From exploring the Great Wall of China to visiting the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, cruising past lush rice paddies in Yangshuo and navigating 700-year old rice terraces in Longsheng – unearth all the classics with this private, tailor-made China tour.
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.
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.)
Classic China: Great Wall and Summer Palace Discover the iconic landmarks of China on this all-day excursion out of Beijing. After an early breakfast at your hotel, drive out to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in the company of your local, English speaking guide. Enjoy a cable car ride, or stroll up to the top of the wall if you wish, picking up interesting bits of history along the way. Internalize the legends and folklores born of this historic Great Wall, as you take in the majestic sweep of the land stretched out before you. Don’t forget those magical photo ops of the Wall in the early morning light. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the site, if you wish, before driving back to Beijing to visit the spectacular Summer Palace. Originally built as the royal gardens, the Emperor Qianlong had it redesigned. Stroll among the pretty lakes, pagodas and pavilions, visiting all the popular palace sights. After a day of exploring the architectural heritage of the Beijing region, return to your hotel. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).
The Pingyao settlement in central Shanxi is located on the east bank of the Fen River, a 90-minute drive southwest of Taoyuan airport. A regional financial hub in the 16th century, it is famous for its Ming and Qing urban planning and architecture.
Pingyao Attractions Discover the historic attractions of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its ancient urban planning and architecture. Stroll through the winding lanes of the Pingyao Ancient City with your local guide as you learn how it grew as a market town during the Ming dynasty. Walk along the ancient city walls that rise to ten meters in some places and cover a distance of six kilometers in all. Experience the marvel of Qing-era engineering and planning – the goal of the architects was to protect the commercial city from marauding invaders! Admire the majestic towers, which total 72 in all, each containing a Sunzi War artifact. (Half Day; Private Activity)
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!
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).
Yangshuo may be like any other modern Asian city with neon lights, construction sites and a buzzing nightlife, but it is the surrounding countryside that draws the crowds.
Afternoon Cruise on a Bamboo Raft Experience the timeless beauty of Chinese countryside from a new perspective – the river. Drive to the pretty village of Yangdi where you will board a traditional bamboo raft and set off on a leisurely afternoon cruise down the River Li. Watch lush paddy fields pass by, their emerald green enhancing the sugar white of the limestone mountains. Find out from your friendly boat “pilot” about the quaint names given to these carsts like ‘Elephant Trunk Hill’, ‘Nine Horses Wall’ and ‘Folded Brocade Hill’. Arrive at the picturesque village of Xingping and explore its mesmerizing landscape, dotted with heritage houses going as far back as the Ming and Qing periods. Marvel at the spectacular beauty of Sugarloaf Mountains, or limestone outcroppings in striking shapes because of which they bear fantastic names like ‘Five-Finger Hill’ and ‘Camel Hill’. If you have time, check out the local poultry market bustling with chickens and geese on sale. Finally it is time to drive back to your hotel, with memories of an amazing day spent in the scenic Chinese countryside. (Haf Day; Time: 1300 hrs; Private Activity & Transfers; Please pack light and wear sunscreen).
Cycling Through Yangshuo Country Enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the beautiful countryside of the Yangshuo region, framed by a rugged karst landscape of misty waterfalls, verdant paddy fields, meandering rivers and quaint little villages. After an early breakfast in your hotel, meet your local English speaking guide and pick up your biking gear before setting off. You can either take the laidback village trail along the Yulong River before looping back to town, or you could make a couple of stops at local villages along the Li River. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, on your way back to Yangshuo from either of these river routes you can embark on an uphill trail that comes with a spectacular view at the end. Riding on the Yulong River trail, pedal down to Baisha Village and stop at the historic Yulong Bridge to take selfies, if you wish. Ride past fragrant mandarin orchards, framed by a limestone karst backdrop of the ‘sugarloaf’ mountains in the distance. Along the Li River trail, ride down to Mushan Village and study its traditional architecture born of Taoism and Feng Shui. Visit the Liugong Village next, stopping to admire the pretty picture painted by paddy fields against a ruggedly handsome karst landscape of the ‘sugarloaf’ mountains. The nearly century-old Liugong is a charming sight with its traditional homesteads and ‘three colored pools’. Ride back to Yangshuo via Yongcun Village. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Lunch, snacks & refreshments included; Fitness level: Moderate; Please be comfortably dressed and note that a bicycle, helmet and water provided on the trip).
Longsheng county in the northeast of Guangxi is known for its 700-year-old rice terraced fields and ethnic villages with unique architecture. The Longji (‘Dragon’s Backbone’) rice terraces are set among ethnic minority villages including Zhuang and Yao and make for scenic hikes.
Trekking Through Rice Terraces Spend the morning and noon hours with an approximate four hour walk along the “Dragon’s Backbone”- one of the most beautiful stretches of the Longsheng rice terraces in the Guilin mountains. Appearing similar to a massive, undulating staircase, these tiered rice paddies house villages of the Dong, Miao, Yao, and Zhuang minorities. Start to take a walk from Ping’an Village to the Ancient Zhuang Village. Stop for lunch by midday at a local village home and make the most of this chance to get to know your gracious hosts. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Lunch included: Fitness level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).
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.
Shanghai Noon at Old Town and French Concession Discover the Old Town’s French connection on this tour of Shanghai’s classy neighborhoods. After an early breakfast in your hotel, head over to Fuxing Park in a tony part of town to catch a glimpse of how city residents greet their day. Alongside traditional Tai Chi and morning meditation crowds, expect to find a flock of colorful tango dancers too! Stroll down the tree-lined avenues of the French Concession, walking past historical buildings from another era when the French lived and partied in Shanghai. Pick up delicious scandals and sensational stories from your guide about opium trade, mob bosses and gangster rackets reminiscent of Prohibition-era Chicago under Al Capone! Explore the classy Xintiandi and Tianzifang areas with their trendy cafés, boutiques and art galleries, before heading off into the Old Town. Enjoy strolling 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 and alleys that hold the local community together. Walk over to the lovely Yu Gardens and admire the traditional landscape architecture, fit to be painted into a delicate scroll. Stop by at a local market and feel the pulsating heartbeat of this great city in the energy of its people. After a day well spent, relax over a refreshing cup of tea and refreshments at the popular Huxinting Tea House. (Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).
Leisurely Excursion to Zhujiajiao Water Town Get picked up from your centrally located hotel in the morning as you set off on this fascinating exploration. Drive for about an hour to reach the ancient town of Zhujiajiao with over 1,000 houses and shops dating back to the 14th century. Accompany your guide to the Qing dynasty post office where you can get a closer look at quaint fish-style envelopes and other curios. Saunter around the beautiful Kezhi Gardens where you can click pictures with interesting rock formations in the backdrop and feed fish in the pond. Settle into a comfortable gondola for a leisurely ride as you enjoy the scenic views of your surroundings including the pedestrian-only Fangsheng Bridge. Savor an authentic Chinese meal at a local restaurant before you travel on to Qibao also known as Seven Treasures Town. Soak in the old world charm of the place as you stroll down the two main streets with a sprinkling of street food outlets. In the late afternoon, start on the journey back to Shanghai. (Full Day; Time: 0900 hrs; Lunch Included; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness Level: Easy.)
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to Shanghai airport in a private vehicle
Price & Inclusions
Option 1 From $ 4,990 /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.
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
Entrance fees and meals, unless mentioned in the itinerary description