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Discover the top three destinations on this private China vacation. At the bustling megacity of Beijing, walk on the Great Wall of China and explore the Forbidden City. In Xi’an, witness the ancient Terracotta Warriors, see museums and the famous Muslim Quarter. At your last destination, Shanghai, discover iconic architecture and sample some of the best street food in China!


Itinerary Summary

DayPlaceHighlightsHotel Options
1 - 4BeijingThe Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum, The Great WallThe Orchid
4 - 6Xi'anTerracotta Army, Old City Wall, Muslim Quarter & the Great MosqueGrand Mercure Xian on Renmin Square
6 - 9ShanghaiThe Bund, Pudong Skyline, French ConcessionSSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund

Ideal For

  • Heritage
  • Landscape
  • Wine & Food
Julia Radtke Travel Consultant Enchanting Travels

Talk to us anytime1 888 263 2574

Itinerary Details

Day 1 - 4

International Arrival

Your guide will accompany you from Peking airport to your hotel in a private vehicle


3 Nights

The energetic megacity of Beijing is a rich tapestry of the old and new, where imperial palaces, museums and buzzing ancient alleyways rub shoulders with cutting edge architecture, new shopping malls and modern buildings.

Included Activities

Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City Tour
Start early on this fascinating tour of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. Walk through the gates of the Temple of Heaven to chance upon Beijing residents engaged in their daily exercise regimen. Marvel at the simple yet elegant structure of the temple before you enter it. This temple with its abundant esoteric symbolism was a favorite with Ming and Qing dynasty rulers, who considered themselves messengers from heaven and sought to communicate with God from here. Afterward, stroll into the Forbidden City – restored in 2008, this palace complex has regained its vibrant colors that make for a mesmerizing contrast against the blue sky. Explore the sprawling complex in three parts, starting with the official spaces. Listen to your expert guide narrate anecdotes about the opulent ceremonies and important government meetings that these walls have witnessed. Saunter on to the imperial lodges surrounded by exquisitely beautiful gardens. Soak in the splendid sight before you amble over to the public areas where the temples and libraries can be found. Familiarize yourself with the legends associated with the construction of this magnificent complex before you climb up an artificial hill. Savor fabulous views of the compound and all of its 9,999 buildings before you make your way to the exit gate. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfers; Fitness Level: Easy. Please bring along your passport on the day of the tour to clear security. This tour must be booked at least two weeks in advance and once the booking is done, the date cannot be changed or modified.)

Hiking at The Great Wall Jinshanling
Embark on this experience of a lifetime as you hike a remote section of the Great Wall of China, built in the late 16th century. Travel deep into the rugged countryside for a little under three hours to reach the trailhead. Head to the Kylin Tower where your expert guide will give you a safety briefing. Listen to lesser-known historical facts about the famous monument before you begin walking along the wall. Walk from east to west for about three to four hours and pause along the way to click some great photographs. Pass by 15 watchtowers on this partially restored section of the wall. You could also ascend some of the steep gradients to savor panoramic views of the surroundings. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfers; Lunch Included; Fitness Level: Moderate. Please note that bathrooms are available only at the start and end points. Please note that trekking poles, unlimited drinking water, energy drinks, and chocolates will be provided. Travel insurance and chairlift fee are not included.)

Hotel Options
The Orchid – Opt 1
RoomCourtyard Room
Day 4 - 6

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to Beijing train station in a private vehicle

Board your train from Beijing to Xi'an (Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Your guide will meet you at Xi'an train station and accompany you to your hotel in a private vehicle


2 Nights

Xi’an is represented around the world by its timeless army of terracotta warriors, each man distinct from his brother beside, before or behind him. Such meticulous craftsmanship often makes one seriously wonder if they were not an army of actual warriors turned into stone by an ancient curse from the gods!

Included Activities

Discover Hidden Treasures of Xi’an
Discover Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China, highlighted by treasures of the ancient world. Following a half-hour drive to Xianyang, explore the Museum of the Terracotta Army – one of the greatest archaeological finds in recent history. Traversing the different tiers of excavated pits, see thousands of life-size terracotta statues of warriors and horses featuring incredible details that seem to protect the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi. Learn about the legends and stories surrounding the region and the birth of Chinese civilization. Drop by the museum to see some amazing artifacts including two bronze chariots, before making your way to Xi’an. Hopping on a bike or a cart, weave through the bustling town. Stop by a few of Xi’an’s highlights, including the Bell and Drum Towers, nestled amid the towering ramparts originally built by the Ming dynasty. Visit the Muslim Quarter in the old town and understand the historical influence of the Silk Road that has made Xi’an a vibrant cultural center. See the Grand Mosque and other buildings that blend Islamic architecture and Chinese symbolism. Before returning to your accommodations, settle down for supper and savor the superb flavors courtesy of street hawkers at the colorful night market. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfers; Lunch included; Fitness level: Moderate).

Hotel Options
RoomClassic King Room
Day 6 - 9

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to Xi'an airport in a private vehicle

Board your flight from Xi'an to Shanghai (Flight duration: 2-3 hrs)

Your guide will accompany you from Hongqiao airport to your hotel in a private vehicle


3 Nights

The busy and dynamic Shanghai is China’s biggest city and a global financial hub. The Bund, a waterfront promenade lined with colonial era buildings lies at the heart of the city.

Included Activities

Journey Across Time From Bund to Pudong
Get ready for a fascinating stroll from the past to the present during this half-day Shanghai tour. Start your journey at the historic riverside walkway, famous as the Bund, where western traders arrived in early twentieth century China. Take in the colonial architecture of heritage buildings that once served as foreign consulates, international hotels and trading houses. Learn from your experienced guide how the grand avenue fell to neglect during the Chinese Civil War and then later of restoration projects which revived its historic importance. Next, walk through Bund Sightseeing Tunnel to cross the Huangpu River to emerge into a striking different world – that of uber modern Pudong district. Marvel at towering skyscrapers and glitzy buildings as you hear the story of Pudong’s incredible transformation from marshy fields to a glittering downtown. Explore the hip Lujiazui neighbourhood boasting of some of the most famous buildings in the country, such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China. Before heading back, consider taking the high speed elevator to the 118th floor observation terrace for stunning panoramas of the city. (Half Day; Times: 0800/1300 hrs; Private Activity & Transfers).

Vintage Bike Ride in Shanghai
Discover little known neighborhoods and quiet alleyways on this cycling tour of the more tranquil parts of town on vintage bikes. Drive down to Xintiandi District and meet your English speaking guide at a local café for a tour brief. Set out to explore the city on your vintage vehicles, riding past the tree-shaded boulevards of the French Concession, admiring the area’s rich architecture. Ride over to Fuxing Park and watch residents exercise, meditate and even dance early in the morning. Stop by a street-side food stall for a delicious morning snack. Ride over to a local wet market, soaking in the sights and sounds of the city. Enjoy cycling down the city’s narrow alleyways or lilongs, which mirror the hutongs of Beijing. Soak in the quintessential spirit of the city and its residents in these colorful and lively warren of lanes that hold the local community together. Come across an old Taoist temple within a tranquil neighborhood, discovering the simple life of the local monks and their unique philosophy, before returning to your hotel. (Half Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Snacks and beverages included; Fitness level: Easy; Please note that only children above 12 yrs are permitted on this tour and special bikes available for children).

Hotel Options
RoomDeluxe Room

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to Shanghai airport in a private vehicle

International Departure

 Price & Inclusions

  • Option 1 From $ 3,590 /person

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation and meals, as specified in the itinerary
  • Activities and excursions, as specified in the itinerary
  • Transportation services, as specified in the itinerary
  • Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact supporting you during your trip

Not Included

  • Entrance fees and meals, unless mentioned in the itinerary description
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Visa and tourism fees
  • Travel, health, and cancellation insurance
  • International airfare
Inquire Now
Essential China: From Beijing to Shanghai

9 days $ 3,590 / person

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