Tour Itinerary of The World Heritage Sites' Trail in North China
13-Day Beijing, Chengde, Datong, Wutaishan, Taiyuan, Pingyao and Xian Tour (CHT-WH-03)
The World Heritage listed sites of northern China provide a window to some of the most beautiful and/or cultural or historically significant sites in China. This tour offers the opportunity to see them all in just two weeks.
- 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, Treasure Houses, Hutong Tour in Xicheng District
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- 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.
- Treasure Houses (30 minutes): Treasure house has undergone 4 time renovations, the present one takes up almost 220 square metres, more than 440 treasures on display belonged to Qing dynasty royalty, half of which have not never been on display in the old one. It's worthy of visiting.
- 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.
- Traditional Mongolian Restaurant: Traditional Mongolian Restaurant is located near the Forbidden City. It serves northern Chinese food based on Mongolia cuisine. It brings Mongolia's long and distinguished cultural and literary history. A traditional Mongolian yurt (tent) is available on the third floor but a reservation is needed and a surcharge applies. Live performances of Mongolian music are sometimes preformed in the restaurant.
Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Lama Temple
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- 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.
- Summer Palace (1.5 hours): Much-loved summer retreat of the Imperial families, the lovely landscaped gardens, halls, pavilions and corridors are set around the lake and rivers in natural harmony. It is the largest and best preserved imperial garden in China, and also a World Heritage Site.
- Lama Temple (1 hour): The colourful Yonghe Lamasery is the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's still very active, and the beautiful halls and courtyards are thronged with devotees come to worship or seek good luck. You can see the world's largest wooden statue (the Matreiya Buddha) and Tibetan exhibitions.
- 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 to Chengde
Today's Activities: The Jinshanling Great Wall, Our guide and driver will escort you from Beijing to Chengde, Chengde Summer Palace
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Jinshanling Restaurant
- The Jinshanling Great Wall (2 hours): Originally built in the period from 1368 to 1389 during the Ming Dynasty, the Jinshanling Great Wall section is 140 kilometers long and at the north-east end of Beijing. It has never been repaired, and provides a unique view of the Wall, watchtowers and magnificent scenery.
- Jinshanling Restaurant: Jinshanling Restaurant is located at the foot of Jinshanling Great Wall. The restaurant can serve local Chinese dishes only.
- Chengde Summer Palace: Chengde Summer Palace, located in the north of Chengde city, was a place where emperors from the Qing dynasty spent their summers to escape the heat in Beijing. Occupying an area of 564,000 square meters, it is the largest royal garden in China, even bigger than the Summer Palace in Beijing. The historically important Chengdo Summer Palace is not only a tourist destination, but also a museum to explore the history and culture of the Qing Dynasty. The palace is surrounded by a lake. You can also take a walk outside the palace.
Place & Transport: Chengde to Beijing
Today's Activities: Putuozongcheng Temple, Pule Temple, Puning Temple, Our guide and driver will escort you from Chengde to Beijing
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Zhengyang hotel
- Putuozongcheng Temple: Putuozongcheng Temple is reminiscent of the Dala Lama’s Potala Palace in Tibet. It is considered as a great place to go if you cannot travel to Tibet. The temple was built to show the imperial family's respect for the minority groups and their beliefs. The temple is a marvelous sight with red walls that contrast against the green mountain backdrop. The top of the temple complex has a commanding view of the Chengde Summer Palace Resort.
- Pule Temple: Pule Temple was built in 1766 for visiting Mongolian and minority dignitaries. The temple combines the styles of traditional Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan buildings in a tranquil setting. At the rear of the temple is the Round Pavilion, a replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Although there are a lot of steep climbs, it is still exhilarating to come here and enjoy the natural scenery.
- Puning Temple: Punning Temple, also called Big Buddha Temple, has the world's largest wooden Buddha. This Buddha has thousands of hands and eyes. It is 22 meters high and 15 meters wide. The temple was built to commemorate Emperor Qianlong's victory over the Mongolian rebellion. The front of the temple was built in traditional Chinese style, but the temple complex features both Han and Tibetan style buildings. The temple has drum and bell towers, numerous pavilions and halls.
- Zhengyang hotel: The restaurant is located at Zhengyang hotel. It serves Chinese food and local snacks.
Place & Transport: Beijing to Datong, Air China CA1119 Dep 07:20 - Arr 08:10
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Beijing), Airport Transfer (Datong), Yungang Grottoes, Datong Nine-Dragon Screen Wall, The Huayan Temple, Shanhua Monastery
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Lvyuan Restaurant
- Yungang Grottoes (2 hours): As a World Heritage Site, Yungang Grottoes were carved out of sandstone cliffs on Wuzhou Mountain. Yungang Grottoes were dug over a span of forty years (CE 453-493). It stretches some 1000 meters continuously from east to west and it is one of the four famous grotto complexes throughout China. Of the 53 original grottoes of the Yungang Grotto complex, only 45 remain intact. These remaining 45 grottoes contain some 250 niches and 51,000 Buddhism statues and murals.They are masterpieces of ancient Chinese grotto carving art. At the west part of the scenic area there is Yungang Exhibition Hall. It was opened in 2011, showing precious historical relics of the Northern Wei Dynasty (368–534).
Visitors to the Yungang Grottoes will see two presentations lasting one hour during their visit. The first is Song Tan Yao at Tan Yao Square and gives and insight of the everyday worship of the peopleduring North Wei Dynasty. The other is the Emperor's Salutation at Lotus Lane, depicting worshipers from the royal court. Visitors will experience Buddhist practices and worship of the time and hear the interesting folklores.
- Datong Nine-Dragon Screen Wall (30 minutes): Built over 600 years ago, Nine Dragon Screen is the oldest and largest glazed screen in China. It is 45 meters long, 8 meter tall and 2 meters tall. The screen was tiled with 426 specially made multi-colored glazes. The nine dragons on the screen appear vivid and marvelous.
- The Huayan Temple (2 hours): Huayan Temple is the largest and most perfectly preserved temple of the Liao (916-1125) and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties in China. It is considered a museum of art of the Liao Dynasty. Its buildings, statues and frescos all present the masterpieces of the Liao Dynasty. Inside the temple 31 statues made in the Liao Dynasty are well preserved. 21 large-scale frescos of the Qing Dynasty are still bright colored and resplendent.
- Shanhua Monastery (1 hour): Located in central Datong within the old city walls. It was first constructed during the Tang dynasty (618-907) though most of the present wooden building dates back to the 12th century. The temple houses some intricately carved Jin dynasty (265-420) statues and has a screen wall decorated with dragons.
- Lvyuan Restaurant: The Lvyuan Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in Datong. It specializes in Shanxi Cai (cuisine from north-western China). It is highly recommended by customers for its good food and reasonable prices.
Place & Transport: Datong to Wutaishan
Today's Activities: Hanging Monastery, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, Our guide and driver will escort you from Datong to Wutaishan
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- Hanging Monastery (2 hours): It is a wondrous monastery listed as a World Heritage Site. The Hanging Monastery was magically built into a near vertical rock face and hangs about 50 meters above the ground. The monastery is the only one in China that enshrines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism within one monastery.
- Yingxian Wooden Pagoda (1 hour): Yingxian Wooden Pagoda is the oldest and tallest wooden pagoda in China. The pagoda was built in 1056. It remains a mystery to scientists and tourists alike that this pagoda withstood several natural disasters and still was able to maintain its original condition.
- Hongtai Restaurant: The Hongtai Restaurant is one of the best restaurants around the Wooden Pagoda. It specializes in Shanxi Cuisine (cuisine from north-western China). It is highly recommended by customers for its good food and reasonable prices.
Place & Transport: Wutaishan to Taiyuan
Today's Activities: Wutai Mountain Scenic Area, Taihuai Temple Forest, Our guide and driver will escort you from Wutaishan to Taiyuan
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- Wutai Mountain Scenic Area (3 hours): The beautiful scenery of Mt. Wutaishan is a masterpiece, nature at its most exquisite. There are five glorious peaks: Wanghai Peak in the east, Guayue Peak in the west, Jinxiu Peak in the south, Yedou Peak in the north, and the central Cuiyan Peak. This mountain, one of the four holy Buddhist Mountains, is said to be the dwelling place of Manjusri Bodhisattva. 360 temples were built here dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and 47 of these still exist.
Place & Transport: Taiyuan to Pingyao (Watch the Video )
Today's Activities: Our guide and driver will escort you from Taiyuan to Pingyao, Pingyao Ancient Town, Wang Family Courtyard, Shuanglin Temple
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- Pingyao Ancient Town: Located in the middle of Shanxi Province, this World Heritage Site is one of the four best-preserved ancient towns in China. Inside the intact Ming Dynasty city wall, there are exceptionally well-preserved buildings built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties centuries ago. You can either walk or rent a bike to see around. You can also learn the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting and watch the producing process of laquerware, and many other traditional handicrafts as well. In the evening, the town is especially beautiful with the red lanterns on, and it is very relaxing to sit and chat in one of the numerous bars.
- Wang Family Courtyard (2 hours): This huge and magnificent courtyard complex occupies a higher ground and overlooks a vast horizon. Its total area is about 250,000 square meters, among which 45,000 square meters (one fifth) is open to tourists, with 123 courtyards and 1118 rooms. It gathers all the major features of north China folk houses. Its building and decoration reflect the strict hierarchy back then, and the carvings and statues all imply lots of meanings and stories.
- Shuanglin Temple (1 hour): Also known as "Double Forest Temple", Shuanglin Temple is located about 20 minutes drive from Pingyao Ancient Town. Shuanglin Temple was built about 1,500 years ago, and is renowned for ancient locust trees, steles, frescos and especially the vivid and well-preserved colored-painting mud sculptures which number over 2,000.
Place & Transport: Pingyao to Overnight train, Train No. 1095 (Pingyao Railway Station - Xian Railway Station) Dep 20:42 - Arr 07:20
Today's Activities: The Rishengchang Draft Bank, The Mingqing Street, Armed Escort Company Museum, Ancient City Wall, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Pingyao)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- The Rishengchang Draft Bank (1 hour): Established in 1823, Rishengchang is the first and was the biggest draft bank in China at that time, and had been famous for "Hui Tong Tian Xia", meaning "business conneting the whole world". Rishengchang is located on the West Street of Pingyao Ancient Town. From its establishment via prosperity till its closure, it operated for over 100 years. At Rishengchang, visitors will learn about its development and how it was managed via the exhibitions.
- The Mingqing Street (1 hour): Mingqing Street is the South Avenue of Pingyao Ancient Town. Buildings and houses of the Ming and Qing Dynasties are preserved quite well, and it is the bustling area and axis of the ancient town. Over 100 shops, restaurants and bars line on this 800-meter-long ancient street. Visitors can shop for some inexpensive souvenirs, watch the ancient buildings and local life, or learn some ancient techniques of making handicrafts.
- Armed Escort Company Museum (30 minutes): The museum is located at the South Avenue of Pingyao Ancient Town. Covering an area of over 2,000 square meters, the museum’s exhibitions introduce the emergence, development, management and operation of this ancient business, and how it played a significant role in promoting commerce. The museum also tells stories of the founders and some famous wings of martial arts.
- Ancient City Wall (2 hours): The Ancient City Wall of Pingyao was constructed nearly 3,000 years ago, and at present it still keeps the original appearance of the city wall renovated in the early Ming Dynasty which is several hundred years ago. The contruction method is simply but delicate. Its circumference is about 6,163 meters, with a height at 6 to 10 meters. There are 6 city gates, every day local people and tourists go in and out of the ancient town via the city gates.
Place & Transport: Overnight train to Xian
Today's Activities: Train station Transfer (Xian), Ancient City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Little Conch Restaurant
- Ancient City Wall (30 minutes): 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, it s surrounding the city centre. You can walk or pay extra cost to rent a bike (CNY40 per person), rickshaw (CNY45 per person for 45 minutes) or an electric cart (CNY40 per person) around the full 14km circuit, with great views of the city on either side. 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.
- 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.
- Little Conch Restaurant: Little Conch Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in Xi’an. The restaurant specializes in Cantonese cuisine with a variety of seafood and fish dishes. It is highly recommended by customers for its good food and reasonable prices.
Place & Transport: Xian
Today's Activities: The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- 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.
- 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 Beijing, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Xian), Airport Transfer (Beijing)
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, Chengde, Datong, Wutaishan, Taiyuan, Pingyao, Xian 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 Datong Transfer via: Flight, CA1119 (Our arrangements)
Pingyao To Xian Transfer via: Train, 1095 (Our arrangements)
Xian To Beijing Transfer via: Flight, TBA (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.