Best of China & Yangtze Cruise

  • Tour Overview

Crystalline lakes, sprawling cities, winding rivers – China offers a rich variety of landscapes. Whether natural or manmade, ancient or contemporary, this country promises wonders galore. On this 16-day tour you’ll explore pagodas, tea plantations and classical Chinese gardens, not to mention countless historical sites, such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. 

  • Highlights
  • Return international airfares with a full-service airline
  • Return airport transfers in-destination
  • 10 nights in world-recognised hotel brands
  • 4 nights on a majestic Yangtze River cruise in a Balcony cabin
  • Daily breakfast, 8 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Escorted by an English-speaking guide throughout
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Dedicated private transportation throughout
  • Visit Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City
  • Walk on the Great Wall of China
  • Be entranced by Lake Lihu, located on the Famous Lake Taihu
  • Visit West Lake a UNESCO world heritage site
  • Xian and the Terracotta Warriors
  • Itinerary

DAY 1: Australia to Beijing
Today begins your spectacular tour through China! Upon arrival at Beijing Airport, you will be warmly greeted and escorted to your hotel to rest after your flight.

DAY 2: Beijing
Set out with your guide to discover the iconic imperial treasures of China’s massive capital, Beijing. Stand in Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world, before moving on to the Forbidden City.  Enter through the imposing walls of the palace complex, once the domain of the Ming Dynasty, for an exclusive tour of its courtyards and lanes. This area was considered by the emperor to be a divine place, and as such entry was exclusive to the imperial family and their court, hence the name, the Forbidden City. This is certainly not the case today: it now plays host to some 14 million visitors per year. The Forbidden City also now houses the National Palace Museum – one of the most comprehensive museums in all of China.  (B,L)


DAY 3: Beijing
Today’s excursion is one of the most anticipated of our trip – a visit to the Great Wall of China. Often recognised as one of the seven wonders of the world, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a staggering feat and a bucket list destination. You’ll be touring the Juyongguan section, one of the three most famous passes along the Great Wall. Located 60km from downtown Beijing, it used to be a stronghold that protected the northern access routes to the city. Here we’ll get a chance to climb a portion of this architectural marvel, which stretches an astonishing 21,000km. En-route back to the city we’ll visit one of the largest jade exhibitions in Asia and learn all about China’s most precious and celebrated stone.  (B,L)

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – Peking Duck Banquet Dinner

DAY 4: Beijing – Suzhou
This morning you will begin your day at a Chinese herbal institute, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about traditional Chinese medicine.  Later we’ll board a bullet train to reach the city of Suzhou. China’s bullet train network is now the most expansive in the world and you’ll be rocketing towards Suzhou at speeds up to 300km/h. Upon arrival in Suzhou, you’ll be met by our local representative and escorted to your hotel where you may spend the rest of the day relaxing, exploring or spending time with newly made friends.  (B,L)

DAY 5: Suzhou – Wuxi
Welcome to beautiful Suzhou. This city, in the province of Jiangsu, is known as the Venice of the Orient for its exquisite canals, bridges, pagodas and gardens. Suzhou has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a fantastic place to learn more about Chinese culture.

Following breakfast we’ll visit the Lingering Garden, which was created more than 500 years ago. The classical garden is one of more than 60 in the city – it’s recognised as having the most UNESCO World Heritage gardens in the world.  After this you continue your journey to the Suzhou Silk Factory, which is said to be the largest silk manufacturer in the country. Here, you’ll discover the incredible methods that lay behind silk harvesting.

Enjoy a brief break for lunch, after which you’ll have the opportunity to participate in another optional excursion, exploring the famous Grand Canal further. Late afternoon, you’ll continue your journey to the charming city of Wuxi, which sits on the banks of Taihu, one of China’s largest freshwater lakes. Upon arrival, visit Nanchang Street – famous for its seamless fusion of the ancient and modern.  (B,L)

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – Grand Canal Cruise in Suzhou

DAY 6: Wuxi – Hangzhou
This morning your day begins with a visit to The Brilliance of Lake Lihu, a branch of Lake Taihu. The lake is well known for its gorgeous park and many interesting features. Locally it is famous thanks to the work of numerous scholars, who have written that notable historical figures, such as Fan Li and Xi Shi, boated here. While here you will also visit a freshwater pearl farm.

In the afternoon we continue on to Hangzhou, once described by Marco Polo as “the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world”. Upon arrival in Hangzhou you’ll have the evening free to spend at your leisure.  (B)

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – The Romantic Show Of Song Cheng

DAY 7: Hangzhou – Shanghai
The city of Hangzhou, also known as ‘Paradise on Earth’, has been immortalised by countless poets and artists. The most renowned feature here is the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This morning you visit the West Lake, enveloped by mountains on three sides and arguably the most beautiful lake in the country.

After your visit continue on to the tea plantations to taste Dragon Well tea, otherwise known as longjing – a much sought-after local green tea leaf. Green tea is said to be great for health and wellbeing, packed with antioxidants, and today you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about China’s tea culture.

Later, drive to Shanghai, on China’s central coast. This evening, you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of Shanghai’s dazzling skyline by joining the optional Huangpu River Cruise ride.  (B)

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – Boat Ride On The West Lake (Hangzhou)
OPTIONAL EXCURSION – Huangpu River Night Cruise (Shanghai)

DAY 8: Shanghai
Enjoy a full day in Shanghai – a city of some 26 million people and an important global financial hub. After breakfast, travel to the Bund, a famous waterfront area in Shanghai that’s lined with colonial architecture of European design. The Bund is perhaps the best representation of Western influences from a bygone era and is now called the ‘Wall Street of the East’. Followingy our tour here, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you please – relax or enjoy one of our optional tours and activities to help enhance your experience.  (B)

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – Chinese Acrobatic Show

DAY 9: Shanghai – Xi’an
Today, you again board the innovative high-speed train to travel to Xi’an. Xi’an is an ancient city in China and has recorded the great changes of the country just like a living history book. It was the first Chinese city to open its doors to the world during the Tang dynasty and was capital for eleven dynasties over a period of more than 2,000 years. Your first visit here will be to the incredible Wild Goose Pagoda. This temple was originally used to keep the Buddhist scripts which were carried by the great monk Yi Jing from the Indian area and over time it has become a holy place for pilgrims. Afterwards, discover the Ancient City Wall, built in 194 BC and one of the oldest and best preserved city walls in all of China.  (B)

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – Dumpling Feast & Tang Dynasty Cultural Show

DAY 10: Xián
Today another highly anticipated icon of the country awaits – the famous and awe-inspiring Terracotta Warriors. You will visit the enigmatic ranks of the Warriors in the company of your professional and experienced local guide. Be humbled as you stand among one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. You may also have the opportunity here to meet the man who first discovered the Warriors and learn about the moment they were uncovered when he stumbled upon them in 1974. After lunch, enjoy a walking food tour through the famous Moslem Street, where your guide will help order a range of delectable dishes and snacks for the more adventurous.  (B,L)

DAY 11: Xián – Yichang – Yangtze River Cruise
Today you transfer by high-speed train to Yichang, the gateway to the Yangtze River. This is the starting point of our Yangtze River Cruise, your home for the next four nights. The Yangtze River is the largest river in Asia and the third largest in the world. The river begins in the remote mountainous regions and winds its way through stunning gorges to bring life to millions of people. We board the luxury cruise in the evening and receive an introduction on cruise events and onboard activities. Take some leisure time in the evening to unpack and relax.  (B)

DAY 12: Yangtze River Cruise
Enjoy your first day on the Yangtze River as the ship wends through spectacular scenery. This morning indulge in a beautiful breakfast buffet onboard before joining an included shore excursion to the Three Gorges Project. One of the largest construction projects undertaken by man, it is also the biggest hydroelectric power project in the world.  (B,L,D)

Optional Shore Tour – Tribe of the Three Gorges
Optional Shore Tour – Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift

DAY 13: Yangtze River Cruise
Today,  enjoy a shore excursion to the mesmerising Shennong Stream. A tributary of the Yangtze, the Shennong flows through three beautiful gorges including the Mianzhu, Parrot and Longcangdong. Each gorge is renowned for its unique and stunning scenery. The Shennong Stream is also home to the Hanging Coffins – ancient coffins suspended high up on the limestone cliff faces, which contain the remains of descendants of the Tujia people.

In the afternoon, return to the ship in time for lunch and enjoy the crew’s magnificent performance in the evening.  (B,L,D)

Optional Shore Tour – White Emperor City

DAY 14: Yangtze River Cruise
Today’s shore excursion will take you to the legendary Jade Emperor in Fengdu. Located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, Fengdu is an ancient city with a time-honored history, known as the ‘Ghost City’ to most Chinese people. According to superstitious legend, the dead come to Fengdu Ghost City and the devils go to hell. Since Tang Dynasty, forty-eight temples have been built in the place, such as the ‘Hall of the Jade Emperor’.

This evening you enjoy a Farewell Dinner with the rest of the travellers and crew and prepare for disembarkation tomorrow morning.  (B,L,D)

DAY 15: Yangtze River Cruise – Chongqing – Australia
Today, you will disembark the cruise ship and be transferred to Chongqing International Airport for your scheduled flight home.  You’ll be returning home with knowledge of a new culture, connections with new friends and memories to last you a lifetime.  (B)

DAY 16: Home
Arrive home today.  We hope you’ve have had a wonderful journey.

  • Important Notes

Excluded from the package price:

  • Visas for China
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Tipping
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Terms & Conditions

The following terms and conditions are an agreement between you, our company and tour operator. Our tour operator for 16 Day Best of China with Yangtze Cruise is Inspiring Vacations. When you make a deposit payment you thereby agree to accept the terms and conditions of this contract. This agreement should be read in conjunction with the full tour operator booking conditions.

Price: the advertised price is in Australian dollars. No surcharges regarding cost or currency fluctuations will be made once deposit is received. This guarantee excludes fuel surcharges and does not apply to any taxes, charges or levies imposed by any government or its agencies. No discounts are applicable. Price includes transport, entrance fees as per itinerary, plus services of a Travel Director and Driver and meals as specified.

Booking, Deposit & Final Payment: A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person is due within 3 days of booking. Second Instalment of $1300 is due within 28 days of making reservation or by 31st March 2020 whichever comes sooner.  Final Balance is due 6th April 2020.

Change Requests: Any request at the time of booking to vary the standard package is on a request basis only and does not guarantee that the request will be met. Any request after booking may be denied at the discretion of the tour operator. All changes will incur a change fee of $350 per person in addition to any further charges resulting from the request. Where the request requires additional fees, a quote and invoice will be provided which must be paid by the expiry time listed. Payment of the invoice will be taken as acceptance of the quote and any amount paid becomes strictly non-refundable. Where payment is not received by the expiry time the quote will be cancelled.

Cancellations: Due to the components of this package being secured as soon as deposit is paid, this booking is strictly non-refundable.  We would advise taking out Travel Insurance as soon as you make your reservation.

Inclusions: Your package will include the various components described on the package page and included in the package itinerary. As the product constitute an entire package, itemised costings will not be provided and refunds for unused components will not be available.

Included Air: All airfares are arranged with third party airlines according to the terms specific to the product and may be booked at any time after booking at the discretion of the tour operator. Where no variations have been requested at the time of booking, the Package airfare will be booked with no further correspondence and no further charges will be requested. Where multiple airlines are listed in the Package terms, the airline chosen from that list will be entirely at the discretion of the tour operator and any change will be subject to availability as well as the payment of resulting charges. Where variations to the Package airfare are requested, we will make contact to quote the requested itinerary and invoice for any additional fees.

Once airfares have been booked, regardless of whether details have been provided to the customer, any changes will incur fees from both Signature Journeys and the airline. Airfares will be booked according to the information provided by the customer and Signature Journeys will not be held liable for any costs resulting from the provision of incorrect information.

In the event of a schedule change, delay or disruption, which remain at the sole discretion of the airline, Signature Journeys and the tour operator will not be held liable for any resulting costs, such as those incurred in joining the tour at a different location, or refund any package component not received.

It is the customer’s responsibility to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions specific to the airline, such as with regards to luggage limits or conditions of carriage, and to regularly check schedules prior to departure for any changes.

Tour itinerary adjustments: We reserve the right to alter the itinerary including sightseeing, schedules, hotels, and other tour inclusions to accommodate unforeseen circumstances or events beyond our control.

Fitness RequirementsWhile the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Signature Journeys customers.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.

This particular tour is categorised as a “4”

  1. Active Tour: A very good level of fitness and mobility is required for you to enjoy all aspects of the itinerary, as this is considered a fast-paced tour. While there is some free time scheduled either in the morning or afternoon, there are many full days of sightseeing with minimal rest and some early starts. You will be required to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and participate in all scheduled sightseeing that may be conducted on uneven ground and terrain. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.

Visa & Passport information: It is the travellers responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from your intended date of return to Australia. 

Australian passport holders will require a visa to enter China

Please note the visa is only valid for 3 months from date of issue.

You will require specific documents to apply for your visa which we will provide you closer to your departure date. Please keep in mind you are unable to apply for your visa until you are within 3 months of your travel date.

Please note that these details are subject to change without notice. We recommend visiting for up to date information in terms of entry requirements. Visa’s should not be applied for before receiving your final documentation.

Travel Insurance:  We strongly encourage all customers to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking.  Signature Journeys will not be held liable for expenses incurred as a result of failure to obtain adequate insurance, including but not limited to medical expenses, loss of luggage, additional transportation due to cruise or airline schedule changes or the impossibility of delivering components of the package in its entirety. 

Tipping and gratuities: While not prevalent in Australia, tipping is an important custom in many parts of the world and may or may not be included in your package. Where tipping is not included, any amount paid is entirely at your discretion. However, in recognition of great service and about local traditions, we recommend you partake in this practice. Guidelines will be provided prior to departure. Where tipping is included in the package, no refund will be available.

Signature Journeys a division of Hunter Travel Group Pty Ltd ABN 86 089 025 696. A11468.

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