The Golden Triangle

8 Days Beijing - Xi'an - Shanghai Tour
Day 1-3 BeijingThe Great Wall Hiking, the Forbidden City Day 4-5 Xi'anThe Terracotta Army, the Big Goose Pagoda Day 6-8 ShanghaiThe Yuyuan Garden, the Bund

The same destinations but you can travel in different ways. The list shows differences of the three travel styles. Please find detailed itinerary after the list.

Find Your Travel Style Car Fly or Train Free Time Hotel Food Guiding and Activity
Comfort Style China Highlights' most popular private tour. Our private guide, driver and car available at all times. You take the trip, we take the stress.
$1,999 The convenience and comfort of a private car
  • Flight from Beijing-Xi’an
  • Flight from Xi’an-Shanghaii
Free evenings
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town
  • Sofitel on Renmin Square Xi'an
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World
  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Lunch in local restaurant
  • Three-day tours in Beijing
  • Two-day tours in Xi'an
  • One day tour in Shanghai
  • Guided every day
Discovery Style A private tour, with private guide and driver but some days we will go local. Riding bikes, the subway, an overnight train, or call a cab with a mobile app.
$1,399 Mostly a private car but you will try local transport a few days
  • Train from Beijing-Xi’an
  • Train from Xi’an-Shanghai
Some free days
  • Beijing Sihe Courtyard Hotel
  • Grand Noble Hotel
  • The Bund Hotel Shanghai
  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Lunch in local restaurant
  • Three-day tour in Beijing
  • Two-day tour in Xi'an
  • One day tour in Shanghai
  • Guided most days
Essential Style Only the essential parts of your trip are guided, we'll arrange the travel, hotels and arrival transfer in each city, the rest is left for your own adventure.
$719 Only private arrival transfer in each city and essential day tours
  • Train from Beijing-Xi'an
  • Train from Xi'an-Shanghai
Many free days in each city
  • Beijing Traditional View Hotel
  • Xi'an Skytel Hotel
  • Kingtown Hotel Plaza Shanghai
Breakfast included & Lunch included when possible
  • One day private specialist Great Wall hiking guide. A wilder section Jinshanling-Simatain
  • one day Xi'an highlights tour to the Terracotta Warriors and the Big Goose Pagoda
  • Only essential guiding
  • Comfort Trip
  • Discovery Trip
  • Essential Trip
Free Quote
3 Travel Styles' Route
Map of Beijing-Xian-Shanghai
What's Your Style? Each tour can be tailored.
Comfort Discovery Essential

Comfort Trip Summary

Day 1-3 In Beijing

Visit highlights of the city and walk a stretch of the Great Wall. Private guide and driver are always getting ready to offer you a stress free tour during your stay in Beijing. They try their best to serve you to leave a sweet first impression of China.

ACCOM: Hotel - 3 nights

Day 4-5 In Xi'an
Day 6-8 In Shanghai
Full Itinerary

Eight days of ancient culture and modern miracles. Have more personal touch with your guide and driver. The Essence of China is there to be discovered alongside the world phenomenon of "New China".

Day 1 Arrival in Beijing

Your private guide will be on time and waiting in arrivals. A comfortable private car (non-smoking) & experienced driver will transfer you to the hotel.

Good to Know:

  • Stay Connected: A Free SIM Card Wi-Fi Rental
  • Free-time Ideas: A Nightcap in this former 1920's US Embassy, in the Litigation Quarter.
Day 2 Beijing

A buffet breakfast & real fresh coffee will kick start your day. Your private car, driver and our guide will be on time, prepared with drinks, snacks, and map ready to maximize your time. First stop, Tian'anmen Square. The history and meanings of the Forbidden City (Palace Museum & Imperial Palace) will be unlocked by our guide. Glean the history out of a place where the guidebooks leave you short.

Photograph the old lanes and courtyard houses in the neighboring Hutongs, but first choose dishes with help from our guide at the best Traditional Courtyard Restaurant. Depending on your mood & the weather take a rickshaw or bike to explore this charming world. Visit a local man's pearl workshop & store and learn how to spot a fake. A highlight is a visit to a family who've lived in the Hutongs for generations, offering unique insights from a local perspective.

Good to Know:

  • Courtyard 7 – Trip Advisor's 'Traveler's Choice of 2012' Rated 4.5/5.
  • Hutong Family Visit – Highly recommended by customers and travel reviews as 'making the hutongs worth it'.

Free-time Ideas: The Best Acrobatics Show in Beijing. Chaoyang Theatre has breathtaking performances making this Beijing's #1 attraction after the Great Wall. Your guide can help you get tickets.

The Forbidden City The Forbidden City
Day 3 Beijing

The Hike of a Lifetime.

A hike of a lifetime awaits, between Jinshanling and Simatai. This section of the great wall covers some wilder parts, reinforced, partial restorations and full restorations, giving you the full flavor of the Great Wall.

The hiking route takes from 3 to 4 hours and offers you spectacular views. It's no wonder its a favorite of photographers.

Good to Know:
If hiking is not your thing, or three hours of hiking sounds a little long, you are also able to enjoy a few hours strolling on one of these sections, which is unlikely to affect the price of this tour.

Jinshanling Great Wall Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall
Day 4 Beijing to Xi'an by flight

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.

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.

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 fair well lunch with the guide at a charming traditional restaurant, serving Sichuan food. In two hours, you will meet our Xi'an guide in Xi'an and get to the hotel by private transfer.

Good to Know:

  • Boat Tour – Most tour companies don't include these things as standard, we do.
  • Adventure & Save – Up for adventure, try the sleeper train to Xian and save.

Free-time Ideas: Early Rise – An early walk to watch the dancing, exercise or Tai chi with swords in nearby parks.

Temple of Heaven The Temple of Heaven
Day 5 Xi'an

One of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the Terracotta Warriors. Enjoy lunch a place known nationwide for its Hunan & Sichuan dishes. Big Wild Goose Pagoda is build 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.
  • Adrenaline Boost – Add an extra day and visit Hua Shan. Test your nerves on a crazy cliff hanging path in amazing mountain scenery.
  • 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.
The Terracotta Army The Terracotta Warriors and Horses
Day 6Xi'an to Shanghai by Flight

Shaanxi History Museum is a perfect overview of Chinese history and not to be missed. Next cycle around Xi'an on the City Wall. It encircles the city and is perfect for seeing an overview of the city, not to mention fun. Lunch is a literal taste of history; Qianzhou Restaurant famous for its Tang Dynasty ancient dishes. Learn how to make dumplings from a local family is another highlight. 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.
Learn to make dumpling Learning how to make dumplings
Day 7Shanghai

Charming Yuyuan Garden, one of the most beautiful Suzhou style gardens in China. Next your walk though old and modern and stop on route at a neat place, a real hit with our customers then visit the highest building in Shanghai ,the Shanghai World Financial Center to take a bird’s eye view. To know more about Shanghai, visiting to Caoyang New neighbourhood, the first new-birth Village for workers since the national liberation in 1952. At the village, you will visit Community entertainment room and a local food market.

Good to Know:

  • Old Shanghai Restaurant – 130 years old, serving traditional typical Shanghai foods.
  • 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.
The Yuyuan Garden The Yuyuan Garden
Day 8 Depart Shanghai

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. Taking the stress and hassle out of travel.

Tour Guides
Jessica Zhao

Guides picked for their personality

There are 'tour guides' and tour guides. We have spent years finding and developing the very best team in China. Our team is knowledgable, flexible and friendly, but rich in personality. So if you want history, facts, local inside tips or even to ask about their lives they are happy to share. Their goal is to be a lovely host, and to entice you back! Meet our excellent guides»

Tour Designer

Andy Beales - Product Director

I work in the head office with an international team from China, New Zealand, Germany, Britain, and American. Our goal is to create 'more than a tour' - tours we'd love to take ourself, we hope you do too.

  • 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.
Free Quote
Tips: Prices for three travel styles are for your reference. It will be slightly changed due to peak season and low season. Your travel advisor will send you exact quotation according to your needs and traveling time.

Essential Trip Summary

Day 1-3 In Beijing

Enjoy the private airport to hotel transfer and one day the Great Wall hiking with professional guide who is hiking on the Wall over 200 days a year! More free days for you to arrange on your own.

ACCOM: Hotel - 3 nights

Day 4-5 In Xi'an
Day 6-8 In Shanghai
Full Itinerary

Eight days of China tour with essential arrangements to remote area and private airport to hotel transfer in each city.

Day 1 Beijing: Arrival Day

A warm greeting awaits at Beijing airport; our English speaking private guide will greet you in arrivals. A non-smoking private car and driver will transfer you to your hotel, in typically one hour. Please feel free to quiz our guide and glean some tips on route.

Are guides are hand picked for their friendly personality, but all are qualified professional tour guides; local experts who will be delighted to offer advice and tips, in fact they will also asset you with check-in and registration before leaving you to rest or explore Beijing on your own.

Meals: None today

Day 2 Free day in Beijing

Hotel: Beijing Traditional View Hotel

Meal: Breakfast

Wake up anytime as you want and discover Beijing on your own way. Visiting to hutongs are highly recommended. Take a rickshaw or ride a bike to taste local people's life.

Wangfujing Night Market Wangfujing Night Market
Day 3 Great Wall Hiking: Trek from Simatai to Jinshanlin

The best way to see the Great Wall is to walk it, but it would take months. The most popular part for western tourists is Mutianyu, a totally reconstructed section, but we hike between two rural sections, away from the tourist crowds, and end at the Jinshanling section.

Insider Tip: Even other specialist hiking companies do a classic direction, but our way means you start in the trees and your first impression of the wall is on a higher more rural part, more wow factor and away from any tourists. On this route you will be hiking with a slightly downhill incline, combined with the shadow of the trees at the start, it is a life saver in the heat of summer.

The trek takes on average 3-4 hours, about 6km is walking on the wall itself, which takes longer than you would expect due to the incline. The drive from Beijing is two hours each way, and arranged in a comfortable and safe VW Pasat.

Meals: Hotel Breakfast, Packed Lunch or Local Chinese Meal

Jinshanling Great Wall Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall
Day 4 Beijing: Night Sleeper Train to Xi'an

Today is free to explore the classics of Beijing. We suggest starting early (8am) to experience the local culture at the Temple of Heaven garden, see Taichi, dance, martial arts and folk songs before visiting the Temple of Heaven. Then head over to Tiananmen Square, from which you can walk into the Forbidden City south gate, continue into Jingshan park close to the north gate, to see a view of the Forbidden City and Beijing.

In the late afternoon you will head to the train station, to take the night train to Xi'an. We don't arrange a transfer as it's a cheap and easy to taxi ride from the center of Beijing.

Insider Tip: The train has a restaurant car but its a good idea to take some snacks and resealable container and some teabags or coffee pods, as hot water is provided.

Meals: Hotel Breakfast.

The Temple of Heaven Taichi Experience in the Temple of Heaven
Day 5 Xi'an: The Terra Cotta Warriors

You will arrive in Xian approximately 8am, we will provide bilingual taxi instructions for you to make your own way to your hotel, as its a short distance. We also have pre-arranged a hotel breakfast due to your early arrival. We advise you to request an early check-in when you book this tour, as standard check-in time is 12. The fee depends on your selected hotel, and is subject to availability.

Today we include a half day tour of the Terra Cotta Warriors, an essential on any China tour. Discovered by a farmer in the 1970's this site is still revealing new treasures of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang. Amazingly no two solders from the 8,000 figures look alike, once decorated in vibrant colors.

The rest of today is yours to explore. We recommend cycling around the city on the city wall, taking in the views over the ancient roofs. If you prefer more history visit the Shaanxi history museum and end your day with a taxi ride over to Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and it's grounds. In fact at twilight and evenings the gardens and pagodas are beautifully lit up.

Your guide will have suggestions for your free time, just ask! If you need help to buy tickets for a show, they can help you arrange this. The Tang Dynasty show is amazing and some say the best show in China.

Meals: Hotel Breakfast

The Terracotta Army The Terracotta Army
Day 6 Xi'an: Night Sleeper Train to Shanghai

Time to explore Xi'an by yourself, discover why this was the largest city in the world, and its key importance on the Silk Road. There are some key attractions that are very easy to explore on your own, such as the centrally located Drum and Bell Tower.

Insider Tip: We recommend you venture into the Muslim Quarter, rich in the Silk Road history and atmosphere. It makes for a good place to try some snacks, explore the minority culture and take photos.

In the late afternoon head over to the train station, tonight you'll take the overnight sleeper to Shanghai.

Meals: Hotel Breakfast

Muslim Quater Muslim Quater
Day 7Xi'an Shanghai

An early arrival to "The Paris of the East", your private guide, driver and car will meet and greet you and transfer you directly to your hotel.

Travel Tip: We advise you to request an early check-in when you book this tour, as standard check-in time is 12. The fee depends on your selected hotel, and is subject to availability.

Today is a free day, but if you wish we can customize this tour to take you into the nearby water towns around Shanghai. Just ask for a tailored quote.

If your still absorbing history the Museum here is referred to by locals and overseas travel forums as the best in China.

There is lots to do in Shanghai: Walk along the colonial bund, capture the cityscape from the top of the Pearl TV tower, or eat dumplings and enjoy a coffee while shopping in the French Concession.

There are some other wonderful areas to explore around Shanghai, such as Suzhou, Hangzhou, as well as many water towns, such as WuZhen. The Yellow Mountains are also a short trip from Hangzhou. If you have a few more days to extend your tour we are happy to offer a tailored quote.

Meals: Hotel Breakfast.

Nanjing Road Nanjing Road, Shanghai

Day 8 Shanghai: Departure Day

Depending on your flight time you still probably have time to explore Shanghai before making your own way to the airport. The journey takes approximately one hour, depending on traffic, and we recommend you aim to arrive three hours before you flight.

  • 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.
Free Quote