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17-Day Shanghai, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Xian, Pingyao, Beijing Tour

Classic Chinese Culutre and Natural Beauty Tour

Explore the vibrant cityscape of Shanghai, experience the classical beauty of Suzhou's gardens, and immerse yourself in the picturesque landscapes of Guilin. Marvel at the mystical beauty of Zhangjiajie, the inspiration behind the floating mountains in Avatar, and uncover the ancient wonders of Xian, home to the Terracotta Army. Step back in time in the preserved ancient city of Pingyao before concluding your adventure in the imperial grandeur of Beijing.

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 the Awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Rice Terraces

Make a Mini warrior with a Local Artisan Family

Learn to make a clay warrior

Marvel at the Famous Hallelujah Mountain in the Movie "Avatar"

Hallelujah 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| Shanghai Museum and Yuyuan Garden

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.

DAY 3 Shanghai to Suzhou| The Humble Administrators Garden

Humble Administrators Garden: Explore the iconic Humble Administrators Garden, a stunning example of classical Chinese gardens. Spanning 5 hectares, this Ming Dynasty garden features a central pond surrounded by pavilions, terraces, chambers, and towers. Don't miss the Garden Museum and be prepared for a fair amount of walking in comfortable shoes.

Grand Canal Cruise: Experience the world's longest man-made waterway, the Grand Canal, on a motorboat cruise. Enjoy picturesque views of Suzhou's interconnected lakes and canals, showcasing the city's rich history and local life. Marvel at the bustling traffic and appreciate the significance of the original 'sea' silk road.

No.1 Silk Factory: Discover the art of silk production in Suzhou, renowned for its silk products. Visit the No.1 Silk Factory to witness the silk-making process and gain insights into China's silk history. Explore the showroom to admire and purchase beautiful silk items.

DAY 4Shanghai to Guilin | Zhengyang Pedestrian Street

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street: Located in the heart of Guilin city, Zhengyang Pedestrian Street is a vibrant hub for both locals and tourists. Stretching 666 meters, this bustling street is surrounded by a wide range of amenities, including restaurants, hotels, theaters, stadiums, commercial facilities, and scenic spots. During the day, the street attracts crowds with its varied shops and eateries, while at night, it comes alive with a lively nightlife scene. Don't miss the opportunity to explore this energetic street during your visit to Guilin.

DAY 5 Guilin to Yangshuo | Li River Cruise

Yangshuo Countryside Visit: Explore the breathtaking Yangshuo countryside, known for its stunning karst peaks, rice fields, and tranquil farming life. During this 2-hour excursion, you'll have the opportunity to visit a local village and immerse yourself in the countryside. Choose to cycle (10-12 KM), take an electromobile, or use a private car at no extra cost.

Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo: Embark on a memorable 4-hour cruise along the Li River, passing magnificent limestone peaks, bamboo groves, and scenic surroundings. Immerse yourself in the picturesque landscape as you witness farmers tending to rice paddies and water buffaloes cooling off in the river. Look out for fishermen on their bamboo rafts and perhaps catch a glimpse of the famous fishing cormorants. Enjoy a buffet or semi-buffet lunch aboard the 4-star boat.

DAY 6 Guilin to Longsheng | Longji Rice Terraced Field

Minority Village and Longsheng Rice Terraced Field: Explore the awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces, a magnificent man-made wonder near Guilin. These terraces, resembling dragon's ribs, were created by local minority communities 600 years ago. Visit Ping'an Zhuang Village to witness the panoramic views of the terraces. Please note that moderate walking is required, and sedan chairs are available for an additional fee. Learn how to make Bamboo Stuffed Rice, a local delicacy, and immerse yourself in the village culture.

DAY 7 Guilin to Zhangjiajie | Private Transfer from Changsha to Zhangjiajie

Enjoy a hassle-free journey from Changsha to Zhangjiajie (or vice versa) with our private transfer service. Your personal English-speaking tour guide, along with a comfortable car and driver, will pick you up directly from your hotel or the bus station in Changsha city area. The scenic ride covers a distance of approximately 380 km and takes about 4 hours. Sit back, relax, and let us handle the transportation while you focus on enjoying the journey.

DAY 8 Zhangjiajie | The National Forest Park

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.

DAY 9 Zhangjiajie| The Grand Canyon with Glass Bridge

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.

DAY 10 Zhangjiajie | Tianmen Mountain

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.

DAY 11 Xi'an | Terracotta Army

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.

DAY 12 Xi'an to Pingyao | The Ancient City Wall

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.

DAY 13 Pingyao to Beijing | Pingyao Ancient Town

Pingyao Ancient Town: Situated in the heart of Shanxi Province, this World Heritage Site is among China's best-preserved ancient towns. Enclosed by the well-preserved Ming Dynasty city wall, Pingyao is a treasury of Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture. Stroll or rent a bike to explore the town's narrow streets and marvel at the traditional buildings. Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by learning the art of paper cutting and witnessing the production process of lacquerware and other traditional handicrafts. In the evening, the town comes alive with the warm glow of red lanterns, creating a charming ambiance perfect for relaxing and enjoying conversations at the numerous bars.

Mian Mountain: Visit the birthplace of national cultural heritage, Mian Mountain. This mountain is renowned for its natural beauty and cultural significance, featuring relics tied to Cold Food, Buddhist, Taoist, and health preservation cultures. With 14 tourist areas and 400 attractions spread across 75 square kilometers, Mian Mountain offers a diverse range of experiences. Enjoy traditional activities and folk performances, immersing yourself in the local culture.

Qiao Family Compound: Explore the historic Qiao Family Compound, once the residence of Qiao Zhiyong, a renowned Chinese financier of the Qing Dynasty. With its construction dating back to 1756 and subsequent renovations, this compound stands as a well-preserved example of North China folk houses from that era. Admire its grand architecture and intricate decorations, which have attracted countless visitors over the years. Notably, the famous Chinese movie "Raise the Red Lantern," featuring Gong Li, was filmed at this location.

Rishengchang Former bank: Visit the Rishengchang Former Bank, established in 1823 as the first and largest draft bank in China during its time. It gained fame for its role in connecting businesses worldwide, earning the saying "Hui Tong Tian Xia." Located on West Street in Pingyao Ancient Town, this bank operated for over a century, witnessing the town's prosperity. Explore the exhibitions to learn about Rishengchang's development and management throughout its impressive history.

DAY 14 Beijing | The Forbidden City

Explore the Forbidden City: Located in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City served as the imperial residence for 24 emperors during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. This magnificent complex is the largest and best-preserved ancient imperial architecture in the world. Marvel at the grand square, halls, and gates, as well as the intricate gardens, courtyards, and living quarters. The Forbidden City houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions, offering a glimpse into the treasures of ancient China. Expect about 2 hours of moderate walking (2 kilometers). Please note that starting from April 1st, 2013, the Imperial Palace is closed every Monday afternoon.

Visit Jingshan Park: Once a part of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park underwent changes in the 1900s. Portions of the park were demolished to make way for a road, resulting in the loss of several gates and buildings between the park and the palace's rear entrance. However, the hill within Jingshan Park was created using earth excavated to construct the palace moat. On a clear day, climb the hill for breathtaking views of the Forbidden City and Beijing. It's a perfect spot to capture spectacular panoramic vistas.

DAY 15 Beijing | The Temple of Heaven and Mutianyu Great Wall

Visit the Temple of Heaven: Built in 1420 during the Ming dynasty, the Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors held annual ceremonies to pray for good harvests. The temple's park is lively, especially in the morning when local elderly people gather to sing, exercise, and practice tai chi. Covering 273 hectares in the southern part of central Beijing, you'll explore the park for about 1-1.5 hours (1.5 kilometers) with an easy-grade walk.

Explore the Mutianyu Great Wall: The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is highly rated on TripAdvisor for its picturesque scenery and beautifully-restored architecture. It is particularly popular among families due to its child-friendly facilities and multiple visiting options. Located about 1.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing, this section offers a fully restored 2.5-kilometer stretch.

To save time, we arrange a round-trip cable car ride for you instead of climbing the stairs (which takes about 40 minutes). Once on the Wall, you'll have free time to walk around and take in the stunning views. We recommend hiking the "golden route" between the 14th and 23rd watchtowers, recognized as the most beautiful and interesting section by avid hikers. The hike typically takes approximately 2 hours. Afterward, descend and take a bus back to our vehicle.

Tips: If visiting the Mutianyu section, we recommend using walking sticks, especially for those with weaker legs or balance, as it can be helpful on some parts of the wall.

DAY 16 Beijing | Hutong Tour and Summer Palace

Take a Hutong Tour in Xicheng District: Explore the historical maze of Hutong, a network of old alleyways with traditional single-story courtyard houses. Hop on a rickshaw for a ride through the narrow alleys and visit a local family. Then, take a walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and discover the unique thresholds of the courtyards. It's a fascinating glimpse into Beijing's traditional neighborhoods.

Learn to Apply Facial Makeup for Peking Opera: Experience the art of applying facial makeup for Chinese traditional opera. This intricate art form showcases exquisite patterns of vibrant colors and delicate lines, achieved through brush painting and hand techniques. Under the guidance of an expert teacher, try your hand at applying makeup to a mask, and even choose the makeup for your favorite character. It's a truly immersive cultural experience.

Discover the Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony: Located about 9 miles (15 kilometers) from downtown Beijing, the Summer Palace is China's largest and best-preserved royal park. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural landscapes and cultural wonders that have earned it the title of 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'. Explore the park on foot for approximately 2 kilometers (2 hours). Please note that certain areas, such as Longevity Hill and the opera recital area, may require an additional fee for entry.

Tips: Keep in mind that specific areas within the Summer Palace, such as Longevity Hill and the opera recital area, may require an additional payment for entry.

DAY 17 Beijing Departure

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

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-38

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