12 Days China Highlights with Pandas

Tour Type:Private/ Small Group
Destination:Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai
Duration:12 Days

Shanghai and Suzhou await on the this delightful four day tour. Commencing in Shanghai – the Pearl of the Orient, you’ll enjoy exploring the old world of this city with its commercial pedigree dating back centuries. Wander through ancient gardens, colonial buildings, and streets lined with the residences of the cultural and political elite from a time in history when glamour ruled. Check The Bund, Yuyuan Garden, and famous Shanghai Museum off your list, along with a visit to the Former French Concession. Travel by car from Shanghai to Suzhou, the City of Classical Gardens, where you’ll find traditional Chinese gardens that are picture postcard perfect. Master of the Nets Garden and the Humble Administrator’s Garden are two of China’s finest examples of the way gardens have played an important role in culture and creativity. A visit to Tongli Water Town offers the another glimpse back in time, with its flagstone streets, ancient residences, and willow-lined canals. Including all accommodation, daily breakfasts, transfers, local bilingual guide, and the chance for unique insights to a distinctly special corner of China, this tour can be taken as on its own or combined with any of our other multi-day small group, private or custom tours. Ready to explore? Let’s book you in!

Vehicle Air-conditioned vehicle with licensed driver
Guide Service & Language Professional English-speaking guide


  • Admission fees: to sightseeing spots and activities specified.
  • Activities specified in the itinerary.
  • Cable car ride at Mutianyu Great Wall.
  • Excellent professional English-speaking guide.
  • Ground transport in an air-conditioned vehicle with licensed driver as specified.
  • Accommodation: 4-Star or 5-Star hotel with breakfast based on double/twin occupancy as specified.
  • Travel agency liability insurance during the tour.
  • Government taxes and fees.


  • International/domestic flights and trains to/from Beijing.
  • China visa.
  • Gratuities to guides & drivers and any expense of personal nature.
  • Boat trip at the Summer Palace.
  • Meals: lunches and dinner are excluded allowing you flexibility around meal choices. Your guide will make recommendations and order for you, if required.
  • Our tour package does not include Travel Insurance. Please purchase the Travel Insurance before your trip to protect for any unforeseen circumstance.

Tour specific important information – FOR PRIVATE TOUR

  • This is a private tour for your group of family or friends. No other travelers will join you. It’s always available for your schedule.
  • Smart casual dress and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Prices based on twin occupancy.
  • The prices shown above are not valid during China’s Official Holidays (such as National Day and Chinese Spring Festival etc.).

Day 1 - Arrive in Beijing

On arrival into Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) or Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX), you will be met by your dedicated tour guide outside the baggage claim area. On the way to your pre-booked four or five star inner city hotel, your guide will point out the highlights and history of Beijing. Spend the rest of the day exploring this incredible city.

Meals included: None

Day 2 - Beijing

After breakfast today explore Beijing with your guide who will collect you from your hotel. Visit the world’s largest city square, Tiananmen Square. Make your way across the road to the magnificent Forbidden City, a culturally historic landmark in China, which was the former residence of Chinese royalty for five centuries. After the Forbidden City tour, exploration continues with a visit to the Summer Palace. Appreciate the beautiful gardens and imagine the lifestyle of royalty who enjoyed this summer resort during imperial times. A stopover at Beijing’s stadium and pool – the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube – built for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics – provides a modern contrast to China’s ancient history. Return to the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Your tour guide may adjust your itinerary due to closure of the Forbidden City each Monday.

Day 3 - Beijing

Before heading to the Mutianyu Great Wall, sample the famous local food market Sanyuanli where you can stock up on fruit and snacks for your today’s trip. Continue to explore the Mutianyu Great Wall, a less frequented part of China’s 1,400-year-old iconic landmark located approximately 70 kilometres from Beijing. Take a pleasant and comfortable round-trip cable car transfer over the picturesque scenery, then walk the wall to take in the Ming dynasty guard towers and sensational views. On return to the city in the afternoon, exploration continues with a visit to the Confucius Temple and Imperial College Museum. Stroll through Wudaoying Hutong and experience local life as you wander through quaint shops, enjoy a coffee, and gain an insider’s view of a real Beijing community.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Beijing - Xi'an (High Speed Train)

Start today with a visit to the remarkable Temple of Heaven, where emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties performed ceremonies and rituals to pray for good harvests and blessings for the country. Transfer to the Beijing West railway station and be checked in by your guide to travel by high speed rail journey to Xian. Approximately a five-hour trip, travelling at 300 kilometres per hour, you can relax and absorb the diverse landscape along the way. On arrival at the Xian North Station, your local tour guide will meet and escort you to your inner city four or five star hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Xi'an

Today’s tour highlight is the world-renowned Terracotta Army. Recognized as the largest underground military base in the world, take in this extraordinary archaeological discovery, which houses thousands of unique life-sized figures. Return to the city and explore Xian’s ancient City Wall, currently the largest and best-preserved wall of its type in China. Enclosing China’s former capital city and almost 14 kilometers long, enjoy your free time by exploring on foot or bicycle. For a change of pace, take in the quiet of Xian’s Great Mosque, located in the middle of the city’s old block. Built mid seventh century, the Great Mosque is the oldest and largest Islamic mosque in China. Mix with locals and find food of every flavor in Muslim Quarter, which is bustling with authentic eateries and travel souvenirs. Today’s final destination is Xian’s famous Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square. Return to your hotel for a relaxed evening or book a dinner, show, or both for an evening of entertainment.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Xi'an - Lhasa (Flight)

After breakfast and check out from your hotel, the tour guide will take you to the Shaanxi History Museum where you’ll discover over 370,000 relics of Chinese history. Take in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of two iconic Buddhist pagodas in Xian. You may have a chance to explore the top of the pagoda and look out over Xian’s 1,400 years of history, before enjoying a contemplative walk through the temple and gardens. Following on from the morning’s activities, you’ll be driven to the Xian airport for your flight to Lhasa. On arrival in Lhasa, your local guide will meet and transfer you to your hotel. Take time on your first afternoon to explore the town and acclimatize to the altitude.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Your tour guide may alter your itinerary as the Shaanxi History Museum is closed on Mondays.

Day 7 - Lhasa

Experience a little of Tibet’s mystery by visiting the Dalai Lama’s former residence, the holy Potala Palace, located in the city’s centre. Comprised of the central Red Palace and rooftop White Palace, you will wonder at the Buddha statues, Thangka, murals and traditional Tibetan holy scriptures. Move from the Potala Palace to the Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual heart of Tibet. View the solid gold statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, visited by Tibetan pilgrims for centuries. Proceed to Barkhor Circuit and be carried along with locals and tourists enjoying the atmosphere and markets. Here you can source mementos from your travel adventures. The final destination for the day is the Ani Tsankhung Nunnery.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Taking photos and videos, wearing skirts, short pants, sunglasses and hats are all prohibited inside the palace.

Day 8 - Lhasa

Discover more about the Dalai Lama’s summer palace, Norbulingka, where you will learn about the production process of Thangka, a uniquely Tibetan scroll painting on silk or cotton. Move from Norbulingka to the Drepung Monastery, which sits highest among the Gelugpa monasteries. This large complex is home to monks as well as a valuable collection of porcelain, Thangka, scriptures, Buddha statues, armor and weapons. Sample a true taste of Tibet when you visit the magnificent Sera Monastery and watch the monks practice their physical form of debating which involves an unusual amount of hand slapping and pushing.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Monk Debating is held every day, excluding Sundays between 3.00pm and 5.00pm. For a close view of this unique event, early arrival is recommended

Day 9 - Lhasa-Shanghai(Flight)

After breakfast and check out, your guide will drive you back to the Lhasa airport for your flight to Shanghai. On arrival in Shanghai, your local guide will meet you and transfer you to the hotel where you will have the opportunity to relax in luxurious surrounds.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Shanghai

Commence your tour of Shanghai with a visit to the Shanghai Museum, a massive museum housing over 140,000 artifacts, presenting the full history and culture of this cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a walk along The Bund, iconic and prestigious, one of the most well-preserved examples of old Shanghai glamour. Walk Nanjing Road, the busiest shopping precinct in China. Change tempo and visit Yuyuan Garden, where you can marvel at the artistically designed traditional Chinese gardens; then stroll around the nearby Chenghuangmiao bazaars and make a worthwhile detour and visit the Shikumen Museum in New Spot (XinTianDi) for a true taste of old-world Shanghai. Make the most of your afternoon by wandering the quieter streets of Dongping Road or Sinan Road in the Former French Concession, where you will find the essence of classic Shanghai.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: As the Shanghai Museum is closed to public on Mondays, a visit to the Shanghai History Museum is arranged as an alternative.

Day 11 - Depart From Shanghai

Your tour guide will collect you at the hotel and drive you to the airport for your flight home, or if you haven’t yet finished your intrepid adventure, you’ll board a plane for your next exciting destination.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: As the Shanghai Museum is closed to public on Mondays, a visit to the Shanghai History Museum is arranged as an alternative.

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