13-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Lhasa–Shanghai Private Tour

Scenic China with Holy Tibet

This 13-day China tour conbimes China's "golden triangle" with the incredible Tibet. It is the best choice for first-time visitors who would like to see China's history, traditional culture, morden life, and Tibetan culture.

Days

13

Price

from US$3,399

Best For

First-timers

Best Time

Apr.to Oct.

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Tour Highlights

Discover the great wonders: The Forbidden City
Discover the great wonders: The Forbidden City
Enjoy the scenic view on the Great Wall
Enjoy the scenic view on the Great Wall
Visit the Terracotta Army and learn how to make it yourself
Feel the group of playful red pandas surrounding you
Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims to holy Tibet
Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims to holy Tibet
Have a date with the magical modern city of Shanghai.
Have a date with the magical modern city of Shanghai.

Itinerary Details

The itinerary below is for inspiration. Tell us your preferences and your travel advisor will customize this trip to suit your interests and budget. We are happy to make a unique tour for you.

Day 1
Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to Beijing! Your private tour guide will meet you in the arrivals hall and transfer you to your hotel in a private car. Your luggage and hotel check-in procedure will be taken care of.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Are you worried about jet lag? You can have a late start on day 2 or simply leave it as a free day.

Can't wait to explore your surroundings? Your guide will be happy to make some recommendations.

Day 2
The Forbidden City and an Insight into Local Life

Warm up with Tian'anmen Square, the largest square in the world. It's also the main entrance of the Forbidden City. Being a royal palace for centuries, it has witnessed great historical changes. Your guide will share the hidden history and vivid stories from countless halls.

After an à la carte lunch with popular Beijing food, you will take a short rickshaw ride (about 30 minutes) in the hutongs. You can gain an insight into the locals' lives in a traditional siheyuan (local house).

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Would you like to make some traditional handicrafts? You can choose mask painting for the Peking opera, paper cutting, or Chinese calligraphy.

Day 3
The Great Wall

Start your morning from the Temple of Heaven. It was the most important imperial temple. Besides the mystical architecture, you can meet the locals and join in with their morning exercises if you like.

Then you'll head to the highlight: the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Of all the sections of the Great Wall, it is the most time-friendly, easily-accessible, and highly-reputed one. Take a chairlift up to the Great Wall after lunch. Enjoy your free time on the wall. Hiking or just walking across part of it is fine. To finish your experience, try the exciting toboggan ride to get back down. A round-way cable car is available if you prefer.

Tips to Tailor-Make Your Tour

  • A night tour at the Simatai section of the Great Wall is a distinctive experience. You can discover the unique length of the Great Wall that's lit up and open at night.
  • We are happy to customize a Great Wall hiking tour based on your schedule (from hours to days).
Day 4
The Royal Garden and Bullet Train to Xi'an

The Summer Palace, the best-preserved royal garden, harmonizes plants and paths, water and land. It served as a summer retreat for the royal family. Pavilions, the Long Corridor, and Kunming Lake (with a boat trip) are the must-sees.

In the afternoon, get on a speedy bullet train to Xi'an. This 1,075-kilometer (668-mile) journey only takes 4½ hours. The scenery along the railway is also a great bonus. Your Xi'an guide and driver will be waiting for you and will take you to your hotel.

Day 5
The Ancient City Wall and the Terracotta Army

Seated in the suburban area of Xi'an, the Terracotta Army was built to protect China's first emperor as his guards in the afterlife. All the soldiers are distinct from each other, with different facial expressions, hair, and clothing.

Even after more than 2,000 years, all the soldiers and horses were still lifelike with unfaded colors when they were first discovered. What was the secret to this? You will go into a local cave dwelling and make a small terracotta warrior with a local craftsman.

Finish your day with a biking tour along the ancient city wall. A leisurely walk is a good alternative. Discover how this defensive project guarded Xi'an for 600 years.

Day 6
City Tour and Cooking Class

Visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It's the landmark of Xi'an and houses precious Buddhist material dating back to the 7th century.

Have a date with Shaanxi History Museum. You will see the largest collections in China, including clay figurines, bronze wares, and jade articles.

Knock on the door of a local family's home. You will have the opportunity to learn how to cook dumplings with them. Taste the dumplings and chat with the locals to learn more about the real China as well as just sightseeing.

In the late afternoon, visit the bustling Muslim Quarter, which is a paradise of local snacks.

Day 7
Fly to Lhasa

At the appointed time, your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport. Upon arrival in Lhasa, you will be transferred to your hotel.

With an altitude of 3,650 meters (11,975 feet), we usually suggest a free day to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Day 8
Tibetan Buddhism Tour

Located on the hillside, Drepung Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The monks usually gather in Cuoqin Hall to chant in the morning.

After lunch, pay a visit to Norbulingka, Tibet's Summer Palace. As a living museum of Tibetan architecture, it serves as a city park now. You can see Tibetan families playing or having a picnic there.

In the afternoon, see monks debating at Sera Monastery. Debating is a normal activity, similar to having lessons in a class. It is held on open grounds every day at 3pm, except Sundays.

Day 9
The Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street

In the morning, see how pilgrims worship or pray. Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and is one of the holiest destinations for Buddhist pilgrims.

Barkhor Street surrounds Jokhang Temple. Pilgrims always circle it in a clockwise direction. Walking clockwise around Barkhor Street is a good way to experience the culture of the Tibetan religion.

Ascend to the Potala Palace to see the beautiful white and red palaces. Admire this great wonder for its incredible architecture and incomputable amount of antiques. Located on the mountain, you need to wear a pair of comfortable shoes for the steep steps.

Day 10
Enjoy the Stunning Scenery of Yamdrok Lake

Besides the Tibetan culture, Yamdrok Lake offers a breathtaking view. The sacred Yamdrok Lake glows with various colors, such as turquoise, when the sun is shining.

After a 2-hour drive, you will reach this holy lake. With the weather permitting, you can enjoy a simple picnic lunch by the lakeside. Sandwiches, vegetables, and fruit will have been prepared.

Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour

Yamdrok Lake is the largest habitat for migratory birds in southern Tibet. You can see hundreds of swans and gulls in summer.

Day 11
Fly to Shanghai

You will fly to Shanghai via a 5-hour flight. It might stop over in Xi'an or Chengdu. If you prefer, you can extend your tour by 2 or 3 days in Chengdu to see the lovely pandas.

Your Shanghai guide will be waiting for you and will transfer you to your hotel. Enjoy your free time for the rest of the day.

Day 12
Traditional Garden and Shanghai Tower

A nice stroll along the Bund will introduce you to the living history of Shanghai from its colonial buildings.

Discover the exquisite Yu Garden. This is the best place to get a glimpse of ancient Shanghai, as reflected in the movies.

Walk through the shikumen and meet some locals and learn about their daily lives inside their traditional houses. Finally, take the fastest elevator in the world to the observation level of Shanghai Tower (the highest building in China) and take in a panoramic view of the Bund.

We'll drive you back to your hotel where you can enjoy a free evening.

Day 13
Departure

At the appointed time, your guide and driver will take you to the airport to catch your flight home. They will see you off after the airline check-in procedure. We wish you a great trip!

Price Includes

Price from: $3,399 (Tour code: gh-cht-12)

One-to-one consultancy
One-to-one consultancy
Knowledgeable local guides
Knowledgeable local guides
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Hand-picked hotels
Hand-picked hotels
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Transportation as listed
Transportation as listed
A 24/7 helpline while traveling
A 24/7 helpline while traveling

Trip Notes

Every element of the tour above can be tailored. Feel free to tell us your ideas and we will be happy to make adjustments for you.

1. Extend the Tour

  • Suzhou and/or Hangzhou: add 1–4 days — water towns, gardens, the Grand Canal, and West Lake
  • Chengdu: add 2–3 days — a panda keeper program, have your photo taken next to a panda, and the Leshan Giant Buddha
  • Hong Kong: add 2–3 days — Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, and a day-tour of Macau
  • Free days: Yangshuo and Shanghai are popular destinations to add one or more free days to explore on one's own.
  • More destinations: Zhangjiajie, Huangshan, and Tibet... Inform us of your interests and we will offer you some recommendations.

2. Accommodation

Various types of accommodation are available, including famous 5-star hotel chains, 4-star hotels in the best locations, good value 3-star hotels, or boutique hotels that reflect the style of the region. Whatever your accommodation preferences are, our travel experts will seek out and find the perfect one for you.

Most hotels in China allow at most three people in one room. If there are more than three people in your group, we will check if there is family room available or do our best to arrange interconnecting rooms or adjoin rooms.

3. Transportation

China is a huge country, so to make your travel experience more efficient, we usually arrange flights to connect your destinations.

China's high-speed rail network is a fast-paced way to travel. We recommend taking high-speed trains for journeys of less than 6 hours to interested customers — please tell us if you are one of them.

4. Meals

Lunches at popular local restaurants are included for you so you can taste authentic Chinese food. Your guide will assist you with ordering the dishes.

Vegetarian, halal, kosher, Indian, or gluten-free — all your dietary requirements can be taken care of by our experienced private guides. Let us know if you have any of these dietary requirements during your booking.

5. Tibet Travel Permit

You will need a Tibet Entry Permit. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for your permit once you book a Tibetan tour with us.

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China