China History and Zhangjiajie Tour
16-Day Private China Tour: Shanghai– Zhangjiajie– Guangzhou–Jiangmen–Taishan–Xi'an–Beijing
Explore the vibrant metropolis of Shanghai before immersing yourself in the mesmerizing landscapes of Zhangjiajie, the inspiration for the floating mountains in Avatar. Discover the dynamic city of Guangzhou and venture to Jiangmen, where traditional culture thrives. Ascend to the sacred Taishan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and delve into the historical wonders of Xian, home to the Terracotta Army. Finally, experience the imperial grandeur of Beijing, from the Forbidden City to the iconic Great Wall.
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
Marvel at the Famous Hallelujah Mountain in the Movie "Avatar"
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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.
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.
Discover the enchanting Golden Whip Stream, nestled within Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Stretching for 7.5 km from north to south, this scenic route winds along the mountains, offering a tranquil and shaded pathway. Allow 2 to 3 hours to leisurely stroll along the entire distance. As you explore, keep an eye out for the playful monkeys that inhabit the area. The crystal-clear stream flows year-round, and it is even rumored that the rare Chinese giant salamander can still be found in its waters.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: Explore the renowned Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, a popular tourist destination in Hunan province that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. Marvel at the stunning pillar-like formations that have been shaped by years of erosion.
Yuanjiajie (including the Hallelujah Mountains): Located in the northern corner of Zhangjiajie National Park, Yuanjiajie offers a range of top attractions, including Ecstasy Spot, Backyard, and First Bridge. The area is particularly famous for its Hallelujah Mountain, named after the floating rocks seen in the movie "Avatar." Capture stunning photos of the world-famous 'First Bridge in the World' from the 'Viewing Bridge Platform' (Wangqiaotai). Afternoons provide the best lighting for photography.
Mt. Tianzi (Tianzi Mountain): Famous for its four natural spectacles - misty clouds encircling the peaks, breathtaking sunrise views, moonlit nights, and snow-capped winter peaks - Mt. Tianzi features over 80 natural platforms where you can take in the magnificent scenery. Take the cable car to Tianzi Mountain and enjoy the panoramic views as you ascend.
Bailong Sightseeing Elevator: Experience the world's highest and fastest sightseeing elevator, the Bailong Sightseeing Elevator, offering a captivating view of the Sandstone Peak Forest. Soaring to a height of 335 meters, this elevator can carry up to 3,000 people per hour in its four transparent cars. Enjoy a quick two-minute ride to the mountain summit.
Discover the enchanting Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, a newly developed natural wonderland encompassing stunning mountains, flowing streams, intricate caves, majestic cliffs, and lush forests. Located within this scenic area is the world's longest and highest glass bridge. Walking across this remarkable glass-bottomed bridge, suspended 300 meters above the ground, is sure to be the highlight of your tour, offering a thrilling and unforgettable experience.
Explore the majestic Tianmen Mountain, the highest peak in Zhangjiajie. Enjoy breathtaking views of ancient trees, karst formations, and cliffside roads. Take a thrilling cable car ride, the longest in the world, from the city center to the mountaintop. Experience the exhilarating Glass Walkway, extending from a sheer cliff at 1,430 meters above ground level. Comparable to Arizona's Grand Canyon Skywalk, this 60-meter-long glass platform offers both stunning views and a heart-pumping experience.
Visit the must-see Canton Tower, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck and even experience thrilling rides. Afterwards, head to Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, a lively destination known for its shopping and local street food. Stroll along the vibrant streets, explore a variety of shops, and treat yourself to authentic Cantonese snacks.
Start your tour by visiting the Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These unique fortified tower houses were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and offer a glimpse into the region's history and architectural beauty. Explore Chikan Old Town, known for its well-preserved colonial-era buildings and charming streets. Take a leisurely stroll, visit local shops, and immerse yourself in the town's rich cultural heritage.
Visit the majestic Taishan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take the cable car or hike up to the peak to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and explore the historic temples and ancient sites scattered throughout the mountain. Visit the Li Garden, a beautiful classical garden built during the Qing Dynasty. Stroll through the well-preserved gardens, admire the intricate architecture, and learn about the history and cultural significance of this scenic spot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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-31