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China's Ancient and Modern Collision

China's Ancient and Modern Collision

Day 1–3 Shanghai - Modern skyline, Ancient Garden
Day 4-5 Xi'an - The Terracotta Army
Day 6-8 Beijing - Forbidden City, Great Wall Hiking


  • Insider's route - unique sites along the Bund that are difficult to find by yourself.
  • Eat like a local - take a food adventure and discover traditional and trendy food that has gone viral.
  • Local interaction - make clay warriors with a local artisan in his/her authentic cave dwelling which is disappearing.
  • Unique perspective - listen to the interesting stories of eight famous figures in the Forbidden City
  • Explore the most beautiful section of the Great Wall, where there are fewer tourists.

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Itinerary Details

Within a short period, you will not only see many human wonders like the Great Wall, Terra-cotta Warriors in the brilliant Chinese cultural and historical cities, but also visit the metropolis, Shanghai, to see all kinds of Chinese ancient arts in the Shanghai Museum.

Day 1Shanghai Arrival

Welcome to bustling Shanghai! To ensure your arrival is stress-free, your private tour guide will meet you in the arrivals hall and transfer you to your hotel in a private car. Your luggage and hotel check-in will be taken care of.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

  • Worried about jet lag? You may start the tour with a relaxing free day to adjust.
  • If you are an energetic person, we can fill your first day with activities you'll enjoy.

Hotel options:
Sunrise On The Bund
Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai

Day 2Shanghai Highlights and Bund Discovery

breakfast & lunch

Visit Yu Garden, which is a delicate classical garden that is hidden among high buildings. You will hear interesting stories about its former owner, and learn why its dragon wall almost killed its former owner.

Walking along the Bund, you will learn about Shanghai's rise. Your guide will take you into historical buildings where you can touch the old items and he/she will tell you stories about their past.

Wander through alleyways to get a glimpse of the locals' lifestyles. Your guide will take you to a famous local restaurant to taste Shanghai's most typical snack - xiaolongbao (steamed buns). Learn the proper way to eat one or you will burn your mouth!

Be like a local as you hop on a public ferry among the crowds to cross the Huangpu River and slowly travel from old Shanghai to Shanghai's Pudong New Area.

Take the fastest elevator in the world and ascend the highest building in Shanghai - the Shanghai Tower. You can enjoy seeing the Oriental Pearl TV Tower below you and get a bird's-eye view of the entire city.

Explore hidden alleys of the BundExplore hidden alleys of the Bund
Immerse yourself in the elegant Yu GardenImmerse yourself in the elegant Yu Garden
Day 3Historical Shanghai and Water Town, Flight to Xian

breakfast & lunch

Wander in the former French Concession where your guide will tell you stories about the buildings and the colonial history. Pass by the stylish buildings constructed a century ago and try to find a famous one.

Next, enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Zhujiajiao Water Town. Walk over the bridges and by the river, and relax in a rowing boat. This lovely town will make you forget that you are next to a big city.

After Zhujiajiao Water Town, your tour guide and driver will escort you to the airport for your flight to Xian. Your Xian guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel, where you can have a good rest.

Relax on a little boat in the water townRelax on a little boat in the water town
Learn Shanghai's colonial past in the Former French ConcessionLearn Shanghai's colonial past in the Former French Concession
Day 4Secret of the Terracotta Warriors and Food Challenge

breakfast & lunch

After driving for 1½ hours from Xi'an, you'll meet the terracotta warriors that you have seen in photos, books, and on television hundreds of times. Discover the army's secrets with the help of your guide. How were the warriors made? How are they preserved? What were their original colors?

Then your guide will bring you even closer to the warriors as you learn how to make miniature versions from a local shokunin family at their cave dwelling.

Learn traditional techniques used 2,000 years ago and try your hand at molding and carving. Have a nice interaction with the family and listen to their stories for a taste of the locals' real lifestyles.

There are only a few craftsmen left who continue to work in a traditional way. Visiting their workshops is a good way to support the local community, which should be sustainably developed.

In the afternoon, you will be driven back to the downtown area where you will visit the Great Mosque and have fun in the Muslim Quarter. Challenge yourself to take a food adventure, finding both traditional dishes and special snacks that have gone viral.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Xi'an is a good destination for tasting Chinese dumplings. If you are a food lover, we can arrange a local family visit to learn how to make dumplings, or a dumpling banquet.

Hotel options:
Somerset Xindicheng Xi'an
Wyndham Grand Xi'an South

See the Terracotta Warriors and make one by yourselfSee the Terracotta Warriors and make one by yourself
Challenge yourself to take a food adventureChallenge yourself to take a food adventure
Day 5Xi'an City Highlights and a High-Speed Train to Beijing

breakfast & lunch

Start the morning at the Wild Big Goose Pagoda. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India.

Then move to Shaanxi History Museum, enjoy a Journey through 5,000 Years of Ancient China in 12 Objects. You will hear stories behind the most celebrated art objects of each dynasty, try ancient contraptions with your own hands, and explore the museum using our well-designed route without having to queue.

Later in the afternoon, ride a bike on the ancient city wall. From the top, you can enjoy views of the different areas of the city, including areas with time-honored brand-name shops to busy bar streets.

After that, your guide will escort you to take the High-speed train to Beijing.

Your Beijing Guide will be waiting for you and will transfer you to your hotel.

Enjoy a Journey through 5,000 Years of Ancient China in 12 ObjectsEnjoy a Journey through 5,000 Years of Ancient China in 12 Objects
Have a walk on the ancient city wallHave a walk on the ancient city wall
Day 6The Forbidden City, Hutongs Tour, and Beijing Roast Duck

breakfast, lunch and dinner

Your private guide will meet you at your hotel lobby. You will first visit Tian'anmen Square.

To help you learn more about Tian'anmen Square, your guide will give you an interesting introduction to the history and architecture as well as anecdotes about the square. Enjoy your time walking around and take some great photos.

Then walk through Tian'anmen, as emperors did, to the highlight of the day, the Forbidden City. Marvel at the splendid architecture, and feel the majesty of the emperor's imperial stronghold. The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties from 1420 to 1912.

You don't need to wait in a line for the tickets, as we book them in advance. You will enter like an emperor directly through the Meridian Gate. There'll be plenty of time to take photos.

Your tour guide will help you go beyond the tourist route to explore 12 carefully-selected places in the Forbidden City, while other group tours only visit six spots briefly. He/she will help you unfold the secrets of this imperial palace through the lives of the emperors, empresses, and concubines. The stories about them will make the Forbidden City come alive for you.

Have a rest. Enjoy some delicious local food for lunch at a restaurant loved by the locals.

After lunch, go to the old hutong area with your guide and take a rickshaw ride through the 300-year-old hutongs.

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

Enjoy an authentic Beijing roast duck dinner in a time-honored brand restaurant - Quanjude. Feel the tradition of the city through its food.

Feel the might of China's imperial emperors with your Knowledgeable guide in the Forbidden CityFeel the might of China's imperial emperors with your Knowledgeable guide in the Forbidden City
Enjoy a rickshaw ride in Hutong tourEnjoy a rickshaw ride in Hutong tour
Day 7The Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall

breakfast & lunch

Start your day from the Temple of Heaven, which was where emperors prayed to 'heaven' for a good harvest. You may arrive early to see the locals practicing martial arts and doing other activities that you may never see in your country.

In the afternoon, visit Mutianyu, which is the section ranked top on TripAdvisor among all the Great Wall sections for its picturesque scenery and beautifully-restored architecture. It is about 2½ hours' drive from downtown Beijing, but the view and experience make it well worth your time.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

  • The cable car ride up to a good section of the Wall is included. You may choose to descend by cable car or toboggan.
  • For a unique experience, a visit to Simatai, the only Great Wall section that's lit up and open at night, is highly recommended.
  • If you love hiking, we can arrange a 2-hour, 4-hour, or even multi-day wild Great Wall hiking experience for you.
The Temple of HeavenThe Temple of Heaven
The Mutianyu Section of the Great WallThe Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall
Day 8Beijing Departure


Your private car, driver, and guide will be ready and waiting at your hotel lobby to get you to the airport on time. Sit back and relax, as they help you check-in and escort you to the correct security gate. We will take the stress out of your travel and set you up for 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. Hassle-free Visa

From now on, travelers who enter China at selected cities with China Highlights can benefit from our Hassle-Free Visa.

All you need to do is provide us a photo of your passport and make sure there are at least 2 people in your party, and we'll handle your visas.

Inquire to get more information.

2. Extend the Tour

  • Suzhou and/or Hangzhou: add 1–4 days - water towns, gardens, the Grand Canal, and West Lake
  • Guilin and Yangshuo: add 2-3 days - Li River cruise and idyllic countryside
  • Zhangjiajie: add 2–3 days - The Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar; karst landscape
  • More destinations: Huangshan, Yunnan and Tibet. Inform us of your interests and we will offer you some recommendations.

3. Accommodation

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 style of the region.

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

4. Transportation

China is a huge country, so to make your travel experience more efficient, we usually arrange flights to connect to your destinations.

China's high-speed rail network is a fast-paced way to travel. We recommend taking high-speed trains for journeys of less than 6 hours to interested customers - please tell us if you are one of them.

5. Meals

Lunches at popular local restaurants are included for you so you can taste authentic Chinese food. Your guide will assist you with ordering the dishes.

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

Tour Price

FromUS1,819 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

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

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Live Your China Story

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  • Uncover fascinating histories and witness New China.
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