8 days Beijing - Pingyao and Xi'an impression tour
This 8 days' tour covers all the highlights in these magnificent old cities. Both Beijing and Xi'an are among the four great ancient capitals of China. Where countess emperors one ruled over the whole country, stopping only as one dynasty ended and another began. No attractions are missed!
Less traveled Pingyao, is famous for its' rich history as China's ancient financial center, long before Shanghai was Shanghai! Dating back over 2,700 years. Pingyao is the ideal stopping point between Xi'an and Beijing to balance any trip to China between the popularity of the great wall in Beijing to the mighty Terracotta Soldiers of Xi'an.
Upon your arrival in Beijing you will be meet by a local guide and driver who will help transport you to your hotel. Here you can have a short rest, check email or explore the nearby neighborhood. Overnight at Beijing.
Your first day will be began with a visit to the largest public square in the world - Tiananmen Square. This assembling place for Chinese people is used to celebrate important festivals or hold other big events.
Located just 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 year 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, you, your guide and driver will visit 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 the heaven for an abundant harvest.
After dinner, you can enjoy the authentic Chinese Kong fu Show. Overnight at Beijing.
Your morning excursion heads toward Mutianyu, a less-crowned section of China's Great Wall. It will take approximately 2.5 hours to drive here. You can choose to ascend to the top of the Great Wall by cable car or foot. Spend about 2 - 3 hours to free enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the top of the wall. Explore each watch towers that have helped to keep China protected from norther invaders.
In the afternoon, you will have a ride in Hutong (in the East City). Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences known as siheyuan. Many neighborhoods were formed by the joining of siheyuans.
Sadly since the mid - 20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. Here you can experience the real life of local Beijing residents. Overnight at Beijing.
Your last day in Beijing is perhaps the best! With a visit to the grand Summer Palace, a original royal garden and a temporary dwelling palace for emperors of Qing Dynasty. It is declared "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design" a world heritage site by UNESCO.
After lunch, your Beijing guide and driver will say farewell as you depart for Taiyuan by train. After a short 4 hours train journey you will be greeted in Taiyuan and drive to Pingyao with another one hour. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and have a good rest. Overnight at Pingyao.
Begin your exploration into Pingyao an ancient city which is famous as a trade center during the Ming Dynasty. Pingyao has three main streets not to be missed and you won't! They include: South Avenue, West Avenue and East Avenue.
Starting on West Avenue visit Rishengchang Exchange Shop, one of the most famous forex shops in China. Known as the "Countryside Grandfather of sundry Chinese banks. It was established in 1823 during the Qing Dynasty.
After lunch, continue to Ming Qing Street, the busiest street in this city, not very wide but contains tons of Ming-Qing dynasty style shops. Walking on the street, you will feel that you have returned to 200 years ago.
Last stop of the day is the Pingyao Ancient Government Office. In some cases bases on your personal interest and abundant choice we can easily adjust which attractions to hit or miss based on your personal interests. Overnight at Pingyao.
After what will certainly feel like a fast 48 hours you will prepare to depart for Xi'an but not before a visit t the Wang Family Courtyard. This home appears more as a grand castle than a cozy home, with it's impressive courtyards numbering well over 100. The driving time to the Wang Family Courtyard is about 1 hour from your hotel.
The last stop of the Pingyao is Shuanglin Temple, a short 7 km. (4 mi.) south of the city. It contains rare Song and Yuan dynast painted statues. Reconstructed in 571 A.D., the Shuanglin Temple has a history of over 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.
Say farewell to your Pingyao guide and driver as you board the 20:47 overnight train to Xi'an.
Arrive in Xi'an, just in time to have breakfast, freshen up and meet your local guide and driver. When ready your tour will begin with a short drive into the suburb to visit the world famous Terracotta Warriors. Here you can embrace this more than 2,000 years lost history recently discovered by a local farmer, digging a new well! See the more than 10,000 clay warriors and their chariots, none of which are the same!
Afterward you will be driven back to Xi'an downtown where in the afternoon, you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a major 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 place will are filled with a rich ethnic atmosphere. Snack on some of the local foods, while you explore. A great place to pick up small gifts.
After enjoy a dumpling buffet, and an impressive Tang Dynasty Show before retiring to your hotel for the night. 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 trinkets. 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.