The Legend of Shangri-La with Yangtze River Cruise 23 Days

$5,685.00

Medium Pace

This is an amazing tour to the south western province of Yunnan, which is not only home to 51 of China’s 55 fascinating ethnic minorities, but also a land of mesmerizing landscapes, breathtaking scenery and rare creatures. Experience a fantastic journey to villages where ethnic groups maintain their traditional crafts, methods of farming and lifestyles that are centuries old.

Visit Kunming, popularly known as the “Spring City”, which has the best climate of all Chinese cities. Come face to face with surreal stone sculptures in the picturesque Stone Forest. Explore the ancient streets and markets in Dali. Discover Lijiang, the ‘living museum’ which sits at the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Imagine being part of a bygone era as you walk along the cobblestone streets in the Old Town of Lijiang. Discover Shangri-La, a reference to the hidden paradise from James Hilton’s novel ‘The Lost Horizon’, truly a place of magic.

As your explore this remarkable region, you will be impressed by its rich history, natural beauty and colourful ethnic cultures of Bai, Naxi, Tibetan, Zhuang, Hui, Yao, Miao and many more. Yunnan is a unique province in China that will provide you with memories to last a lifetime.

 

Tour Highlights:

  • Beijing: Walk on the incredible Great Wall
  • Xi’an: Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum, Dumpling Banquet
  • Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Yangtze River Cruise: Cruise down the magnificent Yangtze River
  • Kunming: Gaze in awe at the grandeur and sublime beauty of the Stone Forest in Kunming
  • Chongqing: Chongqing Zoo
  • Lijiang: Imagine being part of a bygone era as you walk along the cobblestone-paved streets in the Old Town of Lijiang
  • Shangri-La: Uncover the mystery of Shangri-La, one of the hidden corners of the world

 

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Guaranteed Departure Dates

Depart Australia Arrive Australia Package Price Per Person Land Only (~) Single Supplement
08 Sep 2016 30 Sep 2016 From $5,685 From $4,785 $1,500
13 Oct 2016 04 Nov 2016
13 Apr 2017 05 May 2017
11 May 2017 02 Jun 2017

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne flying China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines or Air China (subject to availability)
  • Tibet entry permit
  • Internal airfares (operated by a local carrier)
  • Hotel accommodation (twin share)
  • 4 nights aboard Yangtze River Cruise (twin share)
  • 3 shore excursions (subject to change and favourable weather conditions)
  • Daily meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Coach transportation
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Entrance fees to scenic attractions
  • English speaking tour guide(s)

Package Exclusions:

  • Tipping prepaid in Australia: $260
  • China visa application fees
  • Optional recommended excursions
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenditure and anything not stated

Optional Post-Tour Stopover Package

Hong Kong & Macau 4 Day 3 Night Stopover

From $599

Once a sleepy fishing Village, Hong Kong has now developed into one of the premiere financial powerhouses of the Far East. It is a city which boldly blends the modern with Chinese heritage and British colonial influence. A safe, well organised, fast paced shopping paradise, it also offers up some unmatched cuisine experiences. Dine on some of the best yum cha and wonton noodles in the world, or a taste of more unusual culinary delights such grass jelly or shredded jellyfish.

Macau is a small peninsula in mainland China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese overseas territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences. Its giant casinos and extravagant malls have earned it the nickname, the “Las Vegas of Asia.” One of its more striking landmarks is 338m-high Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.

Inclusions:

  • 3 nights hotel accommodation (twin/double share)
  • Hotel buffet breakfast
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Half day Hong Kong Island sightseeing tour
  • Macau day tour, lunch and round trip ferry tickets

Accommodation:

  • Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees Hotel 4 star or similar

Price Guide:

  • Single Supplement: $280
  • Alternative hotel upgrade options are available upon request
  • Note: To book this stopover, the airline must first be upgraded to Cathay Pacific at additional cost, please refer to the Price Guide

Accommodation

Beijing Traders Upper East Hotel local rating or similar
Xi’an Titan Times Hotel local rating or similar
Yangtze River Cruise Victoria Jenna, Yangtze 2, President 7 or similar local rating or similar
Kunming Kunming Kai Wah Plaza International local rating or similar
Dali Regent Hotel local rating or similar
Lijiang Guangfang Hotel Lijiang Garden Villa local rating or similar
Shangri-la Zhaxidele Hotel local rating or similar
Chengdu Chengdu House International Hotel local rating or similar
Hong Kong Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees local rating or similar

Optional Recommended Excursions

Get to know China better with our list of in-depth excursions recommended to add another dimension to your total experience! They can be prepaid in Australia more than 30 days prior to departure at the discounted AUD prices below, or paid directly in the local currency to your tour guide upon arrival in China. English speaking guide, admissions and round trip transfers are included in the price.
Beijing The Golden Mask Dynasty $75
Beijing Hutong Life Tour $70
Chengdu Face Changing Show $55

Important Note

While many ethnic minorities and the abundance of unique natural resources help make this province rich and colourful, Yunnan is one of the more remote and underdeveloped parts of China and the cities here cannot be compared to mega-cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing or Chengdu, with their luxury hotels, fine restaurants and well-built roads. A journey to Yunnan is a unique experience which should be approached with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the unique cultures and traditional lifestyles of the various ethnic minorities who populate this land.

Board an overnight connecting flight via an intermediate city to Beijing.
Arrive in Beijing, the capital city of China. We will be warmly greeted at the airport by our tour guide and transferred to our hotel. Our welcome banquet includes the local delicacy, “Peking Roast Duck“.
Beijing has served as the capital of five dynasties over a period of 800 years. Today we start our city tour with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the second largest public square in the world, followed by a visit to the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming to Qing dynasty. In the afternoon, we continue to the Temple of Heaven, which was used by emperors in ancient times to offer sacrifices to heaven and pray for good harvest. After dinner, you can choose to attend an optional large scale dramatic musical, “The Golden Mask Dynasty” (at your own expense).

Our highlight today is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall at Juyong Pass, the most famous image of China. After lunch, see skilled artisans at work at a Cloisonné Factory. Later, visit the Changling Exhibition Hall of the Ming Tombs where thirteen out of the sixteen Ming dynasty emperors are buried. We cap off the day by attending a superb and thrilling Chinese Acrobatic Show in the evening.

This morning we tour the exquisite Summer Palace (Imperial Garden), the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for Emperors, followed by an outside view of the beautiful Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and Water Cube (National Aquatics Centre), both purposely built for the 2008 Olympics. This afternoon, join an optional “Hutong Life Tour”, a special journey which explores Beijing’s ancient alleyways or “hutongs” by pedicab, (at your own expense), or just stroll in Wangfujing, one of the Chinese capital’s most famous shopping streets.

This morning we fly to Xi’an, the first Chinese city to open its doors to the world during the Tang dynasty and capital for eleven dynasties over a period of more than 2,000 year. Our highlight here is a visit to the Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum to see the life-sized defending army to the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. This site is among the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. Later, we visit a Ceramics Art Factory, followed by a special Dumpling Banquet, while enjoying a performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty.

This morning we visit the fascinating Shaanxi Provincial Museum, followed by lunch featuring a special noodle making demonstration. Afterwards we visit the Ancient City Wall, the most complete ancient city wall that has survived in China. Then we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the symbol of the city.

This morning we fly to Wuhan and transfer by coach (approximately 4-5 hours) to Yichang, the starting point of our Yangtze River Cruise for the next four nights. We board the luxury cruise in the evening and receive an introduction on cruise events and onboard activities.

Enjoy a tour to the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest dam, before cruising on the Yangtze River. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery as we cross through the Yangtze Three Gorges: Xiling Gorge, Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge. Enjoy shore excursions to explore the fascinating history and tranquil landscapes.

We disembark from our cruise in the port city of Chongqing this morning and visit the Panda House at Chongqing Zoo before we fly to Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province. Kunming has the best climate of all Chinese cities and is popularly known as the “Spring City”. It has a long history. Many ethnic minorities and the unique natural resources help make this city rich and colourful.

This morning visit the picturesque Stone Forest where massive limestone columns form a vast forest of surreal shapes and images. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of stone sculptures here. The countless stone shapes sprung from the ground, assuming different shapes as if vying to surpass each other in grandeur and sublime beauty. Next visit the Jiuxiang Scenic Resort with more than one hundred karst caves. It has been found that the caves in Jiuxiang are the largest cave group system with the most numerous karst caves in China. The stalactites in the caves take on many forms, shapes and different colours. Found in the caves are numerous natural bridges, valleys, rivers and waterfalls, which constitute a wonderful subterranean world. Later return to Kunming and this evening sample the local delicacy, Across the Bridge Noodles.
Depart Kunming this morning and travel through the countryside to Dali, home of the Bai Minority. Upon arrival, stroll through the fascinating Old Town Quarter, a 600-year-old town featuring stone walls, grey-tilted roofs, doors and windows carved with dragon and phoenix patterns and also beautiful gardens. As you walk along the cobble-paved streets in the ancient city, a sense of primitive simplicity and elegance will be invoked.

This morning visit the charming Song Dynasty’s Three Pagodas which is outstanding landmark of the region. Then enjoy a cruise on Erhai Lake where you may be lucky enough to see traditional junks still plying their trade. Then visit a local minority family and their home in Xizhou Village. The House of Bai is renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship in silverware and fabric dyeing.

Travel by coach to the ‘living museum’ city of Lijiang, which sits at the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and is the cultural centre of the Naxi Minority. Explore the Old Town of Lijiang which has been designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Gaze in wonder at the sights and sounds of this ancient city and imagine being part of a bygone era as you stroll through the maze of cobblestone streets, narrow canals, and decorative wooden houses preserved for over 700 years. The Black Dragon Pool is a famous pond built in 1737 during the Qing Dynasty and offers a spectacular view of the region’s tallest mountain, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, over its white marble bridge. Later, visit the famous Baisha Frescoes that illustrate ancient stories of religions and minorities. With their fine and smooth lines, bright colours, vivid pattern, balanced and harmonious compositions, the frescoes are not only significant to the history of Chinese painting, but important cultural heritage relics too. Finish the day with a visit to a local village.

Today’s highlight is a trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the mythical mountain worshipped by the Naxi people. At the base of the mountain board chair lifts to access higher regions that afford a beautiful view of the famed Thirteen Peaks. Enjoy an optional stunning cultural performance – ‘Impression Lijiang‘.

Drive to Shangri-la (also called Zhongdian) this morning and visit one of the most dramatic gorges in the world, the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Legend has it that this particular gorge is so narrow in certain places that a tiger escaped capture by leaping across; hence, its chosen name. Arrive into Shangri-la this afternoon, continue your tour to visit a Tibetan family where you can taste Tibetan specialities of yak butter tea, local yoghurt and Tibetan barley. Afterwards, explore the Old Town at your own leisure. Enjoy some free time to acclimatise to the higher altitude.

Visit the Songzanlin Monastery this morning which was built by the 5th Dalai Lama more than three hundred years ago; also known as Ganden Sumtseling in the Tibetan language, it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, with more than five hundred lamas living and studying here. Next visit the Bitahai Lake which is widely recognised as “a pearl on the plateau” and the most attractive lake in Shangri-la. It is famous for its limpid water and its beautiful scenery which is set against the mountains and forests surrounding it. Bitahai Lake is a place of legends. When visiting it, you will find that even a tree or a hill has a story. It is not only a feast to the eye, but also enhances your sense of beauty and imagination.

Today highlight is an excursion of White Water Terraces, where spring water cascades over layers of white limestone pools creating a perfect photographic moment. Enjoy some free time afterwards.

Fly to Chengdu this morning. Upon arrival, explore the dynamic folk custom street Jin-Li, and experience the life style of Old Chengdu. This evening, you can watch a fascinating show featuring Face Changing (at your own expense), a kind of magic traditional Chinese dramatic art that is the pride of Sichuan opera.

After breakfast, transfer to Chengdu airport to board your overnight connecting flight via an intermediate city to Australia. The trip may be over, but the experiences and memories will certainly last a life time.
Arrive home this morning.

Optional Post-Tour Stopover Package

Hong Kong & Macau 4 Day 3 Night Stopover

From $599

Once a sleepy fishing Village, Hong Kong has now developed into one of the premiere financial powerhouses of the Far East. It is a city which boldly blends the modern with Chinese heritage and British colonial influence. A safe, well organised, fast paced shopping paradise, it also offers up some unmatched cuisine experiences. Dine on some of the best yum cha and wonton noodles in the world, or a taste of more unusual culinary delights such grass jelly or shredded jellyfish.

Macau is a small peninsula in mainland China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese overseas territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences. Its giant casinos and extravagant malls have earned it the nickname, the “Las Vegas of Asia.” One of its more striking landmarks is 338m-high Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.

Inclusions:

  • 3 nights hotel accommodation (twin/double share)
  • Hotel buffet breakfast
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Half day Hong Kong Island sightseeing tour
  • Macau day tour, lunch and round trip ferry tickets

Accommodation:

  • Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees Hotel 4 star or similar

Price Guide:

  • Single Supplement: $280
  • Alternative hotel upgrade options are available upon request
  • Note: To book this stopover, the airline must first be upgraded to Cathay Pacific at additional cost, please refer to the Price Guide
Fly to Hong Kong, the gourmet and shopping paradise of Asia. Check into your hotel upon arrival and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure (flight time permitting).
Enjoy a half day tour of Hong Kong Island visiting Victoria Peak, Stanley Market and Aberdeen Fishing Village. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Today, take a high speed ferry (Turbojet) to Macau for a tour of Asia’s equivalent to Las Vegas, visiting the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, A Ma Temple, Barrier Gate, Serado Square, Casinos and souvenir stores. In the evening, return to Hong Kong by ferry.
After breakfast, transfer to Hong Kong airport to board our overnight flight to Australia.
Arrive home this morning.