This tour covering China's touristic highlights is designed to help the traveler experience as many of China's most culturally important sights, sounds and tastes as possible in thirteen whirlwind days. Time is, of course, provided for the traveler to independently explore as much as possible, while leaving room for guided touring whenever necessary. In addition to the absolutely necessary stops in Shanghai and Beijing, this itinerary also features a detour to Chengdu, a modern city that is home to the Panda Center, which is working to preserve this beloved species for future generations.
In the morning, you will be picked up at the airport in Beijing and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
This is it. All of China's industry, culture, people, and history come together here, and the result is Beijing. The beating heart of the great machine is thriving, and as China evolves so does Beijing. One can see this in the food. It's quickly becoming more international and modern while still retaining its Chinese roots, and the world's best chefs are flocking to open restaurants in the city. One can see this in the locals, who are eating out more than ever before, and doing so wearing post-modern fashions and talking on the market's latest cell phones. The Olympic stadiums in all their modern glory are a short drive away from the ancient Great Wall, and the Forbidden City looks out over new skyscraper constructions. If you want to experience the new China and can only visit one city, Beijing is your destination.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning after breakfast, and take you on a full day tour of the city, including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Jingshan Park and more.
The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors between 1368 and 1911. This "city within a city" is a World Heritage Site, and is the largest and the best preserved ancient imperial architecture complex in the world, with great square, halls and gates contrast with intricate halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters.
Tiananmen Square is the largest city square in the center of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several key events in Chinese history. As the world's largest city square and enduring symbol of China's national pride, it is surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.
Jingshan Park was a part of the Forbidden City until the early 1900's when the walls were pulled down and a road cut through it destroying several gates and buildings between the park and the rear entrance of the palace. The hill in Jingshan Park was made with the earth removed to create the palace moat. It is well worth the climb on a clear day for spectacular views of the Forbidden City and Beijing.
Today your guide will drive you out to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. This less-crowded section is about 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift.
You will then visit the Summer Palace. Much-loved summer retreat of the Imperial families, the lovely landscaped gardens, halls, pavilions and corridors are set around the lake and rivers in natural harmony. It is the largest and best preserved imperial garden in China, and also a World Heritage Site.
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
Before your overnight train to Xian this evening you will enjoy some more sightseeing in Beijing. Begin with a Hutong Tour in Xicheng District.
Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards.
Next visit the Lama Temple. The colorful Yonghe Lamasery is the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's still very active, and the beautiful halls and courtyards are thronged with devotees come to worship or seek good luck. You can see the world's largest wooden statue (the Matreiya Buddha) and Tibetan exhibitions.
Lastly, visit Houhai. Houhai is a lake in central Beijing, one of the three parts of Shichahai. In recent years it has become famous for nightlife because it is home to several popular restaurants, bars, and cafes.The area is especially popular with foreign tourists visiting Beijing, but is also often visited by the expatriate community and younger locals.
Enjoy lunch at the Courtyard 7 Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the evening, you will be picked up at your hotel in Beijing and transferred to the train station.
Beijing - Xian
Train: Train No. Z19 (Beijing Xi West Railway Station - Xian Railway Station)
Room Type: Soft SLeeper
In the morning, you will be picked up at the train station and transferred to your hotel in Xian.
As the Eastern tip of the Silk Road, the caravans from the west brought their culture and customs, and the result is Xian, a unique city in China with deep history. Make no mistake, Xian is a modern city, but Ming Dynasty-era city walls are still intact, and the Muslim Quarter remains as a hub of merchant activity as it has for centuries. The Terracotta Warriors, outside the city, have been the main draw for tourism to Xian. Many people fly in and out to observe their ancient faces, but history enthusiasts can find a reason to stay much longer.
This morning you will first visit the Terracotta Warriors. Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars.
Later today, you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. A major Buddhist site, the simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals.
Visit Shaanxi History Museum. The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and this museum is quite simply one of the nation's best. Four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed. Most of the item labels are in English, although some other information on the exhibitions is not, but your guide can help here. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
Next visit the Ancient City Wall on a bicycle. The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, it is a major landmark, and the best preserved, as well as the oldest and largest of the city defense systems in China. We operate this with bicycle. If the weather is not good for biking on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower. Your guide will be very glad to take you the Bell Tower after you have been to look at the city wall.
Enjoy lunch at Qianzhou Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the afternoon, you will be picked up at your hotel in Xian and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival in Chengdu, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
So many people come to Chengdu to visit the Panda Breeding and Research Center that they hardly pause to appreciate the city and its beautiful surroundings. Yes, this is probably the world's best place to see giant pandas up close and personal. But there are too many fascinating things to see around the city to ignore. Chengdu locals are also special, because although they live and work in a city, they're more laid back than the frantic Beijing or Shanghai types. Quiet tea house culture, and fabulous boutique restaurants abound. Chengdu: Come for the pandas, stay for everything else.
Spend a day in Chengdu with your guide. Visit the Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan and the Wu Hou Temple.
Founded in 1992, the Sanxingdui Museum occupies an area of 7000 square kilometers, and has an exhibition of the cultural relics excavated from No1 and No2 sacrificial pits of Shang Dynasty (from 16th-11th century B.C.). There are thousands of pieces of invaluable relics such as bronze ware, jade ware, gold ware, pottery, and bone ware on the exhibition, where you can get a closed look and learn more about the ancient China.
The Marquis of Wu, Zhuge Liang (181-234) was the outstanding military strategist immortalized in "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms" and in the saying wise as "the Marquis of Wu". Peaceful and attractive gardens surround several halls, including one dedicated to his memory and another to that of his emperor Liu Bei, some impressive statues, a small museum, a famous Tang Dynasty stele and the classic red wall leading to Liu Bei's tomb. A delightful complex.
Enjoy lunch at Chengdu Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today you will visit Jinli Old Street and the Panda Breeding and Research Center.
Once the commercial heart of the old kingdoms this ancient street has been fully restored in traditional Sichuan style. Picturesque, bustling, and cheerful, you can sample local arts and craft, traditional Chinese goods, food and delicacies, and even a Starbucks, local style.
Located 6 miles north of Chengdu City,the Panda Breeding and Research Center is home to giant pandas, red (or lesser) pandas, and other endangered species. Visit the nursery to see the highly successful breeding program, among the bamboo groves and shady walkways, and to view the pandas at rest or play. There is a panda museum where you can learn some information about giant pandas.
*Note: The Panda Breeding and Research Center has a donation program which allows you take pictures with holding a panda one minute by donating RMB 2,000 Yuan (for reference only). Only 40 tourists are allowed to hold pandas a day. If you want to hold a panda, you must book it one day in advance.This program is subject to the availability of pandas on that day. Please bring enough RMB cash as payment by credit card is not accepted there.
Enjoy lunch at Long Chao Shou Snack and tea at a traditional tea house. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Chengdu and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival in Shanghai, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
One can see Shanghai's stories in its architecture. From art deco buildings that were all the craze in the 20's and 30's, to silver skyscrapers that baffle the mind, to tight streets leading through local hoods, it's plain to see. Shanghai has been growing strong, and it does not show signs of slowing down any time soon. As one of China's economic motors, Shanghai shows off a dramatic blend of businesses and business people, and everyone is pursuing the Chinese dream of prosperity that the city reflects so well.
Today you will enjoy a guided tour of Shanghai including visits to the The Shanghai World Financial Center and Yuyuan Garden.
Shanghai World Financial Center is located in Pudong District, reaching a height of 492 meters (1,615 feet). It is now a new landmark of prosperous Shanghai. It was the second tallest building in the world when it was completed in 2007. Its observation deck, at 474 meters (1,555 feet) above the ground, is currently the tallest in the world. The multi-function skyscraper consists of hotels, apartments, restaurants, shopping malls, offices and observation decks.
Yuyuan Garden is located in the center of the city's old quarter. This was a private garden built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, with typical Chinese classic architecture and style. The garden is surrounded by a busy market place selling everything from local snacks, to handicrafts and antiques.
Enjoy lunch at Home's Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today, after breakfast, you’ll enjoy a tour of Zhujiajiao Ancient Town.
Shaped like a fan, Zhujiajiao Water Town has hundreds of years of history. Thousands of examples of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty architecture lie on the sides of the lakes and the 36 stone bridges retain their ancient style. The tour includes four attractions: Tongtianhe (an ancient pharmacy), the historic Post Office, Yuanjin Temple and Kezhi Garden. You will also have an opportunity to take a 20 minutes cruise on the river through the ancient town.
Today you will also visit Shikumen, where 80% of Shanghainese were born and raised before the 90's. Now with the economy developing, Shikumen has changed a lot, turns into a gathering place with bars, tea houses and entertainment centers. However, you still could take a glance at Wu Li Xiang, which is a small exhibition of the old Shanghainese’ home furnishings. (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Shanghai and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
The Sunworld Hotel is located in the center of downtown Beijing at the corner of Wangfujing and Dengshikou (the “Golden Street” and “Silver Street” of Beijing). The hotel is near many famous historical and cultural landmarks, including the Forbidden City. There are many commercial buildings and shopping malls in close vicinity of the hotel and transportation is very convenient. With 308 luxuriant rooms and suites of various kinds decorated with simple and modern style, Sunworld Hotel will provide a warm and elegant trip for you. All room are equipped with board Wide Band internet service and “Spa” amenities products for guests.
Grand Noble Hotel, Xian is a luxurious property offering comprehensive facilities and services for leisure and business stays. It is conveniently located in the commercial center, shopping and entertainment area of Xian’s downtown, neighboring a lot of popular tourist attractions. Only 40 minutes away from Xi’an Xian Yang International Airport and 5 minutes way from Xian Railway Station.
Designed by global first class company Hirsch Bender, Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel, a four-star hotel with oriental charm , is located in the Chunxi Road Commercial Circle,the downtown area of Chengdu. The hotel lies near to historic tourism site WenShuFang and ecologic water park, bringing you the oriental life of Chengdu. With hotel's spirit of "Dedicate to Perfect Service", you will enjoy the most honorable experience here.
The Bund Hotel is located in the heart of sprawling Shanghai, a five minute walk from the "Bund" and "Pedestrian Street" of Nanjing Road and five minutes driving from the Pudong district. The hotel comes equipped to welcome business as well as pleasure travellers, so business centers and other modern facilities are at guests' disposal.