ESSENTIAL CHINA

A land of intriguing history and landscapes. Indulge in a private China tour to wander from Yangshuo to Shanghai and Xi’an to Beijing.

11 Days, 10 Nights     FROM CNY 13,858 PER PERS

Could China be one of the most fascinating countries in the world? You decide on a comprehensive, guided China tour that roves over the Great Wall, peers inside the Forbidden City, cycles through the karst landscape of Yangshuo, marvels at the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an and soaks up the cosmopolitan vibe of Shanghai!

For 11 days, you’ll be swept on an exploration of China’s most iconic, amazing, and meaningful cultural sites and natural landmarks. Starting in the bustling capital city of Beijing, this custom tour of China guides you on a trek over the Great Wall and gives you access to the Forbidden City, with stops for local lamb kebabs on the way. In Xi’an you’ll marvel at the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and get a glimpse of ancient China at the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi.

From there, it’s just a short flight to Yangshuo, where a jaw-dropping landscape of karst peaks carpeted in green vegetation awaits. You’ll cycle through this dreamlike setting to dramatic Moon Hill and take a hands-on cooking class to learn regional recipes. But your private China tour won’t end until you’ve fully explored Shanghai, strolling along the Bund and indulging in a traditional Chinese acupressure treatment. You’ll have tons to reflect on as you fly back home!

 

“China is a bucket list destination for so many reasons. You get a chance to see our country’s brightest gems on this custom tour.”

K Lian, Backyard Travel China Specialist

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

Learn how to cook regional recipes at a cooking class in stunning Yangshuo
Opt to have an al fresco picnic on top of the Great Wall
Explore Shanghai’s most vibrant neighborhoods, including the French Concession and Xintiandi
Get a taste of local travel as you take a night train to Xi’an

Daily Itinerary

ESSENTIAL CHINA

  • Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

    To begin your custom China tour, you’ll be met at Beijing Capital Airport and transferred to your hotel. On the drive, you’re sure to see evidence of how Beijing has become a thriving metropolis in recent years. One such landmark is the “Bird’s Nest,” the stadium built for the 2008 Olympics, which is now recognized as a symbol of modern China and a triumph of architecture.

    After checking in to your hotel, strike out on an exploration of the famed hutongs (narrow alleys and traditional neighborhoods) near Houhai Lake. Next, stop at the Gulou, the Ming-era Drum Tower, which faces the Zhonglou (Bell Tower), both of which offer glimpses of ancient Beijing.

    Along the way, you’ll meet a bicycle repairman. Feel free to ask this long-time local any question! You’re likely to also come across a mahjong party—people playing Chinese chess. Many elderly people love to play this popular game, and crowds of bystanders often gather to watch. Your private guide can explain the rules to you.

    Wrap up your day with a change of ambiance in the Wangfujing neighborhood. This commercial part of town is home to the famous Wangfujing Road. Here, you’re sure to see how modern China has become and how strong the consumer culture is.

    Overnight in Beijing

    No meals included on this day.

    Bike in a hutong inside Wuzhen,Chinachina
  • Day 2: Beijing

    Today, you’ll embark on a privately guided tour of China’s religion and spirituality. We’ll rise early for a morning visit to the Temple of Heaven. At this time of day, you’ll see all the activities Chinese like to do to start their day: tai qi, kung fu, meditation, sabre practice, tango, and gymnastics, to name a few. The Chinese believe starting the day with physical exercise holds great health benefits. Some prefer to practice water calligraphy with giant brushes on the park’s flagstones.

    Take the chance to explore the temple and learn about its hidden symbolism, which hints at beliefs more ancient than Buddhism and Taoism. Next, your guide will lead you to the White Cloud Temple where you’ll see Taoist monks going about their daily business. If you’re superstitious, touch the bas-relief mural depicting the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals for a bit of good luck.

    If you have time, you can also visit the Niujie Mosque, where you’ll catch a glimpse of Muslim and Central Asian culture in China.

    For lunch, sit down to a delicious vegetarian restaurant in downtown Beijing. While you sample a few better-than-real imitations of Peking duck and lamb kebabs, you might gain some insight into what it’s like to be a vegetarian monk in China.

    Afterwards, we’ll visit Yonghe Temple, Beijing’s most visited temple. This is a Tibetan Buddhist temple, a sect of Buddhism practiced by Tibetans and Mongolians. End the day at Confucius Temple, which is named after the famed philosopher who developed the moral codes and social precepts of Imperial China. Even today, Confucianism plays a large role in the social order.

    Optional Activity: Kung Fu at the Red Theater
    In the evening, you can opt to head to the famed Red Theater to watch a stunning kung fu performance! The Red Theater, which was originally known as the “Chongwen Worker’s Cultural Palace Theater,” has been dramatically renovated and improved. Today, it specializes in traditional Chinese performances, among them The Legend of Kung Fu.

    Overnight in Beijing

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Temple_of_heaven_3_Beijing_China1000x600Beijing-Temple-of-Heaven-China-1000×600
  • Day 3: Beijing

    Today is sure to be a highlight of your custom China tour: you’ll visit one of China’s most important landmarks, the Great Wall.

    You’ll be transported back to the Qin Dynasty (more than 2,000 years ago) and discover the first traces of the defensive wall. Workers expanded the wall to its present-day height, width and length during the Ming Dynasty.

    Built on the highest ridges, the Great Wall offered a view of the north. Guards manning the lookout towers were on watch for fires up and down the wall that served as alarms warning of northern invaders. In this way, the wall sufficiently prevented Mongolian attackers from storming the wall.

    Early in the morning, you’ll journey to the Mutianyu section of the Wall (a 2-hour drive). Arrive in time to take photos of dawn landscapes beyond the wall.

    You’ll have time to hike along the wall, admiring the wonderfully rugged scenery as you go. But if you get tired, there’s an option to ride a toboggan. For lunch, indulge in an open-air picnic on the Great Wall!

    After this adventure, return to Beijing for a visit to the Summer Palace. Renovated by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century, this imperial garden is now one the capital’s most important sites. In days past, members of the imperial court came to the Summer Palace to flee the insufferable heat in the Forbidden City. The palace offered a number of lakes, pavilions, gardens and traditional temples. The Marble Boat, Long Corridor, 17-Arch Bridge, Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake are the palace’s most iconic landmarks.

    Return to the capital and enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.

    Overnight in Beijing

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Great-Wall-Beijing-China-2-1000×600Street Food For Sale in China
  • Day 4: Beijing - Xi’an

    Today is the day we explore the Forbidden City. The city was completed under the reign of Emperor Yongle in 1420. It served as the administrative center of the imperial court throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties. According to legend, there are 9,999 rooms in the Forbidden City.

    Take your time exploring this unforgettable destination, roaming through the numerous rooms and landscaped outdoor spaces. Climb up Jingshan for a superb view of the Forbidden City and the skyline of Beijing.

    (Please note: Starting 13 Jun 2015, the Forbidden City will limit access to 80,000 visitors per day. Copies of your passport must be provided at least 11 days in advance to register, or preferably 2 weeks ahead to ensure a successful booking. Modifying the visit date later is not possible. Please bring your passport upon your visit.)

    In the afternoon, we’ll head to the train station to board our soft sleeper train cabin to Xi’an (train number T41, departure time of 14:22, arrival time of 05:16). Night trains in China make for unforgettable experiences, with Chinese travelers gathering in their cabins to chat, slurp down instant noodles, and enjoy a bottle of baiju together.

    Overnight on the train

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Forbidden-City-Beijing-China-2
  • Day 5: Xi’an

    You’ll arrive early in Xian, Shaanxi Province, where you’ll embark on a guided tour of China’s cradle of civilization. Your local guide will meet you at the train station and transfer you to your hotel.

    As the three-time capital of the empire, Xi’an has played an incredibly influential role in China’s history. On the Silk Road, the city was an important stop, serving as both a hub of commerce and an administrative site. Your first stop today will be the famed Terracotta Army.

    Commissioned by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty and man who unified China, the warriors were part of a vast mausoleum to guard Qin in the afterlife. Including archers, cavalry, and infantry, each one of the warriors has a unique face and represents a soldier who was alive during the emperor’s reign. A separate tomb also holds the remains of several thousand workers who were involved in the construction of the mausoleum. These workers are thought to have been buried alive, in keeping with a Shang Dynasty custom of burying servants so that they may serve their masters in the afterlife.

    Lose yourself in wonder as you view the thousands of warriors discovered underground, and visit the museum that displays two superb bronze chariots.

    Afterwards, enjoy a one-hour bike tour (or a cart tour for an additional charge) for a leisurely exploration of Xi’an. Along the way, you’ll view the imposing Xi’an ramparts and visit the Chinese-style mosque in the vibrant Muslim neighborhood.

    For dinner tonight, drink in the unique ambiance of a night market. Try the regional specialties of spiced lamb kebabs, mutton soup with noodles and flat bread.

    Overnight in Xi’an

    Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

    Terracotta WarriorsTerracotta_Warriors_Army_Xian_China1000x600.jpg
  • Day 6: Xi’an - Guilin - Yangshuo

    Today after breakfast, we’ll head to the airport with a stop at the tomb of Emperor Jingdi along the way. Jingdi’s reign during the Han Dynasty (1181–141 BC) is noted for its humanism and diplomacy. The tomb houses numerous statues representing servants, eunuchs and domestic animals. It is reflective of normal daily life under the Han Dynasty, in stark contract with the pomp and ceremony of the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huangdi. Walk over excavated pits on glass panels, getting an up-close look at the recently uncovered statues. You can also visit the small museum on site.

    Next, fly to Guilin. Your private guide will meet you and transfer you to Yangshuo.

    Overnight in Yangshuo

    Meals included: Breakfast

  • Day 7: Yangshuo

    Today your private China tour gives you the option of two cycling routes through Yangshuo’s jaw-dropping natural scenery. At around 08:30am, you’ll transfer by car or minibus to the cycling meet-up point. You’ll meet your cycling guide here.
    Option 1: Hop on your bike at 09:00am and ride towards the village of Baisha, a riverside town located about 10 kilometers away on the Yulong River. You’ll cross the 400-year-old Yulong Bridge and cycle along the river past colorful fruit orchards. All along the way, you’ll enjoy superb views of the region’s famous karst peaks.
    From Baisha, you can choose to either head back across the river and return to Yangshuo, or continue further towards Moon Hill. This dramatic hill pierced by a moon-shaped hole provides spectacular views of the region. (The ascent takes between 30 and 60 minutes. The price of entrance is not included.) Total distance up to 40 km (60 km if the ride is extended to Moon Hill). Difficulty level: Easy, mostly flat roads.
    Option 2: Start your cycling trip at around 9:00am. You’ll pedal off to Mushan, just 3 kilometers from Yangshuo. This 500-year-old town is famed for its fengshui layout that reflects the “Eight Trigrams of Taoism.” From there, ride along the Li River to the fishing village of Liugong (around 20 kilometers from Yangshuo). This 800-year-old town is famed for its ancient houses and “three-colored pools.” Return to Yangshuo via Yongcun with an optional detour to Moon Hill. (The price of entrance is not included.) Total distance up to 40 km. Difficulty level: Easy, mostly flat roads.
    Transfer back to your hotel.

    In the afternoon, it’s time for your hands-on cooking class in the beautiful Yangshuo countryside. First, visit a local market to pick out your ingredients, then join the group class (maximum of 16 per class) to learn how to make five regional specialties. Two menus are available. Course 1 is taught on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while course 2 is taught on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

    Course 1:
    • Beer fish (a famous local dish)
    • Chicken with cashew nuts
    • Steamed stuffed vegetables
    • Eggplant with soy and oyster sauce
    • Green vegetables with garlic

    Course 2:
    • Egg-wrapped dumplings
    • Steamed chicken with mushroom
    • Duck with pickled ginger and chilies
    • Stir-fried pork with vegetables and oyster sauce
    • Green vegetables with garlic

    When you’re done, enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch!

    In the evening, you’ll have the option to enjoy a viewing of the show “Impression Liu Sanjie.” Created by Zhang Yimou, the famed director of Raise the Red Lantern, the performance features hundreds of actors imitating scenes of rural life in traditional costume against the stunning backdrop of the karst landscape.

    Overnight in Yangshuo

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

  • Day 8: Yangshuo - Guilin - Shanghai

    Today after breakfast you’ll head to Guilin airport and catch the flight to Shanghai, the first region to be colonized by the West in the 18th century. Today, Shanghai is China’s economic powerhouse.

    Upon arrival, your baggage will be forwarded to your hotel while your private guide escorts you onto the Maglev, an ultra-modern electro-magnetic train—a point of pride for the Shanghainese. On your ride, you’ll be able to see how fast the train is traveling on a monitor in each car. The train can reach speeds of 430 kilometers per hour.

    Transfer onto the subway at Longyang Station and head to Pudong District, one of Asia’s most important business centers. Explore the neighborhood of Lujiazui, where some of Shanghai’s most famous structures can be found, such as the Jin Mao Tower, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and the Shanghai World Financial Center, where you can view the city from the world’s highest panoramic terrace. You’ll have the option to take a breather and enjoy some refreshment at the 100 Century Avenue Café.

    Next, take the famous Bund Sightseeing Tunnel to cross the Huangpu River and arrive in Puxi District. Here, you can stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s most famous walkway.

    Continue to colorful Nanjing Road. Feel free to stroll along the neighboring streets and mingle with locals. Finally, you’ll arrive at People’s Square and be transferred to your hotel.

    Overnight in Shanghai

    Meals included: Breakfast

  • Day 9: Shanghai

    Your privately guided China tour starts at People’s Square today. You’ll visit three very different museums, starting at the Shanghai Planning Exhibition Center, continuing to the Shanghai Museum, and if you’d like, ending at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

    Afterwards, relax in the heart of People’s Park, where a small lake, food stands, and shady places to sit offer some lovely time spent outdoors.

    Stroll along East Nanjing Road to the Bund for a stunning nighttime view of the Shanghai skyline. Return to your hotel in the evening.

    You can also choose to enjoy the evening “ERA” show, a multimedia performance mingling traditional Chinese acrobatics with modern technology. It has become one of the most popular evening activities in the city.

    Overnight in Shanghai

    Meals included: Breakfast

  • Day 10: Shanghai

    Enjoy a half-day guided tour of Shanghai after breakfast. Head to the French Concession in the morning, a historic neighborhood. Take a stroll through Fuxing Park where you can see locals practicing their morning exercise. Wander through nearby streets lined with old colonial buildings.

    Continue to Xintiandi, a renovated neighborhood that is now one of Shanghai’s liveliest quarters, and head to Tianzifang, a warren of charming alleyways packed with boutiques, restaurants, and small art galleries. You’ll end your walking tour in the Old Town, which still retains some of its old lilongs (similar to the hutongs found in Beijing). Old Town is also home to the Yu Yuan Gardens, a wonderful example of Chinese garden landscaping. If you’d like, you can opt to meet a local gardener who can show you his craft and explain how he cultivates penjing (bonsai trees).

    In the afternoon, head to the local bazaar, the perfect place to buy some souvenirs, or relax at the Huxingting teahouse, one of the most famous teahouses in China.

    Cap off your day with a traditional Chinese massage, also known as “acupressure.” This ancient healing method focuses on stimulating acupuncture points to promote the body’s natural healing processes. What a perfect way to end a full day!

    Overnight in Shanghai

    Meals included: Breakfast

  • Day 11: Shanghai

    We hope you enjoyed your custom China tour. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Asia-Fan-Dancing-Shanghai-China-1000x600_4.jpg

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)



Talk to us about Your Holiday

Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!

 

 

Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.