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10 Days China World Heritage Tour in Northern China

Classic Chinese Culture

1
Northern China used to be the heartland of ancient China where many brilliant civilizations were created. It represents the very classic part of Chinese culture, from ancient capitals, folk cities, traditional Chinese architecture to many man-made wonders like Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and heritage sites Mount Tai, the Temple of Confucius, etc. If you want to explore most authentic Chinese culture, you must travel to northern China. Among all northern destinations, Beijing, Shandong (Qufu and Mount Tai), Henan (Luoyang and Shaolin Temple) and Xian have to be on the top of your bucket list of places of Chinese culture exploration. This 10 days China tour will take you to dig deep into northern China. It covers not only more than eight heritage sites, but also presents you cultural diversity, awe-inspiring scenery and genuine interaction with local people.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Appreciate many outstanding masterpieces of Chinese architecture, including Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Temple of Confucius, etc.;
  • Enjoy two different unique hikes separately on the beautiful Great Wall and legendary Mount Tai;
  • Take once in a lifetime visit to the world renowned Terracotta Warrior in ancient capital Xian;
  • Watch a live performance of authentic Shaolin Kung Fu in the Martial Hall of Shaolin Temple;
  • Learn about the history of Buddhism and marvel at Buddhist arts in Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Beijing / Mount Tai / Qufu / Zhengzhou / Shaolin Temple / Luoyang / Xian
Travel Length:
10 Days and 9 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-CWHT-10
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCultureHikingPhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~3 Arrival & Beijing Tour

Two full days and a half day sightseeing covering the grand Tiananmen Square, historical Forbidden City, spectacular Temple of Heaven, man-made wonder Great Wall of China, royal park Summer Palace, traditional Hutong, etc.

Day 5~6 Shandong Province Tour

Spend one day hiking sacred Mount Tai, then another day exploring Confucianism in the Temple of Confucius and other sacred Confucian sites. Then take a high speed train to Zhengzhou.

Day 7~8 Zhengzhou to Luoyang

Travel from Zhengzhou to Luoyang and explore the center of Chinese Buddhism and Kung Fu Culture - in Shaolinsi Temple en route. In Luoyang, you willvisit the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site - Longmen Grottoes and Luoyang Museum, then take a high speed train to Xian.

Day 9~10 Luoyang Highlights & Departure

One full day to visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, leisurely walk on the Ancient City Wall and Muslim Quarter. Before departure, explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaanxi History Museum.

Full Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Ni Hao, welcome to Beijing, the iconic city as well as the capital of China!

You will be met by your local tour guide at the arrival hall of Beijing Capital Airport, or railway station, then be escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to relax. If you want to explore nearby, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

Arrival Ideas: At present, there are many international and domestic flights to Beijing. Besides, you can take a high speed train to this capital city from Shanghai (5-6 hrs), Xian (5.5 hrs), Guangzhou (8-9.5 hrs), etc.

  • Modern Face of Beijing Modern Face of Beijing

Day 2 Beijing (B, L)

After breakfast, start to explore the historical face of Beijing with a brief visit to Tiananmen Square, now the largest city plaza in the world. Tiananmen Gate on the northern side of the square was the site where Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

Stepping into the Tiananmen, you will see one of the world's five most important palaces - Forbidden City, a huge palace complex of more than 9,000 rooms where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties lived. Pass through various doorways in this magnificent structure to admire the beautiful and well-preserved buildings decorated with yellow-glazed tile roofs, white marble bases and splendid colorful paintings. After Forbidden City exploration, take a short visit to Jingshan Park where you can get a nice shot of one watchtower of Forbidden City and take a panoramic view of Forbidden City.

After lunch, drive to the outskirts of Beijing to spend an enjoyable time in the Summer Palace, the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China. Stroll around ancient pavilions, mansions, temples, bridges and corridors while feasting your eyes on the vast lotus in Kunming Lake and the colorful paintings in the Long Corridor.

Optional activities: 1) You can watch a wonderful Kungfu Show in the Red Theater (Hong Ju Chang) which usually starts at 19:30; 2) Enjoy the classic Chinese art performance of Beijing Opera at Liyuan Theater during 19:30-21:00.

  • Beijing Fobidden City from Jingshan Park Seeing Beijing Fobidden City from Jingshan Park
  • Summer Palace Beautiful Kunming Lake in Summer Palace

Day 3 Beijing Great Wall Hiking (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 70km to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Great Wall. Visit the Mutianyu, a less crowded yet well-preserved segment of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. It will more than live up to all of your expectations! This great wall, linking Gubeikou in the east and Juyongguan in the west, was served as the vital military strategic point in the ancient time. Moreover, Mutianyu section is the longest great wall in China so far and since protection work is well done here, tourists can now see its original appearance and enjoy the real ancient culture of great wall. Also, spectacular natural scenery in Mutianyu Great Wall always impresses visitors here for its abundant vegetation. You will take a cable car to ascend the Great Wall, then hike the most beautiful and interesting part of Mutianyu. It's a wonderful experience to climb up its rising towers to enjoy scenic views and take brag-worthy photos of the wall wriggling along mountain ridges. After the exciting time, descend Mutianyu Great Wall by cable car. (Note: If energy permits, you can hike up or down which takes about 40 minutes to climb steps. Please tell your likes to your travel consultant.)

Continue your trip to Sacred Way, a 7-kilometer-long passage leading to the Imperial Tombs of 13 Emperors of Ming Dynasty. The Emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, who came from Heaven to his country through the Sacred Way, also would return to Heaven through this road. Take a walk through the largest archway in China and Great Palace Gate and you’ll see the magnificent stone guard of 12 sets of mythical animals and 12 officials. Then drive back to Beijing city and take a short stop at the Beijing Olympic Village to view its famous Bird’s Nest and Water Cube from the outside.

Optional activity: 1) Enjoy an exciting and safe toboggan ride (about 2~3mins) down Mutianyu Great Wall; 2) After the whole day's tour, treat yourself a great dinner to taste the famous Peking Roasted Duck.

  • Misty Mutianyu Great Wall Misty Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Bird's Nest Bird's Nest
  • Sacred Way Sacred Way: the road leading to Ming Tombs

Day 4 Beijing & High Speed Train to Tai'an (B, L)

After breakfast, drive to the imperial site of the Temple of Heaven. Originally a site used to pay homage to Heaven and pray for good harvests, it is now a bustling place where locals take part in traditional activities such as Tai Chi, dancing, kite flying, water calligraphy, and others.

Then get back to the central city to hop on a rickshaw to experience the Beijing Hutongs - small alleys made by neighboring quadrangle dwellings. Shuttle among different Hutongs to get a feel of the old Beijing lifestyle, visit various antique shops and small boutiques, and truly feel the historical changes of Beijing, also pay a visit to a local family’s home in the traditional Hutongs.

Your Beijing tour is now about to end. Your tour guide will see you off at railway station for a high speed train trip to Tai'an (about 3 hours) where the majestic Mount Tai sits. Check into to your hotel in Tai'an City. The rest of the day is on your own to explore this ancient city.

Optional evening activity: enjoy the live show "Fengchan Ceremony" which is grand and magnificent in scale, integrated with beautiful music and dances, representing you the vivid scene of how ancient emperors of different dynasties paying homage and offering sacrifice to the God.

  • Temple of Heaven in Beijing Temple of Heaven
  • Hutong Hutong

Day 5 Mount Tai -Qufu (B)

After breakfast, meet your guide and driver in your hotel and drive about 30 minutes to Mount Tai (1524m). Mount Tai is the holiest of all mountains in China. Because of its history, majesty and stunning scenery, it was listed as World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site (the first one of its category) in 1987, and was announced to be a World Geopark later in 2006. Mount Tai has been a significant place of worship for over 3000 years. It was regarded by the ancients as the heaven of "direct access to the throne". From Shihuang Emperor of Qin Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, there were 13 emperors came to Mount Tai to offer sacrifices. The great sage Confucius once hiked the mountain and claimed “the world is small”.

You will arrive at the Tourist Center first, then shift on to a sightseeing bus (about 30mins) and head along a zigzag but stunning road to the halfway point of the Mount Tai – Zhongtianmen (Middle Heaven Gate 800m). The hiking trail starts from here to Nantianmen (South Heaven Gate), which is the most highlighting part of Mount Tai hiking with more than 6000 uprising steps The steep trails demand much energy and time. You can lower your pace with stops to visit the ancient temples, historical relics, spectacular pine trees and stone inscription of different times. Finally, you will get to Nantianmen (South Heaven Gate 1460m), which means you have already put your steps on the top of Mount Tai. It’s time to slow down your steps to explore the essence of Mount Tai. You can wander leisurely on the Heavenly Street, worship in the Jade Emperor Hall which has a centuries old altar used for worshiping ceremony, appreciate rock inscription of Chinese calligraphy, look out over the peaks, enjoy the sea of clouds, etc.

After about 2 hours’ exploration on Mount Tai, you will descend the mountain by a cable car. Take the sightseeing bus back to the tourist center. Your driver is ready to escort you to Qufu which is about 1.5 hours' drive from Mount Tai. Accommodate in Qufu City.

  • Mount Tai Hiking Mount Tai Hiking
  • Mount Tai Cable Car Mount Tai Cable Car
  • Mount Tai in Summer Mount Tai in Summer

Day 6 Qufu & High Speed Train to Zhengzhou (B, L)

Today you are going to explore the life story of the great sage Confucius and his influential Confucianism.

After breakfast, you will go to the South Gate of Confucius Temple to watch the grand ceremony of the city gate opening which usually starts at 8 AM, with grand performances of ancient music and dance. Then start to explore Confucius Temple which is the largest and most influential temple of Confucius in East Asia. It was originally constructed on the former residence of Confucius in 478 BC. Today, the Confucius Temple is not only a popular site to learn about Communism culture, but also an important site to hold many ceremonies, festival and events about Communism. The history of the tradition of paying homage in the Confucius Temple can be traced back to 205 BC when the emperor Gao of West Han Dynasty offered sacrifices to memorize Confucius and blessed for good fortune for his empire. Since then, many emperors and high officials followed Gao’s example. In total, there were 12 emperors of different dynasties came to Qufu Confucius Temple personally to worship Confucius.

Next site to the Confucius Cemetery which is the private cemetery of Confucius, his more than 100,000 descendants and some of his disciples. The oldest graves can be traced back to Zhou Dynasty, and the most recent graves belong to the 78th generation of Kong family. They are the witnesser of the dominant position of Confucianism in the long feudal society of China with great value to the study of the evolution of China's tomb system and ancient politics, economy, culture, customs, calligraphy and art.

After the Confucian sites exploration, you will be provided a rare chance to experience the First Writing Ceremony, also known Enlightenment Ceremony, was a very important ceremony for every ancient Chinese student before they were admitted to school. During the ceremony, you will wear traditional costumes, get a red dot on your forehead (meaning opening the wisdom eye), toll the bronze bell and learn to write Chinese characters.

After the full day tour, go to catch your high speed train to Zhengzhou. You will arrive at Zhengzhou after about 3 hours' train ride, and be welcomed by your local tour guide who will accompany you to check in to your hotel in Zhengzhou downtown.

  • Portrait of Confucius Portrait of Confucius
  • Dacheng Hall - Most Grandiose Building in Confucian Temple Dacheng Hall - Most Grandiose Building in Confucian Temple
  • Confucian Temple Sacrifice Confucian Temple Sacrifice

Day 7 Zhengzhou - Shaolin Temple - Luoyaong (B, L)

After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to visit the Astronomical Observatory near Dengfeng City. It was built by astronomer Guoshoujin in Yuan Dynasty (1271~1368) to observe the shadow of the sun and locations of stars. Based on this Astronomical Observatory, Guoshoujin invented Shoushi Calendar and regulated that each year has 365.2425 days, which is more than 300 years earlier than the universal Gregorian Calendar.

Keep driving about 25km to Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and the cradle of Kung Fu. You will visit the grandiose temples and halls, admire stone carving art, learn about Buddhism culture, and observe the daily living and meditation of monks in the temple. Don't miss the famous Pagoda Forest, the existing largest pagoda forest in China. When an important monk passed away, their cremains or skeleton would be put into the underground palace, and a pagoda will be built on it. The pagoda's height, size and number of layers will be decided according to the monk's Buddhism knowledge, reputation and merits and virtues when during his lifetime. You will also enjoy a magnificent Kung Fu Show in Shaolin Wushu Hall which is performed by martial monks of Shaolin Temple daily, and usually lasts for about half an hour.

After the Kung Fu experience, drive about 1.5 hour to Luoyang, one of the greatest ancient capitals of China. Before checking in to your hotel in downtown, you will go to take a leisure walking on the old streets of Luoyang Ancient City to experience local folk culture and hunt for local snacks.

  • Excellent Kungfu Training at Dengfeng Shaolin Temple Excellent Kungfu Training at Dengfeng Shaolin Temple
  • Pagoda Forest Pagoda Forest

Day 8 Luoyang & High Speed Train to Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, start today's trip with a visit to Luoyang Museum which is nicely designed, new, spacious and less crowded, with a good collection of Chinese artefacts dating from the Neolithic period onwards, such as historical relics, calligraphy, pottery, paintings etc. The best pieces are located in a room called "special treasures" where you find the Tang Tri-color Glazed Potteries and other bronze-copper pieces.

After visiting Longyang Museum, drive about 20 minutes' driving to the iconic site of Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes. Densely scattered along the cliffs on both banks of Yi River, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Longmen Grottoes contain the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316-907). You’ll appreciate the Chinese Buddhist art by visiting the major caves (Fengxian Temple, Guyang Cave, Three Bingyang Caves etc.) with notable displays of Buddhist sculptures and calligraphic inscriptions.

After the tour, you will be escorted to the Luoyang Longmen Railway Station and take a high speed train to Xian(less 2hrs). After arrival, be met and transferred to check in to your hotel in Xian downtown.

  • Our customer from Italy visit Longmen Grottoes Our customer from Italy visit Longmen Grottoes
  • Exquisite tri-colored glazed potteries in Luoyang Museum Exquisite tri-colored glazed potteries in Luoyang Museum

Day 9 Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 40 km to discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world - the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, built by the first emperor of China Qin Shihuang to protect him in his afterlife. Over 8,000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots, buried in 3 pits for more than 2,000 years until uncovered by a local farmer in 1974, form an ancient military army with complete battle units of infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can't help being amazed not only by the ambition of Emperor Qin Shihuang but also by the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans. (Before the Terracotta Warriors Museum visit, you will have a rare opportunity to make a miniature Terracotta Warrior on your own under the instruction of a local potter.)

After lunch, return to Xian to take a wonderful stroll on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China. Enjoy panoramic views of modern Xian while you leisurely examine this well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circuit of nearly 14 kilometers. Rent a bike (extra cost: 45RMB) to enjoy a relaxing cycling on the Wall is strongly recommended. The cycling routes and duration are flexible. Feel free to discuss with your tour guide. Leave the City Wall, then go to wander leisurely around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, a place where you can try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture. Don't miss the Great Mosque of Xian which is a fusion of Chinese culture and Islamic culture, a sacred religious site with huge ancient architectural complex, also a surprisingly quiet land away from the bustling Muslim streets. After the Great Mosque visit, you will be escorted back to your hotel. (If you want to stay more time at the Muslim Quarter for dinner and relaxing, or want to explore the nearby Bell & Drum Towers on your own, please let your tour guide know)

Optional activity: Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after (or without) a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Terra-Cotta Warriors Amazing Terracotta Warriors with 2000 Years History
  • Our guests biking on the Ancient City Wall Our guests biking on the Ancient City Wall
  • Visit Muslim Quarter to Enjoy Some Snacks Visit Muslim Quarter to Enjoy Some Snacks

Day 10 Xian Departure (B)

After breakfast, head to Da Ci'en Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation site during the Tang Dynasty. Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is the most famous building in the temple. The pagoda, rising to a height of 64.5 meters, was built by the famous Buddhist master Xuanzang to preserve classic scriptures he bought back from India during the early Tang Dynasty. Xuanzang was the prototype character for Tang Seng in the famous Chinese novel “Journey to the West”. (Note: It costs an extra 30 RMB if you want to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda) After (or before) visiting the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, you will be provided a free experience o trying on the Hanfu which is the solemn costume of the emperors and their families, the ministers and the noble in the ancient dynasties of China. Seize this rare opportunity to take some photos to record this unique memory!

Following is an educational visiting to Shaanxi History Museum. Ramble in the modern exhibition halls to appreciate relics, such as porcelains, paintings, currencies from Zhou to the Tang periods (1100 BC to 907 AD). (Note: Shaanxi History Museum may be replaced with other activity or attraction because of crowding tourists during July ~ early September and China's National Day during Oct.1-Oct.7. You may check details with your travel consultant.)

The rest of the day is free for you until be escorted to catch the flight/train to leave Xian. Tour ends.

  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Shaanxi History Museum Shaanxi History Museum
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11 Days China World Heritage Tour in North China

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