Chinese Culture and Panda Tour
13-Day Private China Tour: Shanghai– Chengdu– Xi'an–Pingyao–Beijing
Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Shanghai's modern metropolis before encountering adorable giant pandas in Chengdu. Explore the ancient wonders of Xian, including the Terracotta Army, before stepping back in time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pingyao. Finally, discover the cultural and historical treasures of Beijing, from the majestic Great Wall to the iconic Forbidden City.
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
Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall
Make a Mini warrior with a Local Artisan Family
Enjoy a Peaceful Boat Ride Through Zhujiajiao Water Town
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Wow this tour was honestly the best tourI have ever taken! Our guide Simon Yao was simply superb! His English was excellent and he was very easy to talk to. He was personable and friendly but not overpowering or overbearing. Very knowledgeable about history. Thankfully the weather was good so we were not super hot !Finally at the wall we were amazed by it's beauty and grandeur. It really is something and pictures don't do it justice.more
Nov 2023, Annika M
Excellent two day visit to Great Wall
Our guide ‘Mark’ was incredible. So friendly, knowledgable and funny. The itinerary was perfect, we got to see two different parts of the Great Wall (one of which at night which was magical) and our hotel stay in Gubei was wonderful. Highly recommend to anybody visiting Beijingmore
Nov 2023, James_Wolstenholme
Great day out with Mark, thanks China Highlights!
We did a 1 day private tour with China Highlights to see Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Communication was great throughout - from trip planning/booking with Roger and from our guide Mark who contacted us the day before to confirm meet up time/location. Avoided a lot of the queues and definitely learned quite a bit of history from our guide Mark…thanks again! No language barriers/issues…highly recommended.more
Nov 2023, ykeezy
China Three (3) Cities Tours
To the tour guides, Ethan, Jason and Tony, you guys have made my visit an awesome and memorable experience. All the tour guides spoke english and communicated very effectively. They are knowledgeable about all the sites visited including, Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Panda Breeding and Research Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, Hallelujah Mountains, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge, and Tianmen Mountain. The tour guides ensured I got the most out of my time I stayed in the various cities Beijing, Chengdu and Zhangjiajie.more
Nov 2023, Kadar
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
Perfect Beijing experience
Covering all major sights our exploration of Beijing and surroundings was flawless guided by Lily, along with her knowledgeable and balanced information on Chinas culture and history. In particular, Lily was able to adjust the tour according to personal preferences, e.g. focus on photography, as well as suggesting additional activities like an impressive authentic artistic show. I highly recommend China Highlights as China tour operator and Lily Liu as excellent guide regarding the Beijing area.more
Nov 2023, Perfect Beijing experience
Anne and Bob’s tour of Beijing
We did the China Highlights tour of Beijing with our excellent guide Mark and his driver. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Beijing highlights including the Lama Temple, the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Lama Temple. The Summer Palace with the boat ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony were memorable also and the Mutianyu Great Wall was a highlight. We were impressed with Mark as a guide. He knew his history and he was kind and thoughtful. He took us to some excellent restaurants and we were introduced to some beautiful food. We enjoyed his company and will always remember him.more
Nov 2023, BendigoBob
Amazing Beijing Tour with Risa!
Risa gave us a wonderful tour of the city! She thoroughly explained the cultuaral importance of each exhibit while also educating us on the Chinese culture. Appreciated having this wonderful Beijing trip with Risa:)more
Nov 2023, Angelica M.
Amazing Beijing Tour With Risa!
We were very kindly received in Beijing by our tour guide Risa. She gave us a very thorough tour of the city and showed us wonderful places, while also explaining the important history/culture of China! Very beautiful city filled with many things to do and full of culture! This was very well planned and made it very easy for us to visit the city and foreigners:) Thank you Risa!more
Nov 2023, Angelica M
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
Must-see Beijing sights in two days
Going on the guided tour gave me the opportunity to visit the main 'must-see' Beijing attractions in two days' time. Although I prefer to travel on my own, it simply would not have been possible for me to arrange tickets and figure out logistics to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Great Wall with such a compressed schedule and short notice. My guide, Lucy, was very knowledgeable about Chinese history and cheerfully accompanied me through two grueling days. Traffic in and around Beijing is bad, and the sights are notnin walking distance from one another. Our driver, Li Li Mon, patiently fought the traffic allowing me to snooze in between the longmore
Nov 2023, Marcis J
China Highlights - Great Wall Mutianyu
I arranged a private tour with China Highlights to see the Great Wall, as I had a few hours to spare near Beijing. I was promptly collected, taken to the wall via comfortable car and escorted all the way by my allocated tour guide Jack. The day was highly memorable and thoroughly enjoyable, we walked 20 watchtowers across the Wall and then took the luge back down. The knowledge and history of the Great Wall was shared and Jack’s English was great. Fantastic day, thanks for your great hospitality, Jack!more
Nov 2023, Daniel White
Great Day in China!
The experience was great! Amazing learning about history and culture.Thanks for everything Lucy!more
Nov 2023, Evandro S
It was the best experience foi my whole life. Thanks a thousand to Lucy for all her assistente and knowledge regarding China. If you are planing to know China as native perspective do not think twice Luci is the best.more
Nov 2023, Evandro F
Amazing experience in Beijing
Spent 3 days in Beijing under China Highlights! Our tour guide Jennifer spoke excellent English and was very knowledgeable in Chinese history. Not only was she friendly, she was always on hand to help me with my heavy luggage. She also recommended us very good chinese restaurants for lunch and dinner. She went beyond her call of duties to make sure we had a enjoyable time in Beijing. China highlights also surprised me with a birthday cake on my birthday. Kimi Huang who was my consultant was ever ready to answer all my queries promptly. Thank you for making our trip a memorable one.more
Nov 2023, Delltravellor
Great Experience on Beijing Day Visit with tour guide Lucy Yubo
She took me on a side excursion to see the next door park where locals exercise and she took me yo some shops also to get hat and gloves for the cold. Our last stop was 978 Art Center which was super interesting. My day was relaxing, fun, and very special as I feel I learned something much about both China’s past and present. I highly recommend booking a tour to see Beijing in this way.more
Nov 2023, Nancy H
Memorable Beijing & Gubei with China Highlights
Jack as the tour guide is a good story teller. He is inquisitive. He knows when to leave us alone exploring the sights and pick out interest again with the historical facts and stories.Then, we explored Jinshanling that provides a balanced view between reconstructed and ruined walls. Finally, we explored the Forbidden City and The Summer Palace. In between, we enjoyed authentic Chinese cuisines which were delicious.more
Nov 2023, Dian W
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
My very first trip to Beijing
My guide Jack was excellent- very knowledgeable, organised, kind, helpful, and great English speaker. So I learned a lot about the fascinating history of China while enjoying breathtaking sceneries and monuments.more
Nov 2023, Amanda Barbosa
Two-Day Customized Beijing Trip
Our family had a two-day tour in Beijing, which Kimi customized for us. We went to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Qianmen Street, and the Temple of Heaven on the first day, and the Summer Palace and the Great Wall on the second day. Everything went perfectly thanks to our tour guide, Lucy. She was punctual, polite, respectful, knowledgeable, and good at English. The driver was also so nice. Highly recommend!more
Nov 2023, Sukjoon L
Itinerary Quick Look
Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.
Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Shanghai. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.
Experience the allure of The Bund, a historic embankment along the Huangpu River. Marvel at the well-preserved European-style buildings that line its promenade, offering a glimpse into Shanghai's trading past. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere that now defines The Bund, with its modern developments, chic restaurants, upscale shops, and lively bars. Be sure to visit in the afternoon or evening to witness the enchanting lights that illuminate the area.
Visit the impressive Shanghai World Financial Center, a soaring skyscraper that serves as a symbol of Shanghai's prosperity. Take in awe-inspiring views from its observation deck, the highest in the world, and explore the diverse offerings within the building, including hotels, apartments, restaurants, shopping malls, and offices.
Indulge in a Zhujiajiao Boat Ride, where you can peacefully glide along the water and admire the town's scenic highlights. Discover historical attractions such as the ancient pharmacy, Post Office, art galleries, temples, museums, and gardens during the 20-minute ride. Allow the intimate setting of the boat to provide a personal experience of this charming water town.
Explore the enchanting Yuyuan Garden, a meticulously designed private garden showcasing classic Chinese architecture. Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance as you admire the rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and corridors. Don't miss the bustling marketplace surrounding the garden, offering a blend of culinary delights, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
Visit the revered Jade Buddha Temple, home to invaluable Buddha statues carved from precious white jade. Experience the vibrant atmosphere as worshippers and visitors gather, immersing yourself in the spiritual energy the temple offers.
Take a leisurely stroll through Shanghai's Old Street, where well-preserved traditional houses and narrow lanes transport you to the bygone era of the city. Engage with local life and explore the various shops and stalls, filled with antiques, crafts, and souvenirs, allowing you to discover unique treasures.
Experience the distinctive Shikumen style of housing and witness its evolution from residential neighborhoods to modern gathering places filled with bars, tea houses, and entertainment centers. Don't miss the opportunity to glimpse into the past at Wu Li Xiang, an exhibition that showcases the furnishings and essence of traditional Shanghainese homes.
Experience the world's only commercial Maglev (magnetic levitation) rail system, offering a thrilling ride reaching speeds of up to 430 km/hr on the 7-minute journey between Pudong International Airport and Longyang Station. While the Maglev train provides a speedy transfer, it is important to note that it does not take you directly to the main attractions in Shanghai. It is recommended to schedule the Maglev train ride for a different day, separate from your arrival, to avoid the inconvenience of carrying your bags onto the train or waiting for transportation at the other end.
Engage in the unforgettable One Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour. Begin your day with a hotel pickup in Chengdu and arrive at the Dujiangyan Panda Base. Together with professional panda keepers, partake in activities such as cleaning enclosures and feeding the pandas, gaining firsthand experience in caring for these national treasures. Explore the panda base, enjoy a documentary screening, learn to make panda cakes, and receive a certificate for your meaningful participation. Your guide will be there to assist you throughout the day. Indulge in this unique opportunity to connect with these adorable creatures and contribute to their well-being.
Begin your day by visiting the captivating Wenshu Monastery, a lively Zen Buddhist temple boasting majestic halls adorned with exquisite artworks and curios. Delight in the popular vegetarian restaurant and bustling teahouses, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.
Next, visit the renowned Panda Breeding and Research Center, a sanctuary for giant pandas and other endangered species. Observe these gentle animals at rest or play, stroll through bamboo groves, and discover the highly successful breeding program at the nursery. Gain insights into the panda world at the informative panda museum. Please note that interactive activities with the pandas are temporarily closed for their protection.
Conclude your day at Jinli Old Street, a restored ancient street offering a glimpse into the region's rich history. Indulge in the local arts, crafts, and Chinese goods available, and savor the diverse culinary delights, including traditional Sichuan delicacies. Enjoy the lively ambiance of this charming street and make sure to visit the unique Starbucks branch that reflects the local style.
Explore the magnificent Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a significant Buddhist site standing within the beautiful Da Ci'en Temple grounds. Built in the 7th century, this simple yet elegant brick pagoda was constructed to house the Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by the renowned monk Xuanzang (Tripitaka). Marvel at the historical and cultural significance of this sacred structure. The temple complex also features several grand halls showcasing impressive Buddhist statues and intricate murals.
Discover the incredible Terracotta Warriors and Horses, an army of over 7,000 meticulously crafted figures guarding Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Witness the ongoing excavation in three protected pits, explore the museum, and capture photos (no flash). Wear comfortable shoes.
Experience the well-preserved Ancient City Wall, one of China's oldest defenses. Walk, rent a bike (CNY40 per person), or take an electric cart (CNY80 per person) along the 14km circuit for panoramic city views.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant Muslim Quarter, a lively 500-meter street near the Bell Tower. Explore unique stalls, souvenir shops, cafes, and bars run by the Muslim community.
Explore Pingyao Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's best-preserved ancient towns. Enclosed within the Ming Dynasty city wall, this charming town features remarkably well-preserved buildings from centuries ago. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike to explore the area. Immerse yourself in the traditional Chinese arts of paper cutting and witness the craftsmanship of lacquerware and other traditional handicrafts.
Visit Rishengchang, the first and largest draft bank in China established in 1823. Known for its global business connections, the bank thrived for over 100 years. Located on West Street in Pingyao Ancient Town, explore the exhibitions to learn about its historical significance, development, and management.
Discover the Ancient City Wall of Pingyao, which dates back nearly 3,000 years and reflects the city's rich history. This well-preserved wall showcases the original construction from the early Ming Dynasty. Enjoy the simple yet delicate architectural style of the wall, with a circumference of approximately 6,163 meters and a height ranging from 6 to 10 meters. Experience the daily life of local people and tourists as they pass through the six city gates.
Explore the vast and magnificent Wang's Family Compound, a courtyard complex that showcases the distinct style of north China folk houses. Marvel at the intricate decorations and hierarchical design, with 123 courtyards and 1,118 rooms open for tourists. The carvings and statues hold symbolic meanings and tell intriguing stories.
Visit the ancient Shuanglin Temple, also known as "Double Forest Temple," just a short drive from Pingyao Ancient Town. Experience its rich history with ancient locust trees, stone steles, and over 2,000 well-preserved colored-painting mud sculptures that depict vivid scenes and figures.
Discover the grandeur of the Forbidden City, the vast imperial complex that housed emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Explore the world's largest and best-preserved ancient imperial architectural marvel, with its impressive halls, gates, and intricate gardens. Uncover the treasures of ancient China through permanent and temporary exhibitions. Please note that alcohol and drinks are not permitted inside, but they can be purchased on-site.
Visit the Temple of Heaven, a sacred Taoist complex built in the 15th century. Witness the beautifully designed buildings and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the surrounding park. Experience the local culture as elderly residents gather to sing, exercise, and practice tai chi. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the serene grounds, covering approximately 1-1.5 kilometers.
Experience the picturesque Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, known for its restored architecture and scenic beauty. With a convenient 1.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing, it is the top-ranked section on TripAdvisor. Enjoy a round-trip cable car ride to save time and explore the wall at your own pace. Hike the stunning "golden route" between the 14th and 23rd watchtowers, taking approximately 2 hours. Afterward, descend by bus and return to our vehicle.
Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony (2 hours): Discover the splendid Summer Palace, China's largest and best-preserved royal park, located just outside downtown Beijing. Immerse yourself in its natural beauty and rich cultural significance during a leisurely 2-kilometer walk. Marvel at the horticultural wonders that have influenced Chinese landscape design for centuries.
- 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-26