29-day Ethnic Borderlands of China

China adventure – Exotic Ethnic Borderlands tour highlighting Tibet, Xinjiang and Yunnan

This is a one-of-a-kind China adventure travel itinerary designed for seasoned travellers eager to explore China in depth. It is not a new tour someone just dreamed up to test its reception in the marketplace. In fact, we have been offering it for more than 10 years. Our customer, Elana Andersen from Scotts Valley, California, wrote in October 2005:

“After these many years I finally made my journey into China and traveled with Laurus Travel, a Canadian tour operator that specializes in China and small group adventures. The focus of the trip was Tibet and the Silk Road. Every day of the journey was filled with wonder and making connections with the people and places visited. I am anxious to return and experience more of China’s diverse culture, landscapes and heritage…”

China adventure travel tours
Beijing – Chengdu – Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse – Lhasa – Xian – Luoyang – Dunhuang – Urumqi – Kashgar – Turpan – Lijiang – Zhongdian – Kunming – Shanghai

Imagine climbing up the stairs to the Potala Palace and watching pilgrims worshipping lake fairies at holy Yamdrok – a visit to Tibet can be a profound spiritual experience. Most tours to Tibet only go to Lhasa, the big city and capital of Tibet, but our tours also visit Gyantse and Shigatse, two places of great historical importance, because we take deepening your understanding of Tibet and its people very seriously.

Next we follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo to rediscover the glorious Silk Road era, from the eastern terminus of the ancient trade route to the western-most tip of China. Highlights include the Mogao Grottos in Dunhuang, the Tarim Mummies in Urumqi and the scenic drive to Karakul Lake on winding Karakoram Highway whose route traces one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road.

China adventure travel tours package

click for large view

The trip then takes you to the exotic Yunnan Province where you will visit Lijiang, Shangri-la (Zhongdian) and Kunming. Biologically diverse Yunnan boasts stunning scenery. Twenty-four of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities reside in Yunnan including native tribes with no presence elsewhere.

Please note that this is a physically demanding soft adventure tour; accommodations in some locales may be basic. It is suitable only for those who are perfectly fit without any medical condition that may be complicated due to high altitudes. The highest point during the tour is 4,800 metres or 15,744 feet above sea level.

Important Features

  • Expert guides hand-picked by company owners.
  • Group size limited to 16.
  • No forced shopping stops.
  • Gratuities for local guides and drivers included.
  • Quality meals at non-tourist restaurants.
  • Unlimited supply of bottled water.
  • Family visits in Kashgar, Tibet and Yunnan.
  • Free Wi-Fi in all hotels.
  • Special cultural activities.
  • Peking roast duck at a top rated restaurant.
  • Visits to chambers in Forbidden City that most tour groups leave out.
  • Great Wall visit at Mutianyu with cable car.
  • Scenic drive to Karakul Lake on winding Karakoram Highway leading to Pakistan.
  • Visit to Yunnan, one of the most interesting botanical hot spots in the world.
  • Princess Wencheng outdoor music and dance show in Lhasa.
  • Impression Lijiang live performance in Lijiang.
  • and so much more!

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

“We had a great time on this tour and we were highly satisfied with Laurus. We appreciated staying at the best hotel available in each centre and having guides of consistently good-excellent quality. All the travel arrangements – with one exception which was quickly rectified – worked perfectly. Eating in local restaurants was a plus, as was freedom from the compulsory shopping stop.”

Don and Ella B
Canberra, ACT, Australia

Contact us for printer-friendly PDF file

Scroll down to bottom for departure dates, prices and hotel list.

Day 1/Thu: Departing Home City

Your China adventure 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.


China adventure travel tours

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.


China adventure travel tours

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.

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.


China adventure travel tours

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.


China adventure travel tours

Day 5/Mon: Beijing – Chengdu (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.

Evening flight to Chengdu, capital of populous Sichuan Province. The urban area of the municipality houses 14 million with half of that within the city’s nine districts and the remainder in the surrounding regions. Chengdu is one of the most important economic, transportation, and communication centres in Western China and was recently named China’s 4th most livable city by China Daily, the country’s largest English newspaper by circulation. The fertile Chengdu Plain, on which Chengdu is located, is also known as the “Country of Heaven”, a phrase also often translated as “The Land of Abundance”. The discovery of the Jinsha site suggests the area of Chengdu had become the centre of the Bronze Age Sanxingdui culture around the time of the establishment of the state of Shu, prior to its annexation by Qin in 316 BC. The city was named “Chengdu” when it was founded more than 2000 years ago, and the name has remained the same till the present day.


China adventure travel tours

Day 6/Tue: Chengdu (B/L)

Morning sightseeing at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. The giant panda, unrelated to lesser or red panda, is a bear native to south central China, living in mountainous regions. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda’s diet is over 99% bamboo. The giant panda has an insatiable appetite for bamboo. A typical animal eats half the day – a full 12 out of every 24 hours – and relieves itself dozens of times a day. Giant pandas are solitary creatures. They have a highly developed sense of smell that males use to avoid each other and to find females for mating in the spring. After a five-month pregnancy, females give birth to a cub or two, though they cannot care for both twins. The blind infants born white weigh only 5 ounces (142 grams) at birth and cannot crawl until they reach three months of age. The panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. Recent statistics show 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. Estimates of the wild population vary from 1,000 to as high as 3,000. Some reports also show that the number of pandas in the wild is on the rise.

After lunch we pay a visit to the Jinsha museum built on the archaeological site (Bronze Age). A significant archeological discovery in modern China, construction workers chanced upon it in February 2001. The site flourished around 1000BC and shares similarities in burial objects with the Sanxingdui site located 50 km from Chengdu. Ivory, jade artifacts, bronze objects, gold objects and carved stone objects were found at the site. Unlike the site at Sanxingdui, Jinsha did not have a city wall.


China adventure travel tours

Day 7/Wed: Chengdu – Lhasa (B/L)

Free morning to rest up. We board noon flight for Lhasa and upon arrival spend the rest of the day relaxing and getting acclimatized to the high altitudes.

Day 8/Thu: Lhasa (B/L)

Situated in a wide, mountain-fringed valley on the north bank of the Kyichu River, Lhasa (elevation 3700m) is a rapidly expanding city with a population of over 540,000. An important settlement for well over a thousand years, Lhasa was originally called Rasa, but was renamed by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century when he moved his capital here from the Yarlung Valley. Following the collapse of the Yarlung dynasty two centuries later, power dispersed among local chieftains and the city lost its pre-eminence. It was not until the seventeenth century, with the installation of the Fifth Dalai Lama as ruler by the Mongolian emperor, Gushri Khan, that Lhasa once again became the seat of government.


China adventure travel tours

Morning visit to the Dalai Lama’s summer residence Norbulinka. This afternoon we tour grand Sera Monastery, where lively debates held Monday to Saturday from 3 to 5 pm between resident monks often draw a large audience.

Day 9/Fri: Lhasa (B/L)

This morning we visit the Potala Palace. This was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. The palace sits on the site of an earlier fortress built by King Songtsen Gampo. The main building measures 360 metres east-west and 140 metres north-south. Thickness of the exterior granite walls varies between 2 and 5 metres.

Afternoon sightseeing at Jokhang Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist buildings in Tibet and a remarkable combination of Tibetan, Indian, Nepalese and Han Chinese architectural styles. No visit to Jokhang Temple is complete without checking out the Barkor Street bazaar outside the temple.


China adventure travel tours

Day 10/Sat: Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse (B/L/D)

Following breakfast, we drive along the Southern Route to Gyantse (265km). Highlights of the scenic drive include Kambaba Pass (4700 metres/15416 feet above sea level) and the holy lake Yamdrok Yumtso. Every summer throngs of Tibetan pilgrims come to the lake to pray for blessings by the lake fairy.

Afternoon sightseeing in Gyantse takes in the Fortress of Gyantse Dzong and Pelkhor Choede. We continue on to Shigatse (90km) in late afternoon arriving at the second largest city in Tibet around dinnertime.

Day 11/Sun: Shigatse – Lhasa (B/L)

This morning we visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the religious and administrative headquarters of the Panchen Lama – paramount leader of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Return to Lhasa via better paved Northern Route (295km). Vast pastureland, barren mountain slopes, snow-capped peaks, blue skies, white clouds, scanty population, and ubiquitous prayer flags – these images combine to conjure a sense of solitude and mystery.


China adventure travel tours

Day 12/Mon: Lhasa – Xian (B/L)

Spend the morning relaxing or exploring the ancient Tibetan capital on your own. We fly to Xian around noon. Visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda (if time permits) before hotel check-in.

For tour members who have been to Xi’an, a 2-night side trip to Luoyang (2-hour train ride from Xi’an), one of China’s ancient capitals, will be arranged.

Day 13/Tue: Xian (B/L)

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 14/Wed: Xian (B/L/D)


China adventure travel tours

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 15/Thu: Xi’an – Dunhuang (B/L)

china_dunhuang_maogao_grottMorning or afternoon flight to Dunhuang depending on flight availability. Dunhuang is an oasis town also known at times as Shazhou or ‘City of Sands’. The single biggest attraction of Dunhuang is the nearby Mogao Grottoes, which along with Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang and Yungang Grottoes in Datong, forms the three most famous Chinese grottoes of Buddhist sculptures – all on UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Heritage Sites. On arrival, we visit the local museum and/or a food market if time allows.

Day 16/Fri: Dunhuang (B/L)

Morning sightseeing introduces us to the brilliant murals and sculptures inside Mogao Grottos, one of the most celebrated legacies of the Silk Road era. Situated at a strategic point along the Silk Route, at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural and intellectual influences, the 492 cells and cave sanctuaries in Mogao are famous for their statues and wall paintings, spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art.

We spend the afternoon visiting the Crescent Moon Lake and Singing Sand Dunes.

Day 17/Sat: Dunhuang – Kashgar (B/L)

Free morning to explore on your own. We board afternoon flight CZ6896 (16:30/17:45) for Urumqi to connect Kashgar-bound flight CZ6801 (20:10/21:50). Please note the flights are subject to change and activities in Dunhuang or elsewhere may be arranged depending on flight schedule.

Day 18/Sun: Kashgar (B/L)

Located at the westernmost tip of China, Kashgar, also known as Shufu in the old days, is a vibrant kaleidoscope of Central Asian cultures. An oasis 1200 metres above sea level, Kashgar is a remarkably prosperous and pleasant place, despite remaining, in part, an essentially medieval city.

We spend the whole morning visiting the extraordinary Sunday market, when half of Central Asia seems to converge on the city, is as exotic to the average Han Chinese as to the foreign tourist.


China adventure travel tours

Our afternoon schedule includes The Old Town centre, Abakh Hoja Tomb (also known as Fragrant Concubine’s Tomb) and Id Kah Mosque.

Day 19/Mon: Kashgar – Lake Karakul – Urumqi (B/L)

After breakfast we embark on a full-day excursion to Karakul Lake, 198 kilometres southwest of Kashgar.

Accessed via legendary Karakoram Highway leading to Pakistan, the lake, 3,600 metres above sea level, sits on the laps of Muztagh Ata and Kongur, two towering peaks of the Pamir Mountains. The scenery along the way is simply stunning. As we drive higher and higher into the mountains, farmland along the river valley on the edge of the desert gradually gives way to high mountain pastures nibbled by camels and yaks tended by yurt-dwelling Kirgiz and Tajiks.

china_kashgar_children_mountainThe Karakoram Highway is the highest paved international road in the world, connecting China’s Xinjiang region with Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 metres. The highway was built by the governments of Pakistan and China. It was started in 1959 and opened to the public in 1979. About 810 Pakistanis and 200 Chinese workers lost their lives during the construction of the highway, mostly in landslides and falls.

We fly to Urumqi in the evening. Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Muslims account for 21% of the city’s entire population.

Day 20/Tue: Urumqi – Turpan – Urumqi (B/L/D)

After breakfast we embark on a day trip to Turpan by high speed train (1 hour). The scenery along the 192km stretch of railway includes acres and acres of wind turbine farms.

china_turpan_thousand_buddha_cavesSituated on the northern route of the fabled Silk Road, Turpan is a fertile oasis where crops and vineyards are irrigated by an underground water canal system called karez. Ethic Uyghurs make up 70% of the local population. Our sightseeing in Turpan features Jiaohe Ruins (Yarkhoto, an ancient garrison town), the Karez museum and the Bezeklik Buddhist Caves in the Flaming Mountains.

Day 21/Wed: Urumqi – Lijiang (B/L/D)

Morning visit takes in Red Hill Park and Xinjiang Regional Museum where the famous Tarim Mummies are on display. We then fly to Chengdu to connect Lijiang bound flight. Depending on flight availability we may spend the night in Chengdu.

Day 22/Thu: Lijiang (B/L)

Lijiang is home to the ethnic Naxi people whose intriguing Dongba religion and unique customs coupled with the region’s enchanting scenery combine to make Lijiang and its vicinity a fascinating place to explore. The old town known as Dayan is protected as a UNESCO-designated World Cultural Heritage Site.

china_lijiang_old_townWe begin today with an excursion to Yunshanping or Spruce Meadow, an alpine pasture surrounded by virgin forests at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. While there, we’ll attend a live performance called Impression Lijiang. Directed by Zhang Yimou, Wang Chaoge and Fan Yue, Impression Lijiang is a song and dance extravaganza that takes place on location at 3,100 metres above sea level, in a spring-like city in Southwest China. Premiered on July 23, 2006, the hour-long show has been performed a regular basis averaging over a million spectators per year.

Later today we visit an ancient village on the way back to the city. In the afternoon we enjoy a walking tour of the old town (this may be moved up to the day before depending on flight schedule).

Day 23/Fri: Lijiang – Shangri-la/Zhongdian (B/L)

After breakfast we embark on an overland journey to Zhongdian. The day-long drive covers 200 kilometres of country road snaking through scenic river valleys and high mountains dotted with villages of various ethnic nationalities. The highlight of the drive is a stop at the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the first bend of the Yangtze. The gorge is a 15-kilometre scenic canyon on the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River. With a maximum depth of 3790 meters, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is believed to be the deepest river canyon in the world.china_yunnan_zhongdian_village

Day 24/Sat: Shangri-la (B/L)

In the 1933 novel Lost Horizon, the British author, James Hilton, describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Some scholars believe that the Shangri-La story owes a literary debt to Shambhala, a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, which was sought by Eastern and Western explorers. Because of this remote association, the local authorities in Yunnan applied to the State Council, the Chinese equivalent to the cabinet of a Western federal government, to have their county’s name changed from Zhongdian to Shangri-La (Xiangelila in Chinese pinyin). The application was approved in late 2001 and the name change went into effect early next year. The name change was nothing but a tourism marketing plot – a rather cynical one in the eyes of many observers.

We spend the morning exploring Pudacuo National Park. Stops include Bita Lake and Shudu Lake surrounded by vchina_zhongdian_pudacuoirgin alpine forests. Pudacuo National Park was designated on June 25, 2007 and covers an area of 1,300 square kilometres. It is the first national park in China that meets the standards established by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The park contains more than 20 percent of China’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species. It is notably home to vulnerable Black-necked cranes, many rare and beautiful orchids, and Himalayan Yew – a coniferous tree whose extracts are a source of the anticancer drug, paclitaxel.

Afternoon sightseeing takes in a Tibetan village, the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and a local market. Located 5 kilometres from the town of Zhongdian, the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery, also known as Sungtseling, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery first built in 1679. Sitting at 3,380 metres above sea level, it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is sometimes referred to as Little Potala Palace in reference to the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

Day 25/Sun: Shangri-la – Kunming (B/L)

The morning flight to Kunming takes less than one hour. Capital of Yunnan Province, Kunming is widely known as the “city of eternal spring” due to its temperate climate year-round.china_kunming_stone_forest_johnm

Enjoy an excursion to Stone Forest on arrival. Located 126km southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest is a massive collection of gray limestone pillars created by water erosion. The tall rocks seem to emanate from the ground in the manner of stalagmites, with many looking like trees made of stone.

Day 26/Mon: Kunming – Shanghai (B/L)

Enjoy some free time in the morning. Visit the historic Western Hill Scenic Area and Huating Temple before boarding late afternoon 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.

Day 27/Tue: Shanghai (B/L/D)

china_shanghai_bund_nightToday’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). Evening entertainment is a dazzling acrobatic show.

Day 28/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.

Day 29/Thu: Shanghai – Home City (B)

Spend the morning packing and relaxing. Transfer to the airport by Maglev train to board return flight departing in the afternoon. Re-cross the International Date Line and arrive home the same day.

Contact us for printer-friendly PDF file

City Nights Hotel Category
Beijing 3 Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng luxury
Chengdu 2 Holiday Inn Oriental Plaza luxury
Lhasa 4 InterContinental or St Regis luxury
Shigatse 1 Jiumuyamei or similar first class, best available
Xian 3 Sheraton Xian North City luxury
Dunhuang 2 Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel first class, best available
Kashgar 2 Radisson Blu luxury
Urumqi 2 Hongfu Hotel luxury
Lijiang 2 Hilton Garden Inn luxury
Zhongdian 2 Paradise Hotel luxury
Kunming 1 Green Lake Hotel 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.

2017 Dates and Prices

scroll down for what the tour price includes and excludes

Land Only
Single Supplement
Aug-31 Sep-28 $16,850/$13,160 $3350/$2650
Sep-21 Oct-19 $16,850/$13,160 $3350/$2650
Oct-05 Nov-02 $16,850/$13,160 $3350/$2650

This itinerary has no group departures for 2018 but can be offered as a private tour. Contact us for a price quote.

  • Price based on double occupancy. Payment by cheque or cash only.
  • Credit card not accepted except for deposit. See Terms & Conditions for details.
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.
  • Cultural shows per itinerary.
  • 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 Laurus Travel, you don’t need to worry about hidden charges because there are none!

See Terms & Conditions for more information.