Giant Buddha Leshan | China
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China Family Explorer - 12 Days map

SEMI INDEPENDENT: Discover China’s iconic sites on this family tour starting in Beijing hiking along the Great Wall, riding around the Hutongs and watching a stunning acrobatics performance; marvel at the iconic Terracotta Warrior army in Xi’an and make your own clay warrior; get close to the furry panda’s in Chengdu and learn the art of cooking authentic Sichuanese cuisine before exploring the spectacular Shanghai skyline.

Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Beijing – roam the streets of China’s fascinating capital Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Jongshan Park, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace
Acrobatics – watch a stunning acrobatics performance in Beijing
Tai Chi – unwind with a Tai Chi lesson in the park followed by tea ceremony
Xi’an – cycle along the famous ancient city walls
Chengdu – visit the famous Panda Conservation centre and get up and close with China’s national symbol
Sichuan Province – enjoy learning how to prepare local Sichuanese cuisine in Chengdu
Huangpu River – cruise along the river for spectacular views of the city
Hutong – explore Beijing's old lanes on Rickshaw tour and dine with a local family
Great Wall of China – hike to Mutianyu section of Great Wall. Optional cable car and toboggan rides available
Terracotta Warriors- walk among the famous UNESCO listed Terracotta warriors made to protect the emperor in the afterlife and make your own clay warrior
Calligraphy – master the visual art of calligraphy with a lesson at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Leshan – marvel at the iconic stone Buddha standing over 71 meters tall
Shanghai – discover People’s Square, Nanjing Road, the Bund and Lujiazui district


11 nights 4 star accommodation
Airport transfer day 1
Local guides for scheduled sightseeing in Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Shanghai
Acrobatic performance
Private transportation except when travelling by train
Economy flight: Chengdu - Shanghai
Calligraphy lesson
Evening cruise Huangpu River
11 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Hutong Rickshaw tour
Tai Chi lesson and traditional Chinese tea ceremony
All entrances listed in itinerary
Trains: Beijing - Xi'an and Xi'an - Chengdu
Clay Terracotta Warrior making
Cooking class in Chengdu

Not Included

Laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature
International flights
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture


Please note this is a private itinerary, and you will not be joined by other groups.

Day 1

Welcome To China

Welcome to China! On arrival to the airport you will be met by a local driver and transferred to your hotel for the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Beijing

Day 2

Beijing City Tour

Today we explore Beijing’s authentic culture and explore an area that has survived the city’s tumultuous history, remaining as a capsule of traditional Chinese living. We begin by boarding our rickshaw transportation and roam the winding Hutong streets and old residential lanes, which are built around a courtyard and well. We stop at a local family’s courtyard and enjoy an authentic Hutong style meal.

After lunch, we uncover China’s imperial history at Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world and the gateway to the Forbidden City. Take some time to wander around the square, visit Tiananmen Tower, The Great Hall of the People, the memorial hall for Chairman Mao (not included) before continuing through the square to the Forbidden City and exploring the centre of Beijing, the once imperial palace for emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Later, we travel to Jingshan Park for breath-taking panoramic views of the city and square. To dine in true Beijing style, we recommend trying some Peking roast duck.
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

The Summer Palace

This morning, we begin by finding our inner zen with a Tai Chi lesson in the park, embracing the serene nature around us. Continuing our journey, we visit the Temple of Heaven the largest sacrificial building in China, and temple used by emperors for sacrifices to appease the heavens and grant good crops and prosperity for its worshipers. After exploring the grounds, we visit a small tea house in the corner of the park for an authentic Chinese tea ceremony.

This afternoon, we explore the Summer Palace, China’s best-preserved imperial garden, set on the banks of Kunming Lake. Here you can opt to take in the incredible landscape whilst enjoying a boat cruise (book/pay locally) on the lake, or perhaps discover the court area, the Garden of Virtue and Harmony and much more. The rest of the evening is at leisure to relax or further independent explore this mesmerising city.
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast

Day 4

The Great Wall

Our final day in Beijing is spent visiting one of the most iconic sights in the world – the Great Wall of China. Built over 2,300 years ago, the wall was built in different areas by different dynasties to protect against invasions and extended to protect the trade on the Silk Road. We travel to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and spend the day walking and exploring this 1.8 mile stretch of wall. There is an option to take the kids up to the wall on a cable car and make the way down by a fun toboggan ride. Your entertainment this evening is a traditional Chinese acrobatic performance, see juggling, wire walking and much more!
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Drum and Bell Towers

Beijing - Xi'an. Bid farewell to the Chinese capital and your Beijing tour leader this morning and make your way to Xi’an by bullet train. On arrival you are met by a new local leader and transferred to our hotel to freshen up. This afternoon, we visit the Drum and Bell Towers which were used in ancient times to sound at dusk and dawn, located in the heart of the city. The Bell Tower offer panoramic views of the city, and the Drum Tower offers views of the Muslim Quarter, our next stop. The Muslim Quarter is the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Wander through the city’s bustling markets and sample some of the food market cuisine, which makes this area so famous. This evening, we recommend you sample a traditional Hui Muslim meal.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Terracotta Warriors!

Today’s highlight Is the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site! Numbering into the thousands and standing in battle-ready formation, this army was created to protect the Emperor Qinshihuang in the afterlife. After walking amongst this incredible army, you have the chance to make your own to take home during our visit to the model factory.

Tonight, watch the city’s incredible fountain light show.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Xi'an to Chengdu

Xi'an - Chengdu. Rise early this morning to pay a visit to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the best-preserved Buddhist temples from the Tang Dynasty, before we enjoy a bike ride atop the Xi’an City Wall. The 12m high walls are said to be one of the largest ancient military fortifications in the world.

We will then learn the art of calligraphy from a local artist, and this afternoon we leave our leader and take a high-speed train from Xi’an to Chengdu. The rest of the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Chengdu Pandas & Leshan Buddha Park

The highlight today is to visit China’s fury mascot, the Giant Panda, in the Giant Panda Research & Breeding Centre. The centre was created to help imitate the panda’s natural environment for rearing and breeding. Explore the grounds and watch adult panda’s enjoying bamboo, and the baby pandas in the nursery, as well as other endangered animals. This afternoon we drive to Leshan and hike through Leshan Buddha Park to take in the incredible view of the biggest stone Buddha in the world - standing over 71 meters in height, set on the hillside of Xijuo Peak, facing the convergence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi Rivers.

This evening we recommend sampling Chengdu’s famous hot pot for dinner, a must try (book/pay locally). NOTE: There is the option to swap this day to volunteer at the Dujiangyan pandas base, see our Trip Notes for further details.
Overnight: Chengdu  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Cooking Authentic Local Cuisine

Spend the final day in Chengdu cooking some authentic local cuisine and eating the fruits of our labour, for lunch. We spend the afternoon exploring the Chengdu Museum, the largest comprehensive museum in the city, boasting an area of approximately 12,000 sq. meters and housing over five decades of history. We then wander down Jinli Street, a street famous for baldachin cloth during the Qin Dynasty, admiring the traditional style buildings and trying the local delicacies. Evening at leisure.
Overnight: Chengdu  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10

People’s Square & Nanjing Road

Chengdu – Shanghai. You have an early start today as you leave bustling Chengdu and adventure leader behind and board a morning flight to Shanghai where we are met by your new leader at the airport and transferred to our hotel to freshen up.

It’s time to get acquainted with the stunning metropolis and we explore People’s Square in the heart of the city to admire the open gardens and high-rise buildings. Continue to Nanjing Road, the famous shopping district with over 600 shops and restaurants, before walking along the famous Bund waterway for spectacular photo opportunities, capturing over 26 architectural styles including Baroque and Renaissance. We end the day with a cruise along the Huangpu River for spectacular view of the city’s famous skyline.
Overnight: Shanghai  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Yu Yuan Gardens & Pearl TV Tower

Today’s highlight is to marvel at the iconic scenery of the Yu Yuan Gardens and Bazaar, said to be the most celebrated classical Chinese garden in Shanghai. Explore the maze of gardens, lakes, rockeries and dragon walls before walking along the bazaar, located next to the gardens with beautiful Chinese architecture selling antiques, souvenirs and local snacks. For lunch, we recommend trying the famous Xiao Long Bao dumplings. This evening, we make our way to the financial Lujiazui district and head to the top of the Pearl TV Tower to enjoy panoramic views of this iconic city.
Overnight: Shanghai  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Our Adventure Ends Today

Our tour ends after breakfast. We can arrange a departure transfer upon request. We would be delighted to help you extend your stay in Shanghai and book more nights for you if you would like to further explore this charming city - why not end your family adventure with a day at magical Shanghai Disneyland.

In Brief

Hotel Rating
4 star hotels
Tour Guide
Local guides, unescorted between cities
Breakfast: 11, Lunch: 2
Click to play videoBeijing cityscape with a view of the sprawling Forbidden City palace complex from above
Click to play videoCyclists on the old city walls in Xian
The riverside view of Chengdu city with Anshun bridge beautifully illuminated
Click to play videoThe view across the Huangpu River to the modern cityscape of Pudong in Shanghai
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