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17-Day Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Kunming, Lijiang, Shaxi and Dali Tour

Classic China Nature and Culture Tour

17-Day Private China Tour: Hong Kong– Beijing– Shanghai–Xi'an–Yunnan

Begin your adventure in vibrant Beijing and explore iconic attractions like the Great Wall and Forbidden City. Immerse yourself in the modernity of Shanghai before diving into the ancient history of Xian, home to the captivating Terracotta Warriors. Discover the enchanting beauty of Kunming's Stone Forest, wander through the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Lijiang, and experience the cultural heritage of Shaxi and Dali.

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.

Tour 'Wow' Points

Find the Hidden Halls in the Forbidden City

the Forbidden City

Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

walking on the Great Wall

Experience the Charm of Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town

Step Back in Time And Explore the Historic Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi Ancient Town

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Itinerary Quick Look

Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.

DAY 1 Hong Kong to Beijing Arrival

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Beijing. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

DAY 2 Beijing| The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City: Discover the awe-inspiring Forbidden City, the largest and best-preserved ancient imperial complex in the world. Marvel at its grand architecture, from majestic halls and gates to intricate gardens and living quarters. Delve into the rich history of the Ming and Qing dynasties as you explore exhibitions showcasing ancient Chinese treasures. Enjoy a moderate 2-kilometer walk within this historic site.

Tiananmen Square: Experience the cultural significance of Tiananmen Square, China's largest city square. Admire the iconic Tiananmen Gate and surrounding impressive structures, including museums and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. Capture the essence of China's national pride in this historic landmark.

The Southern Gong and Drum Lane (Nanluoguxiang): Immerse yourself in the charming Hutongs of Nanluoguxiang, a popular district featuring traditional alleyways and courtyard houses. Enjoy the mix of history, fashion, and culture as you explore the vibrant neighborhood with its unique shops, bars, and cafes.

DAY 3 Beijing| The Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven: Visit the historic Temple of Heaven, a complex of Taoist buildings dating back to the Ming dynasty. Explore the vast temple park, where locals gather to sing, exercise, and practice tai chi. Enjoy an easy walk through the park, covering approximately 1.5 kilometers.

The Mutianyu Great Wall (with round-trip cable car): Discover the awe-inspiring Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, renowned for its stunning scenery and well-preserved architecture. Save time with a round-trip cable car ride instead of climbing steps. After your guide provides introductions, explore the Wall at your leisure, embarking on a scenic hike between the 14th and 23rd watchtowers. Enjoy approximately 2 hours in this captivating location before descending and returning to your vehicle.

DAY 4 Beijing | The Lama Temple and 798 Art District

Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony: Immerse yourself in the splendor of the Summer Palace, located just 9 miles (15 kilometers) northwest of downtown Beijing. As the largest and best-preserved royal park in China, it has played a significant role in shaping Chinese horticulture and landscape design. Known as "The Museum of Royal Gardens," the Summer Palace offers breathtaking natural vistas and cultural treasures. Take a leisurely stroll through the park, covering approximately 2 kilometers, and enjoy a tranquil boat ride on the picturesque Kunming Lake.

Lama Temple: Discover the vibrant and colorful Yonghe Lamasery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. This active temple attracts devotees seeking blessings and good fortune. Marvel at the exquisite halls and courtyards adorned with stunning artwork. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the world's largest wooden statue, the Matreiya Buddha, and explore the Tibetan exhibitions that further enrich your cultural experience.

798 Art District: Experience the vibrant contemporary art scene at the renowned 798 Art District. This former factory complex has transformed into a sprawling creative hub, housing artists' studios, art galleries, design companies, fashion boutiques, bars, and more. Since its establishment in 2002, it has become China's largest and most influential international arts district. Immerse yourself in the cutting-edge art and explore the dynamic cultural spaces that have made 798 a thriving artistic community.

DAY 5 Beijing to Shanghai | The East Nanjing Road

East Nanjing Road: Leisure, Shopping, and Dining (median level consumption): Indulge in a leisurely experience at East Nanjing Road, where you'll find a perfect blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. This bustling street offers a variety of shops catering to different tastes and budgets. Discover both contemporary and time-honored stores that showcase unique features. Whether you're looking for fashion, souvenirs, or local delicacies, East Nanjing Road has something for everyone.

DAY 6Shanghai | The Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Oriental Pearl TV Tower: Visit the famous Oriental Pearl TV Tower, one of the tallest TV towers globally, known for its distinctive spherical design. Explore the Shanghai History Museum on the first floor, showcasing the city's fascinating history. Note: Expect crowds and queues during peak tourist season (July-September).

The Bund: Take a stroll along the scenic Bund, a 1.5-kilometer embankment along the Huangpu River. Admire the well-preserved European-style buildings, indulge in modern developments, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. The Bund truly comes alive in the afternoon and evening, creating a magical experience. Please be aware that lights are turned off at 10:00 PM.

Yuyuan Garden: Discover the exquisite Yuyuan Garden, a Ming Dynasty private garden in Shanghai's old quarters. Experience its traditional Chinese architecture, with pavilions, rockeries, ponds, and beautiful corridors. The garden also surrounds a bustling market offering local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, souvenirs, and renowned restaurants.

DAY 7 Shanghai | Former French Concession Precinct

Former French Concession Precinct: Immerse yourself in the charming Former French Concession, encompassing Huaihai Road, Fuxing Road, Huashan Road, Ruijin Road, Yandang Road, Taikang Road, and Sinan Road. Embark on a walking tour to witness historical treasures like the former residences of Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai, Fuxing Park, Moller Villa, Lilac Garden, Notre Dame Cathedral, and numerous French colonial-style buildings. Experience the romantic ambiance created by century-old buildings and the shade of Chenar trees. In the evening, the aroma of coffee beckons from the myriad of cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Xintiandi: Nestled amidst the towering skyscrapers in the heart of the city, experience the vibrant energy of Xintiandi. This bustling urban tourist attraction seamlessly blends Shanghai's historical and cultural legacies. The Shikumen buildings in Shanghai Xintiandi have been transformed into a lively dining, retail, and entertainment center, boasting internationally acclaimed restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and bars.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town: Shaped like a fan, the historic Zhujiajiao Water Town offers a glimpse into its centuries-old history. Explore the picturesque lakeside, adorned with well-preserved examples of Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture. Admire the 36 stone bridges showcasing ancient craftsmanship. Your tour will include notable attractions like Tongtianhe (an ancient pharmacy), the historic Post Office, Yuanjin Temple, and the scenic Kezhi Garden.

Zhujiajiao Boat Ride: Take a leisurely cruise along the river through the ancient town of Zhujiajiao and witness the town's picturesque beauty. Enjoy a 10-15 minute boat ride that allows you to soak in the tranquil ambiance and appreciate the unique charm of this historic water town.

DAY 8 Shanghai to Xi'an| The erracotta Warriors and Horses

Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors: Discover the intriguing secrets of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an. Explore beyond the widely known facts and delve into the fascinating stories behind these archaeological wonders. Uncover the mystery of how ancient craftsmen created over 8,000 life-sized warriors in just 11 years, and learn about their techniques for preventing clay cracks despite Xi'an's extreme weather. Your knowledgeable guide will reveal these secrets and take you to a local cave dwelling, where you can try your hand at making your own miniature warrior. Immerse yourself in the historical and cultural impact of Emperor Qinshihuang's mausoleum, leaving with a deeper understanding of ancient China.

DAY 9 Xi'an | Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum: Immerse yourself in the rich history of China at the renowned Shaanxi History Museum. This exceptional museum showcases the captivating heritage of Shaanxi province, elegantly displayed in four Tang-style buildings. Explore the vast collection, including artifacts from various dynasties. While most item labels are in English, your guide will assist with additional information. Wear comfortable shoes for this experience.

Muslim Quarter: Located just 100 meters west of the Bell Tower in downtown Xi'an, the vibrant Muslim Quarter awaits. Walk along the 500-meter-long avenue adorned with bluestone pavement, where you'll find an array of unique stalls, souvenir shops, cafes, and bars, predominantly operated by the local Muslim community. Join locals and international visitors as you explore and shop in this bustling area.

Xian City Wall with Bicycle: Admire the ancient Xian City Wall, one of China's oldest and most well-preserved city defenses. Dating back to the 13th century, it surrounds the city center and stands as a magnificent landmark. Opt for an exciting bicycle ride along the 13.74-kilometer perimeter of the wall, taking approximately 2 hours to complete.

DAY 10 Xi'an to Kunming | Kunming Bird and Flower Market

Bamboo Temple: Step back in time and visit the Bamboo Temple, a renowned Tang Dynasty temple in Kunming. Famous for its exquisite Arhat statues, this temple offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the city. Explore the beautifully adorned halls and immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of this historic site.

Kunming Bird and Flower Market: Indulge your senses at the vibrant Kunming Bird and Flower Market, a captivating destination where spring blooms year-round. This bustling market serves as a hub for leisure, shopping, and trade. Marvel at the diverse range of shops and stalls, particularly those featuring flowers, birds, and fish. Additionally, the market is a treasure trove for antiques and unique souvenirs. Prices are reasonable, but remember to exercise your bargaining skills and be cautious of counterfeit items.

DAY 11 Kunming | The Stone Forest

The Stone Forest: Witness a marvelous natural phenomenon at the Stone Forest, located 90 km southeast of Kunming. Over millions of years, the Earth's movements have shaped the unique karst landscape, creating a breathtaking sight. As you explore the area, you'll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of the local Sani people. Their vibrant folk customs, colorful embroidery, and captivating minority dances harmoniously blend with the natural scenery, leaving you with a lasting impression.

The Dragon Gate on Xishan: Located just 37 km west of downtown Kunming, the Dragon Gate on Xishan is nestled close to the enchanting Dianchi Lake. Discover a remarkable collection of grottoes, sculptures, corridors, and pavilions that were meticulously chiseled from the cliffside between 1781 and 1835 by a dedicated Taoist monk and his team of co-workers. Marvel at the intricate details and craftsmanship of this remarkable site.

Xishan Longmen Chairlift: To optimize your time and energy, take advantage of the Xishan Chairlift. This convenient mode of transportation operates between Xvguang Pavilion and Yingxi Pavilion. Ascend to the Dragon Gate to admire the Taoism Grottoes and conveniently descend the hill using the chairlift.

DAY 12 Kunming to Lijiang | Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town: Experience the charm of Lijiang Ancient Town, nestled in a picturesque setting at an elevation of over 2,400 meters. This historic city has a rich cultural heritage and is exceptionally well-preserved, making it a rare gem in China. Wander through the narrow streets and immerse yourself in the city's long history and splendid culture. The town comes to life in the afternoon and evening, with vibrant lights and a bustling atmosphere. For a more tranquil experience, consider visiting in the early morning when it is less crowded.

The Black Dragon Pool: Discover the enchanting beauty of the Black Dragon Pool, a captivating park named after its picturesque pool. Renowned for its serenity and remarkable scenery, this pool has earned its place among the famous pools of China. Stroll through the park, where lush landscapes and striking views await.

DAY 13 Lijiang | The Baisha Village and Jade Snow Mountain

Baisha Murals at Baisha Village: Discover the exquisite Baisha Murals in Baisha Village, a masterpiece dating back over a thousand years. These unique murals beautifully depict the blending of Han, Tibetan, and Naxi cultures, showcasing the life stories of Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Take a leisurely stroll through Baisha Village to further immerse yourself in the local way of life and culture.

Spruce Meadow on Jade Snow Mountain: Embark on an enchanting journey to the Spruce Meadow nestled halfway up Shanzidou on the Jade Snow Mountain. This vast meadow, located at an altitude of 3,240m, captivates visitors with its lush greenery that blankets the mountain ridge during spring and summer. The area holds a hint of romance with a legend of lovers who sacrificed all for their love. The Spruce Meadow is not only renowned for its natural beauty but also as a popular spot for photography and captivating local ethnic dance performances.

DAY 14 Lijiang to Dali | Ancient City of Dali

Ancient City of Dali: Immerse yourself in history and culture as you explore the enchanting Ancient City of Dali, located at the foot of Cangshan Mountain, just 13 kilometers from Xiaguan. Built in 1382 AD during the Ming Dynasty, this city holds a prominent position on the list of China's Famous Historic and Cultural Cities. As you wander through the ancient streets, you'll be greeted by clear springs and encounter the warm and welcoming local Bai people. Admire the traditional houses adorned with vibrant flowers and experience the simplicity and authenticity of this captivating city.

DAY 15 Dali | Houses of Bai People in Xizhou

Houses of Bai People in Xizhou: Explore the historic Houses of the Bai People in Xizhou, known for its traditional cultural significance and beautiful ancient architecture. Admire the intricate paintings adorning the walls of these houses, showcasing the artistry of the region.

Visit the Er'hai West Shore by Horse Carriage: Enjoy a relaxing horse carriage ride along the scenic west shore of Er'hai Lake, starting from Xizhou. Take in the tranquil surroundings and appreciate the beauty of the lake at a leisurely pace.

Three Pagodas: Marvel at the iconic Three Pagodas, towering magnificently between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake. These ancient structures house valuable Buddhist scripts and hold great historical significance.

Learn How to Make Yunnan Flower Cakes: Immerse yourself in the local culture by participating in a hands-on experience of making Yunnan Flower Cakes. Learn the traditional techniques and enjoy the delightful flavors of these unique snacks, paired with refreshing flower tea.

DAY 16 Dali to Shaxi | Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi Ancient Town (including Xingjiao Temple, Sideng Street, and Tea Horse Road Exhibition Hall): Step back in time and explore the historic Shaxi Ancient Town, a village with a long and intriguing history dating back to ancient periods. This well-preserved town showcases traditional Bai architecture and features notable structures like the Xingjiao Temple, Sideng Street, and a vibrant marketplace. Once a vital stop on the Southern Silk Road, Shaxi offers glimpses into its rich trading heritage and hosts a bustling local market every Friday. Uncover the charm and historical significance of Shaxi Ancient Town on this immersive itinerary designed for US travelers.

DAY 17 Kunming to Hong Kong Departure

Our guide will help you transfer from your hotel to Kunming Airport for departure with independentcar/van and guide.

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Tour Price

FromUS4,250 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

Tour code: cht-cx-35

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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