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ACE Yangtze River Cruise

Imperial China & Yangtze River Cruise

19 days
from
£2,149
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4.6 / 5 from 68 reviews >
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Trip code: 
ACE
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–18

A comprehensive China holiday covering the country's length and breadth

The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and Giant Pandas - China's iconic sights need little introduction and we visit them all on this comprehensive and varied journey. Equally inspiring are China's great scenic attractions including the breathtaking Three Gorges on the Yangtze River and the serene limestone mountains around Yangshuo. China remains one of the world's 'must-see' destinations; from ultra-modern Shanghai to the wizened faces of ancient Chinese villagers, this trip reveals a country as fascinating and beguiling as ever.

Highlights

  • See the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an
  • Visit a quieter section of The Great Wall
  • Cruise down the Yangtze River past the Three Gorges Dam
  • Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre near Chengdu
  • Discover rural Yangshuo and its limestone karst scenery

Key information

  • Travel by train/overnight train, private minibus, public bus, cruise boat and 1 internal flight
  • Group normally 5 to 18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 14 nights comfortable hotels, 3 nights comfortable 4-star cruise boat with outward facing twin berth air-conditioned cabins, all en suite, and 1 night 1st class sleeper train, soft-bed berths
  • Fast paced itinerary

What's included

  • 18 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 3 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) (excludes sleeper train)
  • Vaccinations
  • Chinese Visa - GBP201 with Travcour or GBP151 plus GBP18 special delivery direct with Embassy
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Great Wall at Sunset, Sunset

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Beijing
to
Shanghai
  • Day 1

    Arrive Beijing

    After a transfer to our hotel in the centre of Beijing, a welcome briefing will be held in the evening, to give us an opportunity to meet our leader and the rest of our group. During dinner we will have the chance to try some authentic Chinese cuisine, which is quite different to the British take on Chinese food! During most meals a variety of dishes will be served for the group to share (frequently utilising the ingenious 'Lazy Susan' rotating table-piece) and our leader will help us select dishes depending on the groups' tastes.

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Sightseeing in Beijing

    The sightseeing in Beijing today will include the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples as well as Tiananmen square, the largest square in the world and able to hold over a million people. We will take a walking tour of the cities hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. This afternoon is free to explore.

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Full day at the Great Wall

    We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, an approx 2 hour journey to the north of the city. We go to one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall at Mutianyu which is an impressive sight, snaking across mountains and valleys into the distance. This section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. The wall here is up to 8.5 metres high and 5 metres wide, and has 22 watchtowers on its 2,250-metre-long stretch. There are some steep steps to navigate and clients who suffer from vertigo may find it difficult, (there is an optional cable car). Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant on the way back to Beijing; we should expect some traditional northern Chinese cuisine involving vegetables (aubergine, lotus roots, mushrooms etc.), tofu, chicken and pork - and much more! 

    There is the option of seeing an acrobatic or Kung Fu show or a trip to the opera this evening in Beijing.

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Beijing; overnight train to Xi'an

    This morning we visit the Temple of Heaven followed by the Summer Palace where you can witness first hand how vast the exclusive playground of China's emperors and their concubines once was.

    In the evening we board an overnight train (approx. 12 hours) to the ancient city of Xi'an. It is recommended to purchase food before the train as there is a limited selection on board. The train itself is of a good standard, although please note that facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers and the cleanliness can never be guaranteed. Sleepers are four berth (bunks) and bedding is provided.

    Overnight train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Morning walking tour of the Muslim quarter and mosque; free afternoon or optional cycle ride

    Xi'an is one of China's former capitals and one of the few cities in China to have retained its city walls, probably because they are so massive that no revolutionary was willing to tackle the huge task of removing them. Today, after an opportunity to try some local Chinese breakfast, we will embark on a walking tour, passing the Bell and Drum Plaza to the Muslim quarter, where we visit the Great Mosque. The Muslim quarter is a fascinating place to visit, especially in the evening when it comes alive with bustling bazaars and food stalls. This afternoon is free; it is possible to appreciate the sheer scale of the city walls; you can hire bikes and cycle along them.

    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Day trip to visit the Terracotta Warriors

    Today we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin. Originally four armies were planned, at each point of the compass, life-size and lifelike. Three have been found and it is assumed the Emperor's successors decided enough was enough before the fourth was begun. The first pit excavated had an estimated 6,000 figures in its one army. The third pit has been opened to the public, which contains the 'command post' for the entire operation. This is one of China's great tourist attractions, and some people may find the sheer numbers of visitors rather overpowering. After our visit we will take our lunch at a local farmer's restaurant nearby with the opportunity to taste some fresh seasonal produce, home-made noodles and bread. 

    The evening is free for further exploration in Xi'an. Perhaps your leader will take you to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Square to witness a water and light show (free of charge).

    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Bullet train to Chengdu; afternoon sightseeing tour

    We transfer to the train station and catch a morning bullet train (duration approx. 4 hrs 15 mins) to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, arriving around lunch time / early afternoon. This area is recognised throughout China as being 'the spicy province', and it certainly lives up to its name! Major flavour combinations include garlic, star anise, chili peppers, and the ever-present Sichuanese peppercorn (hua jiao) which is used in many recipes. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a walking tour (using public buses) through the lively parks and city centre square where you will get a taste of local life. Don't miss the options to join the locals in the atmospheric outdoor tea houses for a cuppa.

    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Sightseeing trip to Leshan Giant Buddha; return to Chengdu

    Today, we will visit one of the iconic UNESCO sites near Chengdu - the Leshan Giant Buddha. About 2-3 hours drive from Chengdu, this 71m tall Buddha carved out of the cliff face of the mountain is the biggest sitting Buddha in the world and took almost 100 years of hard work to finish about 1300 years ago. You will have 2 options of visiting the Buddha, either by boat on the river or by walking around it in the mountain. Be prepared for the crowds and long queues who come to worship this Giant Buddha if you walk. Your group leader can advise you on the best way to visit depending on the season. We return to Chengdu in the late afternoon.

    In the evening there is the opportunity to taste some of the legendary Sichuanese cuisine in the form of a Chengdu hotpot dinner. The typical flavours of this iconic dish are created with Sichuan pepper (hua jiao) and involve a certain amount of interaction as the food is cooked in a large hot pot by the diners themselves! For those not a fan of spice there are options to omit the peppers from the hot broth in which the food items are cooked.

    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre; to Chongqing, board cruise boat

    With an early start today we will visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Hopefully these intriguing and rare animals will be feeding, as this is when they're most active; otherwise we will have the opportunity to watch the Pandas indulge in their most common form of entertainment, sleeping!

    We then travel by train to Chongqing City (approx 3 hours), the embarkation point for our Yangtze River Cruise (after a 30 minute transfer to the dock). On arrival we will board our 4-star cruise boat and settle into our cabins. The boat accommodates approx 330 passengers. We will stay in twin berth cabin with en suite bathrooms.

    Cruise boat (China Goddess 2)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 10-11

    Two full days cruising the Yangtze River including the Three Gorges and the dam

    These two days are spent cruising on one of the world's great rivers as we head downstream through stunning scenery of towering cliffs and gorges. En route we pass many towns and villages that have sprung up along the banks of the river that supplies the lifeblood to the heart of China.To try to limit the impact of flooding, the Chinese government has undertaken a huge construction project with a massive dam being built. This has flooded the famous Three Gorges of Qutang, Wu and Xiling. A journey amidst these natural wonders is a must see for any visitor to China. The nights are spent on the boat and there is time for shore excursions on the way as the boat docks at some of smaller towns and villages, and the lesser gorges by smaller boats, depending upon water levels.

    The day-to-day schedule for the cruise and timings can change due to adverse weather conditions, river conditions and permission of navigation authorities. The details of onboard and shore activities will be explained in the briefing and the river guide will be able to give you more information after boarding. The cruise will cover what is commonly considered as the essence of the Three Gorges, but some parts of the gorge will be passed through the night. If water levels are ok we will cruise through a series of locks through the dam itself, but this cannnot be guaranteed as it depends on the weather and river traffic. 

    Cruise boat (China Goddess 2)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Disembark the cruise; high speed train to Wuhan

    Our cruise comes to an end this morning. We will be catching a bullet train after the cruise, so depending on train schedules we may not have time to completely finish the Third Gorge. After disembarking, we will take a look at the Three Gorges Dam and learn about the massive engineering project that took place here. We then drive to Yichang, have lunch and catch an afternoon bullet train (duration 2.5-3hrs) to Wuhan, the province's capital, where we spend the night.  

    New Beacon Xu Dong International Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Bullet train to Guilin; drive to Yangshuo

    For those who wish to explore Wuhan, there's time for a quick orientation tour this morning before taking a short transfer back to the train station in time to catch a mid/late-morning high speed train to Guilin (duration approx. 5hrs). We travel the remainder of the way to Yangshuo by road, passing through stunning limestone scenery, to arrive in the evening. The surrounding countryside has changed little in centuries and is famous for its steep-sided karst mountains, which protrude upwards out of an otherwise flat landscape of paddy fields. Despite its small size, Yangshuo has quite a good tourist infrastructure due to its large transient population of backpackers and domestic tourists. 

    Starway Hotel Xinfuan or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Explore the local countryside by bike; meal with a local family

    This morning gives us the opportunity to appreciate the spectacular landscape on two wheels; as we take a bike and ride towards Moon Hill, one of the most famous in the area. The biking is at a leisurely pace, and there are plenty of stops to hydrate and appreciate the glorious scenery! Lunch is spent with a local family, giving us the opportunity to sample some new dishes and create friendships over food. Expect delicious dishes such as clay-pot taro, stir fried chicken and veggies, and traditional fried eggs. Please note that for anyone unable to or not wanting to cycle, your leader can arrange a taxi or minivan to take you on a scenic drive through the countryside to meet the group at the lunch stop (at your own expense). 

    The afternoon is free to relax or enjoy one of the many optional activities Yangshuo has to offer.

    Starway Hotel Xinfuan or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    Yangshuo cookery class; free time to enjoy this laid back town and beautiful limestone scenery

    A leisurely day today: discover how to make some of China's most iconic dishes as we take a cooking class lead by a local host, before enjoying our home-made dishes for lunch. There will be some free time today as well, with optional excursions available for those who wish; enjoy a Chinese massage, or watch the Liu Sanjie Show (an outdoor performance set on a natural stage formed by the Li River and 12 peaks). If you prefer to just relax then this is the ideal setting - perhaps take a stroll around the market or just watch the world go by.

    Starway Hotel Xinfuan or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 16

    To Guilin for flight to Shanghai; evening tour along the Bund

    In the morning we transfer to the airport at Guilin to fly to Shanghai; a city with a real international feel to it which will seem a world away from the countryside you have come from. In the evening we take a walking tour of the famous Bund area, to see the iconic buildings along the riverside lit up in all their glory. There will be the opportunity to visit the Jin Mao Tower (optional), which is the 18th tallest building in the world and boasts a spectacular view of Shanghai from the observation deck.

    Kingtown Hotel Plaza or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Visit Xitang water town

    An early start (around 7am) to avoid the crowds at the ancient water town of Xitang; famous for its cobbled streets and bridges arching over the many canals. There are several well-preserved buildings from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, and the town is a delightful place to explore on foot. We will take lunch here before the journey back to Shanghai (around 2 hours) where the evening will be free.

    Kingtown Hotel Plaza or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 18

    Full day in Shanghai

    With a population of around twelve million Shanghai is yours to explore today. This morning we enjoy a visit to firstly the Shanghai museum, followed by the Yu Yuan garden; the rest of the day is free to explore. Though it no longer warrants the title 'Paris of the East', many of the vestiges of its colonial past are still apparent. It is worth strolling along Nanjing Road (Shanghai's 'Oxford Street') or visiting the Shanghai tower, (currently the tallest building in China and second tallest in the world, standing at 632m high) or Shanghai's smaller television tower to see some of the city's stunning architecture.

    Optional activities this evening include the Shanghai Acrobatic show, which comes highly recommended!

    Kingtown Hotel Plaza or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 19

    End Shanghai

    For those on the group flight to London the flight is in the morning, with a same day arrival into London in the evening.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

China

Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter China, which must be obtained prior to departure. The Chinese authorities now require a letter from Exodus, confirming all your accommodation details. Along with this, you need to supply a copy of your flight details, which are on your invoice if you have booked directly through Exodus. For further information see here. It is also essential that we have a clear copy of the details page of your passport. This is required to book certain ground services in China and we cannot confirm your details with our local partners until it has been received. This must be emailed as an electronic scan to [email protected] a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your trip.

IMPORTANT: Please note that as of the 1st November 2018, all visa applicants aged between 14 and 70 will need to visit one of the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres (appointment required) where biometric data will be taken as part of the visa application process.

Vaccinations

China

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

If your trip visits Hong Kong, dengue fever is a known risk - this is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten: apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

Eating and Drinking

18 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 3 dinners included

One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine. On this trip you will be able to try many different dishes that will be carefully selected with your leaders help and based on the group's dietary requirements and preferences. Meals generally consist of shared dishes, which is the best way to experience as many different ingredients as possible and try things you might not usually choose. Examples of popular dishes include Ma Po Tofu, a delicious tofu dish made with beef, chillies and onion, Gong Bao chicken, a very popular dish with chilli and peanuts, the iconic Peking Duck, served with hoisin sauce and pancakes, and dumplings in many shapes and sizes. A very popular dish in Sichuan Province is Hot Pot (Huoguo) which can be served as spicy as you wish and consists of a simmering metal pot of stock in the middle of a table which is served with ingredients ranging from quails eggs, local vegetables and many different types of meat. There are many different dishes to try and the leader will always try and accommodate tastes, but if you tire of Chinese food there are always opportunities to eat Western-style dishes. For vegetarians or those with dietary requirements, many of the traditional dishes can be amended to omit the meat products.

Weather

Beijing and Xi'an: The north of China has warm (25ºC+), quite humid summers, and cold dry winters. If you travel between June and August, it will be hot more or less everywhere, except in the mountains. Some rain must be expected, possibly heavy. If you travel in September/October, you will probably get less rain and the temperatures will be fairly warm (around 20ºC) everywhere. Yangtze River Gorge:

The central region of China has very warm humid summers and cold winters. Rainfall should be expected during the summer months. In July/August temperatures along the Yangtze River can reach 40 C and in Spring/Autumn will be 22-26 ºC. Yangshuo/Shanghai:

The south of China is sub-tropical with hot (30ºC), wet summers (May to September), and warm, relatively dry (November to March) winters, though rain is possible at almost any time of year.

The winter months in China are cold (+3ºC), so if travelling in November/March be prepared for temperatures to drop to below freezing at night in the North, but with almost guaranteed dry sightseeing. The weather is milder in the south.

Beijing Weather

Beijing Weather

Is this trip for you?

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of China in a relatively short period of time. There is a lot to see and do, and the distances covered are large, but everything is scheduled so that it doesn't feel too rushed. You should come armed for an experience: China can be hard work and the summer heat and the bustle of some of the cities can be a little overwhelming. That said, there are places where you can find peace and quiet, and we try to incorporate these into the itinerary at regular intervals. Although the temperatures in the summer can frequently top 30 degrees celsius there are many places that offer air conditioning (hotels, transportation and restaurants/shops) so you will find many places to cool down.

You should be aware that there are several occasions where you will need to carry your own luggage on this trip, mainly when journeying to and from the train stations and along the long platforms; sometimes there will only be stairs for access. Trolleys and porters are often available but these should not be depended upon as some stations do not offer these facilities. Many passengers find it useful to bring luggage with wheels.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Boat & Train

On this trip, you will spend 14 nights in comfortable hotels, 3 nights on a 4-star cruise boat with 2 berth air-conditioned cabins, all en suite, and 1 night on a 1st class sleeper train.

Nearly all the hotels are locally rated as at least 3-star and wherever possible located as near to local attractions as possible. The overnight train is in the 'soft sleeper' cabins, which are 4 berth (bunk beds) private cabins. The train itself is of a good standard, although please note that facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers and the cleanliness can never be guaranteed. Bedding is provided but we do recommend you consider taking a thin sleep sheet. Whilst we make every attempt to place passengers together in cabins, sometimes this is impossible, however, we will never place a solo traveller in a cabin by themselves (they will always be either with another passenger on the trip or with the leader).

The boat we used for Yangzte River Cruise is China Goddess Number 2, one of the newest cruises (rated as 4-star internationally, and 5-star locally) launched in November 2014. With the theme “Chinese Civilization, Three Gorges & Goddess Culture”, the cruise is like a moving Three Gorges culture exhibition centre. On the whole ship, passengers can enjoy not only the spectacular Three Gorges scenery, but also the culture and stories of the China Goddess. The ship features a sun deck with bar, a multi-functional lounge, spa, massage facilities and a fitness centre. It takes a maximum of 400 passengers.

If you prefer to have your own room, it is possible to book single supplement subject to availability - please request this at the time of booking. The single supplement does not apply to the overnight trains.  

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed November 2018
    Emma Sayer

    A great way to see all the great things in China

    Have low expectations and be positive was the motto of our guide. My own expectations were exceeded! We got to see so many great things

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Pandas! I booked this trip over any other because we go to visit the panda breeding centre. They are the most cuddliest and most adorable creatures. Whilst we were there we watched one get a bucket stuck on its head to one falling out of a tree. Yangshou with its Karst mountains! I love the countryside and this place was just stunning. We had rain most days we were there but the mist rolling across the mountains is just beautiful. A nice break from the busy crowds of the city too. The great Wall - Just wow! Even more breath taking in real life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dragon was very efficient and organised. He told us what we needed to know and what was happening a few days before it happened. He made us aware of optional extras that we could partake it. The motto of the trip was to have low expectations and to be positive. Dragon would often give us the worst case scenario and prepare us for the worst which meant we were never disappointed or surprised. And most things actually proved to be okay or to exceed our new expectations. Dragon was very helpful and supportive. My luggage got misplaced on a different coach and after a few phone calls managed to get it back quickly and without fuss. There was also a problem with my passport number. The office had pre booked my train tickets with my old passport number and so wouldn't pass the security check but after the first incident, Dragon managed to sort extra tickets so this wasn't a problem further along the road. Although not forth coming with information, Dragon knew alot and would give you all the information that he could give. No problems with translation.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't drink the water. You don't need to cover your legs for temples and things. We were supplied with bike helmets for our bike ride and had the option to hire some at other places. So no need to take your own. Don't flush the loo roll. Walk the steps up to the great wall. It's tough but if only a few of you do it you get that section of the wall to yourself for a good hour before you see everyone else that comes via the cable cars. Great opportunity for solo photos too. Practise with chopsticks before you come - its great fun to learn before you come and sometimes forks can be hard to find. Good trainers will get you through this trip! Lots of walking. Don't upgrade on the boat. We saved £50 and got to eat with the locals. We couldn't speak to them directly but I enjoyed watching how they used their chopsticks. If you only pay for one extra activity, do the night show at the Li River, Worlds largest natural theatre. Breathtakingly beautiful! Make sure exodus send you the exodus luggage tags - helps porters know that your luggage is all the same. Take an extra SD card, your going to need it!! One your packed, take half the clothes and double your spending money!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want to go to China just once and see as much as possible, this is the trip to do it. If your a solo person this is the trip for you. A large group of 16 means you never feel lonely but you can still do things on your own if you want too.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    David Sarsiat

    CHINA ADVENTURE

    We enjoyed our experience in China and came home with a better understanding of the Chinese people and culture. Unfortunately, when we continued our trip to Hong Kong we discovered that someone had taken most of our Hong Kong money (equivalent to $500 Canadian). We keep these funds locked in safe deposit boxes, so not sure how this could have happened. We would like others who go on this trip to keep any cash with them at all times.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Biking in the countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very organized and factual.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your valuables with you. Do not trust the safe deposit boxes.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sandra Woodward

    Imperial China and Yangtze River Cruise

    We have just returned from this busy and full on trip. As other reviews have said 'China is big!' We saw and experienced so much - from the different styles of food, transport and sites. Our guide was informative and shared lots of information regarding Chinese culture and history as well as the amazing development that has occurred during the last 20 years.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Realising just how far China has come and how far it plans to go. This is awe inspiring rather than inspirational. The infrastructure projects, buildings, size of cities, numbers of travellers/ tourists/people. Reading about it can't really prepare you for the reality.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dragon was extremely good at managing expectations and ensuring the whole group navigated the busy schedule. He was professional, funnyGo patient and very good at helping us make the most of the opportunities available. This included where to stand on the boat to get the best view, upgrading our dining option on the Yangtze cruise to avoid the scrum in the dining room. We enjoyed hearing his anecdotes of growing up and life in China.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the crowds but don't let them put you off as the Chinese were always friendly, helpful and good natured. Take mosquito repellent and wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking but it is all manageable. Use the 'farmers' to carry your bag on to the cruise boat there are a lot of steep steps down to the river. Have an open mind and be willing to go with the flow. Foot massages were great (especially the ones on the cruise). Enjoy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We met lots of interesting travlleling companions and the group size of 16 worked well with a mix of couples and singles, so there were always people to hang out with if you wanted to. Go for it - you won't be disappointed
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Sue Shaw

    China and Yangtze

    Great trip ,great guide.so much going on!!! One of the best of 10 trips I have been on with exodus.Thank you Chris .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just loved the cycling 🚴‍♀️ trip to moon 🌒 Hill ,paddy fields,, noodles drying in the sun ,watching the river and rafts going by ,what’s not to love.So relaxing 😌 xx

    What did you think of your group leader?

    just really spot on ,thanks Chris.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for early starts and quick turn round but it’s a fabulous trip!!!! .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This should be on everyone’s bucket list !!!! 😘
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Maggie Hatchard

    China in summer!

    A very good and interesting holiday taking in all the fascinating places that China has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Terracotta Army was for me the most inspirational part of the trip. The size of the find and how much they still have to uncover, so much so that they are leaving a huge proportion to future generations to explore as they have so much to do already.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Jane could t have been more helpful or considerate, she was a delight and went out of her way to help everyone making sure that we were all comfortable and supported. She was also very knowledgeable about every part of the trip. She will be truly missed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    August is the Chinese school holidays and also the hottest time of the year so really crowded everywhere and extremely hot and humid. Think about going at a different time of the year!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I throughly enjoyed the trip, we saw so much and experienced so much. All was well organised. Comfortable hotels and great food. Lots to see and do. And many many steps! Worst day was 45 flights of stairs! Wish I’d started counting the steps when I arrived. Lots of walking and half of them upor down or so it seemed! If you go in the summer take clothes that can be easily washed through, it’s very, very sweaty!
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Molly Wallis

    Excellent tour

    Fabulous tour - it covered everythingI wanted to see or do, and much more -it exceeded my expectations. I loved every minute. Everyday was different and a pleasant experience. Great guide, great group, great fun, great tour, not to be missed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the Great Wall of China at Mutiayun! That was an achievement for me - I didn't think that I would manage to climb to the top but I did!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Kris, our tour guide, is professional, knowledgeable, friendly and caring - exceptional. Kris made the tour fun and a fabulous experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Manage your own expectations and others about limited access and availability of wi fi and ability to contact family and friends easily. Take "roll on" or "liquid" insect repellent and not pressurised or "flammable" ones as these are not allowed in cabin luggage on trains, or aircraft.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I highly recommend Exodus and this tour - excellent trip and a great tour company.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Janice Needham

    Fantastic trip to China

    A wonderful trip, packed with great sights and led by a fantastic guide Kangzhu.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots, but the Great Walk and Yangshuo Light Show were both spine-tingling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kangzhu was amazing. Everything ran smoothly with presumably lots of arranging behind the scenes. She also created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, even with a busy schedule. She helped us all get great food, including non-meat eaters. She definitely went above what was required, helping people find particular gifts, bringing us breakfast on the overnight train and working very long hours. She was a complete star! And very good company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect a busy time!
  • So much to see!

    Nothing prepares you for how big China is, big cities, big roads, long distances, and a wonderful welcome! We saw and experienced all the things we planned and so much more. The tour is full on and you will need to be fit to walk the distances needed and carry your own case up and down stairs in the railway stations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspiring thing about our China trip was being able to experience the local life. I had in my naivety not realised that we would be a novelty to many of the Chinese people. They too are travelling in their country and are enjoying the sights we are seeing. Many of them have travelled very long distances from their homes where they never come across any foreigners. Many times they would ask to take photos of us on their phones. The Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors are everything you hoped to see. Beijing, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden Palace are all much bigger than you realise. The whole tour enables you to see so many wonderful things. I feel pleased that I have had the chance to see how China is developing at a lightening pace. Go and see it now because it is changing all the time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was our first time with Exodus and the first time on a guided tour. Nothing prepares you for how amazing China is. It would have been really difficult to appreciate everything without our wonderful guide Vivian Xi. She translated the language, explained Chinese customs, took care of all the internal travel details, explained all about the tour destinations we were visiting, ordered our food in the restaurants when we could not understand the menus and made sure each member of the group was happy with the arrangements. A truly customer service minded, thoughtful person. I feel we would have missed so much without her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I have mentioned above that you need to be fit to enjoy this tour. There were some travellers in our group of sixteen who had not done their research or benefitted from a good travel agent as we had. These people were not comfortable walking the distances needed and therefore unable to enjoy the full China experience. We travelled on local buses, mini buses, bullet trains, one internal fight and three overnight soft sleeper trains. All transport was well organised but the overnight trains are slow and noisy and you don’t get much rest. You need to know that sometimes you could be sharing a four bed compartment with strangers. We found the bunks clean but hard. There is usually one squatty and one potty toilet in each carriage. You only need a minimum of “pretty clothes” Comfortable clothes and shoes in practical colours suitable for any weather conditions. We had a little rain, clear days and some dull incredibly humid days. Laundry services are available in the hotels and our guide helped us with these details. We read lots of the previous reviews and gained lots of tips from them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Yangtze cruise has some lovely scenery but don’t think it will be a rest and you can enjoy them. There are excursions each day that you probably don’t want to miss. When you are moored at a venue you could find another boat moored along side you. We actually had one moored each side of us and I could have stepped onto their decks with no difficulty. This meant, no views and the smoking fumes from other crew members coming into your cabin if you left you balcony door open. The breakfasts in most of the hotels has a western choice as well as Chinese style. Fill up you tummies in the mornings. The Chinese menus later for your lunch or dinner may or may not be to your liking. There are McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC in the cities when you just have to have something you recognise. Go with a sense of adventure and lots of energy, you will need it.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    GRAHAM CLARKE

    Imperial China and Yangtze River Cruise

    An excellent introduction to China covering a number of the very diverse facets of the country. I am inspired to return to China to explore other aspects of the country. In particular the Great Wall trek. I would recommend travelling with a group, such as Exodus. It is not the easiest country to get about in. There is very little English spoken and most of the signs are in Chinese only. Our tour leader took care of interpretations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Great Wall was great, the Three Gorges cruise on the Yangtze, the cycling in the country amongst the limestone karsts, amazing landscape. There were a number of other WOW factors not least of which was the food.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leon was excellent: very knowledgeable about all the areas that we visited, he was helpful on a personal level as well as to the group particularly when it came to ordering food where the menus were only in Chinese. He was well up to the standard of tour leaders that I had come to expect of Exodus. His English was excellent also.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travelling in China could be a bit of a challenge particularly as there is little English spoken and much of the signs even at airports and railway stations are in Chinese. Having a competent Chinese speaker with you, such as we had, made life much easier. The trip was billed as 1 leisurely. I think a 2 grading would be more exact; the steps up to the great wall and later on up to the Moon Rock were something of a challenge for some.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Keep your eyes open and look for quaint English translations of signs.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Vivienne Hodgins

    Another great Exodus trip!

    We had a fantastic experience in China led admirably by Alan Liu. We saw so much of both modern and traditional China....such contrasts. We gained great insight into Chinese history and the Chinese view of their place in the world today. We were always on the go...so much to see and do. There was hardly a dull moment....the third train trip the exception. That was not great but apart from that all the travel arrangements,accommodation, activities (optional and included ) were excellent. We went on public buses, private buses, the bullet train,metro, internal flight and the three overnight train trips. It is such a large country and the sheer scale of things is hard to take in. We also had relaxing times on the cruise and in the water town near Shanghai to name a few. The gorges are spectacular but the food on he boat is just ok. The rooms are very good though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The pandas at Chengdu,the terracotta warriors, the scenery at Yangzhou, the dam,the cycle ride on the walls at Xian, the food..... Good fun learning Mahjong! The Great Wall is excellent although it takes ages to get there because of the traffic. Fantastic walking. Shanghai is very interesting....lots to see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan Liu is such a good leader. He is always smiling and his English is excellent. His knowledge of history and politics is very good and he is very good at explaining ideas.He was always counting us...no one got lost! He was so good in the restaurants choosing dishes for us to share....the food was wonderful. He was always on task....everything worked like clockwork. He really is a five star leader and such a nice person. He was very patient... the group although small had varying levels of fitness and he always waited to make sure no one got left behind. I felt very confident travelling with him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is full on but no more than other Exodus trips. The luggage situation at stations was not so bad as I expected....there are slopes beside stairs so you can roll your bag up or down but the Chinese people are so friendly and I had help every time without asking! You do need a sleeping bag liner...the train duvets etc are ok but not great. The third train trip is from 1.00pm to 5.00 in the morning....then a bus ride, then a orientation tour, then a Chinese cookery class. Drink lots of water there...I got really ill as did a few others that day. Just a bit too much in the heat. There are lots of washing opportunities. The hotels are generally good...you don't usually get shampoo etc but always a toothbrush!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The acrobat show in Shanghai and the Light show in Yangzhou are both very good. The Great Wall is excellent..no need for hiking boots....walking sandals are ok. Very little English spoken. No Facebook or google!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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