Home > Culture Tour > 13 Days Authentic China Exploration
Our incredible 13-days Authentic China Exploration tour will offer participants a wonderful experience of some of the finest cultural heritage sties and spectacular landscapes China beholds. Due to an ancient history and deeply rich culture, Beijing has a wide range of exciting things to offer and we have developed a tour that will allow you to experience many of its incredible highlights including the amazing Forbidden City. Most importantly, you will also experience a magnificent section of the Great Wall at Gubeikou and a stunning backdrop of mountainous landscapes.
After the Great Wall, our journey then continues in the beautiful city of Xi'an, famous for its old city walls and its impressive bell tower. Xi'an acts as a perfect platform to visit the amazing Terracotta Army (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that includes more than 6,000 individually crafted soldiers of stunning detail. For lovers of wildlife, Chengdu will also not disappoint as we take a ride to see pandas at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre.
We will the cross the incredible Yangtze River as we make our way to Lijiang and the tour will include a number of excellent stopovers that utilize a range of local hostels, restaurants, and camps sites that help us ensure that we remain harmonious with the needs of local communities (including the indigenous Naxi and Yi people) and the environment. We will also see the inspiring Tiger Leaping Gorge which is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the region.
Our itinerary has been carefully developed to ensure that you experience a range of truly spectacular locations including the world-famous Shangri-la where our tour concludes. This location will offer you an incredible insight into Tibetan culture that dates back several centuries. Here we will visit Songzanlin Monastery (the oldest in the province) and meet local inhabitants that will offer you a brief, yet unique, sample of life in the region – including their wonderful food!
Highlights: Great Wall Hiking; shadow-play show, biking on the City Wall, and Terracotta Warriors in Xian,paper-making in Lijiang Old Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking, and Shangri-la Tibetan experience.
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(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Our guide will pick you from at the exit of the airport. Then transfer to the hotel in center Beijing, check in and have a rest before dinner.
After dinner, transfer back to hotel and have a good sleep to recover from any remaining jet-lag.
4 star hotel: QianmenJianguo Hotel or the similar.
Boutique hotel: Michael's House Beijing or the similar:Michael's House Beijing offers an authentic Chinese experience with its roofed courtyard architecture and Oriental furnishings. It is real private lodging place.
In the early morning, after breakfast, we will go to see the local people doing their morning exercises and join them to learn Taiji from the master in Temple of Heaven. Tai Chi, or Taijiquan in Chinese, is an outstanding gem of traditional Chinese culture that is valuable in promoting health, developing combat and self-defence skills, and improving concentration and overall well-being.
Then we will visit the Temple of Heaven. Temple of Heaven was the venue for the Ming and Qing emperors to offer sacrifices to the Heaven and pray for harvest. This temple was built in the 18th year during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle in 1420.
After that, we will follow in the footsteps of emperors, court ministers and eunuchs and head south to the magnificent and colorful Forbidden City. Forbidden City Beijing, also called Imperial Palace Museum, is located in the very heart of Beijing. It remained the residence of the emperors for nearly five hundred years, from the 15th century to the early 20th century, and was the actual and symbolic seat of imperial power. Popularly known as the Forbidden City, it was built in the Ming Dynasty between the 4th and the 18th years of the Yongle period (1406 - 1420 AD). Many of the buildings of the Palace have been repaired and rebuilt, but their basic form and layout remain in their original state.
This afternoon ,we will transfer to visit Summer Palace. Summer Palace located in a northwestern suburb of Beijing,it is an immense park containing some Chinese traditional architecture and arts. It was built and served as a royal garden during the Qing Dynasty. It exhibits the quintessence of the Chinese classical landscape gardening. The halls, the pavilions, the corridors, the pagodas, the bridges and the water were elaborately arranged. The long Corridor is one of the most exquisite structures in the garden. It is over 700 meters long and decorated with thousands of Chinese traditional paintings.
This evening will be more exciting. We will go to Beijing Temple Theatre to watch a Chinese opera performance. Before the start of the show, We can go to the backstage to look actor makeup process. The Beijing Temple Theatre which we will watch the opera is the living fossil of China's ancient opera towers. One of the few remaining industrial and commercial guildhalls in Beijing, Temple Theatre (Zhengyici) was also called 'Banking House Guildhall'. The two-storey opera tower in the temple theatre is unique among guildhall opera towers and is honored 'the living fossil of China's ancient opera towers'.
(Please kindly attention: the time of performance : 19:30-21:30pm, from Friday to Sunday).
Overnight in the same hotel.

After breakfast, we will drive about 40 minutes to a village called Xizaizhi at the bottom of Jiankou Great Wall. The last part of the 2-hour drive is through a picturesque valley, famous for its delicious fish.
We will take a small mountain trail behind one of the villagers' houses straight up to the wall. This part takes about one hour, and it is not that easy, but it allows one can imagine how the invaders felt, creeping upwards in the fog, the huge wall emerging directly above them, the guards on duty still-unaware, having their tea. When we get to the top, you will find the effort worth it - there is a deserted watch-tower right where we emerge onto the Wall, from which you will have a panoramic view of the whole valley, of the Xizazhi village below, and of the wall itself, snaking and disappearing over the mountain crest. This is a great place to catch your breath and take pictures.
The hike along the wall will take about 4 hours, and it is unlikely you will meet any other tourists along the way. Although the Wall follows the mountain crest, it is gently undulating and, although there are areas of disrepair to be navigated with care, it is fairly-easy hiking. Although the majestic wall is slowly being conquered by small trees and brambles, the view from the top is still stunning!
What a change, emerging from the peaceful, authentic section of the Wall, so full of history, onto the restored portion of the Wall at Mutianyu , full of tourists! Back to downdown! Tonight, we will have a Peking Duck dinner - the capital's most famous dish. Once imperial cuisine, now the legendary duck dish is served at restaurants around the world.
Overnight at the same hotel.
We will start the day with a richshow tour to Hutong. Hutong has a long history in Beijing. As the Forbidden City is the symbol of China's royal family, the Hutongs in Beijing show the real life of the common people. When you visit Hutong by rickshaw, you could really taste the life of common people in Beijing. Lotus Market,located in Houhai area,famous for old hutong and modern bars. You will also have chance to have a view of the Beijing drum show today to get close to the Chinese traditional art.
Then we will visit 798 Art District. "798" modern Art Zone was originally the site of a factory that produced electronics. Its massive ducts and bright windows are seldom seen elsewhere. The halls were built using Soviet aid in the 1950s, with East Germany providing architectural and industrial design.
Beginning from 2002, it gradually became an area of international character, bringing together contemporary art, architecture and culture with a historically interesting location and an urban lifestyle which attracting attention from all around. Now "798" has evolved into a cultural concept of interest to experts and normal folk alike, influential on our concepts of both urban culture and living space.
After that, we will transfer to the airport and heading to Xi'an.
Overnight at Xi'an Bell Tower Hotel or similar.
After breakfast, we will drive to visit the magnificent Qin Terra-cotta Army. It was built in about 2500 years ago and contains more than 6000 warriors, soldiers and horses. UNESCO listed it in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. In the afternoon, drive back to Xian city; visit Forest of Stone Steles Museum. Enjoy Chinese Dumpling feast with Tang Dynasty dancing show.
Stay in the same.
DAY 6 XI'AN - LIJIANG (by air, BL)
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, visit Shanxi History Museum, and bike on the the Old City Wall. The Shanxi History Museum's permanent exhibition primarily displays Shaanxi's ancient history. Representative pieces from all periods have been selected to show the development of civilization in this region. This afternoon you will visit Gao's Grand Courtyard, the Great Mosque and the old street, where you can enjoy the ancient Shadow Poppy show. Transfer to the airport for flight to Lijiang in the late afternoon. Meet your Lijiang Guide and transfer to your hotel. Your guide will give you a map of the old town for you to wondering around the old town whenever you want.
4 star hotel: Lijiang Wangfu Hotel or similar.
Boutique hotel: Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa hotel or similar .Ideal for escapes filled with culture, history and stunning surroundings, the resort offers easy access to many activities like cycling, hiking, golf and climbing, and acts as a stepping stone to the Shangri-la region.
(Note: Presently there are direct flights from Xian to Lijiang only on Wed. and Sun. Please try to arrange the departure date to meet the flight).
The Lijiang ancient town was built in the late song dynasty and the early Yuan dynasty and was listed by the UNESCO on the list of the world's major cultural heritages in 1997.This morning is left free for you to wondering the old town on your own, either by shopping around or sitting by a old. Have a tour around the Lijiang old city, especially the south part of the city which not be bothered by tourism. We will have the chance to learn the traditional way of making Dongba paper. Welcome dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight in the same hotel.
Full day trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yak Meadow, Baishuihe, Baisha Murals. Stay in the same.
Baisha Murals: With the spread of the Buddhism, people painted plenty of murals on the walls in temples since Ming Dynasty.
Stay in the same hotel.
After breakfast, we will drive to Shangri-la, the first Tibetan town in Yunnan with a sprinkling of Bai, Muslim and Naxi cultural influences. We will stop on the way to visit the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, which was once the deepest gorge in the world, and instead of visit the tourist upper Gorge we will have a short hike from Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge to Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge (about 3.5 hours). The Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge features a huge drop in water level. 6km away from the Upper Gorge is a waterfall where the river crashes down over 100 meters hitting the rocks in the river bed below, and creating violent currents in the water below. Hike further along to the lower section of the Gorge to see tons of water squeezing through a narrow passageway - because of the thunderous noise, no talking here! After that, we will climb back up to Middle Tiger Leaping and drive to Shangri-la.
4 star hotel: Gyalthang Dzong Hotel or similar.
Boutique hotel: Songtsam Lodges or similar. Songtsam Shangri-la (3,290m) is situated right next to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan province.
After breakfast, we will have a chance to immerse ourselves into Tibetan culture by wandering around the lovely Tibetan town of Shangri-la, located at about 3,400 meters. Many travelers use this picturesque town as a gateway into Tibet, either travelling many days overland from here to Lhasa by jeep, or by flying from the city's airport. However, the town is a tourist destination in itself, primarily due to the nearby Gandan Sumtseling Monastery, Tiger Leaping Gorge, and amazing Tibetan culture all around. We will spend the morning first visiting a Tibetan village known for making black pottery, then by going to check out the local vegetable market.
After lunch, a visit to the Gandan Songzanlin Monastery, one of the largest Tibetan monasteries in Yunnan province. We will then take a moderate horse-back ride to a nearby Tibetan village, and visit a Tibetan family to try their yak butter tea.
Overnight in the same hotel.
This morning is left free for you to enjoy some free time shopping for some handcrafts in the old town. Take light at noon back to Kunming, and take connecting flight to Shanghai. Our driver will pick us up at the airport and transfer us to the hotel. 4 star hotel: Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Hotel or similar.
Boutique hotel: Pudi Boutique Hotel or similar. The Hotel focused both on Business and Leisure customers, there are 52 different Studio style rooms and suites. The smallest room is over 50 square meters with a spacious bath room. This kind of "extravagance" is one and only in Shanghai.
After breakfast, the local guide will pick you up at your hotel lobby at about 9 am. Today activities include visit Shanghai Museum and Yu Garden, and go shopping on your own in the afternoon.
Shanghai Museum: Shanghai Museum used to be near the Bund. It is now situated in People's Square and its new buildings were built in 1996, designed by a Shanghai architect named Xing Tonghe. The new design symbolizes China's ancient understanding of the world: round sky and square earth. The museum has a circular roof and rectangular base. It stores 120,000 precious artifacts, which narrate a story of China's 5,000-year civilization.
Yu Garden is one of the most famous gardens in China and is national heritage listed. It was built in 1559 and extended in 1577. Each section of the garden is separated by curved white walls crowned with the head and body of a dragon on them. It's named after the original owner. The Bund:Also called the Zhongshan Road, is a Famous waterfront and regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years.It was the centre of Shanghai's politics, economy and culture hundreds of years ago, consulates of most countries and many banks, businesses and newspaper offices were settled there.
Nanjing Road: Shanghai's main shopping street, enjoying the fame as "the No.1 commercial street of China", also it is one of the most prosperous streets in Asia.
Overnight at the same hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Pick up from hotel and transfer to airport to take flight departing Shanghai and back home.
End of Tour.
The tour cost includes
The tour cost does not include
Cancellation and Refund Policy for Tours Reservation
Cancellation in advance Cancellation penalty
More than 30 days No Cancellation Fee
30-10 days 50% of the full payment
9-0 days or no show 100% of the full payment

Enough films and batteries, Sun-cream with the protection index of 40-60, sunglasses with a sun protection factor of 15, the lip creams and balms with SPF rating, towel, toothpaste, electric torch, Snack foods.
Cloth that you bring must be warm enough and can be removed easy enough according to the weather, including Jacket, hat, Cotton underwear, Socks, Long-sleeve Shirts, T-shirts and Pants (Shorts are not appropriate at any time while hiking), comfortable shoes, rain gear (long rain coat is better).

In addition to the normal medications for traveling, just like the Aspirin and medicine for diarrhea, siriasis,sunstroke and carsickness.

Currency to use
US$ is acceptable only in a very limited range, e.g. tips. However, for convenience, Chinese currency is the best choice. If you want to change US$ to Chinese currency in the tour, you can change it in the Hotel you stay or in the Bank of China. You could draw cash only from Bank of China in the big city, the ATM there doesn't always work properly and the bank is not easy to find. Please bring some cash at hand to use.

Food and drink
a) Eating is an important part of your China experience. Generally breakfasts are included in the itinerary and offered by hotels. China Highlights recommends local Chinese restaurants that are popular with local people for lunch. You can order dishes with the help of your guide. We usually leave dinner for your own choice — Western food can be found in most large cities.
b) We have tried to arrange various food in different cities. But you may still think the food is simple and not as delicious as in the big cities especially while trekking in the mountains and villages. If you have any priority of the food (eg. If you are vegetarian or you are allergic to MSG, peanut oil, fish and peanut, etc) please inform us early, we will try to alternate the food accordingly. At the same time please prepare some of your favorite snacks and substitution food in case of need.
c) Meals in the home stays will be different from the cities but clean, which leave you a good chance to experience the ethnic minority culture. We will pack a breakfast for you of cold cereal, milk, toast, fruit, and jam for the home stay.
d) It is very important to drink a lot of water and eat enough fruit in your tour especially while trekking in the mountains and villages. You are advised not to drink tap water.

Hotels in China are bound by Government laws which mean that air conditioning is switched on nationally in May and the central heating in November (this may vary slightly depending on the region).
In some remote areas, sometimes shower maybe not available in the home stay. A married couple is not allowed to share a room in the Miao's home-stay due to the local customs.

It is customary to tip service providers in the travel industry in Asia, depending on the service. Tipping is expected — though not compulsory — and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Recommendations for tipping drivers (3 USD per person per day as a guideline) and local guides (8 USD per person per day as a guideline) would depend on the quality and length of the service.

We use comfortable sedans or vans with air-conditioning. The comfort and safety of our customers is of utmost importance, so we ensure that all of the vehicles we use are well maintained and always very clean. Our drivers take pride in their vehicles.

Tourist insurance
It is a must before going, please provide us the confirmation of insurance company when sign up.

In some provinces with many minorities (like Guizhou, Guangxi, Tibet, Xinjiang and etc.), the customs and habits of local people are different from place to place. The local guide will inform you what should care. Respect the local customs and religions. The people are very kind and hospitable. You can feel free to talk with them. But there are some rulers you should go by!
a. Do not photo them without getting the permit, please show the respect to them!
b. Don't talk the sensitive topics like the political and the religion matters!

When you sign up for the trekking tour, you acknowledge that there are risks involved in trekking in high altitude and confirm that you are fully aware of and accept these risks. It is customer's responsibility to determine whether the tour he/she choose is suited to his/her physical condition. Customers are responsible for the cost of any medicines or medical care they may require during the trip for any reason. Please make sure you have adequate personal medical insurance to meet any medical emergency which might arise. In some cases, if you need medical care during the tour, you may be required to pay for it at the time it is rendered and seek reimbursement from your insurer after you return home. Please check with your medical insurer for details. In the event of a medical emergency, we will make every effort to assist you in obtaining necessary care. Also, please tell us in writing if you suffer from any allergies or other physical conditions which might affect you during the tour (if you hasn't tell us in writing before going, you are supposed to be healthy enough to take the tour). Finally, please check with your doctor to find out what inoculation may be recommended for the areas you will be visiting. It is your responsibility to obtain all necessary inoculations. We reserve the right to decline to accept any person as a member of the tour, or to decline to retain any person, if such person's physical condition, mental well-being or behavior interferes with the operation of the tour. There will be no refund in such cases.

Always take good care of your belongings.