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15-Day Epic Adventure: Exploring Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Zhangjiajie, Changsha, and Guilin - Uncover the Wonders of China's Iconic Cities and Natural Splendors

Explore Zhangjiajie and Land of Pandas

15-Day Private China Tour: Beijing–Xi'an –Chengdu– Zhangjiajie– Changsha–Guilin

This 15-day suggested itinerary covers different elements of China: the historical heritage sites, natural scenery, unique culture, and adorable giant pandas. It makes an ideal tour for first-time visitors who are panda fans or those traveling with children.

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 Highlights

Find the Hidden Halls in the Forbidden City

 Forbidden City

Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

walking on the Great Wall

Marvel at the Famous Hallelujah Mountain in the Movie "Avatar"

Hallelujah Mountain

Explore the Awe-inspiring Li River in Guilin

Guilin landscape

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Itinerary Quick Look

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

DAY 1Beijing 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| Hutongs and Forbidden City

Explore Tian'anmen Square, the world's largest city square in Beijing. Admire its iconic Tiananmen Gate, surrounded by significant cultural landmarks, including government buildings, museums, and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.

Beijing Forbidden City

Experience authentic Chinese culture in the Hutong district. Choose from three immersive activities: Facial Makeup for Peaking Opera, Chinese Calligraphy, or Chinese Paper Cutting.

Discover the time-honored charm of Hutong on a rickshaw tour. Ride through narrow alleys, visit a local family, and learn about traditional courtyard houses.

Unveil the secrets of the awe-inspiring Forbidden City with our exclusive Emperor's Tour. Explore 12 carefully chosen locations, delving into the history and splendor of China's imperial past.

DAY 3 Beijing| Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall

Immerse yourself in ancient China with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a stunning complex of Taoist buildings built during the Ming dynasty in 1420. Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties held annual ceremonies here to pray for bountiful harvests. The temple's park is a vibrant hub of activity, where local elderly people gather in the morning for tai chi, singing, and exercise. Explore the park, covering 273 hectares in the heart of Beijing, with an easy 1-1½ hour walk (1½ kilometers).

For a quintessential Great Wall experience, head to the Mutianyu section, renowned for its breathtaking scenery and beautifully-restored architecture. Ranked as the top Great Wall section on TripAdvisor, it offers a child-friendly atmosphere and multiple visiting options. Just a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing, this section boasts a fully restored 2½-kilometer stretch. Enjoy the convenience of a chairlift to reach a picturesque portion of the Wall, avoiding a steep climb. From there, wander through ancient watchtowers while marveling at the sweeping views of rolling hills and majestic mountains. Conclude your adventure with an exhilarating toboggan ride down, a thrilling experience suitable for both adults and children.

DAY 4 Beijing to Xian | The Summer Palace

Escape to the Summer Palace, an enchanting retreat located 12 kilometers northwest of Beijing's city center. Equally renowned as the Forbidden City, it is called 'Yiheyuan' in Chinese, meaning the 'Garden of Nurtured Harmony'. This magnificent imperial garden, the largest and best-preserved in China, stands as one of Beijing's premier attractions.

Originally built as a theater for the Empress Dowager, the Garden of Virtue and Harmony showcases superb craftsmanship and captivating architecture. Construction began in 1891 during Emperor Guangxu's reign and took five years to complete. The three-story theater stage, adorned with delicate design and a magnificent wooden structure, is of immense scientific and artistic value. Renowned opera singers of the era performed for the Empress Dowager in this revered theater, known as the "Cradle of Beijing Opera". Select princes, dukes, and cabinet ministers were also granted special permission to watch Beijing opera here.

DAY 5 Xi'an | The Terracotta Warriors

Visit the remarkable Terracotta Army, which consists of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots, standing as guardians of Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Each figure is unique, and ongoing repair and excavation efforts take place in three protected pits. Inside huge hangars, visitors can also explore an excellent museum and watch a film about the vaults' history. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes and feel free to take photos without using flash.

Xian terracotta warriors

Located within the picturesque Da Ci'en Temple grounds, the elegant brick Pagoda is a significant Buddhist site. Originating from the 7th century, it was built to house Buddhist materials brought back from India by Xuanzang, also known as Tripitaka. Explore the temple complex, where large halls showcase impressive Buddhist statues and murals. Don't miss the opportunity to discover your Chinese zodiac information and browse a shop offering Chinese calligraphy and painting.

Serving as one of the oldest and most intact city defenses in existence, the Ancient City Wall was constructed in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City. Surrounding the city center, it includes walls, ramparts, gates, and watchtowers. Take a leisurely walk or opt to rent a bike for an additional cost (CNY40 per person) or an electric cart (CNY80 per person) to travel the full 14km circuit. Enjoy magnificent views of the city on both sides as you explore this historical landmark.

DAY 6 Xian | Muslim Quarter

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Xi'an. Visit an ancient academy from the Ming and Qing dynasties and delve into the world of Hanfu, China's traditional national costume. Get dressed in Hanfu and experience the elegance of ancient traditions.

Embark on a food adventure through the vibrant Muslim Quarter, known for its unique and flavorful cuisine. Delight in the diverse flavors of Xi'an as you try local specialties such as roujiamo, biangbiang noodles, and more. Your guide will introduce each dish and explain its cultural significance. Challenge your taste buds and discover the culinary delights of the region.

DAY 7 Chengdu | One-Day Panda Keeper Program

Located 6 miles north of Chengdu City, the Chengdu Panda Base is a sanctuary for giant pandas, red pandas, and other endangered species. Explore the nursery amidst bamboo groves and shady walkways to witness the highly successful breeding program. Observe the pandas at rest or play, and visit the panda museum for more information about these fascinating creatures.

Chengdu panda reserve

Cruise to the east of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, where the Lingyun Mountain marks the meeting point of the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. Here, you will find the awe-inspiring Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest stone-carved sitting Buddhist statue in the world. Board a boat to have a magnificent overlook of this majestic monument.

Continue your exploration of the Leshan Giant Buddha, located in Leshan City, Sichuan Province. Situated on the Lingyun Mountain, this statue offers a captivating and impressive sight. Marvel at the intricate stone carving and soak in the spiritual atmosphere surrounding this renowned cultural icon.

DAY 8 Emeishan| The Monastery of Ten Thousand Years

Located at an elevation of 1,043 meters above sea level, the Monastery of Ten Thousand Years is a site rich in history, dating back to the 4th century. Although it has faced destruction by fire multiple times over the centuries, the present brick building was rebuilt during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The Brick Hall, adorned with small stupas, is a domed structure made entirely of bricks. Inside, you'll find a remarkable copper and bronze statue of the Bodhisattva Puxian, riding a white elephant, standing at an impressive height of 8.5 meters. This statue has been in place since 980 AD.

Explore the Baoguo Monastery, which dates back to the 16th century, with subsequent enlargements and recent rebuilding efforts. As you enter the monastery's gate, you'll notice a rockery showcasing potted miniature trees and rare plants, adding a touch of natural beauty to the surroundings.

Experience the tranquility of People's Park, an oasis in the heart of the bustling city. Stroll through refreshing bonsai gardens, admire artificial lakes and rockeries, and discover historical monuments within the park. Don't miss the chance to embrace a traditional Chengdu custom by visiting a local tea house. Join retired locals who spend hours chatting over a cup of tea, paying a modest fee. You might even indulge in a rejuvenating local massage while enjoying the serene atmosphere.

DAY 9 Chengdu to Zhangjiajie | Kuan-zhai Lane

Explore the charming and restored Kuan-zhai Lane, also known as Wide and Narrow Alley, located in the heart of old Chengdu. This area offers a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of Chengdu while providing a fusion of Western and local flavors. Indulge in a variety of dining options including Western cuisine, takeaways, coffee shops, and even art galleries.

Immerse yourself in the lively and captivating atmosphere of Wenshu Monastery, a grand Zen Buddhist temple. Admire the exquisitely decorated halls showcasing an impressive collection of artworks, statues, and curios. Don't miss the opportunity to dine at the popular vegetarian restaurant within the premises or relax in one of the teahouses, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere created by the worshippers and visitors.

Upon your arrival at Zhangjiajie Airport or Train Station, your local tour guide will be waiting for you at the arrival hall or exit, respectively, holding a nameplate with your name. They will ensure a seamless transfer to your hotel in a private van, allowing you to relax and rejuvenate after your journey.

Experience the disappearing traditions of a local farmer's market, a place deeply rooted in the daily lives, delectable local delicacies, and strong community bonds. This unique experience offers a chance to get closer to the local culture and lifestyle. Join in the bustling market atmosphere and try your hand at bargaining like a local. Additionally, learn the art of dumpling-making from a skilled shopkeeper who can effortlessly create perfect dumplings within minutes.

DAY 10 Zhangjiajie | The National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a famous tourism destination in Hunan province. It was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The pillar-like formations seen through the park are the result of many years of erosion. With over 90% forest coverage, the scenic area comprises Yuanjiajie, Yangjiajie, Jinbian Stream and Wulongzhai. The Minority culture and folklores are represented in nearby villages and towns, inhabited by Tujia, Bai, Miao and Hui people, making worthwhile side trips.

Zhangjiajie

Yuanjiajie(include the Hallelujah Mountains) : Yuanjiajie is in the northern corner of Zhangjiajie National Park. Ecstasy Spot, Backyard and First Bridge are the top 3 attractions at Yuanjiajie. This area is famous and popular for its Hallelujah Mountain, named after Avatar's floating rocks. Pictures of 'First Bridge in the World' from 'Viewing Bridge Platform' (Wangqiaotai) are a bonus. Afternoon is the best time to photograph the Yuanjiajie area. To avoid crowds, your guide will take you there around 5:00 for photography travelers. You can reach Tianzi Mountain and Yangjia Valley from here.Highlights includes First Bridge in the World, Hallelujah Mountain and Viewing Bridge Platform.

Visit Mt.Tianzishan : It is known for 4 natural spectacles - the clouds of mist that circle the peaks of the mountain,the amazing views of the rising sun,the moonlit nights and snowcapped winter peaks.They include more than 80 natural platforms to take in the magnificent scenery.Take the cable to Tianzi Mountain to enjoy the views upway and relax. Tips: At rush hours it might take you one hour just waiting in line to take the cable car. Ask your guide to arrange time for you to avoid rush hours.

Bailong sightseeing elevator is the highest and fastest sightseeing elevator in the world and provides a spectacular view of the Sandstone Peak Forest. It has a height of 335 meters and can carry 3,000 people an hour in the fours transparent elevators. It only takes 2 minutes to travel to the top of the mountain. Tips; At rush hours it might take 2 hours waiting in line to take the elevator. Ask your guide to arrange time to avoid rush hours.

DAY 11 Zhangjiajie | The Grand Canyon with Glass Bridge

Explore the breathtaking Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, a natural wonderland of mountains, streams, caves, cliffs, and forests. This recently-developed attraction promises a captivating experience. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the world's longest and highest glass bridge, located within this scenic area. Walking on the glass bottom bridge, suspended 300 meters above the ground, will undoubtedly be the highlight of your tour. If you prefer not to walk on the glass bridge, an alternate route can be arranged to ensure you still enjoy the attraction.

Discover the majestic Tianmen Mountain, often referred to as the 'soul' of Zhangjiajie. This mountain boasts splendid views of ancient trees, karst hillocks, and winding roads carved into cliff faces. Embark on a thrilling cable car ride, lasting approximately 30 minutes, from the city center to the mountaintop. This cable car holds the record for being the longest in the world.

Make your way to the Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway, situated in the renowned Tianmen Mountain National Park. This glass walkway, jutting out from a sheer 1,430-meter cliff, stands amongst the world's highest observation platforms. With a width of 1.6 meters and a length of 60 meters, the awe-inspiring walkway offers both exhilarating thrills and sweeping views of the mountains below. It's often compared to the famous 'skywalk' at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

DAY 12 Zhangjiajie to Changsha | City Transfer

You will be picked up from your hotel or bus station in Zhangjiajie city area, by personal English-speaking tour guide, car and driver, and transfer directly to from Changsha to Guilin. The whole train ride from Changsha to Guilin takes around 4 hours covering a distance of 380 km

DAY 13 Guilin | Li River Cruise

Embark on an unforgettable journey as you cruise along the Li River. Prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking scenery that unravels with each twist and turn. Delight in the sight of majestic limestone peaks, graceful bamboo groves, and diligent farmers tending to rice paddies. Keep an eye out for water buffaloes cooling off in the river or pulling carts. You might even spot skillful fishermen gliding along on narrow bamboo rafts, and if luck is on your side, catch a glimpse of the famous fishing cormorants. Departure points vary depending on the river's height at different times of the year. For a comfortable experience, we have handpicked a newly operated 4-star boat that accommodates around 80 passengers. Indulge in a delightful buffet lunch aboard the ship, making your Li River cruise even more memorable.

Explore the vibrant West Street, also known as Foreigners' Street due to its popularity among international visitors. With a history spanning over 1400 years, this street is a cultural melting pot where Chinese and Western influences seamlessly blend together. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you stroll past charming bars, cozy hotels, internet cafes, and vibrant handicraft shops. The unique architectural style of the buildings adds an extra touch of fascination, making West Street an ideal spot for indulging in the local ambiance and mingling with fellow travelers.

If you're a photography enthusiast or simply appreciate magnificent landscapes, a visit to Xianggong Hill is a must. Situated just a short drive from Yangshuo, this hill offers awe-inspiring views, particularly during sunrise. After a 20-minute ascent, you'll be rewarded with panoramic vistas that showcase the Li River bending gracefully against the backdrop of stunning Karst scenery. Watch in awe as the river flows around a right-angled bend, creating a picture-perfect setting. Get your camera ready to capture the beauty that unfolds at Xianggong Hill, an experience that will leave you breathless.

DAY 14 Yangshuo | Countryside Bike Ride

Immerse yourself in the picturesque countryside of Yangshuo, renowned for its enchanting landscapes, unique rock formations that reach toward the heavens, and the tranquil pace of local farming life. Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you - from the mesmerizing karst peaks and lush rice fields to crystal-clear waters and vibrant green bamboo forests. During this 1.5-hour trip, not only will you revel in nature's wonders, but you'll also have the opportunity to gain insights into local life by visiting a nearby village. Accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, you'll explore the village, learning about the authentic countryside lifestyle.

Prepare to be captivated by one of Yangshuo's highlights - the stunning bamboo rafting experience along the enchanting Yulong River. Enjoy awe-inspiring scenery at every turn, featuring karst peaks, sprawling rice fields, pristine waters, and lush green bamboo forests. The river's gentle current ensures a seamless journey, even for first-time rafters. As you embark on this unique adventure, the modern world fades away, leaving you completely immersed in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Each bend in the river unveils new wonders, allowing you to fully appreciate the captivating landscape.

DAY 15 Guilin Departure

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

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Tour Price

FromUS3,750 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-4

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

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