Explore 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as you journey through Northern China on this small group cultural tour, featuring places that are of outstanding universal value to mankind. As you journey through the heart of China, discover stunning landscapes, an astonishing ethnic and cultural diversity, shaped by centuries of history. Explore Beijing's cultural treasures, including the sprawling Great Wall and the Forbidden City; see thousands of Terra Cotta Warriors standing guard in Xian and observe Giant Pandas in their natural habitat. This tour works in perfect combination with our World Heritage of Southern China 17-day small group cultural tour.
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour|
|1.||Ancient City of Ping Yao||8.||Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian|
|2.||Imperial Palaces of the Ming & Qing Dynasties in Beijing & Shenyang||9.||Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries - Wolong, Mt Siguniang & Jiajin Mountains|
|3.||Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties||10.||Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing|
|4.||Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor||11.||Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing|
|5.||Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area||12.||The Great Wall|
|6.||Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System||13.||Yungang Grottoes|
|Tour Duration||:||15 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||02 persons|
|Max. Tour Size||:||08 persons|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Arrive Beijing
Nihao! Welcome to China. We are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Rainbow Hotel, Beijing (4 nights)
Day 02: Beijing
We start our tour in Tiananmen Square, which is named after the gate leading to the Forbidden City, an Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties*. Seat of supreme power for over five centuries (1416-1911), the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its landscaped gardens and many buildings (whose nearly 10,000 rooms contain furniture and works of art), constitutes a priceless testimony to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the afternoon we visit the Temple of Heaven, an Imperial Sacrificial Altar* founded in the first half of the 15th century. The complex of fine cult buildings is set in gardens and surrounded by historic pine woods, symbolizing the relationship between earth and heaven. Afterwards we explore a different side of Beijing, the hutongs, where ordinary people live and still occupy their ancestral homes. (B, D)
Day 03: Beijing
A full day excursion takes us to the Great Wall*, a united defence system against invasions from the north. Construction continued up to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure. We then head to Chang Ling, the largest of the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties*. Constructed for the founding emperors of the Qing Dynasty and their ancestors, the tombs follow the precepts of traditional Chinese geomancy and fengshui theory. They feature rich decoration of stone statues and carvings and tiles with dragon motifs, illustrating the development of the funerary architecture of the Qing Dynasty. (B, D)
Day 04: Beijing
Today we visit the Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing*, first built in 1750, largely destroyed in the war of 1860 and restored on its original foundations in 1886. It is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design, where the natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value. We the head to the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian*, which lies 42 km south-west of Beijing. Here the remains of Sinanthropus pekinensis, who lived in the Middle Pleistocene, along with various objects, and remains of Homo sapiens sapiens dating as far back as 18,000 - 11,000 B.C., are an exceptional reminder of the prehistorical human societies of the Asian continent. (B, D)
Day 05: Beijing/Datong (Flight)/Yungang Grottoes/Datong (Drive)
In the early morning we are transferred to the airport for our short flight to Datong. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel. Afterwards we visit the Yungang Grottoes* and explore their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, which represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Five Caves created by Tan Yao, with their strict unity of layout and design, constitute a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Chinese Buddhist art.
Overnight: Garden Hotel, Datong (1 night) (B, D)
Day 06: Datong/Wutaishan (Drive)
We visit the Hanging Monastery, is built into a very steep rock face and is unique in China due,as it combes Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. We then go to the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, which has withstood ravages of time and earthquakes for over millennia. A beautiful scenic drive takes us to Wutaishan.
Overnight: Friendship Hotel, Wutaishan (1 night) (B, D)
Day 07: Wutaishan/Taiyuan (Drive)
Today we explore Mount Wutai*, a sacred Buddhist mountain. The cultural landscape is home to forty-one monasteries and includes the East Main Hall of Foguang Temple, the highest surviving timber building of the Tang dynasty, with life-size clay sculptures. It also features the Ming dynasty Shuxiang Temple with a huge complex of 500 statues representing Buddhist stories woven into three-dimensional pictures of mountains and water. Overall, the buildings on the site catalogue the way in which Buddhist architecture developed and influenced palace building in China for over a millennium. Temples have been built on this site from the 1st century AD to the early 20th century. After our visit we are driven to Taiyuan.
Overnight: Days Hotel Lu'an, Taiyuan (1 night) (B, D)
Day 08: Taiyuan/Ping Yao (Drive)
A short drive takes us to the Ancient City of Ping Yao*, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city. Founded in the 14th century, its urban fabric shows the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries. Of special interest are the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which Ping Yao was the major centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. We visit the Wang Family Courtyard, was built by a wealthy merchant family during the Qing Dynasty to house the whole extended family group; there was even a school within the compound. It is very well preserved as the villagers looked after the place after the Wang family had been forced to forfeit their home once Qing emperors fell. We the head to the Shuanglin Temple, which has been called an art gallery of painted sculptures, created over centuries; the temple itself is 1,500 years old.
Overnight: Yide Hotel, Ping Yao (1 night) (B, D)
Day 09: Ping Yao/Xian (Train)
We further explore Ping Yao, known as the center of banking in the late Qing Dynasty. The Rishengchang Draft Bank, founded in 1823, was the first to start issuing drafts countrywide. The building now has a fascinating museum explaining the intricacies of banking in ancient China. The Armed Escort Company Museum tells of a service that made safe transfers of money and precious goods possible even in unstable times. Mingqing Street was the center of the old town, and is still a bustling center lined with Ming and Qing Dynasty houses. The Ancient City Wall has a foundation from 3,000 years ago, and was last “renovated” in early Ming Dynasty. In the afternoon we take the fast train from Ping Yao to Xian (3 hours). Upon arrival in Xi’an we are picked up at the railway station and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Bell Tower Hotel, Xian (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 10: Xian
Today we visit the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor*, an archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974. Qin (d. 210 B.C.), the first unifier of China, is buried, surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors. We then visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Ancient City Wall to get an overview of the old part of town it encircles. (B, D)
Day 11: Xian/Chengdu (Flight)
We take a morning flight from Xian to Chengdu and are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we explore the Wenshu Monastery and the Wide & Narrow Lanes.
Overnight: Buddha Zen Hotel, Chengdu (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 12: Chengdu
Today we visit the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries*, home to more than 30% of the world's pandas, which are classed as highly endangered. The sanctuaries constitute the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda, a relic from the paleo-tropic forests of the Tertiary Era and the species' most important site for captive breeding. The sanctuaries are home to other globally endangered animals such as the red panda, the snow leopard and clouded leopard. We the head to the Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System*, which began in the 3rd century B.C. This system still controls the waters of the Minjiang River and distributes it to the fertile farmland of the Chengdu plains. Mount Qingcheng was the birthplace of Taoism, which is celebrated in a series of ancient temples. (B, D)
Day 13: Chengdu/Mt. Emei (Drive)
We travel to the Giant Buddha of Leshan*, carved out of a hillside in the 8th century and looking down on the confluence of three rivers. At 71 m high, it is the largest Buddha in the world. The first Buddhist temple in China was built here in Sichuan Province in the 1st century A.D. in the beautiful surroundings of the summit Mount Emei. We also will visit the other temples that turned the site into one of Buddhism's holiest sites.
Overnight: Century Sunshine Hotel, Mt. Emei (1 night) (B, D)
Day 14: Mt. Emei/Chengdu (Drive)
We continue our exploration of the Mount Emei Scenic Area*, notable for its exceptionally diverse vegetation, ranging from subtropical to subalpine pine forests. Some of the trees there are more than 1,000 years old. We return to Chengdu in the afternoon.
Overnight: Buddha Zen Hotel, Chengdu (1 night) (B, D)
Day 15: Depart Chengdu
After exploring the world heritage of Northern China, we are transferred from our hotel to the airport for our departure. This tour can be combined with World Heritage Sites of Southern China or one of our many small group tours to Asia. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
May 07, Jul 09, Oct 08*
May 06, Jul 08, Oct 07*
(*) what's this?
Tour PriceWe accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
|Departure(s)||Per Person on Twin Sharing||Single Room Supplement|
|2017||US$ 4995||US$ 850|
|2018||US$ 5295||US$ 895|
Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 08 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.