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.
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.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
I had an amazing two trips on the Great Wall and the Forbidden City with the guide Ivy during my stay in China. She was very helpful and answered all of our questions with an enthusiastic approach. I have nothing to say but to highly recommend the trips they offer on the Great Wall hiking/camping and also the in-depth Forbidden City tour! Thank you Ivy and China Highlights.more
May 2023, Serhat Altay
Amazing First Time to Beijing with China Highlights
Tom, my private tour guide was there when I landed and accompanied me all the way through to sending me off at the airport after check-in at the end of my trip. Zhao the driver, who also did all the driving during my trip, was calm, confident and knowledgeable in taking us around. Both Tom and Zhao were punctual too. The Great Wall of China Hike I wanted to do started in a very remote, unrestored part of the wall. This would not had been possible without Tom problem solving many issues we had on the way up and I could not have done this on my own a a foreigner. It was well worth the effort and probably the highlight of my trip.The remainder of the tour around Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Kingdom and The Temple of Heaven was paired with a detailed commentary by Tom of which I learnt a lot.more
May 2023, Munsie
Beijing - city of surprises
A fantastic guide was waiting for us - Jack, who told all the stories with passion and commitment. He also fulfilled those wishes that were not in the plan. I highly recommend visiting Beijing with this guide.more
May 2023, Joanna i Piotr Kuzebscy
Liu Yuan was a superb guide and a lot…
Liu Yuan was a superb guide and a lot of fun to spend time with during my first visit to Beijing. It was a wonderful intensive three days.more
May 2023, Pam S.
Great weather and a good trip out with Lily!
Many thanks to my guide Lily for customising the trip to make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible. She arranged to start an hour earlier to beat the crowd and I got to enjoy the Great Wall before the crowd streamed in and while the weather was cool. I requested to switch the next attraction to visit from Temple of Heaven to Ming Tomb and she not only accommodated the prompt request, but made all the necessary arrangements even before the trip coordinator managed to reply! Kudos! Our driver was jovial and friendly, always on top of traffic conditions and took detours to beat slow moving traffic. Hassle free day and I wouldn’t have been able to cover the two attractions so easily and comfortably without them!more
May 2023, Meibao
This was our first time traveling to Beijing
This was our first time traveling to China, so we really wanted to experience some of the major historical sights of Beijing together with a tour guide. Our itinerary was very carefully planned out according to our interests and tailored to our needs. First, we went camping on the Great Wall and hiked from Jiankou to Mutianyu, and the next day we got an in-depth tour of the Forbidden City as well as a tour of the Temple of Heaven and a taiji experience in the gardens. Our tour guide, Ivy, was truly wonderful in preparing and organizing our personalized itinerary. She is very friendly and knowledgeable, and she was always able and willing to answer all of our questions. Ivy provided us with a truly amazing first visit to China and I would warmly recommend China Highlights for everyone who wishes to travel to China and I would especially recommend Ivy as a tour guide for your trips!more
May 2023, Annalina Wheeler
Tom is the BEST tour guide EVER!
Just had the most AMAZING tour with Tom. He was beyond knowledgeable, so generous with his time and made me feel so at ease which was super important as I am travelling by myself. Thank you Tom for the best day-you have totally made my China trip a fabulous experience, one I will never forget!more
May 2023, SHARRYN HINCHLIFFFE
Superb service and wonderful time in Beijing
Superb service from Jack who were with us for 4 wonderful days in Beijing. Jack was clearly knowledgeable about the history and able to deliver insight information to us about places. He was also kind and accommodating to my mother who has bad knees. Both China Highlights and Jack were flexible about the itinerary to ensure that we enjoy the best of Beijing. We'll definitely use China Highlights' services again for our next trip to China.more
May 2023, Chani
First time booking a trip with China Highlights and was fortunate to have Sunny as my private tour guide. We went to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, then arrived and walked around Gubei Water Town, and then visited the Simatai portion of the Great Wall at night. Was a very enjoyable trip as we were able to see a night time drone show in the sky, ride a private boat through the canals of the Gubei Water Town, and eat a delicious lunch at a local restaurant along the way. Sunny is super knowledgeable when it comes to the history of the Great Wall and took the time to explain various interesting facts and stories which made the trip very meaningful. The driver we had was also a very nice man who was always on time and eager to help. Was an unforgettable experience and would highly recommend Sunny and China Highlights :)more
May 2023, Allen C
Tour to the great wall from the airport
My guide Tom was ver kind and knowlegable, he explained everything to me about the great wall and even went out of his way to help me the next day at Bejings downtown! amazing service!!! thank you so much Tom!more
May 2023, Fer Villasefior
Great tour, fantastic guide!
This tour was fantastic! I loved hearing about the history of the Forbidden City and admiring the views at the Great Wall. William was a fantastic tour guide. We were a group of families with several young children, and he was very accommodating and flexible with timing and arrangements. I totally recommend this tour and William as a guide!more
May 2023, Ryan Corless
Four excellent sightseeing days in Beijing
We had wonderful four days in Beijing. The entire trip was tailored exactly to our wishes. From experiencing local food, to exploring the major sites of the city up to hiking the great wall of China. Additionally, we had two amazing guides Ina and Fan taking care of all the tickets and coordination required. Also, they could not only tell us everything about the sights we visited and give us an insight to local customs and traditions, but they did so in perfect German. The chauffeur service from Mr Chang was also excellent, getting us from A to B without any hazzle. The past couple of days were one of the most carefree trips we have had so far.more
May 2023, Katha
Great tour from William
Great tour organized by China highlights, our tour guide was William - his knowledge was impressive, his English was great and he was always on time. We did the four day tour including the wall and forbidden city - would definitely recommend to anyone looking for an English tour guide.more
Apr 2023, Lawrence
Beijing 2 day private tour
The tour itself was great, private driver to and from, my guide Ivy was great English speaking guide. She was very knowledgeable and passionate about her country. Was a great time exploring the Great Wall of china and then my second day did a city tour (forbidden city, hutong tour, summer palace). Felt extremely safe, and was confident having an English guide. Thank you china highlights. (Provide them what you want and they’ll make it happen). Prices are reasonable as I looked at a few places but for private tour, my own schedule, and confidence of getting around safely you can’t go wrong.more
Apr 2023, Mark
Everything was to the vest standard, the history all very well explained by the Tour Guide in Beijing, Ivy. Really enjoyed it, and appreciated the time.more
Apr 2023, Jonathan
Amazing Beijing Experience
I had an amazing time in Beijing and glad Tom was my tour guide. He went above and beyond and I’m truly grateful. Tom did all that he could to ensure my stay in Beijing for two days was pleasant and thanks to him, I say that it was. The driver was also nice and courteous, I called him Jon. The company is blessed to have a good tour guide like Tom on their team so if you are planning to come down to Beijing, make sure you ask for Tom. Thank you Christy and Kimmy for replying all my emails with questions that I had.more
Apr 2023, Pedro V
We had a great experience with China Highlights and Roger was highly efficient and helpful planning our itinerary exactly how we needed.more
Apr 2023, Brenda Sarmanho
Excellent service and tour guide!!
Excellent service and communication from the travel agent Roger Li and amazing tour and experience of Great Wall of China from our tour guide Amber. Highly recommended!more
Apr 2023, Evangelos Athanasopoulos
Maggie was such a tremendous help for…
Maggie was such a tremendous help for our recent Beijing trip. Very prompt and helpful in helping us plan and adjust/amend to our requests.more
Apr 2023, Hi
We travelled first to Beijing for a few days before moving on to Wuhan for the wedding and then for a few days in Guilin along with my son and daughter in law. It was a great trip and all went smothly with the help of the guides we had along the way. William in Beijing and Jenny in Guilin were excellent. Chas in HK was also very helpful in getting us to the right place and the right time to fly home.more
Apr 2023, Alan Harris
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.
Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.