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Dawn breaking over the Great Wall of China in Jinshanling

Classic China tour

14 days from $5,880pp

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Tour highlights

  • See China’s iconic sights including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Terracotta Warriors.

  • Walk along the Great Wall at Jinshanling Pass.

  • Trek through the rice terraces and stay overnight in Longji.

  • Explore Shanghai’s French Concession by bicycle.

  • Learn to cook Chinese dumplings and sample local street foods.

Price includes:

  • Domestic flights in destination
  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Arriving in Beijing, you're met at the airport by your private guide and driver, then driven to your hotel by private transfer for check-in.

  • Start your discovery of Beijing this morning with a visit to the historic Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City with your private guide. Surrounded by the Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, and Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, Tiananmen Square is one of the world’s largest and each day, thousands of locals come and pay respects to Chairman Mao’s statue from all over China. Continue to the imperial Forbidden City, a vast site of ancient buildings that was once off-limits to all but the emperor and the imperial family. In the afternoon, you will take a private cookery class in one of the cities Hutongs, a world away from the high rises and commercial hustle of downtown Beijing.

  • Spend today exploring the Temple of Heaven with your private guide. This Confucian-designed temple is technically an altar and stands in the middle of a leafy park. We can arrange for you to arrive early, so you can see Beijing residents performing the ancient art of t'ai chi. In the afternoon, visit the Summer Palace Park with your private guide, taking in its lakes, gardens, walkways and teahouses.

  • Today leave the city behind to visit the Great Wall. After a two-hour journey by private transfer, you arrive at a section called Jinshanling. It's a little further out and much quieter, so you'll be able to enjoy the views of the wall snaking off into the distance without the crowds. You take a four-hour walk on the wall with your private guide, looping back through a valley. You'll then take your private transfer back to Beijing.

  • Today your private driver takes you to Beijing West train station. You catch the bullet train to the city of Xian, a five-and-a-half-hour journey. On arrival you're met by a private guide and driver and take a private transfer to your hotel. With your guide, head out to explore Xian's vibrant Muslim Quarter. You could even eat dinner there at one of the many food stalls: the barbecued meat dishes are particularly delicious.

  • In the morning, you’ll take a tour of the farming villages and caves on the plateau surrounding Xian, driving through rural communities barely touched by the pace of modern China. Enjoy lunch at a local family’s home with a chance to chat with them and gain insight into their lives. Take a walk on the Ancient City Wall this afternoon. Originally built during the Ming dynasty, the city wall has been restored to its former glory, and you can marvel at the sheer scale of the construction as you stroll along the ramparts that provide magnificent views of the city. To end the day, head out to explore Xian's Muslim Quarter on a private street food tour. You will sample the delicacies from the many food stalls.

  • This morning explore Xian's star attraction, the Terracotta Army, with your private guide. Even if you have read about these ancient models, nothing can prepare you for their sheer scale and number. In the afternoon take a private transfer to Xian Airport and fly to Guilin, which takes roughly two hours. On the way to the airport, visit Hanyangling Tombs which contain some intricately carved, though smaller, figurines.

  • This morning join a group of 120 people (though still accompanied by your private guide) to cruise down the River Li to the town of Yangshuo at lunchtime. En route, you'll sail through bamboo plains and limestone karst towers. Look out for water buffalo. On arrival in Yangshuo, you're met by a private driver and taken to your hotel. You then have an afternoon to explore the town at leisure. We suggest ambling around its markets and cafés.

  • A day at leisure in Yangshuo. We recommend cycling around the surrounding paddy fields and countryside or even trying a local cookery lesson. The more energetic can even try bamboo rafting. In the evening, you can enjoy a riverside light show illuminating the karst scenery, designed by the director of the 2008 Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony.

  • This morning leave Yangshuo behind and take a three-hour private transfer to the village of Longji. Cosseted among ancient rice terraces, a visit to Longji is a great way of getting a sense of rural China. Your private guide may lead you on walks to rice terraces to nearby villages, or you can simply visit various viewing platforms to admire this agricultural landscape.

  • A morning of walking and further exploring the rice terraces with your guide. In the afternoon, travel one and a half hours to Guilin's airport via private transfer. From Guilin, catch your one-and-a-half-hour flight to Shanghai. There you're met by a private guide and driver and taken to your hotel by private transfer.

  • In the morning, you will take a private food and walking tour through the leafy streets of the former French Concession. Stopping off at only-known-to-locals streetside stalls and small eateries, you’ll try different regional foods, including the Shanghainese signature dish, xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). Later, you’ll learn how to make dumplings under the guidance of a local chef before sitting down to enjoy your handiwork. This afternoon is at leisure for a chance to explore Shanghai independently. We suggest visiting the Jade Buddha temple, one of the few working monasteries in the city, and walking along the colonial waterfront of the Bund, where you can look across at the ultra-modern skyscrapers of the Pudong district and take a leisurely cruise on the Huangpu River. You may wish to visit Yu Gardens for the chance to explore the gardens, bazaars and maze of narrow lanes lined with traditional houses.

  • In the morning, you will explore the vibrant city of Shanghai by bike. This private cycling tour takes you through the French Concession, with its elegant Art Deco villas, before plunging you into the backstreets and alleyways of off-the-beaten-path residential areas and the maze of narrow streets that make up Shanghai’s old town to see the daily life of local people. You’ll also see the plethora of activities that take place in one of the city’s main public parks and visit a Buddhist temple. There is time at leisure in the afternoon for you to relax and reflect on your journey through China. Alternatively, you may wish to further explore Shanghai and visit the Shanghai Museum, which is rated among the best museums in Asia and boasts a comprehensive collection of Chinese cultural artifacts and art, or visit the interesting Propaganda Poster Art Centre to learn more about contemporary Chinese history.

  • Today you're taken to the airport by private transfer in time for your return flight.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Contact a China specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to China will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

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