12-day China Golden Triangle


Luxury tour of China including Beijing, Xian, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army with optional Suzhou excursion

tour of China tours - luxury China trip to Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Suzhou

luxury tour of China visiting Beijing, Xian and Shanghai

Beijing – Xian – Shanghai

The luxury small-group tour of China takes in the country’s Top Three cities. Tour highlights include the Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Forbidden City and the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army. Optional day trip to Suzhou can be arranged on request.

Important Features

  • Group size limited to 20.

    China tour to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Suzhou

    Video – highlights of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai

  • No annoying forced shopping stops.
  • Gratuities for local guides and drivers included.
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi in all hotels.
  • Quality meals at popular, non-tourist restaurants.
  • Unlimited supply of bottled water.
  • Travel from Beijing to Xian by high speed train.
  • Peking roast duck at a top rated restaurant.
  • Visit sections of the Forbidden City other operators leave out.
  • Great Wall visit at Mutianyu with cable car.
  • Competitive airfares on direct flights to China from multiple cities for your most convenience.

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


Day 1/Thu: Departing Home City

China tour including the Great Wall and terracotta Army

click for large view

Your exciting tour of China 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/Fri: Arrival in Beijing

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

Day 3/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.

Beijing was already a strategically important city in northern China for centuries when Kublai Khan decided to move his capital here from Karakorum in Mongolia. With the collapse of the vast Mongol empire in 1368 AD, Beijing, known as Da Du or Grand Capital at the time, lost its status as the country’s capital but soon regained it when the imperial court of the successive Ming Dynasty moved here from Nanjing. Beijing continued to serve as China’s capital after Manchu tribes dethroned the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1644 and established the Great Qing Empire (Qing Dynasty), which lasted till 1911.

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.

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luxury China trip: Forbidden City

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.

Beijing Summer Palace tours in China

luxury China trip: Summer Palace

Day 4/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.

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Luxury China Trip: Great Wall, Mutianyu

Day 5/Mon: Beijing (B/L)

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 6/Tue: Beijing – Xian (B/D)

Free morning to relax or explore on your own. We check out the hotel at noon and travel to Xian by the high-speed train. The four-hour-forty-minute rail journey cuts through fertile farmland dotted with villages, providing the visitor an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The track we travel on is part of the new 2,298 km high-speed railway connecting Beijing and Guangzhou, the longest high-speed rail line in the world. The Chinese for the past 20 years have been on a building spree expanding the country’s rail network and upgrading existing railways. This new rail service rivals France’s TGV and Japan’s “shinkansen” in terms of speed, comfort, cleanliness and onboard facilities.

Please note that the train ride may be replaced by air flight during and within 3 days before and after these Chinese public holidays: Spring Festival, Qingming, Labour Day, Duanwu, Mid-Autumn, National Day and New Year’s Day.

xian_terracotta_army

luxury China trip: Terracotta Warriors

Day 7/Wed: Xian (B/L/D)

Eastern terminus of the fabled Silk Road and one of the ancient capitals of China, Xian is home to the world famous Terracotta Army.

Morning visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Built on the excavation site, the museum is located 30km east of the city. Designed to follow the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) into eternity, the Terracotta Army represents one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th Century.

After lunch we return to the city for a stroll on the ancient city wall. The wall, declared national treasure by the State Council in 1961 under the premiership of Zhou Enlai, was started in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty, encircling an area of 14 square kilometres. The wall runs 13.7 kilometres long and measures 12 metres in height and 15 to 18 metres in thickness at the base.

Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner in the hotel.

Day 8/Thu: Xian (B/L)luxury China trip

Morning sightseeing begins with Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The modern, well-organized museum was completed in 1992 and traces the history of Xian from prehistory to Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The extensive galleries and exhibitions offer the visitor an excellent introduction to the area that greatly improves understanding of the numerous historical sites in and around the city.

We then visit the ancient grand mosque in the old town centre and the adjacent Muslim bazaar. The mosque was established in the 8th Century but the majority of the complex was constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was further expanded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, this mosque is completely Chinese in its architectural style. It has neither domes nor traditional style minarets.

Day 9/Fri: Xian – Shanghai (B)

Morning flight to Shanghai. Before 1949, Shanghai was widely known in the West as a city of quick riches and paradise of the adventurers. After four decades of anemic growth in a state planned economy, Shanghai is roaring back to recapture its position on the world stage. With a population of 23 million and rapid economic expansion in the last 20 years, Shanghai has again become a leading global city with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport.

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Luxury China Trip: Shanghai Bund

Afternoon sightseeing at Jade Buddha Temple. This is an active temple of Mahayana Buddhism. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statues imported from Burma by sea. If we couldn’t make it to Shanghai on time, the planned sightseeing for this afternoon would be moved to the next day.

Day 10/Sat: Shanghai (B/L)

Our full-day walking tour begins with a stroll through an old but vibrant neighbourhood near our hotel. We then proceed to the magnificent Shanghai Museum with a huge collection of national treasures collected from around the country.

After lunch, we walk to Yu Garden in the old town centre. The last stop of our schedule is the Bund, a waterfront promenade famous for its landmark neoclassical buildings of European style.

Day 11/Sun: Shanghai (B)

Today is a free day. Please feel free to ask your guide for recommendations.

Optional Suzhou Excursion

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luxury China trip: Suzhou garden

Depending on the number of guests expressing interest, we may offer an optional full-day excursion to Suzhou. Located 85km to the northwest of Shanghai, ancient Suzhou is most famous for its gardens, canals and silk industry. In late 13th Century a Venetian named Marco Polo visited Suzhou and he was very impressed by what he saw. He vividly described the prosperous silk making trade and dubbed Suzhou Venice of the East due to the small waterways crisscrossing the city. Our schedule today takes in historic Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator’s Garden, a short cruise on the Grand Canal aboard a Chinese style gondola, and a stop at Suzhou Number One Silk Spinning Mill. Lunch is included in the optional program.

Day 12/Mon: Shanghai – Home City (B)
Your memorable tour of China ends this morning. Transfer to the airport anytime for return flight. If you are from Canada or the United States, you’ll arrive home the same day upon re-crossing the International Date Line.

Transfer to Pudong International Airport by Maglev Train

If you like, you may ask to get dropped off at Longyang Maglev Train Station, which is 10km from the hotel, and ride the super-fast train to Pudong International Airport – the guide will assist you with the ticket purchase. Completing the 30km journey in 7 minutes, the maglev train travels at a maximum speed of 431km per hour and delivers you right into the airport. The walk from the platform to the airline check-in counter takes about 5 minutes. Ticket price is 50 yuan but you can get it for 40 yuan, slightly less than $7, if you show your e-ticket confirmation to the ticket office.

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City Nights Hotel Category
Beijing 4 Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng luxury
Xian 3 Sheraton Xian North City luxury
Shanghai 3 Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou 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 the tour price includes and excludes

Dates and prices

Group and family discount available

Depart (Thu) Return (Mon) Land Tour Price
CA$/US$
Single Supplement
CA$/US$
2017
Jul-06 Jul-17 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Aug-03 Aug-14 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Aug-24 Sep-04 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Aug-31 Sep-11 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Sep-07 Sep-18 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Sep-14 Sep-25 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Oct-05 Oct-16 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Oct-12 Oct-23 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Oct-19 Oct-30 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Oct-26 Nov-06 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799
Nov-02 Nov-13 $3075/$2280 $1050/$799

2018 Dates and prices

Depart (Thu) Return (Mon) Land Tour Price
CA$/US$
Single Supplement
CA$/US$
Mar-08 Mar-19 $2925/$2250 $1050/$799
Mar-15 Mar-26 $2925/$2250 $1050/$799
Mar-22 Apr-02 $2925/$2250 $1050/$799
Mar-29 Apr-09 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
Apr-05 Apr-16 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
Apr-12 Apr-23 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
Apr-19 Apr-30 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
Apr-26 May-07 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
May-3 May-14 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
May-10 May-21 $3075/$2365 $1050/$799
What the tour price includes:

  • Hotel accommodations.
  • Local economy class air 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 on arrival and exit if your dates correspond with tour schedule.
  • English-speaking guides throughout tour.
  • Tips for all local guides and drivers.
  • A full-time tour leader for group with 10+ guests – the tour leader may double as local guide wherever we see fit.
What the tour price excludes:

  • International airfare.
  • 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.

When you deal with us, you don’t need to worry about hidden charges because there are none.

See Terms & Conditions for more information.

tour of China tours - luxury China trip to Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Suzhou