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zAAA Vacations® - Yangtze Sampler by Small Ship

13 days

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed.

Small Group Discoveries

+ Experience life as a city resident as you browse in a market for produce to bring to your hosts, a local Beijing family who will offer real personal insight into this rapidly evolving city.
+ Learn Tai Chi with a master as you join him for a private class at the Temple of Heaven.
+ A Xian resident shares his lifetime of experience as you explore with him through a city market filled with exotic fare.
+ Meet the chef over lunch at Xiangyue Villa in Shanghai and learn about his fascinating career that took him from Shanghai’s finest restaurants to San Francisco and back.
+ Includes 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites c

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An Extra Night in Beijing

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a free extra night in Beijing before your tour at the city-center Sofitel Wanda Hotel.


Welcome to Beijing

Check in to your city central 5-star Fairmont Beijing where a luxury room awaits.


In and around Beijing with your Trip Leader

Join your Trip Leader after breakfast to explore Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City c. AAA Engaging Experience: Browse in a colorful local market and help your guide to select produce for your hosts, a resident family you’ll join for lunch during your rickshaw tour through a hutong, an ancient enclave in this bustling city. This evening, you’ll enjoy a delicious Peking Duck Banquet. Meals B,L,D


Great Wall & Summer Palace

Journey into the mountains north of the capital and ascend by cable car to walk with your guide atop the Great Wall   - an unforgettable experience! Then tour the lovely Summer Palace  , erstwhile seasonal retreat of China’s mighty emperors. Meals B,L


From Beijing to your 5-star ship!

AAA Engaging Experience: This morning, we’ve made special arrangements for our guests to have a private class with a knowledgeable Tai Chi Master. Then fly to Yichang where you’ll be met and escorted to the pier. Board the MS Yangzi Explorer, China’s finest ship, and settle in to your balcony stateroom before an elegant dinner with wine. Meals B,D


The immense Three Gorges Dam

Early risers can start the day with invigorating Tai Chi before breakfast. Enjoy a relaxing morning of scenic cruising or join in the ship’s enriching cultural program. After lunch, visit the massive Three Gorges Dam and return to ship for Afternoon Tea as you cruise through Xiling Gorge. Meals B,L,D 


Up Shennong Stream and through the Yangtze Gorges

A morning sampan excursion takes you up Shennong Stream, celebrated for its spectacular mountain scenery. Back onboard, the Explorer navigates through Wu Gorge, renowned for its massive cliffs, and Qutang Gorge, the narrowest of the Three Gorges. Meals B,L,D 


Ashore in Fengdu

Get a first hand look at how life in a small river town has changed since the completion of the massive Three Gorges Dam as you explore Fengdu’s New City, built for residents who were forced by the Dam’s rising waters to relocate to higher ground. You’ll visit a local kindergarten and explore a city market filled with a wide variety of produce and locally made goods. Continue to the Old City to visit a Qing Dynasty mansion, deserted since the completion of the New City relocation project.

Back onboard, you can try your hand at traditional brush painting, learn Mah Jong, watch as the ship’s chef prepares savory Chinese dumplings – or just enjoy the captivating scenery from your private balcony or one of the ship’s inviting public areas. At this evening’s festive Farewell Dinner, your crew will be colorfully garbed in traditional Chinese dress.  Meals B,L,D


Disembark in Chongqing and Fly to Xian

Visit the Panda’s in Chongqing Zoo before your flight to Xian. AAA Engaging Experience: Join a Xian resident as he shares his lifetime of experience on a guided walking tour through a bustling local market, popularly referred to as the Muslim Market. Enjoy a dinner of savory dumplings, a regional favorite, and retreat to the 5-star Hilton Hotel, ideally located within the city’s ancient walls. Meals B,D


Discover the Terra Cotta Army c

With only 16 fellow travelers, you’ll enjoy a better view and more time to marvel at the Terra Cotta Warriors. We’ve also made special arrangements for one of the site’s archaeologists to meet with us and answer questions.  AAA Engaging Experience: Enjoy a festive lunch of regional cuisine as you watch a lively noodle-making demonstration in Xian… It’s a fascinating look into an ancient Chinese culinary tradition. Meals B,L,D


Onward to Shanghai

Fly to Shanghai and transfer to the city central Fairmont Peace Hotel. Then step out with your guide to explore this bustling part of town. AAA Engaging Experience: Tonight you’ll attend a thrilling performance of the Shanghai Acrobats. Meals B


Shanghai sightseeing

Walk along the historic waterfront Bund and delight in the lovely Yu Yuan Garden. Then tour the Shanghai Museum, highly regarded for its carefully curated exhibits spanning centuries of Chinese culture. AAA Engaging Experience: Sit down to lunch at Xiangyue Villa and meet with the chef to learn about his fascinating life. He began his culinary career in 1987 at one of Shanghai’s most famous restaurants and then spent time working at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco before returning to his native land where he is now overseeing the kitchen at this delightful restaurant.  Meals B,L,D


Farewell to Shanghai

Our tour program ends this morning after breakfast. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Hong Kong Insider Extension from Shanghai

4-Day Small Group Extension from $1,399

This affordable easy-to-add Tour Extension includes your flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong, 3 nights at our stylish city-center hotel, daily breakfast, lunch, and our unique Be a Hong Kong Insider full-day tour.

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From Shanghai to Hong Kong

On arrival in Hong Kong, you’ll be warmly greeted and chauffeured into the heart of this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Complimentary water and a refreshing towelette will be provided as your personal guide introduces you to their native city and answers any questions you might have. Upon reaching the city center, you’ll check in to your choice of hotel.


Be a Hong Kong Insider

This morning your private guide, a savvy city resident, will be waiting to show you the highlights and hidden facets of their hometown. Your exploration begins as you board the iconic Star Ferry! Cross Victoria Harbor and take in the impressive city skyline as your in-the-know guide shares information and insight. Step off on Hong Kong Island for a walking tour through Central, the city’s bustling business and financial center. Marvel at striking architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s China Bank Tower and learn how ancient Feng Shui principles still guide Hong Kong’s urban planners and architects.
Hop aboard one of the city’s double-decker trams, an essential part of island life for more than a century, and then explore by foot in Sheung Wan where you’ll see traditional herbal markets and learn about Chinese medicine. Continue along world-famous Hollywood where generations-old shop houses have been transformed into some of the city’s trendiest cafes, galleries and boutiques. Visit Man Mo Temple, one of the oldest in Hong Kong, and then sit down to a traditional Dim Sum lunch in one of your guide’s favorite restaurants. Delve into layers of architectural and cultural history at the unique PMQ Complex, and then join city residents along Graham Street. For nearly 200 years, this is where locals have come to buy their daily staples – everything from fruits and vegetables to preserved tofu, duck eggs and condiments. At one of the many markets, you’ll pause to refresh with a glass of freshly-pressed sugar cane juice. End your sightseeing on a high note as you ride the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak – where you’ll have breathtaking views of the city skyline, Victoria Harbor and distant vistas of green hills and offshore islands. After sightseeing, you’ll be escorted back to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon and your evening are at leisure to enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L


Another Day in Hong Kong

This entire day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Your hotel’s central location, surrounded by shopping, dining and cultural attractions, makes it easy to explore at your own pace. If you prefer additional guided sightseeing, you can choose from a wide variety of available tours including these:
Kowloon Markets: This half-day tour takes you through the back streets of Kowloon to experience facets of daily life glimpsed by few visitors. Venturing through the busy streets of the Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok neighborhoods, you’ll join ordinary citizens and professional florists as they browse and shop in the colorful flower market. Strolling in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, you’ll see men and their bird cages – and learn about this popular hobby. Accompanied by our in-the-know guide, you’ll also explore the Goldfish Market and the Ladies’ Market – a great place to shop for fashion and accessories. Finish up at Tin Hua Temple and the Jade Market where hundreds of merchants specialize in jewelry and carvings made from this revered green stone as well as fresh-water pearls.
Treasures of Kowloon: Spend a half-day with our expert guide delving into Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. Focusing on some of the principle landmarks and attractions in the Kowloon district, this guided tour includes Wong Tai Sin, a popular temple known for its fortune tellers. You’ll also explore Walled City Park, set on the site of a 19th-century Chinese garrison, and visit the Chi Lin Nunnery, an impressive Buddhist temple built in Tang Dynasty-style.
Hong Kong Island Foodie Tour: A must for culinary aficionados, this guided tour takes you down colorful side streets in the Hong Kong Island neighborhoods of Central and Sheung Wan. With our expert guide at your side, you’ll stop at a half-dozen places to sample authentic regional specialties like barbecue pork and wonton noodles. Along the way, you’ll learn how the area grew from a tiny fishing village into an international center for finance and trade. Tour begins and ends in Central on Hong Kong Island and lasts about 3.5 hours.
Cheung Chau Island: You’ll be met at your hotel and escorted to the pier to board the ferry to Cheung Chau Island. With no motorized vehicles allowed, Cheung Chau offers a chance to experience traditional village life away from the 21st-century rhythms of Kowloon and the bustling districts on Hong Kong Island. Fishing boats ply the harbor of Cheung Chau and the waterfront promenade is alive with local shops, seafood restaurants and family-run grocery stores. This 6-hour tour includes a tasting of Cheung Chau’s culinary specialties.
Curated Arts of Hong Kong: Accompanied by our specialist guide, this exclusive tour takes you to some of the city’s most highly-regarded galleries and artists’ studios where professional staff and gallery managers will offer insightful introductions to their current exhibitions and artists. This tour also visits Duddell’s, an innovative dining venue that brings in rarely-seen contemporary art work – most on special loan from private collections. This 3-hour tour includes roundtrip private transfers from your hotel.
Heritage Tour: This unique tour explores the legacy of the five great clans that played such an important role in the early days of Hong Kong - with some of the families, like the Tangs, tracing their arrival in the area to the 12th century. Tucked in amongst the modern apartment towers and busy highways of Kowloon and the New Territories, you’ll discover a virtual living museum where historic sites offer a glimpse into the life and culture of these long-ago, once-powerful families. Among the highlights, you’ll visit the walled village of Shan Ha Wai, tour the Tang-styled Buddhist temple at the Chi Lin Nunnery, and see the stately home built in 1865 by a descendent of the Man clan. A final stop at the Hong Kong Museum of History offers a great wrap-up of the history you’ve explored on this fascinating half-day tour.


Depart Hong Kong

Your car and driver will take you to the airport or cruise ship terminal for your onward journey.  Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons


Our 3-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, full day sightseeing with Li River cruise and private car airport transfers.


Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, city sightseeing and airport transfers via the convenient Airport Limousine Bus.


Explore the ancient Buddhist traditions of this thoroughly modern city on a private tour featuring its most significant temples including the Temple of the Golden Buddha and the Marble Temple.



Ask about international air service on Royal Cathay Pacific or United , including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.

Extra nights are available before or after your tour.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Take advantage of our Family & Friends offer and Save $100 per person anytime you book 4 or more people on the same A+R program.

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