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17-Day Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chengdu, Shanghai, Yangtze River Cruise and Guilin Tour

Yangtze River Cruise and Lhasa Tour

17-Day Private China Tour: Beijing– Xi'an– Lhasa–Chengdu–Shanghai–Yangtze Cruise–Guilin

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Beijing and Xian, discover the spiritual heart of Tibet in Lhasa, encounter adorable pandas in Chengdu, and experience the modern vibrancy of Shanghai. Cruise the stunning Yangtze River and marvel at its natural beauty. Conclude your journey in Guilin, where breathtaking landscapes await. Our expertly crafted itinerary ensures you make the most of your adventure in China.

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 Holy Potala Palace

Potala Palace

Explore the Awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Rice Terraces

Witness the Famous Three Gorges of China

Yangtze River gorge

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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 Chengdu| The Forbidden City

Forbidden City: Start your day at the awe-inspiring Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing. This historic palace complex, home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, is the world's largest and best-preserved of its kind. Explore grand squares, regal halls, and captivating exhibitions. Expect about 2 hours of moderate walking.

Tiananmen Square: After the Forbidden City, visit Tian'anmen Square, China's largest city square. Discover its rich historical significance and admire iconic landmarks, including the Heavenly Gate and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.

Hutong Tour: Experience the charm of Beijing's traditional Hutongs in the Dongcheng District. Take a rickshaw ride through narrow alleyways, visit a local family, and explore historic courtyards.

DAY 3 Beijing| The Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall (with Cable Car): Explore the renowned Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, ranked #1 on TripAdvisor. A 1.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing, it offers stunning scenery and restored architecture. Enjoy a round-trip cable car ride to tower 14, hike the famous "golden route" between towers 14 and 23 (about 2 hours), then descend and take a bus back.

Temple of Heaven: Visit the Temple of Heaven, a Ming dynasty complex where emperors prayed for good harvests. The park is vibrant with locals engaging in activities. Walk for 1-1.5 hours (1.5 kilometers), with an easy level of difficulty.

DAY 4 Beijing to Xi'an | The Summer Palace

Summer Palace: Kick off your day at the Summer Palace, a magnificent royal park located just 9 miles (15 kilometers) northwest of downtown Beijing. As the largest and best-preserved of China's royal parks, it's a stunning blend of natural beauty and rich culture, often dubbed 'The Museum of Royal Gardens.' You'll have about 2 hours to explore this treasure, covering around 2 kilometers on foot.

Boat Ride and Garden Serenity: After your Summer Palace adventure, enjoy a serene boat ride on Kunming Lake, providing a unique perspective of the palace's surroundings. Following the boat excursion, unwind amidst the tranquility of the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. Reflect on the day's cultural and natural wonders in this peaceful setting.

DAY 5 Xi'an | The Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors: Start your day with the awe-inspiring Terracotta Warriors and Horses, discovered in 1974. This army of over 7,000 unique soldiers, horses, and chariots has protected Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. You'll explore three pits in massive hangars, with an excellent museum and a captivating film about their history. Don't forget your camera; photos (no flash) are allowed. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.

Muslim Quarter: Immerse yourself in Xi'an's culture at the bustling Muslim Quarter, located near the Bell Tower. This 500-meter avenue is filled with unique stalls, shops, cafés, and bars, mostly run by the local Muslim community. It's a vibrant hub for shopping and cultural experiences.

Ancient City Wall: Discover Xi'an's history at the Ancient City Wall, dating back to the 13th century and encircling the city center. You can walk, rent a bike (CNY40 per person), or take an electric cart (CNY80 per person) for a 14km circuit with stunning city views.

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

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Your adventure begins at the serene Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a significant Buddhist site nestled within the charming Da Ci'en Temple grounds. This elegant brick pagoda dates back to the 7th century and was constructed to house Buddhist scriptures brought from India by Xuanzang, also known as Tripitaka. Explore the temple complex, which boasts magnificent Buddhist statues and captivating murals that offer insights into China's rich spiritual history.

Shaanxi History Museum: Dive into the history of Shaanxi, often referred to as the history of China, at the impressive Shaanxi History Museum. Housed in grand Tang-style buildings, this museum showcases a vast and remarkable collection thoughtfully curated and beautifully presented. Most item labels are in English, making it accessible for international visitors. Your guide can provide additional insights if needed. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as you embark on this cultural journey.

DAY 7 Lhasa | The Sera Monastery

Norbulingka - The Jeweled Garden: Kick off your day at Norbulingka, meaning "Jeweled Garden." Originally built as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, this magnificent complex later played a crucial role in the government administration. Crafted by the 7th Dalai Lama, it seamlessly blends both administrative and religious significance. Wander through its lush gardens and ornate structures, and delve into the rich history that surrounds you.

Sera Monastery - Debates and Devotion: In the northern suburbs of Lhasa, discover the Sera Monastery, a complex consisting of the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges. Founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey, a disciple of Tsongkhapa, the name "Sera" translates to "wild roses" due to the monastery's charming surroundings. Here, you'll witness the famous daily debates among the monks, a crucial part of their learning process. Join the monks in the tranquil monastery grounds for these enlightening debates, held every day (except Sundays) at 15:00. Remember to keep a respectful silence during the debates, and although cameras are prohibited, you can capture the moments with your cell phone.

Drepung Monastery - Majestic Spiritual Retreat: Embark on a journey to Drepung Monastery, nestled in the western part of Lhasa beneath the imposing Mt. Gambo Utse. This monastery, constructed in 1416, is one of the largest within the Gelu Sect in China. Explore its grand white buildings glistening under the Tibetan sunlight. Drepung Monastery once served as the residence of the Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of the Potala Palace. If you're visiting in early August, don't miss the vibrant Shonton Festival, a bustling and culturally enriching event that provides a unique opportunity to soak in the festival's lively atmosphere.

DAY 8 Lhasa to Chengdu | The Potala Palace

Jokhang Temple - Sacred Center: Start your day at the revered Jokhang Temple, the heart of Tibetan spirituality. Inside, you'll find a precious life-sized statue of a young Sakyamuni adorned with jewels. Surrounding the temple is Barkhor Street, a bustling hub for pilgrims and visitors.

Barkhor Street - Tibetan Life: Explore Barkhor Street, an ancient circuit encircling the Jokhang Temple. Watch pilgrims embark on their unique "one-step-one-bow" pilgrimage. Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture as you shop at colorful stalls or relax at local coffee shops or tea houses. Always seek permission before taking close-up photos of pilgrims.

Potala Palace - Royal Splendor: Visit the magnificent Potala Palace, the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Explore its labyrinthine corridors, grand halls, and mausoleums adorned with precious treasures. Ascend from the White Palace to the Red Palace, where pilgrims make offerings. Don't miss the iconic golden roof group atop the Red Palace. Be prepared for stair climbing; good physical fitness is required.

DAY 9 Chengdu | The Panda Breeding Center

Panda Breeding Center - Up Close with Pandas: Start your day at the Panda Breeding Center, just 6 miles north of Chengdu City. Witness giant pandas and other endangered species in their natural habitat. Explore the bamboo groves and shady walkways and visit the Panda Museum for insights. For a more peaceful experience, arrive around 7:00 am. Please note that interactive activities with pandas are temporarily suspended.

Jinli Old Street - Timeless Traditions: Visit Jinli Old Street, a beautifully restored ancient street filled with local crafts, traditional goods, and delicious food. Experience traditional Sichuan culture with a visit to this bustling area.

People's Park Tea House - Sip and Relax: Discover People's Park, an urban oasis featuring bonsai gardens, lakes, and historical monuments. Embrace local culture at a traditional tea house, where you can enjoy tea and even try a local massage. It's a relaxing way to connect with Chengdu's customs.

DAY 10 Chengdu to Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden

Yuyuan Garden - Ming Dynasty Beauty: Begin your day at Yuyuan Garden, a hidden gem in Shanghai's historic center. Built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, this private garden showcases classic Chinese architecture and style. Explore its 2-hectare expanse featuring rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and corridors. Nearby, a bustling market offers local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, souvenirs, and time-honored restaurants.

The Bund - Riverside Icon: Visit the iconic Bund, a 1.5-kilometer embankment along the Huangpu River. Admire 52 well-preserved European-style buildings that once defined old Shanghai's trading center. Today, it combines historic charm with modern vitality, featuring futuristic developments, chic dining, high-end shopping, and vibrant nightlife.

Shanghai Tower - Sky-High Adventure: Ascend the world's second-tallest building, the Shanghai Tower, standing at 632 meters (2,073 feet) with 128 stories. Enjoy the world's highest observation deck, the second-highest hotel, and the fastest elevators. Marvel at panoramic city views.

Shanghai Old Street - Nostalgic Nooks: Explore Shanghai's historic quarters with well-preserved old houses and narrow lanes. Experience local life, shop for antiques, crafts, and souvenirs, and savor the charm of old Shanghai.

DAY 11 Shanghai | Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town - Timeless Beauty: Embark on your journey to Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, a charming water town reminiscent of a fan's shape, boasting centuries of history. As you stroll along, you'll encounter numerous examples of Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture lining the lakeshores. Admire the 36 stone bridges that have preserved their ancient charm. The tour includes four captivating attractions: Tongtianhe (an ancient pharmacy), the historic Post Office, Yuanjin Temple, and the tranquil Kezhi Garden.

Zhujiajiao Boat Ride - Riverside Serenity: Take a leisurely boat ride through the meandering riverways of Zhujiajiao Ancient Town. Spend 10-15 minutes drifting along the serene waters, absorbing the town's picturesque scenery and timeless ambiance.

Jade Buddha Temple - A Spiritual Oasis: Visit the Jade Buddha Temple, a beloved Buddhist sanctuary established in 1918 and cherished by the locals. Marvel at the temple's treasures, including two statues of Buddha brought by sea from Burma. These exquisite statues, carved from rare single blocks of white jade and adorned with precious stones, are a sight to behold. Witness the temple's vibrant atmosphere, with monks, devotees, and visitors immersed in spiritual activities.

DAY 12 Shanghai to Yichang | Former French Concession

Former French Concession - Stroll Through History: Discover the enchanting Former French Concession Precinct, encompassing Huaihai Road, Fuxing Road, and other historic streets. On a guided walking tour, delve into the area's rich history, exploring landmarks such as the former residences of Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai, Fuxing Park, Moller Villa, Lilac Garden, Notre Dame Cathedral, and countless French colonial-style buildings, many over a century old. On sunny days, the Chenar trees cast romantic shadows, and by night, the aroma of coffee wafts from charming cafes, bars, and restaurants.

DAY 12 Yangtze River Cruise | The Three Gorges Dam

Three Gorges Dam - A Monumental Achievement: Embark on a journey to the Three Gorges Dam, an awe-inspiring feat of engineering and the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by humanity. For generations, this project has been a dream for the Chinese people. Construction officially commenced in 1994, with the dam's body completed in 2003 and the entire project finalized in 2009.

The Three Gorges Dam stretches a remarkable 2,335 meters in length, towers to a height of 185 meters, spans 18 meters across its top, and widens to an impressive 130 meters at its base. Explore this monumental structure and ascend to its summit, where you'll encounter a myriad of photo opportunities, each capturing the grandeur of this historic achievement.

DAY 13 Yangtze River Cruise | The Shennong Stream

Shennong Stream - Nature's Beauty: Embark on a captivating journey to Shennong Stream, one of the picturesque tributaries of the mighty Yangtze River. This pristine waterway flows swiftly, offering crystal-clear waters that wind their way through deep gorges. As you venture further, marvel at the breathtaking scenery, including large and small karst caves, swarms of swallows in flight, dramatic sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls, vibrant three-colored springs, thrilling rapids, and an ancient plank path with a history to discover. Keep an eye out for the suspended coffin perched on a cliff, ancient tombs that tell tales of the past, and the mesmerizing karst formations that add to the allure of this natural wonder.

DAY 14 Chongqing to Guilin | Shibaozhai

Shibaozhai - A Marvel of History: Kickstart your day with a visit to Shibaozhai, which translates to "Stone Treasure Fortress." Nestled in Zhong County, this historic gem dates back to the Qing Dynasty, with its initial construction dating to 1750. What sets Shibaozhai apart is its remarkable transformation in 2009. This wooden architectural wonder stands gracefully on the riverbanks, perched upon a rectangular rock with sheer cliffs soaring to an impressive height of 56 meters, comprising 12 stories.

Delve into the intriguing world of Shibaozhai as you explore each floor of this wooden structure, each housing a unique collection of artifacts. The 12 floors of Shibaozhai pay homage to famed generals from the Three Kingdoms period (220-265 AD), local scholars, and renowned Chinese poets. Discover the rich history and cultural heritage that graces each level of this remarkable fortress.

DAY 15 Guilin | Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Rice Terraces - Nature's Marvel: Begin your journey with a visit to the Longji Rice Terraces, an awe-inspiring man-made wonder near Guilin. These 'Dragon's Backbone' terraces were crafted over 600 years ago by local minority communities. They sprawl over 66 square kilometers, resembling dragon ribs against steep mountainsides. It's about a 2½-hour drive from Guilin.

Ping'an Zhuang Village - Cultural Exploration: Explore Ping'an Zhuang Village, home to over 50 families and perched between 300 to 1,100 meters above sea level. A moderate hike awaits, with roughly an hour of climbing steps to reach the village summit. There, capture panoramic views of the captivating rice terraces.

For convenience, sedan chairs are available at a cost of approximately CNY 350 per person for a round trip. Alternatively, we can arrange car transport directly to the village's top upon advance request, excluding Chinese national holidays.

DAY 16 Guilin to Yangshuo | Li River Cruise

Li River Cruise - Nature's Marvel: Embark on a memorable Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, a captivating 4-hour journey. Revel in the breathtaking scenery, from limestone peaks to bamboo groves, rice paddies, and water buffaloes. Keep an eye out for fishermen and their cormorants. Departure wharves vary by season. Enjoy a buffet or semi-buffet lunch on our newly introduced 4-star boat.

Yangshuo Countryside - Local Life: Explore Yangshuo's picturesque countryside, home to striking landscapes and tranquil farming communities. Experience the beauty of karst peaks, rice fields, and bamboo forests. Visit a local village with your guide, gaining insights into rural life. This 1.5-hour journey covers 10-12 kilometers, with biking, electromobile, or private car options at no extra cost.

DAY 17 Guilin to Hong Kong for 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

FromUS4,250 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-63

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

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