12 Days China Highlights with Pandas

Tour Type:Private/ Small Group
Destination:Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai
Duration:8 Days

This 8 days tour takes you to the ancient and modern capitals of China. Visit Beijing, Xian and Shanghai and experience incredible history, while marveling at the breathtaking pace of modern China. Be fascinated by Beijing’s balance of contemporary and past glories, including the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Summer Palace. Catch a high speed train across country to Xian where you’ll enjoy the spirited energy and exquisite food of this city before heading to Shanghai, Pearl of the Orient. This major China cities experience includes all in country transfers, 7 nights four or five star hotel accommodation, daily buffet breakfast, high speed train travel, fully guided tour with driver transport, airport transfers, and more!


  • 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

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 train 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 archeological 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 kilometres 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 Street, 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 - Chengdu (High Speed Train)

After breakfast and check out from your hotel, the tour guide will take you to 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. There may be an opportunity 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 railway station for your bullet train to Chengdu. On arrival in Chengdu, your local guide will meet and transfer you to your hotel, providing a brief introduction to Chengdu on the way.

Meals included: Breakfast

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

Day 7 - Chengdu

Today, you will work as a panda volunteer when you visit the Dunjiangyan Panda Base. In your role, you will clean the indoor and outdoor enclosure, prepare food and feed pandas. Panda keepers will supervise your activities, with translation provided by your guide. A certificate will be provided as a memento from this very special day. At the conclusion of today’s excursion, you will be returned to your Chengdu Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

1. Panda Keeper Program has an age restriction from between 5 years to 80 years. For children under five years who are accompanied by an adult can take the standard panda tour in panda base, but due to restrictions they are not able to be a panda volunteer.

2. As a maximum of 30 keepers are allowed each day, it is advisable that you book the program at least two weeks before departure. You will appreciate that sometimes adjustments may be made to the program due to pandas’ health condition. Accurate information about the program will be provided to you by our travel as soon as we are advised.

3. Each volunteer panda keep applicant must provide a Physical Examination Record prior to commencement of the day’s activities.

4. Panda keepers are strongly advised to be guided by their supervisors and should approach the animals with extreme caution and only under supervision. Though pandas look gentle, they are animals and their behaviour can be unpredictable.

5. Panda keepers are not allowed to clean enclosures for panda mothers and babies but can help supervisors.

Day 8 - Chengdu-Shanghai (Flight)

Check out of your hotel and be taken by your guide to Jinli Street. Lined with unique regional street food and artisans, you’ll find yourself immersed in typical local culture and have the opportunity to sample traditional food snacks and meet local craftsmen. The final stop for today allows you to enjoy some leisure time in Wangjiang Pavilion Park.

Day 9 - Shanghai

Shanghai is truly an international city and you’ll understand why when you start your day by visiting the Shanghai Museum, which is home to over 140,000 artifacts. You’re welcome to wander on your own or walk with your local guide as they share the Shanghai’s history and culture.

From the Shanghai Museum, you’ll move on to The Bund. Without question, there are few places that capture the intersection of commerce and culture quite like this iconic streetscape. Famous for its location in proximity to the trading centre of Shanghai, the Bund is an outstanding example of colonial Shanghai . Classically beautiful buildings that overlook the Huangpu River add to the old world feel. While shopping may not be your priority, it’s hard to miss the busiest shopping precinct in China, Nanjing Road. A wander through this seemingly endless shopping precinct will open your eyes to shopping China-style. A place where big is better, you’ll find international brands and high street fashion stores pitched alongside quirky silk traders and tiny hole-in-the-wall shops selling every imaginable thing.

For a total change of pace, you’ll welcome a visit to the Yuyuan Garden. Once the residence of a prestigious local merchant, Yuyuan Garden is thoughtfully designed and beautifully maintained. Here it is a quiet and tranquil and the ideal place to wander in contemplation and perhaps capture some beautiful images.

From here you’ll face the bustle of Shanghai again as you stroll around the nearby Chenghuangmiao bazaars and make a worthwhile detour by visiting the Shikumen Museum in New Spot (XinTianDi) for a true taste of old world Shanghai. Be transported back to Shanghai of the 1920’s and gain an insight into the daily life of people involved in trade and commerce during the period of the Former French Concession.

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 captured in this historical retail and residential precinct. Wander past the former residences of famous Chinese politicians and artists and appreciate the architecture and gardens, the style of which date from the 1920s. Your day’s explorations concludes when you are returned to the hotel. Feel free to consult with your guide about options for dinner or and evening show.

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.

Looking for iconic Shanghai mementos to remember your travel adventure? Talk to your local guide. With personal knowledge of where to find silk, porcelain, and other treasures, your guide can save you time and ensure your purchase is authentic.

Day 10 - Shanghai-Suzhou

Some of China’s most beautiful historical sights are in close proximity to Shanghai, making it a wonderful launch pad for today’s exploreation. After checking out from the hotel, you’ll be transported to catch the high speed train to Suzhou, located approximately 100 kilometres away. On arrival in Suzhou, the city of gardens, you’ll commence the tour with a visit to the renowned and spectacular Humble Administrator’s Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its location in the heart of Suzhou, you’ll find a peaceful, contemplative environment reflected in the classically designed private garden. It is a photographer’s delight that offers a picturesque landscape of traditional architecture, hills, lawns, flowers and meandering streams that harmonize the natural and build environment in poetic elegance.

Savor the artistic features and cultural values of the Master of the Nets Garden, a dainty, classical garden of exquisitely laid out pavilions, rockeries, corridors, bridges and ponds, all in breathtaking harmony. Traditional dwellings here date back to the Southern Song Dynasty of 1174. With awe-inspiring scenery like this, you’ll gather a trove of beautiful travel memories.

Spend the afternoon exploring Tiger Hill, a large hill park steeped in legend and incredibly beautiful scenery. A particular feature is the leaning Tiger Hill Pagoda set in extensive gardens, trees and lawns scattered with antiquated pavilions and stoneware. Learn from your guide how the beauty and tranquility of the park belie its history.

At the conclusion of today’s activities, you’ll be transferred to your Suzhou hotel to relax for the evening.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11 - Suzhou-Tongli-Shanghai

After breakfast, check out from the hotel and then enjoy the drive to Tongli Water Town. It has become renowned for its well preserved old buildings, private gardens, temples and traditional dwellings. The town’s location, surrounded by five lakes, makes for charming water scenes and tranquil atmosphere. Feel free to wander the flagstone streets, or stop in at a simple teahouse for a traditional tea as you enjoy local melodies.
At the end of the tour you will be transferred back to Suzhou and take high speed train to Shanghai. On arrival in Shanghai, your guide will escort you to your hotel. Enjoy a final free night, either by relaxing or taking advantage of the many unique cultural experiences on offer in Shanghai.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12 - Depart Shanghai

Start your day at a leisurely pace until check out, at which time you’ll be collected by your guide and driven you to the airport for travel to your next destination.

Meals included: Breakfast

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