10-day China Express

Fully guided small group trip visiting Shanghai, Qufu, sacred Mt. Tai and Beijing.

China train tour - small group tours to China with no forced shopping

Shanghai – Qufu – Tai’an – Beijing

This budget-friendly luxury China train tour strings together a collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including sacred Mt Taishan, hometown of Confucius, the Great Wall and Forbidden City.

China train tour from Toronto

tour map – click for large view

Important Features

  • Group size limited to 20.
  • No forced shopping stops.
  • Gratuities for local guides and drivers included.
  • Quality meals at popular, non-tourist restaurants.
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi in all hotels.
  • Unlimited supply of bottled water during group activities.
  • Inter-city travel by bullet train (Shanghai/Qufu, Tai’an/Beijing).
  • Peking roast duck at a top rated restaurant.
  • Visits to sections in the Forbidden City that other tour companies leave out.
  • Great Wall visit at Mutianyu with cable car.

Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner

Scroll down for dates, prices and hotel list.

Day 1/Sun: Departing Home City

Your luxury China train tour begins with your transpacific flight departing from a city of your choice. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.

Day 2/Mon: Arrival in Shanghai

Welcome to Shanghai! Meet your guide on arrival in late afternoon and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.

Day 3/Tue: Shanghai (B/L/D)

escorted China train tour

escorted China train tour: Yu Garden

With a population of 24 million (2015), Shanghai is China’s biggest city. Rapid economic growth in the past 30 years has again turned Shanghai into a leading global city with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport. Today’s visitors to Shanghai are delighted by its futuristic skyline that blends so well with its treasured historical landmarks.

Today’s schedule begins with a walk on the Bund – a waterfront promenade famous for its landmark neoclassical buildings of European style. We then visit Shanghai Museum, the Yu Garden in the old town centre, and the French Concession (extra-jurisdictional territory from 1849 to 1946).

Day 4/Wed: Shanghai (B)

Today is a free day to explore on your own. Our recommendations include Jinmao Tower and the popular evening cruise on Huangpu River. We also offer an optional half-day Jewish Heritage Tour.

The new bullet train system has made it possible to explore a number of popular destinations near Shanghai such as Hangzhou and Nanjing without overnight stay. For more information, please feel free to ask your tour leader or local guide.

escorted China train tour

escorted China train tour: Confucius Temple

Day 5/Thu: Shanghai – Qufu (B/L)

After breakfast we ride the bullet train to Qufu, hometown of Confucius, arriving in three hours. Confucianism, the collective term for the sage’s philosophy and teachings, has played and continues to play a vital role in the evolution of the Chinese civilization. To some extent, Confucianism defines the soul of China as a nation, at least for the Han Chinese who make up 92% of the population.

We visit the mansion inhabited by Confucius’ descendants (now a museum), the sage’s last resting place at Confucius Forest, and finally the massive Confucius Temple which features a series of impressive gateways, clusters of twisted pines and cypresses, inscribed steles and tortoise tablets recording ancient events. The temple, cemetery and the residence together form the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 6/Fri: Qufu – Tai’an – Beijing (B/L)

Following a leisurely breakfast, we drive 100km to Tai’an, the city at the foot of historic Mt. Tai, the most revered of the five sacred Taoist mountains of China. Since the dawn of Chinese history, Mt. Tai has been a great source of inspiration for poets, writers and painters. In 1987, the UNESCO designated Mt. Tai a World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site.

escorted China train tour

escorted China train tour: Mt. Tai

We ride the cable car to midpoint and then walk for about an hour to the summit for a rewarding view of the surrounding countryside. Please be forewarned that the hour-long walk includes strenuous stair climbing. The energetic may choose to skip the cable car and conquer the entire 6000 steps on foot. The climb can be hard work but the central route’s bewildering catalogue of bridges, trees, towers, statues, inscribed stones, caves, pavilions and temples combine to take your mind off your aching calves.

We travel to Beijing by high speed train in late afternoon arriving in 3 hours.

Day 7/Sat: Beijing (B/L/D)

Capital of China, Beijing is a world-class cultural and educational centre with a population of 21 million (2013), ranking it China’s second largest city behind Shanghai. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates, treasures that make it the most popular tourist city in China by the number of visitors it receives every year.

all inclusive tours to China from Florida

China train tour: Forbidden City

We begin today with a visit to Tiananmen (tian an men) Square. Located in the heart of Beijing, the square is 880 metres from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west. Said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, Tiananmen Square has the capacity to hold one million people. Tiananmen (Heavenly Gate) Tower sites at the north end of the square while the Monument to the People’s Heroes dominates the centre. The square is flanked by The Great Hall of the People (west) and the National Museum of China (east). Chairman Mao’s mausoleum and Qianmen (Front Gate) sit in the south of the square. Considered one of the top 16 tourist attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square is also the witness of the Chinese people’s great struggles for democracy and personal freedom since 1919.

After lunch we proceed to the Forbidden City. Also known as Palace Museum or Gu Gong in Chinese, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties lived and carried out their administration. Construction of the Forbidden City took 14 years (1406-1420) to complete. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares or 180 acres. It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

We conclude our sightseeing today with a visit to a hutong neighbourhood. Hutong refers to an ancient alleyway with siheyuan or ”4-sided courtyard house” on both sides. The name hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.). According to some experts, the word originated from the Mongolian language, in which it is pronounced as hottog and means “well.” In ancient times, people tended to gather and live around wells. So the original meaning of hutong should be “a place where people live around”.

Today we enjoy a delicious dinner at a popular Beijing roast duck restaurant.


China train tour: Temple of Heaven

Day 8/Sun: Beijing (B/L)

Morning sightseeing takes us to historic Jingshan Park for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from above. The park to the north of the Forbidden City was part of the imperial palace in the old days, serving the royal families as a convenient site for farming, recreation and ancestor worshipping. The man-made hill (46 meters above ground, 89 meters above sea level) overlooks the Forbidden City and provides a great spot for bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.

Next on our schedule is the Summer Palace, a well preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The imperial resort was first named Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860 during the Second Opium War (referred to as Arrow War by the British). Reconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895 when the name was changed to Yi He Yuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony). The design gives prominence to Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, south of the hill. The sprawling complex covers an area of 290 hectares and the buildings inside consist of over 3,000 bays.

Afternoon sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in southeastern Beijing the Temple of Heaven is China’s largest extant sacrificial temple where, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors conducted the elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed to “the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.” Construction of the temple started in 1406, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and took 14 years to complete. The temple was expanded under the Qing emperors Qianlong (1736-1796) and Jiaqing (1796-1820). Occupying 2.73 square kilometres (roughly 1,700 by 1,600 metres), the area of the Temple of Heaven is more than twice that of the Forbidden City.

The famous Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest of its kind in the world, sits right across from the Temple of Heaven. The market is recommended in various guidebooks as a good place to buy fresh water pearls, a market segment dominated by the Chinese. If you are interested, please ask the guide to drop you off there. However, you’ll need to get back to the hotel by taxi, which costs about 50 yuan or $8.

Great Wall Simatai private tour from Beijing

escorted China train tour: the Great Wall

Day 9/Mon: Beijing (B)

Today we embark on a full-day excursion to the legendary Great Wall at Mutianyu, 75km northeast of the city. Zigzagging over 6,000 kilometres from east to west along the undulating mountains, the Great Wall was built to hold off tribal invaders from the north. Construction of the earliest sections of the Wall started in the 7th century B.C. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today in Beijing is almost exactly the result of this effort.

Day 10/Tue: Return Home (B)

Spend the morning packing and relaxing. Transfer to the airport to board return flight. Re-cross the International Date Line and arrive home the same day.

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City Nights Hotel Category
Shanghai 3 Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou luxury
Qufu 1 Shangri-La Hotel luxury
Beijing 4 Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng luxury
  • Price based on double occupancy. Payment by cheque or cash only.
  • Credit card not accepted except for deposit. See Terms & Conditions for details.
  • Scroll down for what tour price includes and excludes

2017 Dates and Prices

from Vancouver*
Land Only**
Single Supplement
Sep-10 Sep-19 $2620/$2050 $1790/$1399 $750/$590
Oct-08 Oct-17 $2620/$2050 $1790/$1399 $750/$590
Oct-15 Oct-24 $2620/$2050 $1790/$1399 $750/$590
Oct-22 Oct-31 $2750/$2150 $1900/$1499 $750/$590
2018 dates and prices (similar itinerary)

* Contact us for prices with air from other cities.
** Land Only price does not include international airfare.

What the tour price includes:

  • Economy class international air.
  • Hotel accommodations.
  • All transfers and ground transportation.
  • 2nd class seat on high speed train wherever applicable.
  • Daily meals as specified.
  • Guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary.
  • Airport transfers if arrival & exit dates match tour schedule.
  • English-speaking guides throughout tour.
  • Tips for all local guides and drivers.
  • A full-time tour leader for groups with 10.
What the tour price excludes:

  • Passport and visa charges.
  • Tips for tour leader where applicable – tipping the tour leader is completely at the guest’s discretion and our recommended amount is $5 to $10 USD per day per guest.

See Terms & Conditions for more information.