Tour Itinerary of China's Imperial Cities Tour
12-Day Beijing, Xian, Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai Tour (CHT-1B)
China's long history has seen many glorious empires and the rise and fall of the cities that hosted dynasties. The Emperors left unbelievable monuments to their power which we can marvel at today. Come, see for yourself.
- Tour Summary
- Full Itinerary
Place & Transport: Arrive in Beijing, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Airport Transfer (Beijing), A Free CH cell phone package (one cell phone for one group)
- A Free CH cell phone package (one cell phone for one group):
A Free CH cell phone package (one cell phone for one group) includes free rental for the cell phone and SIM card (Includes prepaid value of CNY 50), delivery and collection in China. Return the phone to your guide when you depart. For more about the cell phone rental service, please click cell phone rental information.China Highlights also provides a Wi-Fi package so that you can connect to the internet in China anytime and anywhere. Our 3G service provides speeds of up to 21Mbps on your smart phone, pad or laptop, so you can stay in contact. For more detail please visit Wi-Fi rental information .
Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Beijing Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant
- Tiananmen Square (50 minutes): Tian'anmen Square is the largest city square in the centre of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several key events in Chinese history. As the world's largest city square and enduring symbol of China's national pride, it is surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.
- The Forbidden City (2.5 hours): The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors between 1368 and 1911.This "city within a city" is a World Heritage Site, and is the largest and the best preserved ancient imperial architecture complex in the world, with great square, halls and gates contrast with intricate halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters. The exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, are all important treasures of ancient China.
- Temple of Heaven (1.5 hours): 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.
- Beijing Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant: Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant is located near Summer Palace in Haidian District. It serves authentic Sichuan cuisine with its traditional Chinese style decor. Recommended dishes include sweet and sour fish, fried pork with celery and Kungpao Chicken.
Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: The Mutianyu Great Wall(with round way cable car)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant, Chinese Dinner at Hepingmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
- The Mutianyu Great Wall(with round way cable car) (2 hours): This less-crowded section of the Great Wall is a 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. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather.
- Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant: Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant is near Great Wall of Mutianyu section. This garden style restaurant serves farmhouse dishes, specializing in rainbow trout, sturgeon and salmon. The fabulous taste will leave you with great memories.
- Hepingmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant: Beijing Roast Duck is renowned as the most delicious food of Beijing while Quanjude Restaurants enjoy a high reputation for its Beijing roast duck. Quanjude restaurants have developed their own technique and are famous for outstanding quality. Hepingmen Quanjude restaurant was established in 1979 and located beside Hepingmen Gate (Peace Gate).
Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: Summer Palace with boat Cruise and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, Hutong Tour in Xicheng District, 798 Art District
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Courtyard 7 Restaurant
- Summer Palace with boat Cruise and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony (2 hours): The palace is about 12 kilometers northwest of the city center and is equally as famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is called 'Yiheyuan'(Garden of Nurtured Harmony) in Chinese. It is the best preserved and the largest imperial gardens in China and one of Beijing's premier attractions. It is also possible to cruise on the lake which takes 10 minutes by the ferry boat.
- Hutong Tour in Xicheng District (1 hour): Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards.
- 798 Art District (1.5 hours): Since 2002, the large number of artists' studios and contemporary art institutions began stationed here, and rented a scale of idle factories, and gradually developed into a gallery, the Arts Centre, artists'studios, design companies, fashion shops, bars and other catering space. The 798 Art District has promoted to the nation's largest and most influential international arts in recent years.
- Courtyard 7 Restaurant: Courtyard 7 is located in central area of Nan Luo Guo. Its well designed Chinese style modeling, the layout makes it antiquity and rusticity. Its special featured restaurant provides new modern French dishes. Seating in Courtyard 7, you may see the fusion of eastern and western culture, and smell apart of old and new fashion air. Here, you can not only taste delicious gourmet food, but also can enjoy a piece of pure land and haven in such a busy city. Courtyard 7 welcomes you stay and enjoy.
Place & Transport: Beijing to Xian, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Beijing), Airport Transfer (Xian), Shaanxi History Museum, Xian City Wall with Bicycle
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Qianzhou Restaurant (Xiao Yanta Branch)
- Shaanxi History Museum (1.5 hours): The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and this museum is quite simply one of the nation's best. Four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed. Most of the item labels are in English, although some other information on the exhibitions is not, but your guide can help here. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Xian City Wall with Bicycle (1.5 hours): The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, it is a major landmark, and the best preserved, as well as the oldest and largest of the city defense systems in China. We operate this with bicycle. If the weather is not good for biking on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower. Your guide will be very glad to take you the Bell Tower after you have been to look at the city wall.
- Qianzhou Restaurant (Xiao Yanta Branch): Qianzhou Restaurant is well-known for its local flavors and ingredients originating from Qian County. The style, Qianzhou Four Treasures is considered to be famous nationally. The specialties are of ancient origin from the Tang Dynasty and leave customers with great culinary memories.
Place & Transport: Xian
Today's Activities: The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Great Mosque
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at A Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant(Qinling Branch)
- The Terracotta Warriors and Horses (2 hours): Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars. 1.5 hours from Xian, there is also an excellent museum and film about the history of the vaults. Photos (no flash) are allowed. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Big Wild Goose Pagoda (1 hour): A major Buddhist site, the simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals.
- Great Mosque (1 hour): In the heart of Xian's Muslim quarter, close to the city centre, this is one of the largest Islamic mosques in China. Remarkable for the combination of Chinese architecture with Islamic practice, the courtyards align from east to west facing Mecca. The pavilions, halls and gateways are wonderfully decorated, and this is an active place of worship for the Hui descendants of Silk Road traders and travelers.
- A Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant(Qinling Branch): A Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant was established in 2004, mainly specializes in Hunan and Sichuan cuisine. It provides delicacy by using the material from Shanxi, obtaining a nationwide reputation from customers. It would be a nice choice to dine while traveling the nearby Terra cotta Warriors and Horses.
Place & Transport: Xian to Nanjing, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Xian), Airport Transfer (Nanjing), Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, Zhonghua Gate, Confucius Temple
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Xianheng Restaurant
- Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum: The elaborate layout of the numerous tomb structures in the Mingxiaoling mausoleum is a fine example of ancient China's royal tomb construction, which was greatly influenced by the traditional Chinese theory of geomantic omen on location. This mausoleum also illustrates the predominant thought of power that dominated ancient China for over 5,000 years.
- Zhonghua Gate: Zhonghua Men Gate is the largest castle-style gate among the 13 ancient city gates in Nanjing. It's the best preserved and, architecturally, most complicated ancient castle in the world. The elaborately designed castle contains three closed courtyards and four arched gates serving as entrances to the city.
- Confucius Temple: The Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) was built in the year 1034 and dedicated to worshiping the great philosopher Confucius. Many shops, restaurants and bars, have been included with the temple to make it a commercial and entertainment center combining rich culture and arts. The Dacheng Hall in Fuzimiao scenic area has is the largest figure of Confucius in China. The largest river in the city - Qin Huai River flow in front of the Confucius Temple
- Xianheng Restaurant: The restaurant is located at Fuzi Temple, by the side of Qinhuai River. It serves Huaiyang Cuisine and local snacks.
Place & Transport: Nanjing to Suzhou, Train No. G7051 (Nanjing Railway Station - Suzhou Railway Station) Dep 08:53 - Arr 10:21
Today's Activities: Hotel to Train station Transfer (Nanjing), Train station Transfer (Suzhou), Humble Administrators Garden, The Grand Canal(Cruising by Motor Boat), Rickshaw ride
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Pine and Crane Restaurant
- Humble Administrators Garden (1.5 hours): The garden is the best representative of Chinese classical gardens, constructed in the Ming dynasty, which focuses on a central pond with pavilions, terraces, chambers, and towers located nearby, the garden is divided into three parts: the eastern, middle and western parts. At 5 hectares the largest of these beautiful gardens, it is one of the most famous one. It provides everyone with pleasure. Don't miss the Garden Museum - actually don't miss any of these lovely places. Tourists may wear comfortable shoes, as there's a lot of walking here.
- The Grand Canal(Cruising by Motor Boat) (40 minutes): The Grand Canal ranks alongside the Great Wall of China as the country's greatest engineering achievement and it is the longest man-made waterway in the world.Cruising on the Canal(about 30-40 minutes), you can see the local peoples' life. Known as the land of rice and fish, Suzhou city has a network of picturesque lakes and canals both large and small, which all link in eventually to the Grand Canal. The view from the little boats that ply the smaller canals is enchanting, whilst the traffic on the Grand Canal reminds you of Suzhou that it was the original source of the 'sea' silk road.
- Rickshaw ride (1.5 hours): Through the old streets & Hutongs in Suzhou, you will see local people's life.
- Pine and Crane Restaurant: The Pine and Crane Restaurant is located in the bustling hub of Suzhou City. Originally dating back to 1780, the Pine and Crane Restaurant has undergone plenty changes, history-wise and cuisine-wise. It boasts for the richly tastful Su-style cuisine and offers Suzhou tour makers a feast of both taste buds and eyes.
Place & Transport: Suzhou to Shanghai
Today's Activities: Tongli, Tongli Cruise, Our guide and driver will escort you from Suzhou to Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Tongli Nanyuan Tea House
- Tongli: Tongli town has a history of more than one thousand years. There are over hundreds of gardens established in Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty, temples, cartilages and former residence of eminent souls. Fifteen rivers divide the town into seven islands and fortynine sets of historic bridges connect the town as a whole.
- Tongli Cruise (30 minutes): Tongli Cruise is the best way to experience this water town.
- Tongli Nanyuan Tea House: The Tea House was build with traditional brick. The wooden facade is decorated in the Qing Dynasty style, and there are two floors with a total area of about 400 square meters. Tea House serves many types of tea including black teas, green teas, scented teas. The tea house also provides smoked green beans, dried carrots and other refreshments. Patrons are entertained by traditional performances..
Place & Transport: Shanghai
Today's Activities: Yuyuan Garden, The Bund, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, The Shanghai World Financial Center
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Home's Restaurant
- Yuyuan Garden (1 hour): Yuyuan Garden is located in the center of Shanghai old quarters. It was a private garden built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, with typical Chinese classic architecture and style. The complex covers an area of 2 hectares, with rockeries, pavilions, ponds and corridors. Yuyuan Garden is surrounding by a busy market place, where visitors can find everything from popular local snacks, handicrafts, antiques and souvenirs to some famous time-honored restaurants.
- The Bund (40 minutes): This 1.5-kilometer-long embankment runs along the western bank of Huangpu River. On its west side it is the "architecture gallery" with 52 well-preserved old European style buildings. Once the major trading and commercial center of old Shanghai, the Bund has now taken on new vitality, with futuristic developments, chic restaurants, top end shops and bars offer plenty to see and do-and by night it's magic!
- Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall (1 hour): A short walk across Renmin Square from the Shanghai Museum, this is a fascinating insight into Shanghai's future. The 2nd floor has a giant walkaround model of the city, and other floors have great displays, interactive exhibitions and walkthroughs of aspects such as the ports, greening, leisure etc.
- The Shanghai World Financial Center (40 minutes): Shanghai World Financial Center is located in Pudong District, reaching a height of 492 meters (1,615 feet). It is now a new landmark of prosperous Shanghai. It was the second tallest building in the world when it was completed in 2007. Its observation deck, at 474 meters (1,555 feet) above the ground, is currently the tallest in the world. The multi-function skyscraper consists of hotels, apartments, restaurants, shopping malls, offices and observation decks.
- Home's Restaurant: Home's Restaurant is located near the Nanjing Road. It specializes in Shanghai cuisine using the best local ingredients. Smoked fish and red jujube with sticky rice are well known in Shanghai. The restaurant enjoys a great reputation with diners from many parts of China and abroad.
Place & Transport: Shanghai
Today's Activities: Be a Shanghainese
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- Be a Shanghainese (5 hours): This tour will give you a chance to experience the real life of Shanghainese and to know how they think and what they do. Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and transfer to Caoyang New Neighbourhood, the first new-birth neighbourhood for workers since the national liberation in 1952. After that you will visit a local food market and call on a local residence to make dumplings with the owners. Then, have your lunch there. After lunch, you will be transferred back to your hotel after the tour.
Place & Transport: Depart Shanghai, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Shanghai)
Excellent Local Guides
We selected the most experienced tour guides in each city. They are all very professional and flexible during the tour with oustanding knowledge of all the sites and history.
Our Luxury Car for Families
We use the modern air-conditioned luxury cars for families or 2-3 persons. 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.
Comfortable People Carrier for Small Groups
We use only air-conditioned small buses for small groups of 4-7 persons. Our drivers are very nice and careful with over 5-year drive experience.
- Entrance Fees:
To scenic spots as listed in the itinerary.
- Phone Rental Package:
Rental cost for the cell phone and SIM card for use in mainland China, and at least 30 mins of FREE international calls.
All meals as specified in the itinerary.
If the restaurant indicated is not available on the day, your guide will arrange another restaurant from our list of approved restaurants. Breakfast is usually a western style buffet. We endeavor to ensure that a choice of western and Chinese breakfasts is supplied, however there may be occasions when only a Chinese breakfast is available in some remote locations.
- Private Transfers:
Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in Beijing, Xian, Nanjing, Suzhou, Shanghai by private air conditioned vehicle with a driver and English-speaking guide (as listed above).
Your comfort is our priority! Click here to get a description of the vehicles that we use for our tours.
As outlined in the itinerary an English-speaking guide and driver will be provided in each city, who will remain with you throughout your time in that city. A new guide and a new driver will meet you at each city on your tour, to provide you with the best local knowledge available.
Hotel fees are based on two people sharing one room with twin beds.
All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
Beijing To Xian Transfer via: Flight, TBA (Our arrangements)
Xian To Nanjing Transfer via: Flight, TBA (Our arrangements)
Nanjing To Suzhou Transfer via: Train, D435 (Our arrangements)
- Airport Tax for Domestic Flights
Airport Tax and Fuel Fee for Flights if applicable
- Service Charge & Government Taxes:
The insurance is China Life Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance.
Click here to learn more about the insurance coverage and the sum insured.
- Luggage Transfers:
Between airports/railway stations and hotels.
The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
- International Airfare or Train Tickets to enter or leave China.
USA-CHINA/CHINA-USA: China Highlights has negotiated special discount fares (restrictions apply) for selected flights operated by Air China from major US and China gateways. We are able to offer these special deals to confirmed customers. Discount US to China Flights
- China Entry Visa Fees.
- Excess Baggage Charges.
Passengers holding an adult fare or half fare ticket are entitled to a free baggage allowance of 20kg, for economy class. Total weight of carryon baggage for each passenger may not exceed 5kg. The size may not exceed 20x40x 55cm. More
- Personal Expenses:
Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the tour itinerary.
Any meals which are not specified in the tour itinerary.
- Single Room Supplement.