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18-Day Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Sanya, Wanning and Shanghai Tour

Classic Zhangjiajie and Hainan Island Tour

Begin your journey in the ancient capital of Beijing, explore the historic wonders of Xian, and encounter adorable pandas in Chengdu. Witness the surreal beauty of Zhangjiajie's Avatar Mountains and cruise along the picturesque Li River in Guilin. Relax on the tropical beaches of Sanya, soak in the coastal beauty of Wanning, and immerse yourself in the modernity of Shanghai. This comprehensive itinerary offers a perfect blend of history, nature, and relaxation. Book now for an enriching exploration of China's most captivating destinations.

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

Experience Taking Care of a Cute Panda

make panda cakes

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

Hallelujah Mountain

Explore the Awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Rice Terraces

Relaxed on the Beautiful Beach of Hainan Island

Beach of Sanya

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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 Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven: Journey back to 1420 during the Ming dynasty as you step into the awe-inspiring Temple of Heaven. This Taoist complex served as a sacred place where Ming and Qing emperors performed annual ceremonies, offering prayers for bountiful harvests. The Temple's sprawling park teems with life, especially in the morning when local seniors gather for communal singing, exercise, and tai chi. Covering 273 hectares in the southern heart of Beijing, the park invites you to stroll leisurely for about 1-1½ hours (1½ kilometers), a pleasantly easy walk.

Local Hutong Experience: Immerse yourself in Chinese tradition with a captivating "One out of three" cultural experience in a Hutong. Select from three intriguing options: learn the intricate art of applying Facial Makeup for Peking Opera, discover the ancient craft of Chinese Calligraphy, or try your hand at the delicate art of Chinese Paper Cutting. Inform your tour guide in advance about your choice so that reservations can be made for you. This 40-minute cultural excursion is a delightful addition to your itinerary.

Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony: Venture to the northwest of Beijing, where the magnificent Summer Palace awaits, a mere 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the city center. This expansive royal park, China's largest and best-preserved, has profoundly influenced Chinese horticulture and landscape design. Renowned for its natural beauty and cultural significance, it's often referred to as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens.' Wander through its enchanting grounds for approximately 2 hours (covering 2 kilometers), a splendid way to immerse yourself in history and nature.

Dongcheng District Hutong Tour: Embark on a captivating one-hour exploration of the historic Hutong alleys nestled in Dongcheng District. Traverse these winding lanes aboard a rickshaw, taking in the quaint single-story traditional courtyard houses. These architectural gems are a vanishing heritage, and your tour offers a glimpse into their unique thresholds. You'll also have the opportunity to visit a local family, gaining insights into the courtyards' diverse histories and significance.

DAY 3 Beijing | The Forbidden City

Tiananmen Square: Start your journey at Tian'anmen Square, the heart of Beijing. It's the world's largest city square and a symbol of China's history, surrounded by significant landmarks.

Forbidden City Emperor's Tour: Explore the immense Forbidden City, home to 24 emperors over the centuries. Our in-depth tour covers 12 carefully selected locations, unveiling the secrets of Ming and Qing dynasties. It's a 2-hour easy walk through this historic masterpiece.

Gubei Water Town: Experience the charm of Gubei Water Town, nestled north of Beijing. This picturesque town surrounds a reservoir and rests against the stunning Simatai Great Wall, known for its breathtaking views. Consider an overnight stay for a glimpse of the illuminated Simatai Wall at night.

Simatai Great Wall Night Tour: Witness the magic of the Simatai Great Wall at night, the only illuminated section open to visitors after dark. Enjoy fantastic views over the lit-up Wall and the serene lake below from Towers 5 and 6. Cable cars are available for your convenience during the evening tours. Night tours are from 5:30 pm to 9 pm in winter and spring and from 6 pm to 10 pm in summer and autumn.

DAY 4 Beijing to Xi'an | Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall: Embark on an exciting day trip to the Simatai section of the Great Wall, located 120 km northeast of Beijing. A 2½-hour bus ride will transport you to this unique destination, celebrated for its steep terrain and historical charm. Adding to its allure, the newly constructed Gubei Water Town at the mountain's base provides an elegant contrast.

Original Ming Dynasty Features: Simatai is one of the few Great Wall sections that has retained its original Ming dynasty features. While safety concerns have limited access to ten watchtowers along the east section (Towers 1 to 10), these remaining towers offer a fascinating glimpse into the Wall's history.

Moderate Hike with Cable Car Option: The hike along Simatai Great Wall is graded moderate and requires a good level of fitness due to some steep ascents and descents. You'll trek for about 3 hours (covering 5 kilometers) round-trip. For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, a cable car option is available, allowing you to savor stunning views while walking back down slowly along the lakeside. The descent takes about 1 hour (2-3 kilometers) and offers breathtaking lake vistas.

DAY 5 Xi'an | The Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Discover the Terracotta Warriors and Horses: Unearth a fascinating piece of history at the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. This remarkable discovery, accidentally found in 1974, boasts an army of over 7,000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots, all meticulously crafted for battle. These lifelike figures have been guarding Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. You'll marvel at their uniqueness as you explore the three protected pits within massive hangars. Located just 1.5 hours from Xian, this site also features an exceptional museum and an informative film detailing the vaults' historical significance. Feel free to capture photos (without flash) and be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes for your adventure.

Ancient City Wall Exploration: The ancient city wall, a testament to centuries gone by, offers a unique glimpse into the past. Constructed in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City that encircled the city center, it remains one of the oldest and most well-preserved city defenses worldwide. You have the option to walk the full 14km circuit or, for a small additional fee, rent a bike (CNY 40 per person) or an electric cart (CNY 80 per person). Whichever you choose, you'll enjoy breathtaking views of the city on either side as you traverse this historic landmark.

Craft Your Own Terracotta Warrior in a Cave Dwelling: Step into the shoes of an artisan at a cave dwelling family workshop in the countryside. Here, you'll learn the intricate art of crafting Terracotta Warriors, just as they were made in ancient times. Discover the secrets behind their life-sized creation and unravel the most challenging steps in their production process. This interactive experience not only provides insight into the detailed procedure but also offers a chance to connect with the locals who continue this time-honored tradition.

DAY 6 Xi'an to Chengdu | Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Learn the Art of Dumpling Making: Delve into Chinese culinary traditions as you step into the homes of welcoming locals to craft your own jiaozi or dumplings. These delightful parcels, stuffed with a mix of meat and vegetables, are a beloved culinary treasure in China. During this engaging experience, you'll acquire essential dumpling-making skills and immerse yourself in local culture. The entire process takes approximately 1 to 2 hours, offering a hands-on way to savor the flavors of China.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Journey to the heart of Buddhist heritage at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a significant pilgrimage site. Nestled within the serene Da Ci'en Temple grounds, this unassuming brick pagoda boasts a rich history dating back to the 7th century. It was constructed to house Buddhist scriptures brought from India by the famed traveler Xuanzang (Tripitaka). As you explore the temple complex, you'll encounter grand halls adorned with magnificent Buddhist statues and captivating murals.

Don't miss the chance to explore the adjacent area, where you can uncover your Chinese zodiac information and browse a shop featuring Chinese calligraphy and paintings.

Discover the Vibrant Muslim Quarter: Venture to the lively Muslim Quarter, situated a mere 100 meters west of the Bell Tower in downtown Xi'an. This bustling 500-meter-long avenue, paved with distinctive bluestones, is a sensory delight. It's adorned with a myriad of unique stalls, souvenir shops, cozy cafes, and inviting bars, most of which are operated by the local Muslim community. International tourists flock here to explore the diverse offerings, making it a dynamic hub for shopping and cultural immersion.

DAY 7 Chengdu to Zhangjiajie| The Panda Breeding and Research Center

Panda Breeding and Research Center - Panda Paradise: Located just 6 miles north of Chengdu City, the Panda Breeding and Research Center is a sanctuary for giant pandas, red pandas, and other endangered species. Explore the nursery, where a highly successful breeding program is underway, amidst the tranquil bamboo groves and shaded walkways. Witness these charismatic creatures at rest and play, and don't miss the informative Panda Museum. Note: To avoid the crowds during the peak months of July and August when domestic students are on summer break, consider an early start at 7:00 am.

Jinli Old Street - A Glimpse of Ancient Splendor: Step into history at Jinli Old Street, once the vibrant heart of ancient kingdoms. Lovingly restored in traditional Sichuan style, this picturesque street exudes charm and vitality. Stroll through its bustling lanes, where you can sample local arts and crafts, traditional Chinese goods, delectable food, and even enjoy a unique local-style Starbucks.

Local Tea House in People's Park - Savor Tranquility: Escape the city's hustle and bustle within the serene confines of People's Park. Here, amidst bonsai gardens, tranquil lakes, rockeries, and historical monuments, you'll discover the cherished tradition of Chengdu: the local tea house. Join the locals in sipping tea, a pastime that retirees often indulge in, spending hours chatting and enjoying each other's company for a nominal fee. You can also treat yourself to a local massage, rounding out your immersion in Chengdu's leisurely pace of life.

DAY 8 Zhangjiajie | The National Forest Park

In Zhangjiajie, you will visit the National Forest Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the unique pillar-like formations shaped by erosion over time. Explore the park's vast forest-covered area, including Yuanjiajie, Yangjiajie, Jinbian Stream, and Wulongzhai. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting nearby villages inhabited by Tujia, Bai, Miao, and Hui people.

Please note that accommodations and meals in mountain areas like Zhangjiajie and Huangshan are simple. Adjust your expectations accordingly for the best experience. Get ready to be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

DAY 9 Zhangjiajie| The Grand Canyon with Glass Bridge

Today, our guide will lead you to visit Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, which is a stunning natural attraction that has recently been developed into a wonderland for visitors. It offers a combination of majestic mountains, flowing streams, intriguing caves, towering cliffs, and lush forests. One of the highlights of this scenic area is the world's longest and highest glass bridge. Imagine the thrill of walking on this bridge, suspended 300 meters above the ground! It's definitely an experience you wouldn't want to miss during your tour.

If walking on the glass bridge isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. We have an alternative route that allows you to still enjoy the attraction without stepping on the glass bridge. However, if you decide to take on the adventure, please note that for safety reasons, carrying a camera on the bridge is not allowed. You can, however, bring your cellphone or GoPro to capture those unforgettable moments.

DAY 10 Zhangjiajie to Guilin | Tianmen Mountain

Visit the Tianmen Mountain, the awe-inspiring heart of Zhangjiajie! As the highest peak in the area, this majestic mountain offers unrivaled views of ancient trees, stunning karst formations, and scenic roads carved into cliff sides. Hop on the world's longest cable car ride, a thrilling 30-minute journey from the city center, and ascend to the mountain's summit.

At 1430 meters above ground, you'll find the renowned Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway, a remarkable observation platform that extends from a sheer cliff. This narrow 1.6-meter-wide, 60-meter-long glass walkway offers brave souls not only breathtaking views of the mountains below but also the exhilaration of treading nervously above such heights. Some have even likened this experience to the famous 'skywalk' at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

Don't miss the chance to explore this remarkable natural wonder in China. Savor the beauty and thrill of Tianmen Mountain, an experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

DAY 11 Guilin to Longsheng | Longsheng Rice Terraces

Longsheng Rice Terraces & Cultural Delights: Embark on a captivating journey to the renowned Longji Rice Terraces, a stunning manmade wonder in Guilin. These terraces, stretching across 66 square kilometers, were ingeniously constructed 600 years ago by local minority communities. The view from the mountaintop resembles dragon's ribs, earning it the name 'Dragon's Backbone' (Longji).

Our destination is Ping'an Zhuang Village, home to over 50 families and situated at varying elevations between 300 and 1,100 meters above sea level. Expect moderate walking and stunning vistas. Visitors typically walk up numerous steps for about an hour to reach the summit, where you'll capture panoramic views of these magnificent terraces.

For a more leisurely experience, sedan chairs are available for an additional fee, or we can arrange a car to transport you directly to the summit (excluding Chinese national holidays).

Culinary Discovery: Bamboo Stuffed Rice: Delight in Longji's culinary traditions with a hands-on experience making Bamboo Stuffed Rice, a local delicacy infused with fresh bamboo flavors. Learn from a local family as they share their culinary expertise and offer a glimpse into their traditional wooden home and way of life.

DAY 12 Guilin to Yangshuo | Li River Cruise

Li River Cruise: Guilin to Yangshuo: Embark on an unforgettable Li River Cruise, a scenic four-hour voyage aboard a 4-star boat. Glide along the picturesque river, surrounded by breathtaking limestone peaks, lush bamboo groves, and idyllic rural scenes.

Marvel at farmers tending to rice paddies and water buffaloes cooling off in the river. Keep an eye out for fishermen on bamboo rafts and perhaps even the famous cormorant fishermen. Depart from various wharves, chosen based on seasonal river conditions.

Our selected 4-star boat offers the best experience, accommodating around 80 passengers and providing a delightful buffet or semi-buffet lunch. Enjoy the pinnacle of Li River cruising with us.

DAY 13 Yangshuo to Guilin and Sanya | Xianggong Hill

Yangshuo Countryside Exploration - Embrace Nature's Beauty: Immerse yourself in the serene charm of Yangshuo's countryside, celebrated for its picturesque landscapes, whimsical hills, and the unhurried pace of local farming life. Here, you'll encounter breathtaking vistas adorned with karst peaks, lush rice fields, crystal-clear waters, and swaying bamboo groves.

While communing with nature, delve into the local way of life by visiting a nearby village. Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the village, offering insights into rural living. This 1.5-hour excursion spans a cycling journey of 10-12 kilometers. If biking isn't your preference, fear not; you can opt for an electromobile or private car at no additional cost to explore the area.

Xianggong Hill - Sunrise Splendor: Located just 28 kilometers north of Yangshuo near Putao Town, Xianggong Hill stands as one of the region's prime spots for capturing breathtaking photographs, especially during sunrise. A mere 20-minute ascent brings you to the summit, where you'll witness the Li River meandering around a sharp bend, amidst a backdrop of awe-inspiring karst formations. This vantage point promises a visual spectacle like no other.

DAY 14 Sanya | Dadonghai Beach

Sanya's Sunshine and Scenic Wonders: Kick off your Sanya adventure with a visit to Dadonghai Beach, a vibrant and popular destination. Spend your morning swimming, sunbathing, or dive into thrilling water sports like jet skiing or parasailing.

After a refreshing start, head to Luhuitou Park, a picturesque oasis offering panoramic views of Sanya. Don't forget to capture a photo of the iconic Luhuitou statue, a symbol of the city's charm.

Cultural and Natural Delights: Embark on a cultural journey at the Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone, home to the awe-inspiring Guanyin Statue. Wander through serene Buddhist-inspired gardens and soak in the tranquil atmosphere.

Continue your exploration at the Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone, a lush paradise waiting to be discovered. Take an exhilarating canopy walk and explore various ecological attractions that showcase the region's rich biodiversity.

DAY 15 Sanya to Wanning| Xinglong Tropical Botanical Garden

Begin your journey with a visit to the Xinglong Tropical Botanical Garden in Wanning. This enchanting garden is a lush paradise showcasing a diverse array of tropical plants and colorful flowers. Explore the vibrant botanical wonders that thrive in this tranquil oasis.

After a delightful garden excursion, unwind and rejuvenate at the nearby Xinglong Hot Springs. Immerse yourself in the soothing mineral-rich waters for a truly relaxing experience. Let the warm embrace of the hot springs melt away any travel fatigue.

DAY 16 Wanning to Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden and the Bund

Yuyuan Garden: Step into the heart of old Shanghai as you visit Yuyuan Garden, a Ming Dynasty-era private garden built in 1559. Wander amidst its classic Chinese architecture, encompassing rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and meandering corridors. Surrounding the garden is a bustling marketplace offering local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, and souvenirs, along with renowned traditional eateries.

The Bund: Stroll along the iconic 1.5-kilometer-long promenade on the western bank of the Huangpu River. Admire the "architecture gallery" with 52 impeccably preserved European-style buildings. Once the epicenter of trade and commerce in old Shanghai, today the Bund is a dynamic hub featuring futuristic developments, stylish restaurants, upscale shops, and vibrant bars that offer a plethora of day and nighttime activities.

Shanghai Old Street: Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of old Shanghai by exploring its well-preserved historic residential homes and narrow alleyways. These lanes provide a glimpse into the daily lives of local residents, transporting you back to a bygone era. Additionally, numerous shops and stalls sell antiques, crafts, and souvenirs, making it an ideal spot for mementos.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower: Behold one of the world's tallest TV towers, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, known for its distinctive spherical design. Situated across the river from the Bund, this iconic structure graces the skyline of the east bank. On the tower's first floor, you'll find the Shanghai History Museum, featuring four major exhibition units that delve into the history of Shanghai, from its ancient past to modern times. Please note that during the tourist high season (July-September), long queues of up to an hour may be expected.

DAY 17 Shanghai | Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town: Explore the enchanting Zhujiajiao Water Town, shaped like a delicate fan, steeped in centuries of history. Wander alongside serene lakes, where you'll encounter architectural marvels from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Admire the 36 ancient stone bridges that have retained their timeless charm. This tour encompasses eight captivating attractions, including the historical Post Office, Yanyitang Art Gallery, Chenghuang Temple, Shanghai Handicraft Exhibition Hall, and more.

Former French Concession Precinct: Embark on a captivating walking tour through the former French Concession, an area encompassing iconic streets like Huaihai Road, Fuxing Road, and Taikang Road. Here, you'll encounter historical landmarks such as Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai's former residences, Fuxing Park, Moller Villa, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Delight in the timeless allure of over century-old French colonial-style buildings. On sunny days, the shadows of the Chenar trees create a romantic ambiance, while at night, cafes, bars, and restaurants beckon with the aroma of coffee.

Xintiandi: Nestled amid towering skyscrapers in the city center, Xintiandi is a bustling urban tourist hotspot infused with Shanghai's rich history and culture. The Shikumen buildings of Shanghai Xintiandi have been transformed into a dynamic hub, boasting world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Immerse yourself in this lively district, teeming with international-standard restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and bars.

Zhujiajiao Boat Ride: Don't miss the chance to embark on a scenic river cruise through the heart of the ancient town. Glide along tranquil waters for a delightful 10-15 minute journey, allowing you to soak in the town's picturesque views from a unique perspective.

Tianzi Fang: Located on Taikang Road within the former French Concession, Tianzi Fang was once a labyrinthine residential area. Today, it has transformed into a trendy district, blending well-preserved Shikumen architecture with art galleries, bistros, coffee shops, craft stores, and creative art studios. Explore this vibrant enclave that marries tradition with contemporary artistic expression.

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-75

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