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11-Day Family Happiness

Family Happiness

11-day Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin/Yangshuo-Shanghai private tour plan

Day 1-3 Beijing
 Forbidden City, Toboggan on Great Wall
Day 4-5 Xi'an
 The Terracotta Army, Make a Mini Terracotta Warrior
Day 6-8 Guilin/Yangshuo
Li River Cruise, Farming Experience 
Day 9-10 Shanghai
Modern Skyline, Ancient Garden 

Don't put away your passport just because you have started a family! 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.

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.


  • Time travel into history in the Forbidden City and at the site of the Terracotta Army.
  • Plunge into the future when you ascend the highest building in China.
  • Child-friendly activities: Take a toboggan ride on the Great Wall, make a mini terracotta warrior, try on traditional costumes, and experience local farming activities.
  • Family-friendly hotels with swimming pools and spacious rooms.
  • A flexible itinerary with a moderate pace that's adjusted to your needs.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Beijing | Arrival

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.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Worried about jet lag? You may start the tour with a relaxing free day to adjust.

Too excited to stay in? We have a wide range of suggestions for your first day in China. Just inform us of your preferences.

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

Day 2Beijing | Historical Marvels and Local Artist
breakfast & lunch

Proudly the largest world-famous square, Tian'anmen Square has witnessed numerous historical events and is also in front of the Forbidden City. With countless houses, chambers, and halls, the Forbidden City was not only a royal residence but is a treasure trove for many cultural relics.

The halls may seem a mystery, but your knowledgeable private tour guide will bring the history to life for you. Enjoy some Beijing cuisine for lunch. Afterwards, take a short rickshaw ride in the hutong alleys before stepping into a traditional hutong house.

There, you and your kids will spend a couple of hours with a local artist trying out some old handicrafts, such as mask painting for the Peking opera, paper cutting, or Chinese calligraphy. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

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.

Chinese Calligraphy Learning in Hutong FamilyChinese Calligraphy Learning in Hutong Family
Day 3Beijing | The Great Wall
breakfast & lunch

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 brief 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 Great WallThe Great Wall
The Toboggan at MutianyuThe Toboggan at Mutianyu
Day 4Beijing to Xi'an | The Summer Palace and High-Speed Train
breakfast & lunch

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.

Hotel options:
West Capital International Hotel (4-star)
Wyndham Grand Xi'an South (5-star)

The Summer PalaceThe Summer Palace
The High-speed TrainThe High-speed Train
Day 5Xi'an | The Ancient City Wall and Terracotta Army
breakfast & lunch

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 the 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.

The Terra Cotta WarriorsThe Terra Cotta Warriors
Make a mini warrior in a cave dwellingMake a mini warrior in a cave dwelling
Day 6Xi'an to Guilin | Ancient Pagoda and Han Clothing
breakfast & lunch

Pay a visit to the starting point of the Silk Road: the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Then it's time to try on the Hanfu, or Han-style clothing, which dates back to 202 BC. The hanbok in Korea, the kimono in Japan, and the ao dai in Vietnam were all inspired and upgraded from the Hanfu. Your family can try on this clothing and take a photo. You will look like a family who has traveled in time from the Han Dynasty. Meet up with another family in town. They will teach you how to make dumplings on your own, which are just as good, if not better than, those from Manchu Wok or Panda Express.

Fly southbound to Guilin. Transfer to your hotel and rest in the afternoon.

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

Make dumplings in a local familyMake dumplings in a local family
Try on China's traditional costume (Hanfu)Try on China's traditional costume (Hanfu)
Day 7Guilin | Reed Flute Cave and Handicraft Experience
breakfast & lunch

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.

Daxu Ancient TownDaxu Ancient Town
Chinese landscape painting with Li River pebblesChinese landscape painting with Li River pebbles
Day 8Guilin to Yangshuo | Li River Cruise and Farming Experience
breakfast & lunch

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 Rural District 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.

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

Li RiverLi River
Farming ExperienceFarming Experience
Day 9Yangshuo to Shanghai | Countryside Biking/Buggying
breakfast & lunch

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!

Hotel options:
Sunrise On The Bund (4-star)
Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai (5-star)

Biking in the countrysideBiking in the countryside
Day 10Shanghai | Shanghai Tower
breakfast & lunch

Shanghai might give you a feeling of déjà vu as some parts look how New York, Chicago, or London did a few decades ago, yet the stories behind it are the true appeal and what make it differ from the other cities.

The first stop will be the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. At this interesting exhibition center, which you may consider to be an extensive LEGO playground, you will see how the old and dingy sections received a beautiful makeover. You will also see how everything is built for a better living sphere, not just for the Shanghainese but for an increasing number of expats.

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!

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Opened in 2016, Shanghai Disneyland soon became China's top attraction. Extend your trip for another day and we can arrange tickets, a round-trip private transfer, and accommodation (either inside the park or in the city — it's your choice) to maximize your family holiday.

The BundThe Bund
Day 11Shanghai | Departure

After we have escorted you to the airport, you will wave goodbye to China.

Thanks for allowing us to create such a wonderful journey and we hope to see you again soon!

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.

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.

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 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Tour Price

FromUS2,339 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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Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

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Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
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