Home China Tours Giant Pandas and Golden Triangle Tour

The Hometown of Pandas

cht-pd-02: 12-day Beijing-Xi’an-Chengdu-Guilin/Yangshuo-Shanghai Tour
From: $2,929
Panda Photography Nature Culture

Cute pandas and historic sites are unique resource in China. This tour features the homeland of giant pandas in Chengdu but also includes the famous Golden Triangle — Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors, the Bund and picturesque Karst Landscape in Guilin and Yangshuo are all yours to see.


  • Explore a less-crowded part of the Great Wall
  • See how the thousand-year old Terracotta Warriors come alive
  • Be a panda keeper for one day and feed a panda at very close distance
  • Enjoy a relaxing Li River cruise to Yangshuo
  • Admire the mixed charm of ancient and modern in Shanghai

What's Included

  • Entrance to scenic spots listed in the itinerary
  • Private local English-speaking tour guide and driver service (except for discretionary tips)
  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast, free Wi-Fi and service fees
  • Public shuttle buses in the mountains and a specified cable car
  • Cruise to see the Leshan Giant Buddha
  • Internal flights mentioned in the itinerary

Price Per Person in US Dollars

Nov.1 - Mar. 31 5-star 4-star
2-5 People $3,159 $2,929
6-9 People $2,619 $2,339
Apr.1 - Oct.31 5-star 4-star
2-5 People $3,379 $3,099
6-9 People $2,829 $2,509

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Beijing Arrival

Recommended Hotel in Beijing: Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall (5-star)/ Sunworld Hotel Beijing (4-star)

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you in arrivals. A comfortable private car (non-smoking) with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to the hotel. Your guide will help you check-in.

Day 2Beijing Highlights

Meal: breakfast & lunch

This day's experiences include the classic, epic sites of Beijing: the Forbidden City, home to 24 emperors and its newly exhibited Qing Dynasty royalty treasures; the grand Tiananmen Square; and a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys and a visit to a local family make for a truly special experience. Enjoy authentic Chinese dishes for lunch at a popular local restaurant.

Optional Activity:
Night shows, such as the Kung fu Show at the Red Theater and the Acrobatic Show at Chaoyang Theater, are recommended to enrich your night. It is recommended to book with your guide a day before, or on the day, to allow flexibility.


Day 3 A Day on the Great Wall

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Arrangements for this day is an experience of a lifetime, the chance to walk the Great Wall of China! Your guide and driver will take you out of Beijing and onto some beautiful country roads before you reach a section of the Great Wall called Mutianyu. We select this section as it has the highest density of watch towers (great for photography) and a cable car, giving you maximum time on the walk, and some insights into these areas unique battlement outcrops. After a visit on the wall we’re arrange a well deserved lunch.

Tips for visiting:
1. Most customers find that two hours on the wall is plenty, but you are welcome to spend longer. Just let your guide know on day 2, so we can plan around traffic and offer our best advice.
2. There is an optional toboggan ride down, popular with past customers of all ages.

Great Wall

Day 4 Summer Palace and Flight to Xian

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel in Xian: Wyndham Grand Xian South (5-star)/ Grand Noble Hotel (4-star)

The Summer Palace, it’s gardens and lakes is a beautiful part of Beijing. We’re take a boat ride over to the palace, and explore the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. After lunch your drive and guide will escort you to Beijing Airport, ensuring you’re at the right terminal and gate for your onward flight to Xi’an.

Once again in Xi’an airport arrivals your local Xi’an guide and driver will be ready and waiting.

Summber Palace

Day 5 Terracotta Warriors and Ancient City Wall

Meals: breakfast & lunch

On of the best ways to see Xi’an is from the ancient city wall. The city wall is massive, it’s high and so wide we can enjoy a rickshaw, cycle or walk around this marvel of ancient engineering.

After lunch were drive you out to the Terracotta Warriors, your guide will unlock some fascinating insights few people notice.

Terra Cotta Warrior

Day 6 Silk Road History & Fly to Chengdu

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel in Chengdu: Sofitel Chengdu Taihe (5-star)/Tibet Hotel Chengdu (4-star)

The Muslim Quarter of Xi’an is an area you may not have heard of, but is often a highlight for our past clients. This unique area is a melting pot of Silk Road history, offering you a chance to explore a unique local Mosque and try some ethnic foods.

There is still time for one of China’s most unique pagodas, the brick pagoda know as Big Wild Goose Pagoda, including the charming surrounding gardens. Then it’s on to the airport for your flight to Chengdu, home of the Panda’s.

On arrival our local guide and drive will transfer you to the hotel, helping with your luggage and the check-in process.

Muslim Street and Big Wild Goose Pogoda
Day 7 Panda Hometown: One-Day Panda Keeper Program

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Dujiangyan Panda Base is now the most popular panda base in China to offer the Panda Keeper Program and the opportunity to cuddle a panda for photos (though this comes at an extra charge). It takes about1½ hours by car to get there from the hotel. This unique one-day tour will invest your time in having a close encounter with the lovely giant pandas.

Under the guidance of English-speaking staff, you will clean the panda enclosures, feed the pandas from a very short distance, watch panda movies, and make cakes for the treasured creatures. Have a Chinese lunch with staff in their canteen.

This one-day close encounter with pandas makes for the memory of a lifetime.

Good to Know:
China Highlights will help you obtain the health certificate that the base requires and, after the volunteer program, you will receive a certificate from the CCRCGP (China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Pandas). To guarantee the safety of volunteers, pandas are kept in their ‘superior room’ with air-conditioning rather than in the wild.

Panda Keeper
Day 8 Half-Day Panda Tour in Chengdu and fly to Guilin

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel in Guilin: Shangri La Hotel Guilin (5-star)/ Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (4-star)

Chengdu is a paradise of pandas; you will find lots of things related to the panda-theme. During the day, you will continue to enjoy the cute panda world.

Created by the internationally renowned artist Lawrence Argent, a gigantic panda sculpture weighs 13 tons and is 15 meters tall. Climbing on the wall of the Chengdu International Finance Square (Chengdu IFS) on Chunxi Road, this massive panda has become a trendy landmark of Chengdu.

After lunch you will go to Chengdu People's Park to have a deep breath of fresh air. Verdant trees and various flowers make the traditional pavilions and buildings much more graceful. You can join the local people to experience the bustle and chatter of a local teahouse in this area.

Kuan-Zhai Lane (or Wide and Narrow Alley) is an ancient street with hundreds of years' history combined with modern elements. There you can imagine the old Chengdu by walking past the Qing Dynasty (1636–1912) style buildings.

This evening we will transfer you to the airport for your onward flight to Guilin, land of rivers and dramatic mountains.

Day 9Guilin: Relaxing Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo and countryside tour

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel in Yangshuo: Green Lotus Hotel (5-star, central location) / Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (4-star, by the riverside and with great views)

A tranquil four-hour cruise along the Li River offers great views of the bamboo forests and limestone peaks, the scenery immortalized by Chinese artists throughout the centuries. Exploring the countryside continues with a bike ride in the small roads and lanes surrounded by paddy fields and orchards away from traffic and the crowds. A visit to a local farmer’s home lets you see how people really live in these rural areas.

Enjoy staying a night in this beautiful countryside town, explore west street and try some street food on offer.

About Cruise:
1. Your luggage will be transferred directly from Guilin to your hotel in Yangshuo by a private van and driver. Your personal guide will accompany you on the cruise and take care of you.
2. Currently, either 3-star or 4-star riverboats are available for the Li River cruise. The 3-star boats are lower-priced, but have less-modern facilities. Their seat- spacing is narrower and the lunch on board is simpler. The 4-star boats are the best. We will only use the relatively new 4-star boats, which serve a buffet lunch.

Day 10 Yangshuo: Chinese Cooking Class and Fly to Shanghai

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel in Shanghai: Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (5-star)/ Bund Hotel (4-star)

In the morning, your guide can show you around the local food market — the hub of life there. All the food is fresh, even the chickens are still flapping in their cages. A cookery class helps you to discover where those delicious dishes get their flavor from, as you see which vegetables and meat are used, cook with the teacher, and then taste the results. You even get the recipes to take home.

This afternoon we will transfer you to the airport directly from Yangshuo, ensuring you are at the right terminal and gate for your Shanghai flight.


Day 11Shanghai: Panoramic View Over the City and Bustling Market Street

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Shanghai is a collision of new and old. Shanghai World Financial Center which has the tallest glass observation deck in China. Lunch is a meal of Cantonese food in beautiful surroundings with a nice view over the Bund.

In the afternoon, travel back in time to the old part of Shanghai: the famous Yuyuan Garden that was built during the Ming Dynasty. A market street near Yuyuan Garden is an exciting experience where crowds of people buy local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, and souvenirs.

Day 12 Shanghai Departure

Meal: breakfast

Today is your final day and we allow you time to explore or relax by yourself. If you have a late evening flight and want a guide today just ask your travel advisor. As with every city, your private guide, driver and car will escort you to the airport and ensure you are at the correct gate.

Trip Notes

1. Tailoring your tour

This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your budget, interests and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we’ll be happy to help you arrange accordingly.

2. Panda Keeper Program

As the first tour company in China to operate the program, China Highlights has developed stable relationship with the Dujiangyan Panda Base. Sometimes the program is subject to change due to force majeure. Usually we are able to get the first-hand information that is very helpful for your tour arrangement. Your early booking (at least two weeks before departure) is also useful to guarantee the availability of the program. Sometimes the activities listed in the description will be adjusted according to health condition of the pandas. Hope customers can understand this.

If your time is limited, you can only join the activities in the morning. The price is the same.

3. Children as Volunteers

The age restriction of volunteer is between 12 to 65 years old. Even though the pandas look harmless, they are carnivores. Parents must ensure that they prevent their children from coming into direct contact with the pandas. The cost for children of 12 years old and above is the same as the cost for adults.
If your children are between 2–11 years old, you can still take them with you during the program. The children can not enter the room where the panda cage is, but they can stand at the gate of the room to wactch you feeding a panda and cleaning the cage, which takes around 30 minuites. Your guide will help to take care of them. If your children are under 2 years old and you take care of them throughout the day, no tour cost is needed.

If your children are under 2 years old and you take care of them throughout the day, no tour cost is needed.

4. Taking Photos with Panda

Photo with Panda

A donation program that allows you to take pictures with a panda next to you for about 20 seconds is not included in the Panda Keeper Program. It is only available in Dujiangyan Panda Base and the donation amount is CNY1,800 per person [July 2015].

Only 30 tourists are allowed to take close-up photos with pandas each day. If you would like to take part in this donation program, please tell your travel advisor in advance because we have to book it at least one week in advance. This program is subject to the availability of pandas on that day. Please take enough CNY cash, as payment by a non-Chinese credit card is not accepted there.

Please note the photo program is totally depends on the availability of the pandas on that day. We will double check on the booking one day in advance and inform you as soon as there is any unexpected change.