Explore rich past and dynamic present of China on this 11-day tour, from the ancient capitals of Beijing, Luoyang, and Xian, to the modern metropolis of Shanghai.
Start in Beijing, where you will see Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. Then, visit Pingyao, a charming old town, and Xian, the home of the Terracotta Army. Continue to Luoyang, where you will admire the Longmen Grottoes and the Shaolin Temple. End your trip in Shanghai, a vibrant city that mixes tradition and modernity. Enjoy the Yu Garden, the Shanghai World Financial Center, and the Nanjing Road and the Bund. Relax in Zhujiajiao Water Town, a picturesque village, before departing from China.
2. Witness the captivating Terracotta Warriors, a remarkable display of ancient Chinese craftsmanship.
3. Immerse yourself in the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu, where skilled monks showcase their martial arts prowess.
4. Explore the UNESCO-listed Longmen Grottoes, featuring over 2,300 caves with thousands of intricate stone statues.
5. Discover the dynamic contrasts of Shanghai, from traditional gardens to the futuristic skyline of Pudong, encapsulating China’s rich history and modern vitality.
- Day 1: Arrival in Beijing
Upon your arrival, our guide and driver will warmly welcome you at the airport and accompany you to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is yours to unwind or explore the city at your own pace.
Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing
- Day 2: Exploring Beijing (B, L)Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Beijing's Hutongs, Summer Palace
After breakfast, start your day by visiting Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square and a symbol of China's national pride. Observe the flag-raising ceremony and explore landmarks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall.
Continue your journey to the Forbidden City, the world's largest and best-preserved imperial palace complex. Marvel at the majestic architecture and exquisite artworks from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Dive into the history and culture of China's emperors and their court at the Palace Museum, home to over a million rare and valuable works of art.
Embark on a rickshaw ride to explore Beijing's Hutongs, traditional alleys, and courtyard houses reflecting the old Beijing lifestyle. Visit a local family, immersing yourself in authentic Beijing culture, learning customs and traditions such as mahjong, dumpling making, or calligraphy. Enjoy a delightful lunch at a local restaurant.
Next, head to the Summer Palace, China's largest and most beautiful imperial garden. Admire the picturesque Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, explore notable landmarks like the Seventeen-Arch Bridge and the Marble Boat, and learn about the Empress Dowager Cixi and her stories. Conclude your visit with a boat ride on the lake for a unique perspective.
Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing
- Day 3: More Beijing Exploration (B, L)Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall, Bird’s Nest, Water Cube
After breakfast, visit the Temple of Heaven, an ancient masterpiece of Chinese architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Circular Mound Altar, and the Echo Wall. Learn about the ancient rituals and ceremonies performed by emperors to pray for good harvests and peace. Observe locals engaging in morning exercises such as tai chi, dancing, and singing, and feel free to join in.
Proceed to Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the most scenic and less-crowded sections of the Great Wall. Take a cable car for a panoramic view or challenge yourself with a hike along the watchtowers. Appreciate the breathtaking scenery and learn about the historical significance of this ancient wonder built over 2,000 years ago to defend against northern invaders.
On your way back to the hotel, admire the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, iconic venues from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Witness the modern architecture reflecting China’s global influence. Return to your hotel after the visit.
Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing
- Day 4: Beijing to Pingyao by High-speed Train (B, L)Pingyao Ancient City, Ancient City Wall of Pingyao, Rishengchang Former Bank, Ming and Qing Street, Temple of the City God, Shuanglin Temple
Start your day with breakfast, and then your guide will pick you up from your hotel, taking you to the railway station for a high-speed train journey to Pingyao, a beautifully preserved ancient city in China. The train ride will last approximately 4 hours.
Upon arrival, your local guide and driver will warmly welcome you and lead you to explore Pingyao Ancient City, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing architectural styles and town planning evolution in Imperial China over five centuries.
Begin your exploration at the Ancient City Wall of Pingyao, the oldest and best-preserved city wall in China, built in the 14th century with a total length of 6.4 kilometers (4 miles). Take a stroll along the wall and soak in the panoramic views of the old town and the surrounding countryside.
Next, visit Rishengchang Former Bank, China’s first and largest draft bank, established in 1823. Explore the original bank hall, offices, vaults, and staff living quarters, delving into the history and culture of banking in China.
Enjoy a leisurely walk along Ming and Qing Street, the main commercial street in Pingyao, lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels preserving the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Admire the intricate carvings and decorations on the buildings and shop for local specialties and souvenirs.
Continue your exploration with a visit to the Temple of the City God, a Taoist temple constructed in the 15th century dedicated to the guardian god of the city. Marvel at the rich collection of statues, murals, and steles depicting colorful scenes of the city god, his wife, and subordinates, as well as the underworld and the human world.
Conclude the day with a visit to Shuanglin Temple, a Buddhist temple renowned for its painted sculptures. Founded in the 6th century, the temple houses over 2,000 statues from the Ming and Qing dynasties, considered masterpieces of Chinese folk art with diverse expressions and poses.
After the visit, return to your hotel for a restful night.
Accommodation: in Pingyao Ancient City
- Day 5: Pingyao Exploration - Pingyao to Xian by High-speed Train (B, L)Wang’s Family Compound, Zhangbi Ancient Castle
Following breakfast, head to Wang’s Family Compound, the grandest of the Shanxi courtyard houses, built by the wealthy Wang family between the 18th and 19th centuries. Covering an expansive 150,000 square meters (37 acres), the compound boasts magnificent architecture and intricate carvings and paintings on walls, doors, windows, and beams.
Continue your journey to Zhangbi Ancient Castle, a 1,600-year-old fortress with military, residential, production, and worship functions. Nestled in a small village, the castle features a unique layout based on Chinese astrology and an impressive underground tunnel network spanning three layers and 5 kilometers (3 miles).
After the visit, transfer to Pingyao Ancient City Train Station for a high-speed train journey to Xian. The train ride will take approximately 3 hours.
Upon arrival, be greeted by your local guide and driver, who will escort you to your hotel for check-in.
Accommodation: Overnight in Xian
- Day 6: Xian Exploration (B, L)Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter, Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City
Begin your day with a visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, a monumental archaeological discovery featuring terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor. Buried in 210 BCE to protect him in the afterlife, the site comprises over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 520 horses in three pits, each with distinct formations and expressions. Before exploring the Terracotta Warriors Museum, participate in a unique experience by visiting a local workshop to craft your miniature Terracotta Warrior, customizable in shape, size, and color as a memorable souvenir.
Following lunch, proceed to the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved city wall in China, built in the 14th century with a circumference of 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles). Enjoy a leisurely walk on the wall for panoramic views of the city, or opt for a bike rental (additional cost) for a more adventurous experience.
Next, visit the vibrant Muslim Quarter, a bustling area showcasing local culture and cuisine. Home to over 20,000 Muslims with a history spanning over 1,000 years, savor delicious local snacks such as roujiamo (meat sandwich), yangrou paomo (mutton soup with bread), and biangbiang noodles.
In the evening, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City, a pedestrian street recreating the architecture and culture of the Tang dynasty. Admire the colorful lights, statues, and fountains, watch free shows highlighting Tang-style performances, and join locals in wearing hanfu (traditional Chinese costume) and dancing.
Conclude the day by returning to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.
Accommodation: Overnight in Xian Downtown
- Day 7: Xian Exploration - Xian to Luoyang by Flight (B, L)Da Cien Temple, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum
Kick off your day with breakfast and a visit to Da Cien Temple, a well-known Buddhist temple in China that houses the iconic Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Constructed during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to store Buddhist scriptures brought from India by the renowned monk Xuanzang, the pagoda offers a panoramic view of the city from its heights. Alternatively, enjoy a musical fountain show at the square in front of the temple. Embrace the opportunity to dress up in Hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han Chinese, and delve into the culture and etiquette of ancient China.
Next on the agenda is a visit to the Shaanxi History Museum, the first modern national museum in China. Displaying over 110,000 cultural relics from prehistoric times to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the museum showcases exquisite bronze wares, pottery figures, murals, and coins reflecting the rich history and civilization of Shaanxi Province and China. Explore the Tang Mural Paintings exhibition hall, offering vibrant representations of the social life and customs of the Tang Dynasty.
Following these explorations, head to the airport for your high-speed flight to Luoyang, offering scenic views of the countryside during the approximately 1.5-hour journey. Upon arrival, your local guide and driver will be on hand to welcome you and escort you to your hotel for check-in.
Accommodation: Overnight in Luoyang
- Day 8: Luoyang Exploration (B, L)Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang Museum, Tianzi Jialiu Museum, Luoyang Old City
Begin your day with a visit to the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of Chinese Buddhist art. Situated on both sides of the Yi River, these grottoes boast over 2,300 caves and niches with nearly 110,000 Buddhist stone statues, 60 stupas, and 2,800 inscriptions. Ranging from 1 inch to 57 feet in height, the sculptures represent the pinnacle of Chinese stone carving from the 5th to the 10th centuries. Marvel at the Fengxiansi Cave, featuring a colossal statue of Vairocana Buddha surrounded by disciples and heavenly guardians.
Next, head to Luoyang Museum, an extensive and inclusive institution spotlighting the vibrant cultural legacy of Luoyang, a significant hub that served as the capital for numerous Chinese dynasties. The museum boasts a collection exceeding 11,000 cultural relics, spanning stone tools, jade, pottery, bronze, iron, porcelain, as well as calligraphy and painting.
Continue your exploration with a visit to Tianzi Jialiu Museum, a unique cultural institution spotlighting the ancient chariot and horse pits of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC). These pits played a significant role in the royal ceremonies and rituals of Zhou Tianzi, the emperor of China. The museum, divided into sacrificial pits and an exhibition building, offers insights into Luoyang City's history as the royal city of Zhou Tianzi, featuring a large bronze horse and chariot exhibition area.
Before returning to your hotel, unwind in Luoyang Old City, a lively area with residential neighborhoods, snack streets, small shops, and ancient buildings. Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle, explore ancient structures, and savor local delicacies like Water Banquet, Carp in Yellow River Soup, and Luoyang Shuixi.
Accommodation: Overnight in Luoyang
- Day 9: Luoyang - Shaolin Temple - Shanghai (B, L)Shaolin Temple: Pagoda Forest , Kung Fu performance
Commence your day with breakfast, followed by a two-hour drive from Luoyang to the Shaolin Temple, renowned as the birthplace of Chan Buddhism and the cradle of Shaolin Kung Fu. Immerse yourself in the temple complex, exploring the Pagoda Forest where over 200 stone or brick pagodas of diverse styles and sizes are densely distributed. Experience a captivating Kung Fu performance by skilled Shaolin monks, showcasing their martial arts prowess and agility.
After the visit, head to Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan Province, to catch a flight to Shanghai. Upon landing, your local guide and driver will be ready to welcome you, escorting you to your downtown hotel for check-in.
Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai downtown
- Day 10: Shanghai Exploration (B, L)Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, Yuyuan Bazaar, Shanghai World Financial Center, Nanjing Road, the Bund
Begin your day with a visit to the Shanghai Museum, a municipal public museum of ancient Chinese art located on the People’s Square. Explore the extensive collection of rare cultural pieces, including bronze, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, jade, coins, and furniture, offering insights into the history and culture of China.
Next, venture to Yu Garden, a classical Chinese garden near the City God Temple in the Old City of Shanghai. Admire the beautiful scenery, elegant architecture, and artistic sculptures and carvings, experiencing the charm and tranquility of traditional Chinese garden art. Proceed to the nearby Yuyuan Bazaar, a bustling area with small shops and restaurants selling local snacks and souvenirs. Sample authentic Shanghai food, such as steamed buns, fried dumplings, and crispy cakes, or explore handicrafts and antiques for unique gifts.
Following this, visit the Shanghai World Financial Center, a towering skyscraper in the Pudong district. Take an elevator to the 100th floor for a panoramic view of the city from the observation deck, encompassing landmarks like the Oriental Pearl Tower, the Jin Mao Tower, the Bund, Huangpu River, and surrounding skyscrapers.
Continue your exploration with a visit to Nanjing Road and the Bund, iconic attractions in Shanghai. Nanjing Road stands as China’s premier shopping street, featuring a variety of shops selling goods and services ranging from traditional to modern. Take in the lively atmosphere while shopping, dining, or strolling along the street. The Bund, a waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River, presents a stark contrast between old and new Shanghai. Marvel at historical buildings of various styles on one side and futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong on the other, symbolizing the city's economic development.
Optional evening activities include watching an Acrobatic Show or enjoying a Huangpu River night cruise. The Acrobatic Show offers a spectacular display of traditional Chinese arts, while the Huangpu River night cruise provides a relaxing and romantic view of Shanghai's illuminated skyline.
After your exploration, return to your hotel for rest.
Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai
- Day 11: Shanghai Departure (B, L)Zhujiajiao Water Town
Following breakfast, embark on a journey to Zhujiajiao Water Town, one of the top four ancient towns in Shanghai, approximately 50 km away from the downtown area with a history of over 1,700 years. Explore the town's waterways, ancient bridges, and traditional houses, experiencing a different world away from the city's hustle and bustle. Enjoy a boat ride along the canals, stroll through old streets, visit ancient buildings, and savor local delicacies.
After the water town visit, your guide will escort you to the airport or train station for your departure. Bid farewell to your guide and driver, concluding your wonderful trip.