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  • 18
  • Jul
  • 2014

What’s hot in Asia cruising? A Yangtze River cruise mixed with a land vacation in Beijing, Xi’an, Lijiang, Guilin, and Shanghai

Cruising in China is growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. There are so many amazing itineraries that take you through the heart of China on a path of cultural discovery that will leave you feeling like you’ve lived their history, tempted your palate with Peking duck and dim sum, and friendly interactions with the locals will give you a glimpse into their daily lives. We’ve picked our favorite itinerary as a sample of Avalon’s journeys through China.

See the best of China on the Avalon Waterways’ 15-day Enchanting China & The Yangtze River tour from Beijing to Shanghai

Happy Traveler Comment
Our cruise was absolutely fantastic, we really loved it! It was our honeymoon and we will always remember!Thank you very much for your service and your patience with my many questions and my bad English! 🙂[From Germany] — Ingrid K.

Avalon created an itinerary that allows plenty of time to explore the places you want to see the most. Here’s just a quick preview of the highlights:

Day 1-4: Beijing

Great wall of China

Your journey includes visits to the Forbidden City, the Imperial Palace, Tian’anmen Square, and The Great Wall of China. More fabulous experiences include a rickshaw ride through Hutongs, a visit with a local copper artisan, attend a Peking Opera, learn about the legend of Kung Fu, and sit down for tea with a local family in their home.

Day 4-6: Xi’an

xian at night, pagoda with fountains

In Xi’an you’ll marvel at the legion of Terracotta Warriors from a VIP viewing area, and visit the Dayan Pagoda. Plus, you’ll love to see how Chinese noodles are made, learn how to write Chinese calligraphy, and watch the locals practice their Tai Chi.

Terracotta army

Day 6-8: Lijiang

Travel deep into China, to Lijiang, home of the minority ethnic group—The Naxi. You’re tour will take you to the Museum of Naxi  Dongba Culture, and the Black Dragon Pool. You’ll be awed by the Lijiang Impression Show which was created by the co-director of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a hike to the meadow for a spectacular view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and a tour through the medieval Old Town.

Black Dragon Pool at Lijiang, China

Day 8-10: Guilin

See the mystical mountains from a leisurely cruise along the Li River.


Photo courtesy of Avalon Waterways

Learn how tea is made at a local tea farm, and participate in a traditional tea ceremony.

Traditional tea ceremony in Japan


NOTE: If you want to see Tibet, you may want to consider the Cultural China & Tibet with Yangtze River itinerary which takes you to Llasa at 14,000 foot elevation. Visit the Summer Palace, a Tibetian’s home, the Tibetan Monastery, the Tibetan hospital, the Jokhang Temple and the grand Potala Palace.



Day 10: Chongqing

Before you board the Avalon Century Legend, you’ll have time to see the giant pandas at the local zoo, and the Stillwell Museum. You’ll embark on your three-night Yangtze River cruise through the Three Gorges.

passenger ship sailing on the Yangtze River

Day 11: Shibaozhai

After your morning Tai Chi session onboard, you’ll get off the boat for a visit to Shibaozha and see famous wooden pagoda.


Day 12: Qutang Gorge—Wu Gorge—Shennong Stream

Relax and enjoy local cuisine onboard as you cruise through the gorges. You’ll disembark for a special boat excursion along the Shennong Stream for close encounters with natural gorges and the mysterious hanging wooden coffins.


Photo courtesy of Avalon Waterways

A visit to China would not be complete without a sampan ride along the stream.

Day 13: Three Gorges Dam Site—Xiling Gorge—Yichang

Your ship will make a stop in order to tour the engineering marvel Three Gorges Dam Site.

Three Gorges Dam in China

Your cruise ends in Yichang where you’ll disembark and fly off to China’s most popular destination, Shanghai.

Day 14-15: Shanghai

beautiful shanghai yuyuan garden at night

You’ll visit the Yu Yuan Gardens, and the Shanghai Museum. Plus, you learn how silk is made at a local factory, enjoy a dim sum feast, and an amazing acrobatic show.

Yuyuan Gardens

OPTIONAL Day 15-18: Hong Kong

And if you want to see Hong Kong, there is a three-day optional Hong Kong package available to add on to the end to make this visit to China complete.

Hong Kong harbour with tourist junk

To keep updated with what’s “hot” in cruising and receive information on hot deals, sign up for our Inner Circle or “like” us on Facebook. Call us if you have any questions, and we can help you start  planning your next cruise vacation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-888-804-CRUIse(2784) or visiting our website

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