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18-Day Beijing, Xian, Luoyang, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Shanghai and Tongli Tour

Classic China Nature and History Tour

Immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural treasures of Beijing and Xian, home to iconic landmarks like the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors. Discover the ancient city of Luoyang and marvel at the awe-inspiring Longmen Grottoes. Be mesmerized by the incredible natural beauty of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, known for its towering sandstone pillars. Indulge in the picturesque landscapes of Guilin, with its stunning karst mountains and the Li River cruise. Finally, soak in the modern charm of Shanghai and experience the tranquility of Tongli water town. Join us on this unforgettable journey through the best of 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

Forbidden City

Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

the jinshanling Great Wall

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

Hallelujah Mountain

Explore the Awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Rice Terraces

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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

Start your day by exploring the remarkable Temple of Heaven. Built in 1420 during the Ming dynasty, this sacred Taoist complex served as a place of worship for emperors praying for bountiful harvests. As you wander through the sprawling park, you'll encounter local elderly residents practicing tai chi, singing, and exercising. Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and witness the cultural traditions of Beijing. The Temple of Heaven offers a serene escape from the bustling city and provides a glimpse into China's ancient beliefs and rituals.

Next, venture to Tiananmen Square, a historically significant and expansive city square in the heart of Beijing. The square's name, which translates to "Gate of Heavenly Peace," pays homage to the iconic Tiananmen Gate located at its northern end. Take in the imposing surroundings, including museums, government buildings, and the notable Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. As you explore this symbolic space, you'll gain a deeper understanding of China's rich cultural heritage and its enduring national pride.

In the afternoon, prepare to be awed by the grandeur of the Forbidden City. Located at the core of Beijing, this imperial palace complex was the residence of emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. With its vast squares, majestic halls, intricate gardens, and opulent living quarters, the Forbidden City stands as an exceptional architectural marvel. Step into the footsteps of ancient royalty as you meander through its ornate courtyards and explore the priceless treasures of ancient China showcased in both permanent and temporary exhibitions.

DAY 3 Beijing| The Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall

Embark on a thrilling adventure as you hike from Jinshanling to Simatai West along the Great Wall of China. With breathtaking views and diverse photo opportunities, this moderate-level hike is perfect for those with a good level of fitness.

Drive approximately 2½ hours from Beijing to Jinshanling, or just 20 minutes from Gubeikou village to begin your journey. The Jinshanling section offers stunning vistas and showcases both restored and unrestored parts of the wall.

During the approximately 3-hour hike, you'll encounter over 15 well-preserved watchtowers in different styles. Capture the essence of China's rich history as you traverse this remarkable stretch, witnessing the ancient beauty of the Great Wall.

DAY 4 Beijing to Xi'an | The Summer Palace

Immerse yourself in the enchanting allure of China's grandeur at the Summer Palace, located just 9 miles (15 kilometers) northwest of Beijing's bustling downtown area. As the largest and most well-preserved royal park in the country, the Summer Palace stands as a testament to the art of Chinese horticulture and landscape design. It has rightfully earned the distinction of being called 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'.

During this captivating tour, expect to embark on a leisurely stroll of approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) through the park's sprawling grounds. Delight in the mesmerizing natural vistas that surround you, and cherish the cultural aspects that contribute to the Palace's immense appeal.

DAY 5Xi'an | The Terracotta Warriors

Begin your adventure in Xi'an's lively Muslim Quarter, where you'll find a captivating array of stalls, shops, and cafes run by the local Muslim community. Take an hour to immerse yourself in this bustling area, perfect for souvenir shopping and indulging in delicious local treats.

Next, embark on a mesmerizing journey atop Xi'an's ancient City Wall. Opt for a bicycle ride along the 13.74-kilometer (8.5 miles) circumference, offering breathtaking views of the city. If biking isn't your preference, enjoy a leisurely walk or a club car ride. In case of unfavorable weather, a visit to the iconic Bell Tower awaits.

Conclude your day with a captivating exploration of the Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors. Uncover the remarkable craftsmanship behind Emperor Qinshihuang's clay army of over 8,000 life-sized soldiers. Learn about their preservation techniques and the secrets of their vibrant colors. Your guide will accompany you to a local cave dwelling, where a skilled artisan shares their traditional warrior-making techniques. Try your hand at creating a miniature warrior with expert guidance.

DAY 6 Xi'an | Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Experience a cultural immersion through dumpling making, a beloved culinary tradition in China. Join local hosts in their homes and learn the art of crafting jiaozi (dumplings) filled with delicious meat and vegetable fillings. Spend 1 to 2 hours perfecting your skills and gaining insights into local culture.

Next, explore the awe-inspiring Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This magnificent brick pagoda, set within the enchanting Da Ci'en Temple, is a significant Buddhist landmark. Admire the temple's grand halls adorned with striking Buddhist statues and murals, as you uncover the spiritual and historical importance of this site. Spend an hour soaking in the serenity and beauty of this sacred place.

Conclude your journey with a visit to the remarkable Hanyang Tomb. Located near the Wei River, this underground museum showcases intricately crafted clay figurines from the Han Dynasty. Walk over glass floors to appreciate the artistry and gain a unique perspective of the exhibits. Immerse yourself in ancient Chinese history during this captivating 1.5-hour exploration.

DAY 7 Xi'an to Luoyang | The Longmen Grottoes

Escape to the mesmerizing Longmen Grottoes, one of China's four largest grotto complexes, located a short 13 kilometers west of Luoyang. Immerse yourself in a world where live cultural relics blend harmoniously with picturesque mountains and winding rivers. This historic site has garnered significant recognition, being designated as a key national cultural relic protection unit in 1961 and one of China's 44 National Parks in 1982. In 2000, its exceptional universal value led to its inclusion on UNESCO's revered List of World Heritage sites.

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 Changsha | 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 Changsha | Yuelu Academy

Embark on a captivating journey through the cultural gems of Changsha, starting with Juzi Island. Situated in the tranquil Xiang River, this small island resembles a vibrant green vessel majestically sailing at the heart of the city. Known as the world's longest inland river island, Juzi Island gained fame for its renowned local product: oranges. Hence, it was aptly named Orange Island. Spend 1.5 hours exploring this picturesque island, immersing yourself in its natural beauty and savoring its tranquil ambiance.

Next, discover the historic significance of Yuelu Academy, one of the four ancient academies in China during the Song Dynasty. Established in 976 AD, this millennium-old institution holds a distinguished reputation as a witness to centuries of educational reform. Spend an hour exploring the halls and tracing the footsteps of influential scholars who shaped Chinese education. Yuelu Academy offers a captivating insight into the history of Chinese education.

Conclude your journey with a visit to Mount Yuelu, located along the banks of the Xiang River. This remarkable scenic spot showcases the harmonious blend of nature and culture. Explore the picturesque trails, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy spectacular views of Changsha from the mountain's summit. Mount Yuelu beckons with its captivating landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

DAY 12 Changsha to Guilin | The Reed Flute Cave

Discover the mesmerizing Reed Flute Cave, Guilin's largest and most impressive cave. Located just 5 kilometers northwest of the city, it showcases a captivating world of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, and vibrant colors. Wander through its 240-meter expanse, marveling at the fantastic shapes of birds, animals, and plants. During the 40-minute guided tour, be sure to watch your step as you navigate its dimly lit passages with the assistance of electric torches.

Behold the iconic Elephant Trunk Hill, standing proudly at the meeting point of the Li River and Peach Blossom River. This 55-meter-high natural landmark resembles an elephant sipping water from the river. Admire its unique beauty, explore its caves, and admire the small pagoda atop the hill.

DAY 13 Guilin to Longji | Longji Rice Terraces

Discover the awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces near Guilin, an extraordinary man-made marvel. These terraces, known as the "Dragon's Backbone," offer a spectacular sight resembling dragon ribs across steep mountainsides. Built by local minority communities 600 years ago, they cover a vast area of 66 square kilometers.

Our journey takes us to Ping'an Zhuang Village, accommodating over 50 families amidst picturesque fields ranging from 300 to 1,100 meters above sea level. Please note that this excursion involves moderate walking and good fitness levels are recommended. As cars are parked outside the village, you will climb several steps for approximately an hour to reach the mountaintop, revealing panoramic views of the stunning rice terraces. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, sedan chairs are available for CNY 350 per person (round trip) or a car transfer can be arranged upon request (not available during Chinese national holidays).

DAY 14 Guilin to Yangshuo | The Li River cruise

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Yangshuo's countryside, boasting awe-inspiring karst peaks, vibrant rice fields, and serene waters. Join your knowledgeable guide on a 2-hour excursion, cycling around 10-12 kilometers or choosing alternative transportation options like electromobile or hiking at no extra cost.

Embark on an unforgettable 4-hour Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. Revel in the breathtaking scenery featuring limestone peaks, bamboo groves, and traditional rural life. Spot water buffaloes, local fishermen, and the occasional cormorant. Enjoy the comfort of a medium-sized 4-star boat, accommodating up to 80 passengers, and indulge in a buffet or semi-buffet lunch on board.

DAY 15 Guilin to Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden

Experience the charm of Yuyuan Garden, a splendid ancient oasis nestled in Shanghai's historic quarters. Built during the Ming Dynasty in 1559, this private garden showcases traditional Chinese architectural style spread across a 2-hectare complex. Explore exquisite rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and corridors. Surrounding the garden is a bustling marketplace, offering a delightful array of local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, souvenirs, and renowned time-honored restaurants.

DAY 16 Shanghai | The Bund

Marvel at the iconic Shanghai World Financial Center located in the vibrant Pudong District. Standing tall at a height of 492 meters (1,615 feet), this remarkable building was the world's second-tallest upon its completion in 2007. Ascend to the observation deck, towering at 474 meters (1,555 feet) above the ground, for panoramic city views. This multifunctional skyscraper houses hotels, apartments, restaurants, shopping malls, offices, and observation decks.

Step back in time and stroll through the enchanting streets of the Former French Concession. This captivating area covers an array of roads including Huaihai Road, Fuxing Road, Huashan Road, Ruijin Road, Yandang Road, Taikang Road, and Sinan Road. As you explore, encounter significant historical buildings such as Huaihai Road, Jinjiang Hotel, and countless French colonial-style structures. Many of these structures are over a century old, with Chenar trees casting romantic shadows on clear, warm days. Experience the vibrant ambiance as cafes, bars, and restaurants entice visitors with aromatic coffee.

Indulge in the ultimate shopping experience along Nanjing Road, Shanghai's renowned and bustling shopping street. From traditional, time-honored Chinese brand stores to international designer boutiques, Nanjing Road is a paradise for retail therapy. Explore a variety of hotels, restaurants, theaters, and shopping malls that add to the vibrant atmosphere. This cosmopolitan street offers a glimpse into modern, commercial China.

Marvel at the historic charm of The Bund, a spectacular 1.5-kilometer embankment along the western bank of the Huangpu River. Unveil the architectural gallery of 52 well-preserved old European-style buildings on the west side. Once the heart of Shanghai's trading and commercial center, The Bund has transformed into a thriving hub featuring futuristic developments, chic restaurants, upscale shops, and vibrant bars. Whether day or night, the enticing allure of The Bund promises a magical experience.

DAY 17 Shanghai to Tongli | Tongli Water Town

Begin your exploration by visiting Tuisi Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This classical garden showcases exquisite landscaping, traditional buildings, and tranquil ponds.

Ancient Bridges: Take a leisurely stroll along the canals and admire the ancient stone bridges. Notable bridges include the Three Bridges (Taiping, Jili, and Changqing), each with its unique architectural style and significance.

Explore the Town: Wander through the narrow lanes and alleyways of Tongli. Explore the quaint houses, old temples, and local handicraft shops while immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of the area.

Boat Ride: Experience the essence of Tongli's water town charm by taking a boat ride along the canals. Enjoy the scenic views as the boat glides past centuries-old houses and traditional bridges.

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-43

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