Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more
13-Day Beijing, Luoyang, Dengfeng, Xian, Guilin and Hong Kong Tour

Classic China Tour

13-Day Private China Tour: Beijing– Luoyang– Dengfeng–Xi'an–Guilin–Hong Kong

Explore iconic landmarks like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Terracotta Warriors. Immerse yourself in the spiritual wonders of Luoyang and Dengfeng, home to magnificent Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottoes. Delight in the surreal beauty of Guilin with its karst mountains and Li River, before experiencing the modern splendor of Hong Kong.

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

Witness the Famous Shaolin Temple and Shaolin Kungfu

Shaolin Temple

Make a Mini warrior with a Local Artisan Family

Learn to make a clay warrior

Explore the Awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Rice Terraces

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

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 and Temple of Heaven

Embark on a journey through time with this carefully curated tour, designed to engage our discerning US travelers with the rich history, architecture and cultural depth of Beijing.

Begin your cultural exploration at the mesmerizing Temple of Heaven. Constructed in 1420 during the Ming dynasty, this impressive complex of Taoist buildings was historically visited by emperors for annual harvest-prayer ceremonies. Here, not only can you admire the grandeur architecture, but also soak in the vibrant local culture as elderly residents gather for morning Tai Chi, singing, and exercise. The park spans an impressive 273 hectares, promising 1.5 hours of leisurely walk amidst its lush surroundings.

Next, take in the imposing scale and historical significance of Tiananmen Square. As the world's largest city square named for the heavenly peace Gate (Tian'anmen) to its North which separates it from the Forbidden City, it is an enduring symbol of China's national pride. Your 30-minute tour of the square will showcase important surrounding structures like the Heavenly Gate, various museums, government buildings, and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.

The finale for the day is a comprehensive 2.5-hour tour of the enigmatic Forbidden City. Unlike most group tours, our Emperor's Tour takes you through 12 carefully-selected spots within the kingdom of emperors. Your guide will unravel the history, architecture, fengshui, and art of these individual spots. Bring life to these relics with stories of hardworking emperors, powerful empress dowagers, and talented concubines from the era of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

DAY 3 Beijing | The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall

Your journey begins with a 2.5-hour drive from Beijing to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, internationally celebrated for its breathtaking views that serve as incredible photo opportunities across all seasons. The scenic landscape truly comes alive under the lens, with each passing season adding distinct hues to the splendid panorama.

Along our chosen hiking route, you'll encounter over 15 watchtowers, each radiating a distinctive style and charm. As you move between them, you'll be fascinated by the stark contrast between the restored parts of the wall and the untouched, historic sections featuring ancient watchtowers, allowing you a glimpse into the passage of time.

The hiking adventure, extending from Jinshanling to Simatai West, takes approximately 3 hours and offers an authentic experience. It concludes at the junction of the Jinshanling and Simatai sections, each bearing witness to China's eventful past and resilient spirit.

DAY 4 Beijing | The Summer Palace

First stop, the Summer Palace — an oasis of beauty and tranquility situated in northwest Beijing. Known as China's best-preserved royal park, the Summer Palace is a landmark of Chinese horticulture and landscape design that has long been celebrated as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'. Expect a leisurely 2-hour stroll through its picture-perfect landscapes and historic structures which reflect the art of classical Chinese garden design.

Next, dive into the nuances of daily life in Beijing with a 2.5-hour 'Life Discovery Walk'. Gain unique insight into local religious beliefs as you tour the Tianning Temple, home to the city's oldest pagoda. Absorb the lively atmosphere of a neighborhood market, where locals shop for their daily essentials.

While wandering through a residential community built in the 1990s, learn about the evolution of housing in China's bustling capital. Make sure to try a local pancake for breakfast while you're there, if you wish.

DAY 5 Beijing to Luoyang | The Longmen Grottoes

Experience an awe-inspiring journey through time at the Longmen Grottoes, one of the four largest grottoes in China. Our tour, tailored for discerning US travelers, invites you to delve into this remarkable confluence of nature, art, and history nested amidst verdant mountains and winding rivers.

DAY 6 Luoyang to Dengfeng | The Shaolin Temple

Embark on a journey steeped in legend and mystery, right to the heart of China's martial arts heritage - the Shaolin Temple. This sacred site is not only celebrated for its significant history and its critical role in Chinese Buddhism, but also for its unparalleled connection to martial arts or 'Wushu'.

Marvel at the prowess and dexterity of the Shaolin monks, who carry the legacy of this ancient discipline. The temple may well be the most famous in all of China, etching an indelible imprint on the country's cultural landscape.

Adding to the allure of this tour is the included Shaolin Kungfu Show. The exclusive performances are scheduled at 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 14:00, 15:00, and 16:00. Hosted in a quaint, intimate theatre that only accommodates about 200 people, these shows are a must-see, offering a glimpse into the incredible world of Chinese martial arts.

DAY 7 Luoyang to Xi'an | The Tang Dynasty Show

A trip to Xi'an is deemed incomplete without soaking in the vibrant hues and grandeur of the Tang Dynasty Show. Scheduled every evening, this spectacle provides a window into the rich cultural tapestry of China, whisking you back over a thousand years to the flourishing era of the Tang Dynasty.

Drawing heavily from historical accounts, relics discovered in Xi'an, and ancient art forms, the performance meticulously recreates the music, dance, and exquisite costumes of this illustrious period. The result is a captivating audio-visual feast that paints a vivid picture of the dynasty's opulence and glory.

DAY 8 Xi'an | Terracotta Army

Discover the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army, accidentally unearthed in 1974. This incredible army consists of over 7000 unique soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle array. Guarding Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC, these life-sized figures are an incredible sight. Explore the three protected excavation pits, housed inside massive hangars, and learn about their history at the excellent museum nearby. Photography is allowed (without flash), so don't forget your camera. Wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey.

Additionally, don't miss the opportunity to visit a local family workshop in the countryside. Learn firsthand from skilled artisans the intricate process of creating Terracotta Warriors. Have a chance to interact with the locals and discover fascinating details about how these life-sized warriors were made in ancient times. Gain insight into the most challenging steps of the production process while enjoying a unique cultural experience.

DAY 9 Xi'an to Guilin | The Ancient City Wall

Explore the Ancient City Wall: The impressive city walls, ramparts, gates, and watchtowers date back to the 13th century and offer a captivating glimpse into ancient China's city defense. Built on the foundation of the original Tang Forbidden City, this well-preserved structure encloses the city center. You can choose to walk or rent a bike or electric cart (additional cost) to enjoy a 14km circuit with stunning views of the city on both sides.

Experience China's Traditional Costume (Hanfu): Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by wearing Hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han Chinese. Discover the rich history and significance of Hanfu during a one-hour guided tour in an ancient academy. Learn about different Hanfu styles and ancient etiquette. Afterward, take a break, sip a cup of tea, and even try your hand at movable type printing. It's a unique opportunity to indulge in something special and memorable.

DAY 10 Guilin| The Longji Rice Terraces

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of the Guilin region by embarking on a memorable journey to the famed Longji Rice Terraces. Also known as the 'Dragon's Backbone' due to the rib-like protrusions when viewed from the mountain's summit, the terraces represent one of China's most impressive manmade wonders.

Our destination for the day is the quaint Ping'an Zhuang Village, home to over 50 families comprising more than 200 inhabitants. The village fields dramatically ascend between 300 and 1,100 meters above sea level.

This adventure involves moderate hiking and requires a decent level of fitness. Cars typically park outside the village, upon which tourists embark on an hour-long hike up multiple steps to enjoy a panoramic view of the stunning rice terraces from atop the mountain.

Indulge in a unique gastronomic experience in Longji by learning to prepare Bamboo Stuffed Rice, a famous local delicacy known for its delicious taste and fresh bamboo aroma. Interact with a local family, who'll show you the step-by-step process to make this delightful dish, adding an authentic touch to your culinary exploit. Enjoy the opportunity to engage in conversation with the family and explore their traditional wooden house, wrapping up an enriching cultural and culinary day trip.

DAY 11 Guilin to Yangshuo | Li River Cruise

Take your China adventure to the next level by embarking on an unforgettable Li River Cruise journey from Guilin to Yangshuo. This scenic voyage over approximately four hours captivates with every turn in the river, setting the stage for a visually stunning expedition.

The river passage is an artists' canvas, showcasing bamboo groves swaying with an elegant grace, limestone peaks standing in majestic formations, farmers tending to their rice paddies, and water buffaloes immersed in their daily routines. You might even spot fishermen on their slender bamboo rafts and, if luck permits, the renowned fishing cormorants.

Discover the quintessential beauty of China's landscape in Yangshuo's countryside. Renowned for its serenely picturesque surroundings, sky-reaching peculiar hills, leisurely farming life, karst peaks, rice fields, clear waters, and verdant bamboos—it's nothing short of a green paradise.

Besides indulging in the charm of nature, engage with the local community by visiting a village on your pathway. Your guide will share insights about rural lifestyle and customs. This rejuvenating experience will cover a distance of 10-12 KM via cycling. However, if biking isn't quite your style, you can opt for a relaxing electrombile ride or a private car tour at no added cost.

Immerse into the grassroots of Yangshuo where agriculture plays a pivotal role in daily life. Participate in traditional farming to gain a firsthand understanding of local farmers' routines in rice fields, fruit gardens, and vegetable plots.

Deriving its essence from age-old practices, this unique experience spans activities like sticky rice cake making, grinding tofu, hand-weaving, and planting or picking vegetables—all depending on your preference and the season. Such traditional insights provide an enriching perspective into Chinese culture that extends beyond modern cultivation methods.

DAY 12 Guilin to Hong Kong | The Forbidden City

Begin your tour with a visit to Victoria Peak, the highest hill on Hong Kong Island. Take a ride on the historic Peak Tram - an experience in itself - before enjoying panoramic views of the city's skyscrapers, bustling harbor, and green hills from the peak.

Next, head to the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront. Walk along the Avenue of Stars, celebrating stars from Hong Kong's film industry, much like Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Enjoy the mesmerizing view of Hong Kong's skyline and Victoria Harbour from this point.

Post-lunch, visit the serene Nan Lian Garden and adjacent Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill. The garden is a meticulously landscaped, classically-styled Chinese garden, providing a peaceful contrast to the city's bustling pace. The nunnery is a large temple complex with striking wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics, and lotus ponds.

DAY 13 Hong Kong Departure

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

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Tour Price

FromUS3,250 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-46

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

Number in your group

What's your hotel choice?

I prefer to be contacted via:

china highlights' wechat code
Quickly inquire about this tour via our WeChat: chinahighlightstour
Popular tours
Make the most of your time
Choose the best time to visit
Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The China Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

Well-Selected Local Guides

Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on