12-Day China Tour to Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guilin, and Shanghai

12-Day China Tour to Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guilin, and Shanghai

By Ruby Zhao | Updated Dec. 5, 2023

Chinese Classic Wonders and Panda Keeper

Start your journey to the top destinations in China: Feel the majesty of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall in Beijing, be in awe of the scale of the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, admire the skylines of Shanghai, and appreciate the fascinating mountain and river scenery in Guilin. What's more, you will meet some adorable pandas up close in Chengdu!




from US$3,099 p/p

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Tour Highlights

Tour the Great Wall at a less-visited section.
Tour the Great Wall at a less-visited section.
See the ancient glory of the magnificent Terracotta Army.
See the ancient glory of the magnificent Terracotta Army.
Have close contact with pandas as a panda keeper.
Have close contact with pandas as a panda keeper.
Appreciate the natural beauty of the Li River on a cruise.
Appreciate the natural beauty of the Li River on a cruise.
Experience the collision of new and old in Shanghai.
Experience the collision of new and old in Shanghai.

China Highlights, Asia Highlights, and Global Highlights collaborate to provide families and couples with personalized and stress-free experiences in diverse destinations.

Itinerary Details

The following sample itinerary is to help you tailor your own tour. Tell us what you would like to do. Our dedicated one-to-one expert is waiting to create a unique tour to suit your preferences.

Day 1
Beijing Arrival

Your private guide and driver will be ready to escort you to your hotel where your guide will assist you with the check-in procedure.

Day 2
Beijing Highlights

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

Your exciting city highlights tour starts as you set foot in the former imperial front court, Tian'anmen Square. Be amazed by the rich exhibitions hidden in the Forbidden City, travel through a traditional Beijing alleyway – a hutong – on a rickshaw, and pay a visit to a hospitable local family. To ensure that you have a quality Chinese food experience, we will recommend some authentic local restaurants for you.

Optional Activities

For activities at night, it's recommended to watch a kung fu show or an acrobatic performance. It is suggested to book the show one day prior — just check the availability with your guide.

Day 3
A Day on the Great Wall

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

There is a saying in China that no visit to Beijing is complete if you miss seeing the Great Wall. You needn't worry about this because you will travel to this incredible man-made creation. We have chosen the Mutianyu section because of its fabulous views and ancient watchtowers. Take your time while you are hiking on the wall and feel the long lost history beneath your feet — the wall will tell its old tales to you silently.

In addition to descending by cable car or walking down the wall, you can also try the exciting toboggan. You will wear a safety helmet and be able to control your speed. Lunch will be arranged at a nearby restaurant so you can have a nice meal and a rest.

Tip for Visiting

The majority of our previous guests agree that staying on the wall for 2 hours is more than adequate. You are also free to spend more time there if you wish. We recommend you notify your guide one day prior to your Great Wall visit so that he/she can make arrangements accordingly.

Day 4
The Summer Palace and a Flight to Xi'an

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

The highlight of this day is the former royal garden, the Summer Palace, which is famous for its graceful garden design and enchanting lake view. Go boating on the glittering lake, wander around the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, and relax, just like the royal family did.

After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport and will land in Xi'an in the afternoon. Your Xi'an guide and driver will be waiting for you.

Day 5
The Terracotta Army and the Ancient City Wall

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

Different from the Great Wall in Beijing, the ancient city wall in Xi'an is more like a fortress as it was built to defend the city from enemies. That is why the wall is so tall and thick. You can enjoy a golf cart ride, go biking, or simply walk on the wall.

Have a nice lunch at a local restaurant. Then, the spectacular Terracotta Army awaits you. You will be impressed by its incredible scale as if Emperor Qin still wields his power.

Day 6
Silk Road History and a Flight to Chengdu

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

The bustling Muslim Street is considered to be a paradise of both ethnic and local food. Other than various delicious snacks, you can also feel the vibe of the cultural collision. Its history can be traced back to the time of the booming Silk Road.

Before heading to the airport, you don't want to miss the ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda. You will hear the interesting story about the monk Xuanzang while appreciating the special building style.

Say goodbye to this historical city and fly to Chengdu. Your guide and driver in Chengdu will pick you up at the airport and then escort you to your hotel.

Day 7
Panda Hometown: One-Day Panda Keeper Program

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

You will have the chance to meet adorable pandas up close! It will take approximately 1½ hours to reach Dujiangyan Panda Base from Chengdu. Your memorable day as a panda keeper is about to start. With the assistance of the professional staff members, you will clean the pandas' enclosures and see the panda keeper feeding them at close range, and make some cakes for them. At noon, dine with the staff in the canteen. After lunch, you will watch an educational documentary about the life cycle of a panda.

To join the panda keeper program, a health certificate is needed by the base. We will assist you with applying for it. At the end of the program, you will receive a certificate from the CCRCGP (China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas). For your safety, the pandas will stay in a special enclosure instead of staying in the open air.

Day 8
Half-Day Panda Tour in Chengdu and a Flight to Guilin

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

The panda is no doubt the icon of this city. You can feel that the people in Chengdu have the deepest love for pandas. Various places based on a panda theme will not cease to amaze you!

Take some nice selfies with the largest panda sculpture in China. "I Am Here" is the name of this amazing work, made by the outstanding artist Lawrence Argent. This wall climbing panda has become a popular landmark in Chunxi Road and attracts people from different places.

Take a walk in People's Park after lunch. Relax among the emerald green trees and colorful flowers, and linger in the traditional pavilions in peace. Blend in with the local people and see their simple way of life at a traditional teahouse nearby.

The Kuanzhai Xiangzi, or Wide and Narrow Alleyways, are a mix of old and new. You can experience the old Chengdu customs in Kuan (wide) alley, while you will find some nice bars and restaurants where you can have a relaxing afternoon in Zhai (narrow) alley.

In the evening, you will fly to Guilin, a picturesque city with beautiful karst landforms.

Day 9
Guilin: Relaxing Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo and Countryside Tour

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

The stunning scenery alongside the Li River will be the highlight of your day. Spend a leisurely 4 hours on the cruise, appreciating the wonderful landscape 'painting' composed by the verdant hills and emerald water. After the cruise, it's time to escape the city's noise and traffic. Go biking peacefully along the pastoral paths, pay a visit to a local farmer's home, and free yourself among this exquisite, idyllic rural paradise.

Take a walk along West Street and spend a lovely night in this town that's embraced by jade-colored hills.

About the Cruise

Your private driver will deliver your luggage straight from Guilin to Yangshuo. While you are cruising on the Li River, your guide will escort you.

At present, there are 3-star or 4-star cruises available. The 3-star cruises are more affordable yet the general conditions on the 3-star cruises are not as good as the 4-star ones. It is more spacious on a 4-star cruise and a buffet lunch is provided instead of the simple meals that are served on 3-star ones. Accordingly, the cost of a 4-star cruise is higher.

Day 10
Yangshuo: Chinese Cooking Class and a Flight to Shanghai

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

Go to the morning food fair with your guide and get a glimpse of the Yangshuo people's daily lives. You can get all of the fresh ingredients needed for your cooking class. Under the guidance of a seasoned cook, you will learn the culinary art of authentic Chinese cuisine. You will handle everything from preparing the ingredients to transforming them into delicious dishes. Savor the food and the joy of cooking, and take the recipes back home so you can show your cooking skills to your friends.

Say goodbye to Guilin and you will go straight to the airport from Yangshuo. Your guide will assist you with the boarding procedures before you fly to Shanghai.

Day 11
Shanghai: Panoramic View Over the City and a Bustling Street Market

Meals provided: breakfast and lunch

Feel the fusion of both tradition and modernity in Shanghai. Ascend to the highest glass viewing platform in the Shanghai World Financial Center to have a panoramic view of the city. As for lunch, your guide will recommend some nice restaurants for you but you are also free to make your own choices.

After experiencing the modern side to Shanghai, you will visit Shanghai from another aspect — the hidden jewel among the forest of concrete, Yu Garden, a classic Chinese garden that's over 370 years old. Blend in with the crowds at Yuyuan Market. Try some local snacks and pick some handicrafts, antiques, and souvenirs for your loved ones.

Day 12
Shanghai Departure

As the last day of your journey, a free day is recommended. If you wish to make other arrangements, please don't hesitate to notify your trip advisor.

As always, your guide and driver will ensure that you catch your flight on time. Take all of your wonderful memories of this China tour with you, until next time!

Price Includes

Price from: $3,099 (Tour code: gh-cht-pd-02)

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

1. Tailoring Your Tour

This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your budget, interests and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we'll be happy to help you arrange accordingly.

2. Panda Keeper Program

As the first tour company in China to operate the program, Global Highlights has developed a stable relationship with the Dujiangyan Panda Base. Sometimes the program is subject to change due to force majeure. Usually we are able to get the first-hand information necessary to arrange your tour. Your early booking (at least two weeks before departure) is useful in facilitating the availability of the program. Sometimes activities listed in the tour description will be adjusted according to the health of the pandas. Thanks for your understanding.

If your time is limited, and you can only join in with morning activities, the price will still be the same.

3. Children as Panda Keepers

Panda volunteers should be between 10 and 70 years of age. Though the pandas look harmless, they are actually carnivores. Parents must prevent their children from coming into direct contact with the pandas. The cost for children 10 years old and above is the same as the cost for adults.
If your children are between 2 and 9 years, you can still take them with you during the program. The children should not enter the room where the panda cage is, but they can stand at the gate of the room to watch you feeding a panda and cleaning the cage, which takes around 30 minutes. Your guide will help you take care of children.

If your children are under 2 years old and you yourself take care of them throughout the day, no additional fee is charged.

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Why Travel with Global Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)

  • Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
  • Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
  • Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.

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