Looking for good side trip nearby Beijing? Pingyao, linked with Beijing by 4-hour high-speed train definitely would worth your visit! This 6 days tour departing from Beijing, including Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing Hutongs, Qiao Family Courtyard as well as Pingyao Ancient Town, will bring you a fantastic exploration of local culture, civilization as well as foods. Wondering around Pingyao Ancient Town, you will be amazed by the strong historic flavor and the bustling night scenery.
Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing Hutongs, Beihai Park, Qiao Family Courtyard, Pingyao Ancient Town.
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.
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.
Then you will follow your tour guide into the incredible Forbidden City, which was once 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, continue your visit 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.
Last, come to enjoy the amazing royal garden in 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.
Optional Night Activity: Kungfu Show
Chinese Kung Fu has a very wide influence in the world, and most foreigners know Kung Fu from Jackie Chen and Bruce Lee’s films. Today you are going to enjoy a superb Kung Fu show at a nice theater. The entire cast is very professional and talented which combines fantastic martial arts, challenging acrobatics and a wonderful story. You will totally immerse yourself in the show from start to finish and may want to do it again.
Today will be the highlight of your Beijing tour as you will be hiking on 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).
After a Chinese style lunch, continue your exploration to Ming Tombs -Dingling Mausoleum, a shared tomb by Emperor Wanli and his two empresses, which is the only excavated tomb among the thirteen tombs of the Ming Dynasty. The mausoleum was built from 1584 to 1590, and the emperor was only 28 years old when its construction was complete. It was put there for 30 years until 1620. Your tour guide will tell you some information about the emperor and Ming Dynasty and lead you to the underground palace which housed the emperor and empresses’ coffins.
Finish the amazing sightseeing, you’ll have an exterior visit of the marvelous Bird's Nest and Water Cube on the way back to Beijing, 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.
Today’s first stop will be the charming Beihai Park, which is absolutely a nice place to relax and enjoy yourself! It is one of the oldest, most complete, most comprehensive and representative royal gardens in China. You will have lots of opportunities to take great photos of the lovely lake and historic buildings.
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.
After the exciting Hutong exploration, come to a local family who living in the Hutong and enjoy a homemade lunch with the friendly family. It will be a great chance for you to visit a real courtyard house - Siheyuan and and have a glimpse of the local people’s lifestyle.
Later, you will head to train station and catch the high-speed train to Pingyao. The train rides around 4 hours, you can take this chance to enjoy the scenery on the way. When you arrive at Pingyao Gucheng Train Station, there will be the local driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
Today you will officially start your visit in Pingyao Ancient City. Bearing the history over 2700 years, sharing the title “Four Best Preserved Ancient Chinese Cities” together with Langzhong in Sichuan Province, Lijiang in Yunnan City and Shexian of Anhui Province, this ancient city is one of the only two ancient cities succeeding in applying World Cultural Heritage in China. Pingyao started to be built in Western Zhou Dynasty (827BC-782BC) and extended in 1370 AD, Ming Dynasty. Until today, the basic layout and landscape of Ming and Qing Dynasty is still visible in Pingyao.
The city had ever governed China’s finance in Ming and Qing Dynasty with over 20 exchange shops (it’s like bank in ancient time) headquartered here, about the half of the whole country, gaining the title of “Ancient Chinese Wall Street”. Today, you can still find the basic look of its ever prosperity from the relics.
Like the most city walls, Pingyao City Wall was built in early Ming Dynasty on the purpose of defense against the foreign invasion and get patched 26 times in later generations. The Wall is extremely admirable with its strong character in the lengthy past when you stroll on the wall top and behold the mottled bricks over there. Stretching round the city 6,000 meters in length and up 12 meters in height, the ancient City Wall divided the small city into 2 distinct worlds inside and outside its embrace: the inside was prosperous in trade with the streets lined with shops and people coming and going.
Visit the relics of the famous Rishengchang Exchange Shop to trace the history of Chinese financial industry. Built in 1823 by the general manager Lei Lvtai with fund support from local rich merchant Li Dajin, Rishengchang had even dominated the economic artery of Qing Empire in 19th century.
Setting your feet on the Ming-Qing Street, the one of busiest commercial street in China, you shall have a better idea in mind about how advanced the development in China was in that time. Today, the relics of those ancient shops still are well preserved and visible, including exchange shops, banks, drugstore, butcher, pawnshop… Local snack shops, souvenir shops and things like that inherits the ever prosperity of the street and dominates the major crowds here.
Besides, joining in a Paper Cutting Class in the ancient city would be a big highlight today. Following the local expert and waving the scissors in hands, you will amazingly get a vivid “bird” or “fish”, through which the interesting Chinese culture could be caught a glimpse.
In the morning, you will visit Qiao Family Courtyard which could be said as a name card of travel to Shanxi Province, boasting its unparallel value of viewing, scientific and historical research. It’s a typical folk-art museum with strong characteristics of Shanxi merchants’ culture, reflecting the social and economic life in Ming and Qing Dynasties. Different from the tiny and elegant ancient town embraced by streams in southern China, Qiao Family impresses visitors strikingly with its square layout, tall and thick walls, grey bricks and red lanterns as well as classic overhanging eaves, suddenly bringing you back to ancient northern China when you stepping into the yard.
Later, move on to Shuanglin Temple. This temple could be said as a “surprise” among the attractions in Pingyao because it is a lesser-known site but have been collecting incredible artworks in its lengthy past. It’s a Buddhist temple where you will meet many delicate wall paintings, colored statues and beautiful buildings of Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at the train station for departure.
The core of our service is excellent travel guides. Over 20 years, we have built up a considerable professional guide team that is knowledgeable, attentive and flexible. The most experienced and reliable guides will be arranged for your unique China tour. Our passionate guide team is full of contagious enthusiasm and keen interest to share culture and history in a pleasant manner. We are always glad at your service to lead you to explore a real China and experience authentic local life in China.
Our Driver and Vehicle
The first mission of our service is to ensure you feel safe and comfortable during your travel. The vehicles we use are air-conditioned, clean and well-maintained. Our drivers are all licensed drivers with many years of driving experience. Moreover, we offer free baby seats for families with little kids.
Food is a very important part of Chinese culture. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to taste the real local Chinese food!
Buffet breakfast will be included in the hotel if you would like accommodation to be arranged by us. Having lunch at local restaurants close and convenient to the attractions you will visit, you would enjoy the local dishes in each city. Chinese style, Vegetarian or Muslim meals are all available. If you have any other diet requirements or allergies, please feel free to let us know, we will try our best to organize it.
For daily dinner, you are suggested to have it on your own when you are exploring each city in your own time, this way would be more flexible for you to choose food as per your interest and preference.