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Longmen Grottoes Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang Price: Duration: Dates: Tour code: Overview: Ask for a free quotation 11 Days As you request TCG-3899 Your adventure starts in Beijing. You will be able to visit all of the capital’s must-see sights, as well as take the path less trodden by exploring the hutongs (or traditional alleyways) many of which have been standing since the Ming Dynasty.

An important stop on the celebrated Silk Road, Pingyao is steeped in history. Your Pingyao quest is to become a calligraphy master, or if you prefer, you can try your hand at traditional Chinese paper cutting.

If you are a food lover with a taste for theater, the Tang Dynasty Show and Dumpling Dinner will likely be the highlight of your Xi’an trip. On the other hand, if you are a history fanatic, the sight of the Terracotta Warriors will inspire you even more.

Have you ever wanted to become a Kung Fu master? We all have to start somewhere. Where better to learn Kung Fu than the Shaolin Temple in Luoyang? The monastery and the surrounding Pagoda Forest are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, further proof of the area’s cultural significance.

What makes this tour special:

There is much more to this tour than simply taking in sights and being given great photo opportunities. Our North China Cultural Adventure is just that, a highly interactive opportunity to get to know a few incredible cities.
Itinerary
day 1
  • Pick up from the Beijing airport
  • Accommodation:
  • ★★★★ Penta Hotel Read more about Penta Hotel
    Standard room-double bedroom / twin bedroom
Pick up from the Beijing airport
Pick up from the Beijing airport
Penta Hotel
Penta Hotel
day 2
  • Accommodation:
  • ★★★★ Penta Hotel Read more about Penta Hotel
    Standard room-double bedroom / twin bedroom
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City
Jingshan Park
Jingshan Park
Hutong Tour with local family visit
Hutong Tour with local family visit
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
Penta Hotel
Penta Hotel
day 3
  • Accommodation:
  • ★★★★ Penta Hotel Read more about Penta Hotel
    Standard room-double bedroom / twin bedroom
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Great Wall Mutianyu Section w/toboggan and cable car
Great Wall Mutianyu Section w/toboggan and cable car
The Ming Tombs
The Ming Tombs
The Sacred Way
The Sacred Way
Olympic Venues (outside view)
Olympic Venues (outside view)
Penta Hotel
Penta Hotel
day 4
  • Summer Palace Read more about Summer Palace resort for Chinese emperors
  • Lunch Read more about lunch on a tour Peking Duck
  • Drop-off at the Beijing Train Station
  • Take the train to Pingyao 2nd class seat
  • Pick up from the Train Station
  • Stroll Pingyao's Pedestrian Lanes Read more about Stroll Pingyao's Pedestrian Lanes walk the cobblestone streets, visit shops, sample snacks and relax in a cafe
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Summer Palace
Summer Palace
Drop-off at the Beijing Train Station
Drop-off at the Beijing Train Station
Stroll Pingyao's Pedestrian Lanes
Stroll Pingyao's Pedestrian Lanes
Yide Hotel
Yide Hotel
day 5
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Rishengchang Bank
Rishengchang Bank
Ancient County Government Building
Ancient County Government Building
Confucian Temple
Confucian Temple
Ancient Tower
Ancient Tower
Old City Wall
Old City Wall
Yide Hotel
Yide Hotel
day 6
  • Shuanglin Temple Read more about Shuanglin Temple	a Buddhist temple located four miles (6 km) outside of Pingyao old city
  • Wang's Family Compound Read more about Wang's Family Compound this huge compound is more of an ancient mini-city
  • Lunch Read more about lunch on a tour Chinese Style Standard
  • Zhangbi Underground Castle Read more about Zhangbi Underground Castle Mysterious tunnels in a rare underground military village
  • Drop-off at the Train Station
  • Take the train to Xi'an 2nd class seat
  • Pick up from the Xi'an Train Station
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Shuanglin Temple
Shuanglin Temple
Wang's Family Compound
Wang's Family Compound
Zhangbi Underground Castle
Zhangbi Underground Castle
Pick up from the Xi'an Train Station
Pick up from the Xi'an Train Station
day 7
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors
Shaanxi Museum
Shaanxi Museum
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tang Dynasty Show and Dumpling Dinner
Tang Dynasty Show and Dumpling Dinner
day 8
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Bike or walk atop Xian's old city wall
Bike or walk atop Xian's old city wall
Bell Tower
Bell Tower
Forest of Stelae Museum & Calligraphy Street
Forest of Stelae Museum & Calligraphy Street
Great Mosque of Xian
Great Mosque of Xian
Muslim Street
Muslim Street
day 9
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Drop-off at the Xi'an Train Station
Drop-off at the Xi'an Train Station
Luoyang Folklore Museum
Luoyang Folklore Museum
New Friendship Hotel
New Friendship Hotel
day 10
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch
Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple
Kungfu Show at the Shaolin Temple
Kungfu Show at the Shaolin Temple
One Hour Kung Fu Class Experience
One Hour Kung Fu Class Experience
Songyang Academy
Songyang Academy
New Friendship Hotel
New Friendship Hotel
day 11
  • Meals: breakfast
White Horse Buddhist Temple
White Horse Buddhist Temple
Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes
New Friendship Hotel
New Friendship Hotel
  • Tour price
  • Get a free quote
  • Our advantages
  • Included / not included
Tour price
Guests Cost per guest
Ask for a free quotation
Tour code: TCG-3899
  • » Your tour day starts and ends at a hotel in the city, which may or may not be included. If a hotel is included it is listed by name on the itinerary for each night.

  • » We offer many hotel options to suit your style and budget. For families we can suggest hotel suites and serviced apartments. If breakfasts are shown in the itinerary, then those are assumed to be part of the hotel package.

  • » Discounts for children in China are based on height. Let us know your child's age and height and we can calculate accordingly.

  • Get a free quote
  •  
  • Let us modify the tour's itinerary for free and with no-obligation to suit your needs. We can change the activities, add or change hotel rooms, flights or trains as you wish.

  • Why book a tour with The China Guide?
  • » Zero shopping stops at overpriced commission factories. Your time and money is better spent.
  • » Flexible time schedule to suit your pace. No rush and can cater to children's needs.
  • » Guides selected and trained by our staff. Excellent English, accommodating, family friendly.
  • » Meals are in quality local restaurants. We order according to your tastes and diet.
  • » Western style service. Our agents and guides are there to make you happy.
  • » We have traveled in China with our own children. The American owners have four young children.

  • Read more about why choose The China Guide as your travel agency and meet our travel agents.
  • Included in the tour price
  • » Private English speaking guide (selected/trained by our western staff), experienced Chinese speaking driver and quality, air-conditioned vehicle
  • » Admission tickets to all sights listed on the itinerary - no hidden costs
  • » Free bottled water supplied in your vehicle
  • » Meals as specified in quality local restaurants with unlimited standard drinks (Coke, Sprite, bottled water, Chinese tea)
  • » Accommodation as specified - our American staff selects the hotels we use
  • » Domestic flights, economy class as listed in the itinerary
  • » Train tickets (as specified in your itinerary)


  • Not included in the tour price
  • » Tips to your guide and driver
  • » International travel insurance (you should purchase your own policy in your home country)


  • For tour booking terms & conditions, please review our company policies.

Tiananmen Square   天安门广场

Most people visit Tiananmen Square on their way to the Forbidden City, both can be done together in a morning or afternoon. Chinese citizens from around the country descend on Tiananmen to take their photos in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao. When there is a breeze you can buy a kite and fly it on the square.

Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. It is a tourist site everyone tends to visit on their trip to Beijing. A vast desert of paving stones, the square can hold over one million people. It lies on the historical central axis going through the Forbidden City.

Expect to go through airport level security when going onto the square, with metal detectors and x-ray machines. There is also a high level of police presence. Nonetheless people are very friendly and its on most Beijing itineraries.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
5:00am - 10:00pm

The Forbidden City   故宫

The Forbidden City was the former imperial palace which was the home to twenty-four Chinese emperors over 491 years between 1420 and 1911. The Forbidden City is now known as the Palace Museum and is open to Beijing's visitors.

Wear comfortable walking shoes as the palace is 960 metres long and 750 metres wide. It has 9,999 rooms - a room being the space between four pillars.

The well guarded palace is surrounded by a moat 3,800 metres long and 52 metres wide. Intruders were discouraged by guards in watchtowers with bow and arrows.

There are five entrances to the gate - the central one reserved for the emperor. The empress was allowed through it only once - on her wedding day.

As well as walking through the wide open courtyards along its central axis, the sides offer some museum exhibits and small courtyards worth exploring.

An excellent view of the Forbidden...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1.5
Opening hours:
8:30am - 5:00pm with last admission at 4:00pm

Jingshan Park   景山公园

Jingshan Park was a part of the Forbidden City until the early 1900's when the walls were pulled down and a road cut through it destroying several gates and buildings between the park and the rear entrance of the palace. The hill in Jingshan Park was made with the earth removed to create the palace moat. It is well worth the climb on a clear day for spectacular views of the Forbidden City and Beijing.

The best view of Beijing is from the Pavilion of Everlasting Spring (Wanchun-ting) perched on top of the middle peak, which used to be the highest point in the city. Northwards, one can see the Drum and Bell Towers, a traditional feature of old Chinese cities. To the northwest, the two slabs of water of the Shichahai and Beihai Lake are intersected by Di’anmen Dajie. To the south, the golden roofs of the Imperial Palace can be seen stretching into the distance.

Just north of the Imperial Palace, the...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
6:30am - 8:00pm with last admission at 7:30pm

Hutong Tour with local family visit   胡同游

Hutongs are the old traditional alleyways and courtyard homes which once covered all Beijing. Many still survive today and are pleasant to walk or bike through. Not much has changed and you can see how people lived in the past.

The China Guide's Hutong Tour starts with a cycle rickshaw ride through the hutongs. Cycle rickshaws are a traditional means of transportation in the old narrow streets.

We take you into a traditional family courtyard home. The family will greet you, serve tea and show you through their home. Your guide will explain the cultural and historic significance of various aspects. For instance, the layout of the courtyard, who lived where and how to tell the importance of the people living in a home.

Nanluoguxiang is a trendy hutong area with fun restaurants and cafes, nice to visit during the day for a coffee or lunch, or return in the evening for dinner.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1

Temple of Heaven   天坛公园

The Temple of Heaven is the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for a good harvest.

The grounds are part of a huge parkland and in the morning you can see the locals practicing martial arts and other exercises. Located nearby is the Hongqiao Market and Toy Market as well as the Legend of Kungfu show in the Red Theater.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1.5
Opening hours:
6:00am - 5:30pm with last admission at 4:00pm

Great Wall Mutianyu Section w/toboggan and cable car   慕田峪长城

For those who want to see a restored section of the wall which is more fun and less touristy than Badaling and not as far as Simatai or Jinshanling, then Mutianyu is a good choice. Just over an hour from Beijing in normal traffic, it is possible to see in a morning or afternoon and combines well with the Ming Tombs.

Mutianyu has some good options. You can take the cable car up, have a little stroll on the wall then come back down the cable car. Or you can take the cable car up and walk for about 45 minutes on the wall, down hill mostly, to the toboggan sled. Its pretty long run on the toboggan track down the hill from the wall. There are double cars for parents with kids as well as the usual single cars. Fun and safe, everyone seems to enjoy this.

In Mutianyu village there are fish farms and restaurants, so you can fish out your own trout from the pond and have it cooked up for your lunch.
Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:00pm with last admission at 5:00pm

The Ming Tombs   定陵

Of the 16 emperors who ruled during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), 13 are buried in a canyon. Most of the tombs are not open to the public. We take you to the underground Ding Ling tomb, an underground palace rediscovered in 1956. It was the burial place of the Wanli emperor (reign 1572-1620), his wife, and his favorite concubine. Construction of the burial chamber commenced before the emperor was 20 years old.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:30am - 5:00pm with last admission at 4:30pm

The Sacred Way   神路

The Sacred Way, the road leading to heaven, is a long, straight path flanked by statues first of ancient government officials and then by animals.

Located close to the tombs this is a stop made on the way to the tomb by the emperor. We also try and put it as a stop on your itinerary (but not on your way to heaven). Out of the city, its best done in conjunction with a visit to the Great Wall.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:30am - 5:00pm with last admission at 4:30pm

Olympic Venues (outside view)   北京奧林匹克公園

The Olympic Swim Cube and the Bird's Nest Stadium on the Olympic Green are two of the major architectural achievements of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. You can walk around the Swim Cube whose skin is modeled on soap bubbles and the Birds Nest Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies occurred as well as many broken olympic records.

This tour takes you around the outside of these two venues. It is also possible to arrange a visit to the inside of the stadium or Swim Cube at additional cost, please select this in advance with your agent. You can even swim inside the Swim Cube.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1

Summer Palace   颐和园

Time allowing, the Summer Palace is well worth a visit for its historical significance and to enjoy strolling its spacious grounds. You may take a boat ride across the lake if you prefer not to walk. Located 15 km northwest from the central city and occupying an area of about 300 hectares, the Summer Palace is associated with the Qing dynasty's dowager empress Cixi, but has a history of more than 800 years as an imperial garden dating back to the 1150s.

The name in Chinese, Yiheyuan, means "garden of restful peace." It served as a suburban pleasance for emperors, a place in the countryside yet near the capital.

The Yiheyuan in its present form dates from Manchu rule over China, 1644-1911. In the 1750s the emperor Qianlong commanded the creation of the lake and redesigned the temple atop Longevity Hill. Severely damaged during the punitive Anglo-French expedition of 1860 the Empress Dowager ordered...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2
Opening hours:
7:00am - 5:00pm with last admission at 5:00pm

Stroll Pingyao's Pedestrian Lanes   平遥古城

One of the most fun things to do in Pingyao is to stroll the lanes of the old city. The area within the city walls is mostly pedestrianized and you can walk the cobblestone streets, visit shops, sample snacks and relax in a cafe with a cup of coffee. If you have enough time go up on the city wall for a look, or visit the ancient tower in the center of town.

The old city itself is about 1 mile square, so you can never get too lost. If you are on your own we suggest you locate your hotel on a map, or at least take a card from the hotel with you, then you can find your way back. There are lots of restaurants, most with English menus, so its easy to get dinner on your own.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Rishengchang Bank  

Established in 1823, the bank itself is not a huge space, but is popular because it was instrumental in ancient trade and part of the Silk Road.

During the Qing Dynasty, China's currency was based on silver coins. It was not convenient or safe for traders to move the coins from one location to another in China. The Rishengchang Bank was part of a chain which offered a convenient method to move money through a system of bills. Traders could deposit money in one location and it could be withdrawn in another.

While the system of exchange shops eventually closed in bankruptcy, the Rishengchang Exchange Shop had a great influence on the Chinese economy during its 108 years of operation. As everyone likes money, this sight attracts a lot of visitors!

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Ancient County Government Building  

The ancient county government office (Gu Xianya in Chinese) is located in the center of Pingyao's old walled city. It was first built the North Wei Dynasty (386-534) and was rebuilt 1346. It is quite well preserved.

County government offices are a local branch of administration in feudal China, and the head of it is called the local magistrate (Fumu Guan), meaning "father and mother" to the local people. The country government functioned as a court.

The county government office is on a north - south axis and occupies more than 26,000 square meters. According to feudal social institutions the left part is for preparing official documents and letters, and the right part is for practicing Wushu.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Confucian Temple  

The Confucian Temple of Pingyao has traditionally been a school. During the age of testing in China people came here to sit their exams. The temple was restored in the year 1163 and can still be seen in its current structures.

The temple has peaceful gardens, pleasing architecture and makes for a pleasant stroll through its courtyards. You can see the desks where students sat to take their exams.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

​Ming & Qing Street  

Ancient Tower  

This tower is located near the center of the old walled city. You go up narrow stairs and end up in a little tower looking down on the scene below. The tower itself is an old wooden structure. The great part of it is to escape the crowds below and linger in the peace and quiet. The view is excellent, you can see the rooftops all around, the old city wall in the distance, and the action on the streets below. Another great place for a photographer to watch with a telephoto lens.

The tower is not included in the city ticket, so if you have not included it in your tour itinerary and go on your own, which is easy to do, then be prepared to pay a small price to get in.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Old City Wall  

The old city wall of Pingyao is one of the attractions which makes this UNESCO world heritage site so magnificent. We recommend either a walk or a bike ride on the top of the city wall. Its embankments make it quite safe for this. Its very peaceful up on the city wall, away from the crowds and traffic. It also gives a wonderful birds eye view of Pingyao ancient city and is a great perspective for photographers.

Pingyao is one of the few ancient Chinese cities which still has its protective wall intact. Pingyao's city wall is about 40 feet high (12 meters) and its width varies from 10 to 20 (3 to 6m) feet on the top. It is made from compacted earth and covered with brick and stones. When viewed from outer space the wall resembles a turtle. This is a symbol of longevity.

There are six gates into the walled city, one each in the north and south and two on the east and west sides. The south gate is the...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Chinese calligraphy or paper cutting class  

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1

Shuanglin Temple  

Located four miles (6 km) outside of Pingyao old city, the Shuanglin Temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Shuanglin translates as "two trees", referring to the entrance to Nirvana which is said to be found between two trees.

The halls of the temple are filled with beautiful sculptures of Buddhist gods. Four Buddha warrior attendants in the God Hall reach a height of three meters each and are revered for their power and grandeur. Engraved sculptures on the walls of the Amitabha Buddha Hall tell the story of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism.

The Shuanglin Temple is worth a stop for those interested in Buddhism, ancient art or history. Most convenient is to see it on the way to Wang's Family Compound or while arriving or departing Pingyao old city.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 7:00pm

Wang's Family Compound   王家大院

Built by the Wang family with wealth accumulated in business, this huge compound is more of an ancient mini-city. It has its own protective wall and many structures within.

Wang's Family Compound is located 22 miles (35 km) from Pingyao Ancient City. It was built between 1762 and 1811. As you walk through the labyrinth of buildings you can see example of how people lived in the past. Be sure to take a walk up on the wall surrounding the compound, it gives a good view of the entire scene. You will also notice there are even now people living in caves built into the hillside around the compound.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
3
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Zhangbi Underground Castle  

The ancient town of Zhangbi is one of the rarest and most unique displays of traditional urban planning in Chinese history. The town is also referred to as the Zhangbi Castle, with the town’s residential, shopping and religious areas all built within a beautifully designed, Chinese-style castle complex. Peruse the village streets lined with beautifully designed houses, and be sure to visit the famous five Great God temples that are bedecked with ornate Buddhist statues. Zhangbi Castle’s main attraction, however, is a labyrinth of mysterious tunnels that meander extensively underneath the town. An inconspicuous entrance inside an ordinary local home leads to a fascinating underground world spread across three levels that once served as defense tunnels when built at the end of the Sui dynasty.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:30pm

Terracotta Warriors   兵马俑

The buried army of Qin Shihuangdi is one of the largest and most stunning archaeological finds of the 20th century. Discovered in 1974 at Lintong, 35 kilometres east of Xi'an, the warriors and horses have deservedly become known as a Wonder of the World. Now exhibited in situ, the life-size terracotta figures so far excavated testify to the power of the man for whom they were moulded to protect in afterlife.

This site is an archaeological find on a monumental scale. Literally an army of sculptured warriors, it is a stunning display that every visitor to China should see.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:30pm with last admission at 5:00pm

Shaanxi Museum   陕西历史博物馆

The National Museum of Shaanxi History opened in 1991, eighteen years after Premier Zhou Enlai first suggested that such an establishment was needed to exhibit the province's archaeological treasures. Occupying a large site in Xi'an's southern suburbs close to the Big Goose Pagoda, the museum, housed in a complex of striking Tang dynasty style pavilions, is popular for visitors to the city.

The exhibits here represent the very best of the museum's collection, the greater portion of which remain stored in its underground warehouse. The permanent exhibition on the ground and first floors is supplemented by touring exhibitions, usually two, in the basement. Included elsewhere in the museum are lecture theatres, conference rooms, a library, research laboratories and an extensive restoration centre. A new unit for restoration has been funded by an Italian Antiquities Department donation of US$4 million.

For...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm with last admission at 4:00pm

Big Wild Goose Pagoda   大雁塔

The Big Goose Pagoda, perhaps the most beautiful building left in Xi'an today, is one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks. Completed in 652 CE, the pagoda was built at the request of the Tang monk, Xuan Zang, whose pilgrimage to India is immortalized in the 16th-century Chinese novel Pilgrimage to the West or Monkey.

Xuan Zang asked Emperor Gaozong to build a large stone stupa like those he had seen on his travels. The emperor offered a compromise brick structure of five storeys, about 53 metres (174 feet) high, which was completed in 652 CE. Originally called the Scripture Pagoda, it is said to be where Xuan Zang translated into Chinese the Buddhist scriptures he brought back from India. Its present name, Big Goose Pagoda, has never been satisfactorily explained.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:30pm with last admission at 5:00pm

Tang Dynasty Show and Dumpling Dinner   唐歌舞饺子宴

The Tang Dynasty Dinner Show is a combination of Chinese traditional dumpling banquet and the fabulous Tang Dynasty dance and music. Tang Dynasty (618 - 907AD) was the most prosperous dynasty in Chinese history and also the climax of China’s development in music and dance.

You begin with a dumpling banquet before the show. Dumplings come in various artistic shapes and sizes, all handmade, and filled with different combinations of meat and vegetables. If you've ever experienced dimsum in the west then you might want to give this variation a try.

After dinner sit back, digest and watch a show fit for an emperor!

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2
Opening hours:
7:30pm - 9:30pm

Bike or walk atop Xian's old city wall   城墙

The old city wall is high and wide which leaves a road on the top which is empty. A peaceful retreat from the billions for strolling or getting on a bike. We organize as part of our tours a bike trip on the city wall. You can bike the entire circuit in 1-2 hours or just cruise along part of it then return. You can stop at various viewpoints and look down at the scene below. Nice for photographers. Great fun and a chance to work off some of those delicious Chinese meals we serve you!

Xi'an's 14th-century wall still stands, although today it is intersected by a few modern roads. It is one of the most important city walls in China and certainly one of the best examples from the Ming. Construction began during the reign of Hongwu, the first Ming emperor, on the remains of the Sui and Tang wall and took eight years to complete. Repairs and renovation have now been carried out by the local government to restore the wall...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm with last admission at 5:30pm

Bell Tower   钟楼

Each Ming city had a bell tower and a drum tower. If you are in Xi'an for more than a brief visit the Bell Tower is worth a visit. It is located adjacent from the Drum Tower and close to Muslim Street.

The Bell Tower is set on a square brick platform, each side of which is 35.5 metres (116 feet) long, with an arched gateway at ground level. The platform is 8.6 metres (28 feet) high and on top is a tripleeaved, two-storey wooden structure, a further 27.4 metres (90 feet) high. There is a fine view in all directions from the parapet on the second floor. The inside is remarkable as an example of the very intricate roof truss system used in Ming and Qing wooden architecture.

The original great bell no longer exists, but a small replica Ming-period bell is kept in a corner of the brick platform for visitors to strike.

There is an exhibition of ancient instruments on the first floor,...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
9:00am - 5:30pm with last admission at 5:00pm

Forest of Stelae Museum & Calligraphy Street   碑林

Previously a Confucius Temple, the Stone Forest Museum (also know as the “Stelae Forest”) is home to nearly 3,000 stone tablets, sculptures and epigraphs; the biggest collection of stelae in all of China. The outstanding collection of inscribed tablets are all engraved with poems, calligraphy, fables, moral codes and religious texts from across China, some so precious that they have been deemed as “national treasures”.

Leading to the museum is a wonderful alley selling all manner of items used for Chinese calligraphy. This interesting street is a great place to browse for unique souvenirs to bring back home.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1.5

Great Mosque of Xian   西安大清真寺

The Great Mosque of Xian is located down an alley off of Muslim Street. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi'an is completely Chinese architectural style, having neither neither domes nor traditional-style minarets.

The Great Mosque of Xian is the largest and best preserved of the early mosques of China. Built primarily in the Ming Dynasty when Chinese architectural elements were synthesized into mosque architecture, the mosque resembles a fifteenth century Buddhist temple with its single axis lined with courtyards and pavilions.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm

Muslim Street   穆斯林街

Muslim Street while touristy, is genuinely local too. A great place to stroll and see traditional Muslim culture alive and well in China. Worth visiting by day or night, the food is authentic and is a great place to have a Muslim style meal. There are a variety of shops selling different souvenirs and the area should be the itinerary for photographers. Not to be missed, Muslim Street is one of Xian's major attractions.

The early Muslims in China came from what was known at Xiyu, or 'the west', areas usually identified as Arabia or Persia. These people were much different from the Chinese in terms of their language, culture and physical appearance. Like other foreigners in China, they were labeled 'foreign sojourners'. Islam was first introduced by Arab merchants during the Tang dynasty, and flourished during the Yuan (1279-1368). The Muslims gradually became concentrated in the northwestern part of the walled city,...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
9:00am - 8:00pm with last admission at 7:00pm

Luoyang Folklore Museum  

The Luoyang Folklore Museum covers aspects of traditional Chinese culture such as marriage, festivals and home life. Exhibits include embroidery, wedding traditions, moon cake tools and carriages. The museum is located not far from Luoyang Old Town.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:00pm

Old Town of Luoyang  

Shaolin Temple   少林寺

For centuries, orange-robe-clad Buddhist monks have trained day and night to study kungfu inside the ancient walls of the Shaolin Temple. Nestled in the lush Song Mountains, the Shaolin Temple was founded in the fifth century as a shrine for Mahayana Buddhists. Amongst the leafy courtyards and colorful prayer halls you will discover the secrets of the Shaolin Monks such as the ‘finger punching tree’, where one tree’s trunk is peppered with small holes from monks practicing “one finger punches”. A trip to this temple is not complete without a stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage Pagoda Forest, an open courtyard blanketed by hundreds of stone pagodas.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
3
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:00pm with last admission at 5:00pm

Kungfu Show at the Shaolin Temple  

The kungfu demonstration show at the Shaolin Temple takes about 30 minutes and runs at regular times during the day.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
10:30am - 4:30pm

One Hour Kung Fu Class Experience   学习武术

Almost every young boy in China dreams of one day becoming a martial arts expert, and no martial art is more famous in China than Shaolin Kungfu. The famous Shaolin Monks are known across the world for their total devotion to the study of Shaolin Kungfu, and Chinese international superstars Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li are also trained in this special type of kungfu. Join The China Guide for an exhilarating lesson in the basic movements and principles of Shaolin Kungfu alongside the Shaolin Monks inside their beautiful mountainside monastery.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
10:30am - 4:30pm

Songyang Academy   嵩样书院和观星台

In Imperial China, citizens hoping to obtain state official roles in the bureaucratic system had to pass the grueling imperial examinations. Educational academies across China helped applicants to prepare for the challenging examinations, and the Songyang Academy in Luoyang was one of the most prestigious institutions of its time. The peaceful atmosphere and exquisite natural scenery surrounding the academy made this a perfect setting for scholars to focus and study.

The nearby Star Watching Observatory was once the national observatory of China and is one of the oldest astronomy buildings in the world today. Yuan dynasty stargazers made many important measurements and discoveries at the observatory, and many calendar years were plotted from their findings.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:30pm

White Horse Buddhist Temple   白马寺

The White Horse Buddhist Temple was built in 68AD and its name was inspired by a white horse brought to China by two Indian Buddhist Monks, part of a delegation to educate the Eastern Han about the religion of Buddhism. It was here that precious Buddhists scriptures were first translated into Chinese, and the foundations for Buddhism in China were laid out. This temple’s history has had a profound effect not only religion, but also philosophy, ethics and culture. The temple also boasts stunning ancient architecture and a thriving Buddhist community, making it one of the most authentic religious sites in all of China.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 5:00pm

Longmen Grottoes   龙门石窟

The Longmen Grottoes are an amazing sight, with many surviving pieces of unrivaled beauty stretching from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD) into the Tang period (618-907 AD). Over the centuries, many of the statues were seriously damaged in anti-Buddhism campaigns. In modern times (1907 to 1938), the caves suffered another wave of destruction together with massive looting by Chinese and foreigners alike. Many pieces are still at museums in Germany, France, England, America, and Japan. The Chinese government continues to petition these nations and their museums for the return of these artifacts, but to no avail.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
3
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Beijing 北京

Beijing is an enormous municipality abundant in culture, beautiful landscapes, history and fine cuisine.

The first sight is one of a sprawling city, dotted with towering buildings with only, the giant, red Chinese characters atop to show visitors they have arrived in China. And this is when it becomes important to look closer and find out what Beijing has to offer. The real gems in this city are the low-rising, narrow alleyways, known as Hutongs, which give you an exciting glimpse into the local culture and history. Strolling into a hutong, with its grey brick walls and upturned ‘artichoke-leaf’ roofs, you disappear into Beijing of old. The tall, noisy city melts away and is replaced by sleepy seniors sitting and watching the world around them, people nattering away, going about their daily business and the curious and delicious smells of truly, authentic restaurants. It is a view of old Beijing before modernization, and...   Read more

Pingyao 平遥

Pingyao is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its walled city remains completely intact and is an oasis of history in the countryside. It can be reached from Beijing by flight or fast train to Taiyuan, then its another two hour drive to the old town of Pingyao. There are also overnight trains directly from Beijing to Pingyao.

Inside the walled city much of the area is pedestrianized, so it is pleasant to stroll the old style streets. All the accommodation is in nice, traditional style small guest houses, which is pleasant but don't expect to find any true five star hotels.

Once you have a ticket for the city you can visit many of the historical sights with it. A walk on the old city wall is highly recommended, you escape the chaos below and and get a great birds eye view of Pingyao. Excellent perspective for photographers.

There are many small restaurants with English menus all around the...   Read more

Xi'an 西安

Xi'an is considered one of China's must see destinations, the home to the Terracotta Warriors. People usually visit Xi'an for 1 or 2 nights and is a good part of a loop between Beijing and Shanghai or other destinations. You can get there by plane or the overnight train is also convenient from Beijing.

Xi'an is one of the few ancient Chinese cities with its old city wall still intact. You can walk on it or even ride a bike. The Muslim area is colorful and authentic, worth a walk around and also not a bad place to have dinner and do a bit of shopping.

The Terracotta Warriors are about 1 hour outside the city, look on the map below for details. Nearby the warriors are the Huaqing Hotsprings, which is more of a nice park with an historic spring, but no swimming.

Luoyang 洛阳

Luoyang is located along the high speed rail line between Beijing and Xi'an. It takes about 4 hours by fast train from Beijing to reach it, or about 1 hour from Xi'an.

Luoyang is famous for the Shaolin Temple, home of the Kungfu practicing monks. Luoyang is also well known for the Longmen Grottos, larger than life sculptures carved into a mountainside.

For most visitors, one or two nights along the way will give enough time to see these major sights. The Luoyang Museum has some excellent displays of relics from the area. Also popular is the White...   Read more

Penta Hotel   北京贝尔特酒店
★ ★ ★ ★

Part of the German hotel group, the Penta Hotel Beijing is sleek and modern. Rooms are simple, bright, and very clean. The hotel has two restaurants and a game room on the first floor. The trendy lobby/lounge area is a great place for guests to get work done, enjoy Sunday brunch, and get late night drinks. The Penta is also conveniently located near the subway and a few minutes drive from the Beijing Train Station.

Yide Hotel   一得客栈
★ ★ ★ ★

This courtyard residence, built in 1736, was renovated in 2008. It is located up a quiet alley within the old Pingyao city walls. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, heating, air-con, decorated with Ming and Qing dynasty furniture. Different configurations include kang bed rooms that would fit 2 adults and 1 or 2 small children, twin rooms which may attach or not as desired. We recommend it for small groups and families.

Grand Mercure on Renmin Square   西安豪华美居人民大厦
★ ★ ★ ★

This large luxury hotel complex is well located between the shopping strip with fast food outlets just 10 minutes walk to the left or the Drum and Bell Tower which is 15 minutes to the right. There is also a large market near the Bell Tower and an ancient Mosque. Rooms are compact but comfortable.

New Friendship Hotel   洛阳新友谊大酒店
★ ★ ★ ★

A stylish hotel with a feeling of luxury. Plenty of restaurants and shops in the neighborhood.

Breakfast

Most hotels come with breakfast, or if not it can be added at a cost. Four and five star hotels will generally offer a good western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Three star hotels may only have a Chinese breakfast, or a Chinese interpretation of a western breakfast. Anyway a Chinese breakfast is not bad - rice porridge, eggs, Chinese style breads and vegetables.
Drinking Water
Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.
Children and Special Diets
Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

Lunch on Tour

We consider experiencing good Chinese cuisine to be an important part of the tour experience. When on a tour, lunch is generally Chinese style and normally included in the price. Our guides will help you order according to your taste. Mild, spicy, meat, vegetables, rice and/or noodles. Dishes are served family style and shared by the guests. The driver may eat on his own but the guide will join you if you like.

Food in Beijing is quite good quality and we take our guests to genuine local restaurants, not tourist traps. We consider it distasteful to ask you for small amounts of money during the tour, so we offer unlimited standard drinks including Coke, Sprite, local bottled water and Chinese tea. You also won't leave the table hungry, if you need more to eat just let your guide know.

We don't have fixed restaurants we must use, it depends on where you are at the time you are hungry. When traveling around China we normally have the same arrangements outside Beijing but this may vary depending on your exact itinerary.
Drinking Water
Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.
Children and Special Diets
Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

Dinner on Tour

Unless there is a special activity planned or you prefer to have all your meals catered, guests often prefer to relax after a day tour and arrange their own dinner. This gives you flexibility in time and cuisine. Having all your meals catered every day can be tiresome. Handling your own dinner allows you to have some control and also strike out on you own. Your guide can give you restaurant suggestions and in big cities you can find lots of options for fine dining, fast food, both western or Chinese. Hotel staff can often make restaurant recommendations within walking distance.

If you get the taste for a burger or pizza after a lot of Chinese food, this is easily found in Beijing, Shanghai and many other cities around China. Many hotel restaurants offer nice food. China also has its share of McDonald's, KFC and Subway sandwich chains if you need a fix.
Drinking Water
Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.
Children and Special Diets
Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.


Destinations

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Tour length
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