Since the days of Marco Polo, China has fascinated our western minds in the most compelling way. The Chinese today are living through an astonishing transformation. As well as being justly proud of their long history and unique cultural legacy, they’re keen to show you their huge achievements as a rapidly growing world superpower. Silk, tea, paper money, porcelain and gunpowder all originated here. Our three-day cruise on the Yangtze is a welcome change of pace as our five-star ship, the RV Century Sun, navigates through the spectacular Three Gorges. Shanghai, China’s wealthiest city, is an intoxicating mix of colonial tradition and modern economic dynamism. The riverside Bund became one of the greatest trading centres of the world. Today this lovingly restored waterfront contrasts with the forest of skyscrapers that cover the skyline. China is also home to one of the world’s great cuisines – with the ubiquitous Peking Duck from the north, chillies from the west and fruit and carp from the sub-tropical climate of the south.
Day 1 – Departure
Depart Dublin via London on overnight flight to Shanghai.
Day 2 – Arrival in Shanghai
Transfer to your hotel, the four-star Central Hotel for one night with breakfast. This evening we enjoy a fascinating stroll along the colonial ‘Bund’, Shanghai’s riverside promenade.
Day 3 – Train to Beijing
This morning you experience a thrilling ride on China’s new 186 mph high speed train service to Beijing. On arrival transfer to our hotel, Mercure Downtown 4* for three nights with breakfast.
Day 4 – Forbidden City
Our first stop is at Tiananmen Square and the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the entrance to the Forbidden City, where Chairman Mao announced the birth of the People’s Republic in 1949. Through the central arch you enter a different world: spread over 250 acres, with 9,999 rooms, this was the seat of imperial power for 600 years. After lunch continue our tour with a visit to the great Summer Palace. This evening we have the option to attend a Kung Fu show, with dinner.
Day 5 – The Great Wall
Today is one of the highlights of the tour as we head towards the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. Although a popular spot, it is much less visited by the masses. As we approach, your first sight of the Great Wall is as it snakes along the forested ridges above – a wild landscape, as untamed as when it was built. After lunch visit the great Temple of Heaven in Beijing: the park surrounding is full of locals playing board games, dancing, exercising, playing music and singing – a glimpse of the real Beijing. This evening enjoy the classic local dish: a Peking Duck banquet.
Day 6 – Xian
This morning fly to Xian. On the way from Xian airport visit the remarkable Hang Yang Ling tomb and Underground Museum which displays some of the 40,000 funeral objects and statues unearthed around the tomb of the first Han Emperor. See the city’s imposing Ming Dynasty walls, 40ft high and stretching for nine miles. Prior to Beijing, Xian was the centre of Chinese imperial power for over 2,000 years, as well as the start of the famed Silk Route to the West. We stay two nights with breakfast at the Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel.
Day 7 – Terracotta Army
Another highlight is today’s visit to the stunning Terracotta Army. The first Qin Emperor united China’s warring factions and began the construction of the Great Wall. Guarding the tomb itself is his Terracotta Army. Drawn up in traditional battle order, the vanguard consists of rows of archers and crossbowmen, followed by columns of infantry and chariots. Each figure is unique, life-size and lifelike – a unique experience! Lunch is included today.
Day 8 – Guilin & Longshen Rice Terraces
Today fly to Guilin. See another of China’s great wonders: the Longshen Rice Terraces. Over hundreds of years the ethnic Yao tribes have cut thousands of rice terraces into the steep hills and over every fold of the landscape. Our hotel for two nights in Guilin is the 4* Bravo Hotel with breakfast. Dinner is included tonight.
Day 9 – Li River Cruise
Board our excursion boat for a cruise down the Li River. This has to be one of the most beautiful river journeys in the world: rising from flat rice paddies around the river are thousands of conical-shaped limestone peaks and pinnacles covered in verdant tropical forests. After lunch on board, enjoy some free time in the picturesque riverside town of Yangshuo before returning to Guilin.
Day 10 – Fly to Chengdu
Fly to Chengdu for one night at 4* Tianfu Sunshine Hotel with breakfast. This afternoon walk through Jin Li Street, a recreation of a traditional shopping street, with plenty of local handicrafts and places to sit down and relax with some local green tea or coffee.
Day 11 – Chengdu Panda Centre
Spread over 200 acres the Chengdu Panda Breeding & Research Centre has been beautifully landscaped with bamboo-shaded pathways leading to the large panda enclosures. One of the most popular stops is at the baby panda enclosure where there will usually be 3-4 youngsters climbing over specially constructed bamboo frames. Experience one of China’s high-speed express trains for the 2hr journey to Chongqing where we board our river cruise ship and home for the next three nights, the five-star RV Century Sun.
Day 12 – Yangtze River Cruise
After breakfast there is the option to visit Fengdu, the ‘Ghost’ City, or participate in some of the various activities on board. In the afternoon visit the remarkable Shibaozhai Pagoda, rising twelve stories up a sheer cliff face, this delicate structure is the architectural jewel of the Yangtze.
Day 13 – Yangtze River Cruise
Today we enter Qutang, the first Yangtze gorge, continuing through the Wu Gorge just before lunch. This afternoon we transfer to a smaller riverboat for a leisurely cruise on one of the Yangtze’s Lesser Three Gorges, the narrow Shennv or ‘Goddess’ Stream. Tonight it is the Captain’s Farewell Banquet followed by dancing in the lounge.
Day 14 – Three Gorges Dam
The cruise continues downstream through the Xiling Gorge towards the Three Gorges Dam, visiting the viewing platform from where the colossal size of the project can be appreciated. We disembark at Yichang, have lunch and fly to Shanghai in the afternoon. Stay for two nights at the 4* Central hotel, right on Jiujian Road, a 10-minute stroll to the Bund and People’s Square.
Day 15 – Shanghai
This morning enjoy a short tour of the principal sights, including the Jade Buddha temple and the Yuyuan Gardens. Pass the British Consulate, the oldest building on the Bund, plus the former headquarters of the famous trading house of Jardine Matheson. This evening you have the option to see the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic show.
Day 16 – Return flight
This morning we catch the world’s fastest train, the Maglev, on our way to Shanghai’s Pudong airport for our flight home, arriving home later the same day.
The four-star Mercure Downtown is located to the east of Tiananmen Square, close to Beijing’s central business district. The hotel has two restaurants. The 373 air-conditioned rooms all have shower, hairdryer, minibar, safe, flat-screen TV, tea/coffee-maker and free wifi.
This hotel is located on Jiujiang Road, close to Nanjing Road, which is the Oxford street of Shanghai The 313 air-conditioned rooms have bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, TV, minibar and tea/coffee-maker
The Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel is located within a 10-minute walk from the Xi’an City Wall and Peace Gate and a 15-minute walk to the city centre. The 345 comfortably furnished rooms feature air-conditioning, a bathroom with shower, hairdryer, minibar, TV and safe, plus free Wi-Fi.
The Tianfu Sunshine Hotel is centrally located in Chengdu. The 222 comfortable air-conditioned rooms have a bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, minibar, TV, tea/coffee-maker and free wifi.
This hotel is centrally located close to Guilin’s main shopping and pedestrian areas and overlooks the attractive Ronghu Lake. The 329 rooms all have bath, shower, hairdryer, air-conditioning, safe, minibar and satellite TV.
From / To
China Eastern Airlines
China Eastern Airlines
(*Next day arrival)
Tue 14 May 2019
Wed 29 May 2019
How to reserve a place(s): a completed booking form with deposit of €250.00 (+ cost of insurance if required) per person - payment by cash/cheque/debit or credit card - should be sent directly to MAP Travel. The balance will be due 10 weeks prior to departure - payment by cash/cheque or debit card only.