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16-Day Shanghai, Kunming, Shangrila, Lijiang, Xian and Beijing Tour

China History and Nature Tour

Experience the vibrant modernity of Shanghai before immersing yourself in the cultural richness of Kunming. Discover the mystical beauty of Shangrila and the ancient charm of Lijiang, where traditional architectures and picturesque views await. Uncover the historical wonders of Xian, home to the Terracotta Army, before concluding your adventure in Beijing, where iconic landmarks like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City await exploration.

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 a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

Immerse Yourself in the Awe-inspiring Beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Immerse Yourself in the Awe-inspiring Presence of the Leshan Giant Buddha

Leshan Giant Buddha

Witness the Famous Emei Mountain

Emei Mountain

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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 Shanghai Arrival

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.

DAY 2 Shanghai | The Yuyuan Garden

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall: Visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, just a short walk from Renmin Square and the Shanghai Museum. Gain fascinating insights into Shanghai's future with interactive exhibitions, displays, and a giant walkaround model of the city on the 2nd floor. Explore aspects such as ports, greening, and leisure, immersing yourself in the city's urban development plans.

Yuyuan Garden: Step into the heart of Shanghai's old quarters and explore the enchanting Yuyuan Garden. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, this private garden is a fine example of Chinese classic architecture. Covering 2 hectares, it features rockeries, pavilions, ponds, and corridors, surrounded by a bustling market offering local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, souvenirs, and renowned restaurants.

The Bund: Stroll along the iconic 1.5-kilometer-long embankment of the Bund, situated on the western bank of the Huangpu River. Admire the well-preserved European-style buildings that make up this "architecture gallery." Once Shanghai's major trading center, the Bund now offers a vibrant mix of futuristic developments, chic restaurants, high-end shops, and trendy bars. Experience the magic of this renowned waterfront destination, especially at night.

Yuyuan Market: Located adjacent to Yuyuan Garden, explore the lively Yuyuan Market. Delight in a shopping spree for tea, jewelry, scarves, and souvenirs, and indulge in local snacks as you immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this market.

Shanghai Tower: Don't miss the Shanghai Tower, the world's second-tallest building, standing at an impressive height of 632 meters (2,073 feet) with 128 stories. This premier Shanghai attraction offers breathtaking views and is a testament to the city's architectural prowess.

DAY 3 Shanghai to Kunming| The Former French Concession

Explore Xintiandi, a vibrant urban attraction nestled amidst skyscrapers in the city center. This transformed area features restaurants, boutiques, and cafes, housed in traditional residential blocks. Experience the fusion of history, culture, and international flair.

Discover the Former French Concession, home to historic buildings like Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai's former residences, Fuxing Park, Moller Villa, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stroll along charming streets dotted with French colonial-style architecture, creating a romantic ambiance. In the evening, unwind at cafes, bars, and restaurants, enveloped in the aroma of coffee.

DAY 4 Kunming | The Stone Forest

Experience the extraordinary natural wonder of the Stone Forest, located 90 km southeast of Kunming. This magnificent karst landscape, shaped over millions of years, showcases breathtaking formations in various shapes. As you explore, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the Sani people, who call this region home. Their colorful embroidery and traditional dances blend harmoniously with the stunning natural scenery, leaving a lasting impression.

Visit the historic Yuantong Temple, Kunming's largest temple with a remarkable history spanning over 1,200 years. In 1956, this temple hosted a grand ceremony to greet and consecrate the Buddha's tooth. Recognized as one of China's key Buddhist temples by the State Council, Yuantong Temple is a cultural gem worth exploring.

DAY 5 Shangri La | The Pudacuo National Park

Discover the breathtaking Pudacuo National Park near Shangri-La, Yunnan Province. With its virgin forests and stunning lakes like Bita and Shudu, this 2,000 square kilometer park offers a preserved ecosystem with beautiful landscapes. Enjoy the emerald Bitahai Lake surrounded by mountains and the vast Shudu Lake filled with fir, spruce, and silver birch trees. Keep an eye out for wildlife like bears, golden cats, and deer.

Explore Songzanlin Lamasery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist lamasery in Yunnan Province. With its 33.3-hectare area, this lamasery showcases Tibetan culture and houses valuable Buddhist statues and cultural treasures, resembling the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Experience Tibetan hospitality during a visit to a local Tibetan family. Gain insight into their daily life and traditions while enjoying Tibetan tea and snacks.

DAY 6 Shangri La to Lijiang | The Tiger Leaping Gorge

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest and most remarkable gorges in China. Located in Hutiaoxia Town, approximately 105 kilometers away from Zhongdian/Shangri-La County, this natural wonder is a must-visit. Spring is the ideal time to experience its magnificence, as the melting snow from the mountains causes the river to surge, creating a breathtaking display of turbulence.

DAY 7 Lijiang to Chengdu | The Jade Dragon Mountain

Discover the ancient Baisha Village and its remarkable Baisha Murals. Painted over a thousand years ago, these murals showcase the fusion of Han, Tibetan, and Naxi cultures, depicting stories from Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Take a leisurely walk through the village to immerse yourself in the local life and culture.

Experience the highest tourist cable car in China as it ascends Jade Dragon Mountain. The cable car takes you to Shanzidou (Shanzi Peak), the mountain's main summit, offering stunning views at an altitude of 4,506m. Escape the worldly chaos and find yourself in a tranquil paradise above the clouds. Don't miss visiting Ganhaizi, Baishuihe (White Water River), and Glacier Park from this cable car ride.

DAY 8 Chengdu | The Panda Breeding and Research Center

Explore the charming Jinli Old Street, featuring traditional architecture in western Sichuan. Get lost in its narrow alleys, pavilions, courtyards, and stone bridges. Indulge in a culinary adventure on the Snack Street, tasting unique local snacks like bean jelly in chili sauce, sweet potato noodles, and Sichuan-style wontons. For the adventurous, don't miss the chance to try rabbit head in chili sauce.

Escape the city bustle at Chengdu People's Park. This peaceful oasis offers bonsai gardens, tranquil lakes, rockeries, historical monuments, and traditional tea houses. Don't miss the vibrant chrysanthemum exhibition held in autumn, adding a burst of colors to the park.

Visit the Panda Breeding and Research Center, home to adorable giant pandas, red pandas, and other endangered species. Witness the successful breeding program, stroll through bamboo groves, and observe pandas at rest or play. Explore the panda museum to learn more about these incredible creatures.

DAY 9 Chengdu to Emeishan | Baoguo Monastery and Leshan Giant Buddha

Discover the historic Baoguo Monastery, which dates back to the 16th century and has undergone renovations in recent years. Admire the rockery on the left side of the gate, adorned with potted miniature trees and rare plants, adding to the monastery's natural beauty.

Visit the magnificent Leshan Giant Buddha, situated to the east of Leshan City in Sichuan Province. Located on Lingyun Mountain, where the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River converge, this colossal stone-carved sitting Buddhist statue holds the distinction of being the largest of its kind in the world.

Experience a unique perspective of the Leshan Giant Buddha by taking a scenic cruise. By boarding the cruise boat, you can enjoy an overlook of this remarkable statue as you glide along the Min River. This vantage point provides a captivating view of the grandeur and scale of the Leshan Giant Buddha.

DAY 10 Emeishan | Emei Mountain

Discover the famous Emei Mountain, renowned for its significance in Buddhism. Embark on a journey through numerous temples and be captivated by the beautiful scenery. At the foot of Mt. Emei lies Baoguo Temple, offering a spiritual and scenic experience.

Situated at an elevation of 1,043 meters, the Monastery of Ten Thousand Years has a rich history dating back to the 4th century. Though it endured fires over the centuries, the present brick building was reconstructed during the Ming dynasty. Admire the impressive Brick Hall, featuring small stupas and housing a remarkable 8.5-meter statue of the Bodhisattva Puxian atop a white elephant. Cast in copper and bronze, this monumental statue (estimated to weigh 62 tons) has resided here since 980 AD.

Cable Car Leading to Monastery of Ten Thousand Years (20 minutes): Opt for the convenient cable car ride that takes you to the Wannian Monastery, the largest among the eight monasteries found on Mount Emei. This awe-inspiring monastery is dedicated to Bodhisattva Puxian, renowned for his teachings.

DAY 11 Chengdu to Xi'an | The Ancient City Wall

Discover the Ancient City Wall, one of the oldest and most well-preserved city defenses in the world. Dating back to the 13th century, it surrounds the city center and offers an impressive sight of walls, ramparts, gates, and watchtowers. Take a leisurely walk or, for an additional fee, rent a bike or an electric cart  to ride along the full 14km circuit. Enjoy stunning views of the city on either side as you traverse this magnificent structure.

DAY 12 Xi'an to Beijing | The Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Marvel at the incredible Terracotta Warriors and Horses, an army of over 7,000 unique figures discovered in 1974. Visit the protected pits and witness ongoing excavations. Don't miss the museum and film showcasing the history. Wear comfortable shoes for walking.

Explore the elegant Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built in the 7th century to house Buddhist artifacts. Admire the beautiful Da Ci'en Temple complex with its impressive statues and murals.

DAY 13 Beijing | The Forbidden City

Visit Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in central Beijing. Admire its cultural significance and surrounding landmarks, including the Heavenly Gate, museums, government buildings, and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. This iconic symbol of China is rich in history and beauty.

Explore the breathtaking Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Marvel at its grandeur, with vast squares, halls, gates, and intricate gardens. Discover the remarkable exhibitions, showcasing ancient treasures of China. Expect about a 2-kilometer walk, graded as moderate.

Immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere of the Temple of Heaven, a complex of Taoist buildings built during the Ming dynasty. Learn about the annual ceremonies held by emperors to pray for bountiful crops. Enjoy the vibrant park, where locals gather for activities like singing, tai chi, and exercising. The walk covers around 1-1½ kilometers, graded as easy.

Ascend Jinshan Park, formerly part of the Forbidden City, offering a picturesque view of the iconic palace. The hill in the park was formed from the earth excavated to create the palace moat. On a clear day, the climb is rewarded with spectacular vistas.

DAY 14 Beijing | Mutianyu Great Wall

Discover the picturesque Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, ranked top on TripAdvisor. Enjoy a child-friendly experience with beautifully-restored architecture. Take a round-trip cable car to save time and explore the "golden route" between the 14th and 23rd watchtowers. This section offers breathtaking scenery and takes approximately 2 hours to complete.

Folk Art Learning at Hutongs (Facial makeup, calligraphy, or paper cutting): Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by learning traditional folk art at a hutong family home. Choose from options like paper cutting, Chinese painting, or facial makeup for traditional opera.

DAY 15 Beijing | The Summer Palace

Venture to the Summer Palace, located 9 miles (15 kilometers) northwest of downtown Beijing. This vast and perfectly preserved royal park is renowned as China's largest. Immerse yourself in its natural beauty and cultural significance, earning it the title of 'The Museum of Royal Gardens.' Enjoy a leisurely 2-kilometer walk through the park, and don't miss the memorable boat ride experience.

Explore the modern and comprehensive Beijing Capital Museum, representing the pinnacle of cultural institutions in the city. Experience numerous exhibitions covering a wide range of subjects, including history, cultural relics, revolutionary history, and folk customs.

Discover the renowned Panjiayuan Antiques Market, famous for its collection of antiques and arts and crafts. This market is known for its affordability, attracting both domestic and international tourists. Spanning an impressive 4.85-hectare area, the market hosts over 3,000 stalls, making it the largest of its kind in China and Asia. Previously only open on weekends, the market now welcomes visitors every day of the week after undergoing refurbishment.

DAY 16 Beijing Departure

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

Tour Price

FromUS3,750 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-27

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