Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more

9-Day Beyond the Golden Triangle

Beyond the Golden Triangle

This 9-day private tour includes not only the route to Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai which is called the golden triangle, but also has a smart combination with Pingyao by high-speed train.

In Beijing and Xi'an, immerse yourself into the glory history and stories of imperial family, while in Pingyao, touch the ordinary life of merchant in Ming and Qing Dynasty. It is the best preserved ancient city with people has residing in for generations. This is the China as you imagine: red lantern, elegant courtyard, ancient city wall built by gray bricks.

Beyond the gold triangle tour, you can travel the same destinations in three different styles. Which travel style meets your needs?


  • Experience our exclusive in-depth Forbidden City trip with our expert guide in history.
  • Go over a less-crowded area of the Great Wall by combining effort-saving cable car rides and moderate hiking.
  • Stroll the unique contemporary Chinese galleries of the famous 798 Art District of Beijing.
  • Experience high-tech HSR and authentic ancient city Pingyao with over 2700 years history.
  • Gaze amazed, confronted by the Terracotta Warriors.
  • Savor the modern and traditional cityscapes of Shanghai.

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Trip Advisor certificate of 2024 Tour Review

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival Beijing

Hotel:Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)(TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015)

Private Airport Transfer (Beijing)
Your local tour guide, driver and private car will be waiting for you upon arrival in Beijing. Your guide will assist you with your luggage at the airport and take you to your hotel.

Enjoying a Leisure Recovery
Your afternoon or evening is free for you to recovery and relax. Feel free to ask your guide what there is to do nearby, if you want to take a walk or discover parts of the area on your own.

Day 2 Tasty a Bit of Old Beijing: In-depth View of the Forbidden City with a Local Expert

Hotel:Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)
Breakfast & Lunch

A buffet breakfast & real fresh coffee will kick start your day. The expert escort you 5 hour in the emperors' house and show you some interesting places you would never find by yourself in the Forbidden City and guide you away from the noisy parts and crush of other tour groups. What you can see no longer only empty rooms in the Forbidden City but also pictures of emperors, concubines and eunuchs in the expert's ipad, stories brings it to life.

In the afternoon, the expert accompany you to visit the Tian'anmen Square that is very close to the Forbidden City and have a easy climbing to the Jinshan Hill in Jinshan Park to take a birds' eye view of the golden roofs, see it from a new angle.

Good to know
To ensure good timing, the local expert does the day tour once a day. So on this day, you have a small group tour with maximum of eight people. Interaction with the expert and group members add more fun. According to previous customers' feedback, people who love history and family with kids who are over 7 years old are like the tour.

Did you know …
That the Square can hold up to one million people!

the Forbidden City The Forbidden City
Day 3 More Highlights of Beijing

Hotel:Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)
Breakfast & Lunch

An early start and chance to exercise or stroll with locals among the 60,000 ancient trees in the Temple of Heaven's Grounds. Watch locals exercise, practice martial arts, play traditional instruments, and other activities that you may never see in your country.

The Temple of Heaven provided a place for emperors to pray to 'the most high God in heaven' for a good harvest. The Round Altar, Echo Wall and Imperial Vault of Heaven are the rated as key sights; we will cover these and more.

In the afternoon, we avoid crowd and move to Mutianyu, this less-crowded section of the Great Wall is about 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable-car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift or toboggan. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather.

Good to Know:
If hiking is your thing, or three hours of hiking is your choice, you are also able to enjoy a hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai west, just tell your travel advisor which one you prefer.

Mutianyu Great Wall Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall
Day 4 Explore a Traditional and Modern China

Hotel:Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)

Breakfast & Lunch

Continue exploring highlights of Beijing. The Summer Palace is an enormous park with pavilions, vividly painted corridors, temples, among lakes and surrounded by hills. It was originally the imperial courts summer retreat, and still makes a nice place to escape the heat of the summer. Climb the hill or take a scroll in the gardens, this is a charming place to explore before taking a dragon styled boat tour on Kunming lake.

In the afternoon, take a look at traditional hutongs where present local culture. It is an opportunity to look into ordinary people's life. We will stop at a private Chinese baijiu museum that is hidden in hutong. Thousands of bottles strong liquid tell you story in different decades of China.

Let's change into the modern part, Mingle with Artists at 798 Art District. You will be addicted to a variety of Chinese galleries set in some abandoned factories at the 798 Art District, which is the largest and most popular place for Chinese artists.

Good to know
If you like Chinese Kung Fu, ask your guide to book night show tickets. The show tells a story about how a boy monk grows up to a Kung Fu master.

Summer Palace The Summer Palace
Day 5 Beijing to Pingyao

Hotel: Yunjincheng Folk Hotel (Rank No.2 of Hotels in Pingyao on Tripadvisor)
Breakfast & Lunch

HSR to Pingyao and Exploring History in Pingyao Ancient Town
Today you get opportunity to experience smooth China's high-speed railway. Depart from Beijing at 07:58 and arrival in Pingyao at 12:09. Your guide, driver and private car will take you to the local restaurant and taste local food and take a short break before visiting the ancient town.

As a tiny ancient city with a history of nearly 3,000 years, Pingyao is one of the four best-preserved ancient cities. Walk along the Ancient City Wall, built with rammed earth inside and brick and stone outside, the ancient city walls measure 10 meters high and 6162.7 meters long with 3-5 meters wide tops, and afterwards head to Mingqing Street. One of the earliest banks in China, The Rishengchang Draft Bank established in 1823 will give you some ideas about its development.

Pingyao Ancient Town Pingyao Ancient Town
Day 6 Pingyao to Xi'an by HSR

Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Deluxe Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015)
Breakfast & Lunch

Visiting Wang Family Compound
Take your time to enjoy your breakfast, while your guide and driver will wait for you in the lobby. Today, you will see a representative of North China folk house in the Qing Dynasty-Wang Family Compound that is considered has much less tourists. The architecture has a magnificent scale with five alleys, five forts, and five ancestral temples. Besides, the courtyard layout of the five ancient forts were respectively compared to designs of five lucky animals of "dragon, phoenix, tortoise, kylin and tiger".

Your guide and driver escort you to the station to take the HSR to Xi'an in the late afternoon and arrive at Xi'an at about 7:30 pm.

Qiao Family Compound Wang Family Courtyard
Day 7 Visit Terracotta Warriors

Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Deluxe Room)
Breakfast & Lunch

Visit Xi'an's Treasure – the Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Warriors is definitely a unique highlight of Xi'an. This incredible army of more than 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots are unique and buried underground for more than 2000 years. Learn more about this imperial army and the once ancient capital of China.
Have lunch at A Wa Shan Zhan Restaurant after your visit to the Terracotta Warriors.

View the City of Xi'an from the Big Goose Pagoda
Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built from bricks without cement. Climb up to the top of the pagoda for a bird's eye view of the city center. A great place to get a photo shot of the city.

Biking on the Ancient City Wall is one of highlights. Slow down your pace and enjoy the overview of the whole city.

Good to know
It is pleasant to have a stroll at the Muslin Quarter and the Bell Tower area at night or enjoy a Tang dynasty dancing and singing show.

The Terracotta Warriors The Terracotta Army
Day 8 See a Traditional and Modern Shanghai

Hotel: Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai (Bund Studio River View) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017)
Breakfast & Lunch

Xi'an to Shanghai Transfer
Your flight departs Xi'an and arrives in Shanghai in the morning. A comfortable private car will take you to the airport at right time to avoid traffic jam.

See Shanghai's Classics – A blend of East and West
Shanghai's landmark - the Shanghai Tower offers wonderful views of the Bund. It has a revolving teahouse, if you want to sit back and enjoy local tea culture. Explore old Shanghai among Shikumen - traditional classical local houses and visit a typical Jiangnan style garden - Yuyuan Garden built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty. Taste some local Shanghainese food at Home's Restaurant.

Did you know …
Shanghai is the largest city in China by population, with around 24 million!

Good to know
Highly recommend Huangpu Evening Cruise or Era Acrobatics show.

The Bund Shanghai Skyline
Day 9 Departure from Shanghai


You have some free time to enjoy on your own before you leave this metropolis city. Your guide, a private car and driver will take you to the airport in good time for you to get on your flight home.

Trip Notes

Extend the tour:

  • Yangtze River Cruise: add 4–5 days (Chongqing to Yichang or vice versa)
  • Chengdu: usually add 2–4 days —visit a Panda research center, the Giant Buddha, Mt. Emei, Panda Keeper Program and Jiuzhaigou natural scenery. Choose your favorite.
  • Guilin: add 3-4 days —enjoy the Li River cruise, Longsheng terrace field, relax at Yangshuo
  • Suzhou and Hangzhou: add 2–3 days — visit scenic gardens, West Lake, and water towns
  • Hong Kong: add 2–3 days — visit Victoria Peak, Disneyland, and day tour Macau

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong are China's major entry cities.

Optional Activities

It must be clearly understood that enjoying these extras is your own decision. They are not included in the itinerary or tour price, so you will need to pay separately. The ticket price depends on seating. Ask your guide to book tickets if you want to see any of the following.

  • Beijing — Legend of Kungfu Show
  • Xi'an — Tang Dynasty Cultural Show plus Dumpling Banquet
  • Pingyao —Synopsis of the Dance Drama Wild Jujubes
  • Shanghai — Chinese Acrobats Show
FromUSD 1,860p/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

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

Number in your group

What's your hotel choice?

I am also available on:

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Click to Sign up

Why China Highlights

Customize Your Tour

Customize Your Tour

  • Travel Advisors Rooted in China
  • Instant Response, No More Waits!
  • Direct Connections, Supreme Values
Maximize Your Flexibility

Maximize Your Flexibility

  • Your own personal guide and ride.
  • Explore at your own pace.
  • Unparalleled flexibility, impossible on a group tour.
Ensure Your Satisfaction

Ensure Your Satisfaction

  • The Top 20% nationwide guides at your service.
  • 20% more space on your group's transportation.
  • 24/7 emergency support.
Live Your China Story

Live Your China Story

  • Authentic local culture and lifestyles.
  • Understand the culture by living it.
  • Uncover fascinating histories and witness New China.
China Highlights logo
Trip Advisor rating Rated 5 out of 5 | 98.8% Excellence
China Highlights International
Travel Service Co., LTD
Featured on
China Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China