21 Days Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Shangri-La, Lijiang, Dali, Chengdu, Guilin, Shanghai Tour

Shaped by thousands years of history, over 50 distinctive ethnic minority groups and countless cultural changes, China boasts a long and diverse list of time-honored towns. This 21 days China itinerary is perfectly designed for you explore the best of China’s ancient towns, cities and villages, and also combines relaxation all the way.

It begins with a magical Chinese cultural essence experience in Beijing and Xian, two of China’s ancient capitals, before moving on to the timeless Tibet and breathtaking Yunnan & Guilin and finishing in a laidback ancient water town of Shanghai.

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the unique landscapes and beautiful architectural wonders
  • Encounter lovely giant pandas in Chengdu
  • Tour the picturesque riverside ancient towns
  • Admrie those ancient Buddhist temples and shrines in Tibet & Shangri-La

Customizable Tour Itinerary

Hello, welcome to Beijing, the capital of modern and ancient China! Meet your guide and driver with a private vehicle for an airport transfer to your luxurious hotel. For your comfort, there’s not site visits arranged today. Relax yourself to counteract jet lag.

  • Hotels: Beijing Fairmont Hotel, Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel, Beijing Aman Summer Palace
Hutong rickshawHutong rickshaw

Walk amidst the Tiananmen Square as large as 440,000 square meters and see the portrait of Chairman Mao on the Tiananmen Rostrum or named the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Enter Forbidden City, named Palace Museum in nowadays. As the palace and home of 24 emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasty, it is the largest and best-preserved ancient architecture complex in China and indeed an unmatched wooden architectural masterpiece. Later reach the top of Jingshan Hill, a private garden of the ancient royalty, to get an amazing full picture of Forbidden City.

Explore Beijing hutong lanes on old-fashioned rickshaw to see the traditional courtyards, that is, the quadrangle dwellings. Both hutong and courtyard are cultural symbols of ancient China.

Enjoy a wonderful evening with a show of Kungfu or Peking Opera (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Forbidden CityForbidden City

Feel refreshed and energetic by practicing Tai Chi with a master in the Temple of Heaven. Dating to 1420, it was built with sacred architectures for ancient emperors, “the sons of heaven”, to sacrifice to the Heaven and Earth.

Get to the Great Wall Mutianyu Section with cableway up and down. The greatest and biggest man-made military project on human history, the Great Wall stretches for more than 20,000km on the mountain summits. Walk on the Great Wall to discover the beacon towers and view the world from the top.

Feast on Beijing Roast Duck at dinner time (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Temple of HeavenTemple of Heaven

Visit Summer Palace, where the imperial family of Qing Dynasty used to enjoy a cool getaway from Forbidden City in the hot summer days. Sit back on a boat cruising Kunming Lake. See the grand ancient towers, pavilions and palaces built against Wanshou Hill.

Be escorted to the railway station and move to Xian on a high speed train journey.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian
Summer Palace with Dragon Boat CruiseSummer Palace with Dragon Boat Cruise

Explore the mighty tomb of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, a great army to be buried with China’s first feudal emperor in the third century B.C. You will see myriad solders of different ranks, such as cavalry, chariots, infantry and crossbowman.

Witness the grandness of Xian Ancient City Wall of the Ming Dynasty. It is the longest and best-kept ancient city walls in China, 13.74km long, 12m high, and 12-18m wide. Then delight in Muslim Quarter’s casual atmosphere and varied street foods.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Terracotta Warriors MuseumTerracotta Warriors Museum

Visit Da Cien Temple and admire the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The iconic structure of ancient Xian, the pagoda was built in 652 during Tang Dynasty to contain the valuable Buddhist classics and Buddha statues brought back from ancient India by eminent Monk Xuanzeng, who had experienced lots of legendary things along the Silk Road.

Later visit a local family and learn from the enthusiastic host to make authentic dumplings, a unique traditional Chinese delicacy. Enjoy the dumpling you make for lunch.

Fly to Lhasa, the heartland of Tibet. Acclimate the new climate, relax, and listen to your guide’s advice on how to prevent altitude sickness.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa, The St. Regis Lhasa Resort
Big Goose PagodaBig Goose Pagoda

Visit Norbulingka, the Summer Palace in Lhasa for Dalai Lama to cool off in summer. Apart from its beautiful architecture, this Tibetan style garden boasts over 100 species of plants, with some that are transplanted from the Himalaya.

Then admire Sera Monastery, which is one of the six great monasteries of the gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. There are numerous Tibetan Buddhism relics including thousands of Buddha sculptures. Also visit Drepung Monastery, the biggest temple in Tibet and one of the most beautiful examples of Tibetan Buddhist architecture.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,

Go on a pilgrimage to Potala Palace, the signature highlight of a Tibet tour. It is the largest ancient castle complex in Tibet that incorporates palaces and temples, and has the highest elevation (at 3700m). Walk between its red and white places to appreciate its art and culture valuables.

Then visit Jokhang Temple. Built 1300 years ago during the Tubo Period, it is the extant earliest civil structure construction, and also blends the architecture style of ancient China, Nepal and India. It is because of Jokhang Temple that Lhasa is honored as the holy city.

Afterwards, roam around the Barkhor Street, known as the “sacred way” among Tibetans, where the traditional dwellings are well kept and the peaceful traditional lifestyle can be experienced.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
Potala PalacePotala Palace

Free at leisure at “the roof of the world” – enjoy yourself a delightful morning with freshly clean air and experience local Tibetan way of living.

Fly to Shangri-La, a hidden paradise gradually known to the world since 1930s when Lost Horizon was published. Pick up and transfer to hotel. If time permits, visit the ancient town of Shangri-La, built based on Shambhala, an ideal land depicted on the Buddhist scriptures. Reach the top of Guishan Park to see the world’s biggest prayer wheel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Songtsam Shangri-La (Lvgu) Lodge, Songtsam Linka Shangri-La, Shangri-La Resort
 ancient town of Shangri-La ancient town of Shangri-La
Visit the hillside Sumtsaling Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan. There are countless Buddhist treasures are preserved in this imposing Tibetan castle, also known as a Tibetan Art Museum.

Drive to Potatso National Park with beautiful natural scenery of mirror-like alpine lakes, vast meadows, wetlands full of flowers in summer and birds in winter, and virgin forests.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Sumtsaling MonasterySumtsaling Monastery

Drive to Lijiang from Shangri-La. En route, visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, ranking as one of the most majestic gorges on Earth and one of ten best hikes in the world. See the onrushing Jinsha River on the bottom and two huge snow mountains in the distance. Later marvel at the First Bend of Yangtze River.

Arrive the Old Town of Lijiang dating to the 13th Century – the kingdom of ethnic Naxi people. It was carefully designed, built along the streams and including the palace of ancient Naxi kings. Watch the sunset and get a panorama of Lijiang Ancient Town at the Wangu Pavilion on Lion Hill.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Hotel Indigo Lijiang Ancient Town, InterContinental Resort Lijiang Ancient Town, Grand Hyatt Lijiang
Tiger Leaping GorgeTiger Leaping Gorge

Take cable car up the holy Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, one of the most famous and biggest snow mountains in China, to see its amazing 13 peaks, alpine meadows and even the glaciers.

Then explore Baisha Ancient Town - the cradle of Naxi civilization. It was the capital of Lijiang before 1383 and remains intact today. Visit Baisha Murals, a splendid religious and art heritage created between early Ming and early Qing Dynasty for about 300 years

Ramble in Yuquan Park, or known as Black Dragon Pool. See the ancient architecture complex, and more importantly, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain reflected in the pool.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Jade Dragon Snow MountainJade Dragon Snow Mountain

Drive to Dali, inhabited by ethnic Bai people.

Take a boat to cruise Erhai Lake, enjoy the peaceful and gorgeous scenery, overlook Cangshan Mountain and see quaint fishing villages on the shores. Then visit the mighty Chongsheng Temple and Three Pagodas. This 9th-Century Buddhist heritage site is the iconic landmark of Dali and a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture.

Later, experience profound Bai culture in Xizhou Ancient Town, where the traditional Bai dwelling houses are perfectly kept.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Dali Landscape Hotel, Hilton Dali Resort & SPA, The Linden Centre
Erhai LakeErhai Lake

Once the center of Yunnan Nanzhao Kingdom, Dali Ancient Town still maintains its medieval layout, city gates and residential houses. Experience the special charm with a leisure stroll through the flagstone streets that are lined with all kinds of shops.

Fly to Chengdu, with history of over 3000 years and known to the world as the hometown of giant pandas.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Grand Hyatt Chengdu, The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu, Buddha Zen Hotel Chengdu
Wuhua Pavilion in Dali Ancient TownWuhua Pavilion in Dali Ancient Town

Enjoy a happy morning with the adorable giant pandas at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center. Get to know the knowledge of giant panda and see them having tasty breakfast and playing freely on the grassland.

Then visit a Three Kingdom Period (220-280) historical site. The Wuhou Ancestral Hall, a temple to memorize Emperor Liubei and the legendary “Zhuge Liang”, is the only one in China that a monarch and his minster are worshiped at the same temple.

Thereafter, walk through the Jinli Ancient Street – the Chinese red lanterns and traditional style billboards hang from the eaves of the old buildings.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Chengdu Panda Breeding Research CenterChengdu Panda Breeding Research Center

For hundreds of years, Chengdu people have enjoyed a slow-paced lifestyle. Go visit Chengdu People’s Park, the best place to experience the city’s laid-back ambience and see locals how to spend leisure time – by playing mahjong, dancing, and drinking tea. Sample tea at a quaint traditional teahouse and watch the tea masters to practice fun Sichuan tea ceremony.

After about 2-hour air journey, arrive in Guilin, where you can delight in picturesque natural scenery and also explore thousand year-old towns.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Jolie Vue Boutique Hotel Guilin, Sheraton Guilin, Guilin Shangri La Hotel
Reed Flute CaveReed Flute Cave

Drive to visit Daxu Ancient Town dating to 200AD, favorably located beside Li River. Roam around the village to see the historical city gate, well-preserved Ming and Qing Dynasty residential houses, ancient arch bridge, abandoned wharfs, and meet local craftsmen busy working on their artistic works.

Afterwards step into Reed Flute Cave and witness the incredibly weird-shaped stalactites and stalagmites, stone waterfalls, striking stone mansions, lifelike stone animals… which are illuminated by dramatic colored lights.

Climb up Folded Brocade Hill to watch the sun set over the saw-toothed peaks (if weather permits). The hill also offers the best panoramic view of downtown Guilin.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Ancient residence in Daxu Ancient TownAncient residence in Daxu Ancient Town

Board a luxurious ship down Li River to Yangshuo. You’ll cruise the most beautiful section of Li River, pass by numerous limestone peaks, islands, vast farmlands, pristine villages and have the chance to see cormorant fishing.

Disembark, go through the West Street of a relaxed, bustling atmosphere, and spend a half day exploring the intoxicating countryside of Yangshuo on a bicycle ride or in your private vehicle. Your guide can lead you to visit a local family in an old village. The friendly host will share with you the local life experience.

When the night falls, enjoy an amazing open-air show – the Impression Liu Sanjie (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, Yangshuo Banyan Tree Hotel, Alila Yangshuo
Li River cruiseLi River cruise

Head for Fuli Ancient Town. Once a trading post along Li River to link Yangtze and Zhujiang River, Fuli was a cultural melting pot in ancient times and still maintains a few primitive cultures. Furthermore, it is reputed as the hometown of Chinese painting fan. Learn how to paint on the paper fan from a local craftsman.

Fly to Shanghai, where the Eastern culture first met the Western culture in China.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Pudong Shanghai, Grand Hyatt Shanghai, Grand Central Hotel Shanghai
Damian  Mountain on Li RIverDamian Mountain on Li RIver

Discover the style and vibe of traditional Shanghai on a visit to Zhujiajiao that thrived in the 17th Century. Enjoy a boat cruise along the streams to see the ancient bridges, riverside dwellings, temples, tea houses… and experience the unique charm of Jiangnan Watertown.

Walk the Bund to see various styles of colonial architectures converted from early 20th Century banks, hotels, compradors. Stand on the observation deck of Shanghai World Financial Center to witness the ultra-modern China and imagine the tremendous contrast between the old and new.

Enjoy an eye-popping acrobatic show in the evening (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Shanghai World Financial CenterShanghai World Financial Center

You will be picked up and driven to the airport by private transfer – the end of your 21 days China tour. Board your international return flight home.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
Shanghai Pudong areaShanghai Pudong area

Price Includes

  • In-country transportationas noted in the itinerary.
  • Admission fees and activity expenses as noted in the itinerary.
  • Luxury or boutique hotels centrally located.
  • Meals in local restaurants as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water.
  • Your own English-speaking guide service.
  • Your own chauffeur and vehicle service.

Price Excludes

  • International transportation.
  • Chinese tourist visa. (which enquired for most foreign passport holders)
  • Travel and medical insurance.
  • Meals, snacks, alcohol, etc. apart from those included in the itinerary.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Sights, excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to guide and driver.


This tour is tailor-made and we can tailor to meet your reqeusts. Your personal travel consultant will contact you within 24 working hours!


CHINA OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2019 We researched several companies and studied reviews on Trip Adviser before contacting who did a very China Culture Tour with an initial query. Right from the outset Grace who owns the company was excellent. She emailed detailed with pictures information and a suggested…read more details

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