Culture and history enthusiasts will love this 6-day journey covering best cultural and historical marvels of Beijing and Datong. Begin your adventure in Beijing, follow your professional guides to gain insights into several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Yungang Grottoes, and the Hanging Temple, offering a rich tapestry of China’s past and present architectural wonders.
Immerse yourself in the local fabric with visits to Beijing Hutongs, Datong Earth Forest, and Fogong Temple while relishing the impeccable service of your guide and driver.
2. Hike the impressive Mutianyu Great Wall for panoramic views of mountains and valleys, with the option of a unique cable car or toboggan experience.
3. Immerse yourself in local life at Beijing’s Hutongs, experiencing the charm of traditional alleyways.
4. Unearth ancient Buddhist art at the Yungang Grottoes, featuring over 50,000 statues, and visit the 1,500-year-old Hanging Temple, a harmonious blend of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism clinging to Mount Heng.
5. Enjoy a scenic and comfortable train ride between Beijing and Datong, witnessing the changing landscapes and lifestyles of China.
- Day 1: Welcome to Beijing
Greetings in Beijing, the historic capital of China with a legacy spanning over 3,000 years. Upon your arrival, our friendly guide and driver will warmly welcome you and accompany you to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to unwind or explore the city independently.
If you seek evening recommendations for dining or sightseeing, feel free to consult your guide.
- Day 2: Beijing Exploration (B, L)Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, Summer Palace
Gear up for an immersive experience amid Beijing’s historical and cultural treasures.
Begin your journey at the monumental Tiananmen Square, a symbol of China's political and cultural significance. As you stand in the vastness of the square, take in the imposing presence of landmarks like the Monument to the People's Heroes and the Great Hall of the People. Delve into the historical context that surrounds this iconic public space.
Transition seamlessly from Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City, an architectural marvel that served as the imperial palace for centuries. Wander through the intricate halls and courtyards, absorbing the imperial grandeur reflected in the detailed architecture. Uncover the stories embedded in this UNESCO World Heritage site, offering a glimpse into China's imperial past.
Following the exploration of the Forbidden City, take a leisurely stroll to Jingshan Park, a serene oasis just north of the palace. Ascend to the top of Coal Hill within the park to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Forbidden City and Beijing's skyline. Take a moment to appreciate the tranquil surroundings, surrounded by lush greenery and historical charm.
Continue to the Summer Palace, a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 2.9 square kilometers, the palace boasts lakes, gardens, and palaces, showcasing the harmonious blend of natural and artificial elements.
As the day winds down, return to your accommodation in Beijing. Unwind and prepare for more adventures in this vibrant city.
- Day 3: More Beijing Exploration (B, L)Mutianyu Great Wall, Sacred Way, Bird’s Nest, Water Cube
Start your day with a journey to the Mutianyu Great Wall, a meticulously preserved and picturesque section dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Renowned as the longest and best fully-restored Great Wall segment accessible to tourists, Mutianyu boasts 23 watchtowers and an intricate mesh structure resembling a bird's nest. Embark on a scenic hike along the wall, soaking in the awe-inspiring views of mountains and valleys. For a unique experience, consider a cable car or toboggan ride for an ascent or descent like no other.
Next on the agenda is the Sacred Way of the Imperial Tombs of 13 Emperors of the Ming Dynasty. This 7-kilometer road leads to the emperors' mausoleums, adorned with stone statues representing animals and officials, symbolizing protection and loyalty. Take a leisurely stroll along this historical path, delving into the rich history and culture of the Ming dynasty.
As you return to your hotel, take a moment to appreciate the architectural marvels of the Bird’s Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center). These iconic structures, born out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, stand as symbols of China's innovation and development, having hosted a plethora of international events.
- Day 4: Explore Beijing and High-speed Train to Datong (B, L)Temple of Heaven, Beijing's Hutongs
Commence your day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a marvel of ancient Chinese architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed in the 15th century, this temple served as a sacred space for emperors to pray for bountiful harvests and divine guidance. Admire the grand circular altar, the towering Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, and the delicate Echo Wall. Immerse yourself in the local culture by observing traditional activities like tai chi, dancing, and singing in the surrounding park.
Embark on a rickshaw ride through Beijing's Hutongs, exploring the narrow alleys and courtyard houses that epitomize old Beijing culture. Roam the winding lanes, visit a local family to learn about their daily life and traditions, and savor authentic snacks to experience the charm of the Hutong community.
After your exploration, head to the train station for a high-speed journey to Datong, a historical city in Shanxi Province. The scenic 2-hour train ride offers picturesque views. Upon arrival, your local guide and driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel in Datong's downtown area.
- Day 5: Discover Datong's Cultural Gems (B, L)Yungang Grottoes, Nine Dragon Screen Wall, Huayan Temple, Datong Earth Forest
Start your day with a drive to the Yungang Grottoes, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's four renowned Buddhist grottoes. Carved between the 5th and 6th centuries, these grottoes house over 50,000 statues showcasing the pinnacle of Buddhist cave art in China. Marvel at the intricate sculptures, vivid expressions, and rich colors that adorn the caves.
Next, visit the Nine Dragon Screen Wall, the oldest and largest glazed tile screen wall in China. Built during the Ming Dynasty, the wall features nine coiling dragons playing with pearls against a backdrop of clouds, waves, and rocks.
Continue your journey with a visit to Huayan Temple, the largest and best-preserved temple of the Liao Dynasty in China. Divided into upper and lower parts, the temple houses a giant bronze statue of Sakyamuni Buddha in the upper section and a grand hall dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, in the lower part.
Explore the unique geological landscape of Datong Earth Forest, formed by fluvial erosion and showcasing earth pillars and walls of diverse shapes and sizes. This natural museum also holds ancient plant and animal fossils.
Return to your hotel in Datong after the day's exploration.
- Day 6: Conclude Datong Exploration & Departure (B, L)Hanging Temple, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda
After breakfast, venture to the Hanging Temple, an architectural marvel clinging to the cliff of Mount Heng, one of China's five sacred mountains. Over 1,500 years old, this temple blends Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. With 40 halls and chambers connected by wooden corridors, it features over 80 statues representing various deities and sages.
Continue to Fogong Temple, housing the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, the world's oldest and tallest wooden pagoda. Built in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty, the pagoda stands at 67 meters and boasts an octagonal shape with nine stories, four of which are hidden inside. Marvel at the sophisticated construction using mortise and tenon joints, and note that the pagoda enshrines a tooth relic of the Buddha.
After the visit, your guide will escort you to the airport or train station for your onward journey or return home. Wishing you a pleasant trip!