Our range of China cruise tours offer you the perfect opportunity to travel in luxury and style as you stay in both 5* hotels and aboard the best ship on the River Yangtze - the Viking Century Sun.
With Viking china tours discovering China’s spectacular landscapes and ancient culture is made easy as you simply sit back, relax and let us do the work. From the moment you arrive until the moment you depart we deliver an unrivalled travel experience that allows you to discover the real heart of the country. Cruise in comfort and experience unforgettable escorted tours to unlock the unique treasures of this intriguing civilisation on a river cruise like no other.
China is a fascinating land of contrasts: mountains, plateaus, deserts, lakes and rivers…small villages and huge modern metropolises…ancient history and futuristic technology. China’s geography is widely varied, with terrain ranging from rainforests to deserts and beaches to snow-capped peaks. The Chinese landscape boasts the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, as well as the world’s third longest river, the Yangtze; all of Viking’s China itineraries include a cruise along the Yangtze River.
China is one of the world’s largest countries, and with more than 1.3 billion people it is also the most populous. China’s prominence as an international power has developed rapidly in the decades since Richard Nixon’s historic visit in 1972, seeming to culminate in its hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. It has not always been possible for visitors to explore China’s wonders, but today, as the country becomes increasingly open and free, dreams of travel to China can finally come true. See the highlights of Beijing, Shanghai and Xian (including the Terra Cotta Warriors) and enjoy an unforgettable cruise along the Yangtze River through the spectacular Three Gorges region. On Viking’s deluxe China river cruise, every cruise stateroom has a river view and balcony.
Although it is one of the largest and most important countries in the world, because of its traditional inaccessibility to foreign visitors China and its people are perhaps the most misunderstood. Symbolic of this isolation is the Great Wall, whose construction was begun more than 2,000 years ago to keep out foreign invaders. China’s traditional name is Zhongguo, or Middle Kingdom; even the name of the imperial center of the Middle Kingdom, the Forbidden City, embodies China’s historic determination to keep itself free from outside influence. When Communism emerged as the ruling force in China, the isolation of the country did not lessen—if anything, it increased, and China became even more impenetrable. It is only in the past three decades that China has welcomed Western tourism. Fortunately, China’s historic isolation and its reverence for its past mean that its ancient treasures and extraordinary landscapes are remarkably well preserved for us to admire and enjoy.
The Chinese Language
The most commonly spoken language in the world, Chinese has over 100 dialects grouped in seven families, including Mandarin and Cantonese. These many variations mean that speakers of one Chinese dialect may find another Chinese dialect incomprehensible. To unify the country’s spoken language, the Chinese government encourages use of the dialect we know as Mandarin Chinese. The written Chinese language is more standardized, having been represented by a system of more than 40,000 pictographs uniformly throughout China since 221 B.C. The average Chinese person uses only about 2,000-3,000 of them and a highly educated Chinese person knows 6,000-7,000. Many Chinese scrolls and other artwork include these characters, beautifully rendered in calligraphic brushstrokes.
Exploring China by River
A cruise along the Yangtze River is one of the highlights of any journey to China. Viking cruise program directors and cruise ships make it easy and enjoyable to see the heartland of a nation that can otherwise be a challenging destination to navigate. Viking River Cruises guests enjoy the comfort and convenience of being escorted by our deeply experienced staff from the moment of arrival in China through departure. Viking River Cruises offers several exciting itineraries in China, all of which show guests the highlights of Beijing, Shanghai and Xian (including the Terra Cotta Warriors) and include a Yangtze River cruise. The river cruise portion of the journey travels through the spectacular Three Gorges region on a sumptuous cruise ship with all balcony staterooms; one of our itineraries takes you farther along the river to see the birthplaces of Chinese silk and porcelain and much more. All cruise travelers also have the chance to visit a school near the Yangtze River and meet the children—a highlight for many people. A Viking cruise takes visitors on fascinating excursions off the river as well, with fully escorted land tours of major attractions in China including the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Great Wall. Cultural activities, such as a dramatic performance of selected Peking Opera highlights, a Tang Dynasty dinner show and a breathtaking Chinese acrobatic show, are unique opportunities to experience the true heart of China. Choose the cruise tour itinerary that most interests you: see China’s cultural delights on a longer Yangtze cruise, or take three days at the “roof of the world,” Lhasa, Tibet.