Explore remarkable cultures with an intriguing journey through China, where you visit Potala Palace, before cruising through the stunning Three Gorges region on the Yangtze River, and finishing in Shanghai
On these days you have the freedom to pick an experience that is suited to you and your interests. See Day 16 for more details.
To provide you with flexibility and the latest flight offers, we don’t include international flights. Our specialists will be able to find the best travel options to suit you.
As long as we have at least two people booked on an A&K Escorted Tour, it will take place. So you don’t need to worry about a last-minute phone call saying your holiday has to be cancelled. If you’re committed to going, then so are we.
Mongolia pre-tour extension – available on selected departures.
Guilin & Hong Kong post-tour extension – available on selected departures.
Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in Beijing, China’s capital, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.
After a morning welcome briefing, take part in a tai chi lesson at the Temple of Heaven, a classic example of Ming architecture. After lunch, explore Tiananmen Square, and then walk in the footsteps of emperors in the Forbidden City. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner.
Ride like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong, a neighbourhood of small winding alleyways dating back to China’s dynastic period. This afternoon, travel to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the great wonders of the world. Walk or ride on a cable car to the top and take in the sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
Fly to Xian, made famous by the explorer Marco Polo and more recently by its collection of Terracotta Warriors. Once a vital stop on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Asian and Middle Eastern influences. Enjoy a private ‘Chef ’s Table’ experience of noodle-throwing and dumpling making. This afternoon, view the Great Mosque, a fascinating site that blends classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments. Visit the city’s lively Muslim Quarter with its teeming markets.
View the incomparable Terracotta Warriors, lost to the world for two millennia until accidentally rediscovered by a local farmer. Explore the excavation area with an on-site specialist and marvel at the life-sized soldiers and horses created during the Qin Dynasty to protect China’s first emperor in the afterlife. Look closely as you peer over the balcony down into the three pits: every soldier bears a unique face. Later, stroll along the impressive ramparts of Xian’s City Wall.
Travel to Chengdu, the charming capital of Sichuan Provence, by bullet train. For lunch, savour local specialities at a traditional hotpot meal. Visit People’s Park, the city’s largest public park, where you immerse yourself in local life and culture, watching the old and young play traditional Chinese instruments, practise calligraphy, and engage in tai chi. Later, enjoy a tea demonstration at your hotel.
Visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre. Enjoy the rare opportunity to observe these endangered animals roaming freely in a specially designed habitat. Then, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to relax at your hotel or explore Chengdu. This evening, gather with fellow guests for dinner.
Fly to Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet, which literally means the ‘Place of Gods’. One of the highest cities on Earth at 3,650 metres, this will be your home for the next three nights. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and getting acclimatised for your stay on the roof of the world.
The St Regis Lhasa Resort Meals: B D
Today, experience the spiritual heart of Tibet at the sacred Jokhang, a 1,300-year-old temple famed for its central golden Buddha. Wander Lhasa’s Barkhor Bazaar and visit the Dropenling Tibet Handicraft Development Centre. Continue to renowned Sera Monastery, home to about 500 monks, and visit with a local family for first-hand insight into Tibetan culture.
Discover the Dalai Lama’s former summer residence at Norbulingka, surrounded by trees, ponds, gardens, and pavilions. Next, venture beyond the towering walls of the awe-inspiring Potala Palace, former winter residence of the Dalai Lama and Lhasa’s main landmark. An architectural wonder, the palace rises 13 storeys from Marpo Ri (Red Hill) and contains more than 1,000 rooms. Explore the magnificent chapels, golden stupas, and prayer halls.
Fly to Chongqing. Upon arrival, stop for lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy a brief city tour. Marvel at this new municipality, stretching along the banks of the mighty Yangtze River, which is one of China’s fastest growing cities. Board your river cruiser and settle into your cabin for a three-night journey meandering downstream to the scenic Three Gorges region.
Cruising the Yangtze
Disembark in the small city of Fuling and enjoy a private shore excursion, beginning with a visit to the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. Descend 46 metres underwater to see centuries-old rock carvings. After, continue to a local market to gain insight into the region’s rich culinary culture. This afternoon, learn about Chinese traditional medicine and reflexology. Tonight, it’s time to dress up and attend the captain’s reception.
Cruising the Yangtze
Early this morning, Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer navigates the Qutang and Wu gorges before anchoring at Badong, where you board a ferry and travel up Shennong Stream. Transfer to ‘pea pod’ boats poled by Tujia boatmen, members of a minority culture famed for their river skills, to privately explore a scenic gorge and village. Tonight, enjoy a ‘Taste of China’ dinner experience.
Yichang – Shanghai
This morning, disembark your river cruiser in Yichang and fly to Shanghai, stopping briefly to photograph the Three Gorges Dam. This 185-metre-tall engineering feat submerged cities and was a project which saw the resettlement of 1.2 million residents. On arrival in Shanghai, transfer to your elegant hotel located on the city’s historic Bund.
Stroll the Bund, Shanghai’s popular promenade. Wander the streets of Old Town and visit the 16th-century Yu Garden. Enjoy lunch, followed by an afternoon at leisure. This evening, experience a scenic sundowner at your hotel’s terrace bar, taking in the city’s lights and Art Deco architecture.
This morning, Design your Day®
Option 1: Walk Shanghai’s Jewish quarter
Option 2: Explore the art scene
Option 3: Seek out street food
Afterwards, explore the Shanghai Museum accompanied by an expert curator, viewing the exceptional collection of art. Visit the Urban Planning Exhibition Centre to view a model of the city. This evening, savour a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home or to depart for a post-tour extension.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
A&K have been helping travellers discover and explore authentic experiences in widespread destinations for more than 55 years. The award-winning luxury travel company are a family of 2500+ passionate travel experts, who between them have visited nearly every country on Earth.
A&K’s unique approach provides travellers with breath-taking experiences, focusing on less travelled, enlightening and enriching routes. Their small group holidays and escorted tours offers the chance to travel to the world’s most remarkable places with like-minded travellers. Each bespoke group tour will include no more than 24 travellers, accompanied with the finest accommodation and the best guides.
A&K’s global reach and longstanding worldwide connections allows their travellers to experience and uncover local secrets, arrange out-of-hours gallery and museum tours, and open doors to private palaces. The impossible is made possible with A&K!
Operating the worlds largest network of luxurious Destination Management Companies, A&K are in control of each tour's delivery from start to finish. Whether your preference is a stylish safari tour in Botswana, or exploring the treasures of India – there is an abundant choice of quality bespoke tours on offer.