The Forbidden City
A Tale of Two Cities
Home China Tours Beijing Tours 6 Days Beijing and Shanghai Tour

6-Day Beijing and Shanghai Tour

If you want to understand the history of China over the last 600 years and how fast China is developing right now, this private 6 days Beijing and Shanghai tour is a great option. These 2 metropolises will let you see different sides of China. They facilitate discovery of China's history, culture, tradition and modern life for first-time visitors.

Highlights

  • Listen to stories about the royal families, when visiting 12 selected halls of the Forbidden City.
  • Enjoy a home-visit to a traditional hutong courtyard house and learn Chinese calligraphy.
  • Walk on the famous but less-crowded section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
  • Discover both the old and the modern sides of Shanghai on the Bund.
  • Try a traditional snack, loved by locals in Shanghai for over half a century.
Trip Advisor 2500+ Excellent Reviews
Our tour guide, Summer, was wonderful! She took us around Shanghai to show us the highlights of this fascinating city! She was so fun to be with! Wonderful city to see!
— Kristine Rayne, from US
Day 1Arrival in Beijing

Your private guide will await you in the arrivals hall, displaying your name and the China Highlights sign. An experienced driver with a comfortable (no-smoking) private car will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help check-in before leaving.

Hotel options:
Penta Hotel Beijing (good location near the metro station)
Crowne Plaza Hotel Chaoyang U-Town (Surrounded by touring conveniences)

Day 2The Forbidden City and Hutong Discovery Tour

Breakfast and lunch

Meet your guide in the hotel lobby after breakfast. A comfortable private car will transfer you and your guide to the first site, Tian'anmen Square.

Your guide will give you some information about the history and architecture, as well as telling you some anecdotes about the biggest city square in the world.

After taking some photos, walk to the main highlight of the day — the Forbidden City, home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1420–1911).

Your tour guide will help you explore 12 carefully-selected palaces in the Forbidden City, while other group tours usually only visit 6-8 spots briefly.

Besides admiring the splendid palaces on the central axis, you will get off the main tourist route to explore spots related to some famous figures in the 2 dynasties: the most hardworking emperors, the longest-serving empress dowager, the most talented concubine and the last emperor.

the Forbidden City The Palaces of the Forbidden City
the Hall of the Palace The hall of the palace

Have a rest and enjoy some delicious Chinese food for lunch at one of our selected local restaurants.

After lunch, ride to the old hutong area with your guide and take a rickshaw through the 300-year-old hutongs. This is a good opportunity for you to see the traditional residential houses and discover the traditional life of the ordinary people.

A visit to a local family, whose ancestors have lived in the hutongs for generations, offers a local perspective on history, and is a highlight for most visitors

Good to Know:

A traditional Chinese culture experience:We're happy to offer you "one out of three" free experiences in the hutongs (for about 40 minutes) if you are interested: either learn to apply facial makeup for Peking Opera; or learn Chinese calligraphy; or learn Chinese paper-cutting.

Chinese calligraphy Learn Chinese calligraphy in Hutong

Day 3 Visit the Temple of Heaven and Walk on the Great Wall at Mutianyu

breakfast and lunch

Visit the Temple of Heaven in the morning. This was a place where emperors used to pray for a good harvest. The Round Altar, Echo Wall and Imperial Vault of Heaven are rated as key sights here, and we will see them all.

The park of the Temple of Heaven is full of life. In the morning lots of elderly local people meet there to sing, exercise, and do traditional Chinese tai chi. Immerse yourself in the lives of the local people – now and centuries ago – through joining in their morning activities.

The Temple of HeavenThe Temple of Heaven and Chinese Kungfu

Travel 1½ hours from downtown Beijing to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Have a rest and enjoy delicious Beijing local food for lunch at our well-selected local restaurant before hiking the Great Wall at Mutianyu. This section is ranked top on TripAdvisor among all sections of the Great Wall for its picturesque scenery, and beautifully restored architecture.

In order to save your time and energy, we use round-trip cable car rides to ascend and descend the Wall, instead of spending about 40 minutes climbing and descending steps. On the Wall, you will have free time to walk around, after your guide gives some introductions.

Walking on the Mutianyu Great WallWalking on the Mutianyu Great Wall

Day 4The Summer Palace and High-Speed Train to Shanghai

breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, explore the Summer Palace. It is a world-famous imperial garden where the emperors used to retreat from the summer heat. It consists of 290 hectares divided into three main scenic areas: the palace area, the lake area, and the mountain area.

The magnificent theater buildings, the long corridor with thousands of paintings, the pretty pavilion and the elegant marble boat on the lake will reveal stories about the royal family.

Take a dragon boat on the lake (the boat trip is not available in winter as the lake will be frozen). On the way, you will have a chance to view all the beautiful palaces around the lake.

the Summer Palace The marble boat in the Summer Palace

After visiting the Summer Palace, enjoy lunch at an attractive traditional restaurant.

After lunch, move on to the railway station, and ride the high-speed train to Shanghai. You will have a first-class seat and we select the fastest train (about 4.5 hours) for your trip from Beijing to Shanghai.

The bullet trainTake the bullet train to Shanghai

Day 5Shanghai in Progress Tour, Yu Garden and Former French Concession Precinct

breakfast and lunch

Visit the Bund in-depth and learn about the history of Shanghai. Your guide will uncover stories hidden behind the old buildings.

Catch a glimpse of locals' lives in an old alley and then sit down in a Michelin-starred restaurant for a break and enjoy some delicious Shanghai food for lunch. You will also have a chance to experience the most popular way to order a takeaway in China.

Take a ferry across the Huangpu River and be amazed by the skyscrapers in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, which tells another part of Shanghai's story.

Ascend the tallest building in Shanghai — Shanghai Tower.

In the more traditional part of the city, Yu Garden presents exquisite garden scenes.

Listen to stories from the 1930s in the Former French Concession Precinct of China.

Hotel options:
Sunrise On The Bund Hotels & Resorts (near the Bund and the metro station)
Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai (located on the Bund)

the BundThe Bund
 the old streetThe old street near the Bund
Day 6Depart from Shanghai

Say goodbye to Shanghai. Your guide will escort you to the airport or train station and help you check in, before leaving.

Trip Notes

1. Free-Time Suggestions for your Beijing and Shanghai tour

In Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu Show is a mix of traditional martial arts and modern theatre. It is the most popular Kung Fu show in China, with a beautiful story, presented with stunning Kung Fu skills, plus exquisite ballet and music.

The performance takes place in the Red Theater. There are English subtitles above the stage to keep you up with the story-line. Just ask your guide, and he/she will help you obtain tickets.

In Shanghai: The acrobatics show is exciting and a night cruise on Huangpu River is also recommended to enjoy the colorful lights of the skyscrapers.

2. Customizing the Tour — According to Your Needs

The itinerary for this Beijing and Shanghai tour is not set in stone. You can alter it, extending or shortening it to suit your budget, interests, and schedule.

You can extend by a few days, visiting more areas and attractions, such as Hangzhou and Suzhou near Shanghai, for the famous West Lake or beautiful Chinese gardens, respectively. If on the other hand your time is limited, you can arrange to shorten the tour by a day in Beijing or Shanghai.

Send us an inquiry. Your personal travel advisor will give you the best options according to your needs.

From USD1,109 p/p

based on 2 persons and 4-star hotel

Service Includes
  • 1-1 consultancy from an experienced travel expert
  • 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
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