Itinerary: China Cultural Tour
No. of Days: 6nights/7days
Places Covered: Beijing (4nights) – Xian (2nights)
Days 1: Beijing: Arrive at Beijing International Airport. Check in a hotel. After some relaxation and acclimatization start for some sightseeing in Beijing, a modern and sprawling city situated in north China and also the capital of the country.
Beijing is home to China’s imperial past and also the modernity which has come with the rapid progress of the country. Make a visit to the Forbidden City and explore its historical legacy. Forbidden City, which saw 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911), is the best preserved imperial palace in China. This used to be a palace site and it is interesting to see what different rooms the Chinese emperors used in the past. The buildings, quite similar in style, and gardens are quite amazing.
Return towards the evening. Try out some lovely Chinese cuisines at one of the city restaurants. Overnight in Beijing.
Day 2: Beijing: After breakfast drive some 90km to reach the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. This is supposed to be the best section of the wall as crowds is less here and it boasts of spectacular views. In addition, there is a cable car to go up the Great Wall.
Afterwards stop at a garden restaurant to feast on some lovely Chinese cuisines for the lunch. After finishing the lunch go to visit the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Often regarded as a Taoist Temple, the Temple of Heaven complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The circular Altar mound, Echo Wall, and spectacular Imperial Vault are the highlights of the Temple of Heaven.
Go for dinner to one of Kaorouji’s flat-bottomed boats. This is a unique dining experience where a meal is served aboard a narrow canopied flat-bottom boat. A single oarsman guides the boat in a gentle arc around the man-made lakes Qian Hai and Hou Hai. Up to eight people can dine in a bottom at one time. The entire trip takes roughly two hours.
Overnight in Beijing.
Day 3: Beijing: After breakfast leave for a sightseeing tour of Beijing. Go and visit Tiananmen Square.
In the afternoon visit the Lama Temple, one of Beijing’s most famous monasteries. Lama Temple, also called Yonghe Lamasery, was earlier an imperial palace, before being converted into a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Afterwards, stroll through the lakes and Hutong alleys of the Back Lakes and explore Beijing’s charming lanes in a rickshaw or bike. Visit a local family who has lived in the Hutongs for generations. They can offer a local perspective of history.
Have a delicious dinner in the evening. Overnight in Beijing.
Day 4: Beijing: After breakfast in the morning start for the Summer Palace. This is an enormous park with pavilions, vividly painted corridors, temples, and lakes surrounded by hills. Originally the royal summer retreat, Summer Palace still makes a nice place to escape the heat of the summer. You can climb the hill or take a scroll in the gardens.
Afterwards, take a large dragon boat tour on Lake Kunming. Enjoy lunch at a charming traditional restaurant.
In the afternoon visit Ming Tombs Scenic Area, some 50km northwest of Beijing. The area has mausoleums of thirteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Spread over an area of over 120 square kilometers, Ming Tombs are the best preserved tombs in China where millions of tourists come every year.
Sacred way at Ming Tombs is also fascinating thing to experience. It starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying at the front of the area.
Take a stroll in the evening. Have dinner in one of the restaurants serving authentic Chinese dishes. Overnight in Beijing.
Days 5: Xi’an: Get up early in the morning and with an early breakfast drive to the airport to catch a flight to Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province in central China. Check into a hotel on arrival in Xi’an.
Start the sightseeing tour of Xi’an by visiting Shanxi History Museum. Later in the day wander through the artist’s quarter, and visit Stele Forest Museum. Take a stroll along the City Wall which gives a good overview of the city. In the evening go out and have dinner at one of the restaurants. Overnight in Xi’an.
Day 6: Xian: Start in the morning and head for Terra-Cotta Warriors, considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. Thousands of life-size, vivid terracotta warriors are built with the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang, who united China some 2300 years ago. Horsemen, longbow bearers, archers, and senior officers and generals have all been positioned in a grand ancient army formation.
In the afternoon go on to visit the Great Mosque located in the center of the city. The mosque, built in the 8th century, is the largest and one of the most important Islamic places of worship in China.
In the evening enjoy an alfresco dinner of kababs in the Muslim markets. Overnight in Xian.
Day 7: Xian – Beijing – Onward Destination: Take a morning flight back to Beijing from where you can take a connecting flight to your onward destination.