See the three major tourist cities of China with their highlights and no rush thanks to our 8-day, time-smart itinerary.
This is a private tour, optimized for you to enjoy every stop on your trip.
Enter the Forbidden City, where emperors ruled ancient China. Not only visit, but hike to explore, a world wonder — the Great Wall. Explore the majestic Temple of Heaven, where harmony becomes architecture. Discover the unbelievable buried Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an. Finish in Shanghai, where impressive modern skylines meet with old Fengshui Traditional Gardens.
You can travel the same destinations in three different styles. Which travel style meet your needs?
- Comfort Trip
- Discovery Trip
- Essential Trip
- Warm up with our exclusive, in-depth Forbidden City journey with our expert in history and architecture.
- Admire a less-crowded part of the Great Wall by combining effort-saving cable car rides and moderate hiking.
- Taste crispy, succulent roast duck at the most famous Peking duck restaurant — Quanjude.
- Gaze amazed, confronted by the Terracotta Warriors.
- Learn how to make Chinese dumplings at a hospitable local lady’s home in Xi’an.
- Savor the modern and traditional cityscapes of Shanghai
Hotel: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall (Superior Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015)
With a sunny smile, your private guide will be on time and waiting for you at the arrival hall. A comfortable private car (non-smoking) & experienced driver are ready and will transfer you to the hotel. Get the first impression of China.
Free-time Ideas: A Nightcap in your hotel or stroll around. You can easily find supermarket, local food restaurants near your central-located hotel.
Hotel: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall (Superior Room)
Breakfast & Lunch
A buffet breakfast & real fresh coffee will kick start your day. The expert escort you 5 hour in the emperors’ house and show you some interesting places you would never find by yourself in the Forbidden City and guide you away from the noisy parts and crush of other tour groups. What you can see no longer only empty rooms in the Forbidden City but also pictures of emperors, concubines and eunuchs in the expert's ipad, stories brings it to life.
In the afternoon, the expert accompany you to visit the Tian’anmen Square that is very close to the Forbidden City and have a easy climbing to the Jinshan Hill in Jinshan Park to take a birds’ eye view of the golden roofs, see it from a new angle.
Good to know
To ensure good timing, the local expert does the day tour once a day. So on this day, you have a small group tour with maximum of eight people. Interaction with the expert and group members add more fun. According to previous customers’ feedback, people who love history and family with kids who are over 7 years old are like the tour.
Hotel: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wal (Superior Room)
Breakfast & Lunch
An early start and chance to exercise or stroll with locals among the 60,000 ancient trees in the Temple of Heaven's Grounds. Watch locals exercise, practice martial arts, play traditional instruments, and other activities that you may never see in your country.
The Temple of Heaven provided a place for emperors to pray to 'the most high God in heaven' for a good harvest. The Round Altar, Echo Wall and Imperial Vault of Heaven are the rated as key sights; we will cover these and more.
In the afternoon, we avoid crowd and move to Mutianyu, this less-crowded section of the Great Wall is about 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable-car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift or toboggan. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather.
Good to Know:
If hiking is your thing, or three hours of hiking is your choice, you are also able to enjoy a hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai west, just tell your travel advisor which one you prefer.
Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Superior Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015)
Breakfast & Lunch
Continue exploring highlights of Beijing. The Summer Palace is an enormous park with pavilions, vividly painted corridors, temples, among lakes and surrounded by hills. It was originally the imperial courts summer retreat, and still makes a nice place to escape the heat of the summer. Climb the hill or take a scroll in the gardens, this is a charming place to explore before taking a dragon styled boat tour on Kunming lake.
Enjoy a Beijing fair well lunch with the guide at the most famous brand, Quanjude roast duck restaurant. To see to believe, watch the exquisite skill of cutting of chief, taste crisp duck skin and learn how to eat it in a proper way. Yummy!
In the afternoon, take a look at traditional hutongs where present local culture. It is an opportunity to look into ordinary people’s life. We will stop at a private Chinese baijiu museum that is hidden in hutong. Thousands of bottles strong liquid tell you story in different decades of China.
Catch flight to Xi’an in the late afternoon or at evening, to explore another ancient capital of China .
Good to Know:
Boat Tour – Most tour companies don't include these things as standard, we do.
Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Superior Room)
Breakfast & Lunch
As one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the Terracotta Warriors get respect from people over the world. People are surprised by the magnificent man-made work piece. Stand there and have a silent conversation with these soldiers.
In the afternoon, we get close to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda that was built in AD652. Chinese-style architecture combined with Buddhist historic statues, murals and scriptures topped off by the best panoramic view over Xi'an.
Good to Know:
No Tricks (Big/Little) Pagoda – Look closely at other companies and large group tour operators and you'll see they take you to the free Little Goose Pagoda, - experience + profits.
Free-time Ideas: Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is rated in many Top 10's. Your guide can help you buy tickets.A short walk to see the Bell Tower/Drum Tower. This area has many high end restaurants, but if you're ready for something western, there is a Starbucks, Dairy Queen and Dunkin Donuts.
Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (Superior Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015)
Breakfast & Lunch
As one of the best museum in China, Shaanxi History Museum is a perfect overview of Chinese history and not to be missed. It houses over 370,000 items, including murals, paintings, pottery, coins, as well as bronze, gold, and silver objects.
Cycling around the City Wall is another highlight. The wall encircles the city and is perfect for seeing an overview of the city.
Learning how to make dumplings from a local family is customized for westerners. To touch Chinese culture and real life, you will love it. Today ends with a flight to Shanghai. Your private car, drive and guide handle all the transfer for you at each end. Sit back and relax.
Good to Know:
Xi'an City Wall & Bike Ride – The city wall and ride are ranked no. 2 and 3 attractions on most websites after the Terracotta army. Rickshaw, ride, or walk, you call the shots.
Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (Superior Room)
Breakfast & Lunch
To taste modern flavor of the city, we arrange the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Bund. To explore traditional part, Charming Yuyuan Garden and Old Shanghai Street are recommended. This is the day for your Shanghai Impression.
Good to Know:
We revolve around you! – Customize the trip to suit you. e.g. A history and art fan might like to visit Shanghai Museum, it's rated by many as the best Museum in China.
Free-time Ideas: The Bund Evening Walk & Drink – Great for an evening walk. When the skyline lights go out at 10pm head over to Glamour for a Shanghai Cocktail.
Your private car, driver and guide will be ready and waiting at your hotel lobby to get you to the airport on time. Sit back and relax as they help you check-in and escort you to the correct security gate. We take the stress and hassle out of your travel.
- Just let us know your travel style!
- Guide vs. Free-time ratio / Hotel Style & Interests / Dates / People
We will then adapt this tour and create a unique quote based on your individual needs.
- Entrance to attractions listed in the itinerary
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- Private transfers between the airport or railway station, attractions, ports, and hotels
- Private local English-speaking tour guide and driver service (except tips based on your willingness)
- Hotel accommodation with breakfast and service fee
- Specified flights, trains, and Cruise
Extension based on the tour
Extend the tour:
- Yangtze River Cruise: add 4–5 days (Chongqing to Yichang or vice versa)
- Chengdu: add 2–3 days — visit a Panda research center, the Giant Buddha, and Mt. Emei
- Suzhou and Hangzhou: add 2–3 days — visit scenic gardens, West Lake, and water towns
- Hong Kong: add 2–3 days — visit Victoria Peak, Disneyland, and day tour Macau
It must be clearly understood that enjoying these extras is your own decision. They are not included in the itinerary or tour price, so you will need to pay separately. The ticket price depends on seating. Ask your guide to book tickets if you want to see any of the following.
- Beijing — Legend of Kungfu Show
- Xi'an — Tang Dynasty Cultural Show plus Dumpling Banquet
- Shanghai — Chinese Acrobats Show
What’s the difference between 3, 4, and 5 -star hotels?
We usually arrange centrally-located and Western-standard hotels. Five-star hotels are usually palatial with huge lobbies and comfortable rooms, their standards not quite matching the best of Paris or New York, but very close. Four-star hotels have quality facilities, but not as luxurious as five-star hotels. Three-star hotels meet the needs of most Westerners, but breakfasts have less choice.
We also recommend some courtyard hotels or Chinese-style hotels with local features and architecture. These hotels have a good ranking, or positive feedback from our customers, and TripAdvisor.
Usually hotels in big cities, small cities, and rural areas are a bit different, even if they have the same star level. We try to use the best available hotel in each place.
What are train conditions like in China?
A soft sleeper is recommended for overnight and long-distance travel. Each soft sleeper compartment is enclosed, and contains four bunks, two on each side. The bunks are wider and more comfortable than hard sleepers, with decent bedding. Soft sleeper compartments may vary between trains. You may have both over-head storage and under-bed storage, or just under-bed storage.
For short distance train travel, G and D high-speed trains are recommended. G trains are the fastest trains in China, with a speed of 250 km/h to 400 km/h, and their prices are highest.
As currency exchange rates in China fluctuate, we suggest you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. In 2015 the yuan (NCY or RMB) has been around 6.2 USD (6.1–6.3 USD), and the HKD (Hong Kong Dollar) has been more stable around 7.75 USD (7.74–7.77 USD). There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Master card, but these are limited to cities. We also recommend the use of cash and travelers checks in USD currency. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, but they may charge a 2–4% transaction fee.
It is customary to tip service providers in the travel industry in Asia, depending on the service. Tipping is expected — though not compulsory — and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Recommendations for tipping drivers (3 USD per person per day as a guideline) and local guides (8 USD per person per day as a guideline) would depend on the quality and length of the service.
Eating is an important part of your China experience. Generally breakfasts are included in the itinerary and offered by hotels. China Highlights recommend local Chinese restaurants that are popular with local people for lunch. You can order dishes with the help of your guide. We usually leave dinner for your own choice — Western food can be found in most large cities.
If you are vegetarian or you are looking for e.g. halal food, please feel free to inform your travel advisor, who can arrange a restaurant to fit your needs.
We use comfortable sedans or vans with air-conditioning. The comfort and safety of our customers is of utmost importance, so we ensure that all of the vehicles that we use are well maintained and always very clean. Our drivers take pride in their vehicles.
Useful Information for Traveling in China
International Flight Recommendation
Hainan Airlines, one of China Highlights strategic cooperators, offers the best-value international flights packages to our customers. Please inquire and get best price.
Why choose Hainan Airlines:
- Authorized Reputation: Only carrier in China to be awarded the SKYTRAX Five-Star Airline for 6th consecutive year
- Excellent Reviews: Rated 8/10 on Skytrax. (Air China: 5/10, American Airlines: 3/10, Air Canada: 5/10)
- Environment Friendly: First China civil airline to receive 3rd-party certification from the Management System for Energy. Reduced 790,000 tons carbon dioxide emission in 2015, equivalent to the amount absorbed by 20 square kilometers of forest a year.
Flight Schedule for Reference (Visit here for more details about international flight booking):
|Area||Departure City ⇆ Arrival City||Days||Tour Suggestion|
|North America||Boston (BOS)⇆Beijing (PEK)||1234567||
Perfect to fit the schedule of
Top 10 Tours
(Arriving in Beijing, Departing from Shanghai)
|Boston (BOS)⇆Shanghai (PVG)||246|
|Seattle (SEA) ⇆Beijing (PEK)||12467|
|Seattle (SEA)⇆Shanghai (PVG)||357|
|Toronto (YYZ)⇆ Beijing (PEK)||124567||
Start and end the tour in Beijing?
No problem. We can arrange flight or high-speed rail to connect Shanghai and Beijing
|Chicago (CHI)⇆ Beijing (PEK)||2467|
|Europe||Berlin (BER) ⇆ Beijing (PEK)||1357|
|Manchester (Man) ⇆ Beijing (PEK)||1356|
|Tel Aviv (TLV)⇆ Beijing (PEK)||247|
|Asia-Pacific||Sydney (SYD)⇆Xian (XIY)||36||Xian and Changsha (close to Zhangjiajie), new rising portal cities of China.|
|Sydney (SYD)⇆ Changsha (CSX)||15|
We encourage our staff to reduce the use of paper, and fax machines and copying machines. Instead of using printed paper, we send documents by Wechat or QQ. We send orders and bills to local suppliers by our online system, which saves lots of paper.
CH usually uses cars or vans with low exhaust emissions.
We do not recommend customers use disposable chopsticks and disposable bathroom supplies.
We make use of local suppliers and services. These include locally owned and family run accommodation, local drivers, locally produced and prepared food. This ensures that the local economy is supported. We also only employ local guides. We do visit local community projects and remote schools where our contributions are greatly appreciated.
Our guides teach customers some short phrases in the local language, translate, and suggest customers show their photos to local people, particularly if they take photos together.
We have had an excellent long-term relationship with our guides and suppliers and this helps to stabilize their income generation and so helps to create a more sustainable future.