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11 Days North Ancient Towns Exploration Tour

Destinations: Beijing-Datong-Pingyao-Xian-Shanghai
Duration: 11 Days
Tour Code: TBT-CH-Cultural-03
Tour Type: Independent Private
Price from: US$ 1114
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Tour Map

  • Tour Map

    Tour Map

  • Great Wall

    Great Wall

  • The Forbidden City

    The Forbidden City

  • hanging temple

    hanging temple

  • Yungang Grottoes

    Yungang Grottoes

  • Pingyao Ancient Town

    Pingyao Ancient Town

  • Our clients in Xian

    Our clients in Xian

  • Shanghai Bund

    Shanghai Bund

Summary:

With our China knowledge, TopChinaTravel has chosen some of China best-loved ancient towns with different styles and combined them with many off-the-beaten-track visits to create an innovative tour at a very attractive price. You will enjoy the Northern Ancient Towns from Datong, which is famous for Yungang Grottoes, to Pingyao, where you will witness the history of ancient Shanxi Merchants via exploring the secret of extremely deluxe courtyards. Wisdom and culture of Chinese people over thousands of years will be perfectly shown in all above ancient towns.

Day 1

Arrival Beijing
Arrive in Beijing, your gateway city of China tour, be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. With no sightseeing planned, enjoy your free time for the remainder of the day
Meals: No meals
Accommodation: In Beijing
 

Day 2

Beijing
Depart from your hotel in the morning to visit Tian'anmen Square, the World's largest urban square and the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Then visit the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon. Peking Opera is available for your optional night entertainment.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing
 

Day 3

Beijing
In the morning, take a driving for 75km to visit the Great Wall (Badaling Section) first, then Ming Tombs (Changling Tomb), the once lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Peking Roasted Duck is available for your optional dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing
 

Day 5

Beijing      Datong
In the morning, take a Hutong Tour by rickshaw to visit the ancient lanes and alleyways of Beijing. Then be transferred to the railway station for the soft-seated train to Datong in the afternoon. Upon arrival, be met at the railway station and transferred to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Datong
 

Day 5

Datong
Your will spend your day for the wonderful visiting to the magnificent Yungang Grottoes, Huayan Monastery which is the largest Buddhist temples of wood still in existence in China today, and then Nine Dragon Wall.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Datong
 

Day 6

Datong    Pingyao
Today, leave Datong you will first take 1hour driving to Hunyuan County for a visit to the Hanging Temple, the masterpiece of ancient wooden constructions. And then continue your driving to Pingyao to appreciate the ancient Chinese architects as Pingyao be considered a treasure house of Chinese architecture. Upon arrival, walk through the ancient Ming Qing Street- which is used to be the Wall Street of China, admire the Ancient City Wall and Rishengchang Exchange Shop, the first draft bank of China.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Pingyao
 

Day 7

Pingyao      Xian
Today, enjoy your leisure visit around Pingyao Ancient Town. Rishengchang Exchange Shop and Ming Qing Street are two main attractions of the ancient town. Do not missing them! Then, in the late afternoon, you will be transferred to the train station for an overnight train to Xian.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: On the train
 

Day 8

Xian
Arrive in Xian in the morning. No like the peaceful atmosphere in Pingyao, Xian is surrounded by a more dignified air. You will begin your tour with the visit to Qin Terracotta Army, one of the world's most important archaeological finds with troops, horses and carriages in battle formation and Banpo Neolithic Village Museum. You could choose Jiaozi Banquet or Tang Dynasty Show with Dinner as your optional dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Xian
 

Day 9

Xian    Shanghai
Finish up your Xian tour by visiting famous Shaanxi History Museum. Be transferred to the airport to board a short flight to Shanghai.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Shanghai
 

Day 10

Shanghai
Depart from your hotel in the morning, you will spend your time and have a whole-day trip of Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden, the Old Street, Oriental TV Tower and the Bund, Shanghai's famed waterfront promenade. Traditional Dim-sum Banquet and Acrobatics are available for your optional lunch and night entertainment.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Shanghai
 

Day 11

Departure Shanghai
Your China tour is so far come to an end; you will be transferred to the airport and board the homebound International flight, bidding a fond farewell to this ancient land.
Meals: Breakfast

Service Ends

Day 1

Arrival Beijing
Arrive in Beijing, your gateway city of China tour, be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. With no sightseeing planned, enjoy your free time for the remainder of the day
Meals: No meals
Accommodation: In Beijing

Beijing, China's capital and one of the great travel destinations of the World, offers sights and cultural relics found no where else on Earth. The city has a character all its own; there are quadrangles, small alleys, tricycle, boiled mutton, roasted duck, arts and crafts, Peking Opera, The Great Wall, the 2008 Olympics venue and a vibrancy that is the distinctive flavor of Beijing.
 

Day 2

Beijing
Depart from your hotel in the morning to visit Tian'anmen Square, the World's largest urban square and the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Then visit the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon. Peking Opera is available for your optional night entertainment.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing

Forbidden CityAs the biggest city center square in the world, Tian'anmen Square covering 44 hectares in the heart of Beijing. It is the place where history-changing events and ceremonies occurred. A few steps away, come to visit the Forbidden City, which was the Imperial Palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and, it is one of the largest, and certainly the most completely restored, ancient architectural complex in the world. Walk in the footsteps of Emperors; come to the museum and see with your eyes, and feel with your hearts; you'll begin understand what life in this richest of feudal realms was like for the Imperial Rulers, their concubines and their slaves.

After enjoying a delicious lunch, continue on to the Temple of Heaven. Departing from the Imperial vermilion and gold hues of the Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven is decorated in blue, the color of the Heavens. The perfect harmony between the architectural environment and nature can be felt here; you might easily imagine the vivid spectacle of a great sacrifice to the Heavens for a good harvest. The magnificent Hall of Prayer of Good Harvest is one of the most important and impressive building in China.

In the evening, we offer you an opportunity to enjoy Peking Opera. Expert performers convey powerful emotions to the audience through song, dance, facial make-up, exquisite masks and costume, skilled use of body language and sympathetically integrated musical accompaniment. 
 

Day 3

Beijing
In the morning, take a driving for 75km to visit the Great Wall (Badaling Section) first, then Ming Tombs (Changling Tomb), the once lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Peking Roasted Duck is available for your optional dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing

Badaling Great WallBadaling Section of the Great Wall is located 75km northwest of Beijing. The construction of the Great Wall began in the 5th century BC and is one of the greatest construction projections in all of human history. The Great Wall has a total length of over 6,700km, and Badaling is one of the best-preserved and most accessible sections.

Then, you will have chance to visit the Ming Tombs which located in the northern suburbs of Beijing. Altogether there are thirteen tombs of Ming Dynasty Emperors from the period after the capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. You'll visit the Changling Tomb, burial site of Emperor Yong Le, the biggest and first built at this historic site. The Lingsi Palace in Changling Tomb's second yard really deserves a visit. This is unique, a magnificent palace made of camphor wood. The ceiling is colorfully painted and supported by sixteen solid camphor posts. The floor is decorated with gold bricks.

For today's dinner, how about taste the famous Peking Roasted Duck, as it is the best-known dish in Beijing. It is very tender and unforgettably delicious. You'll visit a local restaurant to enjoy a full meal and learn the proper way to experience Peking Roasted Duck. From the whole roasted duck to the soup of duck bones, you'll enjoy a banquet made from every part of the duck. Moreover, the chef will demonstrate his skill of cutting the skin of the duck for your entertainment. 
 

Day 4

Beijing    Datong
In the morning, take a half-day Hutong Tour by rickshaw to visit the ancient lanes and alleyways of Beijing. Then be transferred to the railway station for the soft-seated train to Datong in the afternoon. Upon arrival, be met at the railway station and transferred to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Datong

Hutong Tour by RickshawIf exploring the Forbidden City has improved your understanding of the lifestyles of China's ancient Imperial Court, then this half-day Hutong Tour will give you an insight into the lives of ordinary Chinese people and reveal their social culture in today's Beijing City. The narrow streets of old Beijing are known as Hutongs. You'll take a pedicab tour along the Hutongs and see the 100-year-old houses, courtyards and a vanishing way of life in today's Beijing.

Say goodbye to Beijing in the afternoon. Another charming city is waiting for you. Datong is situated in the northern part of Shanxi Province near the Great Wall Pass to Inner Mongolia. In ancient China, Datong was a place of strategic importance and a place where the Han people frequently conducted trade with the Mongol tribes to the North of China. Therefore this city is popular for its harmonious coexistence of religions, together with its strategic importance geographically and the beauty of its rugged terrain.
 

Day 5

Datong
Your will spend your day for the wonderful visiting to the magnificent Yungang Grottoes, Huayan Monastery which is the largest Buddhist temples of wood still in existence in China today, and then Nine Dragon Wall.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Datong

Yungang GrottoesYungang Grottoes is one of the best preserved sites in China with 53 caves containing over 51,000 stone carvings of Buddha and Buddhist. The grottoes were built between 460 AD and 494 AD in the Northern Wei just before the capital city of that dynasty was moved to Luoyang to build another set of grottoes (Longmen Grottoes) afterwards. These statues range from the tallest of 17 meters to the shortest of a few centimeters high with some of them still retaining their original color. The lines of the statue’s face are very graceful, with a pair of bright piercing eyes. In 2001, Yungang Grottoes was included on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List.

As another essential attraction in Datong, the complex of Huayan Monastery is located on the southwestern side of Datong City. Built during the Liao Dynasty (907 - 1125), the Huayan Monastery is the largest and best preserved monastery of the Liao Dynasty in existence in China. In the middle period of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), the temple was divided into two parts, the Upper Huayan Monastery and the Lower Huayan Monastery. The upper one referred to as the Grand Hall housing five large Ming Dynasty Buddhas, and the lower section referred to as the Sutra Temple containing a library of some 18,000 volumes of Buddhist writings.

Nine Dragon Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. With 426 glazed tiles fired specially in five different colors, the exquisite design of green wave at the bottom like the sea, blue background as sky and white as clouds, the glazed nine dragons on the wall vividly express their movements, rising out of the sea and chasing the mythical suns to gain the supernatural ability to control the forces of nature. The oldest and largest glazed screen in China, though it has been standing over 600 years, it is still in a perfect condition today owing to its architectural design and refined craftsmanship.
 

Day 6

Datong    Pingyao
Today, leave Datong you will first take 1hour driving to Hunyuan County for a visit to the Hanging Temple, the masterpiece of ancient wooden constructions. And then continue your driving to Pingyao to appreciate the ancient Chinese architects as Pingyao be considered a treasure house of Chinese architecture. Upon arrival, walk through the ancient Ming Qing Street- which is used to be the Wall Street of China, admire the Ancient City Wall and Rishengchang Exchange Shop, the first draft bank of China.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Pingyao

Hanging TempleAll buildings in the Hanging Temple were constructed below the crags on a steep cliff-face of Hengshan Mountain (75m above the ground). Built more than 1,500 years ago, this temple is unique not only for its location on a sheer precipice but also because it includes Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements.

Watchtowers, cast iron cannons, intimidating wooden gates and sturdy walls render an impenetrable feel as you walk around Pingyao Ancient Town. 

Day 7

Pingyao    Xian
Today, enjoy your leisure visit around Pingyao Ancient Town. Rishengchang Exchange Shop and Ming Qing Streetare two main attractions of the ancient town. Do not missing them! Then, in the late afternoon, you will be transferred to the train station for an overnight train to Xian.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: On the train

Pingyao Ancient TownThe past is still alive in Pingyao Ancient Town. Whereas other cities have embraced modernity often at the expense of their historical heritage, Pingyao Ancient Town tenaciously holds onto its past.

The ancient town of Pingyao had been emerged gradually along with the city wall during the Zhou Dynasty 11th century - 256 BC. It is the only ancient city in China completely reserved as it was hundreds of years ago without any modern architecture, but only the narrow street flanking with Chinese shops in old style and the road plated with the original stone. Pingyao is not only famous for its antiquity, but also for being the merchant center with the nation's earliest bank established in the 19th century, and furthermore it was once served as the financial center of the Qing government.
 

Day 8

Xian
Arrive in Xian in the morning. No like the peaceful atmosphere in Pingyao, Xian is surrounded by a more dignified air. You will begin your tour with the visit to Qin Terracotta Army, one of the world's most important archaeological finds with troops, horses and carriages in battle formation and Banpo Neolithic Village Museum. You could choose Jiaozi Banquet or Tang Dynasty Show with Dinner as your optional activity after this tour.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Xian

Qin Terracotta ArmyXian, steeped in history and still giving up secrets, is your gateway to ancient Chinese civilization. In its 3,100 recorded years of evolution, it has been home to 13 dynasties. Xian was also the end of civilization for those setting out on the famous Silk Road. Today’s Xian is a vibrant, modern city, but surrounded by history, even underfoot! So there can be no underground railways due to the obligation to preserve the wealth of ancient treasure still awaiting discovery.

As an ancient capital city to 13 dynasties, Xian has a rich recorded history, frequently enhanced by the evidence of new discoveries, like the 1974 unearthing of the fabulous Qin Terracotta Army, the long forgotten army created to guard Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb. In accordance with ancient beliefs, this grand project was mounted at enormous cost by the cruel and tyrannical Emperor, only to be attacked, plundered, burnt and buried after his funeral by the peasants who'd labored under the whip to build it. Then, over two thousand years later, this 'Eighth Wonder of the World' was rediscovered by farmers digging a well. The fine troops, horses and carriages in battle formation are a National ancient art treasure. Three excavation pits are now opened to the public and a fourth is nearing completion. You can, like US President Clinton, now gaze in wonder upon this historic site, listed by UNESCO in 1987 as a world cultural heritage.

The Banpo Neolithic Village Museum is built around a historical site consisting of the remains of a 6,000 year-old village once home to a matriarchal clan community. The museum is East of Xian City and was set up in 1958. The site was discovered accidentally in 1953. The living section of Banpo Village occupied an area of 30,000 square meters. It was surrounded by a moat to protect the village against wild animals and floods. The largest among the remains of the 46 houses, located in the centre of the living area is possibly a meeting hall. There are cellars to store grain and tools outside the houses, and they illustrate the equal distribution and communal features of the society. It's a fascinating peek at the birth of civilization.        

This evening you could choose Jiaozi Banquet as a local flavor experience. It includes over 10 kinds of Jiaozi, whose shapes and flavours vary, such as rabbit, duck, shrimp, peanuts and so on.

Or if you more interested in dancing show, choose a Tang Dynasty Show with Dinner would be a good idea. You'll enjoy the sumptuous dinner while watching a fabulous dancing and singing performance of the Tang Dynasty. This is not only a performance of Chinese traditional dancing and singing, but a re-enactment of Chinese ancient ceremony and culture. 
 

Day 9

Xian    Shanghai
Finish up your Xian tour by visiting famous Shaanxi History Museum. Be transferred to the airport to board a short flight to Shanghai.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Shanghai

Shaanxi History MuseumThe famous Shaanxi History Museum introduces the visitor to area's rich culture, from Emperor Qin Shihuang to the present day in this walled city. The museum is house in a striking Tang Dynasty-style pavilion and features an enormous collection of 113,000 historic and cultural relics. This is where you experience history, with chronological dynasties exhibits that take you through the dynasties.

Shanghaiis a city unlike any other in China. It is the bustling economic heartbeat of China that enjoys all of the comforts and amenities of a fully modern metropolis. Shanghai today looks to regain its former position at the turn of 20th of being one of the largest financial centers in the world behind New York and London. It is a city that seamlessly blends East and West.
 

Day 10

Shanghai
Depart from your hotel in the morning, you will spend your time and have a whole-day trip of Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden, the Old Street, Oriental TV Tower and the Bund, Shanghai's famed waterfront promenade. Traditional Dim-sum Banquet and Acrobatics are available for your optional lunch and night entertainment.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Shanghai

Jade Buddha TempleToday you'll find a Buddhism shrine - Jade Buddha Temple which is located in a crowd of Shanghai City. It was first built in 1882 in Jiangwan on the southern outskirts of Shanghai. In order to make it convenient for the adherents to visit, it was bodily moved to Shanghai City at the present sire in 1918. It is named for its two bejeweled white jade Buddha. It receives thousands of visitors and worshipers everyday while keeps its sanctity and charming. Carved from a whole piece of white jade, the sitting jade Buddha statue is translucent with a solemn expression, displaying the excellent skill and extraordinary art of Chinese people.

Yuyuan Garden has a lot of stories for it was severely damaged in the 19th century and was restored in 1961. This garden was first built in the 16th century by provincial governor, Pan Yunduan, in honor of his father who was the then government minister. It has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools, and flora that are all connected by corridors and passageways. The delicate design and exquisite layout of the whole garden reveals a strong impression of 'garden in the garden, whole in the part.

Completed in 1995 to a highly innovative design, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower includes 15 spheres of different sizes at different levels creating an artistic conception of "large and small pearls dropping onto a jade plate" in ancient Chinese poem. It has become a symbol of excellence in architecture and is a favourite sight for tourists in Shanghai. Viewed from the Bund at night, the tower's three-dimensional lighting creates an enchanting, brilliantly coloured display. At 468 meters, it is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the World. Two of the six tower elevators can reach the highest sphere in 40 seconds; here the visitor will discover shops, a rotating restaurant and a sightseeing floor. The view of Shanghai from here is breath-taking. 

The Bund is the showcase with the old buildings of colonial-era leftover along Huangpu River. The renowned waterfront district is the city's most famous landmark. The word BUND is of Anglo-India origin meaning embankment on the waterfront. It is also the popular site to enjoy the night view of the city.

Shanghai offers colorful recreations with rich contents and creative form. Your night may be filled with an interactive old form of art known as the Acrobatics. Those professional performers have been trained of as early as age six or seven so that they can play so well and excellent. It definitely will be an unforgettable night in your memory.
 

Day 11

Departure Shanghai
Your China tour is so far come to an end; you will be transferred to the airport and board the homebound International flight, bidding a fond farewell to this ancient land.
Meals: Breakfast

Service Ends

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):

JAN, FEB, DEC MAR, JUN, JUL, AUG APR, MAY, SEP, OCT, NOV
Group Size Using Standard Hotel
★★★
Using First Class Hotel
★★★★
Using Deluxe Hotel
★★★★★
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
1 person   2829   2994   3457
2-5 persons 1744 2054 1826 2218 2058 2682
6-9 persons 1371 1681 1453 1847 1685 2309
10 persons & above 1114 1390 1183 1527 1408 1977
Group Size Using Standard Hotel
★★★
Using First Class Hotel
★★★★
Using Deluxe Hotel
★★★★★
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
1 person   2935   3107   3676
2-5 persons 1808 2160 1894 2332 2179 2900
6-9 persons 1435 1787 1521 1959 1806 2527
10 persons & above 1175 1489 1256 1651 1512 2163
Group Size Using Standard Hotel
★★★
Using First Class Hotel
★★★★
Using Deluxe Hotel
★★★★★
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
Double
Occupancy
Sole
Occupancy
1 person   3031   3258   3930
2-5 persons 1867 2255 1981 2482 2317 3154
6-9 persons 1495 1882 1608 2109 1944 2781
10 persons & above 1232 1580 1344 1804 1649 2413

Remarks:
1.The prices quoted here are only valid from March 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012. TCT reserves the right to adjust the prices of any portion of the tour due to the reasons beyond our control without prior notice.
2.All quotation is in US dollar (per person), and based on the exchange rate between CNY and USD in effect at the time of publishing. It is subject to change.
3.The quotation on our website is also subject to change during some Chinese festivals, national holidays, fairs or events, when hotels may levy higher rates which will be advised on a case by case basis.
4.The availabilities of rooms, flights and etc. are subject to change until the actual booking is been made.
5.Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs should be subjected to reconfirm upon your arrival. We would put on your request to the Hotel.
 
Price includes:
1. Airport/railway station welcome and private transfers between airports/railway stations, hotels and sightseeing spots. Separate arrivals and departures will incur extra charges.
2. Domestic airfare of economic class or train ticket(s) as mentioned in the itinerary. Airport construction fee and fuel surcharge are included.
3. Accommodation (if include Yangtze cruiser) based on two adults sharing one standard twin-bed room (cabin); solo travelers or those who want to occupy one twin-bed room/cabin of their own are required to pay additional charge of single supplement rate (S.SUPP in above price table). A single room (cabin) is subject to availability based on prior request at an additional cost; if the recommended hotel is not available, it will be substituted by a similar one.
4. Driver and English-speaking guide service on normal sightseeing activities noted in the itinerary.
5. All entrance fees to scenic spots as shown in the itinerary. The final arrangement will be determined by local tour guides based on the local circumstances which are beyond the control of TopChinaTravel. TCT will adhere to the original itinerary as accurately as possible.
6. Travel insurance.
7. Government taxes.
 
Price excludes:
1.Round way International airfare or train tickets, unless otherwise noted.
2.Visa fee, passport application or renewal fee.
3.Tips for guides, escort, drives, bellman, etc.
4.Personal expenses such as excess luggage fees, laundry, postage, communications and beverages.
5.Optional meals and shows mentioned in the itinerary, which will be added up if the clients desire to take the activities.
6.Any extra cost caused by changes of natural disasters, fires, weather, governmental and local authority orders, political change, strikes, war, riots, quarantine, custom regulations, damages or injury caused by accident beyond the control of TopChinaTravel and that has incurred due to the tourist action violating the laws.
7.Any items not specified in the plan.

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