The History and Nature of China

Leon Long

Leon Long

Senior Travel Advisor

leon@chinatravel.com

Explore the iconic ‘must-see’ destinations of China from north to south — including Beijing’s ancient home of emperors, Xi’an’s army of underground warriors, Guilin’s fabulous natural wonders, and Shanghai’s modern metropolis.

You’ll have some free time in each city to explore more in-depth. Choose from among the fun activities we recommend and you can stay a longer or shorter time at each site, depending on your own interests.

The History and Nature of China

11-Days,Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Yangshuo, Shanghai, Private Tour (CT-2)

From 1,999 USD

Highlights

  • Private tour, no groups, no shopping, unbeatable opportunity for a good time with family or friends
  • Discover more of China’s extraordinary history from Beijing and Xi’an
  • Visit the less-crowded section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu and use the cable car there
  • Enjoy the Li River Cruise and witness the region’s incredible karst landscape
  • Cycle near Yangshuo and admire the stunning rural scenery
  • Discover Shanghai lifestyles ancient and modern
  • Enjoy a flexible free day in each city to see things you want to see
  • Thoughtfully-selected hotels and restaurants

Day by Day Tour Itinerary

DAY 1 Arrive in Beijing, Welcome to China! (International Flight not Inlcuded)

  • 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 China tour begins in the city of Beijing. After your flight arrives at Beijing Capital Airport, your private Beijing guide will escort you to your hotel. Check in and recover from jet-lag.

Good to Know

  • Your international flights are not included in this tour, only domestic connecting flights.
  • Since this is your first stop in China, your Beijing guide will tell you as much as possible about transportation, currency exchange, customs, and how to avoid tourist traps.

Evening Ideas

Your guide will provide you with a map of Beijing, and give you advice about where to eat and shop near your hotel.

DAY 2 Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, Hutong Rickshaw with Visit to a Local Family

  • 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)
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Ok, after one night’s rest, do you know what you might expect to see today? We’ll first walk around Tian'anmen Square — the huge square for massive ‘secret’ meetings and political events — then cross the street to the famous Forbidden City.

There, the complex is simply awe-inspiring. Your guide will spend 2-3 hours going deep, visiting for example the homes of concubines and eunuchs that big tour groups do not normally see.

There, the complex is simply awe-inspiring. Your guide will spend 2-3 hours going deep, visiting for example the homes of concubines and eunuchs that big tour groups do not normally see.

Enjoy lunch at Courtyard 7 Restaurant, rated #5 of 1,750 restaurants in Beijing on TripAdvisor.

Good to Know

  • Enjoy lunch at Courtyard 7 Restaurant, rated #5 of 1,750 restaurants in Beijing on TripAdvisor.
  • When you take your rickshaw ride, the hutong alley will be quite busy with people walking to and fro, but don’t worry, you’ll be in safe hands.

Evening Ideas

Have dinner at Quanjude Restaurant, famous for its roast duck.
Watch the famous acrobatics show at Chaoyang Theater. You may have watched some acrobatics on TV, but seeing it live might just take your breath away. Feel free to ask for your guide’s help in booking tickets.

DAY 3 Temple of Heaven, Great Wall at Mutianyu with Return Cable Car

  • 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)
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Glean interesting details about the royal temple at the Temple of Heaven. Emperors went annually to the beautiful temple grounds to pray for good harvests. Nowadays elderly people come daily to dance their dances, perform their morning taichi, or simply bring along their birds in birdcages.

Later, visit the Olympic Stadium where the 2008 Olympic Games were held, to see the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.

Have lunch at an authentic local restaurant on the way to the Great Wall. Then drive 2.5 hours to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a UNESCO site. Mutianyu is less busy than other sections of the amazing wall, which can even be seen from space. Sunset views from the wall will make for an unforgettable experience. Take a cable car up the wall and return.

Good to Know

  • There are alternatives to using toboggan for coming back down the Great Wall (Extra fee are needed), and if you’d like to avail yourself of these, just tell your guide.
  • There’s a lot of climbing steps and walking today, so comfortable shoes are required.

DAY 4 Beijing Free Day, Take a High-speed Train to Xi’an in the Late Afternoon

  • Sofitel on Renmin Square (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 Xian (3-star, centrally location, large stander rooms up to 35sq.m).
  • Breakfast

In the late afternoon we provide a private transfer for you to Beijing West Railway Station, where you will take a high-speed train to Xi’an (5hours50minutes). Upon arrival, meet your guide and driver in Xi’an.

Beijing Free-Day Ideas:

Summer Palace (3 hours): an emperor built this complex as a birthday gift to his mother. It’s a fantastic place for spending a quiet and peaceful time.
798 Art District (1-2 hours): for modern-art lovers, this is an amazing district of galleries, creativity shops, ceramics, art, and fashion.
National Museum of China (1-2 hours): no entrance fee, great historical collections of ceramics, bronze and paintings, and most exhibits have English explanations as well as Chinese.
Temple of Confucius and the Guozijian Museum (40 minutes): the temple presents the history of Confucian thought, and how it influences Chinese society today. The museum explains how emperors chose their ministers, by having them take the Chinese imperial civil service examinations.

DAY 5 The Terracotta Army, Xi'an City Wall, Muslim Quarter

  • Sofitel on Renmin Square (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 Xian (3-star, centrally location, large stander rooms up to 35sq.m)
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Your guide will escort you to avoid the crowds and have the best experience possible. A massive army of underground warriors, the Terracotta Army, provides a wonderful context for learning about the first emperor of China and his never-say-die ambition for immortality.

Stand face to face with 6,000 soldiers and horses. You will be surprised by these man-made sculptures, as no two soldiers look alike.

Later, ride a bike on the Xi'an City Wall. Built during the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City, and surrounding the city centre, the city wall is a major landmark, and the best preserved, oldest and largest city defense system in China.

Then walk through the Muslim Quarter to visit some souvenir shops and local snack shops. In the heart of the Muslim Quarter is one of the largest mosques in China, remarkable for its combination of Chinese architecture and Islamic practice.

Good to Know

  • To customers who prefer not to ride a bike, we recommend walking round the wall or taking a scooter club drive round (for an extra fee).

Free-Time Ideas

Learn to make terracotta figurines (1 hour): learn how to make a terracotta figurine in person in a pottery factory. You can take it back home as a souvenir.
Tang dynasty show (1 hour): a performance from China’s golden age of the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), with traditional dress for ladies and gentlemen, performing traditional song and dance.

DAY 6 Free Time to Explore Xi’an, Fly to Guilin in the Late Afternoon.

  • Shangri-la Hotel Guilin (Mountians and river around, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, #2 of 614 Hotels in Guilin) / Guilin Waterfall Hotel (in the city center, #6 of 614 Hotels in Guilin, 4-star) / Guilin Park Hotel( #13 of 614 Hotels in Guilin, 3-star)
  • Breakfast

We’ll organize private transfer for you to Xi’an airport, to catch your flight to Guilin. Upon arrival, meet your guide and driver at Guilin airport.

Xi'an Free-day Ideas

Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta,1hour): built during the Tang dynasty, a pivotal site in China's Buddhist culture.
Shaanxi History Museum (1 1/2 hours): located next to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. The museum houses many collections from the Bronze Age, along with original statues from the Terracotta Army and some pottery.
Bell Tower (30 minutes): situated in the city center, wait to see a performance of Chinese traditional instruments there at 9:10;10:30;11:30 in the morning, 14:30;15:30;16:30 in the afternoon every day.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

DAY 7 Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave, Yaoshan Mountain

  • Shangri-la Hotel Guilin (Mountians and river around, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, #2 of 614 Hotels in Guilin) / Guilin Waterfall Hotel (in the city center, #6 of 614 Hotels in Guilin, 4-star) / Guilin Park Hotel( #13 of 614 Hotels in Guilin, 3-star)
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s tour starts from Elephant Trunk Hill, an iconic site in Guilin, providing a great photo opportunity. Two centuries-old caves at the hill are renowned: one known as the water moon cave and the other used over the years for storing rice wine.

Then, take an open chair-lift up and down Yaoshan Mountain, feeling the fresh breeze, with the splendid mountain range all around. Panoramic views of karst peaks from the mountain top are simply awesome. Have lunch at the delightful local restaurant, McFound’s, which serves healthy wheat dishes.

Guilin is famous for its karst landscape, which has resulted in the formation of many caves. Do you know who first discovered Reed Flute Cave and the fun story about the cave? Find out from your guide.

Good to Know

  • Inside Reed Flute Cave has up and down stone steps; the floor is wet cause the dropping water from the top of cave, should mind your steps once you walk around there.

Evening Free-Time Idea:

Two River and Four Lakes (1 hour): an ancient circular water system that people refer to as little Venice. A boat tour lasts an hour and permits breathtaking colorful views of life on bridges and river banks, as well as a chance to see fishermen demonstrating how to catch fish using their pet cormorants.

DAY 8 Relax on the Li River Cruise, Cycle to the Idyllic Yangshuo Countryside

  • Tea Cozy Hotel (boutique hotel, quaint place nestle in the mountains, Tripadvisor #2 of 441 Hotels in Yangshuo County) ; Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (boutique hotel, next to a meandering river, Tripadvisor 3 of 441 Hotels in Yangshuo County); Yangshuo Aiyuan Hotel (3-star hotel, located in West Street, 97 of 413 B&Bs / Inns in Yangshuo County)
  • Breakfast, Lunch

The Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is unforgettable. Stay on the top deck to see the picturesque views, which vary as you move along the river. Do reserve a 20 RMB note if possible, to compare the hill view on the note with the view you see from the river.

A simple lunch is provided on the cruise and we arrive in Yangshou about 2 pm. Later, afternoon cycling in Yangshuo is rated #5 of Things to Do in Lonely Planet. With us, you’ll ride around rice paddies, and visit a local farming family half-way through the bike-trip.

Good to Know

  • We will arrange for you to take a new three-story cruiser with a deck. New seats are wider and better than the old ones.
  • Bamboo rafts are another popular way to see the river. If you like, we can arrange a bamboo raft experience for you on Yulong River.
  • Don’t worry about your luggage. We will transfer it from Guilin to your Yangshuo hotel.

Evening Ideas

Night Show – Impression Sanjie Liu (1 hour 10 minutes): Directed by the famous Chinese director, Zhang Yimou, who was in charge of the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and a lot of world class movies, the show has a great set up and backdrop — 3 massive peaks which light up when the show is on. It tells the love story of a queen among local folk singers, and reflects local farming life.

DAY 9 Free Day, Fly to Shanghai in the Evening

  • 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

Your guide will accompany you to Guilin airport for the flight to Shanghai.

Private Transfer from Shanghai Airport to Hotel. Your Shanghai guide will escort you to your hotel and help you to check in.

Yangshuo Free-Day Ideas:

  • Longji Terraced Fields (7 hours): the Zhuang and Yao ethnic groups live here. You will see their traditional wooden houses and the undulating rice terraces from which their livelihood comes.
  • Yangshuo Chinese Calligraphy and Painting class (1 hour): a fun activity for families with kids. Learn the basic skills of how to use a brush pen and how to prepare ink and paper, observe Mr. Yang’s demonstration, and create your own ’masterpiece’.
  • Taichi class (1 hour): a traditional Chinese muscle art. Teaching is provided for different levels, and class times are flexible, according to students' requirements.
  • Yangshuo Chinese cookery class (3 hours): visit a local market, where ingredients are chosen by students. You can learn to cook three dishes and enjoy the fruits of your labor in a covered, rooftop patio-classroom. If you prefer, you can choose other favorite dishes for lunch/dinner.

Shanghai Evening Ideas

Go to Nanjing Road, the most famous commercial center in Shanghai, near the Bund, to buy some souvenirs for your family and friends. You can buy almost anything you can think of there.

DAY 10 World Financial Center, the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Tianzi Fang, Former French Concession Area

  • 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, Lunch

In the morning, go to the World Financial Center, a skyscraper in Lujiazui. At a height of 492 meters, it has 100 floors, including sightseeing floors from 94 to 100. The glass bottom observatory on the 100th floor is well worth a visit.

The riverfront pavement on the Bund has witnessed many changes in Shanghai down through the years, and is a great place to walk for a good appreciation of how the old Shanghai still co-exists alongside the new modern, bustling, high-tech city.

Then visit the classical Yuyuan Garden where you will see how the concept of harmony has been applied in garden design.

After lunch, go to the former French Concession area and Tianzifang for a taste of Chinese-style petty bourgeoisie.

Evening Ideas

The ERA Acrobatics Show is guaranteed to give you a wow night. Our Shanghai tour guide will help you book tickets.

DAY 11 Shanghai Departure

Your Shanghai guide will escort you to board your onward flight.

Extend Your Tour

  • Tongli Water Town (1 day): with numerous bridges and canals, and tagged as the little Venice of the East, Tongli is less crowded than other water towns. You can still see local people washing vegetables in the river and welcoming visitors into their homes. Tongli is such an authentic town, quaint and serene.
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town (4 hours): this water town is not far from the center of Shanghai, an oasis surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Huangshan (2 days): as one of the four famous mountains in China, this should be experienced once in a lifetime, seeing the stunning views from a height of 1,810 meters, with pine trees all around, but sometimes disappearing in a sea of clouds. If you stay overnight in the hotel on top of the mountain, waking up early to see the sun on the horizon would be a cool experience.
  • A side-car drive in shanghai: ranked highly with a full score of 5/5 on TripAdvisor, awesome experience comes with a drive in the vintage side-car, care to go crazy? Request one with your travel advisor for a better rate! (Please make sure you book at least one day in advance.)

Prices (Go Solo Private Tour)

Dec.1 - Mar.31 2-5 person Apr.1- Nov.31 2-5 person
5-star Hotel $2,299 5-star Hotel $2,539
4-star Hotel $2,029 4-star Hotel $2,199
3-star Hotel $1,999 3-star Hotel $2,059
Single Room Supplement $687/$389/$360 Single Room Supplement $876/$540/$385

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

What Can You Expect for this Private Tour?

Meet you guide in the airport/train station upon arrival

- You will have a private driver and a private English speaking guide in each city during the tour. They will just serve your group. Our guide and driver will pick up you from the airport or train station on your arrival, the guide will hold a paper with your name on it, so you just look for your name on your arrival. When they pick up you, will transfer you to your hotel and assist you with hotel check-in.


Travel on your own pace

- The guide will confirm the pick-up time for the following day's tour. You could tell the guide if you prefer to start the tour earlier or later. The guide and driver will be with you during the tours each day. You can control the tour pace according to your interest. No other passengers will share the tour with you. You could choose to stay in one site longer or shorter just according to your interest.

-For the private tour, the tour guide will skip up the long line and go through express pass in the most of the major sites, you will have more time to go in-depth and explore and place that big groups never get there.


Local approval restaurant and best value for money hotels

- We normally includes breakfast and lunch for the tour day, western and Chinese buffet breakfast provides by your hotel, and a-la-cart lunch arrange at local approval restaurants, which are rank on top by our customers, those local restaurant is clean and with delightful dining atmosphere, provides fresh vegetable and meat that purchases early in the morning everyday from local farmers markets, as we usually treat our family and friends there as well.

-For choose a great value hotel for our customer, our stuff in local office hang out for inspection every year, they stay in the hotel that we choose for customers or the new one we ready to recommend, evaluate the comfort of the room, breakfast, service, and English level of hotel stuff, the 5-star hotels we arranged are international chain or the same level.

Guides and Vehicles

Tour Guides

We select and arrange the most experienced tour guides in every city you visit, they all obtained China tour guide license and stand out by our tour guide testing.

Vehicles and Drivers

We use 7-seat Refine or 9-seat Jinbei for the group of 1-5 pax, all vehicles with air-conditioning, and our drivers have more than 5 years experience for ensure you are in safe hands.

Hotels

Wyndham Grand Xian South

5-star hotel, #1 of 2,560 Hotels in Xi'an, features a larger bathroom with a deep bathtub, 55sq.m.

Tea Cozy in Yangshuo, Guilin

Boutique hotel, #2 of 439 Hotels in Yangshuo County, nestled in the karst mountains

Know Before You Go

Make an Inquiry

from US $1,999 p/p

11 days/10 nightsPrivate Tour