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12 Days Golden Triangle Tour with Shanxi Highlights

China's Past and Present

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This tour adds the heritage sites of Shanxi - Yungang Grottoes & Pingyao Ancient City into your China Golden Triangle tour! In 12 days, you’ll not only get into the “Ancient Chinese Culture Museum”, but also be impressed by the modern city life.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Be thrilled by the grandeur of Great Wall, as well as the delicacy and majesty of Forbidden City and Summer Palace in Beijing;
  • Witness the human wonder made by ancient Chinese people - famous World Heritage Sites of Terracotta Warriors in Xian, Yungang Grottoes in Datong;
  • Feel the charm and peaceful living atmosphere in ancient city Pingyao.

Basic Trip Information

Travel Route:
Beijing / Datong / Pingyao / Xian / Shanghai
Travel Length:
12 Days and 11 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-BSXS-12
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotograph
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~4 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 5~8 Shanxi Province Tour

Start to trave from Datong to visit Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple, then transfer to Pingyao via Taiyuan city. Spend two days to visit Pingya highlights, including Pingyao Ancient City and Qiao's Family Compound, etc. Then take a high speed train to Xian.

Day 9~10 Xian Tour & Flight to Shanghai

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

Day 11~12 Shanghai Tour & Departure

Experience the great contrast of Shanghai by visiting the traditional Yu Garden and Jade Buddha Temple, modern and prosperous Jinmao Tower, Nanjing Road and the Bund, etc.

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China, rich in history and culture.

Your lifetime China tour begins with welcome from your local guide at the Beijing airport. Then be escorted to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is yours to acclimatize or explore the vast metropolis on your own.

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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 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.

  • Tiananmen Square Tiananmen Square
  • Forbidden City Forbidden City
  • Summer Palace in Beijing Summer Palace

Day 3 Beijing (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 70km 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.

Continue your trip to Ding Tomb, mausoleum of the 13th emperor of Ming Dynasty. Follow your tour guide’s introduction to observe the geomantic arrangement as well as to visit the underground palace to get closer observation. Then, drive back to Beijing City, and take a short stop at the Beijing Olympic Village to view the magnificent Bird’s Nest and Water Cube from the outside.

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

  • Mutianyu great wall The Magnificent Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Ding Tomb Ding Tomb
  • Bird's Nest Bird's Nest

Day 4 Beijing - Datong by Air (B, L)

Today, your first stop is the charming Beihai Park, then take a lifetime rickshaw tour the ancient alleyway of Hutongs that are still keeping the original layout in the Shichahai area. You’ll stop by a Siheyuan local family and experience what their life is like. Lunch will be arranged at your local family, and you can learn to cook some Chinese dumplings if you like.

After the tour, be escorted to the airport and take the 40-minutes’ flight from Beijing to Datong. Upon arrival, be met and transferred to your hotel in Datong by your local guide.

  • Hutong Family Hutong

Day 5 Datong (B, L)

Today’s tour starts to visit the famous Yungang Grottoes, which hold 53 grottoes with 51,000 statues. The Grottoes are the highlight of your visit to Datong, for it is the treasure of traditional Chinese art that also influenced by Greek and Indian style.

After lunch, move on to Huayan Temple, the largest and best preserved monastery of the Liao dynasty, consisting of upper and lower parts. Later, continue to have a look at Nine Dragon Screen, the oldest and largest glazed screen in China. The dragons on the wall appear so vivid and marvelous that you can’t imagine they were built over 600 years ago.

(Please note: Since Hangping Temple and Yingxian Wooden Pagoda are under maintenance and protection at present, travelers cannot climb up to the temple and pagoda. Instead, if you want to visit these two sites, you can have a good look at them from afar.)

  • Yungang Grottoes - The treasure of traditional Chinese art Yungang Grottoes - The treasure of traditional Chinese art

Day 6 Datong - Taiyuan (B, L)

After breakfast, visiting the Hanging Temple, at the foot of Mt. Hengshan. Because the temple is on the west side of a hill at over 50 meters high above the ground, it is named as Hanging Monastery.

Then, moving on to the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, the oldest preserving wooden Buddhist pagoda in China, which is only 50 km away from the Hanging Temple.

After the tour, drive to Taiyuan city. 

  • Hanging Temple at Mt. Hengshan Hanging Temple at Mt. Hengshan

Day 7 Taiyuan - Pingyao (B, L)

In the morning, taking a drive to Pingyao Ancient Town from Taiyuan. On the way, visit Jinci Temple, which combines the historic cultural relics and fabulous natural landscapes together.

Then, continue to Pingyao Ancient City, the well-preserved ancient town that listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. After checking in at your hotel, you will start to explore Pingyao ancient city. Strolling on the Ancient City Wall of Pingyao, you can have a panorama view of the layout of this town. Then you will move on to the Rishengchang Former Bank, which shows you the original bank system in the past. Wandering through the Ming and Qing Street, you will be impressed by the ancient and peaceful atmosphere in this old town.

  • Pingyao Ancient Town The Old Street in Pingyao Ancient Town
  • Jinci Temple Jinci Temple

Day 8 Pingyao - Xian by High Speed Train (B)

Today, first move to Qiao's Family Compound, which is used to be the house of a famous local financier during the Qing Dynasty. Built in 1756, this well-preserved compound shows you how the traditional North China Folk house was like in the past.

Then transfer to Shuanglin Temple, where contents a large amount of clay figures and wooden sculptures of various gods, goddesses and saints. You will be impressed by the traditional Chinese art forms.

After visiting, transfer to Pingyao Ancient Train Station for your high speed train to Xian (less than 3 hours). Upon arrival in Xian, the local guide and driver will meet you at the train station and take you to your hotel. Have a good rest today.

  • Qiao's Family Compound Qiao's Family Compound

Day 9 Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 40km to discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world – Terracotta Warriors and Horses, 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 Terracotta Warriors
  • Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 10 Xian & Flight to Shanghai (B, L)

After breakfast, head to 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)

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 (1100BC to 907 AD). 

The rest of today is free for you until get escorted to catch flight to Shanghai (about 2hrs), the most flourishing metropolis in China. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by local tour guide, and transfer to your hotel in downtown.

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

Day 11 Shanghai (B, L)

Take a full day sightseeing to explore the past and present of Shanghai at once. First stop is 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. Next, drive several kilometers to see the modern face of Shanghai from the observation deck on the 88th floor of Jinmao Tower.

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 activities: 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 Huangpu River cruise to enjoy fantastic night view of Shanghai. 

  • Jinmao tower The Landmark Supertall Skyscraper of Modern Shanghai
  • the Bund The Bund in Shanghai
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Shanghai Yu Garden

Day 12 Shanghai Departure (B)

Wondering why Shanghai became a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city from a shabby fishing village? This morning’s tour to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center will give you a full explanation to that question, besides that, you’ll have an overview of the ambitious plan for future.

Next is a wonderful visit to Jade Buddha Temple. Owning the largest jade Buddha in the world and numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures, the very pure land in the crowded downtown is a quiet place for nice break in this busy city. In the afternoon, your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to the next destination.

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors
  • Jade Buddha Temple Jade Buddha Temple
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12 Days Golden Triangle Tour with Shanxi Highlights

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