Classic China Natural and Culture Tour
19-Day Private China Tour: Shanghai– Huangshan– Hangzhou–Yiwu–Zhangjiajie–Guizhou–Tibet–Xi'an
Begin your adventure in the vibrant city of Shanghai before immersing yourself in the majestic Huangshan Mountains and the picturesque West Lake in Hangzhou. Discover the commercial hub of Yiwu and marvel at the towering sandstone pillars of Zhangjiajie. Explore the ethnic villages and stunning landscapes of Guizhou before embarking on a spiritual journey to Tibet, where ancient monasteries and breathtaking landscapes await. Conclude your trip in Xian, home to the iconic Terracotta Warriors.
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
Explore the Famous Yellow Mountain in Huangshan
Step Into the Rich History of Fenghuang Ancient City
Marvel at the Famous Hallelujah Mountain in the Movie "Avatar"
Climb Up to the Famous Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou
Witness the Famous Potala Palace
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Olivia Tian, a sunshine tour guide!
In October, my friend Amy booked a tour with Chinahighlights, Olivia Tian was our guide in Beijing, she is such a sweet n happy person to be around, not only she gave us the best guide service, also very accommodating, alter the plan as per our interest, took us to very local shopping n food district. Above all, she takes awesome pics, very patient!! Thank you so much for such pleasant 5 days in BJ, look forward to see you when we are back in China, Olivia!!more
Dec 2023, Venture216019
One whole of a good experience !
Kevin was always making flexible arrangements for us making sure we meet our needs. Kevin also walked us to our desired restaurant daily making sure all are well before he left. Kudos to the whole team. Highly recommend ?more
Dec 2023, Cornelius C
China is Amazing Wonders that do not stop coming at you.Great country
Great job,Loved every minute of it,Ethan did an amazing job,True Ambassador of China,Just like the Chinese people,Friendly, dignified and hardworking,Very happy.China Highlights exceeded expectations and then some,I will never even think of travelling with another company.more
Dec 2023, Philip Sardar /Maps10321171537
Wonderful trip to Beijing and Xian
Had a great trip to bejing n xian. Our guide lily liu is so well versed in english and we have no worry here at all. We managed to dine in great halal restaurants though out our trip. Highly reccomended to all muslims travellers.more
Dec 2023, Efen Reyes
Great experience, highly recommended!
Additionally, she helped me with all my personal needs like getting a SIM card, finding an ATM, shopping, dining, checking in at the train station, hotel, suggested a couple additional very entertaining art events. Was also punctual and spoke good English.more
Nov 2023, Wayne S.
Excellent tour with Tom from China Highlights
We used China Highlights for the 3 days of our Beijing trip. Tom was a fantastic guide. Very knowledgable with excellent English. He was able to accommodate changes to our tour at short notice, allowing us to make the most of our limited time. Couldn’t recommend highly enoughmore
Nov 2023, Ross
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 Experience from start to finish!
Jack was my guide and his local knowledge and English skills were fantastic. He was punctual, friendly and willing to flex as we went about our tour. Couldn’t recommend China Highlights more!more
Nov 2023, Scott Smith
Helen in Beijing - thanks for paying great attention to details, for your small surprises for the children every day, for selecting amazing restaurants, and leading wonderful walking tours. Your cheerfulness added to our enjoyment.more
Nov 2023, Kamila
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
Our first trip to Beijing
Our tour guide was Lucy Yubo. She was awesome. Very friendly, informative and passionate about her job. We really enjoyed her company and guidance.more
Nov 2023, Sreelatha Reddy
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
Excellent end to end service
Helen is a positive, full of knowledge, experienced guide.She provided us an implacable service abd experience for 3 days .Highly recommendedmore
Nov 2023, Sariel Engel
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
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.
Shanghai Museum: Visit the renowned Shanghai Museum, displaying ancient Chinese art across eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. Explore a wide range of treasures, including bronzes, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and Ming-Qing furniture. Don't miss the rare "transparent" bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty.
Jade Buddha Temple: Experience the revered Jade Buddha Temple, known for its two statues of Buddha carved from white jade. Witness the temple's vibrant atmosphere as monks, worshippers, and visitors gather.
Yuyuan Garden: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Yuyuan Garden, a Ming Dynasty private garden. Explore its classic Chinese architecture, rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and corridors. Don't forget to explore the bustling marketplace surrounding the garden.
Hongcun Village: Tucked 10 kilometers northeast of Yixian County is the 800-year-old Hongcun Village. Pierced by fog from the surrounding Yellow Mountains, this picturesque hamlet served as a backdrop in the famed "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Artists frequent this UNESCO World Heritage site for its lush landscapes, unique buffalo-like layout, and traditional homes. Visitors find tranquility exploring the local halls, dwellings, and an ancient school.
Tunxi Ancient Street: At the heart of the old city is the historic Tunxi Ancient Street. Here, hundreds of vintage shops stand, meticulously preserved, bearing testimony to a bygone era. A leisurely stroll down this lively street offers a unique retail experience amidst the charm of antiquity.
The Yellow Mountains Expedition: Explore the awe-inspiring beauty of The Yellow Mountains, nestled in the south of Anhui Province, spanning an area of approximately 1,200 square kilometers. Revered as "China's loveliest mountain," this natural gem is renowned for its striking scenery - granite peaks that pierce the clouds, hot springs, waterfalls, extraordinary vistas, and over 1,500 plant species. No matter the season, the landscape here never ceases to impress. Your private tour begins with a pick-up from your hotel, railway station, or airport. From there, you'll be escorted to the South Gate of the Huangshan Scenic Area, roughly an hour's drive away.
The Yungu Cable Car & West Sea Grand Canyon Adventure: Upon arrival at the South Gate, hop onto a scenic area shuttle bus for a 20-minute ride to the Yungu Cable Car. From there, a 10-minute cable car ride will take you into the heart of the mountains. Let your experienced guide, who spends over 200 days annually exploring these mountains, customize the ideal route based on your fitness level.
North Sea and Yungu Cable Car Adventure: Start your day early and seize this golden opportunity to witness and capture the spectacular sunrise at the Refreshing Terrace, a location highly acclaimed by our previous visitors to the Yellow Mountains. Following breakfast at the hotel, embark on a scenic walk towards Lion Peak. Here, you'll encounter landmarks like the Dawn Pavilion and the iconic Stone Monkey Watching the Sea, along with witnessing an intriguing array of indigenous pines adorning the North Sea area route.
Leifeng Pagoda: Explore the scenic Leifeng Pagoda, originally built in 976 AD on the southern bank of the renowned West Lake. Although it collapsed in 1924 due to the removal of "lucky" bricks, it was rebuilt in 2002 to its former glory. The octagonal, five-storied structure is a stunning combination of brick, wood, reinforced steel, and copper parts. As one of the "Ten Scenes of the West Lake," the pagoda offers a magnificent view at sunset when observed from across the lake.
Jingcisi Temple: Visit Jingcisi, a national important temple chosen through public appraisal in 1983. This notable temple is one of the most renowned scenic spots in Hangzhou, second only to West Lake.
The West Lake (including Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, cruise, Mid-Lake Pavilion, and Xiaoying Island): Discover the tranquility of the symbol of Hangzhou, the West Lake, covering an area of 5.6 square kilometers. Begin by visiting the Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, considered one of the Ten Best Views of West Lake. Stroll along the lakeside while marveling at the graceful koi fish swimming beside you. Embark on a leisurely cruise to enjoy captivating views and listen to fascinating stories about the lake's landmarks. Don't miss the Mid-Lake Pavilion and Xiaoying Island during your West Lake experience.
Six Harmonies Pagoda: Witness the architectural marvel of the Six Harmonies Pagoda, a famous ancient pagoda located on the north bank of the Qiantang River. Dating back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), this brick-and-wood structure forms a significant part of Hangzhou's picturesque scenery. Marvel at this masterpiece, which represents the six Buddhist ordinances, symbolizing the harmonies of heaven, earth, east, west, south, and north.
China Commodity Wholesale Center Exploration: Uncover the hustle and bustle of the China Commodity Wholesale Center, originally established in 1982 in Yiwu, making it one of the earliest professional marketplaces in the country. Presently, it spans an impressive business area exceeding 400 million square meters. This mammoth establishment comprises of three significant sections: the International Trade City, Huangyuan Market, and Binwang Market. Lauded by the United Nations as "China's largest commodity export base" and "the world's largest small commodity wholesale market," the center offers a unique shopping experience, brimming with an astounding variety of goods.
In Zhangjiajie, you will visit the National Forest Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the unique pillar-like formations shaped by erosion over time. Explore the park's vast forest-covered area, including Yuanjiajie, Yangjiajie, Jinbian Stream, and Wulongzhai. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting nearby villages inhabited by Tujia, Bai, Miao, and Hui people.
Please note that accommodations and meals in mountain areas like Zhangjiajie and Huangshan are simple. Adjust your expectations accordingly for the best experience. Get ready to be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.
Today, our guide will lead you to visit Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, which is a stunning natural attraction that has recently been developed into a wonderland for visitors. It offers a combination of majestic mountains, flowing streams, intriguing caves, towering cliffs, and lush forests. One of the highlights of this scenic area is the world's longest and highest glass bridge. Imagine the thrill of walking on this bridge, suspended 300 meters above the ground! It's definitely an experience you wouldn't want to miss during your tour.
If walking on the glass bridge isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. We have an alternative route that allows you to still enjoy the attraction without stepping on the glass bridge. However, if you decide to take on the adventure, please note that for safety reasons, carrying a camera on the bridge is not allowed. You can, however, bring your cellphone or GoPro to capture those unforgettable moments.
Visit the Tianmen Mountain, the awe-inspiring heart of Zhangjiajie! As the highest peak in the area, this majestic mountain offers unrivaled views of ancient trees, stunning karst formations, and scenic roads carved into cliff sides. Hop on the world's longest cable car ride, a thrilling 30-minute journey from the city center, and ascend to the mountain's summit.
At 1430 meters above ground, you'll find the renowned Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway, a remarkable observation platform that extends from a sheer cliff. This narrow 1.6-meter-wide, 60-meter-long glass walkway offers brave souls not only breathtaking views of the mountains below but also the exhilaration of treading nervously above such heights. Some have even likened this experience to the famous 'skywalk' at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.
Don't miss the chance to explore this remarkable natural wonder in China. Savor the beauty and thrill of Tianmen Mountain, an experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Evening at Fenghuang Ancient Town: Nestled by the Tuo River, the age-old town of Fenghuang transforms from a peaceful hideaway by day to a vibrant lantern-filled spectacle by nightfall. Immerse yourself in this contrasting experience, witnessing tranquil seclusion by day and vivacious energy by night.
Fanjing Mountain Exploration: Noted as "a sacred Buddhist site" and "a rewarding destination for hikers" by a well-regarded magazine, Fanjing Mountain beckons travelers with its peculiar rock formations and mesmerizing cloud scenery. Beyond the impressive aesthetics, this mountain is also a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and rare plants.
Encompassing no less than 382 species of vertebrates - from the elusive pangolin to mysterious clouded leopards - it is also home to the world's largest population of gray snub-nosed monkeys. The rich biodiversity harbored here has indeed been recognized globally and granted Fanjing Mountain a revered spot on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Visiting such a unique and diverse site ensures a memorable experience for nature lovers and curious explorers alike.
Huangguoshu Waterfall and Tianxing Qiao Scenic Area: Explore Huangguoshu Waterfalls, one of China's largest clusters, located near Anshun City in Guizhou Province. Experience the splendor of 18 aboveground and 4 underground waterfalls. Nearby, behold the Tianxing Qiao Scenic Area, an aquatic stone forest showcasing an enchanting blend of stones, trees, and water.
The Dragon Palace: Just outside Anshun or Guiyang, discover the Dragon Palace's vast karst cave network. Only a portion of this 15-kilometer-long labyrinth, featuring over ninety caves, is open for exploration. Marvel at its striking stalactites from a 30-minute boat ride on the underground river that flows from Tianci Lake.
Qingyan Ancient Town: Immerse yourself in the history of the Ming Dynasty with a visit to Qingyan Ancient Town, located just 29 kilometers from Guiyang. Established in 1738, this cultural gem overflows with architectural riches, boasting 9 temples, 2 shrines, a palace, and other well-preserved ancient constructions demonstrating the impressive craftsmanship of yore. Recognized for its historical significance, it was designated a national cultural relic in 1995. Plan for an hour's exploration to journey back in time in this bastion of traditional Chinese culture.
Taer Monastery: With over 150 years of history, the Taer Monastery is a state-protected cultural relic in Qinghai Province. Housing thousands of cultural artifacts, this monastery offers a significant glimpse into Buddhism through its statues, sutras, and inscriptions. Featuring over 9,300 rooms in 52 halls, its Tibetan-style architecture creates a harmonious blend of palatial buildings, Buddhist halls, and courtyards.
Qinghai Lake: Experience the enchanting beauty of China's largest inland and saline lake, Qinghai Lake. A tapestry of blue sky, clear water, striking green grasslands, and vibrant yellow rape flowers lures tourists yearly. They can reach the lake via cable car, or opt for cycling or hiking. The annual International Road Cycling Race in June or July is a sight to see. Optimal visiting times are May for migratory birds, June and July for rape flowers, and July to September for lush grasslands and autumn views.
Your exploration begins at the stunning Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This formidable fortress-like structure, also known as the winter residence of the Dalai Lama, stands majestically at an elevation of 12,139 feet. As you navigate its 13 stories, take in the grand views and be amazed by the collection of over 1,000 rooms filled with centuries-old statues, stupas, murals, and artifacts, each echoing tales of Tibet's vibrant history and spiritual traditions.
Move next to another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Jokhang Temple. Arguably the most revered spiritual site in Tibet, this temple resonates with the devotions of innumerable devotees and stands as a humbling testament to Buddhism's enduring influence on Tibetan culture.
Adjacent to the temple is the bustling Barkhor Street, ringing with the chants of circling pilgrims and the lively chatter of street vendors. Engage your senses as you browse through a myriad of stalls offering traditional Tibetan arts and crafts such as prayer wheels and jewelry.
Your day commences with a visit to Drepung Monastery in the morning. Once one of the "three great" Gelug monasteries of Tibet, Drepung was founded in 1416, making it an important keystone of Tibetan history and religion. Explore the Ganden Palace nestled within the monastery, previously the residence of the Dalai Lama before the Potala Palace assumed that role.
In the afternoon, your adventure continues at Sera Monastery. Another of the "three great" Gelug monasteries, it dates back to 1419 and resounds with historical and spiritual significance. The tour's unique highlight is the opportunity to witness the lively Monks' debate, a long-standing tradition held daily from 3 to 5 pm. It's an unforgettable spectacle of lively, animated discourse on Buddhist doctrines, further adding to the insight towards practicing faith.
Discover the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army, accidentally unearthed in 1974. This incredible army consists of over 7000 unique soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle array. Guarding Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC, these life-sized figures are an incredible sight. Explore the three protected excavation pits, housed inside massive hangars, and learn about their history at the excellent museum nearby. Photography is allowed (without flash), so don't forget your camera. Wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey.
Additionally, don't miss the opportunity to visit a local family workshop in the countryside. Learn firsthand from skilled artisans the intricate process of creating Terracotta Warriors. Have a chance to interact with the locals and discover fascinating details about how these life-sized warriors were made in ancient times. Gain insight into the most challenging steps of the production process while enjoying a unique cultural experience.
Explore the Ancient City Wall: The impressive city walls, ramparts, gates, and watchtowers date back to the 13th century and offer a captivating glimpse into ancient China's city defense. Built on the foundation of the original Tang Forbidden City, this well-preserved structure encloses the city center. You can choose to walk or rent a bike or electric cart (additional cost) to enjoy a 14km circuit with stunning views of the city on both sides.
Experience China's Traditional Costume (Hanfu): Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by wearing Hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han Chinese. Discover the rich history and significance of Hanfu during a one-hour guided tour in an ancient academy. Learn about different Hanfu styles and ancient etiquette. Afterward, take a break, sip a cup of tea, and even try your hand at movable type printing. It's a unique opportunity to indulge in something special and memorable.
- 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-52