Immerse yourself into the ancient heartland of China! Thirteen days of history and culture. Visit the Forbidden City, home to emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasty for over 500 years. Explore the Water Great Wall: the only section of the wall that is submerged into water, it’s one of the most scenic yet less touristy parts of the great wall for a hike or a brilliant view. Visit the Yungang Grotto: the earliest remaining examples of the first major flowering of Buddhist art in China and Pingyao ancient city: former financial centre during the Ming and Qing dynasties and is home to China’s earliest banks. Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors Museum, the eighth wonder of the world, and The Bund, the symbol of Shanghai. Visit Shanghai Propaganda poster museum: historical-artistic documents from the Maoist era, both a timeline of history as well as magnificent works of art.
Datong: The town is the gateway to the Yungang Caves, one of China’s most outstanding Buddhist treasures, as well as the Hanging Monastery, the world’s oldest wooden pagoda
Beijing: from ancient walled capital to showpiece megacity in barely a century, it spins a breathless yarn of history, culture, and innovation
Xi’an: Xi'an’s Ming-era city walls remain intact, vendors of all descriptions still crowd the narrow lanes of the warren-like Muslim Quarter
Shanghai: home to the world's second-tallest tower and a city with a diverse architectural heritage is like no other city on earth
Nanjing: one of the best-looking cities in the country, boasting a rich and impressive historical heritage
Arrival Beijing (30Km – 1Hr)
Welcome to china! Upon arrival at Beijing Airport, you will be greeted by the guide and driver and then transferred to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Beijing.
Breakfast at the hotel. Meet your tour guide in the hotel lobby. Drive to Tiananmen Square, gaze across Tiananmen Square and take in the full weight of its historical and cultural significance. With the iconic portrait of Mao Zedong looming over the Tiananmen gates, this public square is one of the largest in the world and has been the site of numerous historical events in China. People travel from all over the world to see Mao’s portrait and visit his mausoleum, which lies on the opposite end of the Square. Walking towards to Forbidden City, where emperors ruled, concubines fluttered their fans, and eunuchs schemed for five hundred years. Home to emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasty for over 500 years, the more than 800 buildings and 9,000 chambers of the Forbidden City were filled with only the elite officials and associates of the imperial family. It is a life preserved in chambers, where emperors ruled, gardens, where empresses and concubines strolled, and in the palace where the emperor's courtesans lived for centuries behind the towering red walls. Lunch at a local tourist restaurant (Included). In the afternoon, venture to one of Beijing’s few remaining ‘hutongs’ or traditional lanes in the backstreets of the city to gain a perspective into fascinating and authentic ‘old’ Beijing. Hutongs, the narrow alleys and lanes first laid out during the Yuan dynasty (1268-1364AD), and the siheyuan, traditional courtyard homes that border these leafy streets, define old Beijing. Here, we can get an idea of what the entire city once looked like and experience the traditional way of life, the silhouette of imperial dynasties, Chinese local lifestyle, the impact of western countries, visit the Buddhist Miaoying Temple, which has an iconic White Stupa that was completed in 1279, under the leadership of Kublai Khan.
Overnight in Beijing.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Huanghuacheng Great wall. Literally, the Yellow Flower Wall is considered one of the most scenic sections of the wall, and a great place to go for a not-too-strenuous hike along with the country's most iconic landmark. At either end of this stretch of the Great Wall are two lakes, made by dams built in the 1970s and ‘90s. Upon the wall, you’ll have unobstructed views of both lakes from high above, with the Great Wall dipping majestically down into the water. Lunch at a local tourist restaurant (included). After lunch, delve into the heart of Beijing’s contemporary art scene at the 798 Art District, based rather ironically within an abandoned industrial complex, built by East Germans in the 1950s, Chinese contemporary artists moved in the 1990s, transforming this decommissioned factory district into a hotspot of modern art, culture, and design. From avant-garde galleries to cutting-edge food and drinks, make sure you set aside some time to explore what this area has to offer.
Overnight in Beijing.
Beijing – Datong (2.5Hrs By High-Speed Train, Included)
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the Temple of Heaven complex, situated in southeast Beijing, was built in the first half of the 15th century, for the use of Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors to worship the heavens and pray for a good harvest. The main architectural themes are: “on the earth” which is represented by the square-shaped 'Palace of Abstinence' in the west, much like The Forbidden City but on a smaller scale; whereas the circular-shaped Qinian Dian (Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests) and Huanqiu (Circular Mound Altar) are thought to be connected with heaven. The park serves as a recreational ground for local people. Dancing, fencing, flag-waving and Taichi are all part of locals’ morning rituals. Lunch on your own. Transfer to Beijing high-speed train Station 2nd class high-speed train to Datong, Transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Datong.
Datong – Pingyao (3.20Hr By High-Speed Train, Included)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Yungang Grotto, and admire the earliest remaining examples of the first major flowering of Buddhist art in China. It was cut from the mid-5th century to early 6th century AD. 252 caves and niches and more than 50,000 statues were formed cut into half a mile (about 1 km) sandstone stretch. Yungang Grotto is a masterpiece of early Chinese Buddhist cave art. Lunch at a local restaurant (included). Pay homage to the hanging temple. Standing at the foot of Mount Heng, it was said to be built by a monk. The temple is built into a cliff about 75 meters above the ground and is over 50 meters tall. The temple was constructed by drilling holes into a cliffside into which the pole that holds up the temples is set. It’s interesting to know the temple is dedicated to not just one religion but three: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, are all worshipped here. Transfer to the high-speed train, 2nd class train to Pingyao, former financial centre during the Ming and Qing dynasties and is home to China’s earliest banks. Venture off the train and head to the hotel.
Overnight in Pingyao.
Breakfast at the hotel. Take a full-day walking tour of Pingyao with a private guide. Pingyao Ancient City named one of the well-preserved ancient cities in China still keeps its intact charm: ancient city walls, elegant courtyards, scattered temples, all marked the splendid period during Ming and Qing dynasties. Pingyao is particularly well-known for its paper cutting, a skill that has been passed down through generations. Strolling on the Mingqing Jie, Pingyao’s central street and you may find paper cuttings of various colours and sizes.
Overnight in Pingyao.
Pingyao – Xi’An (3Hrs By High-Speed Train, Included)
Breakfast at the hotel. Guided transfer to the high-speed train station for Xi’an, 2nd class high-speed train to Xi’an, Xi’an known as “Chang’an” before the Ming Dynasty, its deep historical roots today are a testament to the city’s importance to past dynasties. Greeted by the guide and driver, then drive to Muslim Quarter, let the savoury aroma wafting from the countless food stalls of Xi'an Muslim Quarter envelop you as you sample Halal skewers (at your own cost), roast mutton and persimmon cakes. Xi’an has one of the world’s oldest Muslim communities, founded some 1,300 years ago by traders of Persian and Arab origin who travelled along the Silk Road and settled in the then capital of the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). Dinner at a local tourist restaurant (included).
Overnight in Xi’an.
Breakfast at hotel Drive to the Ancient City Wall, take a leisurely walk at Ancient City Wall, the most complete city wall that has survived in China as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The wall was originally built out of rammed earth and was rebuilt with bricks for the first time during the reign of Emperor Longquing. Along the wall are some bricks with markings on them to indicate that they are from the original wall. Once on top of the wall, you can rent a bike, or an electric bike to take you around the wall. You can ride the whole wall or just complete a section of it. Lunch at a local tourist restaurant (included). Then start your adventure bright and early and beat the crowds at the UNESCO protected site of the Terracotta Warriors to unlock the mysteries of a now-vanished empire with a professional tour guide. Stand in awe of life-sized sculptures of warriors and horses, which were built to guard the massive mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang. Unearthed in the suburbs of Xi’an, the army of the Terracotta Warriors comprises one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all time. Consisting of 8,000 life-size soldiers, 100 chariots, and 600 horses, no two of which are the same, the army was built to guard the remains of Emperor Qin Shihuang, housed in a massive mausoleum complex. After back from the terra cotta warriors, pay a visit to Xi’an museum (closed on Tuesday), which is one of the most important cradles for the origin of the Chinese nation and the Huaxia civilization.
Overnight in Xi’an.
Xi’An – Nanjing (6.5Hrs By High-Speed Train, Included)
Breakfast at hotel Transfer to the high-speed train station in 2nd class high-speed train for Nanjing, a city echoing the former glory of the nation’s capital during the Ming Dynasty and the Republic of China.
Overnight in Nanjing.
Breakfast at the hotel. Pay a pilgrimage to Dr Sun Yatsem’s Mausoleum, the tomb of China’s first president. Explore Former president’s Palace, once White House of China, which housed the office of the presidents of Republic of China from 1927 till 1949. It was the palace of the leader of Taiping Revolution forces In 1853. Dr Sun Yat-sen was sworn in here as the provisional president of the People’s Republic, and it was renamed the office of the president. After lunch at a local restaurant (included), take in the full weight of Nanjing Museum (closed on Monday), one of the largest museums in China. The museum has more than 400,000 items in its permanent collection. Especially notable is Museums’enormous collection of Ming and Qing imperial porcelain, among the largest in the world. Explore the back alleys in the surrounding area of Confucius temple, take a leisurely stroll along the Qin Huai River, and stop by some local restaurant in the nearby Laomendong area for dinner and a beer (own expense).
Overnight in Nanjing.
Nanjing – Shanghai (2.5Hrs By High-Speed Train, Included)
Breakfast at hotel Transfer to the high-speed train station, on 2nd class high-speed train for Shanghai, the face of modern China, is teeming with energy and activity and offers travellers a true diversity of areas and experiences. You’ll be met and greeted by a guide and driver after arrival in Shanghai. Lunch on own arrangement. Find your way to the Shanghai propaganda poster museum (closed on Monday), a hidden gem of a museum, Although small, it gives an absorbing insight into China's recent history, it houses a vast, private collection of over 5,000 propaganda posters of Mao-era communist revolutionary propaganda artworks charting post-war Chinese history. Many rescued from recycling centres and rubbish bins and spanning the '40s through the late 1970s. Walk along the Bund, This riverfront location is a time-honoured symbol of Shanghai and shows pieces of the city’s Neoclassical European imperial past. It offers a glimpse into Shanghai's earlier interactions with the West. Dinner at a local restaurant (included).
Overnight in Shanghai.
Breakfast at hotel Drive to Yu Garden, wander the maze of pavilions and arched bridges of Yu Garden, one of Shanghai’s premier sights. The Pan family, rich Ming Dynasty officials, founded these gardens, which are a fine example of Ming garden design. Built between 1559 and 1577 Yuyuan (meaning the garden of peace and comfort) a maze of Ming Dynasty pavilions, elaborate rockeries, arched bridges, and goldfish ponds, all encircled by an undulating dragon wall. The adjacent bazaar was originally a temple (the city god temple) built in the 16th century. Today the area is also home to a lively market that specializes in traditional Chinese arts and crafts. You can peruse antiques, silk fans, bamboo articles, shell carvings, paintings, or simply try some Shanghai Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), vegetarian buns and chicken soup. Followed by a visit to Jade Buddha Temple, the temple is an active site of worship and home to a couple of famous Buddha statues that were brought from Burma in the 1800s. It took ten years to complete its construction. Lunch at a local tourist restaurant (included). Take a walk in the French Concession Quarter, home to the city’s most stylish streets. The former Shanghai French Concession was a region under French control from 1849 until its return to the hands of the Chinese government in 1946. While this Shanghai neighbourhood is no longer of French ownership, the area is still ruled by a laid-back attitude and European architecture. Now one of the most vibrant shopping districts in Shanghai, the former French concession is where much of Shanghai’s disposable cash is splashed.
Overnight in Shanghai.
Departure Shanghai (55Km – 1Hr)
Breakfast at hotel. A leisure before transfer for departure flight. Transfer to the airport.
Comfortable and light clothing is best suited to travel in the warm months and warm clothing in the colder months in China. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or sparse clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Sun protection, sunglasses and a hat can be very useful during your stay.