As China’s Golden Triangle tourist cities, Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai welcome thousands of worldwide travelers every year. This 11-day China winter tour not only includes the must-see places of the top 3 destinations but also provides an amazing excursion to Harbin, the “ice city” and “Oriental Moscow” in Northeast China. Accompanied by the friendly English-speaking tour guides and enthusiastic drivers, you will encounter a memorable exploration of the splendid Beijing with Forbidden City and Great Wall, the incredible Xian with Terracotta Warriors and Ancient City Wall, the marvelous Harbin with Sun Island Snow Sculpture Show as well as Yabuli Ski Resort, and the fabulous Shanghai with Yuyuan Garden and the Bund.
- Day 1: Beijing Arrival (No meal )
Upon your arrival at Beijing airport / train station, the local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to downtown hotel for check-in. Free and easy on your arrangement for rest of the day.
Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing
- Day 2: Beijing Classic City Tour ( B, L)Tian'anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Beijing Hutongs
At 08:30, our English speaking tour guide and driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby You will start today’s tour with the largest city square in the world - Tian'anmen Square. The square has a very important role in China’s history and visiting it is a dream for many generations of Chinese people. So don’t be surprised when you see the square is teeming with Chinese people. You can just wander around the square and take in the rich history.
Walking through the square, you will arrive at the incredible Forbidden City, once was the royal palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties with more than 70 big and small palaces and over 9,000 rooms. It is one of the largest and most well-preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Walking into the grand and majestic complex, you will steep in China’s long history and marvel at this architectural masterpiece.
After lunch, move on to Temple of Heaven, famous for its meticulous layout, unique architecture and magnificent decoration, this grand complex was built for the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to offer sacrifices to the heaven and pray for good harvests. It was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1998. You will definitely marvel at the craftsmanship and learn more historical facts about ancient China.
Beijing Hutongs are full of history which attracts many worldwide tourists! Today your tour guide will take you to feel the charm of the hutongs in Shichahai scenic Area. Taking a rickshaw to ride along the ancient alleys, you will know more about the background information of the Hutongs, experience authentic old Beijing life, and witness the blending of tradition and modernity.
Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing
- Day 3: Great Wall and Beijing City Tour ( B, L )Mutianyu Great Wall, Bird's Nest and Water Cube, Summer Palace
After breakfast, you will move to today’s highlights - the famous world’s heritage Mutianyu Great Wall. It would be around 2 hours’ driving, you can take this chance to see the urban and suburban scenery of Chinese capital on the way.
Mutianyu Great Wall is the most scenic part of Chinese Great Wall. It was built in the early Ming Dynasty at 1368 and stretches for 5400 meters. 90 percent of the Mutianyu is covered by vegetation. So in each season this part of the Great Wall will treat visitors with its unique scenery. If pure-hiking is too much for you, there are also options of cable car and toboggan to see the spectacular scenery from different angles ( optional).
Finish the amazing hiking, you’ll go back to Beijing city. On the way, you can take an exterior visit of the marvelous Bird's Nest and Water Cube which were built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Walking around the outside of the building to appreciate the unique design and take some pictures would be perfect.
Arriving at Beijing city, you will pay a visit to the royal garden, Summer Palace. With an area of 2.9 square kilometers, this palace was the best place where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty spent their summers. Here you will enjoy the amazing lake view, explore the exquisite long corridor, appreciate precious cultural relics, step on the elegant stone bridge, see high old trees, etc. You will love every minute here with so much to see!
Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing
- Day 4: Beijing - Xian by High-speed Train ( B, L )Muslim Quarter, Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square, North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Music Fountain Show
Enjoy the peaceful morning time on your own. Later, the driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and drop you off at Beijing West Train Station for noon high-speed train to Xian. The train rides around 5-6 hours which would be a good chance for you to rest on the train or enjoy the urban scenery on the way.
Arriving at Xian North Train Station, you will find the local English speaking guide and driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name. Duly refreshed in the local hotel, your visit begins with a leisurely evening tour. Firstly, go to Muslim Quarter to have relaxing sightseeing and enjoy the local food/ snacks. Muslim Quarter is the most famous food street in Xian. It consists of Islamic food area, ethnic group shopping center, Great Mosque and living area of Hui people, with a history of more than 1,000 years. The tour guide will give recommendations for you to have the best local food experience.
After that, move to Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square which is a strategically important building that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital of Xian, have some relaxing walk here would be very worthwhile to experience local people’s life.
Last, drive around 25 minutes to the North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda to enjoy the famous Music Fountain Show which is the largest music fountain show in Asia (if you'are lucky to meet its open time). Walking around the square would be a perfect chance to fully enjoy local people’s life and culture.
Accommodation: Overnight in Xian
- Day 5: Xian Highlight Day Tour (B, L)Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Shuyuanmen Ancient Culture Street, Yongxingfang Food & Culture Quarter
After breakfast, you will head to the must-see Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Known as “the Eighth Wonders of the World”, the museum shows a surprisingly high level in sculpture, which is listed in the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. The splendid scene and format will leave you an impressive memory. You can spend 2.5-3 hours there.
After lunch, continue to visit Ancient City Wall. It is the most completely preserved and the largest city wall in China, which was built for the military defense in the ancient time. Since it is cycling the city, visitors can ride a bike around the city wall(optional).
Later, take a nice stroll down Shuyuanmen Ancient Culture Street. This quaint street lined with many shops selling the four basic items for Chinese calligraphy (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper), is different from any other streets in Xian. The structures built in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties add the place more charm. If you are interested in Chinese arts and crafts, you can pick some souvenirs here. Don’t forget to bargain.
Last, go on to check out Yongxingfang Food & Culture Quarter. The street is an amazing place to sample some delicious local food and see how the local people relax themselves. There are plenty of food options. If you are that kind of person who like to try all kinds of new food, this street will not disappoint you, and remember to visit it on an empty stomach.
Accommodation: Overnight in Xian
- Day 6: Xian - Harbin by Flight ( B, L )Northeast Tiger Park, Sun Island Park, Central Street, Saint Sophia Church
Taking morning flight to Harbin. Upon your arrival at Harbin Taiping International Airport, the local English speaking tour guide and driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
You will officially start the visit with Northeast Tiger Park, a northeast tiger breeding and research center with 700+ Siberian tigers live there, and there are over 100 Siberian tigers and lions are open to public. Thus, you will see tigers in different life stages and learn more about the current living situation of Siberian tigers in China.
Later, move on to Sun Island Park. As an island in the Songhua river of Harbin city, it is located between the new and old city of Harbin and is divided into eastern district, central district and western district. With the rapid development of tourism, it has become a mufti-functional scenic area composed of ice and snow culture, folk culture and other natural resources, which is also a renowned summer resort and an ecological area along the Songhua river in China. In winter, you can enjoy the wonderful Sun Island Snow Sculpture there ( optional ).
- People also can take cable car along the Songhua River to arrive at Sun Island Park. It is an optional choice to better enjoy the Songhua River view. If you would like to take it, please pay in cash at the spot ( approximate CNY100 /way).
- There is Sun Island Snow Sculpture exhibition in Sun Island every winter, the entrance fee is around CNY180-280 per person. If you’d like to visit it, please pay in cash on your own.
After that, drive to Harbin city and enjoy the relaxing sightseeing in the famous Central Street, a bustling pedestrian street in Harbin city. Walking along the street, you will find many old buildings designed in various western styles in early 1900s. And of course you will be attracted by the lively vendors, restaurants, pubs as well as snacks.
Later, continue your visit to Saint Sophia Church. It is a typical Byzantine architecture style Orthodox Church built in 1907 by Russian. Through the visit of this church, you will read the rich history of Harbin and even northeast part of China. Also, you can enjoy some relaxing walk in the Saint Sophia Church square to see how local people live, chat and exercise there.
Optional Night Activity: If you would like to visit the Ice and Snow World, please pay the entrance fee on your own ( around CNY300-350 / pax ). Please feel free to ask your tour guide for assistance.
Ice and Snow World: Relying on the advantages of Harbin’s ice and snow in winter, the large-scale ice and snow art boutique project was launched to show the ice and snow culture and charm of Harbin that is a renowned tourism city in northeast China. Nowadays, it is a must-visit place in Harbin in winter. There are various kinds of ice sculptures, exciting snow entertainment projects and interesting themed performances.You will stroll around to enjoy the world’s finest examples of ice art against the dazzling lights.
Accommodation: Overnight in Harbin
- Day 7: Harbin - Volga Manor ( B, L )Volga Manor
After breakfast, drive around 1.5 hours to Volga Manor, a wonderland with Russian-themed culture, buildings and foods. Located around 50 kilometers from Harbin city, this amazing park covers over 600,000 square meters along the Ashi River, including restaurants, entertainments, rivers, bridges, wetlands and over 30 different Russian-style architectures, so that it can accommodate up to over thousand people for different activities. Today, you will fully enjoy the highlight spots of this manor.
Saint Nicholas Church, also regarded as the architecture art gallery, is the landmark of Volga Manor. Took the old Saint Nicholas Church as a prototype, it was rebuilt in July of 2006 since the original church was damaged before the founding of People’s Republic of China. Now, you can admire the old Russian architectures here.
Pushkin Salon. This unique building with red brick walls has typified the rich extremes of Russian architecture which can be traced back to the late 19th century. There is a huge bronze statue of Pushkin standing in front of the door as if to welcome visitors from all over the world.
Pavlov Castle. The original Pavlov Castle, as one of the most famous castles in ancient Russia, was designed by a famed Russian designer from 1795 to 1797, which was. Here will you see this reconstructed building almost the same as the original one. Inside the castle, you will find a lot of exhibitions about the Russian arts and paintings.
Villa of Forest. Covering over 1,000 square meters, this villa was designed by a Russian designer which surrounded by trees, rivers and wetlands. Walking through the villa or stay one night there, you will find the true peace.
Besides, there is also the authentic Russian music and dance show available in the manor, you can enjoy it if it is not a Monday ( the show closes on each Monday).
After all the activities, you will check into hotel which inside the Volga Manor. If you are not exhausted, you can wonder around the manor in evening on your own to enjoy the special night view.
Accommodation: Overnight in the Volga Manor
- Day 8: Volga Manor -Yabuli Ski Resort ( B, L )Yabuli Ski Resort
Today you will head to the exciting Yabuli Ski Resort where drives around 3.5 hours from the Volga Manor, thus, you can enjoy the snow and ice scenery on the way.
Upon arrival at Yabuli Ski Resort, follow your guide to fill your stomach at a local restaurant, then your skiing begins! The tour guide will help you to get the main entrance tickets and rent the basic ski equipment for you to ski on your own.
Friendly Tip: Only skiing in primary ski field was included in the current tour package, which including 3 hours skiing with equipment like skiing boots, snowboard and ski poles. If you would like to have more time for skiing, please pay in cash on your own.
The resort enjoys a snow cover period of 170 days and skiing period 120 days, and the snow depth averages 30 cm – 50 cm at the foot of the mountain and reaches 1m on the mountain. Its best snow conditions make it a perfect place for both skiing racing and ski-touring. It boasts a total of 17 ski runs, from elementary, intermediate to advanced, as well as various cableways. No matter you are first time normal visitors or professional skiers, you will find the one suitable for you. There are also many entertainment activities such as snowmobiling, snow tubing, and horse-drawn sledge. You will have great fun in this heaven for skiing.
Accommodation: Overnight in Yabuli
- Day 9: Yabuli - Harbin - Shanghai by Flight ( B, L )
Enjoy the morning time in Yabuli Ski Resort. Later, drive back to Harbin city for lunch and take you to the airport for afternoon flight to Shanghai. When you arrive at Shanghai, the local driver will pick you up and transfer to local hotel.
Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai
- Day 10: Shanghai Classic City Tour (B, L )Yuyuan Garden, Yuyuan Market, Shanghai Museum, Former French Concession, Nanjing Road, the Bund
Today your visit begins with the famous Yuyuan Garden, which is a representative of classical Chinese gardens with elegant pavilions, old bridges, artistic rockeries, small ponds, etc. It was originally built by Pan Yunduan in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty for his parents to enjoy their old age in peace. The garden has gone through a lot in the over 400 years’ history. It was once deserted at the death of Pan Yunduan, restored by new owners, badly damaged during the Opium War, and reopened in 1961 after a lot of repairs.
Nearby is the lively Yuyuan Market, wonder around here you can get everything from traditional Chinese crafts like chopsticks, fans, and pottery to local delicacies such as steamed buns, crab shell cake, and pork chop with rice cakes. Don’t forget to haggle for a better price.
After that, move on your visit to Shanghai Museum (closed on every Monday). The museum houses millions of collections and especially features bronze wares, porcelain works, paintings and calligraphy works. Finish the exploration of history, stroll on People Square to have a glimpse of the daily life of the locals. The square now is most famous for its match-making corner where parents try to seek partners for their children.
Next, come to the Former French Concession, the largest and most prosperous concession among all the four French concessions in old China. From 1849 to 1943, this area was ruled by France for almost a century. Here your tour guide will reveal a history of humiliation and you will see many old beautiful European style buildings which look very charming hidden in the shade of French parasol trees.
Afterwords, move to the earliest shopping street in Shanghai-Nanjing Road. Your tour guide will point out the four time-honored department stores, Yong’an Company, Xianshi Company, Xinxin Company and Daxin Company, from which you can get a bit history of this commercial street. If you want to try some delicious food, the street definitely will not disappoint you.
Last, enjoy your sightseeing in one of the landmarks of Shanghai - the Bund. You may not know that the area used to be a desolate tidal flat, but turned into British settlement and Shanghai’s financial center in the late Qing Dynasty. It is the perfect place to take great photos of amazing skyline. Make sure to bring your camera!
Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai
- Day 11: Shanghai Departure (B )
Free and easy on your own until the pickup time for departure. The driver will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to Shanghai airport/train station to see you off. Your 11-day Beijing Xian Harbin Shanghai tour ends here.