Explore China’s ancient and modern marvels with this immersive tour, spanning from Beijing to Shanghai, with captivating stops in Datong, Pingyao, and Xi’an. Iconic landmarks await, including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army, and the iconic Bund in Shanghai. Yet, beyond the well-known treasures, uncover China’s hidden gems like the mesmerizing Yungang Grottoes, the gravity-defying Hanging Temple, and the timeless Pingyao Ancient City. Immerse yourself in the nation’s rich history, diverse culture, and the dynamic tapestry of its people’s lives.
2. Enjoy the views of the Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the best-preserved and most scenic sections of the Great Wall.
3. Marvel at the Terracotta Army, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world.
4. Admire the Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the three major Buddhist grottoes in China.
5. Experience the old China lifestyle and culture at the Pingyao Ancient City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved ancient cities in China.
6. Visit the iconic landmarks of Shanghai, the largest and most cosmopolitan city in China.
- Day 1: Arrival in Beijing
Upon arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport, your driver and guide will welcome you and take you to your downtown hotel. Depending on when you arrive, you might have some free time to explore the city or simply relax at your hotel.
- Day 2: Exploring Beijing (B, L)Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Beijing's Hutongs, Summer Palace
Start your day with breakfast at the hotel before heading to Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square and a symbol of China's modern history. Explore iconic landmarks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. Catch the flag-raising ceremony at sunrise or the flag-lowering ceremony at sunset.
From Tiananmen Square, take a stroll to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Marvel at the grand architecture and rich collections, gaining insights into China's feudal society.
After lunch, embark on a rickshaw tour to discover Beijing's Hutongs, traditional alleys, and courtyards representing the old Beijing lifestyle. Tour through these narrow lanes, gaining insights into local life and ancient architecture. Engage with the locals and absorb the authentic ambiance.
Later, visit the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site celebrated for its scenic lakes, gardens, and palaces. Explore Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake, and the graceful structures, appreciating the seamless integration of architecture and nature.
After a full day, return to your hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure.
- Day 3: More Exploration in Beijing (B, L)Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall
Begin the day with breakfast at your hotel before visiting the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing Chinese architectural mastery. Explore the circular-shaped Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Echo Wall, and the Circular Mound Altar, learning about ancient rituals performed by emperors for good harvests and peace.
Next, head to Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the best-preserved and most scenic sections. Hike along the wall, enjoying panoramic views of mountains and countryside. Optionally, take a cable car or toboggan ride for a unique experience.
After the visit, get back to your hotel. Your evenings are yours to enjoy at your own pace.
- Day 4: Journey to Datong by High-speed Train (B, L)Yungang Grottoes, Nine Dragon Screen Wall, Huayan Temple
Start your day with an early breakfast at your hotel before heading to the railway station for a high-speed train to Datong, a journey that takes approximately 2 hours. Relish the scenic views during the comfortable ride.
Upon arrival, your guide and driver will be waiting at the arrival hall to guide you to the remarkable Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's top three Buddhist grottoes. Marvel at the intricate statues and carvings dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, showcasing the pinnacle of ancient Chinese art and culture.
Next on the itinerary is the Nine Dragon Screen Wall, the oldest and largest glazed screen wall in China. Admire the vibrant and symbolic dragons representing imperial power and dignity.
Continue your exploration with a visit to Huayan Temple, the largest and best-preserved temple of the Liao and Jin dynasties. Take in the grand architecture and view precious Buddhist relics, including a 31-meter-high Buddha statue and an 11-story wooden pagoda.
Following these visits, head to downtown Datong for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Downtown Datong
- Day 5: Datong to Pingyao by High-speed Train (B, L)Hanging Temple, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before embarking on a visit to the Hanging Temple, a unique and breathtaking temple clinging to the cliff of Mt. Hengshan, one of China's sacred mountains. Explore the interconnected halls and pavilions, marveling at the harmonious blend of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Next, visit the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, the world's oldest and tallest wooden pagoda, showcasing ingenious construction without the use of nails or rivets.
Afterward, head to the railway station for a high-speed train to Pingyao, a journey taking about 3 hours. Relax and take in the scenery from the comfortable seats.
Upon arrival, your local guide will welcome you and guide you to check into your hotel in Pingyao Ancient City.
The remainder of the day is yours to explore the ancient city, rest at your hotel, or indulge in local Pingyao cuisine like Pingyao beef, wantuo noodles, or vinegar peanuts.
Accommodation: Pingyao Ancient City
- Day 6: Exploration of Pingyao Ancient City (B, L)Pingyao Ancient City Wall, Rishengchang Former Bank, Ming and Qing Street, Temple of the City God, Shuanglin Temple
Commence your exploration of Pingyao Ancient City after breakfast. Begin with a visit to the Pingyao Ancient City Wall, the oldest and most intact city wall in China. Walk along the wall, taking in panoramic views of the ancient city and surrounding countryside, and marvel at the six city gates, 72 watchtowers, and four corner towers.
Next, explore Rishengchang Former Bank, the first and largest draft bank in China, playing a pivotal role in Qing Dynasty finance and trade. Learn about the bank's history and operation while viewing original equipment and documents.
Take a leisurely stroll along Ming and Qing Street, the most bustling thoroughfare in the ancient city. Admire well-preserved buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties, including shops, inns, temples, and government offices. Take the opportunity to shop for souvenirs or sample local snacks.
Following that, visit the Temple of the City God, a grand temple honoring gods protecting the city and its people. Experience the impressive halls, statues, and the rich religious atmosphere.
Wrap up your day with a visit to Shuanglin Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing over 2,000 exquisite painted sculptures dating back to the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.
Return to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.
Accommodation: in Pingyao Ancient City
- Day 7: Pingyao to Xi'an by High-speed Train (B, L)Zhangbi Ancient Castle, Wang’s Family Compound
Begin your day with a hearty breakfast before exploring Zhangbi Ancient Castle, a hidden treasure of ancient Chinese architecture and military engineering. Delve into the mysterious 5-kilometer (3-mile) underground tunnels adorned with exquisite carvings and paintings, unveiling the history and culture of the locals who inhabited this castle for over a millennium.
Following this, drive to Wang’s Family Compound, the largest and best-preserved Shanxi courtyard house. Spanning 150,000 square meters (37 acres), it boasts six castle-like courtyards and 231 smaller courtyards with 2,078 rooms, showcasing the opulence of the Wang family during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.
Afterward, transfer to Pingyao Ancient City Train Station to catch a high-speed train to Xi'an. Upon arrival, your local guide and driver will welcome you and escort you to your downtown hotel, giving you free time to relax or explore the city at your own pace.
Accommodation: Xi'an Downtown
- Day 8: Xi'an Exploration (B, L)Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter, Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City
After breakfast, visit the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, a remarkable archaeological site revealing a life-size clay army of over 8,000 soldiers, horses, and chariots buried to protect China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife. You'll even have the chance to learn how to make a miniature terracotta warrior at a local factory as a unique souvenir.
After lunch, head to the Ancient City Wall, China's most complete and well-preserved city wall from the Ming Dynasty, offering a 13.7-kilometer (8.5-mile) circumference. Enjoy a leisurely walk or opt to rent a bike for an extra fee to cycle atop the wall, savoring panoramic views of the city.
Explore the nearby Muslim Quarter, a lively area where you can sample diverse local snacks and immerse yourself in the Hui people's Islamic culture. Wander through narrow streets lined with stalls and shops offering food, handicrafts, souvenirs, and antiques.
In the evening, experience the vibrant Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City, a pedestrian street recreating the Tang Dynasty's prosperous scene. Witness replicas of ancient buildings, sculptures, and lanterns, along with music, dance, and acrobatic performances. Join locals in dancing and singing or try traditional games and activities.
Return to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.
Accommodation: Xi'an Downtown
- Day 9: Xi'an Exploration - Xi'an to Shanghai by Flight (B, L)Da Cien Temple, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum
Following breakfast, visit Da Cien Temple, a renowned Buddhist temple dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a seven-story structure used to store Buddhist scriptures brought from India by the monk Xuanzang. Experience dressing up in Hanfu, the traditional attire of the Han Chinese, delving into the history and culture of this elegant clothing.
Continue your exploration at the Shaanxi History Museum, one of China's premier museums showcasing the splendid civilization of ancient Chinese people. View over 370,000 historical relics, spanning prehistoric pottery and jade to Tang Dynasty murals and gold and silver wares. Gain insights into the history and culture of Shaanxi Province, a center of politics, economy, and culture for 13 dynasties.
End your day with a transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, your local guide and driver will be on hand to welcome you and accompany you to your downtown hotel for check-in.
Accommodation: Shanghai Downtown
- Day 10: Exploring Shanghai (B, L)Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, Yuyuan Bazaar, Shanghai World Financial Center, Nanjing Road, the Bund
Start your day with a delightful breakfast before embarking on a journey through Shanghai's rich history and vibrant culture. Your first stop is the Shanghai Museum, renowned as one of China's top museums, offering a captivating display of the country's ancient artifacts. Marvel at a diverse collection spanning 5,000 years, showcasing bronze, ceramics, paintings, jade, coins, and more.
Next, venture to Yu Garden, a classical Ming Dynasty garden boasting an exquisite layout, beautiful scenery, and artistic architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through Yuyuan Bazaar, where you can explore local snacks, discover unique souvenirs, antiques, and handcrafted items.
Ascend the heights of the Shanghai World Financial Center, a soaring skyscraper standing at 492 meters (1,614 feet). Ride the elevator to the 100th floor, relishing a panoramic city view from the observation deck and noting the distinctive hole designed to reduce wind pressure.
Continue your adventure on Nanjing Road, China's premier shopping street, offering renowned brands, fashion trends, and specialty stores. Enjoy the bustling atmosphere as you shop, stroll, or take a sightseeing tram along this iconic road
Followed by a visit to the Bund, a picturesque waterfront promenade adorned with historical buildings featuring diverse architectural styles. Marvel at the stunning views of the Huangpu River and the modern skyscrapers across. Don't miss the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, a symbol of Shanghai.
After your exploration, return to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.
Accommodation: Shanghai Downtown
- Day 11: Departure from Shanghai (B)Jade Buddha Temple, Tianzifang
Savor your last breakfast in Shanghai before visiting the Jade Buddha Temple, a renowned Buddhist sanctuary which is home to two precious jade Buddha statues. Marvel at the craftsmanship of the Sitting Buddha and the Reclining Buddha, both carved from whole white jade and adorned with jewels. Explore the temple's ancient paintings, scriptures, and sculptures.
Next, venture to Tianzifang, an artistic enclave born from the renovation of a residential area in the French Concession. Navigate the labyrinthine lanes filled with bars, cafes, galleries, studios, and boutiques, experiencing the charming blend of old Shanghai life and international flair.
In the afternoon, your journey comes to the end as you are escorted to the airport for your departure flight.