First Cabin Luxury Travel
First Cabin 29 Year Anniversary

China Explorer

Navigating The Yangtze & Old-World Treasures

Land Arrangements per person $7,590
In-country Airfare per person $1,070*
18 Day Itinerary
With Private SUV, Private Driver, Private Boat & Private Guide
Yangtze Explorer – Finest Luxury Vessel On Yangtze River
Breakfast Daily – All Meals On Yangtze Explorer

*Beijing/Xian, Yichang/Shanghai, Shanghai/Guilin, Guilin/Shanghai, Shanghai/Hong Kong

Temple of Heaven Beijing

Favorite Itinerary

Day 01 / Depart United States

Departure on your chosen air carrier wings you across the Pacific and the International Dateline to the People’s Republic of China.

People’s Republic of China

Day 02 / Arrival Beijing

Arrive into Beijing and meet your private guide in the arrival hall. En route to the hotel, visit the 798 Art District, which has become one of the more popular venues within Beijing. Formally a factory district, it has become a haven for cultural artisans to congregate and display the many wonders of art creatively transforming a rather drab environment into one of color and excitement. Thereafter, your guide will accompany you for check-in at your chosen hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. Fairmont Beijing Hotel

Day 03 / Sights of Beijing

Begin your day with a visit to Tian’anmen Square, some 100 acres in size and the site for the Memorial Hall of Mao Zedong. Visit the Great Hall of Congress and see the People’s Liberation statue while at the square. Having enjoyed a relaxing lunch, across the square you will find the Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City. The 250-acre site was the residence of former emperors with entry forbidden to all commoners. It is a grand site to visit with its vast display of memorial halls, concubine quarters and sitting rooms. Having visited the inside grounds, make your way to Jiingshan Park, where you will find a grand hilltop view looking down upon the Forbidden City. Continue on to Hutong (Old Town) for a personalized Rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes and passageways, reminiscent of Old China. Return to your accommodation to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. Fairmont Beijing Hotel

Day 04 / Excursion to the Great Wall

Today’s itinerary begins your sightseeing of ancient China with a visit to the Great Wall. Enjoy a stroll along the wall itself to gain an appreciation for its sheer size and magnitude. You will visit the Mutianyu section, which is the best-restored part of the Wall and allows you to ride the Cable Car to the top. You may also choose to ride a rapid descent slide that returns you to the bottom, which if chosen can be booked on the spot.Thereafter, drive back to Beijing for a photo stop at the Bird Nest and Water Cube as sites for competition during the Olympic Games, and return to your hotel for a bit of rest prior to the enjoyment of a Kungfu show at a local theater. Fairmont Beijing Hotel

Day 05 / Beijing – Xian

This morning’s flight takes you to Xian. Once the largest city in the world and the capital of some 11 dynasties, it became a major tourist attraction with the unearthing in 1974 of the “Qin Era” terra-cotta warriors, guardians of the burial site of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. Your visit to this ancient city will provide a variety of unique and fascinating sites to explore. Upon arrival, enjoy a relaxing lunch at one of the most popular dumpling restaurants within the city. You will be amazed at how many varieties of dumplings will reach your table, each variety presented to you in a bamboo wicker basket and each flavor and ingredient different from the last. Thereafter, enjoy a visit to the Han Yang Ling Underground Museum and a visit at the City Wall, one of the best preserved city walls in China and where during the early morning hours, local residents gather for Tai Chi and in the late afternoon, return for ballroom dancing nearby its entrance. Xian Hyatt Regency Hotel

Day 06 / Xian

Your visit to this 3rd century B.C. burial site, now preserved as a museum within the ancient province provides a lasting impression of the quality of craftsmanship and effort required completing such an enormous undertaking. Each warrior is different in stature, each size and facial countenance a unique portrayal of the artist’s genius. Your tour continues with a visit to one of China’s oldest mosques in a particularly unique part of the city, which is well known for its vibrant flea market along a pathway nearby the mosque. The narrow lane is filled with items that might make a great memento. Return to your accommodation for a rest and an early dinner for this evening you are the invited guests for a performance of song and dance that has long been a featured highlight of Xian. Hyatt Regency Hotel

Day 07 / Xian – Chengdu

A morning flight wings you to the city of Chengdu, the capital of southwest Sichuan Province, known for its Szechuan cuisine and home to the Giant Pandas. Upon arrival, enjoy a city tour visiting the People’s Park, a local Clan Tea House and the renowned Jinli Street. This evening a special treat is in store when you visit the local theater to watch the actors do face painting prior to the production. Chengdu St. Regis Hotel

Day 08 / Excursion to the Panda Sanctuary

Today’s itinerary includes an exciting visit to the Panda Research facility outside of Chengdu. Here you will find many pandas in their open-air habitat and with luck, you may see some of the newly born pandas being cared for by the staff. Upon return to the city, the remainder of the evening is yours to enjoy at leisure. Chengdu is in the heart of Szechuan country and it will be to your advantage to sample some of the zesty foods that will be offered to you at one of the specialty restaurants that ring the city. Chengdu St. Regis Hotel

Day 09 / Chengdu – Chongqing

Begin your day with First Class passage by rail to the city of Chongqing, located at the confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers. Formerly used as the site for Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist’s Army and Chennault’s “Flying Tigers,” this rugged Cliffside city offers dramatic scenery and has gained a distinct reputation for its Academy of Arts, which you will have the opportunity to visit while on tour. A ride upon the city monorail and a stop at the Three Gorges Dam Museum completes your tour of the city. Enjoy dinner in the city, for thereafter it will be time to board your designated vessel for passage on the Yangtze River.

Day 10 / Yangtze River – Fengdu Ghost City

Your first sighting along the passage will be 18th century Shibaozai temple; with its 12-stories nestled along the banks of the river. The temple can be seen from a great distance and depending upon the water level, the captain may or may not be able to dock, thus no arrangements have been made for a private guide. Further downstream is the Fengdu Ghost City. Join with your private guide upon disembarkation who will meet you for a tour of the city, describing its history while walking the footpaths of this ancient town. Return to the boat to continue your excursion down the Yangtze.

Day 11 / Excursion To Shennong Stream

Board the ferry with fellow travelers to the entrance of the Shennong Stream. You will be joined by your private guide, who will accompany you on your own private boat excursion that glides you along the stream, bordered by high granite walls. It is a captivating experience and one of the highlights of your passage along the river. Return on board your vessel for an evening at leisure. 

Day 12 / Disembarkation Yichang – Shanghai

Begin your day with a docking to join your private driver and guide for a visit to view the Three Gorges Dam. Completed in 2003, it spans the Yangtze River and as a hydroelectric power source is considered to hold the largest potential power source of any such dam in the world. Having completed your visit to the Three Gorges Dam return to the your vessel to prepare for your onward flight to Shanghai. Your late afternoon flight wings you to China’s most populated city, Shanghai. During the Concession granted the international community of a past era, it gained a flavorful reputation. At the time, it was considered by some to be the “Paris of the East.” Upon arrival, you will be met by your private guide who will accompany you to the Shanghai Fairmont Peace Hotel. One of the amenities at the Peace Hotel is their renowned Jazz Band. Fairmont Peace Hotel

Day 13 / Shanghai – Touring the City

Begin your exploration of the city and visit the district of the former French Concession, many of the houses with their unique styled Colonial architecture. Thereafter, visit the Urban Planning Museum, followed by a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple. Return to your hotel for a bit of rest for this evening, you are the invited guests to attend a performance of Chinese acrobats. Fairmont Peace Hotel

Day 14 / Shanghai – Touring the City

Today’s activities take you on guided tours of the Shanghai National Museum and the Glass Museum. You will also enjoy lunch at one of the more popular restaurants within “Old Town” and thereafter enjoy a private boat ride around the ancient town of the Zhujiajio water village established in 1700, and lying on the outskirts of Shanghai. Thereafter, return to your hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening at rest and relaxation. Fairmont Peace Hotel  

Day 15 / Shanghai ~ Guilin

A morning flight wings you to Guilin, considered by many to be the most picturesque site within all of China. Located on the west banks of the Li River, it is renowned for its natural limestone peaks, which offer a vibrant panorama as the setting for a memorable cruise along the waterway. Your touring begins with a visit to the Reed Flute Caves, a marvel of nature’s majesty, bringing you along a comfortable footpath within its inner-spaces to enjoy another of nature’s finest creations. Visit elephant hill to capture some of the beauty of Guilin’s beautiful landscape. During the early evening hours stretched along the sidewalk aside your accommodation, vendors set up their booths and kiosks, showcasing bonsai plants, pottery, embroidered silks, “antiques” and a variety of wares both for local residents and tourists, making it a most enjoyable way to spend an evening. Guilin Shangri-La

Day 16 / Guilin  – Yangshuo

For over 1,000 years, commencing with the poetry of Han Yu, artists both young and old have tried to capture on canvas or in prose the dynamic and sensual beauty of this region. Most must rely upon poetry or scrolls to envision the beauty of this land. This early morning, experience an unforgettable opportunity of living the moment as you make passage along the river amidst the splendor of the tropical vegetation intertwined throughout the limestone peaks. Your disembarkation point is the city of Yangshuo, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy a delicious countryside lunch at one of the more popular local restaurants, and to walk the small town to enjoy some of the sights that one can only find in a small town community. This evening a special treat is in store when viewing a remarkable light show in the splendor of a natural setting. Yangshou Mountain Resort

Day 17 / Yangshou – Guilin – Hong Kong

Visit a local farming community where you will have a hands-on experience of how local crops are raised to sustain the food requirements within the local community. If you choose, you will have the opportunity to assist the farmers as they introduce you to the various time-honored methods of planting and tending a variety of crops in the Chinese countryside. This afternoon, return to Guilin to join your flight to Hong Kong. Regal Airport Hotel

United States

Day 18 / Hong Kong – United States

Your passage across the wonder that is China has drawn to a close and it is time to join your onward flight homeward carrying with you the many exciting memories to be rekindled for a lifetime.


A tour booking and full payment made 6 months or more prior to the departure date qualifies you for a 10% discount on Land Arrangements.


You are welcome to visit our custom tour page using this basic itinerary as a model and customize the entire day-to-day tour program or begin anew to craft one that matches your choice for countries and locations to visit, length of stay at each destination, choice of 4 or 5 star accommodations and number of days for travel. Once provided with an overview of how you would like to see the itinerary completed, First Cabin will send you a draft for review and work together to finalize an itinerary to your specifications.

Entry to Forbidden City Beijing
Great Wall China

Book Your Luxury, Personalized Itinerary Well In Advance of Your Departure Date and Qualify for a 10% Discount On Land Arrangements.

Calligraphy teaching China
Panda at sanctuary Chengdu China
Pants plit for convenience China
Three gorges Yangtze River
Pip smoker China
Boat pullers Shennong Stream Yangtze River
Basket lady hills of Yangtze River
Sildworm factory China
Majong players Chongqing China
Monoliths at sunset Gulin China
Young Pioneers Chengdu China
Backwater canal Suzhou China
Bamboo forest China
Sunset Irrawaddy River Myanmar Burma
Elderly lady Tibet
Walled Fortress China
Great Wall Beijing China
Paintings Kiosk Suzhou China
Bamboo raft Guilin China
Terracotta soldies Cian China
Forbidden City Beijing China
Coke and chopsticks China
Marble bridge Beijing China
Caribou farming China
Cart delivery Chongqing China