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Overview

Make the most of China’s incredible rail network to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. Loop around the country from Beijing to Beijing by high speed train, stopping to take in the sights of medieval Pingyao, Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors and Luoyang’s natural wonders.

Trip Highlights

China by High Speed Train

Get an in-depth look at Beijing

China’s capital comes alive with visits of UNESCO sites and immersive local visits.

Travel by Chinese trains

Experience a slice of local life, traveling alongside Chinese families and businessmen on comfortable and efficient high-speed trains.

Explore China’s rich heritage

Travel through time from the origin of Chinese civilization through its rich dynasties of yore and into present day life. 

Itinerary

1

Arrival in Beijing

Beijing airport – Beijing city (approx. 30 km): 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Welcome to Beijing, capital of the “Middle Kingdom”! This comprehensive tour covers some of the best of China in 10 days. Upon arrival, a guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel.

En route to the hotel, take note of the “Bird’s Nest”, Beijing’s contemporary stadium (in part designed by artist Ai Weiwei), famous for its Opening Ceremony in the 2008 Olympics.

After reaching the hotel for check in, pay a visit to the city’s famous hutongs (narrow alleys and streets, exclusive to Beijing) near Houhai Lake. Continue with a visit to Gulou, or the Drum Tower, a structure which (during the Ming Dynasty) once marked the hours of the day with the rumbling of drums. The tower faces the Zhonglou, the Bell Tower, and gives visitors a glimpse of ancient Beijing.

Moving along, meet a bicycle repairman, whose job exemplifies the urbanisation of the city… feel free to ask any question! Why is this such a unique visit? While cars and technology take over the future of the city, the age-old bicycle still holds true as one of the most preferred modes of transport.

Continue with a visit to a mahjong party, a social get-together based around Chinese Chess (or alternatively, card games.) For those who aren’t familiar with the rules of the game, the guide will gladly provide some insights.

Afterwards, conclude the day with a refreshing change of decor and ambiance in the Wangfujing neighborhood, the most commercial area of the capital. While here, pay witness to how modernised China has become and how its fierce consumerism drives onwards.

Head back to the hotel for the evening.

Overnight in Beijing

2

Beijing

Begin Day 2 very early with a drive out to the Temple of Heaven. Upon arrival, there will be some time to explore the various activities, routines, and rituals the Chinese observe in the morning: Tai Qi, Kung Fu, sabre practice, meditation, tango, and gymnastics are just some of them (physical exercise is considered an essential part of everyday life for the Chinese.)

After exploring the park, it’s time for a visit to the Temple itself. Known for its simplicity in design and its hidden symbolism, there are undertones of both Buddhism and Taoism found throughout.

Next stop of the day: the Forbidden City.

The visit will be both captivating and educating, learning the different ins and outs of City, some of the structure’s history, as well as why most Chinese buildings face south. After exploring the City, learn a bit about the neighbouring Tiananmen Square, the third largest city square in the world.

Note:

Access to the Forbidden City is restricted to 80,000 visitors/day. Passport copies must be provided at least 11 days advance for personal registration (preferably 2 weeks in order to assure a successful booking); it will not be possible to modify dates later on.
Visitors are required to bring their passport for security check upon their visit to the monument.

Forbidden City is closed on Mondays, except Chinese National Holidays

After visiting the Forbidden City, ascend the artificial Coal hill (just behind the complex) for a spectacular view of the entire site and the layout of the whole of Beijing.

Option: Enjoy an evening Kung Fu show in Beijing’s Red theater, originally known as Chongwen Worker's Cultural Palace Theater. With a recent renovation, stage facilities have been dramatically improved and now the theater specializes in traditional Chinese performances.

Overnight in Beijing

3

Beijing

Beijing city– Mutianyu Great Wall (approx. 75 km): approx 2 hours Mutianyu Great Wall – Summer Palace (approx. 75 km): 1h45 Summer Palace – Beijing city (approx. 22 km): 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Begin Day 3 with a visit to the icon of the country: The Great Wall. Despite false claims that the Great Wall is visible from space, this architectural and historical feat is still one of the most landmark sites in the world. The history of the Wall reaches back 2,000 years to the Qin Dynasty, though the Wall that is seen today was mostly built up during the Ming Dynasty. During its prime, the Wall stretched for 6,000 kilometers, dotted with manned watchtowers, from ancient Manchuria to the Gobi Desert.

Depart from the hotel early in the morning for a visit to the Mutianyu section of the Wall. Once there, enjoy the beauty of the early morning light; the best time at the Wall for photography. Follow up with some beautiful walks along the wall.

After exploring the Wall, there are a few options for descent. For those who aren’t interested in walking back down, there are optional Cable Car rides, or, for the adventurous at heart, toboggan rides to the bottom. Time permitting, there may also be an opportunity for a picnic on the Great Wall. Enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the wonderful, rugged scenery.

After completing the Wall explorations, return to Beijing for a visit to the Summer Palace. An otherwise simple Imperial garden, the site was completely renovated by Emperor Qianlong during the 18th century to become one the most important sites of the capital. Harmonious in nature, a variety of traditional Chinese temples, pavilions, lakes, and gardens comprise the Palace.

Depart the Summer Palace for the city, returning to the hotel for the evening.

Overnight in Beijing

4

Beijing / Taiyuan / Pingyao

Taiyuan train station–Pingyao (approx. 115 km): approx 90min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Day 4 concludes the Beijing explorations. Transport will be provided to the Railway Station for the high-speed train to Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province.

Train Station: Beijing – Taiyuan

Train number: G91

Estimated departure time: 08:40

Estimated arrival time: 11:12

Second class tickets are included in the itinerary.

Upon arrival, a local guide and driver will be waiting for a welcome and transfer to Jinci: a remarkable building constructed in honour of Prince Shuyu who founded the Jin state (772-403 B.C). This visit will provide excellent insights into ancestor-worship, a fundamental practice of Chinese culture that has endured to this day.

The Hall of the Holy Mother (dedicated to Shuyu’s mother), will be visited next, and is another great example of ancestral worship. Take some time to examine the superb wooden dragon sculptures that surround the temple, often only found in imperial places of worship. 

After exploring these historic sites, a transfer will be provided to Pingyao, the best preserved medieval city in China. This town is a perfect example of traditional China, with its collection of paved alleyways lined with traditional style homes and red lantern-lit courtyards. Pingyao prospered under the Ming Dynasty when it was established as a market town; however, it was during the Qing dynasty that Pingyao developed into the incredible walled city that we know today when it was established as the nation’s first financial centre.

Explore the city walls on foot to get a real sense of the layout of the streets below. Measuring 6 km long, 10 metres high and with 72 watchtowers, the town walls ensure that Pingyao is almost impenetrable to any invading force.

Pingyao attracts a growing number of tourists and, as a result, some of its 4,000 Ming and Qing homes have been transformed into little restaurants, boutiques, and quaint hotels. One of these boutique hotels will be the night’s accommodation; there may even be a chance to spend the night sleeping on a traditional kang, which is a bed made of bricks and heated by a small fire beneath.

Overnight in Pingyao

5

Pingyao

Pingyao – Wang family Residence (approx. 50km): 50 min Wang family Residence – Zhangbi Cun : (20km) : 30 minutes Zhangbi Cun – Pingyao (40km): 50 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

After breakfast, head off to explore some of the other main interests just outside Pingyao, including merchants’ houses and cave dwellings. 

As many local merchants amassed immense fortunes during the Ming and Qing dynasties, exploring their grand homes is essential to any visit. A perfect example of one of these homes is the Wang Family Residence, which is comprised of an imposing labyrinth of courtyards, small gardens, temples, and narrow stairways.

On the way back to Pingyao there will be a stop in Zhangbi Cun, a small village famous for its underground tunnels constructed during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). The tunnels are built 30m underground and extend for around 1500m. On the surface, the town also offers a lot to visitors with its mix of paved streets and houses constructed during the Chinese Middle Ages.

Pass by Cave Dwellings (primarily found in the 3 provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Henan- often considered the cradle of Chinese civilisation.) Though we can’t give an exact figure, it’s thought that around 30 million people in China still live in cave dwellings, built into the loess sedimentary rock. Though the conditions in these cave homes are very basic (no running water or mains electrical supply), they do offer excellent climate control, retaining constant temperatures year-round (cool in summer and warm in winter.)

Conclude the day with a visit to the Shuanglin Buddhist Temple (literally Temple of the Double Forest), just outside Pingyao. Founded during the Northern Wei Dynasty, the temple is well known for its finely sculpted statues, which have been very well preserved and still retain their original colors.

Upon returning to Pingyao, enjoy some time in the evening wandering the town’s narrow, red lantern-lit streets.

Overnight in Pingyao

6

Pingyao– Xi’an

Pingyao – Taiyuan train station (approx. 50 km): 50 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

It is encouraged to start Day 6 with an early morning stroll to fully soak up the atmosphere of Pingyao. The city streets outside slowly fill with the sights, sounds and smells of morning, as bikes and pedestrians fill the streets and vendors sell their customised versions of breakfast.

After the morning stroll, head off to explore Rishengchang. What started off as a small dye store in the 17th century, grew into China’s first bank, opening branches throughout China. A true success story, Rishengchang helped to contribute to Pingyao’s success and establishment as China’s first financial centre.

Continue with a visit to the local Yamen, which during Imperial times housed the administrative centre, courthouse, and sometimes even a prison.

Transfer to Pingyao railway station for a high speed train to Xi’an.

Train Station: Pingyao – Xi’an

Train number: D2517

Estimated departure time: 13:58

Estimated arrival time: 16:58

Second class tickets are included in the itinerary.

A guide and driver will be waiting at the Xi’an Station for a city transfer.

Welcome to Shaanxi Province, often considered the birthplace of Chinese civilization. The capital of the Empire three times, Xi’an played a major role in the history of the country.

Begin the Xi’an explore with a different aspect of Xi’an’s culture. During the days of the Silk Road, Muslim merchants from Central Asia came to China to do business, leaving their influence in Xi’an. Several Muslim minorities (totaling 15 million inhabitants) now live in China, the Hui minority being predominant in Xi’an.

Visit the Chinese-style Mosque and vibrant Hui neighborhood, housing a range of unique shops and local attractions. For dinner, sample the unique ambiance of the night market dining on the neighborhood’s specialties of spiced lamb kebabs, flat bread, and mutton soup with noodles.

Overnight in Xi’an

7

Xi'an

Xi’an city – Terracotta army (approx. 45 km): 50 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Begin Day 7 with a visit to the biggest attraction of Xi’an: the Terracotta Warriors! Discovered in 1974 by a few farmers digging in the fields, this accidental uncovering would grow to be one of the greatest archaeological finds in history!

This colossal mausoleum was built by Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, as a reaction to his fear of malevolent spirits. The grand army of infantrymen, archers, and cavalry riders acted to protect him in the Afterlife. Each of the Terracotta Warriors has a different face from a soldier during the Emperor’s life; some historians theorize that the Emperor may have wanted to rule the world from the Afterlife.

The statues can be viewed in three separate pits. Begin with the pits number 2 (still being excavated) and number 3 (sheltering the majority of items), ending finally with pit number 1, the most impressive, housing about 2,000 warriors.

There is also a small museum on site housing two splendid bronze chariots found in 1980, just west of the mausoleum.

After visiting the amazing Terracotta Army, continue on to visit a bike tour (or, for an additional charge, a cart tour) for about one hour to discover the attractions of the city… without the traffic! During the tour, soak in one of the city highlights: the impressive Xi’an ramparts, built during the Ming Dynasty.

Overnight in Xi’an

8

Xi’an / Huashan / Luoyang

Xi’an city – Huashan Mountain (approx. 120km): less than 2 hours Huashan Mountain – Huashan train station (7km): 15 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Start the morning with a guided transfer to Huashan. Though often forgotten, Mount Huashan is one of the 5 sacred Taoist mountains and offers superb views of the surrounding sharp peaks. Couples come here to seal their relationships by attaching locks to the rocks at the summit, whilst devout believers perform their pilgrimage.

Head to the Northern Peak (altitude 1615 m) via cable car and then by foot to the Eastern Peak, admiring the breathtaking views along Blue Dragon Ridge. Upon arrival to the East Peak, there is an option to turn back or complete the loop, passing through the South and West Peak to the North, where a cable car can be taken back down. Visitors are asked to take care during the somewhat arduous trek, as the trails are narrow with steep stairs (will take between 3 to 5 hours for the entire loop, depending on pace). It’s recommended to bring plenty of drinks, snacks and a good pair of walking boots!

Picnic lunch (depending on weather)

Optional: This walk can be done at night alongside pilgrims who come to climb Mount Huashan. Every person in the group will carry a lantern or a torch; from a distance, the group resembles a caterpillar slowly climbing the mountain. For those interested in the night trek, please consult us.

Upon arrival to the base of the mountain, transport will be provided back to Huashan train station for a high speed train to Luoyang.

Train Station: Huashan - Luoyang

Train number: G1710

Estimated departure time: 17:13

Estimated arrival time: 18:14

Second class tickets are included in the itinerary.

Upon arrival, a guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel in Luoyang, the ancient capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty.

Overnight in Luoyang

9

Luoyang / Beijing

Luoyang city –Longmen caves (approx. 13 km): 15 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Start Day 9 with a transfer to the Longmen caves.

Between the end of the Han Empire (206 BC- 220 AD) towards the beginning of the third century AD, the Luoyang region became home to various small kingdoms. Among these kingdoms was the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD). In the fifth century, the Wei converted to Buddhism and adapted to the traditional Chinese roots of the area. This would ultimately result in the creation of the UNESCO listed Yungang Grottoes and Longmen Grottoes; a perfect example of Chinese Buddhist rock art of the period.

The caves are spread over a kilometre on both sides of the Yi River. Though surrounded by many others, the Cave of 10,000 Buddhas on the west bank and the Ancestor Worshipping Cave (on the east bank) are some of the most inspiring.

Note: For those interested, there are also optional visits to the 1st century White Horse Temple (the main Buddhist Temple in China) and the world-famous Shaolin Temple, a true home of Chinese martial arts. Consult us for more information.

Transfer to Luoyang train station for a high speed train to Beijing (accompanied by the guide.)

Train Station: Luoyang – Beijing

Train number: G430

Estimated departure time: 14:53

Estimated arrival time: 18:53

Second class tickets are included in the itinerary.

Welcome back to Beijing; transfer provided to hotel.

Overnight in Beijing

10

Beijing departure

Beijing city - Beijing airport (approx. 30 km): 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Morning is at leisure until the departing flight from Beijing; transport to the airport is provided. En route to the airport, reflect on all that was experienced in China in 10 days!

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide(no shopping basis rates) (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Visa for China
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

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    We’re experts who take pride in tailor-made itineraries that suit any need. Please fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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