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China Off The Beaten Path China Classic

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This Cultural Expedition program is designed to give the family an opportunity to experience a different and interesting Chinese Culture and Outdoor Landscape in Beijing, Datong, Pingyao, Xi’an, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan and Zhangye. Beijing is already one of the World’s Great Cities! Although it has all the comforts and conveniences of a modern city, there are many “must-see” attractions which are stil...

This Cultural Expedition program is designed to give the family an opportunity to experience a different and interesting Chinese Culture and Outdoor Landscape in Beijing, Datong, Pingyao, Xi’an, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan and Zhangye.

Beijing is already one of the World’s Great Cities! Although it has all the comforts and conveniences of a modern city, there are many “must-see” attractions which are still unique –the Summer Palace, the Temple of heaven, the intriguing hutongs, and of course Tiananmen Square and the not-to-be-missed Forbidden City.

Move to Datong, visit one of China's four most famous "Buddhist Grottoes", Yungang Buddhist Grottoes are 16 kilometers west of Datong. 53 caves are cut into the southern cliffs of Wuzhou Hill which contain over 50000 magnificently carved Buddist statues. Continue to Pingyao, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is an exceptionally well-preserved traditional Han Chinese city. Its city walls, old temples and courtyard houses were built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Located on the old trade route between Beijing and Xi'an, Pingyao was one of the flourishing trade centers in northern China.

Then transfer to the most famous Chinese ancient capital city -Xi'an, enjoy a time-smart tour will all the highlights of Xi'an that combines the world-famous Terracotta Army with more of Xi'an's best sights in three days.

Fly to Dunhuang, take you to part of the mysterious and attractive historical Silk Route in old China, where you will hike on Jiayu Guan Great Wall, and visit the Rainbow Mountains China, several Buddhism temples, and beautiful ancient Chinese historical ruins. You also will be very welcomed by the local Yugu minority groups and dancing with them in the last day. Additionally, if the weather permits, during the train trip from Lanzhou to Jiayu Guan you will see the splendid cole flower fields. It is really A Must see PLACE! 

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Customizable tour itinerary

This tour idea is fully customizable

This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

Arrival Beijing airport, you will be met at Beijing International Airport by our guide and transferred to a hotel in central Beijing. Today, you will have an opportunity to rest and recover from the long flight.

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Beijing.


Day 2: Beijing highlights

This morning, we will first go to visit Summer Palace. Summer Palace located in a northwestern suburb of Beijing; it is an immense park containing some Chinese traditional architecture and arts. It was built and served as a royal garden during the Qing Dynasty. It exhibits the quintessence of the Chinese classical landscape gardening. The halls, the pavilions, the corridors, the pagodas, the bridges and the water were elaborately arranged.

The long Corridor is one of the most exquisite structures in the garden. It is over 700 meters long and decorated with thousands of Chinese traditional paintings. In the afternoon, we will continue to visit Tian’anmen Square, the largest public square in the world, then follow in the footsteps of emperors, court ministers and eunuchs and head south to the magnificent and colorful Forbidden City. Forbidden City Beijing, also called Imperial Palace Museum, is located in the very heart of Beijing. It remained the residence of the emperors for nearly five hundred years, from the 15th century to the early 20th century, and was the actual and symbolic seat of imperial power.

Popularly known as the Forbidden City, it was built in the Ming Dynasty between the 4th and the 18th years of the Yongle period (1406 - 1420 AD). Many of the buildings of the Palace have been repaired and rebuilt, but their basic form and layout remain in their original state. Hike to Jingshan Park, where gives a nice panoramic view of the Forbidden City at the top of Coal Hill.
Transfer to enjoy a delicious Peking duck dinner - the capital's most famous dish. Once imperial cuisine, now the legendary duck dish is served at restaurants around the world.

Free in the evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Beijing.

Beijing, Jingshan

Day 3: Discover the most beautiful part of the great wall

After breakfast, check out the hotel, Your last day in Beijing will on the Great Wall which is great for photography! We will drive 1.5-2hrs to a small village called Jiankou. The Jiankou section of the Wall is known to be one of most beautiful part of the Wild Wall near Beijing, loved by photographers.

After a half-hour climb upwards, through a gentle wooded area, we will clamber out onto a portion of the Wall not visited by tourists. The hike itself is quiet and beautiful - in about four hours of passing deserted sections of the Wall in its original state, we will get to the well-known restored section of the Wall - Mutianyu. What a difference between the tourist section and the original Wild Wall we have just seen! At the end of the trek, transfer back to Beijing downtown.

Breakfast and lunch included. 

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Beijing.

Beijing, Jiankou, Mutianyu

Day 4: Guided tour of Art District 798

After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour of Art District 798.

Art District 798 is located in the Dashanzi area. At the beginning of 2002 artists and cultural organizations began to divide, rent out and re-make the factory spaces gradually developing them into galleries, art centers, artists’ studios, design companies and restaurants.

After lunch, we will go to see the local people doing their morning exercises in the Temple of Heaven. Then we will visit the Temple of Heaven. Temple of Heaven was the venue for the Ming and Qing emperors to offer sacrifices to the Heaven and pray for harvest. This temple was built in the 18th year during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle in 1420.

In the late afternoon, enjoy a Hutong rickshaw tour. As the Forbidden City is the symbol of China's royal family, the Hutongs in Beijing show the real life of the common people. When you visit Hutong by rickshaw, you could really taste the life of common people in Beijing. Lotus Market, located in Houhai area, famous for old hutong and modern bars. 

After dinner, transfer to Beijing railway station, take an overnight train to Datong.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Overnight on the train.

Beijing, Dashanzi, Houhai, Datong

Day 5: Exploration day of Datong

Arrive in Datong in the early morning, our guide in Datong will pick you up from the exit of railway station, after breakfast, go to visit to Yungang Grottoes. The Yungang Grottoes, with their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries. 

Then visit the Hanging Temple which is near Datong city. Hanging Monastery stands at the foot of Mt. Hengshan, 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of Hunyuan County, and 65 kilometers (40 miles) from downtown Datong City. Since it hangs on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge more than 50 meters above the ground, it is called Hanging Monastery. Hanging Monastery is an architectural wonder. A unique mechanical theory was applied to building the framework. Crossbeams were half-inserted into the rock as the foundation, while the rock in back became its support. Seen from below, Hanging Monastery appears to be a tumble-down castle in the air. Inside, Hanging Monastery provides the same scene as other temples, If time is available we will also visit the old quarter of the town on your own for the Nine-Dragon Wall and some old streets before dinner.

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Datong.


Day 6: Visit the Qiao's family compound

Drive from Datong towards Pingyao. On the way, we will visit the the Qiao's Family Compound (Qiao Jia Da Yuan), situated in the central part of Qiaojiapu Village, Qi County. The family built the complex like a castle for safety considerations, as well as to create tranquil surroundings in which to relax, away from the furious competition of the business world. Then transfer to visit Shuanglin Temple near Pingyao Old Town. Spend the remainder time on your own.

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight at a courtyard hotel in Pingyao.


Day 7: Exploring the old town of Pingyao

The highlight of today's tour will be wandering around the old town of Pingyao, which was built according to the traditional Han Chinese town planning and architectural style. Four main streets, eight narrower ones and 72 small lanes formed a neat grid. The town's dwellings were built either in the style of courtyard houses or man-made cave-houses. Old temples and shops are still scattered all over the town which bring back memories of its flourishing past. After a late lunch, transfer to Pingyao railway station; take a bullet train to Xi’an. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel in center Xi’an. Free in the evening.

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Xi’an.

Pingyao, Xi'an

Day 8: Visit the magnificent Qin Terra-cotta Army

After breakfast, we will drive to visit the magnificent Qin Terra-cotta Army, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world: a life-size clay soldier poised for battle. Qin's tomb was built in about 2500 years ago and was filled with more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots and 520 horses as well as models of palaces, pavilions, fine vessels, precious stones and rarities. UNESCO listed it in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. In the afternoon, drive back to Xian city.

Continue to visit the Great Mosque, and Muslim Quarter. Tonight, we will have a chance to enjoy Chinese Dumpling feast with Tang Dynasty dancing show.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Overnight at 3 star hotel in Xi’an.


Day 9: Enjoy the beauty of Huashan Mountain

We will spend one day to explore the beauty of Huashan Mountain! Breathe in fresh air, walk in the sea of clouds, witness magnificent scenery made up of many granite peaks and see ancient Taoist temples to which emperors of past dynasties made pilgrimages. Mt. Huashan is situated in Huayin City, 120 kilometres east of Xi'an, and it is one of the five sacred mountains in China. Experience the fun of hiking the country’s loveliest mountain, and be rewarded by a captivating sight of its five peaks appearing in the shape of a flower from a distance.

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Xi’an.

Xi'anHuashan Mountain International

Day 10: Sightseeing at the oldest and best preserved chinese city walls

Breakfast served at hotel. In the morning, visit the Ancient City Wall, which represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls. Bicycle or sightseeing car will be arranged on the wall to go around. After that visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and you will have chance to watch the North plaza fountain show. After lunch, visit Shanxi History Museum. The Shanxi History Museum's permanent exhibition primarily displays Shaanxi's ancient history. Representative pieces from all periods have been selected to show the development of civilization in this region. After lunch, transfer to Xi’an Xian’yang Airport, take flight to Dunhuang. Our local guide in Dunhuang will pick you up at exit of the airport, transfer to the hotel, check in and have a rest. Free in the evening.

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight at 3 stars hotel in Dunhuang.


Day 11: Visit the world famous Mogao Grottoes

In the morning, we will transfer to visit the world famous Mogao Grottoes which is called “the World Famous Treasure House of Arts”, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddha. Then go to visit Singing Sand Mountains. The Crescent Spring, which forms a lake between two huge sand dunes. It is like seeing a mirage - but it’s real! In the evening, transfer to the train station, take train to Jiayuguan. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and have a rest. 

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight in 3 star hotel in Jiayuguan.


Day 12: Discover the magnificent Wei-Jin Tombs

After breakfast, we will first visit Wei-Jin Tombs, about 10 km (20 minutes driving) east of Jiayuguan City. It is a big tomb group with more than 1,000 tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasties. You may find it a wonderful experience to explore the ancient era in border land. The ground floor of its murals and brick Graves as "the world's largest underground gallery". Known as the ‘First and Greatest Pass under Heaven’ and best preserved and most magnificent military fort in China, Jiayu Guan (Jiayu Pass) was the western end of the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty. It is the key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road. We will start our hiking from the No.1 Beacon Tower, visit Jiayu Guan and the Great Wall Museum. 

Breakfast and lunch included.

Overnight in 3 star hotel in Jiayuguan.


Day 13: The world's top ten magical geographical wonders

After breakfast in the hotel, make a 3 to 4 hours drive to Zhangye Danxia Geopark, also named as the Rainbow Mountains, which enjoys the honors of "The world's top ten magical geographical wonders". Upon arrival, have a picnic lunch at Danxia. Start Hiking along the north part of Danxia Landform, enjoying the great view of Qilian Shan and memorable sunset. China Rainbow Mountains are magnificent with gorgeous colors, which developed at about 200 million years ago. You will see lots of precipitous red cliffs, most of which are several hundred meters high, and multicolored ridges of weathered strata, sometimes stretching to the horizon. It is the best place for photography.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Overnight at local Guest House in Danxia.

Jiayuguan, Zhangye, Danxia

Day 14: Magnificent and stimulating sunrise at Danxia

Try to get up early, drive into Danxia for the magnificent and stimulating sunrise at 5:00-6:00 am in the morning. After breakfast, trend to south part of Danxia and start hiking around Binggou Danxia Park viewing the red terrestrial classic rock landform. Binggou Rock has totally different landscape and absolutely worth a visit. The formations are quite interesting that really do look like ice sculptures melting, which rings true to its name Bing which means ice in Chinese. It is about an hour to out next stop Zhangye. After lunch in Danxia, we’ll drive to Zhangye, visit the 910-year-old Giant Buddha Temple, where the biggest indoor sleeping Buddha in China is well-preserved.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included. 

Overnight at hotel in Zhangye.

Danxia, Zhangye

Day 15: Hiking in the north part of Mati Si

After breakfast in Zhangye, drive to the Grottoes of the Mati Temple Complex, which consist of various Temples and the Caves with their Deities and Murals. Set within the beautiful Green Foothills of the Qilian Mountains and along a cool and refreshing river, the Caves and surrounding Park are unique giving plenty of opportunity to hike around and exploring the surrounding trail and paths. First visit south part of Mati Si and hike (6km/1-1.5hrs) along Thousand-Buddha Cave (the Qianfo Grottos).

After lunch, sightseeing and hiking (20km/3-4hrs) in north part of Mati Si, one attraction you must see is Thirty-three Heavens Grottos. Carved in origin Puguang Temple, it has 7 floors and 21 grottos with exits to each other. With a shape of pagoda, this construction is rather infrequent and characteristic. All Buddhists believe that anyone who can reach to the thirty-third heave comes to a successful life. Then go for fascinating Yugu Folklore, a unique nomadic minority of Gansu. Enjoy a nice local dinner with folk song and dancing in the evening. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Overnight in local guesthouse.


Day 16: End of tour in China

After breakfast in Yugu Minority Village, go for a hike on Gaoshancaodianzi, south part of Qilian Mountains, breathing in the fascinating nature. After that, with the splendid view of Qilian Mountains along the road, proceed to the downtown of Zhangye for about 1.5 hours and enjoy your lunch there. Then drive to Zhangye airport to take flight back Home.

Breakfast and lunch included.


Beijing Jingshan Jiankou Mutianyu Dashanzi Houhai Datong Pingyao Xi'an Huashan Mountain International Dunhuang Jiayuguan Zhangye Danxia

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. $4,390 / 16 days
Excluding international flights
Price per personbased on 2 persbased on 4 perssingle supplement
May, June, July, August, September, October$4,820$4,090$630
March, April, November$4,670$3,970$590
January, February, December$4,510$3,830$560

Included in price:

  • Entrance Fees: to scenic spots as listed in the itinerary
  • Private Transfers: Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing during the trip by private air conditioned vehicle with a driver. While we are trekking, cycling, and rafting, our vehicle will transfer our food and luggage to the appointed site or hostel and wait or meet us at the end of the trekking tour.
  • Meals: All meals as indicated in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
  • Guide: Experienced English-speaking tour leader in each city along the trip as needed
  • Hotel: hotel fees are based on two people sharing one room with twin beds. All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast
  • Transportation: soft sleeper train from Beijing to Datong, from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan; high-speed train from Pingyao to Xi’an (based on 2nd class), flight from Xi’an to Dunhuang (based on economy class)
  • Arrangements: the tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges

Not included in price:

  • International airfare or train tickets to enter or leave China
  • China entry visa fees
  • Excess baggage charges
  • The medicine for the sickness or accident while on the way
  • Personal expenses: expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the tour itinerary
  • Meals: any meals which are not specified in the tour itinerary
  • Single room supplement
  • Please notice that the price will be much higher during the festival of Labors’ Day, National Day, spring festival
  • Tips to tour guide and driver (recommended USD10-15/guest/day).
  • Tourist accident insurance. NB - you are strongly suggested to buy travel and health insurance before you start out from your home country

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