London - In flight
Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service® transports you from your front door to London Heathrow Airport in time for a direct, scheduled overnight British Airways flight to Shanghai.
On arrival in Shanghai, a buzzing city with a fascinating past and one eye on the future, we transfer to the excellent 4 star Salvo Hotel, our comfortable base for three nights. Dinner is included this evening.
A morning tour introduces this stunning oriental metropolis, with views of the riverside colonial district known as the Bund, which has featured in countless books and films, but perhaps most memorably Empire of the Sun. Later, after an included lunch, the afternoon if free to explore. An optional excursion this evening presents the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular acrobatic show.
A day to make your own discoveries of Shanghai – perhaps browsing the exquisite collections of the Shanghai Museum or strolling the winding paths of Yu Yuan, a 16th century classical garden in the heart of the city. Or you may choose to join an optional excursion by train to the city of Suzhou, famed for its beautiful classic residential gardens including the Garden of Humble Administration, and take a short cruise on the Grand Canal.
Day 5 - Shanghai
Yangtze River We check-out to make the transfer to embark the Victoria Sophia, a remarkable vessel configured to sail the journey from Shanghai to the mountainous Chongqing. Departing late afternoon, we cruise leisurely upstream on one of the most historic stretches of inland water in the world. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party this evening.
Day 6 - Yangtze (Nanjing)
We arrive in Nanjing this morning, in time for an excursion to show you the highlights of the city that still has remnants of the eight dynasties that established their capitals here, including the grand mausoleum of revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat Sen and the glorious Confucius Temple.
Day 7 - Yangtze (Huangshan)
A full day excursion to Huangshan reveals why this ‘Yellow Mountain’ has so inspired artists, poets and photographers, earning it recognition as a World Heritage Site. In fact a range of glaciated peaks, Huangshan has been an ever-popular cultural subject: from the Tang to the Qing Dynasty, an estimated 20,000 poems were written about it and a school of painting was named after it. Huangshan even influenced James Cameron’s design of the idyllic world depicted in the film Avatar. Please note - a visit to Jiuhaushan (Mountain of the Nine Lotuses) will be substituted if local weather conditions preclude a visit to Huangshan.
Day 8 - Yangtze (Wuhan)
We arrive in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, surrounded by farmland productive enough to have inspired the saying ‘a good harvest in Hunan and Hubei would feed the whole country’. We disembark for a city tour and a visit to Hubei Provincial Museum, returning to the ship this evening.
Day 9 - Yangtze River
A full day sailing through the Yangtze River.
Day 10 - Yangtze (Three Gorges Dam - Yichang)
An excursion to the Three Gorges Dam informs your opinion on this controversial enterprise, the largest water conservatory project ever undertaken. It flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced over a million people, yet it will create vast amounts of environmentally friendly electricity. Later our vessel travels though the Three Gorges Dam ship locks.
Day 11 - Yangtze (Three Gorges - Daning River)
Another standout highlight of China and a genuine wonder of the natural world, the Three Gorges comprise the most spectacular and captivating stretch of the mighty Yangtze River. We travel through the awe-inspiring Xiling Gorge and Witches Gorge before disembarking for a separate cruise along the splendid, crystal-clear Daning River. Later we pass through the third of these rock-cut masterpieces Qutang Gorge. Please note - a visit to Shennong Stream may be substituted if the Daning River is not accessible for operational reasons.
Day 12 - Yangtze (Fengdu)
This morning’s shore excursion is to Fengdu, set in a region of outstanding beauty and known as the ‘ghost city’ for its long association with the spirit world and the afterlife. We return to the ship for the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
Yangtze - Chongqing
We say farewell to Victoria Sophia as we disembark in Chongqing, perhaps little known in the west, but in fact the world’s most populous city with some 32 million residents in the urban area and hinterland. We enjoy a guided tour of the Old Town, and a visit to Chongqing Zoo, the most delightful and emblematic residents of which are the giant pandas. Having observed the pandas, we are taken to our overnight accommodation, the 5 star Hilton Chongqing.
Chongqing - Guilin
We head to the airport this morning for a domestic flight to Guilin. On arrival we transfer to the 4 star Park Hotel, where we stay for two nights.
Guilin - Li River cruise
The extraordinary natural beauty of Guilin region is best appreciated on a Li River day cruise, your vessel gliding serenely beyond spectacular karst rock formations and lush greenery. Lunch and free time is included in the town of Yangshou.
Guilin - Xi’an
Following a domestic fligh to Xi’an we stop at the tomb of the Han Emperor Jing Di which, with its thousands of funerary figures, once adorned with wooden arms and silk garments, depicting all walks of life, provides an enthralling contrast to the overtly martial tomb of Qin Shi Huang. Later we transfer to the 4 star Grand Noble Hotel for the first of two nights.
No visitor to China should miss the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an. More than 6,000 life-size terracotta soldiers and horses, arranged in battle formation to guard the mausoleum of the 3rd century BC Emperor Qin Shi Huang, have thus far been unearthed, now viewable in three large pits. The detail is phenomenal and, as with much associated with this vast country, the scale is breathtaking. Excavations are still ongoing here, undoubtedly one of the most important archaeological sites of the last century. We enjoy the famous Tang Dynasty Show this evening.
Beijing - Xi’an
We then transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Beijing. On arrival, our first excursion this afternoon is to the serene Summer Palace, an imperial pleasure-ground set on the slopes of a hill overlooking Kunming Lake, northwest of central Beijing. This splendid collection of pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges is one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we visit on our journey. The well-located 4 star Landmark Hotel is our comfortable base for three nights.
Beijing - Forbidden City
The morning is dedicated to the extraordinary complex of imperial palaces known as the Forbidden City, depicted with such vibrancy of colour in Bernardo Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor, that were home to Ming and Qing emperors for more than 500 years. Before lunch we visit Tiananmen, the largest city square in the world and one that has played host to monumental events in Chinese history, and then the afternoon is at leisure to perhaps explore the hutong, the labyrinthine traditional neighbourhoods of Beijing. We enjoy a show of Chinese martial art in the evening.
Beijing - Great Wall
In the pine-forested mountains north of Beijing, a remarkably well-preserved section of the Great Wall of China is our memorable first stop. Voted one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’ in 2007, the Great Wall is indeed a sight to behold - epic in scale, it took 2,000 years to build, it stretches 8,100 km from the sands of the Gobi to the mountains of Korea and, at its height, it was guarded by a million men. The Badaling Great Wall dates to the Ming Period, and we walk along ramparts little changed in five centuries or more. We also travel along the 7km ‘Spirit Way’ to the Ming Tombs, making a stop at the particularly impressive Changling Tomb, and savour a traditional Peking duck farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Beijing - London
We travel to the airport where a direct, scheduled British Airways flight returns you to London Heathrow, where members of our airport team greet you and show you to your VIP Home Departure vehicle, waiting to take you home. Please take note that if you have chosen to take a connecting flight we regret that the above arrangements do not apply.