BEIJING, XIAN, CHENGDU AND SHANGHAI
Like a greatest hits album, our Best of China tour stands as a smarTours® classic. We carefully curated our attractively priced four-city itinerary to capture both ancient and modern China. You won’t miss a beat as you sample the architectural treasures of Beijing and discover the astonishing Terracotta Army in Xian. You’ll fall in love with the giant pandas in Chengdu and be fascinated by Shanghai, the Paris of the East. From the Great Wall to Yu Yuan Garden, China is a must-see, and our guides will spin a fascinating narrative about its history, culture, and way of life as you experience this sweeping, storied destination.
Did you know you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- 3 nights in Beijing
- 2 nights in Xian
- 2 nights in Chengdu
- 3 nights in Shanghai
- Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
- Forbidden City (Beijing)
- Summer Palace (Beijing)
- Great Wall (Beijing)
- Terracotta Army (Xian)
- Tang Art Museum (Xian)
- Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
- Jinli Street (Chengdu)
- The Bund (Shanghai)
- Yu Yuan Garden (Shanghai)
- Suzhou Excursion (Shanghai)
Your Tour Includes
- Optional round-trip airfare from Los Angeles (LAX) or New York (JFK) including taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- All intra-China flights and ground transportation
- Accommodation at deluxe and first-class hotels
- 17 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
- Sightseeing tours as described in itinerary
- English-speaking Tour Director and local guides
What to Expect
Max Group Size: 30 travelers
For more detailed information about this tour and destination, visit our Before You Depart section.
Day 1: Arrive in Beijing
Welcome to the capital city Beijing, which so mesmerized the world during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Travelers who purchased our air-inclusive package will be greeted at the airport and travel to your upscale hotel centrally located in downtown Beijing, within easy access to Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. This evening, your tour director hosts a welcome briefing.Accommodations: Capital Hotel or similar
Day 2: Beijing
Today we’ll discover the Forbidden City, the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and home of 24 emperors throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is a true architectural masterwork and home to the National Palace Museum. After lunch, we’ll see the Summer Palace, a former royal retreat and now a lovely park, where you might consider taking a scenic boat ride on peaceful Kunming Lake. We’ll gather for a welcome dinner hosted by your Tour Director tonight.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Beijing
Today, encounter one of the world’s wonders: the legendary Great Wall, which stretches nearly 4,000 miles across China and was built more than 2,300 years ago. After you take the cable car up to the Great Wall, you’ll have plenty of time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take in the vistas. On the way back to Beijing, we’ll take a photo stop at the iconic Beijing 2008 Olympic Park, where you’ll marvel at the uniquely designed buildings (like the famous Bird’s Nest and Water Cube).Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Beijing/Xian
Enjoy the morning at your leisure (perhaps seeing Tiananmen Square, a prime people-watching spot!). Or take an optional Hutong and Temple of Heaven excursion, where you’ll explore the city’s ancient back alleys via rickshaw before enjoying lunch with a local family in their home. The tour ends with a visit to the Ming Dynasty masterpiece, the Temple of Heaven. Later today, fly to Xian, ancient capital of China for 11 dynasties and historic gateway to the old silk trading route.
May 2022 Onward: Travel to Xian by high-speed train!Accommodations: Grand Mercure Xian Renmin Square or similar
Day 5: Xian & Terracotta Army
Ready to see one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century? You’ll be amazed by the Terracotta Army, an afterlife (and life-sized!) army of warriors, chariots and horses built over 2,200 years ago to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi. This architectural treasure was unearthed in 1974 after being discovered by local farmers. Fun fact: each of the 8,000 soldiers differs in gestures and facial expressions. Our next stop is the Tang Art Museum, where we’ll view intriguing exhibits and demonstrations of Chinese culture, including folk arts, ancient painting works and calligraphy. You won’t want to miss tonight’s optional outing: a dumpling dinner (a delectable local specialty), followed by a spectacular Tang Dynasty folklore show.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Xian/Chengdu
Today we’ll board a high-speed train from Xian to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province and once the capital of the Shu Kingdom, and check-in to our hotel.Accommodations: Tibet Hotel Chengdu or similar
Day 7: Chengdu
Today we’ll see one of China’s natural treasures as we visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. As we learn about efforts to increase the giant panda population, we’ll have a chance to see these beloved creatures in settings that imitate their natural habitats. After lunch, we’ll take a leisurely stroll down narrow Jinli Street, where you’ll find traditional shops selling Shu embroidery, lacquer products, folk handicrafts, curios and calligraphy. Old-world architecture and folk customs harmonize with more modern cafés on Jinli Street. It’s a lovely spot to sit back with a cup of coffee and watch the scene. This evening, enjoy a special Sichuan Hot Pot dinner.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Chengdu/Shanghai
Today we’ll catch a flight to Shanghai, the “Paris of the East.” On the way to your hotel, we’ll catch our first glimpse of this dynamic city, which blends a seaport legacy with sleek 21st-century architecture.Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Fudan Hotel or similar
Day 9: Shanghai
We’ll start the day with an orientation drive and a stroll along the Bund, the bustling Huangpu River waterfront, followed by a guided walk through Yu Yuan Garden. Take a deep breath and enjoy the rockeries, pavilions and sculpture of this classical Ming Dynasty-era garden, which was created over 400 years ago to be a happy, tranquil place for the owner’s parents. The remainder of the day is free for exploration at your own pace. Two optional outings are available and recommended: a visit to Shanghai Tower and the famous Jade Buddha Temple, as well as dinner and a mesmerizing acrobatic show.Meals: Breakfast
Day 10: Shanghai/Optional Suzhou Excursion
Enjoy a full day to explore Shanghai or join an optional excursion to charming Suzhou, often called “Paradise on Earth.” See optional tours for information about this outing, which includes a canal boat ride and garden visit. Gather with your fellow travelers for a festive farewell dinner at a famous local restaurant this evening.Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Depart Shanghai
Our tour comes to an end after breakfast today. Travelers who purchased our air-inclusive package will transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S.Meals: Breakfast
Guided Tour Pricing
We are working diligently to secure future tour dates and pricing for this itinerary. Please fill out the "Request a Future Date" form linked below, and we will notify you once dates are available.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Full-Day Hutong (Old Beijing) & Temple of Heaven Tour with Lunch
- $75 per person
Go behind-the-scenes for an unforgettable tour of Hutong, the old city of Beijing. You’ll ride on a traditional three-wheel cycle (rickshaw) through the labyrinth that comprises this quarter. Walk along ancient back alleys and see where ordinary citizens live side-by-side with gracious old estates once owned by Beijing’s old aristocracy. After an included lunch with a local family, visit the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of architectural harmony and precision.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty Show
- $55 per person
On this evening outing, savor a delicious dumpling dinner, a local specialty. Later, delight in a spectacular folklore show featuring music, dances and costumes from the Tang Dynasty.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Afternoon Shanghai Tower and Jade Buddha Temple Tour with Lunch
- $78 per person
After an included lunch, see architecture both old and new on a guided afternoon tour. The first stop is the Jade Buddha Temple, which houses exceptional Buddha statues carved out of a single piece of white jade. You’ll then continue to China’s newest, tallest building—the Shanghai Tower. The second-tallest building in the world (second to only the Burj Khalifa in Dubai), it has the highest observation deck. For an exhilarating experience, ride the elevator to a 360-degree pan-optic, doughnut-shaped room for incredible views of Shanghai and beyond.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Chinese Dinner and Shanghai Acrobats Performance
- $85 per person
Savor a Chinese banquet before delighting in the amazing skills of this renowned troop during an evening performance.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Full-Day Suzhou Excursion with Lunch
- $75, including lunch
On this memorable excursion, journey by road to the charming canal town of Suzhou, often called “Paradise on Earth.” Here you’ll embark on a short cruise on the ancient “Grand Canal,” enjoy a walk through the old town and a visit to one of Suzhou’s most famous Chinese gardens. After lunch, visit a silk workshop to learn about silk production. Return to Shanghai late this afternoon.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
With landscaped gardens and traditional Chinese furnishings, this centrally located yet tranquil hotel is within walking distance of Tiananmen Square. Tea house and Korean spa.
3 Qian Men East Street, Beijing 100006, China
Grand Mercure Xian Renmin Square
Located within walking distance of historic sites, this chic hotel features traditional Chinese décor with modern touches, as well as landscaped gardens. Café on property.
319 Dongxin Street, Shaanxi Province, 710004, Xian, China
Tibet Hotel Chengdu
Featuring a Tibetan theme with a hint of modern art, this unique hotel is located in the city center.
810 Renmin North Rd 1st Section, Jinniu, Chengdu, China, 610081
Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan
Modern conveniences, near the Bund and Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar.
No. 199, Handan Road, Shanghai 200433, China