in their most common form of entertainment: sleeping! Today, ...

Day 9 High speed train to Yichang

We by high speed train to Yichang (approximately seven hours), the embarkation point for our Yangtze river cruise. On arrival, we board our cruise boat and settle into our cabins. We stay in air-conditioned twin-berth cabins with en suite bathrooms. Accommodation: Victoria JENNA Cruise Ship (or similar)

Day 10 - 12 Three full days cruising the Yangtze River, including the Three Gorges and dam

We spend two days cruising one of the great rivers, as we head up the Yangtze, passing towering cliffs and gorges. To limit the impact of flooding, the Chinese government built a massive dam. This flooded the Three Gorges of Qutang, Wu and Xiling and a journey among t...

Day 13 Disembark cruise; train from Chongqing to Guilin, to Yangshuo

We complete our cruise this morning and disembark in Chongqing. We travel by train from Chongqing to Guilin (approximately four hours) and than drive through towering limestone scenery to Yangshuo and have an afternoon walking tour. The surrounding region is famous fo...

Day 14 Explore the countryside by bike; meal with a local family

This morning gives us the opportunity to appreciate the spectacular landscape on two wheels; as we take a bike and ride towards Moon Hill, one of the most famous in the area. The biking is at a leisurely pace, and there are plenty of stops to hydrate and appreciate th...

Day 15 Free time in Yangshuo, cooking class

This morning is free to relax and enjoy the scenery and laid-back atmosphere of Yangshuo. There are many optional activities available: cruise on the Li River, visit the Black Buddha caves, enjoy a Chinese massage or kung fu class, or watch the Liu Sanjie Show, an out...

Day 16 To Guilin for flight to Shanghai; evening tour along the Bund

In the morning, we transfer to the airport at Guilin to fly to Shanghai, a city with an international feel. In the evening, we take a walking tour of the Bund area, to see the illuminated buildings along the riverside. We can visit the Jin Mao Tower (optional), one of...

Day 17 Visit Xitang water town

We have an early start (around 7am) to avoid the crowds at the ancient water town of Xitang; famous for its cobbled streets and bridges arching over the many canals. There are several well-preserved buildings from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, a...

Day 18 Full day in Shanghai

We visit the Shanghai Museum this morning, followed by the Yu Yuan garden; the rest of the day is free to explore. Though it no longer warrants the title Paris of the East, many of the vestiges of its colonial past are still apparent. It is worth strolling along Nanji...

Day 19 End Shanghai

The tour comes to an end after breakfast. You may want to begin your return journey home, but if you’d like to continue the adventure, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $4,680
Price per day$246
Last Updated: 5/22/2024
Departure Date
Finish Date
Shared Room
Single Room
24 Jul 2024
11 Aug 2024
23 Oct 2024
10 Nov 2024

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Exodus Travels.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

Exodus Travels Reviews & Ratings

4.7/5  Excellent


Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Hints and tips

This is not a restful trip. It is full on from the start but it gave us everything we wanted to see in China and our guide Kris made it very easy for us. She had a...



Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

So much included

This was my first trip outside of Europe, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to step outside their travel comfort-zone and immerse themselves in a completely d...



Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

A great way to see all the great things in China

Have low expectations and be positive was the motto of our guide. My own expectations were exceeded! We got to see so many great things Pandas! I booked this trip ...



Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

imperial china and yangsie river cruise

Peter Wong was a very good guide. He explained in detail the history of China from the early ages until the present day. I found the trip very educational. The fas...



Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

A great trip, who have interest and energy

Kris was an excellent guide with detailed knowledge on the Nation and people of China. Answered questions with a easily to understand words. There is little rest s...

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Tour Operator

Exodus Travels

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It is all about adventure. That is what Exodus was founded upon and what the company is still all about. Discovering countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles; exploring this amazing planet we all live on.

At Exodus, we know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, we always remember that we are only guests. So we travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise our impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

This is a philosophy we take with us around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across over 90 separate countries. We also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as we possibly can, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.

Exodus started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

All our office staff have a passion for travel and adventure, and between us we’ve notched up experience that spans 171 different countries. That’s not all. In their former lives, our team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – so no-one is better placed to create tours that appeal to a wide range of specialist interests.

Their care in putting all the details in place really shines through too. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are a sign of our commitment to providing a holiday where your enjoyment, value for money and safety come first. It’s a telling reason why we remain one of the leading worldwide adventure tour companies. It is no exaggeration to say that our tour leaders can make a world of difference to the enjoyment of your holiday – so we choose them carefully. The result is that, in 2013, 93% of our clients stated that their leader exceeded their expectations. Where possible, we train and employ local leaders because they can provide invaluable insights that enrich the trip. What’s more, this investment in local staff really helps us benefit both them and their community.

Why we love this operator
With a huge range of trip styles and themes, they cater to basically every type of traveler out there- even those with super specific interests.
What they’re known for
Global trips to both classic and exotic destinations with a focus on themed adventures, exciting physical activities and discovery of local culture.

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What's excluded

    • Travel insurance
    • Single accommodation (available on request) (excludes sleeper train)
    • Vaccinations
    • Chinese visa


Travel by train, private minibus, public bus, cruise boat and 1 internal flight Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs 12 nights comfortable hotels, 3 nights comfortable 4-star cruise boat with outward facing twin berth air-conditioned cabins, all en suite, and 3 nights 1st class sleeper train, soft-bed berths All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 3 dinners included Fast paced itinerary,On this trip, you will spend 13 nights in comfortable hotels, four nights on a cruise boat with two-berth air-conditioned cabins, all en suite, and one night on a sleeper train. Nearly all the hotels are locally rated as at least three-star and, wherever possible, located as near to local attractions as possible. The overnight train is in ‘soft sleeper’ cabins, which are four-berth (bunk beds) private cabins. The train itself is of a good standard, although facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers and the cleanliness can never be guaranteed – there is one Western-style toilet and one Asian-style squat toilet per carriage, plus a washroom for brushing your teeth, and a water heater for making tea/coffee or instant noodles. Bedding is provided but we recommend you consider taking a thin sleep sheet. For the Yangtze River cruise, we usually use the Victoria JENNA Cruise which has a local rating of 5 stars, approximately equivalent to 4 star by international standard. Refurbished in 2018, the Victoria Jenna sets the standard for fine luxury river cruising. Facilities include two restaurants, four elevators, a three-story atrium lobby, two lounges, three bars, a fitness centre, two full-sized lecture rooms, reading room, artist corners and gift shop. All cabins have private balconies, private bathrooms with a bathtub and shower, and are air-conditioned throughout by the central air-conditioning system. The Jenna is equipped with Wi-Fi. The ship carries around 570 passengers. If you prefer to have your own room, it is possible to book a single supplement subject to availability – please request this at the time of booking. The single supplement does not apply to the overnight trains.
Cancellation policy

The cancellation policies of this trip when booked through Travelstride are determined by the stated policies of the tour operator - Exodus Travels.

If you or any other member of your party decides to cancel a confirmed booking you must notify Travelstride in writing. Your notice of cancellation will only take effect when it is received in writing by Travelstride and will be effective from the date on which we receive it.

If You Cancel Your Holiday
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the lead name or your travel agent must be received at our offices. 

Since we incur costs in canceling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay cancellation charges as follows (see also the exceptions below): 

  • More than 42 days - No cancellation fee. Deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original booking. Any remaining balance will be refundedThis excludes all non-refundable costs as set out in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 41 and 21 days (inclusive) - No cancellation fee. Balance and deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original bookingThis excludes all non-refundable costs as further explained in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 20 and 15 days (inclusive) - 80% of the holiday cost
  • 14 days or less; or failure to join the holiday (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Certain trips may involve different cancellation charges; you will be advised if this is applicable to your holiday during the booking process.For Polar holidays, the following cancellation charges will be made for all Polar holidays. Period before departure in which you notify us: 

Cancelation charge

  • More than 133 days - Deposit only
  • 133 days or less (or failure to join the holiday) (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Notes (i) Your deposit is non-refundable, even if the cancellation charge calculated is lower than the deposit amount paid; (ii) If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges; (iii) certain travel arrangements may be subject to higher cancellation charges and could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements from the moment the booking is confirmed.

If You Change Your Booking

If, after our Booking Confirmation has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the lead name or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of $60, and any further cost we incur in making this alteration (including those charged by third party suppliers who provide the component parts of your booking).  You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. Note: Certain travel arrangements may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.

You can transfer your booking to another person, who satisfies all the conditions that apply to this booking, by giving us notice in writing at least 7 days before departure provided that the new lead passenger accepts the transfer and these Terms and Conditions. Both you and the new traveler are responsible for paying all costs we incur in making the transfer. Please bear in mind that certain airlines and other transport providers treat changes as a cancellation and charge accordingly, up to 100% of the cost for that part of the arrangement. Where applicable these charges will be passed on to you.

If We Cancel Your Booking

Exodus reserves the right to cancel an itinerary before departure for any reason whatsoever, including too few participants ,logistical problems, a Force Majeure Event (as defined in Section 8), or any other circumstances that may make operation of the trip inadvisable. All trip payments received will be promptly refunded, and this refund will be the limit of Exodus’s liability without any further obligation on Exodus’s part. Exodus is not responsible for any expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip, including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing, visa or passport fees, or other trip-related expenses.

If We Change Your Booking

  1. Changes to the price. We can change your holiday price after you’ve booked, only in certain circumstances. Changes in the price of the carriage of passengers resulting from changes to the cost of fuel or other power sources, the level of taxes or fees imposed by third parties including tourist taxes, landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or exchange rates mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked.

  2. Changes other than the price. It is a term of your booking that we are able to make changes to any aspect of your booking. If the change is insignificant, we will ensure that you are notified about it. Examples of insignificant changes include alteration of your accommodation to another of the same or higher standard. If we are forced by circumstances beyond our control to alter significantly any of the main characteristics of the travel services that make up your package you will have the rights set out below.

    2.1 - We will contact you and you will have the choice of accepting the change or having a refund of all monies paid. You can also accept an alternative holiday, where we offer one (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). We will tell you the procedure for making your choice. Please read any notification of changes carefully and respond promptly as if you do not respond to us within the timescale given your booking may be canceled.

    2.2 - If you choose to accept a refund then that is the only liability we have and we will not be liable for any further sums, compensation or otherwise and you are advised to adequately insure yourselves against cancellation for any reason

Please note that insurance premiums and amendments charges are not refundable in any circumstances. 

Once you have put down a deposit for a tour, you are unable to cancel and re-book within a promotional period and we reserve the right to amend the pricing on any new booking you make within that time. If you cancel a tour and book the same tour under a promotional code, we reserve the right to decline the booking.

Important Note: Certain arrangements may not be amended after they have been confirmed and any alteration or cancellation could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements in addition to the charge above.

If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.

Where possible, we will deduct the cancellation charge(s) from any monies you have already paid to us.

For more additional details, see the booking conditions of TruTravels at the following web address:

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance alongside your travel package to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other contingencies. It offers you peace of mind and ensures you are prepared for unexpected events that may occur before or during your journey
Visa requirements
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included
There are 18 breakfasts, nine lunches and three dinners included. One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine. On this trip, you can try many different dishes carefully selected with your leader’s help and based on the group’s dietary requirements and preferences. Meals generally consist of shared dishes, which is the best way to experience as many different ingredients as possible and try things you might not usually choose. Examples of popular dishes include ma po tofu, a delicious tofu dish of beef, chillies and onion; gong bao chicken, a very popular dish with chilli and peanuts; peking duck, served with hoisin sauce and pancakes; and dumplings in many shapes and sizes. A very popular dish in the Sichuan province is hotpot (huo guo), which can be served as spicy as you wish and consists of a simmering metal pot of stock in the middle of a table served with ingredients such as quail eggs, local vegetables and several meats. There are many different Chinese dishes to sample, and the leader will always try to accommodate tastes, but if you wish, there are often opportunities to eat Western-style food. Vegetarians can be accommodated quite easily. Vegans will find options are limited. Not all food allergies and intolerances are well understood in China. Options which contain no gluten at all are very limited (as for example soy sauce contains gluten and is very widely used).
Age Requirements
16 years and up
Additional Information
  • Travel by train/overnight train, private minibus, public bus, cruise boat and one internal flight
  • Group normally 5 to 18, plus leader. Minimum age: 16
  • 13 nights in comfortable hotels, four nights in comfortable four-star cruise boat with outward-facing twin-berth air-conditioned cabins, all en suite, and one night in first-class sleeper train with soft-bed berths
  • Fast-paced itinerary
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