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13-Day Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai Educational Family Vacation

Chinese Language and Culture Immersion Tour

13-Day Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai Educational Family Vacation

Day 1-4 Beijing - Forbidden City, the Great Wall night tour
Day 5-7 Xi'an - The Terracotta Army, Dumplings Making
Day 8-9 Chengdu - The Giant Panda, The Giant Buddha
Day 10-13 Shanghai - New China, Disneyland

During this trip, you will:

Enjoy a memorable family vacation

  • An educational trip covering many of China's popular icons
  • 100% tailor-made for your family's needs and desires

Improve your children's Mandarin proficiency

  • Mandarin- & English-speaking guides
  • Practice Mandarin with friendly locals

Gain great insights into China today

  • Chinese-culture immersion activities
  • Experience China's development first-hand


Enjoy the Great Wall at night

Suggested Itinerary

The sample itinerary below is specially designed for 5th-grade children, who are in a Mandarin Immersion Program at school. We can, however, customize the trip to suit your interests, preferences, budget and children's Chinese-language proficiency.

Day 1Beijing | Arrival

Ni Hao! Begin your family immersion in the Far East with a smile from your personal guide at Beijing International Capital Airport (PEK).

Your guide will accompany you to your centrally-located hotel in a comfortable private vehicle and help you with check-in. If you are worried about jet lag, we can have a late start on Day 2 or simply leave it as a free day. Feel free to let us know your preference.

Hotel options:
Novotel Peace Beijing

Day 2Beijing | Roots of Chinese Culture

Let's start our Chinese immersion tour with the Temple of Confucius, to begin to understand how Confucius's principles shaped Chinese tradition and beliefs.

Then we'll head to the Imperial Academy, and learn about China's traditional education system. You should be on time to enjoy some Dacheng Rites Music, and to observe how Chinese people transform educational ideas into singing and dancing.

Enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch in a local restaurant, where an a-la-carte meal will be arranged. Kids can talk to the waitress in mandarin and order food from the Chinese menu.

In the afternoon, practice art vocabulary in Lama Temple, built using a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.

Temple of ConfuciusTemple of Confucius
Lama TempleLama Temple
Day 3Beijing | The Great Wall

In the morning, drive to China's amazing icon, the Great Wall. We recommend the Mutianyu section for its majestic views and comparatively smaller crowds.

There are five gigantic Chinese characters on one hillside by the wall. Find out what they mean and why they are there from your knowledgeable guide. A chairlift going up and toboggan sliding down are included, to help make the experience more fun for kids.

Lunch will be arranged in a hidden retreat-restaurant at the foot of the Great Wall. The restaurant used to be a glazed-tile factory. Now it offers organic dishes and an opportunity to explore rural China. Head back to your hotel in the city center.

The Mutianyu Section of the Great WallThe Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall
Traveling by TobogganTraveling by Toboggan
Day 4Beijing | Eco Tour of City Highlights

Today we'll explore the highlights of Beijing city using public transport. Kids will learn how to ask for directions and will read some Chinese signs along the way.

According to your preferences, the distances, and weather etc, your guide may choose to go by bike, subway, bus, or foot! You will not only be helping towards environmental protection, but also gain deeper insights into local people's lives.

First visit Tian'anmen Square, and then the Forbidden City. Enjoy the famous Peking roast duck for lunch, and then learn the art of Chinese calligraphy from a hutong family.

If you would prefer not to use public transport, we can arrange a private vehicle instead.

Cultural Immersion in the Forbidden CityCultural Immersion in the Forbidden City
Calligraphy with a Local FamilyCalligraphy with a Local Family
Day 5Beijing to Xi'an | Tai Chi Experience

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, head to the Temple of Heaven, the place where emperors worshipped heaven.

Now it is a bustling place where locals participate in all kinds of activities, such as kite-flying, dancing and water-calligraphy. Let's join them and practice daily conversation.

Then it will be time for a tai chi class with a renowned local tai chi master. You will learn some basic movements and how these relate to Chinese culture and traditional health science.

Race towards Xi'an and enjoy lunch on a high-speed train, a good way to experience China's technological development.

Hotel options:
Somerset Xindicheng Xi'an

Tai Chi Culture ExperienceTai Chi Culture Experience
High-Speed TrainHigh-Speed Train
Day 6Xi'an | The Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors are one of the greatest man-made wonders. We will introduce you to a different Terracotta Museum, one that can't be googled:

Within 11 years, Emperor Qinshihuang's craftsmen made more than 8,000 life-sized warriors. How could craftsmen of 2,200 years ago do that so quickly? How could they keep the clay warriors from cracking?

You will discover the answers from your knowledgeable guide.

Then pay a visit to a local cave dwelling where a craftsman makes warriors in the traditional way. Make a little warrior of your own, with your local host's help.

After lunch, we head back along the Silk Road to the city center for a food challenge at the Muslim Quarter.

The Terracotta WarriorsThe Terracotta Warriors
Cave DwellingCave Dwelling
Day 7Xi'an | National Costume Experience

You’ll first visit Shaanxi History Museum, the top museum in China. Your guide will introduce to you the impact on China of cultural exchange with other countries.

Visit an energetic local family. Make dumplings and enjoy a family meal with them.

Later, we will learn from an ancient academy about China’s traditional national costume. Your guide will teach you the basics of Hanfu, traditional dress of the Han Chinese people, and you will have time to dress up in such costumes and imagine life in ancient times.

 Cultural Immersion Cultural Immersion
Family FunFamily Fun
Day 8Xi'an to Chengdu | Street Food

Catch the morning high-speed train to Chengdu, a city renowned mainly for two things – its pandas and its food.

We will spend the rest of the day tasting famous street food, taking family photos in front of the world's largest panda-statue and then writing a post card in Chinese in the Panda Post Office.

Hotel options:
Lia! Chengdu Hotel

The Largest Panda StatueThe Largest Panda Statue
Sugar Painting on the StreetSugar Painting on the Street
Day 9Chengdu | Giant Panda

Arrive at the Breeding Research Base in the early morning, when the pandas are most active. There are more than 80 giant and red pandas at the base. Visit between July and September, and you might get to see baby pandas taking their first steps in the nursery. Afterwards, return to downtown Chengdu for a hot-pot lunch.

In the afternoon, we will have a little adventure at Chengdu's last remaining farmer's market. Kids will take up the task of using Chinese to purchase some special delicacy from locals and will master the art of bargaining.

Baby PandaBaby Panda
Market AdventureMarket Adventure
Day 10 Chengdu to Shanghai | Giant Buddha

Drive for 2 hours and arrive in Leshan by noon. You can enjoy the countryside scenery along the way. After a short break and lunch, begin your journey to the Giant Buddha.

Climb up the Buddha, then walk down the narrow plank all the way to its feet, to discover you are only as tall as one of its toes.

A cruise on the river nearby is also included, so you can have a different panoramic view of the Buddha. Legend has it that the Buddha has hidden treasure inside. Can you find the entrance? Your personal guide will whisper the secret to you.

After the tour, your private guide and driver will accompany you to the airport and you will fly to Shanghai. Your Shanghai guide will be waiting to escort you back to your hotel.

Hotel options:
SSAW Boutique Hotel The Bund

The Giant BuddhaThe Giant Buddha
Day 11Shanghai | New China

Today your local guide will lead you to discover the secret of Shanghai's rise to prominence. The clues start from the Bund, where foreigners first landed in Shanghai hundreds of years ago. Each building tells its own golden-age story.

Wander through alleyways to catch a glimpse of the lives of locals. Sit down for a break in a Michelin-starred restaurant and enjoy some delicious Shanghai snacks.

Try to squeeze onto the public ferry to cross the Huangpu River along with the crowds, and travel slowly from old Shanghai to the new Pudong area. Ascend the tallest building in Shanghai - Shanghai Tower. Discuss how Shanghai impacts China and how China impacts the world.

Half-Day Customized Icing-on-the-Cake Experience

After traveling in China for around 10 days, you might want to do something different at the end of your tour. Do you want to have some relaxation time? Do you have any unfulfilled trip wishes? In the magic city of Shanghai, your private guide will make your wishes come true!

Whether you want to relax, experience fashion, appreciate art, explore folk customs, or shop; from having fun in fancy bar to exploring an art center, trying nail beauty, testing your popularity in the marriage market, or just buying some lovely gifts, we will make it happen. Just tell us what you’re interested in.

If you don’t know what you want, just let your guide make the arrangements. You will not be disappointed!

The BundThe Bund
Local Snack – Pan-Fried Pork BunLocal Snack – Pan-Fried Pork Bun
Day 12Shanghai | Disneyland

It has been a long journey for the whole family. Why not keep a nice surprise for the end, as a reward for the kids?

Let's create some memorable family moments at Shanghai Disneyland. A private vehicle will escort you directly to the Disneyland entrance. Enjoy fun experiences the whole day, and fireworks in the evening.

Hotel options:
Toy Story Hotel

Shanghai DisneylandShanghai Disneyland
Day 13Shanghai | Departure

Pack the gains from Chinese immersion along with some other unforgettable memories. Your private car, driver, and guide will be ready and waiting at your hotel lobby to get you to the airport on time. Have a nice journey home!

Trip Notes

Every element of the tour above can be tailored. Feel free to tell us your ideas and we will be happy to make adjustments for you.

1. Extend the Tour

  • Guilin and Yangshuo: add 2-3 days - idyllic countryside and fun along the river
  • Huangshan: add 3 days - mountain views and rural local life
  • Hong Kong: add 2–3 days - mixture of Eastern and Western culture, Hong Kong Disneyland
  • More destinations: Zhangjiajie, Yunnan and Tibet. Inform us of your interests and we will offer you our recommendations.

2. Accommodation

Hotels with a convenient location are included. In most cities, we recommend hotels with a swimming pool.

Various types of accommodation are available, including famous 5-star hotel chains, 4-star hotels in the best locations, good-value 3-star hotels, or boutique hotels that reflect the styles of their regions.

Whatever your accommodation preferences, our travel experts will seek out and find the perfect hotels for you.

3. Transportation

China is a huge country, so to make your travel experience smoother, we usually arrange flights between destinations.

China's high-speed rail network, however, is a fast-paced way to travel. To interested customers, we recommend taking high-speed trains for journeys of less than 6 hours - let's know if you are interested.

4. Meals

Buffet breakfasts at hotels and lunches at popular local restaurants are included, so you can taste authentic Chinese food. Children will be able read Chinese menus and order dishes in Chinese. Your guide will be there in case you need help.

Vegetarian, halal, kosher, Indian, or gluten-free - all your dietary requirements can be taken care of by our experienced private guides. When booking, please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.

FromUSD 3,400p/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

About China Highlights

Since 1998 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents, Australian Geographic and retired backpackers. Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path, helping you discover China in a more authentic way. Our motto: "Discovery Your Way!"

Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.




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1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

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Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
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