How do you think your first time vacation to China? How about exploring the most classic destinations and iconic attractions in a comfortable pace? If you want a relatively less-tense trip to see best highlights of China, this 11 days China tour will be perfect for you. Start from Beijing and end in Shanghai, covering altogether six destinations, ancient heart Xian and Yangtze River cruise experience included.
Designed in leisure style, you will start your tour from the Capital of China to witness the magnificent Great Wall and be amazed by the imperial palaces of royal families during Ming and Qing dynasties. In ancient capital Xian, indulge yourself in the history of Terracotta Warriors and splendid Tang-dynasty sites. The relaxing 5 star Yangtze River cruise will take you travel through the Central China from Chongqing to Yichang to appreciate Three Gorges and Three Gorges Dam - this part is the real rural China where you can witness in person. With huge contrast, you will travel to the “Future City” - Shanghai with its iconic buildings and high skylines, located at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Imperial China, ancient relics, modern China, beautiful natural scenery and luxury cruise experience... are all in one trip!
Beijing (4 Days)
Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Tian’anmen Square, Summer Palace, Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, Temple of Heaven, Old Hutongs
Xian (2 Days)
Terracotta Warriors, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient Wall, Muslim Quarter, Shaanxi History Museum
Yangtze River Cruise (3 Days)
Three Gorges (Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge), Three Gorges Dam, Shibaozhai Pagoda, Shennv Stream
Shanghai (2 Days)
Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, The Bund, Nanjing Road, Shanghai Tower
Nihao! Welcome to Beijing, the capital city of China! Upon your arrival at the airport/train station in Beijing, the tour guide and driver will meet and greet you at the exit, and then escort you to the well-selected hotel in downtown Beijing. The rest of the day is free on your own so you can have a good rest for the jet lag or explore by yourself around your hotel.
Beijing is well connected by air and high speed rail. There are two airports - Beijing Daxing International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport operating many international and domestic airlines. Travelers can go to Beijing by air from most cities of China, like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xian, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Wuhan, Xiamen, Guiyang, Chongqing, and Lanzhou. In addition, travelers can take the high speed train to Beijing from Xian (4-5 hours), Shanghai (4.5-6 hours), Zhengzhou (2.5-3 hours), Wuhan (4-5 hours), Harbin (5-5.5 hours), etc.
Free Time Ideas:
You are welcome to ask your tour guide for some useful tips to spend your free time based on your time and interest.
Today you will spend the whole day exploring the ancient citadel Beijing through China’s famous landmarks, epic imperial grandeur and royal gardens.
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and then head to Tian’anmen Square, which is the world’s largest public square and also the symbol of China. It has witnessed many big events in China over the past decades and from here you can take good pictures of Tiananmen Gate showing on CCTV News every day.
Walk across the square and you will visit the might and splendor of the awe-inspiring Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex and one-time home to 24 emperors of China. Listed as a world heritage site, Forbidden City has about 500 years’ history, and served as the political and ritual center of China during the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. With over 8,728 rooms, the Forbidden City is not only China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings, but also a city within the city, like the Vatican in Rome. Enter through Meridian Gate and visit along the central axis to ensure you won’t miss any highlighted palaces. You can admire its brilliant architecture and numerous ancient art treasures while listening to your guide and learning more about the emperors’ stories hidden inside the Imperial Palace. Later, take another 15-minute walk up to Jingshan Park, where you can have a magnificent panorama of modern Beijing and princely views over the russet roofs of the Forbidden City.
In this afternoon, drive to the “Museum of Royal Garden” - Summer Palace, which used to be the resort for royal families to flee summer heat. The grounds, temples, gardens, pavilions, lakes, bridges, gate-towers, and corridors are a marvel of landscaping. Enjoy the leisure walk and take your time to appreciate the imperial architectures, hilltop views, and beautiful lakes, which offer a pastoral escape into the landscapes of traditional Chinese painting.
In this morning, you will head northwest of Beijing (about 1.5-2 hours’ drive, 73km) to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. The Great Wall boasts a history over 2,000 years and stretches more than 3,000 miles across several provinces of northern China, making it one of the most impressive ancient masterpieces on the planet. Mutianyu Great Wall is connected with the Jiankou Great Wall in the west and the Gubeikou Great Wall in the east. Mutianyu is the longest and best fully-restored Great Wall with fewer tourists and is also famed for its 23 Ming-era watchtowers and stunning views. Take the cable car up to the 14th watchtower and then enjoy the memorable hiking time on the wall while visiting its western route. With the green pines and cypresses covering the surrounding area, and the winding wall standing majestically on the vast land, you will capture the most stunning natural scenery in this section. Challenge yourselves while climbing up to the 20th watchtower where you could fulfill your Great Wall dream. Cherish the chance and take photos as many as you like!
After the once-in-lifetime experience, head back to downtown Beijing and have the chance to take photos with the exterior of the Bird's Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center). They were both designed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and used for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. After that, transfer back to your hotel and have a good rest tonight.
This morning you will head to Temple of Heaven. Located in Beijing's Tiantan Park, the Temple of Heaven is much bigger than the Forbidden City and smaller than the Summer Palace. As a World Heritage, the Temple of Heaven (Taoist temple) is also known for its rigorous symbolic layout, peculiar structure, and magnificent decoration. The Temple of Heaven used to be a place to offer sacrifice to Heaven by 22 Chinese emperors twice a year for good harvests. You can learn more about the grand praying ceremony there, as well as observe the amazing designs such as the Echo Wall and the Triple Sound Stones. Nowadays, it is also a park for local people to do morning exercise and you are welcome to join them.
If there is more time, you can also enjoy the relaxing time exploring the ordinary local life through the old Hutongs. Take a rickshaw tour to travel through the narrow alleys with many featured shops standing on both sides.
After the tour, you will be escorted to the train station for a high-speed train to Xian (about 4.5-5.5 hours). Welcome to Xian, the capital of 13 ancient China dynasties! Upon your arrival at the train station, the tour guide and driver will greet you at the exit, and then escort you to the hotel in Xian.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Drive about 40km (about 1 hour) to uncover one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world - the Terracotta Army Museum, which was built by the first emperor of China - Qin Shihuang to protect him in his afterlife. There are about 8,000 vivid life-size Terracotta Warriors found so far. First, pay a visit to the largest and most imposing pit which is believed to contain over 6,000 terracotta figures of soldiers and horses. You will be amazed by the subterranean life-size army of thousands silently standing and guarding the emperor and also be awed by the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans. Next, move to another pit where you can feast your eyes with around 1300 warriors and horses. You can get to examine the ancient army array by visiting the kneeling and standing archers, the chariot war array and numerous troopers holding weapons, etc. (Note: If you are interested, you can learn how to make a mini terracotta warrior.)
After lunch, drive back to downtown to visit the Ancient City Wall (also known as the Fortification of Xian). The city wall is a kind of defensive structure in Ancient Times and represents one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved Chinese city walls. Spend some time leisurely walking on the wall and enjoy its inner and outer walls, watchtowers, and moat, and have panoramic views of modern Xian.
Late in the afternoon, go to explore the vivid local life when you go to wander happily around the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter. It is a paradise mixed with different local snacks and Muslim culture.
This morning, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to visit Shaanxi History Museum. Regarded as “the Pearl of ancient dynasties and house of Chinese treasures”, it has collections of 130,000 historical artifacts, showing visitors a miniature overview of thousand years of Chinese history and the splendid ancient cultures of old times. Enjoy the educational visit while exploring historical relics ranging from bronze ware from the Western Zhou Dynasty, and terracotta figures, to gold and silverware and murals discovered in Tang tombs. Later, pay a visit to the Tang-style Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the landmark of Xian situated in the Da Ci’en Temple.
After the tour, you will be transferred to the train station for a high-speed train to Chongqing (about 5 hours). Welcome to Chongqing, the Mountain City of China! Upon your arrival in Chongqing, your guide will meet you at the exit of the train station and escort you to Chongqing Chaotianmen Port to board your Yangtze cruise. You will have free time after the cruise ship check-in and you can go around the area of Chaotianmen Port. Your memorable relaxing cruise journey starts at 21:00!
1. Please call the ship one day ahead or at least in the morning on the boarding day to have clear idea about which pier you are going to use;
2. All the times on the schedule are estimated ones which are subject to change due to weather and navigation conditions.
3. The boarding time and departure piers may change based on the ship line, water level, season, weather and other factors.
On this day, your cruise will sail peacefully along the Yangtze River. Wake up leisurely and enjoy the fascinating river view with misty or gentle sunshine shining over the river. Have your buffet breakfast and start your beautiful day. There are some activities well designed by the cruise that you can do shore excursions to visit traditional Chinese cultural sites or stay onboard to relax and learn some Chinese culture.
In this afternoon, you will follow a local English-speaking tour guide and make a shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City in this morning. This ghost city is one large collection of temples, memorials and monasteries and you can know many legendary stories about underworld and different kinds of devils and Chinese demons. Or, you can take optional excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda with extra fee , one of the eight extraordinary architectures in the world located in Zhongxian County. Climb up the 12-story red wooden pagoda and you can have a panoramic view of the Yangtze River.
Note: The itinerary above is provided for your reference. Attractions and shore excursions may vary slightly depending on the cruise company. We will help you choose the most suitable cruise based on your preferences.
Today, you will have a full day to view the beautiful Three Gorges. First, you will sail through Qutang Gorge which is celebrated for its magnificent, peculiar and precipitous scenery in the world. Marvel at the incredible Kui Gate. Next, go through Wuxia Gorge which is serene and secluded and presents a panorama of lovely scenery and then pass through Xiling Gorge well known for its rugged shoals and turbulent waters. Follow the guide’s live interpretation and appreciate the breathtaking scenery onboard.
In this afternoon, make a leisure shore excursion to Shennv Stream (Goddess Stream) in Wushan County. Switch to a smaller boat to sail down the primitive stream for a close look at the steep mountains and hanging coffins high on the cliffs. If you are interested, you can join local Tujia ethnic guide for singing and dancing performance. In this evening, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Party with all your mates onboard and have a pleasant dinner together.
After breakfast, it is time to go through the check-out procedure and you’ll disembark at Maoping Port. The highlighted attraction today is the largest hydropower project in China - Three Gorges Dam. Catch the chance to view the dam and the system of locks. The body of the dam is immense with a height of 181 meters and spanning 2335 meters across the Yangtze River and 115 meters in width. (Optional experience: you can choose to sail through the world’s largest ship lift - Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift to very closely marvel at the huge dam which is a totally fresh and exciting experience for travelers.)
After the dam visiting, you’ll take the tourist bus arranged by the cruise company transferring you to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal around 12:30~13:30. In this afternoon, you will be escorted to the airport for a flight to Shanghai (about 2 hours). Upon arrival, your guide will meet you at the airport and escort you directly to downtown Shanghai.
After breakfast, you will first head to Shanghai Museum for an awe-inspiring visit to view the finest collection of art and learn about profound Chinese history. Built in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel called a ding, Shanghai Museum has a round top and a square base, symbolizing “round sky, square earth”. It contains 120,000 cultural relics which showcase incredible artifacts of Chinese art throughout 5000 years’ history. Immerse yourselves in the Exhibition Hall of Bronze and Ceramic to appreciate the elaborate bronzes and exquisite artifacts. You won’t miss the chance to enjoy the top treasures - Da Ke Ding (bronze food vessel over 3000 years ago), and Bianzhong of Marquis Su of Jin (ancient musical instruments). Next, move to Yu Garden, the most celebrated classical Chinese garden hidden in the bustling Shanghai downtown area. Enjoy a leisure walk and visit the Chinese architecture, and feast your years with exquisite sculptures and carvings. Yuyuan Bazaar outside the garden is a fun place to taste some local snacks as well as buy some traditional Chinese handicrafts and artworks.
After that, you will take a stroll along Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street, where lots of well-known brands, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and towering buildings stand on both sides. Continue your walk to the Bund, the top 1 place to visit on the Shanghai bucket list. Reputed as “An Exhibition of International Buildings”, the Bund is a collection of 52 buildings in various international architectural styles. Overlook the amazing skyline and skyscrapers of the Pudong Area from the Bund. The last stop today is the Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China and the second in the world, at a height of 362 meters. Ascents up to 546 meters over the 118th floor for a breathtaking panoramic view of modern Shanghai.
It is time to end your 11 days China tour. You will have some free time in Shanghai and explore more on your own till your guide escorts you to the airport/train station for your flight or high speed train to your next destination.
Thank you for choosing Asia Odyssey Travel for your China tour, and we are always here working for you and hope to see you again for your next trip to China/Asia!
Destination(s): Beijing, Xian, Shanghai
Date of Experience: Oct 26, 2023
Tour Customized by: Leo
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My experience with Asia Odyssey Travel was exceptional as they provided thorough assistance throughout my train tour, from start to finish. From my initial contact with Mike to the follow-up from Lucy, their service was fantastic. Mike maintained excellent communication throughout the entire process, and when I needed to make amendments to my train tickets, he promptly and efficiently resolved the changes. Everything went smoothly, and I couldn't find any faults with their service. I highly appreciate their dedication and professionalism in ensuring a seamless experience.
Destination(s): Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tibet
Date of Experience: Jun 23, 2023
Tour Customized by: JoJo
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(Based on a private tour for two people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people.)
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