16-Day Incredible Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chengdu, Guilin, and Shanghai Tour

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potala palace

16-Day Incredible Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chengdu, Guilin, and Shanghai Tour Highlights

  • Cover Beijing (now the capital of China), Xian (an important historical city & ancient capital for 13 dynasties of China), Lhasa (capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region), Chengdu (home to the giant panda sanctuaries), Guilin (Li River cruise and great karst landscapes) and Shanghai (China’s emerging global financial hub).
  • Explore the must-see sites including the Great Wall & Forbidden City in Beijing, Terracotta Army in Xian, Potala Palace in Lhasa, Giant Panda Sanctuary in Chengdu,  Li River Cruise in Guilin and the Bund in Shanghai.
  • Taste China’s delicious local food including the iconic Peking Roast Duck, something that should not be missed, other delicious items highlighting China’s culinary culture.
  • Discover China’s modern-day engineering miracles by hopping on the super fast bullet train and traveling for more than 1200km from Beijing to Xian in less than 5 hours. Experience personally how fast, modern, and comfortable the Chinese bullet trains are!
  • Enjoy tasting Chinese tea while watching traditional performances such as Peking Opera, an Acrobatic Show, etc. at the charming Laoshe Teahouse, an excellent glimpse into Chinese aesthetics.

Price Per Person

Month2 pax3~5 pax6~9 paxSSP


  • The prices are not applicable to the following public holidays: Oct. 1, 2017-Oct. 8, 2017 (National Day) & Feb. 15, 2018 to Feb. 21, 2018. We suggest you skip traveling during the National Day holiday because the tourist attractions will be very crowded and tour prices will be increased a lot.
  • This tour is a private tour with private English- guide, private ca, and driver
  • No shopping stop is included.

Services Included:

  • Entrance fees to tourist sites as specified in the itinerary.
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Buffet breakfast at the hotel, L=Chinese lunch, D=Chinese dinner).
  • Experienced English-speaking guide in each city.
  • Private car and driver for transfers in each city.
  • Hotel accommodations (double occupancy basis).
  • Bullet train ride from Beijing to Xian based on second-class.
  • Flights from Xian to Lhasa, Lhasa to Chengdu, Chengdu to Guilin and Guilin to Shanghai, based on economy-class with taxes included.
  • Tibet travel permit

Services Not Included:

  • International transportation to Beijing and out of Shanghai
  • China visa
  • Personal expenses such as excess luggage charge (please verify your flight documentation), beverages, laundry services, etc.
  • Tips or gratuities to local driver and guide.

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Interested in booking this tour or customizing it to fit your needs? Fill out this quick form!

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  • Groups allowed
  • Tour guides

Tour Schedule by Day

Day 1 Arrive in Beijing

Meals: N/A

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven image ofe 3 star rating or similar

When you arrive in the capital of China, you will be greeted by your friendly guide who will escort you to your hotel. You will settle into your hotel for the night. Enjoy free time on your own.


Day 2 Beijing

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Peking Roast Duck Dinner

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven image ofe 3 star rating or similar

The history of Beijing can be traced back to 3000 years ago. It was then known as Ji, a city-state from the 11th century to 7th century BC. Ji was conquered by the State of Yan and was renamed as Yanjing. Beijing’s glory starts in early the Ming Dynasty when Emperor Yongle decided to establish it as the capital city of the empire. Thereafter, Beijing has served as China’s capital for around 600 years. The rapidly developing economy has shrunk portions of its historical sections, to give way to modernity. However, there are still many places where travelers can get a glimpse into the city’s ancient past.

In the morning, you will be transferred to the suburb of Beijing to visit a less-traveled section of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall. You will spend some time walking on the wall, taking pictures and admiring the might and grandeur of the Great Wall. The sheer scope of this engineering marvel is spectacular. The construction of the Great Wall started as early as the Spring and Autumn Period. During that time and the following Warring States period, different states such as the Qin, Wei, and Zhao,  built several walls to defend their own borders. At the end of the Warring States Period, Ying Zheng, King of Qin State, conquered his opponents and united China again as one great empire. He joined the walls together. Since then, the Great Wall has been rebuilt and vastly enlarged. The current wall was mainly built during the Ming Dynasty.

In the afternoon, you will continue to explore the Ming Tombs to learn more about that period of history. In total, 13 emperors from the Ming Dynasty were buried here, together with their empresses and concubines. You will visit Changling, the tomb of Emperor Yongle, who built the Forbidden City. The tomb is not excavated so you will visit the on-site museum which houses many artifacts unearthed from another tomb, Dingling. After that, drive back to Beijing and stop to do an outside tour to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.

Before returning back to your hotel, you will enjoy a hearty Peking Roast Duck dinner at one of the famous Quanjude Restaurants, a time-honored brand for the iconic dish.

mutianyu great wall - hilly

Day 3 Beijing

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Your adventure begins in Tiananmen Square, in the center of Beijing. It is an important meeting place for political events. The square is lined with many buildings such as the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Great Hall of the People, and the National Museum of China. Each morning, the five-star red flag, China’s national flag, is raised up here with the rising sun.

Then walk your way to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which was off-limits to commoners in the past. The construction of Forbidden City started in 1406 and ended in 1420, under the reign of Emperor Yongle. In total, 24 emperors together with their households resided there. Most of them were born and raised up here, came to the throne and worked diligently to rule the country, and later died here. You will visit the main palaces, the imperial garden, the treasure gallery, and the clock and watch exhibition hall.

Next, you will explore another landmark of Beijing, the Temple of Heaven. It was built at the same time as the Forbidden City by Emperor Yongle. In ancient China, the emperors claimed themselves as the son of Heaven and they ruled the country on behalf of gods. The temple was built to hold sacrificing ceremonies to show respect to the gods and pray for good harvests.

At night, you will enjoy sampling tea and watching a series of performances including an acrobatic show, Peking Opera, Face Changing, etc., all in short snippets at Laoshe Tea House.


Day 4 Beijing/Xian by Bullet Train

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Grand Noble Hotel Xian 4stars or similar

This morning you will take a leisurely tour of the Summer Palace. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in 1764 by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty for his mother’s 60th birthday. Severely damaged during the Second Opium War in 1860, the palace was restored in 1888 by Empress Dowager Cixi with funds originally planned for upgrading the navy. Cixi (1835-1908) was a concubine of Emperor Xianfeng. After the emperor’s death in 1861, her son succeeded to the throne at the age of 6, as Emperor Tongzhi. Cixi thereafter became the empress dowager and the actual regent in late Qing Dynasty who controlled the government for around 47 years till her death. Occasionally, she came to the Summer Palace for respite from the summer heat.

Next, you will be transferred to the railway station for the super high-speed train to Xian. The super high-speed train is very modern, fast and comfortable. Before it was in use, it took more than 11 hours to travel from Beijing to Xian by a normal speed train. Now the fastest train takes about 4 hours 25 minutes. When you arrive in Xian, you will be transferred to the hotel.

china bullet train in china

Day 5 Xian

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Grand Noble Hotel Xian 4stars or similar

There is an interesting saying which goes that people come to Beijing to see bricks (palaces, the Great Wall, etc.) and they come to Xian to see tombs. As the capital of 13 Chinese dynasties, many emperors, empresses, princes, and princesses were buried in Xian.

You will kick off the day with a tour to one of the most important tombs, the Terracotta Warriors. These life-sized terracotta warriors, chariots and horses were discovered in 1976 by local farmers who were digging a well, after being hidden underground for around 2000 years. They were built by Ying Zheng (259BC-210BC), King of Qin State, later known as Emperor Qin Shihuang (秦始皇) of Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC), as a part of his mausoleum after he came to the throne in 246BC. He believed the terracotta army could protect him in his afterlife. These clay warriors have different uniforms, hairstyles, and even facial expressions. This incredible archaeological finding is surely one of the manmade wonders of the world.

Return to Xian afterward, and you will have a leisurely walk along the Ancient City Wall which was built during the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD). It is the most complete city wall in China. It encircles the inner city of Xian and its perimeter is 13km. Next, you will move on to the largest Muslim Quarter in Xian. You will explore the narrow alleys lined with lively markets, food stalls, and restaurants. It is the most famous food street in Xian and you can taste various local snacks at your own cost.

terracotta army in china

Day 6 Xian/Lhasa by Plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Head to the airport for the flight to Lhasa. When you arrive in Lhasa, meet the guide and be transferred to the hotel.

When you are in Tibet:


-Drink alcohol

-Do strenuous exercise

-Take a bath for your first day in Lhasa


-Eat plenty of carbs, to aid ventilation and efficient use of oxygen

-Drink plenty of water (but not too much)

-Take medications such as Acetazolamide

These can help you acclimatize to the high altitude.


Day 7 Lhasa

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Your adventure in Tibet starts at the Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the main symbols of Tibet. The palace is situated on Red Hill in the northwest of the city of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.

It is said that the Potala Palace was built in 641AD and originally named Red Hill Palace. There is a saying that the palace was built for the state marriage between King Songtsen Gampo, the thirty-third king of the Yarlung Dynasty of Tibet, and Princess Wenchang, a niece of the powerful Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Most parts of the palace were destroyed at the end of 9th century. It was rebuilt in the 17th century by the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso and thereafter,  served as the residence of generations of Dalai Lama. To protect the palace, the government sets a restriction on the time each traveler can spend inside, which is one hour. So, you will explore the palace in one hour.

Afterward, visit the Jokhang Temple. The temple is China's key cultural relic for protection and became a World Heritage Site extension of the Potala Palace in November 2001. The temple was built by King Songtsen Gampo for his first wife Princess Bhrituti coming from Nepal. With the renovations and extensions of the monastery over the centuries, the temple forms an enormous complex which includes more than 20 halls now.

Afterward, explore the famous Barkhor Street. It is a bustling shopping area surrounding the Jokhang Temple. Pilgrims and tourists alike flock to this pedestrian street market.

tibet lhasa

Day 8 Lhasa

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Today, you will visit another two important Buddhism temples: the Sera Monastery ("Wild Rose" in Tibetan) and Drepung Monastery ("Vault of the Crops" in Tibetan). Both are famous for the debates on Buddhist doctrines frequently held in their courtyards. Next, you will visit Norbulingka, a palace, and a park built in 1755. It served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas from the 1780s to late 1950s.

monks in Sera Monastery in china

Day 9 Lhasa/Chengdu by plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: BuddhaZen Hotel Chengdu or similar (small boutique hotel)

Today you will travel to the spectacular Yamdrok Lake which is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Then you will be transferred to the airport and fly to Chengdu. When you arrive in Chengdu, you will be transferred to the hotel.

yamdrok lake under blue sky

Day 10 Chengdu

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: BuddhaZen Hotel Chengdu or similar (small boutique hotel)

This morning, you will visit the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu to see the lovely giant pandas. Here you will learn what kind of efforts China has taken to save these endangered incredible creatures. Next, you will explore Jinli Ancient Street and at night, you will enjoy hot pot food for dinner. The local people are really fond of hot pot food. You can choose spicy or non-spicy.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Day 11 Chengdu/Guilin/Longsheng by plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Longji Holiday Hotel or similar

Today you will take a morning flight to Guilin. When you arrive in Guilin, take an outside tour of the Elephant Trunk Hill, and then visit the Reed Flute Cave, which is full of stalagmites and stalactites. Afterward, you will be driven to Longsheng, where the magnificent Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces is located. Stay overnight at Pingan Village which is an ethnic Zhuang village set amongst the rice terraces.

Flute Reed Cave

Day 12 Longsheng/Guilin

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Guilinyi Royal Palace Hotel 4 star rating or similar

The Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces were shaped by the local ethnic Zhuang and Yao farmers in more than 650 years. From the fertile river valley to the soaring mountain peaks, from the lush forest to the stone cliffs, every inch of soil is used for cultivation. In an area of 71.6 km2, 15862 patches of rice fields whirl upward all the way from an altitude of 380m to 1180m. The undulating landscape with the most winding and flowing curves resembles a giant abstract painting. Among the eye-dazzling rice fields, the biggest one is 413m2, while the smallest one will just allow you to put a foot into it. You will explore the terraces here, then take a 4-5 hour hike to the Jinkeng Rice Terraces which is even more magnificent than the Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces. After, we will drive back to Guilin.


Day 13 Guilin/Yangshuo by Li River Cruise

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Yangshuo Mountain Retreat or similar (small boutique hotel)

Today, the tour continues with a cruise on the Li River, to explore the spectacular limestone rock formations and rural life along the riverbanks. In the afternoon you will stop at Yangshuo, a small town set in the lush rice paddies surrounded by meandering rivers and limestone hills. Next, you will explore the countryside of Yangshuo County by bike and see karst hills, rice fields, and local villages. Afterward, you will take a bamboo raft to see cormorant fishing.

Li River Cruise-Guilin under blue sky

Day 14 Yangshuo/Guilin/Shanghai by plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Zhaibei  image ofe 3 star rating or similar

In the morning, take a Chinese cooking class to visit the local market and learn to cook several Chinese dishes. The food you cook will be served to you for lunch. Afterward, drive back to Guilin Airport for the flight to Shanghai. When you arrive in Shanghai, transfer to the hotel.

photo chinese cooking class

Photo Credit: Google Image

Day 15 Shanghai

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Zhaibei  image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Today you will take a full-day city tour in Shanghai to explore its major attractions. First, explore the Jade Buddha Temple, an important Buddhist Temple in Shanghai, to get a glimpse of Buddhism and Buddhists in China. This temple has a history of 120 years and contains two jade Buddha sculptures. Hence, why it is called the Jade Buddha Temple.

Next, you will visit the Yuyuan Garden. The garden was built in 1559 by an official of the Ming Dynasty to please his father. When you visit the garden, you will be impressed by its size, the buildings with ornate carvings, and the artistic rockeries.

Next, you will move on to the Shanghai Museum. It is one of the most important museums in China. It houses more than 120,000 artifacts covering bronze ware, pottery, ancient furniture, amongst other items.

After that, you will take a leisure walk on the Bund, a district in the center of the city, to explore the exquisite architecture there.

Yuyuan Garden

Day 16 Depart from Shanghai

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: N/A

Enjoy free time until being driven to the airport for your homeward flight. Thus, ending this magnificient tour of China.