Beautiful China and Holy Tibet

15 Days Beijing, Xian, Lhasa and Shanghai Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

This 15-day tour covers China’s six cities from east to west. Discover ancient imperial Beijing, pay your respects to the Terracotta warriors in Xi’an, reach the holy Potala Palace, then relax and enjoy the Yangtze River cruise threading between the majestic gorges from Chongqing to Yichang. Finish this comprehensive China journey beneath the electric skyline of modern Shanghai, where past and future combined.

You can have the same destinations in three different travel styles. Which one fits your needs?

Map of Beijing-Xian-Shanghai
Highlights for Comfort Style
  • Go off the beaten path to the less-visited and best-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China
  • View the incredible Terracotta Warriors and discover the cradle of Chinese ancient culture
  • Stand on the roof of the world and admire the pilgrim’s holy palace, Potala
  • Embark on a three-night cruise on the Yangtze River aboard and enjoy changing majestic view outside
  • Experience modern and traditional of the most dynamic city, Shanghai
Full Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Hotel: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall (Superior Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016)

Whenever your international flight lands in Beijing, your tour guide will be ready to welcome you at the arrival hall, to transfer you to your hotel with a private car and driver. They will help you with luggage and hotel check-in, and ensure your arrival in Beijing is worry-free.

Free Time for Exploration

We leave the rest of the day free for you to be on your own. You may need some time to relax and recover from the long-distance flight or possibly from jet-lag. If you feel like going for a walk and checking out places nearby, feel free to ask your guide for recommendations for good dining or places to see.

Day 2City Highlights: the Forbidden City and Hutongs

Hotel: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

After a sound sleep, start the tour from the mysterious Forbidden City, the world’s largest imperial palace. It’s said to have 9,999½ forbidden imperial chambers, and was home to 24 emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties (from 1420 to 1911 AD). Skip the long queues at the entrance. Your guide will lead you to the most popular and the less-crowded parts of the palace, explaining the history

Then move to Tian’anmen Square, where has great cultural significance, having been the site of several key events in Chinese history.

Later, hop on a rickshaw and ride through a maze of hutongs to discover old Beijing neighborhoods. Visit a hutong family and explore a hidden courtyard house. Meet local residents and have a nice chat with them.

The Forbidden City The Forbidden City
Day 3 The Less-Crowded Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall

Hotel: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Morning Exercises at the Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven was the place where emperors went to worship heaven and to pray for good harvests. Nowadays it has become an ideal place for local people to do their morning exercises. A visit there helps one gain for the pace of life of citizens of Beijing.

Mutianyu

This less-crowded section of the Great Wall is about a 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable-car takes you to a good section (avoiding a steep climb) where you can walk along the wall and through the watch towers, enjoying superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can either 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 clothes to provide protection from possible extremes of the weather.

Good to Know

If you prefer three hours hiking, just tell your travel advisor to change the arrangement according to your needs.

The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall
Day 4 Visit the Summer Palace and Olympic Stadiums – Flight to Xi'an

Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Superior Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Enjoy a full day visiting classic highlights of Beijing – the Summer Palace and hutongs (i.e. alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences). Have a pleasant stroll at the luxury gardens of the royal family. Different kinds of pavilions and long corridors give you the full flavor of China. Then head to Beijing Olympic Stadiums, stop at the most famous sites: Bird's Nest and Water Cube where athletes created miracles. Next visit 798 Art District to enjoy Chinese modern art.

Evening Flight to Xi’an

Transfer to Beijing airport for late afternoon or evening flight to Xi’an. Your Xi’an guide will be waiting for you at arrivals, and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.

The Summer Palace The Summer Palace
Day 5 Xi'an – the Must-see Terracotta Warriors

Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

In the morning, uncover the mystery of the underground army dated thousands of years ago at the Terracotta Warriors Museum and site. People are surprised by the magnificent man-made statues. Stand there and have a silent conversation with these soldiers. After lunch at a popular Chinese restaurant, return to the city area and visit the Big Goose Pagoda that has was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India.

The Terracotta Army The The Terracotta Army
Day 6 Other Highlights of Xi'an

Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Discover more of Xi’an and China’s ancient history at the Shaanxi History Museum and the ancient City Wall, then head to the Muslim Quarter and wander through the alley ways to explore and taste the local Muslim Cuisine, like Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, or Jiasan Steamed Soup Dumplings.

In the afternoon, move to Forest of Stele Museum that was originally built in Northern Song Dynasty (1090 A.D.) when a large Confucian collection of steles cut in A.D. 837 - the oldest existing texts of the Confucian classics - was moved to it for safekeeping. All kinds of calligraphy and scripts tell stories, poems and reports from around the Empire. Other exhibits include early sculptures and objects from Imperial tombs.

Good to know

China Highlights gives a helping hand to charity and has built a good relationship with the Xi’an Hui Ling Service Station for Intellectual Disabilities (NGO) near the Muslim Quarter. If you would like to know about NGO in China, we are happy to arrange a visit there to see their handicraft workshop and have some interaction with them.

The Ancient City Wall and Forest of Stele Museum The Ancient City Wall and Forest of Stele Museum
Day 7 Flight to Lhasa

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (Deluxe Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Guide and driver see you off at Xi’an. Catch the flight to Lhasa which takes about 4½ hours. You will arrive in Tibet in the afternoon. Lhasa is at an altitude of 3,650 meters (12,000 ft). You may experience further altitude sickness in the Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery in the coming day, which have higher altitudes. The rest of the day is for you to take a rest at hotel. The first two days arriving in Tibet, we suggest visitors keep warm, not take a bath, smokers smoke as little as possible, and do not drink alcohol.

Holy Tibet Holy Tibet
Day 8 Lhasa: Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka and Sera Monastery

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Start your Lhasa tour with the Sera Monastery, comprising a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. After lunch, you will visit Norbulingka, the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of the Potala. It is also called Tibet’s Summer Palace, and it means “Jeweled Park” in Tibetan language. With lovely plants in the garden, you may breathe more comfortable due to more oxygen. The last Lhasa tour attraction for today is the famous Drepung Monastery, surrounded by the dark faces of mountains, its grand white buildings stand out shining in the sunlight.

Debating at Drepung Monastery and Norbulingka Debating at Drepung Monastery and Norbulingka
Day 9 Lhasa: Potala Palace, and Barkhor Street

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Enjoy a classic Lhasa tour visiting the Potala Palace, which is a symbol of peace and a great masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. Ascend to this majestic palace; see exquisite murals, decorated statues, and antiques. The red and white palace buildings combined with pure blue sky are the most iconic picture of Tibet.

Later, step into the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. Barkhor Street offers you a glance at daily life of the locals.

The Potala Palace The Potala Palace
Day 10 Flight from Lhasa to Chongqing and Get on Board at Night

Hotel: Century Legend on Board (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

This day you will take flight to Chonqing in the morning and have some free time to explore the charming city on your own. If you like spicy food, try hot pot, the famous food in Chongqing. Board the ship from 18:30 to 21:00 and departs Chongqing at 21:30.

The Boat of Century Legend The Boat of Century Legend
Day 11 Shore Excursion to Shibaozhai

Hotel: Century Legend on Board (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Wake up in the morning and learn how to practice Tai Chi with staff. After breakfast, start shore excursion to Shibaozhai that was first built in Qing Dynasty in 1750. It is one historic site that will look much different in 2009 because of rise of water level. The wooden architecture stands on the riverside. It is built by catch upon a rectangular rock with sheer cliffs with a height of 56 meters and 12 stories. And every floor of the wooden structure contains interesting artifacts. Each of the 12 floors of Shibaozhai is dedicated to a famous general of the Three Kingdoms period (220-265AD), a local scholar or a renowned Chinese poet.

At night you are welcome to join the Captain's welcome dinner party and crew cabaret.

Shibaozhai Shibaozhai
Day 12 Shore Excursion to Shennong Stream

Hotel: Century Legend on Board (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Your boat will pass two gorges on this day: Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and sails through the ship-locks. Highlight of this day is shore excursion to Shennong Stream that is another tributary of the Yangtze River, and its fast-flowing, crystal clear water runs southwards through deep gorges. The stream races past large and small karst caves, flocks of swallows, sheer cliffs, deep gorges, waterfalls, three-colored springs, rapids, the ancient plank path, a suspended coffin in the cliff, groups of ancient tombs and marvelous karst formations.

At night there is a captain's farewell banquet.

Good to know

There is an Optional tour to White Emperor City that clings to the hills and cliffs of a peninsular jutting out into the river. At an extra pay of RMB290 per person.

The Shennong Stream The Shennong Stream
Day 13 Shore Excursion to the Three Gorges Dam and Flight to Shanghai

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

08:00 in the morning start shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam which is the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man and it has been a dream for several generations of Chinese people. The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction has been completed in 2009. It will be 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide on the top and 130 meters wide at the bottom. At about 11:00, the boat will cross Xiling Gorge. If you would like to see more, an optional excursion to the hometown of Quyuan is available on the day. Your boat will arrive in Yichang at 12:30pm.

The Three Gorges Dam The Three Gorges Dam
Day 14 Shanghai – Metropolis of East and West

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

China’s most prosperous city oozes vibes of both tradition and modernity. See the typical Shanghainese life at Shikumen, visit South China’s classical landscape garden at Yuyuan Garden, enjoy a bird’s eye view over Shanghai on the sightseeing deck of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and finally have a walk around the Bund to learn about Shanghai history.

Good to Know

There are many evening shows in Shanghai, and the most recommended ones involve acrobatics, some of the best in China. Ask your tour guide to help you obtain tickets. This is optional.

Day 15 Shanghai Departure

Meal: Breakfast

As your China trip comes to end, your tour guide, driver and car will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Shanghai Pudong International Airport for your departure flight home. The guide will assist you with flight check-in and luggage, and see you off at the security check-point.

  • 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.
Quote
Highlights for Discovery Style
  • Follow our professional hiking guide who spends 200 days on the Great Wall per year
  • Immerse yourself in the mystery of the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an
  • Stand on the roof of the world and admire the pilgrim’s holy palace, Potala
  • Embark on a three-night cruise on the Yangtze River aboard and enjoy changing majestic view outside
  • Explore the modern and traditional Shanghai lifestyle
Full Itinerary

Covering six cities from east to west, this tour shows different aspects of beautiful China and unveils mystery of Tibet. The Discovery Style offers high-speed train experience from Beijing to Xi’an.

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Hotel: Novotel Peace Beijing (Superior Room)

Private Transfer to the Hotel

Your driver and guide will meet you at the international arrival hall with your name board. It takes about 40 minutes to your hotel, just sit back and relax.

Relax or Explore the Area Nearby

We’ve left this afternoon or evening free for you to recover, relax or explore on your own. You can ask your guide what there is to see an do near your hotel.

Day 2 Hiking on the Great Wall

Hotel: Novotel Peace Beijing (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

The Hike of a Lifetime

A fascinating day for the outdoor enthusiast! Your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby after you’ve had breakfast and then we will travel out to the Great Wall, between Jinshanling and Simatai West. This section of the Great Wall covers some wilder parts, reinforced parts, partial restorations and full restorations, giving you the full flavor of the Great Wall.

Good to Know

The hiking route takes approximately 3 to 4 hours and offers you spectacular views. It's the photographers’ favorite. If hiking is not your thing, or 3 hours of hiking sounds a little long, we will go at your pace, at your leisure and/or just cover one section of the wall.

The Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall The Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall
Day 3 City Highlights: the Forbidden City and Hutongs

Hotel: Novotel Peace Beijing (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

After a sound sleep, start the tour from the mysterious Forbidden City, the world’s largest imperial palace. It’s said to have 9,999½ forbidden imperial chambers, and was home to 24 emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties (from 1420 to 1911 AD). Skip the long queues at the entrance. Your guide will lead you to the most popular and the less-crowded parts of the palace, explaining the history

Then move to Tian’anmen Square, where has great cultural significance, having been the site of several key events in Chinese history.

Later, hop on a rickshaw and ride through a maze of hutongs to discover old Beijing neighborhoods. Visit a hutong family and explore a hidden courtyard house. Meet local residents and have a nice chat with them.

The Forbidden City The Forbidden City
Day 4 Visit the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven– Train to Xi'an

Hotel: Grand Noble Hotel (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Enjoy a full day visiting classic highlights of Beijing. Join in local people's morning exercises at the Temple of Heaven to slow down the fast pace of life. Built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties visited for annual ceremonies of pray for good harvests. Located in the south of Central Beijing, it covers an area of 273 hectares. Temple of Heaven was enrolled as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.

Then move to the Summer Palace the largest and best preserved imperial garden in China, where gathers the lovely landscaped gardens, halls, pavilions and corridors and sets them around the lake and rivers in natural harmony.

Arrangements will be made to get you to Beijing railway station to catch the soft-sleeper train to Xi’an. Upon arrival, your Xi’an guide will be waiting for you and transfer you to your hotel. If you prefer high-speed train (six hours) and would like to add an extra hotel in Xi'an, please feel free to tell your advisor.

Good to Know:

You may want to pack some snacks and take bottled water for your 6-hour train journey.

The Summer Palace The Summer Palace
Day 5 Xi'an - The Terracotta Warriors

Hotel: Grand Noble Hotel (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Meet the soldiers thousands of years old

You'll arrive into Xi’an at 8am where your guide will be waiting for you at the exit with your name on a board. A driver and private car will be ready and waiting to transfer you to the hotel or local restaurant to have breakfast. In the morning, uncover the mystery of the underground army dated thousands of years ago at the Terracotta Warriors Museum and see the sites where they were discovered. After lunch at a popular Chinese restaurant, return to the city area and cycle or walk on the city’s ancient city wall, which once guarded the inner city for 600 years.

The Terracotta Army The Terracotta Army
Day 6 Other Highlights of Xi'an

Hotel: Grand Noble Hotel (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Discover more of Xi’an and China’s ancient history at the Shaanxi History Museum and the ancient City Wall, then head to the Muslim Quarter and wander through the alley ways to explore and taste the local Muslim Cuisine, like Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, or Jiasan Steamed Soup Dumplings.

In the afternoon, move to Forest of Stele Museum that was originally built in Northern Song Dynasty (1090 A.D.) when a large Confucian collection of steles cut in A.D. 837 - the oldest existing texts of the Confucian classics - was moved to it for safekeeping. All kinds of calligraphy and scripts tell stories, poems and reports from around the Empire. Other exhibits include early sculptures and objects from Imperial tombs.

Good to know

China Highlights gives a helping hand to charity and has built a good relationship with the Xi’an Hui Ling Service Station for Intellectual Disabilities (NGO) near the Muslim Quarter. If you would like to know about NGO in China, we are happy to arrange a visit there to see their handicraft workshop and have some interaction with them.

The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall
Day 7 Flight to Lhasa

Hotel: Lhasa Hotel (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Guide and driver see you off at Xi’an. Catch the flight to Lhasa which takes about 4½ hours. You will arrive in Tibet in the afternoon. Lhasa is at an altitude of 3,650 meters (12,000 ft). You may experience further altitude sickness in the Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery in the coming day, which have higher altitudes. The rest of the day is for you to take a rest at hotel. The first two days arriving in Tibet, we suggest visitors keep warm, not take a bath, smokers smoke as little as possible, and do not drink alcohol.

Holy Tibet Holy Tibet
Day 8Lhasa: Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka and Sera Monastery

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Start your Lhasa tour with the Sera Monastery, comprising a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. After lunch, you will visit Norbulingka, the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of the Potala. It is also called Tibet’s Summer Palace, and it means “Jeweled Park” in Tibetan language. With lovely plants in the garden, you may breathe more comfortable due to more oxygen. The last Lhasa tour attraction for today is the famous Drepung Monastery, surrounded by the dark faces of mountains, its grand white buildings stand out shining in the sunlight.

Debating at Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery Debating at Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
Day 9 Lhasa: Potala Palace, and Barkhor Street

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Enjoy a classic Lhasa tour visiting the Potala Palace, which is a symbol of peace and a great masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. Ascend to this majestic palace; see exquisite murals, decorated statues, and antiques. The red and white palace buildings combined with pure blue sky are the most iconic picture of Tibet.

Later, step into the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. Barkhor Street offers you a glance at daily life of the locals.

The Potala Palace The Potala Palace
Day 10 Flight from Lhasa to Chongqing and Get on Board at Night

Hotel: President 8 on Board (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

This day you will take flight to Chonqing in the morning and have some free time to explore the charming city on your own. If you like spicy food, try hot pot, the famous food in Chongqing. Board the ship from 17:00 to 20:00 and departs Chongqing at 21:00.

The President 8 Boat The President 8
Day 11 Shore Excursion to Shibaozhai

Hotel: President 8 on Board (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Wake up in the morning and learn how to practice Tai Chi with staff. After breakfast, start shore excursion to Shibaozhai that was first built in Qing Dynasty in 1750. It is one historic site that will look much different in 2009 because of rise of water level. The wooden architecture stands on the riverside. It is built by catch upon a rectangular rock with sheer cliffs with a height of 56 meters and 12 stories. And every floor of the wooden structure contains interesting artifacts. Each of the 12 floors of Shibaozhai is dedicated to a famous general of the Three Kingdoms period (220-265AD), a local scholar or a renowned Chinese poet.

At night you are welcome to join the Captain's welcome dinner party and crew cabaret.

Good to know

There is an Optional tour to Fengdu Ghost City at an extra pay of RMB280 per person

Shibaozhai Shibaozhai
Day 12 Shore Excursion to Shennong Stream

Hotel: President 8 on Board (Deluxe Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Your boat will pass two gorges on this day: Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and sails through the ship-locks. Highlight of this day is shore excursion to Shennong Stream that is another tributary of the Yangtze River, and its fast-flowing, crystal clear water runs southwards through deep gorges. The stream races past large and small karst caves, flocks of swallows, sheer cliffs, deep gorges, waterfalls, three-colored springs, rapids, the ancient plank path, a suspended coffin in the cliff, groups of ancient tombs and marvelous karst formations.

At night there is a captain's farewell banquet.

Good to know

There is an Optional tour to White Emperor City that clings to the hills and cliffs of a peninsular jutting out into the river. At an extra pay of RMB280 per person.

The Shennong Stream The Shennong Stream
Day 13 Shore Excursion to the Three Gorges Dam and Flight to Shanghai

Hotel: The Bund Hotel Shanghai (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

08:30 in the morning start shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam which is the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man and it has been a dream for several generations of Chinese people. The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction has been completed in 2009. It will be 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide on the top and 130 meters wide at the bottom. At about 11:00, the boat will cross Xiling Gorge. Your boat will arrive in Yichang at 13:00pm.

Catch the flight to Shanghai in the afternoon.

The Three Gorges Dam The Three Gorges Dam
Day 14 Shanghai – Metropolis of East and West

Hotel: The Bund Hotel Shanghai (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

China’s most prosperous city oozes vibes of both tradition and modernity. See the typical Shanghainese life at Shikumen, visit South China’s classical landscape garden at Yuyuan Garden, enjoy a bird’s eye view over Shanghai on the sightseeing deck of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and finally have a walk around the Bund to learn about Shanghai history.

Good to Know

There are many evening shows in Shanghai, and the most recommended ones involve acrobatics, some of the best in China. Ask your tour guide to help you obtain tickets. This is optional.

The Yuyuan Garden The Yuyuan Garden
Day 15 Shanghai Departure

Meal: Breakfast

As your China trip comes to end, your tour guide, driver and car will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Shanghai Pudong International Airport for your departure flight home. The guide will assist you with flight check-in and luggage, and see you off at the security check-point.

  • 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
What's Included
  • Entrance to attractions listed in the itinerary
  • Tibet Permit
  • 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 domestic flights, trains, and Cruise
Trip Notes

Extension based on the tour

Extend the tour:

  • Guilin: add 3-4 days - Li River cruise, Yangshuo and Longji Terrace Feilds
  • Chengdu: add 2–3 days — visit a Panda Research Center, the Giant Buddha, and Mt. Emei
  • Suzhou and Hangzhou: add 2–4 days — visit scenic gardens, West Lake, and water towns
  • Hong Kong: add 2–3 days — visit Victoria Peak, Disneyland, and day-tour Macau

Tibet Entry Permit

You need a Tibet Entry Permit and it is included in the tour price. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will deal with your permit once you book a Tibetan tour with us. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.

Altitude Sickness

Nearly all tourists entering Tibet experience altitude sickness. For some the effects are strong, but for most it is just an inconvenience. Before your trip, ask your doctor for suggestions, and bring some medicine in case.

Extensions

Please feel free to ask your trip advisor to make itinerary changes and even extend your tour while you’re planning it. We also offer tours to other parts of Tibet and China. If you want to visit Yamdrok Lake and Shigatse, Tsetang, or the Nyingchi area, you need to extend your tour by 2–3 days for each destination.

Wifi on Board and Upgrade

Wifi is available on boat with extra RMB200 per person per voyage (The signal at lobby is the strongest.) If you would like to Upgrade to VIP restaurant: RMB300 per person per voyage (VIP restaurant is more quiet, private and not crowded.

Optional Activities

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

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. Book a 7+ days China Tour with us, round trip flights between US/AU and China will only cost from US$450 (tax included) per person. 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:

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

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.

Currency Exchange

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.

Tipping

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.

Food

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.

Vehicle

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.