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13-Day A Broad Taste of China

A Broad Taste of China

13-Day Private Tour: Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu – Guilin – Hong Kong

Day 1-3 Beijing - The Great Wall, Beijing Roast Duck
Day 4-5 Xi'an - The Terracotta Army, Dumpling Banquet
Day 6-7 Chengdu - Panda Base, Sichuan Cuisine
Day 8-10 Guilin - Li River Cruise, Bamboo Tube Rice
Day 11-13 Hong Kong - Dim Sum, Michelin Street Food

This 13-day suggested itinerary is an in-depth discovery of Chinese cuisine from the north to the south and from modern to rural areas, covering the representative destinations where different styles of cuisine originated from.

The itinerary below is only one possibility. Tips to tailor-make your trip are offered as inspiration. Send us details of your preferences and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.


  • Try the famous Beijing roast duck and find out how to eat it like a local.
  • Enjoy a dumpling feast like the Chinese do when they celebrate the Spring Festival.
  • Unmask the secrets of Sichuan cuisine and cook representative dishes yourself.
  • Experience the charms of ethnic minority food and tea at the Longji Rice Terraced Fields.
  • Taste Hong Kong-style dim sum and local street food recommended by the Michelin Guide.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Beijing Arrival

Welcome to Beijing! 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 enjoy.

Just send us your preferences on the form to the right.

Hotel options:
Penta Hotel Beijing (4-star)
Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (5-star)

Day 2The Forbidden City and Hutong Folk Art Experience

breakfast & lunch

Begin your day at the world's biggest city square, Tian'anmen Square, which has been a witness to both China's past and present.

After you've taken some photos, travel back in time to the glory days of the imperial era in the Forbidden City.

Immerse yourself in the stories told by your knowledgeable guide, feel the dignified atmosphere, and admire the historical masterpiece from the smallest piece of brick to the magnificent palace.

It's time for a gourmet lunch and the first stop of your food tour lets you taste one of the most distinguished dishes of Beijing cuisine, Beijing roast duck.

The chef will slice the cooked golden duck by your table, so that you can watch his/her cutting skills of the thin crispy skin and firm meat. You will also learn how to eat it in the correct way.

If the Forbidden City is the epitome of what imperial life was like, the hutongs are the reflection of how the common people lived in old Beijing. After your meal, walk into a historical Hutong area to see the real life-link past of old Beijing.

The Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City
Day 3The Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall

breakfast & lunch

Visiting the Temple of Heaven in the morning is an awesome idea, as you may meet some local people who are singing and doing their morning exercises, such as tai chi. This noble park was where ancient ceremonies were held annually hundreds of years ago by emperors to pray for good harvests.

Then travel to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Authentic food is offered in the nearby restaurant. Spend a memorable afternoon on this top-ranked and better preserved section of the Great Wall.

Enjoy a bird's-eye view of this endless wonder when you take the cable car, then touch the ragged walls and wander for a while along the stone trail that zigzags through different watchtowers.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

  • The cable car ride up to a good section of the Great Wall is included. You may choose to descend by cable car or toboggan.
  • Looking for different experiences of the Great Wall? We also offer a hiking tour to the wild Jinshanling section and a night tour to the romantic Simatai section.
Great WallThe Great Wall
Day 4The Summer Palace and a Flight to Xi'an

breakfast & lunch

Designed as an imperial summer retreat in the Qing Dynasty, the Summer Palace is stunningly combined with beautiful horticulture and landscaped gardens. Feel the breeze and clear your mind as you sit peacefully by Kunming Lake.

After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport for your afternoon flight to Xi'an, which has a history of 3,000 years.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

If you are interested in high-speed rail and want to experience the technological development of China, a high-speed train journey from Beijing to Xi'an is a recommended alternative to taking a flight.

It takes about 5 hours and reduces the cost slightly.

Hotel options:
Grand Noble Hotel Xi'an (4-star)
Wyndham Grand Xi'an South (5-star)

The Kunming LakeThe Summer Palace
Day 5The Terracotta Army and a Traditional Cave Dwelling

breakfast & lunch

Prepare to be amazed by a close encounter with the Terracotta Army. Unmask the mysteries of this underground army that dates back to 206 BC together with your professional guide.

You will experience more than a simple visit to the Terracotta Army Museum. Make clay warriors with your own hands under the guidance of a local skilled craftsman in a cave dwelling.

After lunch, discover the ancient city wall. Guarding the inner city for over 600 years, the city wall is the most complete city defense that still exists.

Feel free to stroll along the wall or rent a bike to cycle around to see gorgeous views of the city on either side.

The Terracotta ArmyThe Terracotta Army
Day 6Xi'an City Highlights and a Dumpling Banquet

breakfast & lunch

Have a better understanding of Xi'an and China's rich history at Shaanxi History Museum.

Apart from its historical background, Xi'an is also a city that's home to multiple nationalities. Wander through the famous Muslim Quarter where you can not only get a flavor of the local Muslims' lives but you may also enjoy a bite of some local Muslim cuisine.

Dumplings, one of the best-known examples of Chinese cuisine, date back to 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty in Xi'an. It is said that you should never go to Xi'an without having a dumpling banquet.

So before you get on a high-speed train to your next destination, enjoy a mixture of dumplings made by different ingredients in just the same way as the Chinese do to celebrate the Spring Festival at one of the best-known restaurants.

Hotel options:
Tibet Hotel Chengdu (4-star)
Sofitel Chengdu Taihe (5-star)

Dumpling BanquetDumpling Banquet
Day 7Meet Cute Pandas and Cook Sichuan Cuisine

breakfast & lunch & dinner

Chengdu is known as the home of giant pandas and is also the first place that you can get close to them. The first stop is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, home to nearly 50 giant pandas and red pandas.

Go there early in the morning to see the pandas feeding. This time of day is when they are most active.

After waving goodbye to the adorable pandas, it is time to start your food discovery experience. Your local guide will take you to the unique Sichuan Cuisine Museum, where you can engage all your senses to experience Sichuan cuisine, which is praised worldwide.

Under the guidance of the professional chef, learn what Sichuan cuisine is, taste authentic Sichuan snacks, and understand how chopped garlic and different kinds of peppers delicately mingle with other ingredients.

After unearthing the secrets of this cuisine, you are encouraged to cook three typical Sichuan dishes and invent your own recipe.

Sichuan Cuisine CookingSichuan Cuisine Cooking
Day 8A Noon Flight to Guilin


A free day is specially arranged for you to have a short break on such a long journey.

Enjoy a free morning, your guide and driver will transfer you to the airport ready for you to begin your rural discovery adventure in Guilin.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

If you prefer more free time in Chengdu, we recommend a Chengdu dine and wine Experience. Try some authentic local snacks at Jinli Old Street, then discover the secrets of the world's best-selling spirit, Chinese Rice Wine, in an ancient Chinese brewery cellar.

If you want to discover the highlights of Guilin city, a landmark tour to Reed Flute Cave and Elephant Trunk Hill is offered.

Hotel options:
Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (4-star)
Shangri-La Hotel Guilin (5-star)

Guilin Reed Flute CaveGuilin Reed Flute Cave
Day 9Longji Rice Terraced Fields and Ethnic Minority Food

breakfast & lunch

Escape from the busy urban life and breathe in the fresh air at the Longji Rice Terraced Fields.

You may meet ethnic people who are dressed in their national costumes or are working in the fields as you hike up them.

Ethnic groups in this area share different ways of life with the majority. They are good at using local resources to make food: rice is cooked in a bamboo tube and minced tea leaves are mixed with flavorings.

Sit around a bonfire in a traditional kitchen and follow the host's example as you make bamboo tube rice. Enjoy a local meal cooked with fresh ingredients and taste some oil tea.

Making Bamboo Tube RiceMaking Bamboo Tube Rice
Day 10A Li River Cruise and the Idyllic Yangshuo

breakfast & lunch

Feast your eyes on the picturesque views on either the side of the Li River as you enjoy the highest level of cruise to ensure your comfort. Your guide will show you the best spots to take good photos.

The cruise arrives in Yangshuo at noon and you will be welcomed with the sight of the most beautiful countryside in China.

Pick whichever type of transport you prefer, whether it's a private car, bicycle, or moped, to embrace these natural surroundings.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Yangshuo offers a relaxing atmosphere and various activities, such as a farming experience and rock climbing.

Hotel options:
Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (4-star)
Yangshuo Ancient Garden Boutique Hotel (5-star)

Cycling at Yangshuo CountrysideCycling at Yangshuo Countryside
Day 11Bamboo Rafting and Flight to Hong Kong

breakfast & lunch

After a good night's sleep, start your day with a bamboo rafting tour.

Sitting back on a non-motorized raft that's steered along the Yulong River by a gondolier is the best way to enjoy the rural view and the tranquility.

Then take a flight at evening to Hong Kong, an oriental melting pot where Chinese and Western cultures meet.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Taking a high-speed train to Shenzhen and then transferring in a private car to Hong Kong is a recommended alternative to taking a flight.

It takes about 6 hours and reduces the cost slightly.

Hotel options:
The Salisbury YMCA of Hong Kong Hotel (4-star)
The Harbour Plaza Hong Kong Hotel (5-star)

The Night View of Hong KongThe Night View of Hong Kong
Day 12Hong Kong Half-Day Michelin Food Discovery

breakfast & lunch

Hong Kong is a paradise for shopping so have some free time to make the most of it.

You cannot miss out on trying dim sum, the highlight of Cantonese cuisine, so you will have lunch at a specialty dim sum restaurant. These small but delicate morsels are only your first bite of the flavor of Hong Kong.

Visiting to the street markets and trying the street food are the ultimate things to do in Hong Kong. Ladies' Market is a dazzling street market that may make you feel like you've been there before in an old Hong Kong movie scene.

Your guide is a walking map for foodies like you. Follow him/her and shuttle through the narrow lanes to discover the authentic street food. Try a piece of traditional snack and a bowl of refreshing drink that on the street food list of Michelin Guide Hong Kong.

A piece of traditional pastry with a bowl of dessert, or a dish of fried tofu with a cup of red bean ice are recommended.

Hong Kong Style Dim SumHong Kong Style Dim Sum
Day 13Hong Kong Departure

Your tour guide, driver, and van will pick you up from your hotel for your airport transfer and flight. Your guide will help you check-in and then wave goodbye.

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

  • Chengdu: Add a day for the Panda Keeper Program in Dujiangyan Panda Base.
  • Guilin: Add a day for a farming experience in Yangshuo, or see the Guilin city highlights and Daxu Ancient Town.
  • Shanghai:Add 2 days to visit the Bund, Yu Garden, and Shanghai Tower.
  • Suzhou and/or Hangzhou Add 1–4 days to visit the water towns, gardens, the Grand Canal, and West Lake.

2. 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.

Most hotels in China allow at most three people in one room. If there are more than three people in your group, we will check if there is family room available or do our best to arrange interconnecting rooms or adjoin rooms.

3. Transportation

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

4. 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.

We have left the evening meals for you to make your own arrangements, as having dinner is part of the cuisine discovery and you may want to explore all the options yourself.

Our tour guides are happy to make recommendations based on your taste preferences. If you want us to arrange a hassle-free dinner for you, let us know.

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 when you make your booking.

Tour Price

FromUS3,249 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

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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Well-Selected Local Guides

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