01279 704 137 | Speak with an Asia expert
Mon, Wed & Fri 8-16
Tue & Thu 8-21
Sat 9-17
HomeFar East Holidays & ToursChinaHighlights of China
China | 10d/8n:

Highlights of China


Highlights of this tour:

Beijing, the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Jingshan Hill, The Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army, visits to a local village, Xi’an, Shanghai, the canal town of Zhujiajiao.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Flight from the UK to Beijing; return flight from Shanghai
  • High-speed train connection from Beijing to Xi’an
  • Flight from Xi’an to Shanghai
  • 8 nights at 3- & 4-star hotels
  • Local, English-speaking guide to accompany you on the tour
  • 8 x breakfast (days 3–10)
  • 6 x lunch (days 3–4 and 6–9)
  • Excursions by car or minibus with air conditioning
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your tour
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – Tour requires minimum 2 participants

Comprehensive package of excursions included:

  • The Summer Palace, Houhai and Nanluoguxiang
  • Temple of Heaven Park, Tiananmen Square
  • The Forbidden City, Jingshan hill
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Wild Goose Pagoda
  • The Great Mosque, the Xi’an bazaar
  • The Terracotta Army, local village near Xi’an
  • The city walls of Xi’an
  • The Bund, Shanghai World Financial Center, Yuyaun Gardens
  • Zhujiajiao canal town
  • Admission and fees for the sights and attractions mentioned

Our promise to you:

  • The top highlights along this travel route
  • A well-constructed travel itinerary. No time wasted & world class
  • Guaranteed price, with no hidden surcharges
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
Single room supplement £310
Discount for children under 12 years
Discounts for large groups
Choose this tour because…

This ten-day tour taking in the highlights of China starts in Beijing, the historical seat of power, where you will visit the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. You will also have the chance to walk a short distance along the Great Wall of China. You then travel 1,000 km south-west to Xi’an, which served as the cradle of unified China 2,200 years ago. It was here that Emperor Qin gave orders to start work on the Great Wall of China, and it was here that he chose to create his magnificent sepulchral monument – the Terracotta Army The tour concludes in Shanghai, the financial powerhouse of modern-day China. The city is developing at an incredible pace, and it is here that it is becoming increasingly evident that the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever. China is in every respect a fascinating country with fascinating history, fascinating culture and a fascinating mentality that we Westerners may find hard to align with many of our deep-rooted beliefs and concepts.

Detailed Itinerary
Click an image to view at full size
Day 1: Flight to Beijing
Day 1: Flight to Beijing

Departure day, where you will fly to Beijing with connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Beijing
Day 2: Arrival in Beijing

On arrival in Beijing, you will pass through customs and immigrations before meeting our local guide, who will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall, holding an Asiatours sign. You will then be accompanied to your hotel before making a start on the first of your wonderful experiences.

Beijing is the capital of contemporary China, but has actually been a capital city for around 700 years. Centuries ago, Beijing was already the administrative powerhouse of the empire, and as such, the setting for numerous palaces and temples. Even though much of the past has had to give way to modern construction, the city is still home to a great many historical buildings.

The first stop on today’s tour is the Summer Palace, which – in spite of its name – is not really a palace in the accepted sense of the word, but an imperial park around Kunming Lake. The court of the Qing Dynasty spent much of the year here, particularly during the period leading up to the fall of the Empire. At the Summer Palace you can see numerous examples of the wild excesses of the affluent imperial court – including a boat made entirely of marble, which (hardly surprisingly) never managed to sail!

The day finishes off with a visit to Houhai and Nanluoguxiang. Houhai is one of three lakes that are known collectively as ShiChaHai. There are a great many courtyard houses here, making up a wonderful area distinguished by a serene tranquillity, in stark contrast to the otherwise frantically busy city. At the same time, it is one of the ‘happening’ areas of the city, where large numbers of cafés, bars and boutiques selling clothes and applied art have been established.

Overnight stay Dongfang Hotel 

Day 3: Sightseeing in historical Beijing
Day 3: Sightseeing in historical Beijing

The day’s sightseeing begins in Heavenly Temple Park, which is located in the south-east of the city. Every year, the Emperor travelled here from the Forbidden City to pray to the gods for a bountiful harvest. Today, the park is used by thousands of Beijing citizens for practising tai chi, or for singing and dancing to music from an old ghetto blaster or a modern smartphone.

The tour then continues to Tiananmen Square in the heart of the city. The square is so huge that it can easily accommodate one million people. It is also the site of the tomb of Mao Tse Tung, and there is always a long queue of people waiting patiently to file past the embalmed body of the famous world leader. At the other end of the square is the entrance to the Forbidden City, from where 24 emperors ruled the Middle Kingdom. Today, a huge portrait of Chairman Mao decorates the wall above the gateway, and the Forbidden City has become a giant museum. The Forbidden City measures 760 x 1,000 m, and is the most beautiful and best-preserved palace in China, comprising dozens of wonderful buildings. The Forbidden City was so called because it was forbidden for commoners to cross the bridge into the huge palace – and death was the sentence for anyone who defied the prohibition. Only the Emperor, his family and his staff were permitted inside the walls.

From the Forbidden City, the tour continues on to Jingshan hill – a man-made hill a little way to the north. It was from here that the imperial forces kept watch for the evil spirits from the north, who brought only death and misery with them. The hill is the highest point in Beijing, and the view from the top on clear days is truly astounding.
The sightseeing tour ends in Beihai Park, which was formerly one of the Emperor’s many gardens but is now a hugely appreciated people’s park in the centre of the city. People from the surrounding ‘hutongs’ make frequent use of the park. They are often to be found there practising tai chi or gymnastics, dancing the waltz or writing poetry in water on the tiles.

In the evening, you can – for an additional fee – go to see a Kung Fu show, which is an amazing artistic experience.

Overnight stay Dongfang Hotel 

Day 4: The Great Wall of China
Day 4: The Great Wall of China

The time has now come to head off to the Great Wall of China.
‘The Chinese Wall’– which the Chinese people refer to as ‘The Great Wall’ – is a highly impressive, 6,000-km-long defensive installation, whose strategic positioning was paramount. The wall is therefore built along the summits of a ridge of hills, where it would be most difficult for the enemy to breach. Some parts of the wall are extremely steep, with extraordinarily uneven steps.

You will be visiting the wall at Mutianyu, where you can see the magnificent structure stretching along the ridge of mountains for miles and miles. It is a truly amazing sight. In the far distance, you can just make out some of the isolated advanced watchtowers, which are located on a ridge of mountains a little farther to the north. The wall varies greatly as regards both width and incline. The steps are also very uneven in both height and depth. This restored section of the wall is between 6 and 8 metres high and 3–5 metres wide. The wall features embrasures along its full length, as well as watchtowers every few hundred metres.

You can choose to climb all the way to the top and down again, or pay a small fee (approx. CNY 100) to ride the cable car up and down. From the top of the wall, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding area, where you can clearly see the wall winding its way wonderfully through the landscape.


Overnight stay Dongfang Hotel 

Day 5: Journey from Beijing to Xi'an on the G-bullet train
Day 5: Journey from Beijing to Xi'an on the G-bullet train

After breakfast, you will be driven to the train station in Beijing to catch the G-bullet train to Xi’an. The journey takes almost six hours, and you will see the countryside change remarkably en route. From the giant city of Beijing, the train will carry you through mountains, over plains, and through agricultural land and industrial areas – reaching speeds of up to 350 km/h. The passenger seats are a little like airline seats, and the facilities on board the train are excellent.

On arrival in Xi’an, you will be met by a driver who will take you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.
Xi’an is one of the (numerous) exciting cities in China. For centuries, it was the easternmost stop on the Silk Road, an extremely important trading route. This marked the development of the city, which possessed great fortunes and housed a variety of religious beliefs. When the importance of the Silk Road as a trading route diminished, Xi’an fell into oblivion and remained almost forgotten until 1974, when the Terracotta Army – one of the most significant cultural treasures in China – was discovered. This incredible archaeological find put Xi’an back on the global map, not as a national capital but as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Xi’an also has a unique city wall that has remained almost completely untouched by time. Most of the houses and other buildings in the city have been modernised and are much younger than the wall, but the Drum Tower is a well-preserved old building located just a 2-minute walk from your hotel.

Overnight stay Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel 

Day 6: Xi'an - The Terracotta Army
Day 6: Xi'an - The Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army was built as a unique sepulchral memorial by and for Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It comprises more than 6,000 life-size soldiers, all with different facial expressions. The soldiers are drawn up in battle formation, watching over the final resting place of the emperor. Two giant halls have been erected over the incredible find, whose individual units have been restored and raised where they were found. A museum has also been built to display a collection of beautiful, unique artefacts including gold, silver and bronze treasures recovered from the burial site. The whole area is hugely impressive, and the visit is one of the absolute highlights of the tour.

The next stop is at a local village, where you can experience life in the country in contemporary China – which is in stark contrast to the pomp and pageantry of the Imperial Age.

Overnight stay Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel 

Day 7: The Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an city wall, the bazaar, The Great Mosque, Xi'an – Shanghai
Day 7: The Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an city wall, the bazaar, The Great Mosque, Xi'an – Shanghai

Your sightseeing tour of Xi’an begins at the Wild Goose Pagoda, which is a site sacred to Buddhists and one of the most beautifully distinctive features of the city. You then proceed to The Great Mosque and the bazaar. The mosque is still active, and the clearly Chinese building is encircled by a delightful garden. The bazaar is located right next to the mosque, selling everything from eiderdowns to souvenirs.

Your tour of Xi’an finishes with a walk along the fantastic, fully intact city wall that dates back to the Ming dynasty but actually follows the course of an earlier wall from the Tang dynasty. It is 14 km long and – together with the central Drum Tower – fulfils an iconic role for the city. You can cycle the full length of the wall, which is almost completely flat on top.

From here, you will be taken to the airport to catch a flight to Shanghai – the giant city that functions as the financial powerhouse for the whole country. You will be met at the airport by our guide, who will accompany you to the hotel where you will be spending the next two nights.

Overnight stay Jing An Hotel 

Day 8: Sightseeing in Shanghai; The Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Nanjing Lu, Xintiandi and Shanghai World Financial Center
Day 8: Sightseeing in Shanghai; The Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Nanjing Lu, Xintiandi and Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai is situated at the point where the mighty Yangtze River flows into the East China Sea. The actual location of the city has always given it strategic significance. Its history stretches back almost 1,000 years, to when it was first accorded the status of a commercial centre. Today, it is the biggest city in China, with a population of almost 25 million.

After breakfast, you start your day with a walk along the park-like harbour promenade known as ‘The Bund’, which runs alongside the Huangpu River between the narrow Wusong River and the old part of the city. The Bund was previously Shanghai’s answer to Wall Street for overseas investors and traders. A unique aspect of The Bund today comprises the numerous citizens who gather here every day to practice tai chi or dance the waltz.

From here, the tour continues to Chenghuangmiao, whose name refers not only to the magnificent temple complex, but also to the entire section of the city with its small shops selling local wares. Chenghuangmiao is linked to the famous Yuyuan Garden. Yuyuan dates back to 1577, when it was built by Pan Yunduan, a civil servant in the Ming dynasty. The garden is one of the very finest examples of Chinese garden art. ‘Yu’ means ‘pleasant’ or ‘satisfying’ in Chinese, and the garden was built for Pan’s parents, to provide them with a delightful place to enjoy their retirement.

The next stop on the day’s itinerary is Xintiandi, the French colonial quarter. This part of the city is made up of traditional, restored Shikumen houses built along narrow streets and alleyways. Many of the original houses are businesses, cafés and restaurants today. ‘Xintiandi’ means ‘new heaven and earth’ and is considered to be the first lifestyle centre in China.

On the way from Xintiandi, you pass the Tianzifang Art Park, which has become one of China’s most productive creative centres, with galleries, cafés and workshops springing up like mushrooms. You continue to Shanghai’s iconic landmark, the Shanghai World Financial Center, which stands tall at 492 metres with 101 floors. This sky scraper was completed in 2008. The building is a symbol of trade and culture, and contains offices, conference facilities, art exhibitions and, on the 79th – 93rd floors, the 5-star luxury Park Hyatt hotel. From the 94th – 100th floors there is an observation deck with a captivating view of the city.

Your day of wonderful experiences concludes in Nanjing Lu, the most famous shopping street in China. It runs for 5.5 km, from the Bund in the east to the Jing’an temple in the west. You can choose to make your own way back to the hotel from here, if you would like to spend some time shopping or simply hanging out in a café watching life go by on the busy street.

Overnight stay Jing An Hotel 

Day 9: Zhujiajiao canal town
Day 9: Zhujiajiao canal town

Your sightseeing tour today will take you to the old canal town of Zhujiajiao on the outskirts of Shanghai. Its history stretches back almost 1,700 years, long before there was anything even resembling Shanghai. Zhujiajiao is situated in a lowland area dotted with lakes and watercourses between Suzhou and Shanghai. The town is criss-crossed by canals that brought affluence to the region by facilitating textile production and rice cultivation.

In many places, the foundations of the houses are below the water table. The canals are still used as transport routes today, and the town is interconnected by 36 bridges, some of which – such as the Fangsheng Bridge – have achieved almost iconic status. Just like other old towns, Zjujiajiao is home to beautiful temples and gardens behind its protective walls. The Kenzhi Garden is perhaps the best known, and the most atypical.

After the sightseeing tour, you will return to Shanghai where the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay Jing An Hotel 

Day 10: Return flight
Day 10: Return flight

The day is yours to do with as you wish until it is time to depart. You will be driven to the airport to catch your flight from Shanghai to the UK, which will include connecting flights along the way. (Depending on your itinerary, you may actually land on the eleventh day of your tour).

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderful holiday in China packed with memorable experiences.

Enquire Now
Additional Information
Help, Advice or Booking

Contact our experts now:
01279 704 137

Hours of opening:
Mon, Wed & Fri: 8 - 16 Tue&Thu: 8-21 Sat: 9-17

Enquire Now


Receive all the latest news and offers delivered to your inbox!

We use cookies for statistics and targeted marketing at third parties.
You accept this by clicking on.
Read more here.