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The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom


  •  In-depth and comprehensive highlights of China
  •  Visit the less crowded Great Wall at Mutianyu
  •  Unique visit to exquisite manor house and garden
  •  Yangtze cruise aboard one of Century Cruises' deluxe ships
  •  Price for 2 people. From 4 pp or more the price decreases
see full itinerary
from £ 3800

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There is so much to recommend this great journey through China, offering an in-depth exploration of her best-loved highlights and lesser-known treasures, combined with a Yangtze River Cruise.


All the suggested prices on our website are based on a 2-people private group price. As the number of people in a group increases the price per person decreases.

Price Includes

* Economy class domestic flights
* Twin-shared accommodation with breakfast
* Transfers, transportation, meals and sightseeing as listed
* Services of English-speaking local Tour Manager and guides (local guide only in Hong Kong) 
* Most air taxes
* All port charges

Not Included

* International flights
* Tipping payable locally £75 per person
* A service charge of RMB150pp (approx £17) payable on board of the Victoria. Gratuity to River Guide and Cruise Director at guest's own discretion.
* Optional excursions, travel insurance, personal expenses and gratuities   
* Any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after brochure publication
* Chinese visa

Cruise Upgrades

Victoria Cabin Upgrades
Cabin upgrades: Superior cabin from £140; Executive Suite from £600; Presidential Suite from £1500.  All per person twin-shared.

Business Class Upgrades

British Airways upgrades: World Traveller Plus, Club World.

Tour without Hong Kong

On Day 18 take the train to Shenzhen and drive onwards to Hong Kong to connect to your homeward flight to London Heathrow arriving around 0455 on Day 19.  Refer to price panel for tour price without Hong Kong.

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The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom

The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom

A Great Journey through China

Day 1
London - Beijing

Depart Heathrow at around 16:20 on the British Airways non-stop flight to Beijing.

Day 2
Beijing 3 nights

Arrive Beijing and transfer to the 4-star Jianguo Hotel or similar, described as ‘an Englishman’s club’ by a frequent visitor. Visit the quaint hutong quarter by Lake Houhai. Enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3

Visit Tiananmen Square en-route to the magnificent Forbidden City, the vast complex of palaces and pavilions which was home to successive Emperors for more than 500 years. Afternoon visit to the beautiful Summer Palace. (BL)

Day 4

Admire the less-crowded and more scenic part of the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Visit the Ming-era Temple of Heaven. In the evening enjoy a traditional Peking Duck dinner. (BLD)

Day 5
Beijing - Xian 2 nights

Visit the Lama and Confucius Temples. Fly to Xian and the 4-star (officially 5-star) Grand New World Hotel. On arrival visit the Ming City Wall. (B)

Day 6

Visit one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century – the Terracotta Warriors interred with the Emperor Qin Shi Huang over 2000 years ago. Marvel at the formidable sight of 7000 individually crafted, life-sized figures, complete with horses and chariots. After lunch visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Grand Mosque and intriguing Muslim quarter. Optional evening Tang era music and dance dinner performance. (BL)

Day 7
Xian - Chengdu 2 nights

Fly to Chengdu and visit the People's Park and jointhe locals for afternoon tea. Optional Sichuan Opera performance after a dinner of typical Sichuan cuisine. Stay at the stylish M Hotel Chengdu. (BD)

Day 8

Drive to Leshan and take a cruise to marvel at the magnificent Giant Buddha, hewn from the mountainside in the 8th century, and 233ft high. Back in Chengdu visit the quaint old quarter at Jinli. (BLD)

Day 9
Chengdu - Yangtze Cruise 3 nights

This morning see the world’s beloved Giant Pandas at the Panda Research Base. Take the train to Chongqing and board the MV Century Paragon for your 3-night cruise to Yichang. (BD)

Day 10
Yangtze cruise

Optional excursion to Fengdu. In days gone by Fengdu was believed to be the abode of devils and the 700 temples on Mingshan Hill with their bizarre statuary bear testimony to the city’s notoriety as the ‘City of Ghosts’. Afternoon shore visit to the quaint wooden temple of Shibaozhai. Captain’s welcome dinner. (BLD)

Day 11
Yangtze Cruise

Pass through the shortest and narrowest gorge, Qutang Xia (8km). Mists frequently swirl around the mysterious limestone peaks in Qutang Xia, some nearly 1200 meters high, while the river rushes by, swift as an arrow. Cruise through the second gorge, Wu Xia, 44km long with its peaks rising to dizzy heights above the river. Visit the Daning River or the Shennong Stream. (BLD)

Day 12
Yangtze Cruise - Shanghai 3 nights

Enter the western section of Xiling Gorge. Moor at Yanjiawan for a shore visit to the Three Gorges Dam construction site, one of mankind’s greatest engineering feats to date. Resume sailing through Xiling Gorge, which, stretching 75km, is the longest of the gorges and known for its swift current and dangerous shoals. Arrive Yichang and fly to shanghai to stay at the Central Hotel for 2 nights. (B)

Day 13

Visit the elegant Yuyuan Garden. Opposite are the Huxing Teahouse and the old Chinese quarter of Shanghai where cobbled streets are lined with traditional shops selling herbal medicines, handicrafts, Chinese tea and a variety of tantalising snacks. We sample a Shanghai ‘dim sum’ lunch at the quarter’s most famous restaurant and explore the quaint bazaar. Afternoon admire bird's eye views from the Oriental Pearl Tower. This evening admire the illuminated Bund and Pudong from a cruise on the Huangpu River. (BD)

Day 14
Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai

Enjoy a day trip to Suzhou to explore the city's classical gardens. Explore the old town, see a silk mill and enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal. Return to Shanghai. (BL)

Day 15
Hangzhou - Guilin 1 night

Fly to Guilin and visit the Tea Research Institute. Overnight at the Bravo Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 16
Guilin - Yangshuo 2 nights

Take the world-renowned Li River cruise to Yangshuo and drift gently through magical landscapes. Browse through Yangshuo’s colourful shops and stay at the superb Yangshuo Resort. Admire impressive scenery at the sunset view point and enjoy a spectacular son et lumiere show performed on the river by a cast of 600. (BLD)

Day 17

Morning visit to the extraordinary Silver Cave. Lunch is taken in a riverside setting. Afternoon admire magical scenery along the Yulong River with free time to relax and enjoy the beautiful rooms and setting at the resort. (BL)

Day 18
Yangshuo - Hong Kong 2 nights

Return to Guilin and take the train to Shenzhen. Drive onwards to Hong Kong and transfer to the Metropark Causeway Bay. (BL)

Day 19
Hong Kong

A short walk in the Central district shows how feng shui influences local architecture. Ascend to the middle-levels on the longest outdoor escalator, known as the ‘Heavenly Ladder’, to observe local life in the high-rise neighbourhoods with buildings dating back to Pre-World War II. Ascend the Peak by the one-hundred year-old tram for a birds-eye view of the Pearl of the Orient and enjoy lunch at superb Peak restaurant. Afternoon scenic drive to Repulse Bay. Continue to the Aberdeen Fishing Village and Stanley Market. Round off the day with the famous ferry ride to view the spectacular skyline on both sides of the harbour. (BL)

Day 20
Hong Kong - London

Enjoy the many other attractions of this city at your leisure. Board the late evening non-stop British Airways flight home, arriving at Heathrow at around 05:25 on Day 21.


Jianguo Hotel Beijing.jpg

Jianguo Hotel, Beijing

Close to the Silk Market in Beijing’s diplomatic quarter, the 4-star Jianguo Hotel offers guests an indoor pool and sauna, and rooms with IDD telephone, cable TV, minibar, air conditioning, tea & coffee making facilities and hairdryer. The Jianguo boasts a fancy French restaurant, a superb Chinese restaurant serving traditional imperial cuisine, a British-style ‘pub’ with buffet lunch and evening live music, a lobby lounge for afternoon tea overlooking the gardens, a café serving western dishes and a cake shop.


Grand New World Hotel, Xian

Just a 10-minute walk from Xian’s old city walls and West Gate, the 5-star Grand New World is a large, modern and comfortable hotel with rooms featuring IDD telephone, internet access, tea & coffee making facilities, cable TV, hairdryer and safe. There is also a beauty salon, massage, gym, indoor pool, sauna, business centre, restaurant and coffee shop. A good buffet breakfast is offered and both Chinese and western food is served in the hotel restaurants and coffee shop.

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Central Hotel, Shanghai

A great choice in Shanghai – of course very centrally-located, just off Nanjing Road. The Central Hotel is modern and smart with 319 good-sized, stylish rooms and cheerful and friendly staff. Bedrooms have cable and satellite TV, minibar, safe, internet access, air conditioning, and tea and coffee making facilities.

Bravo Hotel Guilin.jpg

Bravo Hotel, Guilin

Over looking the Ronghu Lake, the Guilin Bravo Hotel has an intimate atmosphere and is close to night markets and shops. Spacious guest rooms and suites are equipped with individually controlled air-conditioning, safety deposit box, free internet access, IDD telephone, TV and mini bar.  The Patio Café is open 24 hours and serves Western and Asian cuisine.  Various provincial Chinese cuisines are available from the Lijiang Restaurant.  Live entertainment is available from the lobby bar in the evening.  The hotel also has a small outdoor pool.


Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

This 33-storey tower boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that give unobstructed views from many rooms of the famous harbour and city skyline, and there are more magnificent views from the rooftop swimming pool. The hotel also offers a sauna, gym and Jacuzzi. The 266 rooms are spacious with air conditioning, minibar, hairdryer, cable and satellite TV and safe.

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Yangshuo Resort

The Yangshuo Resort is a superbly-equipped resort hotel with a fantastic range of facilities for its guests, world-class design and chic decoration in a contemporary but distinctly Chinese style, as well as an unbeatable location right on the banks of the Yulong River, amidst a 5-acre arable farm. Rooms at the Yangshuo Resort are exceptionally spacious and all boast a balcony overlooking the Yulong River and the dramatic karst mountains beyond. 

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M Hotel Chengdu

The M Hotel Chengdu combines modern elegance with contemporary comforts.  The guest rooms are modern, spacious and comfortable, all with flat screen TV, in-room safe, and a sofa.  There is a fitness centre, and the M-Café – an all-day dining restaurant that serves traditional Southeast Asian cuisine such as Bak Kut Teh, Singapore Peranakan Laksa and other Peranakan dishes.

Your Stories

We are pleased to share feedback that we received from some of our valued clients.

  • All in all a marvellous holiday. I was particularly impressed with the seamless operation of your organisation in terms of arranged transports, hotels, flights etc.

    - Mr Redford, The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom

  • We have had the most fantastic time in China with CTS Horizons. The logistics were faultless, the hotels and food excellent, so much was included, it was great value for money. We will treasure our memories of this holiday for a long time to come.

    - Mr & Mrs Hamston, The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom

  • I e-mailed immediately on my return from holiday to say what a fantastic time I had - I have never done this after going on any other holiday!! I would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone. I am a single travller, and was very well looked after throughout. This tour is worthy of the "trip of a lifetime" label.

    - Mr Kemp, The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom

  • This was our first holiday with CTS, and it exceeded all expectations. The tour manager, local guides, hotels and food were all faultless. Nothing was too much trouble. An excellent tour all the way through - we were sorry to come home. This was our first holiday with CTS but it will not be our last.

    - Mr Hamilton, The Very Best of the Middle Kingdom


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Century River Cruises

Newest fleet
Century Cruises boast one of the newest fleet on the Yangtze River with all of their seven ships built after 2003.  They are proud to offer the largest cabins of any Yangtze fleet and all cabins have ceiling to floor sliding doors that open onto private balconies.

Facilities on board
A five-star service is provided on board with European hospitality experts providing personal management on every ship.  Cabins are finished with high quality furnishings and bathroom products and offer a range of amenities including satellite tv, tea and coffee making facilities, safety deposit box and fridge.  All ships have grand atrium lobbies, stylish public areas and spacious observation lounges with panoramic windows.  There is also a sundeck with bar, a beauty salon, fitness centre, library and internet cafe.  The Century Paragon also has a stunning indoor swimming pool and a cinema.

The on-board restaurants offer an intimate atmosphere and serve a selection of Chinese and Western Cuisine to a high standard. All vessels have a panoramic restaurant, an elegant atmosphere in which to enjoy fine dining. The Century Legend and Century Paragon also have an A La Carte Restaurant.

Cabin upgrades
Higher deck cabin upgrades available.

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