Guilin Li River Cruise

Essential & Scenic Cities Tour

17-Day Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Shigatse, Shangri la, Lijiang, Chengdu and Shanghai Tour

Destinations: 17-Day Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Shigatse, Shangri la, Lijiang, Chengdu and Shanghai Tour
Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Beijing, Flight not included

Airport Transfer (Beijing)

Stay connected: A Free SIM Card Wi-Fi Rental

 
Day 2: Beijing: Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Summer Palace
forbidden city china beijing

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 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.

Summer 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.

 
Day 3: Beijing: Temple of Heaven, The Mutianyu Great Wall
mutianyu great wall beijing

The Mutianyu Great Wall is 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.

Temple of Heaven was 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.

 
Day 4: Beijing to Xian Flight; Hutong Tour in Xicheng District
Beijing Hutong

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.

 
Day 5: Xian: Big Wild Goose Pagoda, The Terracotta Warriors and Horses
xian terracotta warriors army

The Terracotta Warriors and Horses was 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 is 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.

 
Day 6: Xian: Xian City Wall with Bicycle, Shaanxi History Museum, Forest of Stele Museum
xian steles forest museum

The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and Shaanxi History 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.

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, Xian City Wall 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.

Forest of Steles in Xi'an 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.

 
Day 7: Xian to Lhasa Flight

Hotel to airport Transfer (Xian), Airport Transfer (Lhasa)

 
Day 8: Lhasa: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka
tibet potala palace

Potala Palace is the former winter home of the Dalai Lama, a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience. Note: you need to be fit for climbing up the long stairways.

Smaller and more manageable than the Potala, Jokhang Temple is a 4-storey, golden-roofed temple at the heart of a rich and living Tibetan Buddhism. Many locals pray here regularly; the Temple is surrounded by Barkhor Street and thronged with pilgrims and visitors. Yak butter lamps burn in front of rich statuary that includes the Sakyamuni Buddha brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng in the 7th Century.

Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden". Constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, it later served the whole government administration. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both administrative and religious purposes.

 
 
Day 9: Private Transfer from Lhasa to Shigatse; Yomdrok Lake, The Palgor Chorten
yomdrok lake tibet

Dotted with a dozen islands and abundant in natural resources, Lake Yamdrok has the highest power station in the world, and is also the largest habitat for water birds in Tibet, attracting countless swans and gulls every summer.

Pelkhor Choede (Kumbum), also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique, reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas. In addition, it is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. It lies about 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.

 
Day 10: Private Transfer from Shigatse to Lhasa; Tashilunpo Monastery
tashilunpo monastery

Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gyalwa Gendun Drup (1st Dalai Lama) and is a historically and culturally important monastery. Its name means "heap of glory" or "all fortune and happiness gathered here". Painted in red and white, the buildings in the kloster stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view. Tashilunpo Kloster represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit.5 story temple which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha (Jamba Chyenmu) inside the grounds of the monastery. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world.

 
Day 11: Lhasa to Shangri-La; Pudacuo National Park
pudacuo national park shangrila

Located near Shangri-La in China's Yunnan Province in southwest China, the Pudacuo National Park covers a total area of nearly 2,000 square kilometers. This park has an average altitude of 3,500 meters and retains a well-preserved ecosystem within the virgin forests. The must-see scenery in this park includes Lake Bita and Lake Shudu. "Bita" means "a place with a dense oak forest" in the Tibetan language and "Bitahai" means a quiet lake. The Bitahai Lake is surrounded by mountains covered with ancient pines, oaks and rhododendrons, and appears like an emerald in the heart of the mountain. Shudu Lake is located in northeast of Shangri-la and it is one of the largest fresh water lakes on the Diqing plateau. The lake is surrounded by a forest of fir, spruce and silver birch, and is home to lots of wild animals such as bears, golden cats, deer and pheasants.

 
Day 12: Private Transfer from Shangri la to Lijiang; Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang Ancient Town
lijiang tiger leaping gorge

As one of the deepest and most marvelous gorges, Tiger Leaping Gorges are located in Hutiaoxia Town, 105 kilometers away from Zhongdian/Shangri-La County. Spring is the best time to visit, as melting snow flowing down from mountains makes the river turbulence at its peak.Lijiang Ancient Town is situated in the middle area of the county, which is more than 2400 meters high above sea level. It enjoys beautiful scenes, an indeed famous city with long history and splendid culture, it is very rare in China that such well-preserved minority ancient city still exists. The old town is quite busy in the afternoon and evening with an active atmosphere of the lights and crowd. An early morning visit will be less crowded.

 
Day 13: Lijiang to Chengdu Flight; The Jade Dragon Mountain
jade dragon snow mountain lijiang

Jade Dragon Mountain is noted as a holy mountain for the local Naxi people. The Large Cable way goes up to Shanzidou (Shanzi Peak) the main peak of the snow mountain, with the an entire length of 2,914m, a top altitude of 4,506 km, and a perpendicular ascent of 1,150m. The cable car will take you into the clouds, where you will be far away from the worldly hurly-burly, and find yourself in a real paradise. Many visit Ganhanzi, Baishuihe (White Water River), and Glacier Park from this cableway.

 
Day 14:

Chengdu: Panda Breeding and Research Center, Panda Keeper Experience for a day

chengdu giant pandas

Located 6 miles north of Chengdu City, Panda Breeding and Research Center is home to giant pandas, red (or lesser) pandas, and other endangered species. Visit the nursery to see the highly successful breeding program, among the bamboo groves and shady walkways, and to view the pandas at rest or play. There is a panda museum where you can learn some information about giant pandas.

Note: The Panda Breeding and Research Center has a donation program which allows you take pictures with holding a panda one minute by donating RMB 2,000 Yuan (for reference only). Only 40 tourists are allowed to hold pandas a day. If you want to hold a panda, you must book it one day in advance.This program is subject to the availability of pandas on that day. Please bring enough RMB cash as payment by credit card is not accepted there.

The Panda keeper experience at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base will be a highlight of your trip. Arrive at the Panda Base before 08:30am. The morning program is from 08:35am-11:30am, including feeding the pandas with fresh bamboo or apples, clean the enclosure, clean bamboo and hose the pandas (in summer) from outside the enclosure. Have lunch and a break at Panda Base. A tour of Panda Base is scheduled from 1:30pm-3.30 pm when you will watch a film about the Giant Panda and visit the panda museum to learn more about giant pandas and their biodiversity. A certificate will be issued to you afterwards. It is not permitted to touch the panda you will not be allowed to enter the pandas'enclosure during the course. The Panda Base has a donation program which allows you take pictures hugging a panda in your arms for 1,300RMB. This program is subject to the availability of pandas on that day. Please bring RMB cash as they don't accept credit cards.

Note: The program is subject to change without notice and is totally dependent on the program of the day at the Panda Base. We can not guarantee that the programs listed above will be all provided.

 
Day 15:

Chengdu to Shanghai Flight; Jinli Old Street, Wu Hou Temple

chengdu wuhou temple

Jinli Old Street (1 hour): Once the commercial heart of the old kingdoms, Jinli Old Street has been fully restored in traditional Sichuan style. Picturesque, bustling, and cheerful, you can sample local arts and craft, traditional Chinese goods, food and delicacies, and even a Starbucks, local style.

Wu Hou Temple is a delightful complex. The Marquis of Wu, Zhuge Liang (181-234) was the outstanding military strategist immortalized in "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms" and in the saying wise as "the Marquis of Wu". Peaceful and attractive gardens surround several halls, including one dedicated to his memory and another to that of his emperor Liu Bei, some impressive statues, a small museum, a famous Tang Dynasty stele and the classic red wall leading to Liu Bei's tomb.

 
Day 16: Shanghai: Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, The Shanghai World Financial Center, Yuyuan Garden, The Bund
yuyuan garden shanghai

The Bund is a 1.5-kilometer-long embankment running 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!

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.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall 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.

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.

 
 
Day 17: Depart Shanghai, Flight not included

Hotel to airport Transfer (Shanghai)

 
  • 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
Interested? Each tour can be tailored.