13 Days , 8 Cities
Countries Visited China
Places Visited Beijing, , Xi'an, Chengdu, Hangzhou
Suggested Duration 11 days
Travel Styles Cultural Tours, Food Tours
Beijing Arrival – Peking Duck dinnerNihao! Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China. Upon your arrival at the airport you will be greeted by your guide, and transferred straight to the hotel. Your tour begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in your hotel lobby where your guide will go over more details about your trip including meeting up with your guides in each city. After that, you will take an orientation walk followed by a Beijing Duck dinner. Beijing's most famous dish; the crispy-skinned, juicy-on-the-inside Beijing duck is served with rice flour wraps, cucumbers, green onions and a sweet-salty hoisin sauce.
Beijing – Hutong markets, Inner Mongolian Hot Pot dinnerThis morning, we will head to Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest public squares and home to the Monument of the People's Heroes and the Great Hall of the People. Then into the Forbidden City, built 1406-1420; the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for more than 500 years. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the most extensive collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. After the Forbidden City, we will explore the narrow alleyways of Beijing’s historic hutong neighborhoods. Beijing is famous for its hundreds of dishes with different flavors that are unmatched by any other cuisine. Beijing food does not emphasize strangeness or uniqueness, only delicious food made from common ingredients with tastes that are very agreeable. You will visit one of the Hutong markets and see steaming fresh tofu and fresh vegetables while learning about the key ingredients and spices used in northern Chinese cooking. In the evening enjoy an Inner Mongolian hot pot dinner.
Beijing Great Wall at MutianyuMutianyu (about 2 hours out of Beijing) is one of the best-preserved and restored sections of the Great Wall so it is easy to climb, but you can still appreciate the difficulty and scale of its construction. A picnic lunch on the Wall is provided.
Return to Beijing in late afternoon and visit a local farmer's house, where you will learn how to make dumplings. Your host will explain and show you how to make this famous and traditional meal, sharing the culture behind the food. Feast on your hand-made dumplings and some other dishes for dinner. Afterwards, board the overnight sleeper train to Xian.
Xi'an – Food traditions of Xi’an in the Muslim QuarterArrive Xi’an in the morning, meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel for breakfast. Once the departure point for the Silk Road, Xian has hosted myriad religions and cultures, each influencing the city’s gastronomic traditions.
Your orientation tour begins at the iconic Bell and Drum Tower then on to the popular food paradise of the Muslim Quarter. We will visit one of the best-preserved old residences dating back 400 years; a courtyard once home to seven generations of the Gao family –notable officials of the royal court and houses period furniture, pottery, porcelain, and paintings. Tonight you will find yourself in the heart of the Muslim Quarter to discover why Xi'an is considered the 'snack capital' of China.
The food in Xi'an is marked by the strong salty flavors of Shaanxi cuisine, and has been influenced by the significant Muslim population. Each dish has a story –from 'Old Sun Family's Paomo' to 'Fan Family's Rougamo'. This evening we will try the Yangrou Paomo (Pita Bread Soaked in Mutton Soup) for dinner. Yangrou Paomo is a tasty Xi’an specialty, a soup with fragrant mutton meat, chilies, caraway, pickled garlic, and pieces of flatbread. In traditional restaurants, you’ll break the flatbread yourself. Once you work the bread into small crumbles, you relinquish it to the chef to stir it into the hot soup. This soup turns up across Shaanxi Province, but there’s no more special place to slurp it than in Xian.
Xi'an – Terracotta Warriors, biang biang noodles, Xi’an City WallHead out to the Terracotta Warriors and learn much about this incredible archaeological find. After being buried for 2,000 years it was discovered in 1976 by farmers digging a well. Three main pits are open for you to view. Here just under 2,000 of the total 6,000 warriors –each individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height and even facial expression –stand in battle formation along with horses and chariots. After marveling at this incredible display, lunch in a local village where you can enjoy the well-known local dish, biang biang noodles. These thick, wide noodles are hand-pulled and often served with lots of hot peppers, garlic and Chinese vinegar. The Chef will show you how to pull the dough strips into long thin noodles.In the afternoon spend time on the ancient City Wall. This is the most significant and best-preserved city wall extant in China, running over 8 miles (13 km) around Xi’an.
Train Xi’an to Chengdu, city exploration, Hot Pot dinnerIt is about 4 hours by fast train to Chengdu. Chengdu is not just the capital of the Sichuan region but also a paradise of food. Sichuan cuisine is recognized for its fiery quality and the tingling, tongue-numbing sensation produced by its most famous ingredient, Sichuan pepper. Start with a walking tour around Jinli Street, famous for its historic atmosphere, bustling businesses and most of all for its local snacks. Enjoy sticky rice cakes with sesame sauce, spicy chicken on a stick, sweet rice jelly, fried beef pancakes and, for the more adventurous, seasoned rabbits’ heads.
Later, head to Kuanzhai Alley, a landmark of Chengdu where you will see the historical remains of the old Chengdu city and experience the leisure lifestyle of Chengdu locals.
In the evening enjoy the most famous of local dishes for dinner–Sichuan hotpot. Known in Sichuan as 'huo guo'. Considered a healthy antidote to the common wet weather here, people boil assorted ingredients (noodles, meat, vegetables, seafood) in a big pot together with hot pepper and spices to ward off the cold; you then dip them into a special mix of oil & sauces in your individual bowls (with even more chili if you are a local).
Chengdu Panda Breeding Center, Lehsan Great BuddhaA morning visit to the Panda Breeding Center, where you witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endangered species. Pandas look adorable with amazing body movements. You can get quite close to them, watching them at play, eating, napping and munching bamboo.
After the visit, we will go to a “hidden” but “well known” restaurant which serves up authentic Sichuan specialties like Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken, Poached Beef and so on. Sichuan poached beef is a tasty Chinese dish where the beef is boiled in broth until it’s just cooked and super tender and seasoned with chilies, garlic and Sichuan peppercorns.
This afternoon we will continue to one of the region's most famous sites --the Leshan Buddha. This giant 71-meter-tall stone statue carved into the hillside dates from 713 (Tang Dynasty) when China was ruled by the Lee’s imperial family. The carving took 90 years to complete and has an amazing, well-designed drainage system at the back of the Buddha’s head and ears. In late afternoon, return to Chengdu for the night.
Chengdu - Hangzhou – West Lake, Longjing Tea Plantation, Beggar’s ChickenThis morning fly to Hangzhou. Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang province located in east China and the southern terminus of the Grand Canal. Today we will explore West Lake, a freshwater divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake.
You are probably aware of Japanese tea ceremonies; tea culture is every bit as important in China, the tasting and the ritual of pouring and serving. There are even dozens of varieties of bottled teas (many with fruit essences added) drunk cold and more popular than carbonated soft drinks.
Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea is the best tea in China and regarded as the “Green Queen.” This afternoon visit Longjing Tea plantation in Hangzhou to appreciate the beautiful, verdant green of the tea trees and to learn more about the culture of tea in China.
The main features of Hangzhou food are freshness and lightness; spicy seasoning is avoided so as to keep the original taste and flavor. This evening, we will enjoy a famous dish of Hangzhou, Beggar’s chicken. Long, long ago, a beggar coated a chicken in mud and placed it in the fire to bake. And when it was well baked and taken out, the chicken released a surprisingly pleasant aroma. Later, the Louwailou Restaurant adapted the dish by stuffing the chicken with light seasoning and wrapping it in the lotus leaves before coating it with a mixture of mud and Shaoxing wine. After being baked for three to four hours the dish is served in its mud chrysalis and cracked open before the diners.
Hangzhou, Wuzhen Water Town, Wine workshop, indigo tie-dye, Shanghai1.5 hours from Hangzhou, Wuzhen is a 1300-year-old water town on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Explore the town’s highlights, including the Sanbai Wine Workshop, built during the Song Dynasty and the only winery that remains in Wuzhen. Visit the Hundred-Bed Museum and learn about indigo dye at Hongyuan Tie Dye; then watch a shadow puppet show with musical accompaniment on traditional Chinese instruments. Food in Wuzhen is a delight to indulge in. For lunch, we will enjoy some famous local dishes, like three Zhen Jiang Ya, steamed pork slices with glutinous rice flour wrapped in lotus and so on. After the day in Wuzhen continue to Shanghai (2 hours). Arrive Shanghai in late afternoon in time for an orientation walk.
Shanghai –City God’s Temple, French Concession, dinner of local specialtiesThanks to its cosmopolitan nature, Shanghai has developed a cuisine that melds the best flavors and techniques of many regions throughout China. Using fresh, local ingredients such as freshwater fish, shrimp and crab Shanghai's food is often sweeter than that in other parts of China.This morning we will visit the City God’s Temple area, a folk temple neighboring Yuyuan Garden. The City God Temple in Shanghai originated as the Jinshan God Temple, dedicated to the spirit of Jinshan or "Gold Mountain", an island off the coast of Shanghai. It was converted into a City God Temple in 1403, during the Yongle era of the Ming dynasty. Its popularity turns the surroundings into a large pedestrian area that hosts an array of shops, restaurants and teahouses, as well as annual temple fair events. Later, we will explore the French Concession; this was a foreign concession area from 1849-1943 and over the century developed its own distinct character, a cultural mix of Chinese and European.Evening feast on the local favorite Xiaolongbao with some other specialties such as Xiekehuang (Crab shell pastry). Xiaolongbao (soup bun) is a steamed dumpling filled with a variety of savory ingredients and fragrant soup that bursts in your mouth when you bite into it.
Shanghai (Departure)Today is your last day in Shanghai. You are free until being transferred to the airport for your departure.
Starting from $3,268 per person
Price per person in double occupancy
The rate is based on 4-star accommodation
Price excluding international flights
This trip is customizable for your private travel.
Request a quote for a trip fully customized to your preferences.
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Free service - No credit card required
- Transportation by private/ public vehicle in each city
- Accommodations in hotels based on using twin shared bed room
- Meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 7 dinners
- Entrance fees in each city
- One English speaking local guide in each city
- One arrival and one departure transfer on group basis
- Second class fast train tickets: Xi’an-Chengdu
- Overnight soft sleeper train ticket: Beijing -Xi’an
- Flights: Chengdu -Hangzhou
- Private bus: Hangzhou -Wuzhen, Wuzhen -Shanghai
Sightseeing Highlights Included
- Visit Beijing;
- Peking Duck dinner
- Hutong markets, Inner Mongolian Hot Pot dinner
- Head to Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest public squares and home to the Monument of the People’s Heroes and the Great Hall of the People
- Great Wall at Mutianyu
- Dumpling cooking dinner
- Visit Xi’an
- Food traditions of Xi’an in the Muslim Quarter
- Terracotta Warriors, biang biang noodles, Xi’an City Wall
- Visit Chengdu
- City exploration, Hot Pot dinner
- Panda Breeding Center
- Lehsan Great Buddha
- Lunch with Sichuan dishes
- Visit Hangzhou
- West Lake
- Longjing Tea Plantation
- Beggar’s Chicken
- Wuzhen Water Town
- Wine workshop
- Indigo tie-dye
- Visit Shanghai
- City God’s Temple
- French Concession
- Dinner of local specialties
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