Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise

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ends on 26 Sep 2018
This tour is operated by
Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise - Exodus Travels
Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise - Exodus Travels
67 reviews


  • Discover the Forbidden City
  • Observe closely the Giant Pandas
  • Walk the Great Wall
  • Cruise the Yangtze River
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Max Group Size
Train & Rail
Travel style
Discovery, Adventure, River Cruise
Start in Beijing and end in Shanghai! With the discovery tour Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise, you have a 19 day tour package taking you from Beijing to Shanghai and through Beijing, China and 10 other destinations in China. Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

67 Reviews

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  • RL
    Written on August 26, 2018
    4.5 - Excellent

    Jane was an excellent guide, nothing was too much trouble for her. She was always helpfull. The itinerary was great and we covered a lot of china in short time and it was great to be able to spend 2-3 nights at each place so we got to know a bit more about each city. Loved the local food and shared meals.
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  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 2
    Written on October 18, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Not unequalled, but equal first with a wonderful holiday we spent in New Zealand.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?For us, there were many great moments on this trip:Walking on the Great Wall.    Interacting with ordinary Chinese people in theTemple of Heaven Park.  Seeing Red & Giant Pandas (and baby giant pandas inthe nursery).  Cycling and kayaking in Yangshuo.  Very varied and interestingregional Chinese food (most meals had eight or more different dishes).Chinese cookery in countryside outside Yangshuo.  River cruise through Yangtzegorges.What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader Jenny was practically perfect in every way.  She looked afterus like a mother hen, dealt with difficulties very effectively and accommodatedpeople's wishes for changes to the trip (where these weren't mutuallyconflicting).Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Read the Trip Notes carefully.  Take your own roll of toilet paper and keep afew sheets on you. Take your own antiseptic hand cleaner and keep it handy.If it rains, the rain can be very heavy: either accept getting quite wet (notactually that bad) or take truly waterproof clothes.  If you buy an umbrellalocally, open it and try it before handing over cash.Is there anything else you would like to add?Some of the hotels were OK for the price, rather than good.In many of them, the air conditioning was switched off because the outsidetemperature was only about 25 degree C (this feels rather warm in high humiditybut not uncomfortable).Unfortunately, with the air conditioning switched off, the hotel bedrooms weremuch hotter than 25 degree C which WAS uncomfortable.I would prefer smoking-free rooms --- sometimes we had these, sometimes not,once our room contained an unemptied ashtray.The Shanghai hotel displayed a tariff for internet connection --- I considerthis unacceptable.

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 3
    Written on October 14, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Extensive trip around a fascinating country, with great food and activitiesWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I was looking forward to China as a country, but for me it was the giant pandas, the food (no water chestnuts, bean sprouts or prawn toasts in sight), the western influences in a communist country, the scenery and the shopping, Emei Shan, Three Gorges locks, the transport, the buildings.What did you think of your group leader?Anson had us very organised, kept us well fed and on time. He was receptive to altering times if group wanted half hour less somewhere to give us more time elsewhere, and was very keen for us to enjoy our holiday in China.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Trip notes are largely accurate. There are opportunities for laundry in several places, plenty of ATMs, meals generally didn't cost more than six pounds for food and a beer, weather was hot and humid, hotels about Exodus average - some better and some less so but evens itself out over the trip. Overnight trains are an experience and fun, sleeping bag liner needed for the longer third trip. Plenty of camera memory needed. The travelling wasnt particularly tiring overall, but it was nice to have a few days in one place e.g. on the boat or Yangshuo. It did feel a bit touristy at times, but that's what we were.  Food was great, and the shopping. There is lots of luggiing luggage about, often at stations with no escalators, so travel as light as possible, and leaves room for the shopping bargains, especially in Yangshuo. Like Cuba and Peru, if you see something and know the price you want to pay for it then buy it, as you may not see it again.  The Dong Fan hotel in Beijing is within walking distance of Tianamen Square, about 25 mins, and there the buses are cheap and plentiful. Olympic Park is simple to get to from the hotel on the metro from Tianmanen Square as its not included. The optional trips are dear in comparison to the rest of the holiday, acrobats ok, music and dumplings - food great, music ok, Sechuan opera - very good, Yangshuo - light show ok, lazy boat raft - great, cycle ride - exilerating! (walk to Moon Hill - not worth it), free trips from the Yangzte cruise - walk to ghost village (?) not worth it, chill on the boat, Three Gorges yes. A busy fascinating country....Is there anything else you would like to add?Would have liked more walks or drinks out at night time but sometimes the hotel location didn't work for this. The downside of the holiday was that the group flight only gives 26 hours in Shanghai, had I realised this I would have booked a different flight to have longer there, or Exodus can ditch the visits to Tongli and Suzhou (by this time having flown to Shanghai I just wanted to go there), and do an extra night in Shanghai. Also would have liked a list of suggested trips/sights/shops near the hotel for the first day as we arrived early morning.

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 4
    Written on October 8, 2013
    3.0 - Average

    China is a developing country with much to offer the tourist. This tour is arranged aggressively to visit many of the highlights in 17 days. The weather can be hot and muggy, the crowds intense and the public transport teaming with passengers. Because of these challenges, a clean and comfortable hotel room is essential for a sanctuary and to recharge for the next busy day. Unfortunately shabby hotel choices are the weak ingredient of this package. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I was amazed by Shanghai. The size of this metropolis stuns and the skyscrapers are beautiful. It was exceptionally clean and easy to get around. The skies were blue and the breezes welcoming. The dining choices were refreshing and tasty. The hotel was clean with a great view of the Bund.What did you think of your group leader?Anson did a fine job moving our large (16) group around. It gets challenging with that many people on public transport but no one got left behind. He also organized the meals which were not provided for in the tour with most participants joining the group outing. He found us tasty, safe and inexpensive food, trying always to have us experience the regional dishes. He could have been more forthcoming at times with information about how our day would be structured or how the optional evening event would unfold to allow us to bring the right gear and/or dress appropriately.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The reason this tour costs less than $3,000 for 17 days is many meals and activities are not included. We averaged $130 per day in extra expenses (for a couple). The pace is fast, the heat & humidity can be debilitating and the hotel rooms sometimes shabby. Prepare your expectations!Is there anything else you would like to add?China offers a wide range of accommodations, why have you selected several that are dirty? The Good World Hotel in Xi'an is rated (by Trip Advisor travelers) #411 of 1,626 hotels in that town. The bathroom ceiling was sagging, there was mould in the shower and the carpet was stained. At least the Dong Fang was in the top 10% in Beijing (the buffet was great!) In Emei, the Jiahe Hotel was the worst of the trip. Large sections of peeling wallpaper, mould, a cracked sink and stains on the walls. The lobby had much trash about while the receptionist played video games. (Rated #26 of 210 in this small town.) In Tongli, at the Laojie Hotel, our tiny room had another dirty bathroom and scuffed, bare walls but others, who had renovated rooms in the annex across the street, had large clean rooms with a gazebo on a balcony overlooking a canal! Hey, I DON'T MIND BASIC, BUT I WOULD LIKE CLEAN. The rate posted in Tongli was 298 RMB ($48.57), maybe for $50 a night we could have had a clean room? 

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 5
    Written on October 7, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Second trip with Exodus and once again you've come up trumpsWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Walking the Great Wall of China, something I never thought I would achieve.What did you think of your group leader?Emma was absolutely fabulous and couldn't do enough for the group. She worked tirelessly for 3 weeks never getting fazed or missing a beat. She is a credit to the company.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Just enjoy because you can't fail to. Don't take to much with you. You don't need anything more than shorts and flip flops. Even on mount Emie it was beautifully cool not cold. Oh and ensure you have wheels on your case.Is there anything else you would like to add?Travelling between cities by sleeper train is brilliant because you don't waste any time. Bullet train is fab too (twice). The whole of China is really suprising because there is so much expansion going on in the cities and road and rail infastructure everywhere but it is so clean. The people are really friendly and helpful too. I would highly reccomend this trip because you see so much of a fabulous country.

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 6
    Written on August 16, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was an exceptional trip.  Travelling through China is both fascinating and magical, and for any budding photographers, is a dream.  The itinerary is very well constructed, with a perfect balance of city and rural, using planes, trains and automobiles to see so much of this wonderful country!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu was a unique experience. The four days spent in Yangshuo on the River Li was also unforgettable.  Shanghai was the perfect place to end in, with a touch of glitz and time to do last minute shopping (China is a shopper´s paradise).What did you think of your group leader?Willliam, our group leader, was exceptional.  He took care of us at all times, gave us endless fascinating knowledge about his own country, brought us to excellent restaurants (that were very reasonably priced), answered every wierd and wonderful question we had about China, and managed to do all of this with a great sense of humour.  Simply fantastic!!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?From my own personal experience (!), do not bring too much luggage......and as other travellers have mentioned, leave space for souvenirs and gifts, etc.  Also tissues, wet wipes and anti-bacterial gel come in handy....Is there anything else you would like to add?If you are thinking about going on this trip, book it!!!!  The itinerary is wonderful, the different views of China are incredible from the rice fields in Yangshuo to the skyscrapers in Shanghai, and the experiences you share as a group in the three weeks are really special.  Thank you Exodus and William!

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 7
    Written on July 14, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A great trip taking in the highlights of China with time to relax on the Yangtze cruise and in Yangshuo. We didn't spend hours in airports waiting for flights (as many other trips do) although we spent long hours on overnight trains. There were only 8 of us but we all got on well and had a brilliant leader.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding at Chengdu - seeing the giant pandas eating/sleeping (the adults) or playing (the youngsters). The venue was very well laid out with lots of space for the many visitors. A good shop and post office.The terracotta warriors at Xi'an were awesome, as was the Great Wall at Mutianyu.The wonderful Karst scenery in Yangshuo.What did you think of your group leader?William was fantastic. He imparted just the right amount of history, was a great organiser and took everything in his stride, particularly when changes had to be made due to train departures being brought forward and bad weather. He enjoyed his food so made sure that he, and we, always ate well in local inexpensive restaurants. When our Shanghai-Beijing flight got cancelled, due to bad weather, William was on hand to rearrange the flight. He was full of good tips - how much we should pay for shopping, laundry facilities (including arranging for the local guide in Emei, Patrick, to do all ours overnight). William knew everybody in all the places we visited. He always said "Follow William" - we did and had a great time. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I totally endorse other reviews - don't take too much luggage. Most of the time, clothing and certainly undies dried overnight, in spite of the humidity. You'll need lots of space for the many items on offer. Our group started shopping in Beijing (we went to a shopping centre on our way back from Mutianyu) continued in Yangshuo and finished up in Shanghai; I'm not sure of the final tally of handbags we acquired!Yangshuo - there are lots of options to spend the two days down time. We all took cycles out to the countryside, drifted down the Li River on rafts, cycled again to the Moon Hill. The cycles were in good condition and it was flat! I, and one other, did a cookery class with Peter (Meiwei cookery school) which was great fun; we started in the market (you don't want to know about some of the items on sale) then cooked some of the dishes we'd eaten in local restaurants. Do see the Impression Sanjie Liu show - by the man who created the Olympics Opening Ceremony at the Birds Nest Stadium. The advice to take a sheet/silk sleeping bag was sound; take a pillow case as well!  And do take an umbrella - apart from the rain in Beijing, it rained every afternoon in Yangshuo - short sharp rainfall but enough to get soaked.Is there anything else you would like to add?Enjoy!  It was a wonderful trip with a great leader and group.

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 8
    Written on January 3, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    China is an amazing place to visit.  We got to see the contrast between the new bustling city life and the traditional farms, along with all the iconic images of China.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Great Wall of China takes your breath away.  Just outside Beijing, the wall is crowded with tourists.  Our trip took us about 3 hours outside Beijing to a section of the wall where you could look in both directions at the Wall snaking its way along the mountain tops without seeing any one walking on it.  I'd love to go back when all the autumn colours are out - I bet it is even more beautiful.What did you think of your group leader?Our leader, Emma, was great fun although she did get lost a few times.  She was well informed and good to be around. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?This holiday is rated as leisurely to moderate.  It is hard work with its almost constant travelling.  Pack as light as you can as you will be carrying your cases up and down a lot of stairs.  I found there were some activities that sounded really good but that I was not fit enough to do, like a 16 mile bike ride in Yangshuo.   But with a really good group and some creative thinking, it is possible to join in - it is easy to hire tandem cycles or electric cycles.  Don't settle for being left out of things.  With a bit of imagination and support from your fellow travellers, you should be able to do just about everything.Is there anything else you would like to add?Don't be surprised if the pandas catch you unawares.  You might think you are seeing them becacuse you are, after all, in China but they are completely charming.  Take some time to do something still if you can.  In Yangshuo, you can try things like Tai Chi in the park, painting with Chinese brushes or calligraphy.  After so much moving around, doing quiet, gentle activities really helps you to appreciate where you are and to take stock of all the things that you have seen.

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 9
    Written on January 3, 2013
    3.0 - Average

    A packed holiday with many highlights.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The scale of the warriors was immense. The details shared with us as to the lives of those building them and their fate was thought provoking.The scenery and opportunity to explore the scenery around Yangshou was the best part of the trip for me. It was so beautiful and was the most peaceful part of the trip.What did you think of your group leader?The group leader was fantastic; he was very cheerful, very helpful and made the trip for me.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?An umbrella- I've travelled a bit and thought that I wouldn't walk around with an umbrella but the weather was so humid there was no way we could wear waterproof jackets ( August). Also consider dark shorts - one day it looked like I had wet myself through sweat!Be ready for crowds, travelling and humidity (in August) and if you have always wanted to see these highlights of China then you will love this trip.

  • Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise reviewer 10
    Written on January 2, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    A really busy three weeks of travel with so much variety. A very good overview of of such a vast country.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?It is difficult to choose. I think the Great Wall. It was worth the time spent travelling to explore the wall away from other tourists. It was in parts a steep walk, on a very hot day, but it was breathtaking.Another highlight for me was the Terracotta Warriers. Unbelievable.Yangshuo was such a contrast to the first two weeks of travel. Much more rural and very interesting. I loved the bamboo raft cruise. It was definately worth taking. And...I nearly forgot the Panda's!What did you think of your group leader?Susan was really helpful and well organised. Had a good sense of humour and was fun to travel with.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It is not by any means a restful holiday. There is so much trravelling to do and so much to fit in. It is worth it though.The train for the third rail trip was not of a particularly good standard but I knew this from checking reviews. Do take a small travelling pillow and a sleeping bag liner would have been a good idea on the thrid travel.Is there anything else you would like to add?I just loved the whole experience. I booked on one of the solo trips and I could not have wished to travel with a nicer group of people. This was not my first holiday with Exodus. So far they have all been really good. This trip was just the same. The holidays are described well, "you get what is says oin the packet". I am looking forward to booking my next one.


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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Arrive Beijing
  2. Day 2: Sightseeing in Beijing
  3. Day 3: Full day at the Great Wall
  4. Day 4: Beijing; overnight train to Xi'an
  5. Day 5: Morning walking tour of the Muslim area and mosque; free afternoon or optional cycle ride
  6. Day 6: Day trip to visit the Terracotta Warriors
  7. Day 7: Bullet train to Chengdu; afternoon sightseeing tour 
  8. Day 8: Sightseeing trip to Leshan Giant Buddha; return to Chengdu
  9. Day 9: Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre; to Chongqing, board cruise boat
  10. Day 10-11: Two full days cruising the Yangtze River including the Three Gorges and the dam
  11. Day 12: Disembark; overnight sleeper train to Liuzhou
  12. Day 13: Arrive Liuzhou; transfer to Yangshuo; free afternoon
  13. Day 14: Explore the local countryside by bike; meal with a local family
  14. Day 15: Free day in Yangshuo, surrounded by towering limestone scenery
  15. Day 16: To Guilin for flight to Shanghai; evening tour along the Bund
  16. Day 17: Visit Xitang water town
  17. Day 18: Full day in Shanghai
  18. Day 19: End Shanghai

What's included

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  • Accommodation

    Rated Good by past passengers
  • Guide

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Meals

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Transport

    Rated Good by past passengers
  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

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  • Ellen22nd July 2018
    Booking on line was easy and all confirmation details, including invoice, deposit and final payment was informative.



Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise

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About the countries

Useful things to know before you go


Yuan Renminbi

Plugs & Adapters



Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.


These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
Recommended for China. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Hepatitis A
Recommended for China. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Recommended for China. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Recommended for China. Ideally 3 months before travel.
Hepatitis B
Recommended for China. Ideally 2 months before travel.
Recommended for China. Ideally 1 month before travel.
Yellow fever
Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for China. Ideally 10 days before travel.
Japanese B encephalitis
Recommended for China. Ideally 1 month before travel.
Tick-borne encephalitis
Recommended for China. Ideally 6 months before travel.


Beijing is the starting point and Shanghai is the endpoint.
Hold my space
TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 18 November 2018 the full payment of $3,298 is necessary.
Cancellation policy
No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $3298 for Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
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Covering a total distance of approx 4,734 km.
  • Beijing (China)
  • 61 km
  • Great Wall (China)
  • 61 km
  • Beijing (China)
  • 912 km
  • Xian (China)
  • 614 km
  • Chengdu (China)
  • 263 km
  • Chongqing (China)
  • 469 km
  • Yichang (China)
  • 732 km
  • Liuzhou (China)
  • 120 km
  • Yangshuo (China)
  • 59 km
  • Guilin (China)
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