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18-Day Beijing, Chengde, Datong, Pingyao, Xian, Luoyang, Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai Tour

China's Cultural Heritage Tour

Wander through the imperial splendor of Beijing, uncover the historic charm of Pingyao, and marvel at the ancient wonders of Xian. Immerse yourself in the Buddhist heritage of Luoyang and delve into the rich history of Nanjing. Stroll through the picturesque gardens of Suzhou and experience the cosmopolitan allure of Shanghai. This comprehensive journey offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

The itinerary below is only one possibility. Tips to tailor-make your trip are offered as inspiration. Send us details of your preferences and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.

Tour 'Wow' Points

Find the Hidden Halls in the Forbidden City

the Forbidden City

Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

Witness the Famous Yungang Grottoes in Datong

Datong Yungang Grottoes

Make a Mini warrior with a Local Artisan Family

Learn to make a clay warrior

Visit the Beautiful Traditional Gardens of Suzhou

Suzhou Gardens

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Itinerary Quick Look

Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.

DAY 1 Beijing Arrival

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Beijing. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

DAY 2 Beijing| The Forbidden City

Uncover the Forbidden City's Secrets: Explore the Forbidden City in depth with our exclusive Emperor's Tour. Unlike typical group outings that cover only a few highlights, our expert guide will take you to 12 carefully selected sites within this historic complex.

Discover the city's architecture, history, fengshui, and artistry while delving into the lives of influential figures from two dynasties. Meet hardworking emperors, the long-lived empress dowager, and talented concubines through engaging stories that bring history to life.

DAY 3 Beijing | The Great Wall Hike

Great Wall Hike: Jinshanling to Simatai West (1-Day). Join us for an exhilarating 1-day hike along the Great Wall, from Jinshanling to Simatai West. This moderate-level trek is ideal for those with good fitness levels, featuring challenging ascents and descents.

We'll start with a picturesque 2½-hour drive from Beijing to Jinshanling, or a shorter 20-minute ride from Gubeikou village. Jinshanling offers stunning year-round vistas and countless photo opportunities.

This section boasts over 15 watchtowers, each displaying unique architectural styles. Experience a mix of well-preserved and unrepaired segments, providing insights into the Great Wall's history. The hike itself covers approximately 3 hours, leading from Jinshanling to the junction of Jinshanling and Simatai sections.

DAY 4 Beijing to Chengde | The Chengde Summer Palace

Chengde Summer Palace: Escape the summer heat like Qing Dynasty emperors did at the Chengde Summer Palace, a sprawling royal garden covering an impressive 564,000 square meters. Surpassing even Beijing's Summer Palace in size, it's not only a tourist attraction but also a museum that delves into Qing Dynasty history and culture. The palace is set against the backdrop of a serene lake, inviting you to take leisurely strolls in its tranquil surroundings.

Puning Temple (Big Buddha Temple): Prepare to be awestruck by the world's largest wooden Buddha at Puning Temple. This colossal statue stands at an impressive 22 meters in height and spans 15 meters in width. Built to commemorate Emperor Qianlong's victory over the Mongolian rebellion, the temple is a fusion of traditional Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. It boasts drum and bell towers, as well as an array of pavilions and halls.

Guandi Temple (Wumiao): Dedicated to Guan Yu, a prominent figure in the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era, Guandi Temple is a Taoist sanctuary first constructed in 1732 during the Yongzheng reign. Guan Yu's role in the tumultuous civil war that led to the Han Dynasty's fall and the rise of the Kingdom of Shu is commemorated here. The temple showcases intricate Taoist architecture, a testament to Guan Yu's enduring legacy.

Putuozongcheng Temple: If you can't journey to Tibet, Putuozongcheng Temple offers a captivating alternative. Resembling the Potala Palace, the temple was built as a sign of respect for the beliefs of China's minority groups. Set against a backdrop of lush green mountains, this remarkable temple features striking red walls and offers sweeping vistas of the Chengde Summer Palace Resort from its highest points.

Double-tower Mountain (Mt. Shuangta): Discover the remarkable Double-tower Mountain, located approximately 10 kilometers from Chengde. This natural wonder consists of two towering rock formations, each soaring 40 meters into the sky. Wind erosion over time has separated these two magnificent rock pillars, creating a unique and awe-inspiring landscape.

DAY 5 Beijing to Datong | Yungang Grottoes

Yungang Grottoes: Unearth the wonders of the Datong Yungang Grottoes, a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist artistry. These awe-inspiring cave sanctuaries house thousands of exquisitely carved statues and reliefs, providing a glimpse into China's rich spiritual heritage.

/p> Hanging Monastery: Experience the gravity-defying Datong Hanging Monastery, an architectural masterpiece suspended precariously on the cliffs of Mount Hengshan. This remarkable feat of engineering has astounded visitors for over a thousand years, offering a glimpse into China's architectural ingenuity.

Yingxian Wooden Pagoda: Marvel at the Datong Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, a stunning architectural achievement and a testament to ancient craftsmanship. This towering wooden pagoda, dating back to the 11th century, is an exceptional example of China's wooden architecture, standing tall as a symbol of cultural preservation. Unearth the wonders of the Datong Yungang Grottoes, a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist artistry. These awe-inspiring cave sanctuaries house thousands of exquisitely carved statues and reliefs, providing a glimpse into China's rich spiritual heritage.

DAY 6 Datong to Pingyao | The Pingyao Ancient Town

Pingyao Ancient Town - A Historic Gem: Kick off your exploration in Shanxi Province at Pingyao Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's best-preserved ancient towns. Encircled by Ming Dynasty city walls, it houses centuries-old buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Roam its cobblestone streets on foot or by bike, discovering traditional Chinese crafts like paper cutting and lacquerware production. As night falls, immerse yourself in the town's enchanting ambiance with its glowing red lanterns and vibrant bars.

The City God Temple - A Sacred Sanctuary: Embark on a journey to Pingyao's southeast to explore the City God Temple, spanning 7,320 square meters. This Ming Dynasty temple, rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty, stands out with its unique dedication to the city god, the god of wealth, and the kitchen god. Discover the spiritual heritage of ancient China as you delve into the intricate details of this sacred site.

DAY 7Pingyao | Ancient City Wall and Mingqing Street

Ancient City Wall - Timeless Heritage: Our journey through Pingyao begins at the Ancient City Wall, a nearly 3,000-year-old marvel. This well-preserved relic retains its original appearance from the early Ming Dynasty, several centuries ago. The construction, though simple, showcases exquisite craftsmanship. Stretching over 6,163 meters, with heights ranging from 6 to 10 meters, the wall features six city gates. Each day, both locals and tourists traverse these gates, immersing themselves in the charm of this ancient town.

Rishengchang Former Bank - A Legacy of Prosperity: Established in 1823, Rishengchang was China's first and largest draft bank of its time, renowned for its slogan "Hui Tong Tian Xia," signifying "business connecting the whole world." Situated on West Street within Pingyao Ancient Town, this historic institution operated for over a century. Explore its development and management through engaging exhibitions, gaining insight into its impact on commerce.

Mingqing Street - Bustling Historic Thoroughfare: Embark on Mingqing Street, the vibrant South Avenue of Pingyao Ancient Town, flanked by well-preserved Ming and Qing Dynasty buildings. This bustling 800-meter-long thoroughfare boasts over 100 shops, restaurants, and bars. Here, you can shop for affordable souvenirs, admire ancient architecture, glimpse local life, and even learn traditional handicraft techniques.

Pingyao Ancient Yamun - A Glimpse into Official Life: Located in the heart of Pingyao Ancient City, the over 600-year-old Yamun served as the workplace for officials and the site for handling prisoners in ancient times. As one of China's top four well-preserved ancient yamuns, it offers a captivating window into Pingyao's rich history and culture.

Armed Escort Company Museum - Guardians of Commerce: Discover the Armed Escort Company Museum along South Avenue, covering over 2,000 square meters. Here, engaging exhibitions trace the emergence, development, management, and operation of this ancient business, underscoring its pivotal role in promoting commerce. Delve into the stories of its founders and renowned martial arts legends.

DAY 8 Pingyao to Xi'an | Shuanglin Temple

Shuanglin Temple - A Glimpse into History: Our journey begins with a 20-minute drive from Pingyao Ancient Town to the enchanting Shuanglin Temple, also known as the "Double Forest Temple." With a history spanning 1,500 years, this sacred site is a treasure trove of ancient wonders. Explore the temple grounds adorned with ancient locust trees, steles, and frescoes. Don't miss the highlight: over 2,000 vivid and well-preserved colored-painting mud sculptures that will transport you through time.

Wang's Family Compound - A Grand Legacy: Today, we venture to the magnificent Wang's Family Compound, a vast courtyard complex set against a panoramic backdrop. Covering a sprawling 250,000 square meters, with 45,000 square meters open to visitors, this compound boasts 123 courtyards and 1,118 rooms. Immerse yourself in the quintessential features of northern Chinese folk houses. The intricate building designs and ornate decorations reveal the strict social hierarchy of the era, while the carvings and statues unveil a myriad of intriguing stories.

DAY 9 Xi'an | Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Terracotta Warriors and Horses - A Timeless Army: Our adventure begins with a visit to the awe-inspiring Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Discovered by chance in 1974, this remarkable army, consisting of over 7,000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle regalia, has stood guard over Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Each figure is a unique masterpiece, and the meticulous restoration and ongoing excavation take place in three pits, each protected within enormous hangars. Located just 1.5 hours from Xi'an, you'll also explore an excellent museum and enjoy a captivating film recounting the history of these ancient vaults. Don't forget your camera (no flash) and wear comfortable walking shoes to fully embrace this captivating experience.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda - A Sacred Relic: Our journey continues with a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a prominent Buddhist site set amidst the picturesque Da Ci'en Temple. This elegant brick pagoda, built in the 7th century, was constructed to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by Xuanzang, also known as Tripitaka. Explore the temple's expansive grounds, where you'll discover grand halls adorned with magnificent Buddhist statues and captivating murals.

DAY 10 Xi'an | The Han Yang Ling Museum

Explore the Han Yang Ling Museum: Our final day takes us to the hidden gem of Xi'an, the Han Yang Ling Museum, situated in the northern suburbs beside the Wei River, just 20 kilometers from the city center. This underground museum houses a captivating collection of figurines from a Han Dynasty emperor's tomb, dating back a century after the Terracotta Warriors. While these clay figures are smaller than life-size and less detailed, they offer a unique perspective on history. The figures are thoughtfully displayed in underground pits, allowing you to walk above and view them through glass floors. You can also admire them from different angles. As an added convenience, the museum is conveniently located near the airport.

Dumpling-Making Experience: Today, immerse yourself in local culture with a hands-on dumpling-making experience. Jiaozi, or dumplings, filled with a delightful mix of meat and vegetables, are a beloved Chinese dish. You'll be welcomed into a local home, where you'll learn the art of dumpling-making from friendly hosts. This interactive experience not only teaches you the basics of dumpling preparation but also offers insight into local customs. The entire process takes approximately 1 to 2 hours, providing a tasty and cultural adventure.

Xi'an Night Tour - Embrace the City's Charms: As the sun sets, we embark on a unique evening adventure to experience Xi'an from a different perspective. Our night tour takes you to the Tang Dynasty Culture Square and Nanhu Lake, away from the ancient city wall. Stroll through this newly developed area, where modernity and history converge. Admire the vibrant, colorful lights, traditional lanterns, and even a sculpture of a Tang Dynasty giant potato. Learn about the intriguing stories behind the upscale residences in the Beverly of Xi'an area, all built within the last decade.

DAY 11 Xi'an to Luoyang | Longmen Grottoes

Longmen Grottoes: Journey 13 kilometers west of Luoyang to encounter the mesmerizing Longmen Grottoes, one of China's largest cave art treasures. Nestled amidst lush mountains and winding rivers, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to ancient craftsmanship and spirituality, offering a glimpse into China's cultural legacy.

White Horse Temple: Embrace the serenity of White Horse Temple, situated 20 kilometers east of Luoyang. As the cradle of Chinese Buddhism, this historic temple is where Buddhism monasteries in China earned the name 'temple'. Explore the tranquil surroundings, where renowned Buddhist monks from China and beyond sought wisdom and inspiration, making it a revered destination in the world of Buddhism.

DAY 12 Luoyang to Qufu | The Hometown of Confucius

Explore the Hometown of Confucius in Qufu: Qufu, the revered hometown of Confucius, beckons you to uncover its rich heritage. This distinguished educationist and philosopher's influence is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture, and Qufu boasts over 600 ancient sites of historical and cultural significance.

From our thoughtfully crafted Qufu tour, you will experience perfectly aligns with your interests. Delve into the wisdom and legacy of Confucius in this remarkable destination.

DAY 13 Qufu to Nanjing | The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum

Embark on a journey to honor Dr. Sun Yat Sen at his revered mausoleum nestled at the foot of the majestic Purple Mountain. Experience the solemn atmosphere permeating this historical site, characterized by glazed torii, a challenging ascent of 392 steps, and a memorial hall commemorating the great deeds of this remarkable leader.

Discover the President Palace, a fascinating Ming Dynasty relic later utilized as the headquarters for Dr. Sun Yat Sen's government. Uncover the rich history behind this site, renamed the "Heavenly King Palace" during the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

Immerse yourself in culture and arts as you visit the Confucius Temple, originally built in 1034. Explore the temple's vibrant surroundings, filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. Marvel at the impressive Dacheng Hall, boasting the largest figure of Confucius in China, while the nearby Qin Huai River adds to the picturesque landscape.

DAY 14 Nanjing to Suzhou| The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

Pay tribute to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre at the Memorial Hall, an emotional and powerful site embodying the horrors of World War Two. Let the exhibits and somber atmosphere inspire a heartfelt appreciation for peace and remembrance. Engage with a knowledgeable expositor who will provide a deeper understanding of the historical context.

Savor the authentic flavors of Huaiyang cuisine at the renowned Hongxinglong Restaurant, offering an unforgettable dining experience infused with local culinary traditions.

DAY 15Suzhou| Humble Administrator's Garden and Tongli

Humble Administrator's Garden: Explore the Ming Dynasty's Humble Administrator's Garden, the largest and most famous Chinese classical garden at 5 hectares. It features a central pond surrounded by pavilions, terraces, and towers. Don't miss the Garden Museum. Comfortable shoes are a must for the extensive walking.

Tongli: Discover Tongli, a thousand-year-old town with historic gardens from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, temples, courtyards, and renowned former residences. It's divided by fifteen rivers into seven islands, connected by forty-nine historic bridges.

Tongli Cruise: Opt for a relaxing Tongli Cruise to experience the town's enchanting waterways, stone bridges, and local life from a unique perspective.

DAY 16 Suzhou to Shanghai| The Bund and Yuyuan Garden

Yuyuan Garden: Nestled in the heart of Shanghai's historic Old Quarter, Yuyuan Garden is a captivating time capsule. Constructed in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, it boasts quintessential Chinese architecture, featuring exquisite pavilions, serene ponds, and meandering corridors, all set in a tranquil 2-hectare oasis. A bustling market envelops the garden, offering a treasure trove of local delicacies, artisanal crafts, antique treasures, and memorable dining experiences at renowned time-honored restaurants.

The Bund: A mesmerizing 1.5-kilometer promenade tracing the western bank of the Huangpu River, The Bund is an open-air gallery showcasing 52 meticulously preserved European-style buildings. Once the bustling epicenter of trade and commerce in old Shanghai, it has gracefully transitioned into a contemporary hub. During the day, it exudes historical charm, while by night, it transforms into a vibrant district filled with futuristic developments, chic dining establishments, high-end boutiques, and captivating bars, creating a dynamic blend of old and new.

Shanghai Tower: Rising majestically as the world's second-tallest building, Shanghai Tower is a must-visit attraction. Soaring to an awe-inspiring height of 632 meters (2,073 feet) with 128 above-ground floors and an additional 5 underground, it stands as an engineering marvel, representing an investment of approximately 2.4 billion USD. The tower boasts several world records, including the world's second-highest hotel, the world's fastest elevators, and an observation deck perched at a breathtaking 561-meter height. Prepare for a truly elevated experience as you soak in panoramic views and marvel at the technological wonders within this iconic skyscraper.

DAY 18 Shanghai Departure

Our guide will help you transfer from your hotel to Shanghai Pudong Airport for departure with independentcar/van and guide.

Tour Price

FromUS4,500 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Tour code: cht-cx-67

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