15 Days Classic China Tour with Yunnan Highlights

Classic Visit to China with Must-go Attractions

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This 15 days tour is the best way taking you to see the classic China and explore all Yunnan highlights. Start from the imperial capital city Beijing, followed a trip to terracotta warriors in Xian, reach the place south of colorful clouds Yunnan, walk leisurely in the picturesque countryside in Guilin & Yangshuo, and finally see the modern China in Oriental Paris - Shanghai.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Discover the greatest cultural heritages of Beijing and Xian – Forbidden City, Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors…
  • Admire the featured antique flavor of Lijiang Ancient City and explore the mysterious Dongba culture of Naxi people.
  • Immerse in the breathtaking natural scenery in Shangri-La and enjoy the unbelievable large scale of Stone Forest.
  • Take an exciting cruise on the Li River in Guilin and enjoy the most beautiful countryside scenery in Yangshuo.
  • Enjoy many buildings in styles of various countries and have the panorama of Shanghai at the height of 263 meters.

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 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Beijing / Xian / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming / Guilin / Yangshuo / Shanghai
Travel Length:
15 Days & 14 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-CYT-15
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCultureHikingPhotograph
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, manmade wonder Great Wall of China, royal park Summer Palace, traditional Hutong, etc.

Day 4~5 Xian Tour & Flight to Lijiang

One full day to visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, leisurely walk on the Ancient City Wall and Muslim Quarter. Before leaving for Guilin, explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaan’xi History Museum.

Day 6~8 Lijiang Tour & Drive to Shangri-La

A half day to Visit the antique Lijiang Ancient Town and prosperous Sifang Street Square. One full day to feel Naxi culture and sightseeing in Yuhu Village, Baisha Village, Shuhe Ancient Town, Dongba Culture Museum and Black Dragon Pool Park. Before driving to Shangri-La, visit the imposing First Bend of the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Day 9 Shangri-La Tour

Visit the Ganten Sumtseling Monastery to feel rich Buddhist culture and admire its buildings. Spend leisure moments strolling in Pudacuo National Park, Shudu Lake and Bita Lake. Then feel the antique Dukezong Old Town in the late afternoon.

Day 10-11 Kunming Tour & Flight to Guilin

Spend one full day to marvel at the “First Wonder of the World” – Stone Forest in Kunming and visit a minority village of Sani people to know the local cultures and touching stories. Leisurely walk in a local Flower Market to feel the local life and visit the West Hill and the magic Dragon Gate to complete your Yunnan tour.

Day 12-13 Guilin Tour & Flight to Shanghai

Take a relaxing Li River cruise from Guilin city to Yangshuo old town, then explore the amazing countryside landscape around Yangshuo. Before departing to Shanghai, visit the famous Elephant Trunk Hill and Reed Flute Cave.

Day 14-15 Shanghai Tour & Departure

Experience the great contrast of Shanghai by Appreciating abundant relics in Shanghai Museum, visiting the traditional Yu Garden and Jade Buddha Temple, modern and prosperous Shanghai World Financial Center, Nanjing Road and the Bund, and walking in French Concession with rich charming exotic buildings, etc.

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China! Clear the customs and retrieve your baggage by yourself upon arrival, be greeted by our tour guide in the Arrival Hall who is holding a sign on which says your name; transferred by your private car/van to your hotel downtown. The rest of the day is your own time.

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Day 2 Beijing (B, L)

After breakfast, start to explore the historical face of Beijing with a brief visit to Tiananmen Square which is now the largest city plaza in the world. Tiananmen Gate on the northern square was the site where the Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Stepping into the Tiananmen, you will see one of the world’s 5 most important palaces – Forbidden City, a huge palace complex of more than 9,000 rooms where 24 emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties used to live in. Pass through various doorways to admire the magnificent and well preserved buildings decorated with yellow glazed tile roof, white marble base and splendid colorful paintings.

After lunch, drive about 70 km to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Great Wall. The less-crowded Mutianyu, a well-preserved segment of Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty, lives up to all of your nice expectation. Take cable car or walk about 40 minutes to set your feet on Great Wall. Climb up the rising towers to enjoy scenic views as the wall wriggling along mountain ridges, and take brag-worthy photos of the wall.

Optional activity: reward yourself a tasty Peking duck dinner after a full day of sightseeing.

  • Tiananmen Square Magnificent Tiananmen Square in Beijing
  • Mutianyu Great Wall Green Mutianyu Great Wall during Summer Days
  • Forbidden City Forbidden City

Day 3 Beijing (B, L, D)

After breakfast, drive to the imperial site – Temple of Heaven. It was originally used to pay homage to Heaven and pray for harvest, now becomes a bustling place for locals to take part in traditional activities, such as Tai Chi, dancing, kite flying, water calligraphy, etc.

Then, get back to central city to hop on a rickshaw to experience Beijing Hutongs – small alleys made of neighboring quadrangle dwellings. Shuttle among different Hutongs to feel the old Beijing life style, meet various antique shops and small boutiques, feel the historical changes of Beijing.

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

Optional activity: you can watch a wonderful Kungfu Show in theatre after dinner.

  • Summer Palace Beautiful Kunming Lake in Summer Palace
  • Temple of Heaven The Splendid Temple of Heaven in the Ancient Capital Beijing
  • Hutong Hutong

Day 4 High Speed Train to Xian (B, L)

Take the early bullet train to Xi’an for 5 hours. Be pick up by your tour guide at Xian North Railway Station, and escorted to your hotel in Xian.

After a short rest in the hotel, go to visit Da Cien Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation place in Tang Dynasty. Big Wild Goose Pagoda is the most famous building in the temple. With a height of 64.5 meters, the pagoda was built by the famous Buddhist master Xuanzang to reserve classic scriptures he bought from India in early Tang Dynasty. (Xuanzang, the prototype character of Tang Seng in the novel of Journey to the West).

Note: it charges extra 30 RMB to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Xian Shaanxi History Museum To Explore the Spectacular Heritages of Ancient China

Day 5 Xian (B, L, D)

After breakfast, drive about 40 km to discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world – Terracotta Warriors and Horsesstrong>, built by the first emperor Qin Shihuang to protect his afterlife. Over 8, 000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots, buried in 3 pits more than 2000 years until uncovered by local farmer in 1974, forms an ancient military army with complete battle unites, such as infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can’t help being amazed not only by the ambition of Qin Shihuang but also the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans.

After lunch, return back 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 and walk leisurely on the well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circle of nearly 14 kilometers. It is followed by a relaxing wandering around bustling and lively Muslim Community, where you can taste the most delicious Xian food and various snacks, as well as experience local culture.

Optional activities: 1). Take a relaxing cycling on the Ancient City Wall; 2). Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show after a hearty dumpling dinner.

  • Terra-Cotta Warriors Amazing Terracotta Warriors with 2000 Years History
  • Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 6 Xian - Lijiang(B, L)

In the morning, you’ll take the early flight to Lijiang (about 2.5 h). Upon arrival, you’ll start your memorable Lijiang tour from Lijiang Ancient Town. Get on the top of Lion Hill to overlook Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance and enjoy a panoramic view of fascinating old city, Lijiang new city and Naxi folk residences and farmlands from the pure wood building Wangu Tower. Take a relaxing walk in the intricate old town and figure out why it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, walk through the old alleys, old bridges, featured shops and bars to Sifang Street Square, a meeting place of sorts and a mingling ground to enjoy lively atmosphere and unwind yourself.

Optional activities: You can stroll in Lijiang Ancient City at night to feel its antique flavor with various lights and running stream as well as the fashionable culture of bar.

  • Lijiang Ancient Town Lijiang Ancient Town

Day 7 Lijiang (B, L)

Today, after breakfast, your guide and driver will escort you Yuhu Village (for 40 min) which is located in the south of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. When walk into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone house, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, a wooden fish hung in the middle of the roof, the kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village. Then get to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who is an Austrian-American Botanist came in Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.

After that, visit the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings at Baisha Village. Visit Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple to view murals painted over 1000 years ago that combine the cultures of Han, Tibetan and Naxi people displaying the life stories of the Tibet Buddhism, Confucian and Taoism. Then, it is followed by a trip to Shuhe Ancient Town, which is not only one of the earliest settlements of Naxi people as well as the well-preserved stop of the Ancient Tea Horse Route, but also a component of Lijiang Old Town listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 1997.

Later, transfer to Dongba Culture Museum where more than 10,000 Dongba cultural relics and Naxi pictograph characters show rich mysterious Dongba culture of the Naxi people. Take a gentle walk to Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy gorgeous view and peaceful surroundings.

  • Black Dragon Pool Park Black Dragon Pool Park
  • Former Residence of Joseph Rock Former Residence of Joseph Rock
  • Baisha Mural Paintings Baisha Mural Paintings

Day 8 Lijiang to Shangri-La (B, L)

After breakfast, you’ll be driven to view the First Bend of the Yangtze River (about 50 km) with imposing gorge scenery and the Iron Chain Bridge in the Shigu (Stone Drum) Town (about 60 km from Lijiang with 1.5 hours’ drive). Later you will visit Tiger Leaping Gorge. After the hiking tour, you’ll be driven to Shangri-La, about 2 hours. Enjoy the enchanting natural scenery along the way. Upon arrival, check in your hotel and feel free to explore Shangri-La on your own.

First Bend of the Yangtze River: Surrounded by rivers and mountains, and with beautiful and marvelous views, the First Bend of the Yangtze River is like a wonderful landscape painting unfolding before you. Three rivers join together here and take a sudden turn of nearly about 180 degrees.

Tiger Leaping Gorge: One of the deepest gorges and the most spectacular river canyons in the world. It measures 16 km in length and is a giddy 3900 m from the waters of Jinsha River to Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It is divided into three parts: Upper, Middle and Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge. You’ll hike the upper part (the narrowest section of the gorge) and walk about 1,000 stairs along the plank road from the entrance to the Tiger Leaping Rock. It is a nice walking along the Jinsha River and Marble trail. You will walk through three marble tunnel s in the gorge and take a moment to enjoy the magnificent gorge view and rolling waves.

  • First Bend of the Yangtze River First Bend of the Yangtze River
  • Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge

Day 9 Shangri-La (B, L)

Today is a full day to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.

You'll first visit the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery to be touched about how the simple Tibetan keeps their pure and religious belief in this temporal world. Reputed as the Little Potala Palace and established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug sect of Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan. Walk 143 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the major lamasery buildings and get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of this pure land.

Later, drive to the first national park in China - Pudacuo National Park. Throw yourselves into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake (hike 3.3 km, about 1 h) and Bita Lake (hike 4.2 km, about 1.5 h) and seek for a real paradise in this natural wonderland. (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500 m - 4150 m and you should avoid strong activities. There’s no problem to hike in the park.) After the merry time in the park, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family and experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people.

Visit Dukezong Old Town in the late afternoon, climb up to the top of Guishan Hill or tortoise Hill, you will see the largest Prayer Wheel of the world and have a panoramic view of Shangri-La County and Dukezong Ancient Town. (Please note: In January of 2014, a huge fire broke out destroying most of the town. Now, you could just visit the area around Prayer Wheel in Guishan Hill.)

Optional Activity: You could take a boat sailing on Shudu Lake or Bita Lake to save energy and time instead of walking all the way.

Importance Notice: Militang Pasture (弥里塘草场) and Bita Lake (碧塔海) in Pudacuo National Park are closed for tourists due to maintainance from 3th September, 2017. The administrative office of Pudacuo National Park hasn't confirmed when they will be open exactly. Shudu Lake Scenic Area (属都湖) is still open for tourists. Please contact your travel consultant to adjust your itinerary.

  • Songzanlin Monastery Songzanlin Monastery
  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town
  • Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park

Day 10 Shangri-La - Kunming (B, L)

After breakfast, pick you up from your hotel. Take the flight to Kunming (about 1 hour). Drive about 90 km to your first stop - the renowned Stone Forest that is the 'First Wonder of the World' and a typical Karst landform. You'll marvel at its natural stone masterpieces and be bewitched by the intricate formations. Then, climb up to have a panoramic view of the intricate stone forest. It will be a real treat to visit the extraordinary natural stone forest.

Afterwards, visit a minority village of Sani People, to admire their colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition cultures. You'll have a nice chance to listen to the touching love story of Ashima told by local old people.

Then, drive to your hotel in Kunming city.

  • Stone Forest Stone Forest

Day 11 Kunming & Flight to Guilin (B, L)

After breakfast, head to the Flower Market to witness Kunming is a city of "flower". Then go to visit the West Hill, looking like a beautiful young lady lying beside Dianchi Lake. Stop by to see the magic Dragon Gate. There is a saying: If you do not visit Western Hill, you haven't visited Kunming; if you do not come to Dragon Gate, you haven't been to Western Hills.

The rest of today is free for you until get escorted to catch flight to Guilin (about 1.5 h), the darling of tourists. You will be welcomed by local tour guide at airport, then be escorted to your hotel in Guilin City. The rest of today is at your leisure to have fun.

  • Dragon gate Panoramic View of Dianchi Lake from Dragon Gate
  • Bird Flower Market Bird Flower Market

Day 12 Guilin (B, L)

As the declaration in Chinese textbook "Guilin’s landscape is the best under heaven", today you will explore this best landscape starting with a relaxing sightseeing cruise along the Li River from Mopanshan to Yangshuo Town. Along the 84-kilometer cruise, dazzling scenery overwhelms your eyes like a vast endless Chinese painting of winding river, green limestone karst mountains, fascinating countryside views.

After about 4 hours’ cruise, disembark in Yangshuo Town, and check in your hotel. Take a short break, throw yourself into the stunning countryside views and relaxed atmosphere. Be enthralled by the patches of paddy fields nestling under green hills and near the mirror-like river, with farmers cultivate the soil with their water buffalos.

This evening is for you to walk leisurely on the ancient West Street to witness how the western culture and Chinese culture perfectly and peacefully coexist here. Whether you want to enjoy a cup of drink in bar, taste some local food, or just experience the relaxing atmosphere, you get it here.

Optional activity: experience the splendid evening performance Impression Liu Sanjie with Li River itself as the stage, directed by famous director – Zhang Yimou.

  • Li River Cruise in Guilin Painting-like Li River
  • Old Alley in Yangshuo Yangshuo West Street

Day 13 Guilin & Flight to Shanghai (B, L)

After breakfast, transfer back to Guilin in a comfortable vehicle (1.5~2hrs). Then make a visit to the symbol of Guilin landscape - Elephant Trunk Hill. A giant rock hill vividly shapes like an elephant which is drinking water. Besides, there are many historical sites here for you to explore, such as stone carving, Buddhist temple, relic exhibition, etc. Then, drive about 7 kilometers to next attraction - Reed Flute Cave, a majestic underground palace with sparkling different colors. The magical Mother Nature condenses millions years of natural efforts to form the incredible stalactite, stalagmite, stone shield and stone waterfall of different sizes and shapes.

Lastly, your tour guide will take you to airport to catch flight to Shanghai, the most flourishing metropolis in China. Your local tour guide will pick you up at the airport, and then escort you to hotel for check in. The rest of today is free for you to explore this cosmopolitan.

  • Reed Flute Cave Reed Flute Cave
  • Elephant trunk Hill Elephant Trunk Hill: the Remarkable Symbol of Guilin

Day 14 Shanghai (B, L)

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Today, the first stop is to visit Shanghai Museum, the No. 4 museum in China. Enter into the “round heaven and square earth” and enjoy over 120,000 precious historic Chinese artistic relics, from bronze, ceramics, painting and calligraphic works to jade, coins, seals and sculpture, etc. You won’t miss Da Ke Ding, the precious treasure of Shanghai Museum, showing the history and economy of the West Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771 BC).

Then, be followed a trip to Yu Garden, a shining star among all dotted ancient Chinese gardens in Jiangnan which fully embodies the traditional design of architecture. Jagged pavilion with elegant decoration, glittering pools with roving fish, sprouting pine trees, all these pleasant scenes refresh your mood. Adjacent to the garden is the Yuyuan Bazaar where you can savor tasteful local snacks and explore elaborate traditional Chinese handicrafts and art works.

Later, drive to Lujiazui Area of Pudong New District to visit Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) where you can have a panoramic view of the whole Shanghai and Huangpu River area. Ascend yourselves to 474 meters on the 100th floor to experience sky walk on the transparent glass-walled walkway and feel Shanghai lying at your feet and blue sky over your head.

You will then transfer to another popular landmark of Shanghai – Nanjing Road which is shopping paradise as well as a great place to take a wonderful walk to experience the local modern atmosphere. Lastly, you will stop at the Bund. Originally the towpath for transporting, the Bund transformed into a feverish trading district. Stroll along the Bund, feel the perfect fusion of Chinese culture and Western culture, and seize the stunning Shanghai skyline with your own eyes.

Optional activity: 1). Attend an entertaining and breathtaking Acrobatic Show, including balls of death, balance of chairs, hula hoops, juggling benches, walking in the air, etc. 2). Take a Huangpu River Cruise to enjoy the night view of Shanghai.

  • Yu Garden Yu Garden: The Classical Garden Built in 16th Century
  • Shanghai Museum Shanghai Museum - One of the Best Four Museums in China
  • New Pudong District from the Bund Wonderful View of New Pudong Disctrict from the Bund

Day 15 Shanghai Departure (B)

After breakfast, drive to Jade Buddha Temple to admire the largest Jade Buddha in the world and exquisite religious artifacts.

Enjoy some leisure time to explore the French Concession and appreciate its old French-style villas and special colonial culture.

After the tour, be transferred to the airport or train station for your flight/train to next destination or back home.

  • Jade Buddha Temple Jade Buddha Temple
  • Shanghai French Cocession Shanghai French Cocession
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15 Days Classic China Tour with Yunnan Highlights

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