About This Trip
This exciting 12-day China itinerary highlights some of China's most spectacular cultural and natural wonders. Begin your journey in Beijing, where you will see the Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, and Hutongs. Then it's on to Xi'an to see the Terracotta Warriors before continuing on to Guilin for a leisurely cruise down the picturesque Li River. Finish your tour in Shanghai, a cosmopolitan city with skyscrapers, peaceful gardens, and artsy neighborhoods.
- 1 - 4BeijingForbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Temple of Heaven with Tai Chi Lesson, Hutongs
- 5 - 6Xi'anTerracotta Warriors, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Street, Chinese Calligraphy Lesson
- 7 - 10GuilinLongji Rice Terraces, Li River Cruise, Yangshuo Countryside Biking
- 11 - 12ShanghaiThe Bund, Yu Garden, Shanghai World Financial Center, Walking Tour from Maoming Road to Fuxing Park
Day 1: Welcome to Beijing, China
Welcome to China, a kaleidoscopic country in East Asia!
The capital city of Beijing is your first stop. After landing at the airport, clear customs and meet your local guide at the customs exit. Later, you will board a private vehicle and be escorted to your hotel. A welcome dinner is served at a popular local restaurant, which will get you the initial impression of China through its gastronomy.
Day 2: Life between Royalty and Commoners, Beijing
Are you curious how royalty and commoners lived in ancient times? The exploration of today will give you the answer.
Passing through Tiananmen Square, you will step into the Forbidden City, home of emperors and their households for almost 500 years. You can also find it in the World Heritage List as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Follow your tour guide to discover deeper into royalty life.
In contrast to court life, Hutongs reflect the culture of grassroots Beijingers. Take a walking tour across the maze-like alleyways lined with lots of courtyards and you will see the daily life of ordinary citizens.
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Day 3: Great Wall, Man-made Miracle in Beijing
You may have heard a story about the Great Wall: you can see this man-made object from space. Although it is just a myth, in some quarters it can be seen as the evidence that its scale is amazingly huge.
The Great Wall at Mutianyu section, located 70 km northeast of the center of Beijing, is one of the best-preserved parts of the wall. Walking on the venerable ramparts, you will marvel at the unbelievable constructions and appealing landscape that surrounds the wall. Except for the wall itself, going up by slide rail and then getting down by toboggan will add more interesting experiences for you.
On the way back to the city, you will visit the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center from the outside (Maybe you prefer to call them the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube).
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Day 4: Play Tai Chi in Temple of Heaven, Beijing - Xi'an
What exercise do retired people take to enhance their physical fitness and wellness in your country? Running, cycling or just walking with their dogs…
In our country, you can see many elderly people gathering in an open area and doing various activities, such as playing Tai Chi, an internal Chinese martial art. Follow your tour guide to visit the Temple of Heaven and then meet your master to enjoy an interesting Tai Chi lesson. Study hard and you may be the Tai Chi teacher of your grandparents after returning your homeland.
In the afternoon, proceed to Xi'an by high-speed train, which is the most popular way to travel in China nowadays. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and then enjoy dinner.
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Day 5: Wonders of Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an
Xi'an is the oldest one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals as well as the home to the Terracotta Army, a must-see when traveling in China. Consisting of more than 8,000 life-size warriors and horses in battle-ranked formations, this huge army was buried together with the first emperor of a unified China, Qin Shi Huang. Pay attention to the soldiers and you will find different expressions on their faces as if they were alive. After that, try your hand to make a terracotta statue on your own.
In the afternoon, visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and take a cultural calligraphy class here. Try your best to properly handle a Chinese brush and proper strokes to write Chinese characters.
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Day 6: Get Glimpses of Locals' Life, Xi'an - Guilin
The best way to explore the charm of a city is to get a feel for the locals' life.
Walking on the top of the Ancient City Wall, you can not only best enjoy its walls, watchtowers, and the moat, but also easily get interesting and different views of the old and new parts of Xi'an. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will crowd into the Muslim Street, one of the liveliest areas where local Muslims gather and sell their wares along a long street paved with blue-gray flagstones, and from where you will step into Gao's Courtyard and enjoy a shadow puppet show.
Afterward, fly to Guilin, the picturesque city enjoying the reputation of "East or west, Guilin landscape is best".
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Day 7: Beauty of Karst Landform, Guilin - Longsheng
Start the day with a half-day city tour, visiting the Elephant Trunk Hill and Reed Flute Cave. When viewed at certain angles, the former looks to an elephant drinking water from the river. While the latter is a natural limestone cave with multicolored lighting, boasting "the Palace of Natural Arts".
Drive to Longsheng in the afternoon, which usually takes about 2 hours. Upon arrival, take the chance to cook Bamboo Tube Rice and make Guilin Oil Tea under the help of a local lady dressed in Zhuang costume. After that, enjoy what you cooked and some other local dishes as dinner.
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- Longsheng Town
Day 8: Hike along the Terraced Fields, Longsheng - Guilin
Did you see a fantastic natural scenery picture, made of spiraling rice terraced fields on the mountains and minority villages with unique buildings and customs? Yes, that's Longsheng.
Spend the morning hiking along the endless terraced fields to Guzhuang village, which will take about 1.5 to 2 hours. Along the way, you may see some locals working on the fields with the traditional way and get a stunning panoramic view when standing atop the mountain. Late of the afternoon, drive back to Guilin for overnight.
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Day 9: Guilin - Yangshuo
Cruising on the Li River down to Yangshuo is the best way for tourists to enjoy the natural beauty of Guilin.
Today, you will take a cruise along the river to Yangshuo. When the boat passes through the panoramic villages and dramatic limestone Karst Mountains, don't forget to get on the upper deck to enjoy these stunning sceneries.
After debarkation, your guide will lead you to walk through the West Street lined with numerous shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops your hotel, and you can go back and kill the rest of the day after check-in.
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Day 10: Cycle around the Countryside, Guilin - Shanghai
Yangshuo is famous for its countryside beauty featured by Karst Mountains, winding rivers and boundless fields. This morning, you will have a chance to observe rural life in China while riding a bicycle along the countryside road to breathe the fresh air and enjoy the wonderful views.
After the tour, be escorted to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, meet your guide and driver, and then head to your hotel and rest.
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Day 11: Local Neighborhood Tour, Shanghai
There is much more to see in Shanghai than the Bund.
The vintage Yu Garden, your first stop, is one of the classical Chinese gardens with a history of over 400 years where you will be convinced by its decorative halls, elaborate pavilions, glittering pools, zigzag bridges, impressive rockeries and so on. After it, continue a one-hour walking tour starting from the Maoming Road to Bugaoli and ending at the Fuxing Park to discover the neighborhood life of Shanghai. And then visit the Bund before proceeding to Shanghai World Financial Center for panoramic views of the Pudong area and the Huangpu River from its 100th floor.
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Day 12: Shanghai, Departure
Say goodbye to China and board your homebound flight with an excellent memory.
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