CRUISETOUR

Undiscovered China (19 Days)

Cruise Line: Viking Cruises
Shanghai, China to Beijing, China
DAY
PORT
Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
ARRIVE DEPART
DAY 1
Shanghai, China

Fly to Shanghai, China's largest city, then transfer to your hotel. An intoxicating city of paradoxes, Shanghai is at once celebrated for its colonial-era architecture along the famous Bund promenade and for the futuristic skyline of the glittering Pudong district. Your tour director will help you check in and accompany you throughout your cruise tour. Enjoy free time to relax or explore. Throughout your journey, you will enjoy a variety of traditional Chinese and Western-style meals.

DAY 2
Shanghai, China

This morning, tour Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire historic banks and customs houses and breathtaking city views. Then stroll the pathways of the exquisite Yuyuan Garden. Dating to the Ming Dynasty, this oasis was specially built by Pan Yunduan, a 16th-century governor of Sichuan, for his aging father. After lunch in a local restaurant, tour the Shanghai Museum, one of China's finest collections, and admire decorative ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy, and paintings from the region's past. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before seeing the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe from the best seats in the house. (B,L,D)

DAY 3
Shanghai, China
Air travel
Wuhan, China

After breakfast, prepare for your flight to Wuhan. Upon arrival, embark your Viking-owned and -operated ship, docked close to Wuhan's historic waterfront. For the next five days, you will sail into an astonishing world where fishermen scoop their catch with large handmade nets, families tend to water-laden rice fields, and timeless monasteries perch on cliff walls. Throughout your cruise, you may choose between Chinese or Western meals, participate in tai chi on deck each morning, play mahjong, attend destination-relevant lectures, and immerse yourself in traditional China during numerous tours and activities. (B,L,D)

DAY 4
Wuhan, China

Ancient and modern intermingle in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. Former cradle of the brilliant Chu Civilization, Wuhan was an important commercial hub as its merchants set out on the Yangtze on trade missions. It remains a central economic presence today. You will visit the Hubei Provincial Museum where you hear the music of ancient bronze bells and view relics from 400 BC. Return to the ship and set sail this evening. (B,L,D)

DAY 5
Jingzhou, China

After a morning of sailing, arrive in Jingzhou, the seat of 20 emperors during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC–256 BC). As you approach, remarkably preserved city walls, gates, and watchtowers emerge on the river's banks, legacies of Jingzhou's days as an important military outpost. During your visit, you will stop by an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises. The children will greet you with a charming song and dance. Then spend time amid their contagious enthusiasm, perhaps getting to know a little about them and their lesson plans. (B,L,D)

DAY 6
Three Gorges Dam, China
Badong, China

This morning, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam. The world's largest hydroelectric power project took almost 20 years to build. During your visit, you will see the inner workings of this massive structure up close. Learn how the dam controls flooding and how it led to the relocation of 1.25 million people. Return to your ship and sail through the 5-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam. Dock overnight at Badong. (B,L,D)

DAY 7
Wu Gorge, China
Shennu Stream, China
Qutang Gorge, China

For the next 150 miles, travel the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze as it forces its way through a spectacular series of limestone ridges known as the Three Gorges. During breakfast, cruise through Wu ("Witches") Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery. Then, board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Goddess Stream. Sail through these remarkable canyons flanked by towering cliffs as you listen to the informative commentary of your program director. Along the way, see fascinating sites including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, then spend the afternoon sailing through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the three large gorges. Dinner is served onboard. (B,L,D)

DAY 8
Shibao, China

This morning, visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. The bright red pagoda, an impressive example of Qing Dynasty architecture, was erected upon a hill and became easier to access after construction of the Three Gorges Dam. As you explore, you may see the Duck Well. Legend says that a duck dropped into this hole will reappear in the Yangtze. At the small Rice Flowing Well, from which rice once poured at a slow trickle, consider the fable of the greedy monk who chiseled a larger hole, only to stop the flow completely. Tour the pavilion and temple before returning aboard for lunch. Then marvel at the spectacular Yangtze scenery as you cruise past mist-laden mountains and limestone cliffs cloaked in green. (B,L,D)

DAY 9
Chongqing, China
Cruise ends
Air travel
Lijiang, China

After breakfast, disembark and fly to Lijiang, watched over by the spectacular Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This 2,000-year-old market village and UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for the canal-lined warrens and intimate enclaves of its remarkably preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, sample local specialties during lunch. Then visit the residence of Dr. Joseph Rock in the city's Yuhu Village. Dr. Rock was a respected botanist and explorer who chronicled many of his observations about the 20th-century Yunnan province in National Geographic magazine. After checking into your hotel, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

DAY 10
Lijiang, China

Arise in Lijiang today. After breakfast, the day is yours to explore this charming city, once the center of silk embroidery and a major stop on the famed Tea Horse Ancient Road. The Dayan Old Town is a pleasure to peruse with its orderly waterways and bridges. The timber and mud-brick houses you will see are a legacy of the Nanjing traders who once passed through. You will have many opportunities to browse charming shops for local handicrafts, silk, and other locally made products. (B)

DAY 11
Lijiang, China
Air travel
Chongqing, China

Enjoy an American buffet breakfast, then transfer to the airport for your flight to Chongqing. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit the General Stilwell Museum. Known as "Vinegar Joe" for his cantankerous personality, the highly regarded World War II General was the Allied Chief of Staff in China. Today, his former residence remains much as it was during his service here and features many of his personal artifacts and wartime mementos. After arriving at your hotel and having dinner, your evening is at leisure.

DAY 12
Chongqing, China
Dazu, China
Chongqing, China
Chengdu, China

Enjoy a scenic drive through the steep hillsides of Dazu today. Then after lunch in a local restaurant, visit the Dazu Stone Carvings, a spectacular collection of elaborate sculptures etched into the rock faces of mountainsides. Throughout this expansive UNESCO World Heritage Site, some 50,000 statues and 100,000 Chinese characters seem to emerge from the cliff sides. After time to explore this remarkable site, stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Then board a high-speed train to Chengdu, arriving in time for dinner and a free evening.

DAY 13
Chengdu, China

After breakfast, explore the Sanxingdui Museum, a repository of cultural and historic relics of gold, jade, stone, bronze, and more. After lunch at a local restaurant, you have the afternoon to pursue your own interests, perhaps strolling through Jinli Street, where teahouses, handicraft shops, and food stalls offer endless cultural experiences. After dinner, attend the Sichuan Opera for an unforgettable evening marked by dramatic music, colorful costumes, fire-breathing, and bian lian, or face-changing. (B,L,D)

DAY 14
Chengdu, China
Xian, China

Begin your day with a visit to some of Chengdu's most famous residents at the Panda Base. Here, you have a chance to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. After lunch here, board a three-hour high-speed train to Xi'an, a key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 AD, this dynasty presided over one of China's most glorious cultural periods, spreading its influence throughout Asia into Europe and Africa. After dinner, enjoy an evening exploring on your own. (B,L,D)

DAY 15
Xian, China
Terracotta Army, China
Xian, China

View what many call the Eighth Wonder of the World today, the magnificent Terra Cotta Warriors. At the enormous mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago, see the 8,000 life-sized sculpted warriors, archers, and infantrymen that were buried with him. Remarkably, each man and horse was molded with its own distinctive features. The incredible archaeological site was discovered by local farmers in 1974. After lunch, you have free time to further explore Xi'an. During this evening's optional excursion, see the ancient history of China come to life during a colorful and exuberant Tang Dynasty Dinner Show. (B,L,D)

DAY 16
Xian, China
Air travel
Beijing, China

Today, fly to Beijing, China's imperial capital, whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years. Beijing embodies the beating heart of China, brimming with massive monuments, a storied past, and robust economic centers. It is inarguably China's historic and cultural center. Yet Beijing exudes an intimate side, found among the quiet warrens of hutongs. These tidy residential pockets recall the Beijing of old and bring visitors back to China at its most authentic. Check into your hotel and dine in this great city; enjoy free time this evening. (B,L,D)

DAY 17
Beijing, China
The Great Wall, China
Spirit Way, Changping, China, China
Beijing, China

Experience one of the world's most iconic sites today. Travel to the Badaling Hills to behold one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China. Built and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century AD to keep barbarian nomads out of the empire, this UNESCO World Heritage Site of sandstone and earthwork stretches some 4,000 miles. Explore its winding pathways and marvel at the panoramic views from its ramparts. After a lunch of local specialties, visit the Sacred Way, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk the tree-lined avenue guarded by massive sculptures of elephants, lions, and camels to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, dine at a local restaurant and relax at your hotel, or enjoy an optional Peking duck dinner, a dish once reserved only for emperors. (B,L,D)

DAY 18
Beijing, China

Witness two of Beijing's cultural treasures this morning. In the massive Tiananmen Square (meaning "Gate of Heavenly Peace"), the epicenter of ancient and modern Chinese history, view the exterior of Mao Zedong's mausoleum. You will also see the tower that marks the northern edge of the square; built in 1417, this was long the stage from which new emperors were declared. Then, tour the nearly 1,000 buildings of the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and accessible only to emperors and their families and court for 500 years. Walk its grounds among the opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards, and imperial gardens within the 26-foot-high walls. After lunch in a local restaurant today, with time permitting, explore Beijing independently. Enjoy dinner this evening. Or attend The Legend of Kung Fu for a beautiful display of performance art with roots dating back 4,000 years. (B,L,D)

DAY 19
Beijing, China

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or, continue your China journey with two additional nights in Beijing to further uncover its imperial treasures. (B)

Undiscovered China map

About the Ship

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Viking Emerald

From your intimate river cruise ship on the Mekong or Irrawaddy or China’s deluxe Yangtze River cruise, you will sail past unforgettable scenery, visit destinations rich in history, enjoy wonderful cuisine and meet the region’s fascinating, friendly people.

What's Included

Included

  • VIKING INCLUSIVE VALUE

    Viking built the river cruising category—and we offer the best experience, with all you need included plus the ability to customize

    Included in your cruise fare:

  • ONE SHORE EXCURSION in each port of call, led by a knowledgeable local guide

  • ALL ONBOARD MEALS, featuring regional specialties made with locally sourced ingredients and always available American classics

  • YOUR CHOICE OF MULTIPLE DINING VENUES and times (including open seating)

  • WINE, BEER & SODAS with onboard dinner and lunch

  • SPECIALTY COFFEES & TEAS available 24 hours

  • BOTTLED WATER replenished daily

  • INTERNET/WI-FI so you can remain connected

  • FIRST-CLASS HOTELS for overnight stays during our cruisetour programs and pre & post cruise extension packages

  • IN-ROOM INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM features movies on demand, plus CNBC, CNN, National Geographic and more

  • ALL PORT CHARGES & GOVERNMENT TAXES—no nickel and diming

About Us

Viking® offers destination-focused river and ocean cruises to the world’s most fascinating locations on board elegant, state-of-the art ships. With Viking, guests will journey with like-minded travelers on The Thinking Person’s Cruise®, a culturally rich, immersive experience designed to help guests explore the most intimate nuances of their destination both on board and ashore—with enriching shore excursions, informative lectures and port talks, engaging Destination Performances, wine tastings and regional cuisine. Plus, Viking Inclusive Value provides guests all they need in one inclusive cruise fare.

Insider Tip

Viking has a variety of ways in which you can customize your trip including premium beverage packages, gift orders and making arrangements for special occasions.

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