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19-Day Beijing, Xian, Lijiang, Kunming, Guizhou, Fenghuang, Shanghai and Suzhou Tour

Chinese Culture and Natural Beauty Tour

Immerse yourself in rich history at iconic sites like the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, and Forbidden City. Traverse diverse landscapes, from the ancient Lijiang Old Town to the stunning karst formations of Kunming. Discover Guizhou's vibrant ethnic culture and picturesque Fenghuang Ancient Town. Then, delve into modernity in Shanghai and classical elegance in Suzhou's classical gardens.

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

Visit the Ethnic Group Miao Village in Guizhou

Miao Village

Step Into the Rich History of Fenghuang Ancient City

Fenghuang Ancient City

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

Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall: Dive into Beijing's rich history and future urban development at the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall. This dynamic showcase highlights the city's ancient roots and modern achievements in urban planning. Explore the splendid vision for Beijing's future development in this engaging exhibit.

The Forbidden City: Step back in time as you enter the iconic Forbidden City, a palace complex that served as the imperial seat for over 24 Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors. This vast architectural marvel boasts grand squares, majestic halls, intricate gardens, and intimate living quarters, offering a glimpse into China's imperial legacy. Stroll through this historical treasure trove during a 2-hour, moderately paced walk.

Tiananmen Square: Discover the grandeur of Tiananmen Square, the world's largest city square, nestled at the heart of Beijing. Framed by the impressive Tiananmen Gate, this historic square has witnessed pivotal moments in Chinese history. As you explore, marvel at architectural wonders like the Forbidden City's entrance, visit museums, and pay respects at Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. Feel the pulse of China's national pride in this monumental space.

DAY 3 Beijing| The Temple of Heaven and Lama Temple

Lama Temple: Explore the vibrant Yonghe Lamasery, a Tibetan Buddhist temple that stands as the largest and most renowned outside of Tibet. Alive with spiritual energy, this active temple attracts devout worshippers and those seeking good fortune. Marvel at its stunning halls, courtyards, and the world's largest wooden statue, the Maitreya Buddha. Don't miss the Tibetan exhibitions that offer unique insights into this rich culture.

Beijing Opera at Liyuan: Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of Beijing opera, also known as Peking opera. It's China's national opera, celebrated for its captivating music, singing, and artistic costumes. This performance is a cultural treasure trove, weaving together Chinese traditions, storytelling, stunning visuals, and acrobatic artistry. Dress comfortably, as there's no need to don formal attire. Keep in mind that prices may vary with the season.

Peking University: Discover Peking University, the first national university in China's modern history, celebrated for its academic excellence. Beyond its educational stature, the campus boasts enchanting traditional Chinese architecture, adding to its allure.

Temple of Heaven: Step back to 1420 during the Ming Dynasty as you visit the Temple of Heaven, an intricate complex of Taoist structures where emperors once held annual ceremonies to pray for bountiful harvests. The temple's surrounding park comes alive in the mornings with local seniors gathering for singing, exercise, and Tai Chi. This expansive 273-hectare park is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Beijing.

DAY 4 Beijing | The Gubeikou Great Wall

Gubeikou Wild Great Wall Hiking Adventure: Discover the awe-inspiring Gubeikou section of the Great Wall, suitable for hikers of all ages and fitness levels. This medium-level hike encompasses two distinct parts: Coiling Dragon Hill and Crouching Tiger Hill, with our focus on the accessible and captivating Coiling Dragon Hill.

Rich History and Untamed Terrain: Gubeikou boasts a storied past, protecting Beijing from Mongol invasions and hosting a pivotal WWII battle. The Wall's sinuous path over Yanshan Mountain captivates with its beauty. Explore Coiling Dragon Hill, an untouched gem where a short trail leads to the Wall. Afterward, embark on an hour-long trek to the 24-Eye Tower, offering panoramic views of Coiling Dragon and Tiger Hills. While we won't continue east into a military zone, your return journey heads westward toward Tiger Hill.

DAY 5 Beijing to Xi'an | The Summer Palace

Summer Palace Exploration: Located just 9 miles from downtown Beijing, the Summer Palace stands as the largest and best-preserved royal park in China. This splendid oasis showcases the profound influence of Chinese horticulture and landscape architecture. Often hailed as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens,' it offers a blend of breathtaking natural vistas and cultural treasures. Your journey through the palace involves a leisurely 2-hour, 2-kilometer stroll amid its enchanting surroundings.

Scenic Boat Ride: Opt for an alternative perspective on the Summer Palace's beauty with a relaxing 10-minute ferry ride across its picturesque lake. As you glide over the tranquil waters, soak in the serene ambiance and marvel at the palace's stunning panoramas.

Olympic Stadiums Encounter: Venture north to explore the impressive Beijing Olympic Stadiums, including the renowned Bird's Nest and the National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube. This vast 1,215-hectare area houses a myriad of Olympic facilities. While you'll have the opportunity to admire these architectural marvels and explore the surrounding park, please note that the tour does not include access to the interiors of the Bird's Nest and Water Cube.

DAY 6 Xi'an | Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Terracotta Warriors and Horses: Unearthed by chance in 1974, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses are an astounding army of over 7,000 life-sized soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots, meticulously arranged in battle formation to protect Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Each figure is a unique masterpiece, with ongoing restoration efforts and excavations taking place within the protective confines of massive hangars. Located just 1.5 hours from Xian, this site also boasts an exceptional museum and a captivating film narrating the vaults' rich history. Cameras are welcome (no flash, please), so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

Ancient City Wall: Imposing walls, robust ramparts, grand gates, and towering watchtowers come together to create one of the most intact and ancient city defenses globally. Constructed in the 13th century, this wall was built upon the original foundations of the Tang Forbidden City, embracing the city center. You can explore this historical marvel by foot or, for an additional fee, rent a bike (CNY40 per person) or an electric cart (CNY80 per person) for an exhilarating 14-kilometer circuit, offering breathtaking vistas of the city on both sides.

Terracotta Warrior Crafting Experience: Embark on a fascinating journey to a countryside cave dwelling, where a local artisan will reveal the secrets of crafting Terracotta Warriors. Learn about the intricate process used to create life-sized warriors in ancient times and uncover the most challenging steps. Gain hands-on experience and engage with the welcoming locals, not only unraveling the detailed crafting procedures but also forging meaningful connections.

Muslim Quarter: Just 100 meters west of the Bell Tower in downtown Xi'an lies the enchanting Muslim Quarter. This vibrant 500-meter-long avenue, adorned with blue-stone pavement, is a bustling hub of unique stalls, souvenir shops, cozy cafes, and bars primarily operated by the Muslim community. It's a popular destination for tourists, especially those from overseas, who flock here to shop, savor local delicacies, and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of cultures that converge in this lively quarter.

DAY 7 Xi'an to Kunming | The Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: A prominent Buddhist landmark, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a testament to the profound spirituality that graces the serene Da Ci'en Temple grounds. Constructed in the 7th century, this simple yet elegant brick pagoda served as a repository for the precious Buddhist scriptures brought back from the epic journey to India by Xuanzang, also known as Tripitaka. As you explore the temple complex, you'll encounter expansive halls adorned with magnificent Buddhist statues and captivating murals, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of spiritual history.

DAY 8 Kunming to lijiang| The Jade Snow Mountain

Spruce Meadow on Jade Snow Mountain: Nestled halfway up Shanzidou, within the enchanting spruce jungle, lies the hidden gem known as Spruce Meadow, situated at an altitude of 3,240 meters. As spring and summer breathe life into the landscape, the meadow carpets the mountain ridge in vibrant green hues. Adding a touch of romance to its allure is the legend of two star-crossed lovers who sacrificed for love. Beyond its romantic charm, Spruce Meadow is a haven for photographers and a stage for captivating local ethnic dance performances.

Baisha Murals at Baisha Village: These ancient murals, painted over a millennium ago, serve as a captivating fusion of Han, Tibetan, and Naxi cultures, vividly portraying the life narratives of Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. As you leisurely stroll through Baisha Village, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in local life and culture, gaining insights into the rich tapestry of traditions that have shaped the region.

DAY 9 Lijiang | Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town: Nestled at an altitude of over 2,400 meters, Lijiang Ancient Town is a living testament to China's rich history and vibrant culture. This well-preserved minority ancient city is a true rarity, offering captivating scenery and a remarkable heritage. While the town comes alive in the afternoon and evening with its bustling lights and crowds, consider an early morning visit for a more tranquil experience.

Wangu Tower: Perched atop Lion Hill, Wangu Tower serves as the iconic landmark of Lijiang Ancient Town. Rising 33 meters into the sky, this majestic wooden structure provides a panoramic vista of Lijiang at its feet, with the distant Jade Dragon Snow Mountain completing the breathtaking backdrop.

The Mufu (Wood Mansion): Once the official residence of Lijiang's ancient ruler Mu and the venue for hosting his officials, the Mufu is a testament to Governor Mu's Ming dynasty influence. Modeled after the Forbidden City, it stands as Lijiang's largest cluster of buildings, showcasing the Naxi people's architectural prowess and artistic finesse.

Tiger Leaping Gorge: Revered as one of the deepest and most awe-inspiring gorges, Tiger Leaping Gorges are nestled in Hutiaoxia Town, approximately 105 kilometers from Zhongdian/Shangri-La County. Spring, when melting snow rushes down the mountains, is the ideal time to explore this natural wonder, where the river's turbulence reaches its zenith.

DAY 10 Lijiang to Kunming | The Stone Forest

The Stone Forest: Situated 90 kilometers southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest is a breathtaking natural wonder. Millions of years of Earth's movements have crafted this extraordinary karst landscape, resulting in a mesmerizing array of unique rock formations. What makes this place even more remarkable is its role as the home of the Sani people, whose vibrant folk customs add an extra layer of fascination to the already stunning scenery. Immerse yourself in the world of colorful embroidery, captivating minority dances, and awe-inspiring natural beauty for an unforgettable experience.

Yuantong Temple: Steeped in history dating back over 1,200 years, Yuantong Temple proudly stands as Kunming's largest and most revered temple. In 1956, it hosted the grand ceremony to welcome and consecrate the Buddha's tooth, an event of great significance. Recognized by the State Council as one of China's key Buddhist temples, Yuantong Temple offers a spiritual journey into the heart of Kunming's rich cultural heritage.

DAY 11 Kunming to Guiyang | Jiaxiulou

Jiaxiulou: A Guiyang icon dating back to 1598, Jiaxiulou is a symbol of the city's rich history. This timberwork tower, adorned with attics, stands proudly with twelve stone pillars supporting its base. Marvel at its elegance as it is encircled by a graceful marble balustrade. Jiaxiu Tower is intricately connected to the Fuyu Bridge, seamlessly uniting both the southern and northern banks of Guiyang.

Qianling Park: Nestled atop Qianling Hill, a mere 1.5 kilometers from Guiyang City's heart, lies the sprawling Qianling Park, covering a vast 426-hectare expanse. Established in 1957, it holds a unique status as a 4-A National Tourist Attraction. Stroll beneath the canopy of ancient trees, take in the gentle breezes rippling across Qianling Lake, wander the meandering paths of the Nine-winds Path, and watch fish gracefully glide through the Seven-star Lotus Pond. This park is a sanctuary of natural beauty within the city, inviting you to explore its tranquil wonders.

DAY 12 Guiyang to Kaili | Qingman Miao Village

Shiqiao Paper-Making Experience: Venture to Shiqiao Village, renowned as the 'Village of Ancient Papermaking,' where time seems to stand still. Here, the age-old craft of papermaking, a tradition spanning over 1,500 years, has been meticulously preserved by its inhabitants. Discover the ingenious methods our ancestors employed to transform simple wood into enduring paper, all without the aid of modern machinery.

Qingman Miao Village: Begin your journey into Qingman Miao Village with a traditional block-way wine reception, a warm introduction to the local culture. Step into the wooden stilt houses where families reside and witness the intricate art of fabric dyeing using indigo, showcasing the village's rich heritage.

Qingman Miao Village with Welcome Ceremony: Prepare to be welcomed into the heart of Qingman Miao Village with a grand ceremony. Adorned in traditional Miao attire, the villagers gather on either side of the village entrance to extend their heartfelt greetings. A central element of this ceremony involves sipping three cups of rice wine, offered by the ceremony's hostess. This symbolic gesture signifies the warm embrace of a distant friend. Completing the three toasts is essential, as failing to do so may lead to a playful village prohibition.

DAY 13 Kaili | Jidao Miao Village

Jidao Miao Village: Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Guizhou, one of China's southwestern provinces, lies the enchanting Jidao Miao Village. Inhabited by the Miao ethnic community, this village offers a glimpse into a simpler way of life. Children frolic in the fields, where lush, organically grown vegetables thrive against the backdrop of towering pine forests. Within the traditional wooden houses, some dating back centuries, elderly women tend to crackling fires. As you approach, friendly villagers extend a warm welcome, sharing a customary block-way wine before you enter. Take this opportunity to witness the Miao people's traditional spinning and weaving techniques, keeping their rich heritage alive.

Matang Ge Ancestral Home: Located in Longchang Town, just 21 kilometers north of Kaili, Matang Ge Stronghold beckons with its vibrant wax printing craft, adorned with brilliant colors and intricate designs. Local women embark on their journey of mastering "dotting flower" wax printing as early as eight or nine years old, becoming skilled artisans by their mid-teens. Wax-printed patterns grace a wide array of items, from women's coats, dresses, and suspenders to curtains, quilt covers, and tablecloths. Matang welcomes tourists with special wooden accommodations, and its residents excel in sharing the art of wax printing, embroidery, and decorative crafts.

Kaili Ethnic Minorities Museum: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of southeastern Guizhou Province at the Kaili Ethnic Minorities Museum. Here, you'll find a comprehensive exploration of the region's human culture, geography, and the customs of its various national minorities. Engaging exhibits feature written accounts, captivating imagery, and intriguing artifacts. Don't miss the Minority Customs Hall and Dragon Boat Hall, where you'll gain deep insights into Guizhou's diverse minority communities, offering a compelling overview of their traditions and heritage.

DAY 14 Kaili to Taijiang and Zhenyuan | Wuyang River Boat Ride

Wuyang River Boat Ride: Embark on a captivating journey along the Wuyang River and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing limestone mountain landscapes. As you gracefully glide along the river's gentle currents, let the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding limestone formations enchant your senses.

Green Dragon Cave: Step back in time as you explore the Green Dragon Cave, an ancient complex with a rich history dating back 500 years to the Ming Dynasty. This remarkable site, despite enduring multiple instances of damage and subsequent restoration, now sprawls across an impressive 21,000 square kilometers. Discover its diverse facets, including the cave itself, the Zichan Academy, and the Longevity Palace. The Black Dragon Cave harmoniously blends elements of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, offering a profound glimpse into China's spiritual and philosophical traditions.

Zhengyuan Ancient Town: Hidden along the picturesque banks of the Wuyang River, Zhengyuan Ancient Town is a charming gem waiting to be explored. This quaint town boasts a wealth of historical treasures, including centuries-old buildings, traditional folk houses, and ancient piers. As you wander through its well-preserved streets, you'll be transported back in time, experiencing the authentic ambiance of this riverside community.

DAY 15 Zhenyuan to Fenghuang | Fenghuang Ancient City

Fenghuang Ancient City (Phoenix City): Nestled along the picturesque banks of the Tuo River at the western border of Hunan, Fenghuang Ancient City, also known as Phoenix City, offers a captivating journey through time. The city derives its name from the mythical phoenix, and its ambiance echoes the tranquility of days gone by. As daylight graces its ancient streets, Fenghuang exudes a serene and secluded charm. However, as night descends, the city transforms into a vibrant wonderland illuminated by countless lanterns. During your visit to Fenghuang Ancient City, you'll have the opportunity to explore nine renowned attractions, each offering a unique glimpse into the rich tapestry of its history and culture.

DAY 16 Tongren to Shanghai and Suzhou | Humble Administrator's Garden

Humble Administrator's Garden: Step into a masterpiece of Chinese classical garden design dating back to the Ming dynasty. The Humble Administrator's Garden is a sprawling 5-hectare oasis that showcases the essence of traditional Chinese gardens. Its heart revolves around a serene central pond, complemented by pavilions, terraces, chambers, and towers gracefully dotting the landscape. The garden unfolds in three distinct parts: east, middle, and west. As one of the largest and most renowned gardens in China, it promises an enchanting experience for all. Be sure to explore the Garden Museum and every nook and cranny of this exquisite destination. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended as you'll cover quite a bit of ground.

Suzhou Museum: Designed by the renowned Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, famously known as I.M. Pei, the Suzhou Museum is a treasure trove of history and art. Its primary exhibits showcase ancient bronzes and jades excavated from the Suzhou region, offering a glimpse into the area's rich past dating back 2,500 years. The museum also features a collection of masterful paintings from the Ming Dynasty, highlighting the talents of Suzhou's finest artists.

Silk Museum: Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of silk culture at China's National Silk Museum, the largest of its kind globally. This museum is a testament to the profound importance of silk in Chinese history. Explore its extensive exhibits, tracing the evolution of silk production techniques, the significance of silk in ancient trade, and its cultural impact. Delve into the captivating story of silk, a fabric that weaves together China's past and present.

DAY 17 Suzhou to Shanghai | Jinmao Tower

Jinmao Tower: Soaring 88 stories high, the Jinmao Tower is a magnificent skyscraper that ranks among the tallest in the world. Take your adventure to new heights by visiting the observation deck on the 88th floor, where breathtaking vistas of Shanghai await. For a touch of indulgence, explore the bars and coffee shops nestled within the Grand Hyatt, spanning the 53rd to the 87th floors. This iconic tower promises not only stunning views but also a taste of luxury and elegance.

Shanghai World Financial Center: Standing tall in the vibrant Pudong District, the Shanghai World Financial Center is a towering symbol of prosperity, reaching an impressive height of 492 meters (1,615 feet). It held the title of the world's second tallest building upon its completion in 2007. Elevate your Shanghai experience by ascending to the observation deck, perched at a staggering 474 meters (1,555 feet) above the ground—currently the world's highest. This multifunctional skyscraper seamlessly blends hotels, apartments, restaurants, shopping malls, offices, and observation decks, offering a multifaceted urban adventure.

China Art Palace (EXPO China Pavilion): Uncover the "Crown of the East" at the China Art Palace, formerly known as the EXPO China Pavilion. This architectural gem invites you to explore China's rich cultural heritage and contemporary art scene. Discover captivating exhibitions, delve into the nation's artistic legacy, and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Chinese creativity.

DAY 18 Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall: Just a short stroll from Renmin Square and adjacent to the Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall provides an intriguing glimpse into the city's future. On the second floor, you'll encounter a colossal walkaround model of the city, while other floors offer captivating displays and interactive exhibitions. Explore the blueprints of Shanghai's evolving landscape and its visionary urban development.

Yuyuan Garden: Nestled in the heart of Shanghai's historic quarters, Yuyuan Garden is a precious gem dating back to 1559 during the Ming Dynasty. This private garden showcases quintessential Chinese architecture and style, spanning 2 hectares adorned with rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and meandering corridors. Surrounding the garden is a bustling marketplace, where you can savor local delicacies, peruse handicrafts, discover antiques, and collect souvenirs. Don't miss the opportunity to dine at renowned time-honored restaurants nearby.

Shanghai Museum: Renowned as one of China's premier museums, the Shanghai Museum is a treasure trove of ancient Chinese art. Its expansive 38,000-square-meter space houses eleven galleries and three exhibition halls, showcasing a rich tapestry of Chinese culture. Explore exquisite ancient Chinese bronzes, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, Ming and Qing dynasty furniture, and the crafts of China's diverse ethnic groups. Among its prized possessions is a "transparent" bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty, one of only three extant specimens of its kind.

Evening Pujiang Cruise (from South Bund to Yangpu Bridge): Embark on a mesmerizing journey along the Huangpu River, offering a unique perspective of both old and modern Shanghai. As day turns to night, the cityscape transforms into a dazzling panorama of lights. This river cruise promises an enchanting experience, allowing you to witness Shanghai's past and present gracefully illuminated against the river's backdrop.

DAY 19 Shanghai Departure

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

Tour Price

FromUS4,750 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-65

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