10 days Beijing - Datong - Pingyao and Xi'an cultural tour
One of our longest tours to northern China that includes two less traveled cities along with stops in popular Beijing and Xi'an. Balanced so you can experience these ancient cities and truly capture essence of old and modern China. Traveling exclusively by train provides a more relaxing experience to meet other travelers and Chinese along with view the countryside's scenery.
Beijing, Datong, Pingyao and Xi'an, are all full of history! Beijing and Xi'an, where both among the four great ancient capitals of China. From the Emperor's Qin Tomb of The Terracotta Warriors and Horse to the last emperor of China during the Qing Dynasty. Thousands of years of history all right before your eyes.
Although China has been developing itself to be an international and modernized country, the ancient cities of Datong and Pingyao, still remain their classic style. History here can date back to over 2,500 years. Where Datong possess spectacular sights such as the Nine Dragon Screen. While Pingyao, was China's financial center during till the end of the Qing dynasty. A trip filled with countless wonders awaits you.
Upon arriving in Beijing, you will be greeted by your local guide and driver who will then transport you to the hotel. Here you can have a good rest and be prepared for the next days' journey. Overnight at Beijing.
Your first day will begin with a visit to the largest square in the world - Tiananmen. It is also an assembling place for Chinese people to celebrate important festivals or hold other big events.
Located in the north of Tiananmen Square, is the Forbidden City, the best persevered imperial palace in China. Walk through this mysterious place and taste the more than 500 years of historical civilization that once was China. Imagine you've traveled back more than 1,000 years ago, wandering here with princess or princes.
After lunch, your guide and driver will take you to the Temple of Heaven, where you can walk in the steps once only reserved for Chinese emperors. This beautiful place of worship where the emperor would travel annually to pray to heaven for an abundant harvest.
After dinner, you can choose to enjoy the authentic Chinese Kungfu Show. Overnight at Beijing.
Morning excursion to the most adventurous section of the Great Wall - Shixiaguan. It will take 2 hours to drive you there. Then you can experience the physical challenge and the amazing views, the hiking tour from Shixiaguan to Badaling sections is an ideal place for hiking enthusiasts to enjoy the landscape. It is less crowded and provides a unique view of the Wall. It's really fun and worthy of a China Great Wall experience.
Late afternoon, upon your return to Beijing you will have a view of the 2008 Olympic Green.
Today you will visit the Summer Palace, an original royal garden and a temporary dwelling palace for emperors of Qing Dynasty, which is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. It is declared "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design" by UNESCO.
After lunch, your guide will escort you and ensure you safely board the train to Datong departing at 15:40. After a short 5 hour journey, your local guide and driver will meet you upon disembarking from the train and assist you to your hotel. Overnight at Datong.
Today start with a visit to the Yungang Grottoes, one of three main grottoes in China (the other two are Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang and Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang). It will take nearly 1 hour to reach the attraction. All together the site is composed of 252 grottoes with more than 51,000 Buddha statues and statuettes.
Then visit Huayan Monastery, the original one dates back to AD 1140 and the reign of Emperor Tian Ju'an of the Jin dynasty. The entire complex is being developed into a regional museum.
Late afternoon, you will have a visit to Nine Dragon Screen. A wall carving built more than 600 years ago and presented the oldest and largest glazed screen in China today. Drive back and overnight at Datong.
Today you will drive to Pingyao for about 5-6 hours. Pingyao was a financial center of China. Its history dates back 2,700 years and is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the known world. It is still inhabited by 50,000 residents and is renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stop to visit Hanging Temple, roughly 80 km. (50 mi.) It is one of the main attractions for tourists and important sites in Datong. Here you will enjoy the wonderful place, which includes Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian sculptures.
Today you and your guide will visit Pingyao's ancient city. The famous Rishengchang Exchange Shop, one of the most famous forex shops in China, located on West Avenue, is known as the "Countryside Grandfather" of sundry Chinese banks. It is established in 1823 during the Qing Dynasty.
After lunch, you can choose to visit Ming Qing Street. It is the busiest street in this city, not very wide but contains a lot of Ming-Qing style shops. Walk on the street, you will feel that you have returned to 200 years ago.
Then you can visit the Pingyao Ancient Government Office. If time permits, you can also visit some other attractions on your own. Overnight at Pingyao.
Today your trip will begin at Wang Family Courtyard House, which is more of a grand castle than cozy home, impressive in grandeur with 123 count yards. It will take about 1 hour to drive to reach here from your hotel.
Then continue to Shuanglin Temple, 7 km. (4 mi.) south of Pingyao. It contains rare Song and Yuan painted statues. Reconstructed in 571 A.D., the Shuanglin Temple has a history of about 1,400 years. The temple consists of a range of different size halls from small to large, along with rooms exclusively meant for sutra chanting hall. One famous hall is the Guan Yu's Hall named after a famous general of the Shu people during the period of Three Kingdoms.
Then board the bullet train to Xi'an.
Today your tour will begin with a short drive into the suburb to visit the Terracotta Warriors. Here you can embrace this more than 2,000 years lost history with what is now called the eighth wonder of the world. See the more than 10,000 clay warriors and their chariots, none of which are the same!
Afterward, you will be driven back in a private car to Xi'an where in the afternoon, you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the landmarks of Xi'an. It's said the pagoda was built to house the Buddhist sutras brought back from India by a famous monk named Xuanzang. Here, you can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the city and samples of ancient architecture.
A short drive will then take you to the final stop of the day which is Xi'an Muslim Quarters and the Great Mosque. These two places will are filled with a unique feel and ethnic atmosphere. Overnight at Xi'an.
In the morning, visit Shaanxi History Museum, which is often touted as one of the best of China, with a collection of 370,000 elaborate relics. You will feel that you have come to the ancient Xi'an because the museum is built in the architectural style of the Tang dynasty.
After you and your guide have left the museum, enjoy a delicious local lunch and then continue on to visit the famous Xi'an City wall, one of the oldest and best-preserved walls in China. Your last stop on the tour is Shuyuan Men, a perfect place to grab some last minute souvenirs. It presents you what the building and people's life in Tang dynasty. Your guide will ensure you reach the airport or train station for your departure from Xi'an.