12-Day China Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

12-Day China Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

By Ruby Zhao | Updated Feb. 21, 2024

Family Tour for Yangtze River Cruise and Panda

Explore the modern metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai in an authentic way. Tour around a panda breeding base and meet the lovely creatures up close. Cruise along the picturesque Yangtze River, enjoying the peace and having some quality family time.




from US$2,699 p/p

Best For


Best Time

Apr. to Oct.

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Tour Highlights

Stroll or hike along the ancient Great Wall.
Stroll or hike along the ancient Great Wall.
Become a distinguished guest of a local family
Become a distinguished guest of a local family
Pay a visit to the fluffy pandas in the breeding and research base.
Pay a visit to the fluffy pandas in the breeding and research base.
Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Yangtze River.
Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Yangtze River.
Ascend to the highest glass viewing terrace in Shanghai.
Ascend to the highest glass viewing terrace in Shanghai.

Itinerary Details

Day 1
Beijing Arrival

After arriving at the airport, your guide and driver will escort you to your hotel and assist you with the check-in process, eliminating any potential problems.

Day 2
Beijing: Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Hutongs Experience

Tian'anmen Square was the front court of the imperial palace in ancient times. Now, it has been divided by a main road and is no longer part of the Forbidden City. The palace-like building at the southern end is the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian'anmen). The Forbidden City is also known as the Palace Museum and you will be amazed by the rich exhibitions hidden in its side courts.

Take a walk around the hutongs, which are traditional Chinese alleyways, and experience old Beijing. While you are visiting a local family, don't be shy in accepting their hospitality — join their dumpling-making group and dine with them. Immerse yourself in a local Beijinger's lifestyle.

Good to Know

1. In addition to making dumplings, you can also choose to experience traditional handicrafts. These include paper cutting and Chinese knot weaving, admiring the fantastic Chinese diabolo technique used by a professional performer, and creating the unique facial makeup of a Beijing opera character.

2. For nighttime activities, you can watch a kung fu show or an acrobatic performance. It is suggested to book the show one day in advance — just check the availability with your guide.

Day 3
Beijing: Family Day Tour to the Great Wall

The Mutianyu section is a good choice for your exciting visit to the Great Wall. This is because the Badaling section is much more crowded and has fewer watchtowers to see. Take a cable car ride up to the wall to save your energy, allowing you to have more time to appreciate the beautiful scenery from the top of the wall.

Relax as you head to your private vehicle after having a nice lunch at a local restaurant where world leaders have been served. In the evening, a delicious Beijing roast duck feast will help ease the fatigue of the day. Learn how to enjoy this famous cuisine in an authentic way from your guide.

Good to Know

1. Do you want to have a special experience on the Great Wall? We can prepare a picnic lunch for you! Have a sandwich, a cake, and a cup of coffee amid the beautiful scenery on the Great Wall.

2. If the weather conditions allow, slide down the wall in a toboggan for an unforgettable memory. For your safety, a helmet will be provided and you can control the speed of the toboggan.

Day 4
Flight to Chengdu, Panda Post, and the Biggest Panda Sculpture

Fly to Chengdu in the morning and meet your guide who will show you how to follow the tracks of some pandas. While visiting the only panda-themed post office in the world, you can get different kinds of special panda items, such as stamps, envelopes, toys, and more. Don't forget to send some cute postcards to your friends around the world — you can even mail a postcard to your future self!

After having a satisfying Chinese lunch, take some nice selfies with the largest panda sculpture in China. "I Am Here" is the name of this amazing work, made by the outstanding artist, Lawrence Argent. This wall climbing panda has become a popular landmark and attracts people from different places.

At the end of the day, you will roam around People's Park. Relax among the emerald green trees and colorful flowers, and linger in the traditional pavilions in peace. Blend in with the local people and see their simple way of life at a traditional teahouse nearby.

Day 5
Chengdu: See Giant Pandas and Visit Jinsha Site Museum

You will be driven to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in the morning, which is remotely located from Chengdu city center but is a suitable habitat for giant pandas. After visiting the nursery, you will be amazed by the achievements of the panda breeding program. You can watch the adorable pandas playing or resting among the bamboo groves. Their cuteness will intrigue you and you will want to learn more about them at the panda museum.

After having lunch, visit a recently discovered major archaeological site – Jinsha Site Museum – which is located in northwest Chengdu. The secret of the 3,000-year-old Sun and Immortal Bird is waiting for you to discover it.

Can you believe that a commercial street has existed for over 2,000 years? Relax in Jinli Ancient Street where you can try various delicious Sichuan street snacks and buy some souvenirs at the craftsmen's stalls. Wandering among the traditional architecture may give you the illusion of traveling back to ancient times.

Good to Know

Due to the canine distemper virus event that occurred in 2015, all panda bases suspended close contact with pandas to protect the giant pandas' health. In March of the same year, Dujiangyan Panda Base restarted the panda volunteer program, which includes having your photograph taken with a panda by your side. If you are interested, we can arrange a 1-day Dujiangyan Panda Base tour.

Day 6
Transfer to Chongqing and Board the Yangtze Cruise

Your exciting Yangtze cruise starts on this day. First, have some breakfast and then you will be transferred from your hotel to the train station. Take a 2-hour high-speed train ride to Chongqing where your guide and driver will be expecting you and will escort you to the pier.

Good to Know

It is suggested to take some beverages and snacks with you before boarding as you may find it expensive on the cruise. Your guide will assist you by preparing some food if you prefer.

Day 7
The Yangtze River: Shibaozhai

Embrace the wonderful natural views along the river, breathe in the clean air, and have a refreshing morning. At about 2pm, go ashore and stroll around Shibaozhai, one of the eight most fantastic buildings in the world. Ascend to the top of the hill and appreciate the beauty from a bird's-eye view. If you are keen to understand the mysterious Chinese ghost culture, visit Fengdu Ghost City to satisfy your curiosity (this is optional).

After the day tour, a welcome dinner party awaits you at night. There is no need to dress up, just have fun!

Day 8
The Yangtze River: Gorges and Shennong Stream

In the morning, be ready to marvel at the uncanny works of nature: Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge. The majestic and steep cliff at Qutang Gorge and the meandering Wu Gorge will never cease to amaze you. It' s a wonderful chance to capture the fabulous scenery with your family.

In the afternoon, appreciate the unusual shapes of rocks and the mysterious ancient coffins hanging on the cliff at Shennong Stream. Later, you can choose to visit another optional spot, White Emperor City.

At night, enjoy the entertaining show that's presented by the crew.

Day 9
The Three Gorges Dam and Flight to Shanghai

The world's largest water conservancy and power generation project – the Three Gorges Dam – will be the best part of the day. Go up to the dam and be impressed by this spectacular man-made creation. Your Yangtze cruise ends here. A bus arranged by the cruise company will be waiting to drive you to Yichang. Meet your guide there and transfer to Shanghai by air or bullet train. Your Shanghai guide will accompany you to your hotel.

Day 10
Shanghai: Panoramic View Over the City and Bustling Street Market

Feel the fusion of both tradition and modernity in Shanghai. First, visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center in the morning to discover the progress of the past few decades and to get a glimpse of the city's future development. Ascend to the highest glass viewing platform in the Shanghai World Financial Center and have a panoramic view of the city. As for lunch, your guide will recommend some nice restaurants for you and you are also free to make your own choices.

After experiencing the modern side to Shanghai, see it from a different aspect when you visit Yu Garden, the hidden jewel among the forest of concrete. This Chinese classical garden has a long history and is filled with abundant themes and ideal conditions. Blend in with the crowds at Yuyuan Market as you try some local snacks and pick out some handicrafts, antiques, and souvenirs for your friends.

Day 11
Shanghai: Free Day to Explore

Based on the reviews from our previous customers, a free day to explore the city by yourself is strongly recommended. You can go shopping in Nanjing Road or enjoy a leisurely walk around the Bund. Here are some recommended destinations to visit:

Scenic Options

Water town day tour: There are over 10 water towns with unique features scattered around Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. Rowing a boat with a dark awning on the glittering river, passing under the ancient stone arch bridges with classic Chinese architecture alongside the shore, you are already part of the landscape.

Day tour in Suzhou or Hangzhou: Since ancient times, these two cities have been considered to be paradise on Earth. It only takes an hour to get from Shanghai to Hangzhou by bullet train. Wander around the lake and be enchanted by the fascinating West Lake view. If you are a fan of Chinese gardens, then you won't want to miss Suzhou, which features various gardens that have elegant architectural styles.

Local Interactive Options

In-depth tour of Shanghai's old alleyways (3 hours): Want to experience the authentic way of life for Shanghai's locals? Your guide will reveal the history behind these hidden alleys, which remain in modern society. Visit a local family, dine together, and learn some interesting stories from the past.

Sidecar day tour (2 hours): Care for a ride? Jump into a sidecar and explore this thriving city with a Western driver who has lived for many years in China. As you listen to his words, you will understand Shanghai at a new level.

Day 12
Shanghai Departure

Enjoy a buffet breakfast in your hotel. Then your guide and driver will ensure that you catch your flight on time. Take all of the wonderful memories from this China tour with you — until next time!

Start planning your tailor-made trip with 1-1 help from our travel advisors.

Price Includes

Price from: $2,699 (Tour code: gh-cht-ft-07)

One-to-one consultancy
One-to-one consultancy
Knowledgeable local guides
Knowledgeable local guides
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Hand-picked hotels
Hand-picked hotels
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Transportation as listed
Transportation as listed
A 24/7 helpline while traveling
A 24/7 helpline while traveling

Trip Notes

1. Tailoring your tour

This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we are happy to help you arrange with our professional knowledge and experience.

2. Hotel

(1) Hotels with a convenient location and swimming pool are recommended. Please note that a swimsuit/trunks and swimming cap are required to enter the swimming pool.
(2) If you prefer other hotel options: economical choices, Chinese-style hotels, home stay, apartment, or would like to book the hotels on your own, please feel free to inform us and we will be happy to adjust the details.
(3) Most hotels in China allow at most three people in one room. If there are more than three people in your group, we will check if there is family room available or do our best to arrange interconnecting rooms or adjoin rooms.

3. Food

Lunches at popular local restaurants are included for you in order to taste authentic Chinese food. Your guide will assist you with ordering dishes loved by both adults and children. Most families enjoy eating local Chinese food as there is plenty of variety and different flavors, and the food is so much better and different from the Chinese food served back home. Some children may prefer Western food or have some special requirements for meals. Please inform us and we will do our best to cater to your needs

4. Car Seats, Stroller, and Baby Crib

To maximize the safety of your children, we can arrange for car seats to be fitted at your request during the private transfers in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Guilin, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. A baby stroller can be provided in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. For a baby under two years old, we will inform the hotel to arrange a crib for you. No extra cost is needed. The number of car seats, strollers, and cribs are limited. Please inquire and confirm early to reserve them.

5. First Aid Kit

We all know how active kids can be. In case of some small injury, our guides will take a first aid kit with them during the tour, including alcohol prep pads, sterile gauze sponges, and bandages.

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Why Travel with Global Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)

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