Three Gorges - Best Tours & Trips 2019

30 trips to Three Gorges tours from 23 tour companies. 37 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.
All Three Gorges tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 899 $ 7,797

Price Per Day

Trip Length

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Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Impacted by Climate Change

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Best of China with Yangtze Cruise Summer 2019

Trafalgar
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 400 / day
$ 6,250
From : $ 7,374
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • CITY TOUR of Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai
  • CRUISE the Yangtze River
  • SEE local people practicing T'ai Chi in the morning, the Shanghai Acrobats.
  • VISIT Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, the Jinmao Tower in Shanghai, the Great Wall of China
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Three Gorges, China
View Trip

Essential China

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
21 days
$ 133 / day
$ 2,799
From : $ 3,779
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Bargain in bustling markets
  • Walk the great wall and explore the forbidden city
  • Stand face-to-face with terracotta warriors
  • Visit a panda sanctuary
  • Cruise the yangtze
  • Ride a bamboo raft through yangshuo's karst landscape
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Tiananmen Square, Yangshuo, Yangtze River, Yichang, Nanjing, Victoria, Victoria Peak, China
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Iconic China: Beijing to Tibet

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 235 / day
$ 3,524
From : $ 4,335
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy a performance of shadow puppetry
  • Learn how to make tibetan momos (beef dumplings)
  • Get up close and personal with pandas at a sichuan breeding centre
  • Take in thangka art at a tibetan academy in lhasa
  • Cruise the mighty yangtze river on a luxury riverboat
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, Potala Palace, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Tibet, Yangtze River, Himalayas, Silk Road, The Forbidden City, Victoria, China
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Yangzi & Beyond
Small Group Tour
Stride climate
This trip visits a destination that is affected by climate change

Yangzi & Beyond

Peregrine Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
17 days
$ 254 / day
$ 4,310
From : $ 5,819
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • The quintessential image of china is the imposing great wall – walk through history on an original section
  • Like everything it does, china’s ancient history is on an epic scale – get a sense of it when you come face-to-face with arrays of terracotta warriors. also enjoy a deliciously home cooked meal while listening to the stories of our host who has lived through witnessed the changes brought about by this epic excavation.
  • Learn about the endangered (and adorable) giant pandas’ struggle for survival, and get up close to these unique creatures in chengdu.
  • Step back in time with a boat trip through the painterly scenery of the yangzi river, which meanders through the dramatic three gorges.
  • Try your hand at both traditional cooking and tai chi in yangshuo, where the karsts dots beautiful the banks of the li river.
  • Discover shanghai's bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace, which provides a glimpse into modern china.
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Yangshuo, Yichang, Silk Road, Venice, China
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Treasures of China

Explore!
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 222 / day
$ 3,330
From : $ 4,496
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Beijing - Walk through Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City. Walk on the Great Wall at Mutianyu
  • Xian -Meet the Terracotta Warriors and explore the Muslim Quarter
  • Yangtse Cruise - Float along the Yangtse River on a 5 star cruise ship
  • Yangshuo - Cruise on the Li River and see classic Chinese limestone scenery
  • Shanghai - Take in China's most cosmopolitan city
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Guilin, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam, Xian, Yangshuo, Chengdu, China
View Trip
Splendours of China
Small Group Tour
Stride climate
This trip visits a destination that is affected by climate change

Splendours of China

Peregrine Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
26 days
$ 289 / day
$ 7,515
From : $ 10,145
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore the memorable limestone karst scenery of yangshuo, immortalised in countless traditional chinese paintings
  • Spend the night in a guesthouse in the lovingly restored town of shaxi, visit the dizzying friday market and be transported back to when it was a significant stop on the tea horse trail
  • Enjoy two days to hike around the dramatic scenery of tiger leaping gorge
  • Wander through a tibetan village in the dreamy shangrila pasture lands. learn about tibetan culture over a steaming cup of yak butter tea.
  • Like everything it does, china’s ancient history is on an epic scale – see in the faces of the thousands or terracotta warriors in xi’an, and in the endless stretch of the great wall as you walk along it
  • Learn about the endangered (and adorable) giant pandas’ struggle for survival, and get up close to these unique creatures in chengdu
  • Step back in time with a boat trip through the iconic scenery of the yangzi river, which meanders through the spectacular three gorges
  • Get a hands-on insight into chinese dishes and ingredients with a cooking class in yangshuo
  • Discover shanghai's bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace, which provides a glimpse into modern china
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Dali, Kunming, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Tibet, Yangshuo, Yichang, Lijiang, Venice, Guilin, Hong Kong, Silk Road, China
View Trip

Classic Hong Kong to Beijing Adventure

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
20 days
$ 121 / day
$ 2,414
From : $ 3,259
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit the panda breeding centre
  • Enjoy a calligraphy lesson
  • Float along the li river
  • See thousands of buddhas at the yungang grottoes
  • Explore the forbidden city and the great wall
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Dali, Hong Kong, Lijiang, Yangshuo, Kunming, Guilin, Silk Road, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges, Yangtze River, China
View Trip

China on a Shoestring

Explore!
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
21 days
$ 135 / day
$ 2,840
From : $ 3,834
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Beijing - Walk along the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Explore Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City
  • Xian - Meet the famous Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huangdi
  • Yangtse River cruise - Relax for 3 days whilst exploring the stunning Yangtse River landscapes
  • Villages and Rice Terraces - Take in rural China as we hike amongst the villages of the Dong, Yao and Zhuan people
  • Yangshuo - Enjoy beautiful karst landscapes as we drift down the Li River
  • Shanghai - Explore one of Asia's most vibrant and dynamic cities
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Xian, Yichang, Guilin, Silk Road, Tiananmen Square, Yangshuo, China
View Trip

Classic Hong Kong to Xi'an Adventure

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 129 / day
$ 1,679
From : $ 2,267
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore the countryside
  • Enjoy a hot pot dinner
  • Walk around the old town in lijiang
  • Hike the tiger leaping gorge
  • Visit the panda breeding centre
Visits:
Chengdu, Dali, Hong Kong, Lijiang, Yangshuo, Kunming, Guilin, Three Gorges, Yangtze River, China
View Trip

China Classic Odyssey

14 days
$ 547 / day
$ 7,655
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Forbidden City and theGreat Wall
  • Tour Beijing's atmospheric hutongs for a fascinating look into Old China
  • Marvel at the life-size army of Terracotta Warriors in Xian
  • Visit the giant pandas of Bisheng Gorge Panda Sanctuary
  • Cruise through the spectacular gorges of the Yangtze River aboard the luxurious Yangzi Explorer
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage gardens of Suzhou
  • Experience the historic, cultural and architectural marvels of the ultramodern metropolis of Shanghai
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Great Wall of China, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Xian, China
View Trip

Imperial Jewels of China

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 263 / day
$ 3,417
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai, imperial treasures like the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, and cruise the wildly beautiful Three Gorges region of the legendary Yangtze.
  • Visit the Great wall of China and explore its winding pathways and marvel
  • Visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. 
  • See Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views.
Visits:
Beijing, Great Wall of China, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges, Xian, China
View Trip

Classic China & the Yangtze

14 days
$ 292 / day
$ 4,184
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Beijing touring, including Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall
  • Beijing hutong tour and home visit
  • Traditional Peking Duck dinner
  • Xian’s Terra Cotta Warriors
  • Three-night Yangtze River cruise including Three Gorges and Smaller Gorges
  • Cruise aboard Premier Ship of Victoria Cruises
  • Included shore excursions
  • Visit to site of new Three Gorges Dam
  • Shanghai sightseeing: acclaimed Shanghai Museum, the Bund, Yu Yuan Gardens
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Great Wall of China, Nanjing, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Xian, Yangtze River, Yichang, China
View Trip

17 Day Cultural China & Yangtze River Gold Ex ...

Pacific Delight Tours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
18 days
$ 306 / day
$ 5,499
From : $ 6,269
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Visit some of China's most treasured UNESCO World Heritage sites including Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Beijing's 700-year-old Hutongs and Drum Tower
  • Visit to the renowned Great Wall of China
  • See the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors
  • Enjoy a traditional performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty period
  • Discover some of China's priceless pieces of ancient art at the Shanghai museum
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Great Wall of China, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Victoria Peak, Xian, Yangtze River, Yichang, China, Hong Kong
View Trip

13 Day Imperial China & Yangtze River Gold Ex ...

Pacific Delight Tours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 308 / day
$ 3,999
From : $ 4,559
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Visit Tiananmen Square and the extravagant Ming-era Imperial Palace in the Forbidden City
  • Explore Beijing and experience a highlight of your trip
  • Opportunity to visit renowned Great Wall
  • Visit Summer Palace declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit Chongqing Zoo to see China’s national animal the Giant Panda
  • Enjoy sail through the Three Gorges ship lock.
  • Explore Shanghai 
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Yangtze River, China
View Trip

15 Day Tibet & Yangtze River Air-Inclusive

Pacific Delight Tours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 333 / day
$ 4,999
From : $ 6,149
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore Shanghai
  • Enjoy Yangtze Cruise
  • Discover historic Xi'an
  • Visit the Terracotta Warriors
  • Explore Beijing, a fascinating city rich in history and memorable UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Visit Tiananmen Square
  • Visit the renowned Great Wall
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Great Wall of China, Imperial Palace, Lhasa, Potala Palace, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Tibet, Xian, Yangtze River, Yichang, China
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Top Three Gorges Experiences and Attractions

Top Three Gorges Experiences

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Three Gorges Trip Reviews

37 Three Gorges Tour Reviews - Summary 97% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 25
Great 12
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Best of China 2019

5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 2.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0

The tour guide Hubert was wonderful, very detailed oriented and organized. And had such an extensive knowledge of all the cities and locations we went to. Truly excellent!

Personalized care and helpfulness was definitely offered throughout, very nice touch to the trip.

Overall a great trip, but some considerations below:

The hotel in Beijing – Novotel Peace and the hotel in Chengdu – Crowne Plaza were way below standard – maybe a rating of 2 stars. They were dirty, dark, stained and hot without air circulating in the rooms. After extensive days with waking up early and returning late, you just want to rest in a clean environment with cool air. I would never stay hotels like these.

This trip is not for people who cannot handle extensive walking and climbing. Trafalgar lists this as from 5 to 99 years old. Not possible. There were days we did 10 miles of walking, just a caution for anyone considering. We had someone in our tour that was 82 years old and we all took turns taking care of him.

Some aspects of the itinerary could be different, but think that is all based on personal preference; however my fellow travelers did feel the same way. The cruise down the Yangtze River was just ‘ok’, time could have been spent better elsewhere. Like Xian, truly amazing city but too short a time.

NOTE: Some were charged single supplement, others were not ... I paid for the single supplement and was none too happy about that!

Also note that you need to budget for the optional tours that are not included.

Read more
Operator Trafalgar

Imperial China and Yangtze River Cruise

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

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.
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.


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.


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.


Keep your eyes open and look for quaint English translations of signs.


Read more
Operator Exodus Travels

A trip of a lifetime enhanced by the input of a brilliant CEO who was extremely knowledgeable of all aspects of her job

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

A trip of a lifetime enhanced by the input of a brilliant CEO who was extremely knowledgeable of all aspects of her job. Saw some wonderful sights met the nicest of travelling partners and survived the challenge of so many different foods and meeting so, so many natives.

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Operator G Adventures

Pros, cons and tips

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 4.0

This is a review of the Uniworld China + Tibet + Yangtze tour in June, 2019, taken by my wife (80) and me (77). Since knowledge of a reviewer helps readers to judge the applicability to themselves: we are both former academics, normally spry and immersed in cultural, political, and healthful life activities, but we sometimes found the trip daunting, as discussed below. We resist aging, but not always with full success.

The tour had pluses and minuses.

The biggest minuses:
• My wife’s breathing difficulty in our 3-night stay in Lhasa, Tibet (she spent the whole time breathing oxygen and couldn't go on any outings)
• The (inevitable) problem of touring a totalitarian country where citizens are intimidated from talking honestly about the full scope of their lives

The biggest pluses:
• Our guide, Kevin, who was outstandingly attentive, helpful, supportive and patient. He went out of his way to help in difficult situations (like my wife’s breathing problems in Lhasa).
• We were also quite appreciative of Tiger’s brief stint with us.
• With a few exceptions, our baggage was always handled by others. And the exceptions weren’t overwhelming. Apparently for a group, the weight of any individual bag just gets averaged in with all the other group bags being checked. (Some travelers handled their own carry-ons.)

Most of the other people on the tour were quite amiable and unassuming—not always the case when you travel with people whose financial position has to be pretty good to afford this kind of trip (that financial position too often drives unwarranted expectations of privilege and reverence [if that’s not redundant…]).

The accommodations and included breakfasts (and many other meals) were luxurious, though we ourselves didn’t need them to be THAT nice (in this we’re probably exceptions from other travelers—and in this case, a number of our co-tourists had taken multiple Uniworld tours, so they knew and liked what they'd be getting); indeed, we had to learn to stop tanking up at breakfast just because so many goodies were offered, buffet-style. Had we realized those luxuries were part of what we were paying for (and in retrospect we SHOULD have realized), we might have taken a different, cheaper tour. Ironically, what most drew us to the Uniworld trip were the chance to visit Tibet and the expectation that at such a high cost we’d always be getting outstanding, highly informed guides (which wasn’t always the case; as retired academics, we’re unusually demanding in the critical analysis of what we want to hear).

GENERAL NOTES:

We spent several days on our own before the tour (in Beijing) and at its end (in Shanghai). These were quite valuable to us. Perhaps because of time, the Uniworld tour took us to few museums. We are museum junkies, and visited several during our non-tour times. Among other things, Beijing has a terrific national museum, an interesting (partly because of its political subtext) museum about women and children, and an extensive arts district. Shanghai has its own major museum and a tour of the city’s past relationship with Judaism that gives you a more general sense of the troubling antithesis of glitzy life highlighted elsewhere.

I’ve traveled to many parts of the world, and I’ve always been able to learn at least local alphabets and some minimal language skills. China is the first place I’ve gone where I could do none of the first and only a few words (probably wrongly intoned) of the latter. This was extremely frustrating, especially when we toured on our own. Few people outside the major international emporia (I never quite got used to how many upscale stores were in all places we visited) speak English (why should they?). The one ameliorating factor was that many people (especially store employees) had phone apps that did good to excellent translations between spoken English and spoken Chinese. You should have one for your own use.

In major cities, signs quite often include English, so that you can at least know where to shop and what you're looking at. Prices (which you can often negotiate) are typically typed into a calculator.

Perhaps even more than in the West, people are glued to smart phones. Pretty much everyone, it seems, uses an app that includes texts, phone use, and a payment facility, so that people seem to may carry little or no cash or credit cards. No one seems to care—or maybe everyone is just resigned to—that the government can monitor this app and know a ton of stuff about you. As a foreigner, however, you are unlikely to be able to use this app because you need to have a compatible bank account (probably meaning from a Chinese bank).

No matter how you travel in China, you'll see the amazing efforts to accommodate the expansion cities, so that a “town” of which you've never heard might have a million or more people. On the tour, you'll see almost only architectural and shop glitz that the government and cities bask in. You might get very brief glimpses of poverty.

While on the one hand the Chinese government talks a good game and takes some important steps vis-à-vis the climate crisis, on the other hand they still use an enormous amount of fossil fuel for electricity generation. I was also struck—dismayed—by the fact that from all appearances, people only drink bottled water (Westerners are warned against tap water, but I don’t know if local people build up an immuinity to its problems). Especially in warm weather, I can only guess at the billions of single-use plastic bottles that are used every day by the population of 1.4 billion (plus large numbers of visitors). On rare occasions, like at an airport, you might see a place to refill a water bottle (I assume that water is safe).

Please note that in criticisms like the previous paragraph, I do not intend a holier-than-thou American attitude. I am even more critical of what our government does—or more importantly, doesn’t—do vis-à-vis the climate crisis.

THE PEOPLE

Almost everyone was pleasant and upbeat. We mostly moved among middle- (and presumably upper-)class people; we encountered many others, but they were kind of in the background (just as in capitalist countries), and while we made it a point to notice their existence, we had no meaningful interactions with them.

The westernization of outward behavior was almost palpable. My wife had visited 10 years ago and regularly commented on the difference. My impression is that the young (teen-agers, young adults) are especially into western fashion and culture—and to what to me was a surprising extent, seemed to be able to afford indulging that taste.

For what it’s worth, my observation was that people are quite materialistic, focus their lives on that, and increasingly able to afford to indulge themselves. Outwardly, at least, they have little concern with the strictures of their government. Tiananmen Square seems to be in the distant past. Treatment of Moslems and Uighurs (not unlike our current treatment of immigrants and Moslems or our like history of racial and ethnic conflicts) was far away. So far as I could tell, people like Americans (though we’re also bizarre outsiders—there are occasional instances of Chinese people, especially ones who live far from the cities we visited, walking up to a foreigner and asking to take a photo together (this happened to me on the Great Wall, with some pretty young guys).

SECURITY

This abounds. You need to carry your passport everywhere. You'll encounter frequent security checks where you have to put whatever you're carrying through a scanner and show official IDs. In Lhasa, these checks were even present as you wove your way through street markets.

At every airport check-in, you not only go through a security scanner, but you then step up on s short stool so that someone with a hand scanner can go over every inch of your body. (I have sometimes wondered whether proliferation of security folk, including regular police, in nations like this is a clever device for combining meaningful security with full employment.)

The government must have an incredible volume of disk space and incredibly fast computer programs to be able quickly to access information about any given citizen or visitor. Check-in at airports always includes a live photo of you. I’m sure if anyone in the security services had wanted to track me down at any time, it wouldn't have taken more than a few seconds. (For each accommodation where you stay, you have to register with the police. Hotels typically do that for you.)

IN-COUNTRY TRAVEL

We had 4 in-country flights (part of the reason for what Uniworld charges), and much as we wanted to visit the places to which we flew, the time and effort involved in getting from to shuttle bus (then sometimes a long walk) to hotel to airport to check-in to security to boarding to flying to disembarking to shuttle bus to the next hotel became overwhelming.

The tour included 3 nights in a luxury boat on the Yangtze River. This was quite pleasant and included a night’s visit to a show (I don’t remember exactly which one, but when on our own my wife and I went to a couple of shows in Beijing—well worth it even if they're not something to your normal taste). Here, we had some down time. At our ages, we needed more of that. I got sick while on the boat and got what seemed like pretty good medical care.

(By American standards, medicals for my wife in Lhasa and for me on the Yangtze boat were low but not miniscule.)

By American standards, taxis are cheap. They were pretty easy to find in Beijing. (The “universal” app includes signups with services like Uber.) But in Shanghai, they were extremely rare, and we had to get help from strangers to order one. As you would expect, this is especially hard when it’s raining and you're a very long walk from your hotel. Among maybe a dozen or two cab rides during our entire stay, we had two bad experiences with cabbies; I advise photographing the driver’s information and the meter area. I found that this significantly mitigated the problems.

We took the metro in Beijing. After brief adjustment, it was very easy to use. The main difficulty is that stations are far apart, so on (say) a rainy night, you will still need an umbrella and endurance. Shanghai seems to have an equivalent subway system, but we never used it there.

LHASA

Part of the altitude problem my wife (and a few of our fellow travellers) had appears to be the flight’s forcing a lack of transition from sea level to an altitude over 2 miles. (On the other hand, a slower, staged transfer probably would have added cost to an already expensive trip—and maybe loss of a day’s touring.) Especially for older folk, however, I think this is a relevant concern.

I don’t know why, but although I could feel very mild pressure in my breathing, I was fine for the entire Lhasa visit. I had a different disappointment (perhaps idiosyncratic to myself, an academic and non-religious person): if I remember correctly, our entire stay involved visiting Tibetan religious locations. I quite support SOME such visits—religious history is central to human existence—but I would have liked to see aspects of other Tibetan cultural history.

Because of Beijing political issues with Tibet, filing out your Chinese visa involves the charade of not mentioning you're going there (if you do mention it, your visa apparently will be denied).

And a warning re Lhasa (and at least the Great Wall): there can invite lots of climbing, and a number of us, especially some of the older people (even when altitude wasn’t an issue), chose to climb minimally (just enough to get a sense of where steps were going and what the resulting view would be). Kevin and other guides were totally understanding—indeed, we were offered climbing options.

Read more
Operator Uniworld

Interesting overview of China's highlights

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

This trip covered many of the highlights of China from the Great Wall to
Shanghai and did it very well. Although it was rated as 'leisurely' it was
very busy and perhaps Exodus could introduce a new range of ratings to
reflect how busy they are as well as the physical effort required.

China is an interesting country going through massive change and
urbanisation, I had not expected the huge amount of building work and high
rise blocks built and being built and the sheer enormity of the cities
visited.
I particularly enjoyed the visit to the Panda Breeding Programme in Chengdu
and seeing the baby pandas -such a conservation success story.


The leader Alan - Liu Bin was excellent, my only criticism was that he only
seemed to have one speed which was fast, I prefer to amble and take in my
surroundings particularly in a country with a different culture and this was
not possible when trying to keep up with Alan.
Alan gave us a very interesting and informative session on China's take on
disputed territories which presented a different viewpoint from that we have
been given in the West.
Alan was very organised and full of information, he worked constantly but
still maintained a good sense of humour.


If you are not happy to use squat toilets I found that the disabled cubicle
usually contained a 'potty' style.
Coffee was not generally provided in hotel rooms so some sachets are useful.


Hotels in China do not provide maps, I found this very frustrating and feel
that Exodus should provide maps of the area around the hotels used with
information of suggested places to eat/drink and transport options to places
of interest, it is not possible to print these before departure as hotels are
not notified until arrival. As a consequence of the lack of maps I do not
feel that I had an overview of the cities visited (spatial awareness).

I found the food pretty boring, as the only non-meat eater I found that meat
dishes were served first (a cultural norm) and often sat with just a couple
to veg dumplings while the rest of the group tucked in, when the vegetables
(and rice) eventually arrived they were usually rather bland and boring and
the rest of the group were nearly finished eating. I would have welcomed the
opportunity to pick a dish for myself from the menu. The much vaunted
Sichaun Hot Pot was rubbish for me as the spicy part contains ox fat so I
could not cook my food there and just had to use the boring unspicy broth.

Three nights on trains was too many and Exodus should look at tweaking the
itinerary as there was some wasted time waiting for trains and also when we
go on the boat.

Overall a very good enjoyable trip - I found China interesting and am very
pleased I chose this trip as it gave a great overview.


Read more
Operator Exodus Travels

Excellent intro to china

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

Excellent intro to china

Read more
Operator G Adventures

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