North China on Train Tour
14-Day Beijing, Datong, Pingyao, Xi'an, Luoyang and Shanghai Tour
- Train safari along North China to visit ancient capitals
- Climb the Great Wall for a breathtaking view
- Two of China's four most famous grottoes: Yungang and Longmen
- Hanging Monastery built on the mountain side
- Authentic Kungfu performance by monks Shaolin Temple
- Pingyao Ancient Town
- Magnificent underground Terracotta Army
- Observe local life at Shanghai's old residence area
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!"
Camping on the Great Wall
Did a hike of the wild Great Wall, which was an amazing experience. Highly recommended if you want to get away from the crowds. Many thanks to my guide, Oliver, who was first class. Hiked, climbed, had a bbq and camped on the Jiankou section of the Great Wall. The views were serene. An unforgettable memory! more
After your flight lands at Beijing Capital International Airport, meet your Beijing guide at the arrival hall, and transfer to hotel by private car and driver. Check in and enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
After strolling around the world's largest city square - Tiananmen Square, continue to the impressive Forbidden City for a glimpse of ancient imperial life. This ‘city within a city' is a massive architectural complex housing a large number of important treasures of ancient China.
After lunch at a traditional courtyard restaurant, get to learn some knowledge about Hutongs (Beijing's old neighborhood) at Shi Family Hutong Museum. Hop on a rickshaw and ride through the maze of narrow alleys to see local life.
We will take you to Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall, a less crowded section but with impressive views. It winds along steep mountains among dense vegetation, featuring a number of historical and cultural relics and watch towers. Take cable car up and down the mountain, which will save you from climbing up stairs and will take you to the section with good views.
After lunch, back to the city and visit Temple of Heaven, a complex of Taoist buildings where ancient emperors used to hold ceremonies to pray for good harvest.
In the morning, visit the summer retreat for ancient imperial family – Summer Palace. The lovely landscaped gardens, pavilions and corridors set around the lake in natural harmony. If weather permits, take a short wooden boat ride on the lake.
After lunch, escort to the train station for train to Datong (about 6 hours train ride). After arriving at Datong, meet your local guide and transfer to hotel.
Besides reserving rich coal deposits, Datong boasts a number of valued historical and religious treasures. In the morning, drive for 30 minutes from city center to Yungang Grottoes, one of the four most important ancient grottoes in China. Stretching for one kilometer long, the Buddhist grottoes with delicate statues and frescos were carved out on the mountain.
In the afternoon, get back to city center and visit Huayan Temple, a Liao Dynasty (12th century) temple housing statues and frescos that present the masterpiece of religious art in its time.
About one hour drive from Datong City you will get to Hanging Monastery. You will marvel at the sight once you see how the monastery hangs 50 meters high on the mountain side. Climbing up the narrow stairs feels like hanging up in mid-air. Continue to Yingxian County to see its Wooden Pagoda, the only and oldest Buddhist pagoda totally built with wood, without the help of a single nail, screw, or bolt.
Afterwards, drive for about 5 hours to Pingyao and check in at hotel.
This tiny, well preserved ancient town boasts a history of 2,700 years, providing a relatively complete picture of historical, economic, cultural and social development of the time of its founding. While strolling along the well-arranged pavements, you will see old houses and courtyards, and get to know about the town's history by visiting ancient government office, prison, China's first bank and market tower.
In the evening, the whole town is beautifully decorated by lit-up red lanterns, giving off relaxing atmoshere. Enjoy a drink at one of the many bars would be a good experience.
Driving for 10 minutes, you will visit the Shuanglin Temple first. The Shuanglin Temple is considered to be the "unrestored glory" of Pingyao, and it has over 2,000 colored mud sculptures preserved under its humble-looking roofs. Every sculpture has its own face and expression, and each of them is a rare treasure.
Located about 35 kilometers from Pingyao is Wang Family Courtyard, a masterpiece of Chinese civil residence architecture. Built on the big mountain and connected by a large bridge, it opens to the public 231 couryards and 2078 rooms, about one third of its total. Its building and decoration reflected the sense of strict hierarchy back then, and the carvings and statues all imply lots of meanings and stories.
Transfer to train station and take afternoon bullet train to Xi'an, which takes about 3 hours. Upon arrival, escort to hotel and check in.
Accidentally discovered in 1974, Terracotta Army is considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies and protected the emperor after his death for over 2,000 years.
Get back to the city and visit the city symbol - Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It was built to house precious Buddhist scripts and items brought from India. Climbing up the steep and narrow stairs will offer you a good view over the city.
In the morning, ride for about 2 hours on bullet train and reach Luoyang.
Longmen Grottoes is one of the four most significant grottoes in China, famous for its huge number of Buddhist sculptures and carvings over 1,500 years ago. About 30 minutes away stands White Horse Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China and is renowned as the cradle of Chinese Buddhism. Appreciate the vivid Buddha statues and solemn architecture, and get to know some historical stories and feel the spiritual world of Buddhism here.
Today you will visit the cradle of Chinese Kungfu at Shaolin Temple. Nestled among the dense forests of Songshan Mountain, Shaolin Temple gives you the chance to learn about the mystique of its martial arts and monks. Check out its renowned Kungfu Show at its theater, and enjoy a vegetarian lunch.
In the afternoon, transfer to airport for flight to Shanghai, which takes 2 hours. For your option, there are also bullet train (8 hours overnight) and regular train (14 hours overnight) that run from Luoyang to Shanghai, which will be more cost-effective than taking a flight. Tell us your requirements if you are interested in taking the train.
China's most prosperous city is a perfect blend of old and new, east and west. Walk through the bustling area of stands and shops selling souvenirs and food, you will come to Yuyuan Garden, a classic landscape garden with exquisite layout, beautiful scenery and artistic style.
Towering high above Pudong New Area, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower has been the outstanding landmark of Shanghai since its completion in 1995. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city skyline, and get to know some knowledge of Shanghai history at Shanghai History Museum located on the ground floor. After tasting authentic Shanghai dishes for lunch, visit the old alley neighborhoods at Shikumen, Shanghai people's traditional living area. It is now turned into a chic place retaining its old flavor, with bars, restaurants and shops. But you can still visit an old house that still has its past layout and furnishings well kept.
Today you will have a free day to explore the city on your own.
1. Tailoring your tour
This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we are happy to help you arrange with our professional knowledge and experience.
2. Taking trains in China
Arrive at the correct train station at least 30 minutes before departure time. You are required to do a security check before entering the train station, and there's a 5-8 minute walk from ticket gate to the platform. There may be long stairs and slopes without escalator, so it is suggested that you pack light.
Bring some food and drinks for the ride, which come less in varieties and higher in prices on the train. Bring toilet tissues as it is not provided onboard.
Keep your train ticket in place. It might be checked again during the ride and at the exit of train station.