Highlights of China Great & the Yangtze 2016

Day 1 – Beijing

Arrive at the airport, where you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative who will escort you to the Ritz-Carlton, Beijing.

Day 2 – Beijing

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, hutongs tour with home-hosted lunch, and Peking duck Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine

Your first full day in Beijing takes you to Tiananmen Square, which is both a center of modern civic life in Beijing and the gateway to the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it is surrounded by monuments to Chairman Mao and the Communist revolution that transformed China following WWII. Stroll through the square and enter the Forbidden City, the 180-acre precinct of China’s historic emperors. Begun in the 15th century, the complex grew to encompass palaces and gardens, quarters for the imperial family, and offices for bureaucrats. This vast compound houses many treasures of the Qing and Ming dynasties. Your next stop takes you to the traditional residential neighborhoods of Beijing, the hutongs, which you’ll tour in the most traditional way—via rickshaw. You’ll also be invited in to have lunch with a local family. In the evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner of succulent Peking duck, a signature dish of the city, served with wine.

Day 3 – Beijing

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: The Great Wall and kung fu show at Beijing’s Red Theatre

Walk along a section of the legendary Great Wall, a UNESCO-designated site that has been one of the man-made wonders of the world since its construction began in the sixth century to keep out invaders from the north. Back in Beijing, spend the evening enjoying a spectacular show that combines kung fu prowess with acrobatics and dance—it’s the best performance in town.

Day 4 – Beijing, fly to Xi'an

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Temple of Heaven and Beijing Zoo with giant panda visit

Start the day touring the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO-designated site completed in the 15th century. A masterpiece of architectural and landscape design, it influenced architecture throughout China for centuries. Later, you’ll visit the giant pandas at the Beijing Zoo. After lunch, fly to the ancient city of Xi’an and settle into the serene Shangri-La Xi’an hotel.

Day 5 – Xi'an

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Museum of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, City Wall, and Tang Dynasty dinner show
Twenty-four centuries ago, China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was entombed with a vast army of warriors and horses made of clay. The large tomb complex lay undisturbed until the 20th century, when it became one of the most astonishing archaeological finds ever recorded. Only about 8,000 of the life-sized Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses have been excavated; no one knows for sure how many more figures remain concealed. Visit the museum where some of these figures are exhibited and learn how they were created, then see the massive defensive wall built around Xi’an by the first Ming emperor in the 15th century. In the evening, indulge in a lovely traditional dinner—complete with chou-jiu, a milky rice wine served warm—and a cultural performance that re-creates the music, folk dances, and traditional costumes of the Tang Dynasty.

Day 6 – Xi'an, fly to Chongqing, cruising the Yangtze River

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Big Wild Goose Pagoda and traditional dumpling banquet
Visit the seven-story Big Wild Goose Pagoda, sacred to Buddhists since the seventh century; tradition says that throwing coins from the pagoda’s windows brings good luck. Enjoy a sumptuous dumpling banquet before flying to Chongqing, where you’ll board your elegant ship.

Day 7 – Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai

Although the Yangtze is almost 3,500 miles long, the 75 miles known as the Three Gorges is famous for its matchless scenery. Every view is a scene reminiscent of China’s iconic watercolor illustrations. The ship will stop at the colorful Shibao Pagoda, built into the side of a steep hill that is now an island due to rising waters from the Three Gorges Dam. Enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception with complimentary wine in the evening.

Day 8 – Cruising the Yangtze River, Shennong Stream

FEATURED EXCURSION: Explore Shennong Stream
Board a small boat for a cruise down the Shennong Stream, a pristine tributary of the Yangtze, to explore the beautiful landscape of the Wu Gorge. Later in the day, your ship will navigate the enormous Three Gorges Dam locks. In the evening, a Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine will be served.

Day 9 – Cruising the Yangtze River, Yichang, fly to Shanghai

Before disembarking in Yichang, visit the world’s largest hydroelectric project—the Three Gorges Dam—designed to control flooding on the Yangtze and provide electrical power to a vast swath of the country. Its location has caused controversy but its scale is a tribute to the nation’s ambition. Later, catch a flight to Shanghai and settle into your room at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, then relax over a delicious dinner at your hotel.

Day 10 – Shanghai

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Shanghai city tour, dim sum lunch, and Shanghai Acrobats performance
Stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s famed waterfront promenade, and admire the view of the Pudong district with its spectacular skyscrapers. After savoring a tasty and traditional dim sum lunch at the Waldorf Astoria on the Bund, you’ll have time to browse through the district’s shops. In the evening, you'll be dazzled by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobats.

Day 11 – Depart Shanghai

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your adventure with one of our memorable optional extensions.