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  • Mon to Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Yangtze Highlights

12 Days Guided Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

China’s longest river, the Yangtze snakes its way across almost 6,400 km from the eastern fringes of the Tibetan Plateau, traversing some of the most spectacular vistas in the country and an area where the pace of village living remains untouched, to the glittering lights of Shanghai. This tour encapsulates the essence of China, with the highlight of 3 nights afloat on one of the world’s greatest rivers.


Day 1: Thursday

Welcome to Beijing - you will be met by your local tour guide and transferred to the Beijing Sunworld Dynasty for the next 3 nights. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 2: Friday

Have a morning T'ai Chi lesson - the traditional Chinese hard and soft martial art technique - followed by a visit to the Temple of Heaven, China's largest sacrificial building symbolizing the relationship between heaven and earth, which deftly illustrates the evolution of one of the Earth's greatest civilizations. Then visit the great Tian’anmen square and finish the day at the Forbidden City, the iconic Chinese imperial palace from the Ming and Qing dynasty. (B/L)

Day 3: Saturday

A full day excursion to the Great Wall - undulating across some 5000km, a symbol of power steeped in the history of countless generations. The Mu Tian Yu section is one of the best preserved parts of the Great Wall and your cable car journey is included. In the evening you have the opportunity to have an authentic Peking Duck dinner. (B/L/D)

Day 4: Sunday

This morning enjoy a visit to the Summer Palace, an Oasis of serenity away from the bustling centre of Beijing, and described as the best- preserved imperial garden in the world. In the afternoon board your high speed train to Xi'an where you'll stay for 2 nights at the Titan Times Hotel. (B/L)

Day 5: Monday

Visit the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, one of the greatest archaeological excavations of our time. These artefacts are associated with the Qing dynasty (211-206 BC) and were created to guard the emperor’s tomb. Also visit the dramatic Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the City Wall. (B/L)

Day 6: Tuesday

In the morning take a fast train to Chengdu the home of the pandas, in the afternoon enjoy a visit to Jin Li Ancient Street. Overnight at the Tibet Hotel. (B)

Day 7: Wednesday

This morning you will visit the Panda Breeding Centre to watch these endangered creatures feeding and playing. After lunch in local Chinese restaurant transfer to take the high speed train to Chongqing (approximately 2 hours). Arrive in Chongqing. Then transfer to board the MV President No. 7 (Deluxe Balcony Cabin) cruise ship, for 3 nights. The boat will sail from Chongqing later this evening. Your evening meal will be onboard the ship. (B/L/D)

Day 8: Thursday

Following breakfast there is an optional shore excursion to the intriguing 'ghost city' of Fengdu (bookable and payable locally). Rich in Chinese folklore, stating the city is home to devils, it is however undeniably beautiful and an intrinsic part of China's unparalleled history. After lunch on the cruise, enjoy the shore excursion to Shibaozhai to visit a wooden pagoda. This evening there is the captains welcome party followed by dinner and a show. (B/L/D)

The MV President No.7 has 6 decks, with a total of 230 cabins, which can accommodate up to 460 passengers, each of the cabins have en suite bathrooms and private balconies, to ensure that you have the best views of the spectacular Yangtze landscapes as they pass by.

Day 9: Friday

The boat continues cruising further along the Yangtze. Pass by the Qutang Gorge and later Wu Gorge before taking an optional excursion to the White Emperor City (bookable locally). After lunch enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Shennong Stream. In the evening there is the farewell banquet. (B/L/D)

Day 10: Saturday

This morning disembark the cruise at Maoping pier, where you will transfer by coach to visit the huge Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project. After lunch in Yichang, transfer to Yichang train station for high speed train to Shanghai. The train will leave 13:32–21:19 (subject to change) and will take approximately 7 hours 47 minutes. On arrival in Shanghai transfer to the Juss Hengshan Hotel for a 2 night stay. (B/L)

MV President inclusion:

  • Cruise accommodation as detailed, upgraded cabin available subject to availability and additional charge, pre-bookable from the UK from £509.42 (twin share)
  • Meals as listed
  • Any shore excursions listed that is not bookable and payable locally.

MV President exclusions:

  • Optional shore excursions Ghost city of Fengdu (CNY 290 per person) approximately 2 hours 30 minutes and White Emperor City (CNY 290 per person)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, spa, salon, shopping, Internet, onboard medical facilities
  • Drinks: wines are not a part of the free drinks, only some soft drinks are provided for free on ship. Drinks on the ship can be expensive

Day 11: Sunday

Today's sightseeing includes the excellent Shanghai Museum, home to some of the most accomplished works of ancient Chinese art and cultural relics, the Bund district and Nanjing Road, renowned for its architectural treasures and the Yu Yuan Garden, an oasis of peace in the heart of this bustling city. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure, you may wish to take a taxi to Xintiandi, a newly developed district with boutiques, chic bars, restaurants and entertainment. (B/L)

Day 12: Monday

Transfer to the airport by the exciting maglev train for your onward travel arrangements.Please note: the return transfer back to Shanghai airport by maglev train is subject to your flight time. Early departures from Shanghai will not permit this and a road transfer will be provided instead. (B)

Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Dates & prices

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

The first day of the tour is at leisure so allows you enough time to arrive and relax. If you wish to arrive earlier extra nights can be added to your tour in the Sunworld Dynasty Hotel in Beijing. We recommend extending your tour with a few nights exploring Hong Kong.

Time difference

GMT +7 hours (summer) +8 hours (winter)

Tour inclusions

  • Domestic flights (internal flight baggage allowance is 20kgs)
  • Private air-conditioned transport throughout. When sailing on the Yangtze, shore excursions are arranged by the boat and are not exclusive to the Virgin Holidays group
  • High-speed train Beijing-Xi'an and fast train Xi'an-Chengdu on second class seats
  • Sightseeing as detailed including entrance fees
  • The services of an experienced local guide Road taxes, parking fees and fuel surcharges.

Tour exclusions

  • International flights in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Chinese visa – details will be provided at time of booking
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary.

Dining inclusions

11 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 4 dinners.

The majority of meals are likely to be Chinese rather an international; vegetarians can be catered for but the food is quite different from what you may be used to.

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Optional activities (not included and booked locally)

  • Rickshaw Hutong Tour or Beijing Night Tour
  • Xi’an by Night
  • Acrobatic Show or Shanghai by Night. 


Occasionally we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.

Journey times

China is a vast country and journey times between destinations can sometimes be long. Journey times are listed in the itinerary and are approximate.

Group size

There is a maximum of 25 people per group.

Limited mobility

This tour is not recommended for clients with limited mobility, please contact the Special Assistance team for more information

Visa requirements

A Chinese Visa is required for all British passport holders and most other nationalities and MUST be obtained before your arrival in China. A full 10 year passport is required and must be valid for 6 months beyond your departure date from China and have at least two blank pages and you will need to send a copy of your itinerary with your application. We recommend processing your visa directly with ‘CIBT’ who will obtain all visas in person, and return your passport to you (with visa) by registered post. Contact them on or 0207 963 3873.


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Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

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Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

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If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

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Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans

We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned

If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

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To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

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