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China & the Yangtze - Yangzi Explorer

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See China's breathtaking highlights through the eyes of world-class experts plus enjoy a handsome yacht and stylish accommodations throughout.

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China: Drink It In

Discover China’s past and present — from historic Beijing to the bustling metropolis of Shanghai. Go off the beaten path to the less-visited and well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Experience an up-close encounter with giant pandas where they roam through a recreated habitat. Visit the Shanghai Museum on a special, privately led tour with its curator. See the iconic Terra Cotta Warriors plus, at the heart of this adventure, explore the storied Yangtze River on an all-balcony river cruiser.
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Travel Curator’s Insights:

    • Pandas, the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, Tai Chi in People's Park: experience sights you've only dreamed of on this comprehensive itinerary.
    • A fantastic first trip to China, or an outstanding only trip if you;re hoping to check it off your bucket list.
    • Travel with one of the world's top luxury companies and experience their high-touch service and expert guiding first-hand.


Save 50% on the Single Supplement on Select Departures!

From $8,295 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.

April - November 2024, 2025
Ask us for your preferred date range.

April - November
Ask us for your preferred date range.


Trip Sustainability Awards 



Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.



On the East African Energy Renewal Board



Runs local educational facilities for children.


Day 1: Arrive Beijing, China

Arrive in the capital city of Beijing, China’s longtime seat of power, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel Beijing

Day 2: Beijing | China's Dynastic Capital 

Today, participate in a privately led tai chi lesson taught by a master instructor at the Temple of Heaven, a stunning example of classical Ming period architecture. After lunch, take in the sweep of history at Tiananmen Square before exploring the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner at your hotel.

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel Beijing

Day 3: Beijing | View the World from the Great Wall 

This morning, Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong, a vast yet intimate neighborhood of small, winding alleyways dating to China’s dynastic period. Then, travel to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Ride a cable car to the top of the wall to take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. After experiencing this wonder of the world, return to Beijing.

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel Beijing

Day 4: Xian | Key to the Great Silk Road 

Fly to Xian, a modern city cloaked in over 3,000 years of history. Once the eastern terminus on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Upon arrival, enjoy a Chef ’s Table noodle-throwing demonstration, followed by lunch. Visit the old city’s Muslim Quarter, with its teeming markets and beautiful Great Mosque, a 14th-century national heritage site. A blend of classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments make it one of the most fascinating sites in Xian.

Accommodation: The Ritz-Carlton, Xian


Day 5: Xian | Terra Cotta Warriors, Army for the Afterlife 

Today, accompanied by an on-site specialist, visit the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the life-size army created during the Qin Dynasty to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife. More than 8,000 remarkably crafted soldiers are spread throughout three dig pits, each revealing a unique face. After lunch, stroll along the impressive ramparts of the City Wall. Tonight, gather for dinner.

Accommodation: The Ritz-Carlton, Xian

Day 6: Chengdu | Exploring People's Park 

Travel by bullet train to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. For lunch, enjoy a spicy Sichuan hot pot, a regional specialty. Afterward, immerse yourself in local life and culture at People’s Park, where area residents play traditional Chinese instruments, practice calligraphy and engage in tai chi. While there, learn about unique, centuries-old matchmaking techniques still in use today before checking in to your hotel, where you observe a traditional tea demonstration.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Chengdu

Day 7: Chengdu & Chongqing | Giant Pandas 

Today, visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. Enjoy the rare opportunity to observe these endangered creatures roaming freely in their specially designed habitat. Then, board a high-speed train for a ride through the Chinese countryside to Chongqing, where you embark on your river cruiser, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer,’ for a three-night journey to Yichang. Settle into your cabin as the ship sets a course downstream to the stunning Three Gorges region.

Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Day 8: Cruising the Yangtze | Along Asia's Great River 

Start your morning with tai chi on the deck before breakfast. Disembark in the small city of Fuling for a visit to the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. Descend 150 feet underwater to see centuries-old rock carvings. Afterward, continue to a local market to gain insight into the region’s rich culinary culture. Back on board, learn about Chinese traditional medicine and reflexology. Tonight, attend the Captain’s Reception.

Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Day 9: Cruising the Yangtze | The Three Gorges 

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 “peapod” boats, poled by Tujia boatmen, to view a scenic gorge. The Tujia are members of a local minority culture famed for their boat-building skills and keen knowledge of the Yangtze. Gain insights into their daily lives on a village visit. Return by ferryboat to your ship. Tonight, savor a “Taste of China” dinner, followed by onboard entertainment.

Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer


Day 10: Yichang & Shanghai | Disembark Yangzi Explorer 

This morning, disembark in Yichang and fly to Shanghai, stopping briefly to photograph the Three Gorges Dam, a project that resulted in the resettlement of 1.2 million residents of the cities submerged behind it. Upon arrival in Shanghai, transfer to your elegant hotel, located on the city’s historic Bund.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Day 11: Shanghai | Design Your Day

Explore dynamic Shanghai, where stunning modern skylines meet classic street markets and gardens. Head to the observation deck of the Shanghai Tower, where you are treated to a bird’s-eye view of the Huangpu River, the Bund and Shanghai’s panorama of skyscrapers. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:

  • Walk Shanghai’s Historic Jewish Quarter and learn how it became a haven for Jews fleeing Europe in World War II.

  • Enjoy a Shopping Excursion to the trendy French Concession to browse the superb selection of artisan shops and navigate the maze of shikumen homes.

  • Cycle through Pudong, exploring Shanghai’s newest district filled with gleaming skyscrapers.

  • Then, toast your day with a relaxing Scenic Sundowner.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Day 12: Shanghai | Curator-Led Museum Experience 

Today, walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s most popular promenade, and then explore the Shanghai Museum accompanied by a curator, viewing exceptional collections of historically significant art and housewares, including bronzes, ceramics, jade, furniture and coins. Savor lunch at a local restaurant and later stroll the streets of Old Town, visiting the 16th-century Yu Garden, with its pavilions and ponds.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Day 13: Depart Shanghai

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart for home.

Internal Air: Economy class from $950 - Beijing/Xian; Yichang/Shanghai

Activity Level: Moderate.This journey contains some active elements.

Children: Minimum age is 10 years.

First group event: welcome briefing at 8:30 a.m. on Day 2.

Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:30 p.m. on Day 12.

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Please Note: multiple groups of guests and other passengers not in your group may be travelling onboard ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer’ simultaneously.




Image by David Maunsell


334 sq. ft. 31 sq. m. floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies, king or twin beds, connecting cabins. Solo Supplement: $2,395

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


420 sq. ft., 39 sq. m., indoor seating area, private balcony, king or twin beds, can be triples. Solo Supplement: $3,295

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


1,184 sq. ft., 110 sq. m., chic Chinese décor, separate bedroom and living areas, views. Solo Supplement: $6,395.

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


334 sq. ft. 31 sq. m. , floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies, king or twin beds, connecting cabins. Solo Supplement: $2,595

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


420 sq. ft., 39 sq.m., indoor seating area, private balcony, king or twin beds, can be triples. Solo Supplement: $3,495

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


This rate is for flights within your adventure. Rate is per person. Air arranged by operator.

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


334 sq. ft. 31 sq. m. , floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies, king or twin beds, connecting cabins. Solo Supplement: $2,695

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


872 sq. ft. , 81 sq. m., chic Chinese décor, separate bedroom & living, views. Solo Supplement: $6,395.

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


Visit the Summer Palace and explore Beijing’s Olympic Sites. Solo Supplement: $995

From in USD:


The richness of this program will definitely delight you. Traveling with this operator is one of the world's greatest pleasures. Treat yourself!

Joy Martinello, Founder



What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

All accommodations, meals and fully guided sightseeing (including park and entrance fees) as noted in the itinerary; airport transfers to/from hotel in the first/last published city regardless of day of arrival and departure; services of Resident Tour Director or appropriate guide on Pre- and Post-Tour Extensions; coffee/tea/soft drinks/water at included meals; local wine and beer at all designated welcome and farewell dinners; local bottled water during sightseeing; porterage of up to two (2) pieces of baggage per person; complimentary Internet access (where available on cruises and at land accommodations; service levels are not guaranteed); hotel taxes; and gratuities throughout, except to the Resident Tour Director/Extension guide/East Africa safari driver-guides.

Travelling Bell Boy Service is provided; however, because of security regulations, this service may be limited at airports, rail stations and points of embarkation for cruises. Traveler’s Valet includes laundry service for eight (8) pieces per person once during journey (excludes Pre- and Post-Tour Extensions). Dry cleaning is not included. Breakfast in Bed service is included on select days up to two times per journey (limitations may apply for safari journeys).


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