Down the Golden River

China & Yangtze in Serious Style

Beijing & Northern China, Shanghai, Hangzhou & Eastern China, Xi'an, Sichuan & Central China

Duration: 11 nights

Price: From $6,400 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including internal flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, cruise as detailed, train transportation, experiences as stated, private transfers and taxes

On this fantastic holiday, you’ll get to take in China’s major landmarks, from the Great Wall in Beijing to the terracotta warriors in Xi’an, as well as enjoy a cruise along the beautiful Yangtze River, which is the third longest river in the world. See another side to China as you sail along the postcard-perfect Three Gorges and its limestone cliffs and tropical forests, and venture off the beaten track to visit local temples and markets. Finish your holiday with a few days in Shanghai, an intoxicating city where old meets new in dazzling style.
Perfect forThose looking to see China both in front of and behind the scenes, and on both land and water.  
In the knowExtend your Yangtze cruise for another night or two to visit the local Tujia tribe of the Three Gorges or explore the Shennongjia Nature Reserve, whose dense forests harbour golden monkeys and tropical flowers. Longer itineraries combine rail journeys with cruises, and include personalised tours and experiences in Beijing and Shanghai, such as taking a cable car ride up to the Great Wall of China.

Best for

  • Cruise
  • Cultural Immersion
  • History & Heritage
  • Landscapes & Scenery

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All itineraries on our website are designed as a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details

Beijing, China

3 nightsBeijing

Beijing offers the perfect introduction to China. Visit the sprawling Forbidden City and the beautiful Summer Palace, a vast and ornate complex of palaces, glassy lakes and pretty gardens, and discover what life was like during the Ming and Qing dynasties. You also can’t go to Beijing without seeing the Great Wall of China, one of the world’s most impressive man-made structures, which stretches for over 5,000 miles, over 300 of them around Beijing.  

Stay at the elegant Rosewood Beijing, with bars, shops and restaurants on the doorstep – or if you prefer to relax and unwind, there’s a blissful spa and a gorgeous pool, and you can take in some iconic city views from your luxury room.  
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Terracotta warriors, Xi'an, China

2 nightsXI’AN

From Beijing, take the bullet train to Xi’an. This historic city formerly sat at the end of the Silk Road, and is a cultural melting pot. See the ancient city walls, which date from the Ming era, wander around the colourful labyrinthine alleys of the Muslim Quarter and visit pagodas and museums.

Xi’an’s main draw though, is of course the chance to see the extraordinary terracotta army. These thousands of figures, complete with horses and chariots, represent the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, and were buried with the emperor – according to rank - to protect him in the afterlife. The endless rows of warriors are an extraordinary sight.

The Sofitel Legend People’s Grand Hotel, which sits within the city walls, is a stylish base from which to explore Xi’an.
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Yangtze River cruise, China


Enjoy a three-night cruise downstream on the elegant Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, whose spacious cabins come with private balconies to make the most of the ever-changing river views. You can also enjoy a la carte dining, an indulgent spa and exceptional service.

Your cruise will take you from Chongqing to Yichang, sailing along the beautiful Three Gorges. Here, you can experience a scenic trip in a traditional sampan boat around the emerald waters, flanked by forests and limestone cliffs, and you may hear the locals singing on the riverbanks and monkeys scampering through the trees. You’ll also visit the markets, shrines and temples of the ancient ‘ghost city’ of Fengdu and pass through the giant gates of the vast Three Gorges dam, which is quite an experience.

As well as seeing the sights along the way, during your cruise you can rise early for an expert tai chi session, take part in a traditional tea ceremony, and enjoy demonstrations and lectures on everything from snuff bottle painting to Chinese medicine. Your farewell dinner includes gourmet Chinese cuisine and traditional dance and storytelling. 
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Shanghai, China

3 nightsSHANGHAI

Following your cruise, you’ll have a chance to spend a few days in Shanghai, where towering skyscrapers jostle for space alongside ancient temples, lining the colourful Bund waterfront. From architecture to history, and from culture to cuisine, this glittering city does nothing by halves.  

The opulent Art Deco-inspired Peninsula Shanghai sits right on the Huangpu River, where you can finish your holiday in China in style with a private cruise along the river in the hotel’s yacht, followed by a cocktail or two on the rooftop bar while taking in the panoramic views over Shanghai’s futuristic skyline.
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Travel is not recommended

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