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15-Day Nature of China

Nature of China

Day 1-3 Beijing - The Imperial Palace
Day 4 Xi'an - The Terracotta Army
Day 5-8 Zhangjiajie - National Forest Park
Day 9-13 Yangtze Cruise - The Three Gorges
Day 14-15 Shanghai - Skyline and Traditional Garden

Pandora is far, but Zhangjiajie is near. Movie Avatar makes the floating Hallelujah Mountain famous, so Zhangjiajie becomes popular among westerners in recent years. A book named River Town published in 2012, written by American writer Peter Hessler records life changes in a town on the Yangtze River, which reflects China's development in the passed 20 years.

This 15 days private tour brings these two places close to you and shows you the essence of China in Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, Enjoy the beauty of China with stunning natural views.


  • Be amazed at the Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is viewable from outer space
  • Experience over 8,000 majestic and well-preserved sculptures of the Terracotta Army
  • Soak up the beauty of pillar-like formations and mysterious Avatar's Hallelujah Mountains
  • Feel your heart almost jump up at Suspended Glass Walkway —a mile high!
  • Observe the three gorges and the big dam from the relaxing Yangtze River Cruise

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Trip Advisor certificate of 2023 Tour Review

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)

Whenever your flight lands your tour guide will be waiting for you at the arrival hall of the airport, greeting you with a smile and name plate. Transfer to your hotel by private van and driver.

Day 2 Beijing: Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Hutongs

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

You will visit iconic sights of the city: Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Tian'anmen Square at the heart of Beijing is the largest city square in the world, the witness of many major historical events. Walking northward from the square you will enter the Forbidden City, the imperial palace where treasures are hidden and history happened.

Have lunch at a popular local restaurant, where your guide will help you order dishes to ensure an authentic Chinese flavor.

In the afternoon hop on a rickshaw to explore the charming hutongs ('lanes') — traditional Beijing neighborhood areas.

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

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

This less-crowded Mutianyu section of the Great Wall offers superb views, as it snakes across mountains. After driving for about 2½ hours from Beijing city center, you will take a shuttle bus to the foot of the mountains. Cable cars are available to take you to a good section (avoiding climbing on steep steps), where you can walk along the wall and enjoy the view. You can descend by cable car, or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift.

After lunch at a nearby restaurant, drive back to the city and visit the Temple of Heaven, where ancient emperors held grand ceremonies to pray for good harvests. You will see local people enjoying leisure time inside the park, singing, dancing, and playing chess or musical instruments.

The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall
Day 4 The Summer Palace; Flight to Xi'an

Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South (Deluxe Room) (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

In the morning walk through the Summer Palace, an enormous park with pavilions, vividly-painted corridors, temples, and lakes surrounded by hills.

After lunch, transfer to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. Upon arrival in Xi'an, meet your guide at the arrival hall and go to your hotel by private van and driver.

Day 5 The Terracotta Warriors; Evening Flight to Zhangjiajie

Hotel: Pullman Zhangjiajie (Superior Room) (Rank No. 1 in Zhangjiajie on TripAdvisor)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Drive about one hour to the outskirts of Xi'an and admire the formidable underground army of Terracotta Warriors, which has been guarding 'First Emperor' Qin for over 2,000 years. Back in the city, walk on the ancient city wall, which divides the city into its inner and outer parts. Riding a bike on the massive wall is recommended.

Dinner is according to your own arrangement. Feel free to ask your tour guide for some insider recommendations. Transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Zhangjiajie. Upon arrival, meet your guide at the arrival hall for your transfer to a Zhangjiajie city hotel.

Good to Know:

  • To avoid waiting in long queues, your Zhangjiajie guide might suggest you get up early or alter your attraction schedule. Please kindly understand and cooperate.
The Terracotta Army The Terracotta Army
Day 6 Zhangjiajie National Park: Tianzi Mountain and Yuanjiajie

Hotel: Pullman Zhangjiajie (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Breakfast at a 4-star hotel at Zhangjiajie is very basic, so our guide will prepare bread, coffee, and fruit for you.

Tianzi Mountain and Yuanjiajie are the most classic and popular sights of Zhangjiajie.

Take the cable car up Tianzi Mountain, and see through the glass below large areas of grotesque sandstone peaks thrusting up from the ground.

Have a simple lunch on the mountain.

If you prefer, we can arrange to have lunch at a McDonald's on the mountain, and have a break in the air-conditioned building.

The namesake and inspiration of Avatar's Hallelujah Mountain is located in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area, which you will visit in the afternoon after taking a shuttle bus from Tianzi Mountain.

Alternative: For getting back to the foot of the mountain, besides taking the cable car, there is also an option of taking Bailong Elevator, a glass elevator built on the side of a cliff, taking only 2 minutes. If you are interested, tell your tour guide in advance so that he/she can arrange to avoid long queues, which might take you 2 hours.

 Zhangjiajie National Park Zhangjiajie National Park
Day 7 Yangjiajie in Zhangjiajie's National Park

Hotel: Pullman Zhangjiajie (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Yangjiajie Scenic Area is a relatively recently developed area in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. With less people and pristine natural beauty, it takes a bit of an adventure to climb up and down the steep and sometimes narrow steps for the superb view. You will need to climb for about one hour, besides taking a cable car, to get up and down.

After visiting the National Park, let's head to Baofeng Lake to enjoy crystal clear water.

Alternative: If you do not want to walk so much, we recommend Gold Whip Stream for a pleasant stroll along the stream, surrounded by grotesque rocks. You might see some monkeys there. Please don't touch or scare them for safety reasons, but giving them food is ok.

 Yangjiajie of the National Park Yangjiajie of the National Park
Day 8 Tianmen Mountain and Yellow Dragon Cave

Hotel:Zhangjiajie Sunshine Hotel (Superior Room)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Tianmen literally means 'Heaven's Gate', and Tianmen Mountain does match its name. With an altitude of 1,518 meters (4,980 feet), its scenery is often locked in mist in the morning. Besides its beautiful scenery, it will make your heart beat fast as you walk across its glass walkway, suspended 1,430 meters up; ride the world's longest cable car from city to mountain top; and take a vehicle down the curvy mountain road of '99 Bends'.

Tianmen Cave, a 30-meter-high, doorway-like hole in the mountain, can be reached by climbing 999 steps, if you'd like the challenge.

You will get back to the foot of the mountain at around 2 pm in the afternoon. After a late lunch enjoying local specialty mushroom hotpot.

Then we move to Yellow Dragon Cave stretches a total length of 7.5 kilometers with four layers. It's home to an impressive collections of stalactites and stalagmites, illuminated in a variety of colored lights.

Good to Know: Show Opportunity: Tianmen Foxy Fairy is an outdoor musical telling an old Chinese love story, with Tianmen Mountain and its deep valleys as the backdrop. It has received good reviews on TripAdvisor. The show is on every night. If you are interested, please ask your guide to book tickets for you, at extra cost.

The Tianmen Mountian The Tianmen Mountian
Day 9 Zhangjiajie to Yichang by Train; Board Your Yangtze River Cruise

Hotel: Century Ledgend (Deluxe Cabin)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Transfer to the train station for your Yichang-bound train (K1474, departing at 09:15 and arriving at 14:18). To ensure the most comfort for your China train experience, we book soft-sleeper carriages, where 4 people share a cabin.

Upon arrival at Yichang Train Station, meet your local guide for your port transfer, and board your Yangtze River Cruise, which embarks at 21:00.

Day 10 Yangtze River Cruise

Hotel: Century Ledgend (Deluxe Cabin)

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Tai chi exercise led by a teacher is offered in the early morning every day.

Sail through the first gorge — Xiling Gorge, and pass through the five-step ship lock and have a shore excursion to the world-famous Three Gorges Dam site. In the evening, a welcoming banquet is held, hosted by the captain. There's no dress code for the Yangtze River cruise; wearing comfortable clothing for traveling is completely fine.

Xiling Gorge Xiling Gorge
Day 11 Yangtze River Cruise

Hotel: Century Ledgend (Deluxe Cabin)

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Take a shore excursion to visit Shennong Stream in small wooden boats, and see the mountain and water scenery more intimately. The cruise proceeds through Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge.

You have the option of visiting White Emperor City (CNY280 per person extra), the source of inspiration for many ancient Chinese poets. Enjoy some interesting performances presented by the ship crew in the evening.

Shennong Stream Shennong Stream
Day 12 Yangtze River Cruise

Hotel: Century Ledgend (Deluxe Cabin)

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

You will have a shore excursion to Shibaozhai, a craggy hill by the Yangtze with a red pavilion and a walkway to the temple at the top of the hill. The Captain's Farewell Banquet is held in the evening.

Shibaozhai Shibaozhai
Day 13 Arrive in Chongqing; Flight to Shanghai

Hotel:Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai (Bund Studio River View)(TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

The cruise will dock at Chongqing port at around 9 am. Your local tour guide will pick you up from the port for your airport transfer and flight to Shanghai. Upon landing in Shanghai, your Shanghai tour guide will meet you at the arrival hall for your hotel transfer and a good rest.

Day 14 Shanghai City Highlights

Hotel:Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai (Bund Studio River View)

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Shanghai's charm of mixed cultures will be unveiled during your visit to the essential highlights of the city — the classical landscape garden of Yu Yuan; the Shanghai Tower with a history museum on the lower floor; and the Bund, where architecture of various Western styles are gathered.

Lunch is at a famous Old Shanghai Restaurant, where authentic Shanghai flavor is served in an old-fashioned dining environment.

 The Bund The Bund
Day 15 Shanghai Departure

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Your tour guide, driver, and van will pick you up from your hotel for you to the airport transfer and flight. The guide will accompany and assist you as far as the security check, and then wave goodbye.

Trip Notes

Extend the tour:

  • Guilin: add 3-4 days — Li River Cruise, Yangshuo countryside, Longji Terrace Field
  • Chengdu: add 2–3 days — visit a Panda Research Center, the Giant Buddha, and Mt. Emei
  • Suzhou and Hangzhou: add 2–4 days — visit scenic gardens, West Lake, and water towns
  • Hong Kong: add 2–3 days — visit Victoria Peak, Disneyland, and day-tour Macau

Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge

The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is reopened on September 28th, 2016! The other attractions in the Grand Canyon Area are still closed, so people can only visit the glass bridge at presen. If you are interested in the bridge, feel free to ask your travel advisor to add it.

About Accommodation in Zhangjiajie

Star-rated hotels in Zhangjiajie might not be up to the standard of those in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The hotels we use in the tour are carefully selected based on criteria like hotel environment, location, service, and previous customer feedback.

There are some hostels in the national park, with very basic facilities. If you would like to stay in a local guesthouse, we can arrange it. In this way you can save time on transportation, avoid tourist groups, and also cut the cost.

About Food in Zhangjiajie

Restaurant and cuisine choices are very limited in the national park. We will find the best available, but it is also suggested that you bring some snacks. Local villagers sell water and food like fruits and corn on the mountains, which are good to try while you climb the steps.

Breakfast at a 4-star hotel at Zhangjiajie is very basic, so our guide will prepare bread, coffee, and fruit for you.

Tour Price

FromUS2,369 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

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