21 Days Heritage Highlights: Beijing Chengde Xian Lhasa Chengdu Jiuzhaigou and Shanghai

A mix of ancient architectural wonders, breathtaking natural landscape, and ancient temples and shrines with spiritual serenity, China’s UNESCO listed World Cultural and Natural Heritages satisfy travelers of any kind. This 3 weeks luxurious China tour allows you to explore the very best that this mysterious oriental country has to offer, from the royal architectures in Beijing to the legendry museum of Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xian, from the sacred majestic temples & palaces in Lhasa and Chengde to Sichuan’s treasures – giant pandas and the wondrous Jiuzhaigou.

Trip Highlights

  • The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Place
  • Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde
  • UNESCO protected Terra-cotta Warriors
  • Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (including Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka)
  • Qingchengshan Mountain and Dujiangyan Irrigation Project
  • Huanglong & Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and historic Interest Area
  • Mount Emei Scenic Spot and Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Spot

Customizable Tour Itinerary

Meals: No Meals

Nihao, welcome to China! Take your time for landing, luggage claim and meet your guide outside the customs of airport. Be transferred to your luxurious hotel with a comfortable, well-maintained vehicle. Spend the rest of the day free at leisure.

  • Hotels: The Peninsula Beijing, Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing
The Peninsula WangfujingThe Peninsula Wangfujing
The Peninsula WangfujingThe Peninsula Wangfujing

Tour Beijing - China’s dynastic capital, where there are numerous ancient architectural wonders to be discovered. And some have entered UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List.

Stand in Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing, overlooking Chairman Mao’s Portrait hung on the Tiananmen Rostrum, where people witnessed the founding of New China in 1949.

Then walk into the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, or previously named Forbidden City, where 24 emperors used to ascend the throne. Initially built in 1406, Forbidden City covers an area of 720,000 square meters, with over 9000 rooms making up the world’s largest ancient wooden architecture groups.

Visit Summer Palace in the afternoon. With beautiful mountain and river landscape, the site of Summer Palace had been constructed as a royal garden ever since the 11the Century, and extended to an area of over 1000 hectares in the early 20th Century. A boat cruise is included for you to better explore Summer Palace.

Enjoy amazing Shaolin Kungfu or Peking Opera night show (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: The Peninsula Beijing, Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing
Summer PalaceSummer Palace
Forbidden CityForbidden City

This morning, take the Great Wall cable car to the mountain top to view this awe-inspiring ancient fortification – hailed as the greatest architectural engineering in human history. From your knowledgeable tour guide, you’ll learn the history of the Great Wall, and why and how it was built.

This afternoon, discover the old cultural traditions of Beijing when touring hutongs. Hutong is also a vanishing scene as Beijing is now being built as an international metropolis. See elegant traditional quadrangle dwellings.

Taste famous Beijing specialty food – Peking duck (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: The Peninsula Beijing, Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing
Great WallGreat Wall
Hutong ValleyHutong Valley
Peking DuckPeking Duck

Admire the magnificent religious architectural complex of Temple of Heaven, an imperial sacrificial altar dating the first half of 15th Century, where Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors worshiped the gods for a prosperous country.

Then visit Panjiayuan Antique weekend Market, very popular among local antiquarians. There is chance that visitors can find precious from stacks of sealstone, ceramics, calligraphy and paintings, Buddhist bracelets, etc. (Visit Lama Temple if it is not a weekend)

Afterwards drive to Chengde, a famous cultural city in China.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort
Temple of HeavenTemple of Heaven

The Mountain Resort of Chengde was built between 1703 and 1792 as an imperial summer palace. It is a masterpiece of Chinese classical garden by making full use of local landscape and traditional Chinese horticulture, thus known as the epitome of China's natural landscape.

Right next to Mountain Resort is the Pule Temple, with a blend of ancient Chinese temple complex and Tibetan architectures. It is a symbol of national unity.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort
Pule TemplePule Temple

In the north of Mountain Resort, the hillside Putuo Zongcheng Temple is a replica of the Potala Palace in Tibet, thus known as the Lesser Potala Palace. With 60 building complex, it is the largest and grandest temple of Chengde’s eight outlying temples.

Also visit Punning Temple, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in North China. Admire its magnificent architectures from its front courtyard of traditional Chinese style gates, halls, towers to the backyard of typical Tibetan architecture, with a group of buildings modeled after the famous Samye Temple in Tibet.

Drive back to Beijing.

Putuo Zongcheng TemplePutuo Zongcheng Temple
Punning TemplePunning Temple

Take a morning flight from Beijing to Xian. Arrive the eastern terminus of the ancient Silk Road. From 202 BC to the 8th Century, the Peace Messenger was sent by Emperor Wu of Han from Xian to the West Regions and then gradually developed the Silk Road.

An important site on Silk Road, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is also known as the Da Cien Temple Pagoda, built in 652 to hold valuable Buddhist classics brought back from ancient India. A 64.5-m-tall brick pagoda, it is a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture of Tang dynasty.

At dinner time, savor different flavors of dumplings, the most popular Chinese food, and feast your eyes on beautiful Tang Dynasty Dance Show.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian
Big Wild Goose PagodaBig Wild Goose Pagoda
Tang Dynasty Dance ShowTang Dynasty Dance Show
Sofitel LegendSofitel Legend
Sofitel LegendSofitel Legend

Discover one of the world’s top ten ancient tombs - the massive excavation pits of Terra-cotta Army dating to over 2200 years ago. Have a wonderful encounter with thousands of life-sized Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, and witness a list of cold weapons.

Afterwards, get in ancient China’s best-kept and longest city wall dating to the 14th Century, which is also one of the iconic structures of Xian. If you prefer, ride a bike to see the old structures such as the Bell and Drum Tower of Xian in the Old City area and tower blocks in the New Xian.

See Han people and Hui people l live in harmony when rambling the Muslim Quarter, where there is a wide spectrum of local foods and snacks to taste.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Terra-cotta ArmyTerra-cotta Army
City WallCity Wall

Depart Xian and fly to Lhasa, the economic and cultural center of Tibet and a famous holy city for Buddhists. Your dream of traveling to Tibet is now fulfilled. Spend the remain of the day to adapt plateau climate and enjoy the uniqueness that Tibet has to offer – the blistering sun, the clearest blue sky, the purest sacred snow-capped mountains, the freedom…

Note: The St. Regis Hotel offers Potala Palace View Room

  • Meals: Breakfast,
  • Hotels: The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise
St. RegisSt. Regis
St. RegisSt. Regis

You will be escorted to visit Norbulingka, the summer palace for Dalai Lama. It is a beautiful Tibetan garden with hundreds of rooms, halls and chambers, elaborately-designed artificial landscapes, and various exotic flowers and plants.

Then come to the Sera Monastery, one of the three great monasteries in Tibet, housing tens of thousands of Buddha statues. There is chance to see Tibetan Buddhist debate in Sera Monastery.

Delve deeper into Tibetan Buddhist art and culture in Drepung Monastery – the biggest temple in Tibet. The Dalai Lama II to V used to live here and left many cultural relics.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: The St. Regis Lhasa Resort
Sera MonasterySera Monastery
Drepung MonasteryDrepung Monastery

Walking across the Potala Square and visit the enormous Potala Palace in person – the winter palace of the Dalai Lama for 1300 years. UNESCO depicts it as a historic ensemble, as it incorporates perfectly the palace, castle, and temple complex and possesses a myriad of Buddhist and Tibetan culture and art treasures.

Later come at Jokhang Temple, the final destination of the pilgrimage of Tibetan Buddhists. When Jokhang Temple was built in the 7th Century, Lhasa was then honored as the holy city. Admire the statue of Shakyamuni in twelve years old and find the best place to see the distant Potala Palace.

Then walk Barkhor Street, the commercial center of Lhasa and a ritual walk path surrounding Jokhang Temple, thus known as the sacred way. Here you can meet friendly local Tibetans and buy Tibet souvenirs and specialties.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: The St. Regis Lhasa Resort
Potala PalacePotala Palace
Barkhor StreetBarkhor Street

Leave Tibet, and fly from Lhasa to Chengdu, where several other UNESCO World Heritages await.

Transfer from airport to hotel and have a brisk stroll on the Wide and Narrow Alley, the Chengdu style hutongs dating to 18th Century, with traditional courtyards of black tiles and grey brick walls.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
  • Hotels: The St. Regis Chengdu, The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
The Ritz CarltonThe Ritz Carlton
The Ritz CarltonThe Ritz Carlton

Transfer to Dujiangyan Panda Base – an important part of the UNESCO-protected Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, where you will participate in a full day panda volunteer program. Dress up and be an honorary keeper – learn knowledge and stories about panda bear that has been living on Earth for at least 8 million years, thus known as a "living fossil”. And take good care of pandas by cleaning their house and feeding them.

  • Hotels: Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Panda VolunteerPanda Volunteer
Panda VolunteerPanda Volunteer
Panda VolunteerPanda Volunteer

Have an easy walk up Mount Qingcheng, the place of origin of Taoism and one of the four great Taoist mountains in China featuring verdant forests and home to lots of cultural relics and historical Taoist temples.

Thereafter, wonder at the ancient Dujiangyan Irrigation System, originally built in 256 BC during China’s Warring States Period. It is the world’s earliest existing hydraulic engineering. After more than 2,200 years, it is still in use today.

Drive back to Chengdu and check-in to hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Mount QingchengMount Qingcheng
Dujiangyan Irrigation SystemDujiangyan Irrigation System

Fly from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, you’ve slide into a fairyland.

Known for its "four wonders" - colorful pools, snowy mountains, serene canyons and lush forests, Huanglong Scenic Area is the best-preserved plateau wetland in China. The Huanglong Valley at the foot of Xuebao Ding Mountain resembles a huge yellow dragon, hence the name. Enjoy the peaceful time and stunning natural scenery in Huanglong.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou
Huanglong Scenic AreaHuanglong Scenic Area
Nine ValleyNine Valley

Visit the heaven-like Jiuzhaigou Valley. Both Huanglong and JIuzhaigou are UNESCO World Heritages. Jiuzhaigou nature reserve was built mainly to protect rare animals such as giant pandas, golden monkeys and their natural ecological environment. Appreciate the jewel-like lakes, pools, streams, spectacular waterfalls and beautiful valleys.

Fly back to Chengdu.

Important notice: currently Jiuzhaigou is only partially open since the 2017 earthquake and is expected to be fully open after recovery. Meanwhile, as a result of the flight reductions, passengers can only fly into and out of Jiuzhaigou via Chengdu with night flight. So your tour to Jiuzhaigou is likely to be adjusted accordingly.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Nine ValleyNine Valley

Today make your way to Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area, which was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1996.

The 8th-century Leshan Giant Buddha, also named Lingyun Buddha, is located on the east bank of Minjiang River. It is the statue of Maitreya, as high as 71 meters – the largest cliff carving statue in China. Take a short cruise on the river so that you can get a full picture of Leshan Giant Buddha.

Stay overnight at the foot of Mount Emei.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Leshan Giant BuddhaLeshan Giant Buddha

Take the shuttle bus up Mount Emei, featuring beautiful views and home to a wealth of Buddhist relics and sites, including architectures, sculptures, ritual, music, and painting. Visit Wannian Temple, one of the oldest temples on Mount Emei, to see the tooth relic of Buddha, the bronze statue of Samantabhadra and Buddhist classics.

Then hike to Qingyin Pavilion, a fine example of Chinese Buddhist temple garden. Observe the wild monkeys around Wuxiangang parking lot. Take shuttle bus down to visit the Baoguo Temple. It is the first and most famous temple of Emei and the local Buddhist activity center.

Drive back to Chengdu

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Emei MountainEmei Mountain

Fly from Chengdu to Shanghai, you’ve come to the most energetic city of China and one of the busiest metropolises on Earth. However, Shanghai’s hundreds year-old traditions and local dwellings are still well-kept. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.

  • Hotels: Les Suites Orient, the Bund
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai
Les Suites OrientLes Suites Orient
Les Suites OrientLes Suites Orient

See traditional Shanghai style residential houses – the Shikumen dwellings hidden in the Nongtang alleyways. The lintel of the door with brick carving is the highlight. Then Explore Shanghai French Concession to travel back in time and visit Shanghai in early 20th Century when the Western people “took adventures” in the Orient.

Tour Yu Garden, located right next to the City God Temple. Built in the 16th Century, it is one of the finest examples of China’s traditional gardens with many exquisite and elegant ancient structures. Then roam the old streets of Yuyuan Market.

Later get to know Shanghai’s colonial culture on the Bund, where you can see an array of 19th Century colonial architectures. Across the Hupu River is the ultra-modern Lujiazui Financial District. Ascend Shanghai World Financial Center, one of the highest buildings in the district, for glitzy city view of Shanghai.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
The BundThe Bund
Jade GardenJade Garden

Enjoy a private transfer service from your hotel to airport – end of your 21 days China tour. Have a safe and pleasant journey back home!

  • Meals: Breakfast,
Maglev TrainMaglev Train

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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