Essence of China Tour

Leon Long

Leon Long

Senior Travel Advisor

leon@chinatravel.com

Have you ever watched movies or TV series’ about the royal families of the Qing (1644–1912 AD) dynasty? Now it’s your turn to be the princess or the emperor, as you enter the home of 24 emperors - the majestic Forbidden City in Beijing.

You will also visit Xi’an to discover the marvelous underground army - the Terracotta Warriors-and get to know the culture and stories of the Qin (221–206 BC) and Tang (618–907 AD) dynasties.

Finally admire the gleaming Shanghai, where east meets west and ancient meets modern, during this 8-day customizable tour.

Essence of China Tour

8-Days,Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Private Tour (CT-1)

From 1,419 USD

Highlights

  • Discover the Forbidden City with our knowledgeable guide, to understand why the old place has recently become an online hit
  • Explore the less-crowded section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu by means of moderate hiking, cable-car rides or tobogganing down
  • Stand face-to-face with the Terracotta Warriors and get to know why they were created by the First Emperor of Qin
  • Admire the ambitious skyline and the gleaming night scenes of Shanghai
  • Join in cultural activities, like making dumplings or facial masks

Day by Day Tour Itinerary

DAY 1 Beijing Arrival and Private Transfer to Hotel

  • Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, 5-star) / Sunworld Hotel Beijing (in the center of Beijing, 4-star) / Dongfang Hotel Beijing (3-star)
  • None

Your local English-speaking guide will be waiting for you at the arrivals hall and your driver will escort you directly to your hotel, in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle. Water and maps will be provided. Check-in at the hotel and recover from jet-lag.

Good to Know

  • Don’t worry about being late. Your guide will be there no matter when you arrive. This tour can be customized just for you.
  • Our guides are not only good at English, but also know their Chinese culture and history. Most importantly, they are nice people (most Chinese are). You’ll enjoy a nice time with them.

Free-Time Ideas

If you are not suffering from jet-lag, we recommend the following activities:
A: Visit Beijing Zoo to see the cute giant pandas. Zoo opening times: 
April 1–October 31: 7:30 to 18:00;
November 1–March 31: 7:30 to 17:00.
B: Watch a fabulous night show, such as the Kungfu Show or the Acrobatics Show.
Ask your guide to help you with tickets.

DAY 2 9:00–17:00 Forbidden City, Hutongs and Summer Palace

  • Breakfast and lunch

You will first visit Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City in the morning. Then, have lunch in a local restaurant.

Later, you will get on a rickshaw and the rider will take you into the beating heart of Beijing: the hutongs (old alleyways). Follow up by spending some quality time with a local family in a hutong.

Then visit the Summer Palace. Imagine the time when it was the private garden for the emperor’s family.

Good to Know

The Forbidden City is the most popular attraction in Beijing, so usually visitors have to take at least half an hour to queue up for entrance tickets. Only 80,000 tickets are sold per day. During the high season, if you don’t get up early to buy the tickets, you may well be shut out.

When you travel with us, however, our tour guide will buy the tickets in advance for you, so that you won’t waste any time standing in a queue and won’t need to worry about whether or not you can get in.

Optional

Cultural experience: If you are interested in learning to make facial masks for Peking Opera, learning Chinese calligraphy or learning Chinese paper-cutting, just ask us to make a reservation for you. (Each activity takes about 40 minutes and US$5-18.)

DAY 3 9:00–17:00 Great Wall at Mutianyu and Temple of Heaven

  • Breakfast and lunch

In the morning, take a relaxing visit to the Temple of Heaven, where Chinese emperors used to worship God.

Later, visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu (2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing). This is a less-crowded section of the Great Wall. A cable car takes you up to a good spot, where you can have an easy walk along the wall.

You can return either by cable car, walking down or tobogganing down. Tobogganing down is actually the most popular.

Tips

  • Toilets are accessible from the Wall. They are clean and hygienic. You should of course always bring some tissues and wet wipes with you when travelling in China, as there are no tissues at most toilets in China.
  • Put on your hiking shoes. You can hike at your own pace. If you don’t much like hiking, you can take some nice pictures of and from the Great Wall.
  • Cultural experience: Weather-permitting, at the Temple of Heaven you’ll see locals doing tai chi, making calligraphy and playing traditional instruments, and you can join them if you wish, for experiences you could probably never have in your own country.

Optional

If a 2-hour hike on the Great Wall at Mutianyu is not enough for you or you want to hike along other parts of the wall, let us know in advance. We can arrange the day according to your preferences.

the Mutianyu Great Wall

the Mutianyu Great Wall

DAY 4 12:30–19:30 High-Speed Train to Xi'an, and Private Transfer to and from Station

  • Wyndham Grand Xian South (Superior Room)(TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, 5-star) / Grand Noble Hotel (in the center and #12 of 2,550 Hotels in Xi'an, 4-star) / Titan Times Hotel (3-star)
  • Breakfast

Today the whole morning is free.

Your guide will pick you up at your hotel lobby at about 12:30 hrs. You’ll then be transferred to the train station for a high-speed train. The train journey takes four and a half hours.

You’ll arrive in Xi’an at 18:23, whereupon your Xi’an guide and driver will transfer you directly to your hotel.

Free Time Idea

Quanjude Roast Duck is world-famous. You can taste it at brunch, if you wish. Ask your guide, who will help you to arrange this.

Other Optional Activities

Beijing is a big city with many famous attractions not listed above, like the Bird’s Nest, Jingshan Park, the Bell and Drum Tower, the Yonghe Lama Temple and the Fragrant Hills Park. If you’d like to explore the city more, tell us on your inquiry form. We can customize a tour to meet your requirements.

DAY 5 9:00–17:00 Terracotta Warriors, Muslim Quarter, Mosque and Xi’an Ancient City Wall

  • Breakfast and lunch

The first Emperor united all of China. Stand face to face with 6,000 statues at the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, created by the first Emperor. It is said the warriors were all sculpted in the shape of powerful or rich people of the time.

After a dumpling lunch,explore the Ancient City Wall, which surrounds the city center. The wall was built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City.

Later, visit the Muslim Quarter. Many souvenir shops, cafés and bars there are operated by Muslim people. At its heart is one of the largest Islamic mosques in China, remarkable for its combination of Chinese architecture and Islamic practice.

Optional

Weather-permitting, you can bike on (or right round) the city wall.

Free Time Idea

  • Visit the Bell Tower and Drum Tower. When night falls, the towers are lighted, becoming beautiful and romantic. They are not far from your hotel, so you can walk there and back.
  • The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is also recommended. If you’d like to see it, your guide will help you buy tickets.

Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army

DAY 6 9:00–19:30 Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Flight to Shanghai

  • Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, 5-star) / The Bund Hotel (near the Bund, 4-star) / Kingstown Hotel Plaza Shanghai (3-star)
  • Breakfast and lunch

Xi'an was the starting point of the Silk Road. So it transpires that Shaanxi Historical Museum is an important place for gaining an initial understanding of how deeply Chinese civilization influenced the country and even the world.

The museum contains some of the most valuable collections from the earlier dynasties up to the Tang dynasty.

Later, visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Historically, this played a huge role in the introduction of Buddhism to China.

After a dumplimg lunch, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. It takes about 1 hour to airport and we will make sure that you have about 1.5 hours?ahead of departure time. The flight takes about 2 hours.

Private Transfer from the Airport in Shanghai to Your Hotel

You will easily spot your guide in the arrivals hall, waiting for you with your name sign.

Free Time Idea

If you feel like you’d like a free afternoon or day, or would like to add some days to explore the city, just let us know.

DAY 7 9:00–17:00 World Financial Center, the Bund, Yuyuan Garden and Tianzifang

  • Breakfast and lunch

In the morning, you climb to the top of Shanghai World Financial Center, the second high building in Shanghai, for a panoramic view of Shanghai.  

After lunch, take a walk along the Bund to appreciate the city’s European architectural heritage.

Later in the afternoon, explore Yuyuan Garden, a classic Chinese garden, and visit Tianzifang and the Former French Concession , a place noted for its leafy tree-lined avenues and less modern architecture.

Good to Know

  • There is very little by way of written English descriptions at Yuyuan Garden and the Bund, so our English-speaking guide is very helpful.
  • The Oriental Pearl Tower is always crowded (most are Chinese people), so we don’t recommend.

Optional

If you want to go to the Shanghai Tower instead of the World Financial Center, please let us know.

Night Time Ideas

  • Watch ERA Acrobatics Show. Each individual performance attracts your attention and impresses your imagination. The artists do incredible things. After each trick you can hear sighs of admiration from the people around.
  • Take a Huangpu River Cruise in the evening, to witness the gleaming night-Bund.

Yu Yuan Garden

Yu Yuan Garden

DAY 8 Private Transfer to the Airport and Shanghai Departure

  • Breakfast

You will be transferred to the airport on time for your flight. We will make sure that you arrive at the airport 1.5 hours ahead of departure time for domestic flights, and 2.5 hours for international flights.

Optional

Tongli Water Town is beautiful and gives you a taste of ancient China. The quaint streets, waterways and houses are juxtaposed harmoniously. You get a fully-fledged feel for the ancient surroundings by just walking round the fairly large town.

Many souvenirs are for sale. Test your bargaining powers. Tip: Go down as low as 40% and then settle somewhere around 50% of the opening price. Enjoy!

If you want to visit this water town near Shanghai, let us know on your inquiry form. We’ll arrange it for you. Cost for 1-Day Suzhou and Tongli Water Town Tour from Shanghai is US$179.

Tips

    If you have several hours free before you go to the airport, you might consider a couple of possibilities:

  • Take 2 hours to visit the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center. The Center hosts a very interesting exhibition of propaganda posters from the 1930s to the 1980s. English explanations are provided.
  • Visit Nanjing Road, the most famous commercial center in Shanghai, to buy souvenirs for your family and friends. You can buy almost anything you can think of there. It’s near the Bund.

Prices (Go Solo Private Tour)

Dec.1 - Mar.31 2-5 person Apr.1- Nov.31 2-5 person
5-star Hotel $1,649 5-star Hotel $1,829
4-star Hotel $1,429 4-star Hotel $1,559
3-star Hotel $1,419 3-star Hotel $1,469
Single Room Supplement $499/$277/$264 Single Room Supplement $649/$379/$288

Price Inclusion

  • Private English-speaking guide service fee
  • Private transfer service with air-conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance tickets, hotels and meals listed above
  • Service charge and tax
  • China Life tourist accident/casualty insurance
  • Luggage transfers

Price Exclusion

  • International airfare or train tickets in or out of China
  • Any meals not listed above
  • Single room supplements
  • Chinese visa fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Excess baggage charges

Make an Inquiry

Why Choose This Tour?

Do you want to change this 8-day itinerary according to your schedule and needs?

- Your itinerary is private and can be customized to you needs.
- And we will buy your tickets in advance to save you time, so that you don’t have to endure long queues.
- If you have booked hotels on your own, we can delete it from the quotation for you.


Do you know the ancient Forbidden City has recently become an online hit in China? Do you know why the Great Wall was built?

- Our insightful local guides with a wide knowledge of Chinese culture and history will explain everything to you. You can learn many interesting stories from them, that you can hardly find on the internet.


Have you ever encountered scammers tainting your tour experiences, or heard about them during your travels?

- If the answer is yes, we feel sorry about that. Scams may happen in any country, but you will stand a better chance of avoiding them with us. We are a trustworthy company which has operated for over 60 years.
- Presidents Nixon, Bush, Clinton and Carter, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet chose our customized tours. See our licenses. You just enjoy; we are always willing to take the stress for you.


Have you ever been taken by tour guides to shops and bought overpriced merchandise?

- With us, this won’t happen to you.
- This tour is a no-shopping tour, thus you will have more time to enjoy your experiences, without rushing.

Additional Options (At Your Own Cost)

Vehicles

Transfer Car

The transfer car is used depanding on your private group size and pieces of luggage. Inform us those so that we can make sure the car is comfortable for you.

High-speed trains

The picture shows the second class seat:

Power outlet available; 5 seats in a row. You can also book more comfortable first class seat.

Hotels

Grand Noble Hotel in Xi'an

#12 of 2,550 Hotels in Xi'an, in the center of Xi'an, 4-star

Sunworld Hotel in Beijing

in the center of Beijing, 4-star

Comparing Accommodation in China

Standard

Facilities

Cost
/Room/Night

Staff English Standard

5-Star Hotel

TVs, telephones, Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, Chinese and Western restaurants, elevators, swimming pools, assembly room, business center and health clubs

US$ 100-300

Staff usually can speak about two or three languages.

4-Star Hotel

TVs, telephone, Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, Chinese and Western restaurants, elevators, assembly room, business center and health clubs

US$ 55-100

Staff usually can speak about two languages.

3-Star Hotel

TVs, telephones, private bathrooms with hot and cold water; some hotels offer free Wi-Fi

US$ 30-50

Some staff can speak basic English.

Budget Hotel

TVs, telephones, usually no private bathrooms in the cheapest rooms; some hotels offer free Wi-Fi

US$ 12-50

Some staff can speak a little English.

Note:
1. There are some differences between same tier hotels in different cities, e.g. a 3-star hotel in Shanghai probably will have a higher standard than a 3-star hotel in a small city.
2. The information above is just for reference.

Booking and Cancellation

Make an Inquiry

from US $1,419 p/p

8 days/7 nightsPrivate Tour