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16-Day Essential River Cruise Tour of China

Tour route: Shanghai - Suzhou - Yangtze River - Guilin - Xian - Beijing

  • Tour code: RiverTour-Watertown-05
  • Tour Style: Affordable Private Tour (No Join-in Group Tour).
  • Price inclusions: All transportation mentioned in itinerary (flight, train, ship, private car, etc.); private guides & drivers, hotels, meals (based on your meal plan), and all service charges & taxes.
  • Travel date: private tour with flexible travel date.
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Day 1: Shanghai, Free Day

Say Hello to China. Upon your arrival at Shanghai, China's most cosmopolitancity, your personal guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. The restof the day is yours to relax and recover from jetlag.

Day 2: Shanghai, Shanghai History Tour

After breakfast, you will head to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center to glimpse at the promising future of Shanghai and then immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere of the famous Jade Buddha Temple.

Later, stroll along the city's lively waterfront, known as the Bund, experience China's shopping paradise the Nanjing Road. After, you will enjoy a bird's eye view of the modern Shanghai from Shanghai World Financial Center.

The recommended show of tonight is Acrobatics Show which will bring you a memorable night in Shanghai.

Day 3: Shanghai-Suzhou, Chinese Gardens & Grand Canal

After breakfast, you will be met and transferred to the railway station for the high speed train to Suzhou (about 0.5h, no guide service on the train).

Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to have city tour in Suzhou includes: the Humble Adminstrator's Garden. Enjoy the gentle breeze while cruise on the Grand Canal. Later visit the No.1 Silk Factory to learn how the pure silk products are made from a small cocoon. Enjoy the Garden Show in the evening.

Day 4: Suzhou-Shanghai, Tongli Old Town

In the morning you will be driven to Tongli Water Town (20 minutes drive from Suzhou). There you will pay a visit to the Garden of Seclusion and Meditations, the Pearl Pagoda, the Triple Bridge, and Ming and Qing Dynasty Street. After your trip to this beautiful village, you will be driven back to Suzhou railway station for the high speed train back to Shanghai.

Day 5: Shanghai- Yichang, Free Day

You will be free on this day until your personal guide escorts you to the airport for your flight toYichang.

Upon your arrival in Yichang, be met and escorted to the dock to your Yangtse Cruise ship.

Day 6: Yangtze River Cruise, Three Gorges Dam

Sailing along the Yangtze River, you will see its amazing natural beauty and real China countryside views. Various onboard entertaining programs such as Taiji Lessons, Chinese Herbal Facial provide you an excellent access to appreciate Chinese culture.

There will be a shore excursion to the world-famous Three Gorges Dam, which is the world’s largest hydro-electric dam with extraordinary sights whatever your views on the project. After the excursion, return to yourship, have a rest and get ready to enjoy the Welcome Dinner Party hosted by the captain in the evening.

Day 7: Yangtze River Cruise, Shennong Stream or Lesser Three Gorges

The second full day onboard your cruise ship with a shore excursion to the tranquil waters of Shennong Stream or to the picturesque Lesser Three Gorges, which is decided by the ship company according to local weather conditions.

After the excursion, you will sail through the impressive Wu Gorge, a nice chance to take some marvelous photos.

Day 8: Yangtze River Cruise, Fengdu Ghost City

Today your ship will stop for the final shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City, an age-old temple complex perched on cliffs above the river with commanding views. Inside the temple, you will see various precious sculptures, paintings depicting the Afterlife world and gain an insight of the mystic Chinese Ghost culture.

After the excursion, re-board your ship and enjoy yourself at the Farewell Dinner Party in the evening.

Day 9: Yangtze River Cruise, Chongqing-Guilin

After breakfast, you willdisembark the ship in Chongqing at 09:00 am and be picked up & transferred to the airport for your flight to Guilin.

Upon your arrival in Guilin, the most scenic city in China, your personal guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at your own leisure.

Day 10: Guilin-Yangshuo, Li River & West Street

Today's highlight is Li River Cruise. Starting at Zhujiang Pier, you'll cruise down the picturesque Li River until Yangshuo. En route, stunning limestone karst scenery, pastoral views of thriving groves, rice paddies, water buffaloes and working farmers make your trip relaxing & enjoyable. 

Early afternoon, disembark in Yangshuo and check into your hotel. Then you will be free to explore this wonderfully laid back town and its popular West Street. The night show Impression of Sanjie Liu is a not-to-miss optional activity for people in Yangshuo.

Day 11: Guilin-Xian, Elephant Trunk Hill, Fubo Hill & Reed Flute Cave

After a wonderful stay in Yangshuo, you will be transferred back to Guilin to have an essential city tour.

You will tour Elephant TrunkHill, which resembles a remarkable stone elephant drinking water from Li River, climb on the legendary Fubo Hill, drop by a Pearl Museum and explore the fabulous Reed Flute Cave.

After the tour, take a flight to Xian and check into your hotel.

Day 12: Xian, Terracotta Warriors & City Highlights

The incredible Terracotta Warriors is your first stop today. Discovered in 1974, the 6,000 life-sizeterra soldiers and horses are an amazing form of funerary art buried, with China’sforemost Emperor Qin Shihuang, to help rule another empire inthe afterlife. Then visit a Ceramic Factory to witness how these statues can be made. In the afternoon, you will visit the Ancient City Walls, the largest and best-kept city walls on earth, and the age-old Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is the city symbol of Xian.

Tonight is free. You can consider to enjoy the famous Tang Dynasty Show as the night entertainment.

Day 13: Xian-Beijing, Free Day

You will be free to relax in your hotel or continue your exploration of this history-enriched city by yourself.

Then you will be escorted to the airport for your flight to Beijing, the dynamic capital of China.

Day 14: Beijing, City Highlights Tour

On this day you will first visit Tiananmen Square, the largest plaza on earth. Passing through Tiananmen Gate,then you will enter the splendid Forbidden City, China’s No.1 palace complex famous for its grand buildings, exquisite ornaments and priceless royal treasures. In the afternoon, you will marvel the spectacular Temple of Heaven, a holy royal temple where emperors in ancient times worshiped Heaven for a national good harvest.

Night option is Chinese Kung Fu Show which can let you know the charm of this martial art closely.

Day 15: Beijing, Great Wall Tour

No Beijing tour is complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Today you will tour the magnificent Great Wall,the 8th Wonder of the World. Walking on the venerable ramparts, you will be amazed at the unbelievable constructions and appealing landscape that surrounds the Wall.

Descending the Great Wall, you will stop by a Jade Gallery and then take a leisurely stroll along the Sacred Road, a royal path noted for vivid stone statues and afterlife stories.

Day 16: Beijing, Summer Palace/Departure

After breakfast, you will visit the exquisite Summer Palace. Built as a royal summer retreat in 1750, the Palace is one of the four most beautiful gardens in China.

In the afternoon, you will be escorted to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

Recommended Accommodation for Your Journey

There is no doubt that your journey enjoyment will be increased by a good choice of accommodation. Our well-established network with key hotel chains around China will bring you more benefits of competitive rates and guaranteed hotel quality with availability.

Standard Tour ClassComfortable Tour ClassDeluxe Tour Class
ShanghaiGreenland Jiulong Hotel comfortable hotel star No.601 Liyang Road,Hongkou District, Shanghai 200080 China The Bund Hotel comfortable hotel star 525 Guangdong Road, Shanghai China The Westin Bund Center Shanghai deluxe hotel star No.88 Henan Middle Road, Bund Center, Huangpu District, Shanghai 200002, China
SuzhouGarden hotel standar hotel star 477, Liuyuan Road, Suzhou Garden Hotel(Louwailou Tower) comfortable hotel star 477#, Liuyuan Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China Suzhou Marriott Hotel deluxe hotel star 1296 Ganjiang Road West, Jinchang District Suzhou, Jiangsu Province P.R.C
GuilinHotel Universal standar hotel star #1 JiefangDong Road, Guilin, Guangxi, China 541001 Guilin Bravo Hotel comfortable hotel star No.14 Ronghu South Road, Xiangshan District, Guilin 541002, China Guilin Shangri-la Hotel deluxe hotel star 111 Huan Cheng Bei Er Lu, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China
YangshuoYangshuo New Century Hotel Principle Building comfortable hotel star Near Yangshuo Park, Pantao Road, Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi P.R, China. Green Lotus Hotel deluxe hotel star No.1 Guanlian Road Yangshuo Guilin Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region China 541900
XianSkytel Xi'an (Formerly Prince International Hotel) standar hotel star No.32 South Main Street, Beilin District, Xi'an 710001, China Grand Noble Hotel Xian deluxe hotel star 334 Dong Da Jie(East Street), Xian City, Shaanxi Province, China No. 334 East Street, Xian City, Shaanxi, P.R.C. 710001 Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square deluxe hotel star No. 319 Dongxing Road, Xian, China, 710004
BeijingDong Fang Hotel Beijing standar hotel star No. 11 Wanming Road ,Xuanwu District, Beijing ,China P.C.100050 Beijing Novotel Peace Hotel comfortable hotel star 3 Jinyu lane, Wangfujing, Beijing, 100006, China The Regent Beijing deluxe hotel star 99# Jinbao Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China

We pick Hotels for You Based on:
Location:most of properties we selected are either located in downtown area with main city attractions or close by main transportations. These conveniences will certainly improve your holiday experience.
Facility & Service Quality:all hotels are inspected strictly and regularly, must be with great performance on accommodating English speaking customers, and excellent feedbacks from our pervious clients as well.
Diversity for Choice: many styles and grades of hotels are available for different budgets, tastes and culture backgrounds.


Hotel criteria for each tour class

Hotel arrangement for Standard Tour Class

It will meet the basic requirements for a comfortable stay, good size and clean guest rooms with AC, TV, hot water, shower and private bathrooms. On-site restaurants with breakfast included and lunch or dinner at your own pick up. A small fitness center or spa can be expected.

Standar Hotel


Hotel Arrangement for Comfortable Tour Class

Normally you'll stay at formal and large hotels conveniently located with shopping, dining and entertainment facilities nearby. Quality service, fully furnished rooms, restaurants, room service, fitness center and swimming pool (in very rare cases there is no pool) all together offer an above-average accommodation experience. 
Usually good 4-star hotels are adopted or boutique hotels at request. Hotels best available will be arranged if no qualified choice, e.g. in remote area.

Comfortable Hotel


Hotel Arrangement for Deluxe Tour Class

Luxurious hotel with top-notch service and an extensive range of facilities for an excellent accommodation experience. Multiple restaurants on site with extensive menus for choice, room service available 24/7, fitness center and concierge service round out the experience. Hotels best available will be arranged if no qualified choice, e.g. in remote area.

Deluxe Hotel


Normally China Odyssey Tours provides two meals each day: Breakfast and Lunch. You will have the freedom to make your own dinner choice.


It is normally served at the hotel where you stay. Depending on the hotel, the breakfast would be in western style, Chinese style, or a combination.

A la carte lunch

When plan your lunches, we consider the balance of food quality, dining environment and tour convenience. We provide a la carte lunch in a local restaurant whenever possible. A la carte meal will give you an opportunity to eat at local restaurant, follow local customs, and taste local dishes. The a la carte allowance would be adequate for a decent meal in our recommended local restaurants, but varies from different restaurants and different cities. However in some remote regions where it’s simply hard to find a non-tourist restaurant, the meal could be arranged at a local tourist restaurant or a local family.

Your own dinner choice

Dinners will not be included in your meal plan unless you have that requirement. Enjoying the local food could be one of your best experiences in China. This is why we provide you this flexibility of food choice. Your private guide will always give you good suggestions based on your preferences.

If you have certain food allergies or special requirements such as vegetarian food, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Private Guide & Transfer

You will have a private tour guide, private driver, and an air-conditioned vehicle escorting you at every destination you travel. This will provide you with maximized personal care, security, and flexibility.

All of our tour guides are qualified professionals and registered English Speaking Tourist Guides in China who are reassessed annually. All of our tour vehicles are clean and in excellent condition, manned with licensed safe drivers.

Private Tour Guide

You will always be greeted punctually on arrival at each destination airport. At every departure, your guide will stay at your side until you have checked in and passed through the security checkpoint.

All of our travel guides in every destination are locals, who know the area well, they are very good at guiding you around and telling background stories of the tour sites, as well as showing you the secret spots for taking your best photos.

When changing your itinerary is needed due to unexpected reasons, your private tour guides will be more than accommodating in suggesting alternatives to ensure that you have a wonderful experience.

Private Transportation

With our comfortable and safe private transportation, your tour will be more relaxing and less tiresome, keeping you in the best spirits to make the most of your experience in China.

In every destination visited, your vehicle is air conditioned, clean, and expertly maintained. Your private driver is licensed, insured, and very experienced.

To maximize your comfort, we use vehicles with extra space for you and your luggage. Depending on how many are traveling together, we generally use sedans or mini vans (7 seats) for 4 people or less, large vans or small coaches (12-22 seats) for 5-12 people, medium coaches (33 – 37 seats) for 13 – 25 people, and large coaches (45 seats over) for more than 25 people.

Reviews on: Essential River Cruise Tour of China

Rating 4.8 - 2,774 Reviews
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2774 reviews sorted by date

Clients: Christine Dwyer Johnson

Travel Consultant:
Reinself Wei
I had never heard of China Odyssey Tours until I googled them on the internet and with some nervousness made an initial enquiry with them. Reinself Wei replied to my email and from that moment on I knew this was the agency I wanted to deal with. Thank you Reinself Wei for being our agent. We cannot fault your service. You have given us great service which has been professional, efficient, knowledgeable, prompt and without problems. You have answered all of our questions promptly and given us advice regarding our trip to China. We would definitely book through you and your company again. Thank you very much. Christine and Suzanne
Rating: May 28th, 2017

Clients: Joey Broussard

Travel Consultant:
Wendy Wan
WOW! So glad we booked with Odessey Tours, had great tour guides and great hotels! Thank You
Rating: May 28th, 2017

Clients: Lucia MacQuarrie

From: Canada

Travel Consultant:
Alex Quan
Thanks to our amazing tour planner Alex Quan of China Odyssey Tours we had an amazing tour of 7 cities in China over 16 days. The guides have perfect English and were attentive to everything we needed, ensuring we were happy with our hotel rooms and that we made it onto the trains and planes, and they explained so much about how China operates and what it is like to live in this hugely populated country. I learned so much, and enjoyed every single tour. They gave us choices along the way, and would make extra stops for specific requests. I did not think we needed this much assistance, as I have traveled several times to Asia, but because so few Chinese people speak English, we appreciated dining suggestions and assistance with finding authentic souvenirs. We chose 5 star hotels, even requested a view of the Bund in Shanghai, and we loved every place we stayed. It was a great 4 person tour. Alex was very quick to respond to each and every email. I would recommend Odyssey Tours to anyone. I have never seen such first class service from start to finish. No surprise there are all these amazing reviews. Thank You.
Rating: May 27th, 2017

Clients: Brian Fulmer

From: Australia

Travel Consultant:
Tom Zhou
Tom Zhou has been putting together our itinerary for China and Hong Kong for next year and to date, I cannot fault anything he has done. His attention to detail and service has been excellent. Really looking forward to the trip that Tom has planned for us.
Rating: May 27th, 2017

Clients: Alicia Dunbar

From: Australia

Travel Consultant:
Leila Deng
We booked our 15 day personalised tour through Leila of China Odessey Tours. Found company on internet so was a little worried if the trip would be ok. Reviewed company on TripAdvisor and the like and seemed to have very good reviews. Our trip was awesome and the company was very obliging. Leila was great to deal with as where all guides and drivers. We highly recommend this company! Thankyou!
Rating: May 27th, 2017
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