11-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin/Yangshuo-Shanghai private tour plan
A journey to China is truly an adventure, bejeweled by this ancient oriental kingdom's history, cultures, lifestyles, and landscapes. We will help you spend quality time with your children, and help you all to discover more while experiencing China in a fun way. This 11-Day China Family Tour will let you have a time travel into the history and also plunge to the future. It includes exclusive and family-friendly activities and hotels.
The detailed itinerary below is just for inspiration. Every day can be and should be tailor-made, as your family vacation deserves to be unique. You can read our tips for tailor-making your tour to help you start, and talk to your 1-to-1 travel advisor to personalize your journey.
Beijing-Xi'an-Guilin-Shanghai Tour Map
Tour 'Wow' Points
Discover the Mythical Animals in the Forbidden City
Explore the Forbidden City in a way that's specially designed for families with kids.
Walk on the Great Wall and Slide Down from It
Visit a less-crowded Great Wall section at Mutianyu and try an exciting toboggan ride.
Be Like an Imperial-Era Chinese Child in the Hutongs
Learn Chinese calligraphy when you visit a local family living in a traditional hutong district. Play with a Chinese yo-yo made of wood or bamboo in the courtyard. Taste a popular snack loved by hutong children.
Practice a Family Morning Excercise in the Temple of Heaven
Feel the relaxing lifestyle of the local people and learn doing Tai Chi at the Temple of Heaven where the emperors prayed for good harvests.
Make Your Own Terracotta Warriors in A Local People's Cave Dwelling
Not only visit the Terracotta Warriors Horses Museum to see the life-sized Terracotta Army, but olso make a mini one by yourself.
Be Invited by a Local Chinese Family and Learn to Make Dumpling
Step into a local family's apartment. Have a glimpse of their life and make dumplings and enjoy a home-cooked meal together.
Bike around the Picturesque Countryside
Enjoy a bike ride to see the rice paddies and the peaceful village. How great these activity are to interact with the mountains and water.
Experience Farming and Making Snack with Local People
Rural life in China could be more interesting than what you might expect. Learning to make popular local dessert, helping local people pick vegetables, or ploughing a paddy could be a great travel memory.
13 days in China
We booked a 13 day’s tour of China with China Highlights. Our travel advisor, Ms Leah Zhou organised an itinerary that suited what we wanted. She was really helpful and patient will all our needs. Leah helped us organised our 30th Wedding Anniversary Dinner and my 60th Birthday celebration?? in Beijing. For this to be possible, she had to liaise with our guide in Beijing. The flowers and cake were a real surprise. My husband and I, were really touched at the good service provided by China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou. Thank you China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou for your constant care of your customers. I will certainly recommend China Highlights to my friends.more
Nov 2023, Eda Adams
Do Beijing like a local
They organised my trip very quickly and efficiently. On the day, Anna was very friendly to me, my mum and my baby. Very accommodating to our needs. The car was immaculately clean and very comfortable. We visited everything we initially wanted and more. Also, Anna took us to the best meal we had in China. It makes a difference to have a local choosing the dishes!more
Nov 2023, Natali A
Beijing 2 day tour
Spent 2 days in Beijing with Ethan as my guide and had a fantastic experience. Ethan is very knowledgeable, easy company and takes excellent photographs. The organisation was excellent as well including the driver for the tour as well the airport pick up.more
Nov 2023, Tam
Excellent Two Weeks Across China
We used Asia Highlights (China Highlights in China) to help plan two weeks across China: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, a Yangtze cruise and Shanghai. Albee helped put it all together and was a huge help. She was very responsive and all the guides in each city were excellent! The hotels were perfect. We would definitely use the company once again for other trips to Asia.more
Oct 2023, Charles
Great Experience with China Highlights
Over at Beijing, Angela met us at the train station and ensured we were well settled in our hotel. We spent 2 days with her as our Guide. Angela is well informed and also adapted the itinerary to cover areas we wanted to take advantage off, e.g. apple picking at the orchard! The driver we had on both legs were good and friendly.more
Oct 2023, Edwin
China Round Trip in October 2023 Family FT & G Braun from Germany
Here in Beijing we got Jack as a tour guide who is very knowledgeable and supportive as well as flexible when there is a change in the program needed. Communication with him is easy as he is fluent in English. It is difficult to say which attraction is the greatest as all are outstanding being it the Forbidden City, the Great Wall or the Summer Palace as well as the Temple of Heaven. The driver, Mr. Hu needs also to be mentioned very positively as he politely took special care of us and his driving style was safe and patient with all the heavy traffic situations.more
Oct 2023, Franz-Theo Braun
I engaged Roger Li at China Highlights to arrange a One Day Beijing Tour for my clients from Brazil and the UK after our business meetings last week. Not only did the clients have a fantastic time visiting Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace and the Great Wall all in one day; but they came back with rave reviews on how well the day was organised and commented on the expertise of the tour guide too. I had 4 very happy clients then meet me in Shanghai for part 2 of meetings - thanks to Roger and Felix! Many thanks again.more
Oct 2023, Bobby Tsang
Jinshanling amazing hiking trip
We took the hiking trip Jinshanling package, we like it because the view was amazing, not much crowd and our tour guide arrange everything perfectly. We like it.However please be aware that this hiking trip will involve challenging stairs step and inclination, but still suitable for someone that exercise regularly.more
Oct 2023, Frans A
Awesome experience touring Beijing with China Highlights. My tour guide, Jennifer, was knowledgeable, professional, friendly, and very accommodating. It was like taking a tour with a friend. My favorite part of the tour was walking the Great Wall of China. Jennifer made sure to take me to a remote area, not just the crowded tourist area near Beijing, so I could get a more authentic experience.more
Oct 2023, Consumer
Awesome personalized tour. Well worth the money.
Lily Liu was our guide. I highly recommend using her. She helped us check out several local places that we absolutely loved and was great at answering all our questions and helping us experience Peking duck, Hawthorne and other things we were curious about.more
Oct 2023, Jessica P
Two great weeks!
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness. We're glad that China Highlights took us to the Mutianyu Wall instead of the crowded Badaling Wall. Less crowded and great views all around!more
Oct 2023, Road36501241284
Beijing 4 day trip
Silvia arranged my itinerary which included buying the high speed train ticket from Shanghai to Beijing and airport transfers. I did not have to think about anything. She added places to the itinerary which I would not have known to visit .more
Oct 2023, Wing Yee Cheung
Amazing 2 weeks because of China Highlights
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness.All in all, we are so glad for China Highlights. Affordable and really value-for-money kinda tour.more
Oct 2023, Elisabeth Zackrina
One Day Beijing Trip (Great Wall, Summer Palace) With Jennifer
My tour guide Jennifer made this quick one day trip to Beijing great! The day started out a bit overcast and rainy when I landed, but Jennifer’s positive attitude and kind communication (along with her being able to keep up/put up with my jokes) made it fine.Despite this, Jennifer and our driver Chen were able to swing an extra photo shoot stop at the Olympic Stadium. I guess it gives me an excuse to come back to visit again, and when I do - I will use China Highlights and this great fantastic team.more
Sep 2023, Alan Landau
Best Great Wall experience
Used China Highlights for a private all-day tour of Jinshanling portion of the Great Wall. One of the best days of my life! Tour guide Alan and a driver met me at my hotel and the ride was very comfortable. Alan was extremely knowledgable and friendly, I really enjoyed talking with him. The scenery was astoundingly beautiful; this is a less touristy portion of the Wall. The hiking was fun, Alan brought plenty of water, and showed me things I would not have noticed by myself. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch that Alan had arranged - delicious! Once in a lifetime experience.more
Sep 2023, LZviajera
Non-standard private China tour
I booked a 4 weeks private China tour with ChinaHighlights covering landscapes and cultural sites between Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Hangzhou and Shanghai. The entire tour was set up accurately, very fast and in the light of all relevant personal preferences by Mrs. Carol Wang, an expert in organizing hand made voyages in China. Due to her knowledge and immediate responses the tour was scheduled comfortably and straightforward, including all transfers and authentic hotel bookings. I highly recommend ChinaHighlights and in particular Carol Wang for organizing any extraordinary, non-mainstream travel to China.more
Sep 2023, Dr. Manfred Leubner
Alisa was very helpful tailoring a trip to China for my wife and I.Alisa was able to put together a great itinerary at a reasonable cost.Alisa is very conscientious and pays attention to detail.Example - We had a midnight flight into Shanghai on one segment of the tour. Alisa followed the flight until an earlier flight became available. Alisa changed the flight, guide and driver. Alisa has great attention to detail. Thank you Alisa. Al and Debbiemore
Sep 2023, AI Cluett
Best way to see Beijing
Our guide Lily Liu was lovely - super patient, warm, knowledgeable about Chinese history, and great English skills. Would definitely recommend this service!more
Sep 2023, Stephanie N
Our guide, Linda, was by far the best person to have for our tours of The Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, and Mutianyu Great Wall. She was an encyclopedia with great knowledge of Chinese History and was able to explain every detail of what we were seeing. She picked us up with a very nice car and driver from our hotel both days, at the time most convenient to us, and dropped us back off wherever we wanted at the end of our tours. Both the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are marvels of human and Chinese achievements and are a must to see in Beijing. Visiting them both with a tour guide that feels more like a friend was certainly helping enjoying it even more.more
Sep 2023, Robin Z
Beijing is AMAZING
Linda Wang our amazing tour guide helped us to have an unforgettable trip to all the best of Beijing. From organizing the driver (also excellent) to drop us/pick us up exactly when we were leaving busy tourist sites, excellent food recommendations, fascinating knowledge relevant to us and our children (13yo and 11yo) making The Forbidden City, Tiannamen Square, Great Wall, Beijing Zoo and The Hutongs thoroughly enjoyable. Handling all the entrance/exit passport and ticket requirements, interpreting, answering any questions we had about local culture, we were so comfortable and happy, never rushed, everything you could want and more.more
Sep 2023, Michelle A
Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.
When you arrive in Beijing, your local tour guide, driver, and a well-maintained private van will be waiting for you.
Your guide will assist you with your luggage and help you to check in at your hotel for a worry-free start to your stay.
Novotel Beijing Peace (4-star)
Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (5-star)
Proudly the largest world-famous square, Tian'anmen Square has witnessed numerous historical events and is also in front of the Forbidden City.
Walk northward from the square to enter the renowned Forbidden City. Besides the main palaces on the axis, you will also explore some places that are not on the touristy route and interest kids more. These include the library of the princes, the Archery Pavilion (the tools of the army gallery), and the Hall of Clocks and Watches. Play a game about the nine sons of the dragon and the auspicious beats in the Forbidden City.
In the afternoon, explore the hutongs - the narrow alleys between rows of quadrangle dwellings. Pay a visit to a local family who lives in a traditional and original quadrangle dwelling. There, you can try your hand at Chinese calligraphy. Learn to write the Chinese characters that mean 'family' or 'good luck'.
Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour
If you are traveling in summer (June to October), the Water Cube Water Park has many water slides and is highly recommended for water-loving kids.
How long is the Great Wall? If only we got a nickel for every time we were asked this question… Once you step on this man-made wonder, a sense of wonder eclipses the statistics.
After a Tai Chi class and a visit to the Temple of Heaven and lunch, your day will be dedicated to the Great Wall. The Mutianyu section is an all-time favorite because of its close distance to Beijing, top ranking on TripAdvisor, and easy accessibility. Usually, we recommend families to take a chair lift up and take a toboggan back down so the children can have more fun, but we can also arrange a round-trip cable car depending on your preferences.
Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour
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 your family love hiking, we can arrange a 2-hour, 4-hour, or even multi-day wild Great Wall hiking experience for you.
The Summer Palace, as indicated by its name, provided the royal court with cool surroundings thanks to its lush gardens, beautiful pavilions and theaters, and a big lake for boat trips. Make this morning a leisurely outing before you leave for Xi'an.
It is 1,075 kilometers (668 miles) between Beijing and Xi'an and a bullet train journey cuts the commute from 15 hours down to 6 hours. Get on and enjoy the speedy yet steady journey. A private car and friendly guide will escort you to your hotel in Xi'an.
West Capital International Hotel (4-star)
Wyndham Grand Xi'an South (5-star)
Charged up for the day, you will kick start it with a biking experience on the ancient city wall in Xi'an. This aged and renovated defense project surrounded Xi'an during its days as ancient China's capital for several centuries.
Drive out of town to the massive site of the Terracotta Army. Most of emperors throughout history devoted their lives and money in pursuit of eternal life — Emperor Qin Shi Huang was no exception. As his funeral objects, this grand array of life-size horses, chariots, cavalries, infantries, and weapons displays the tip of the iceberg of his ambition for immortal life and power.
Did you know that all the terracotta warriors were originally colored? The old paint has faded with time yet the craftsmanship still shines. You will try to make your own terracotta warrior inside a traditional cave dwelling.
Pay a visit to the starting point of the Silk Road: the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Then visit Shaanxi History Museum to appreciate thousands of cultural relics and learn about the splendid history of Xi'an and its important role in Chinese history.
Fly southbound to Guilin. Transfer to your hotel and rest in the afternoon.
Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (4-star)
Shangri-La Guilin (5-star)
No matter whether you are a geology fan or not, you are still bound to be amazed by Guilin's spectacular karst features as you step into Reed Flute Cave. Although lights were only added to this site some decades ago, a fascinating fact is that it has been Guilin's most-visited attraction for over 1,200 years.
Pull yourself back to reality and, after lunch, learn the art of embellishing a Chinese landscape painting with pebbles from the Li River. Then you will visit the ancient town of Daxu. Daxu used to be the primary port back in the glorious days when Guilin was Guangxi's provincial capital. Those days are long gone yet Uncle Chow might still have some interesting stories to tell you.
Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour
If your family is interested in learning Chinese, we can arrange a 1 to 2-hour private session for you to catch up with some of the daily expressions.
Chinese brush painting is also a good option when considering how to spend your afternoon.
The beautiful Li River has inspired many poets and artists. We have arranged a 4-hour cruise trip for you to discover the source of their inspiration. You will reach Yangshuo in the early afternoon.
After checking in at your hotel, meet a local family in Gaotian village who are busy with their farm work and could use your help. Planting, ploughing, sowing, harvesting, or milling — roll up your sleeves for some experiences that your children might never learn at school. Return to your hotel and kick back by the swimming pool.
Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour
Don't want to get your hands dirty? We have other options for you: Chinese calligraphy, painting, a cooking class, a tai chi lesson, or rock climbing.
Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (4-star)
Yangshuo Ancient Garden Boutique Hotel (5-star)
Yangshuo is the place that finally slows you down. Escape from the cities and be with your family in beautiful surroundings. Peddle through lush fields, humble villages, and bustling local markets — a cycling trip creates precious family moments.
You will be taken back to Guilin for your flight to Shanghai. Transfer to your hotel and rest for the day.
Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour
The cycling distance is about 10 to 15 kilometers (7 to 10 miles) and takes 1 to 2 hours. It's suitable for almost all ages and levels of physical fitness.
For families with younger children (up to 10 years old), you may choose between bikes, an electric buggy, or electric bikes, which look like a motor scooter, but are much more environmentally friendly and are only seen in Asia!
Sunrise On The Bund (4-star)
Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai (5-star)
Visit a classic Chinese garden, the Yu Garden, to appreciate the traditional beauty of Chinese architecture. Walk along the Bund and listen to the stories behind the famous buildings with colonial style. Get to the top floor of the Shanghai Tower to see China's future.
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!
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.
Extend the tour:
- Luoyang: Add 2–3 days for a Chinese kung fu experience.
- Chengdu: Add 2–3 days to join a panda keeper program to feed a panda and have your photo taken next to a panda.
- Hong Kong: Add 2–3 days for Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, and a day-tour of Macau.
- Free days: Yangshuo and Shanghai are popular destinations to add one or more free days to explore on your own.
- More destinations: Visit Zhangjiajie for its glass bridge, Suzhou for its water towns, and go on a Yangtze River cruise. Inform us of your interests and we will offer you some recommendations.
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 a maximum of three people in one room. If there are more than three people in your group, we will check if there is a family room available or do our best to arrange interconnecting or adjoining rooms.
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. Car Seats, Strollers, and Cribs
To maximize the safety of your children, we can arrange for car seats and baby strollers to be provided at your request during the private transfers in big cities.
For infants under 2 years old, we will inform your hotel to arrange a crib for you. No extra cost is needed.
The number of car seats, strollers, and cribs are limited. Please inquire and confirm early to reserve them.
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.
Most families enjoy eating local Chinese food as there is plenty of variety and different flavors. Some children may prefer Western food or have some special requirements for meals.
Western, vegetarian, halal, kosher, Indian, gluten-free… — all dietary requirements can be catered for by our experienced private guides. Let us know if you have any of these dietary requirements during your booking.