12 Days China Train Tour with Cultural and Natural Highlights
- Tour Code:CTT15
- Tour Duration: 12 Days
- Destination:Beijing, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Xi'an, Yangshuo
- Tour overview:China is a surprisingly affordable destination, and by choosing to take a train between destinations, it is even more so. This itinerary takes you through some of the most important cultural and natural sites in all of China. You will see incredible historic sites such as The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, and the Terracotta Warriors. You will also see the incredible scenery that has made Guilin a favorite destination for millennia. In Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Beijing, you will see the hopping modernity that China has.
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing Arrival
Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement
Upon your arrival, our local guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. Then you will spend the rest of the day exploring the nearby streets, or resting and catching up on your jet lag.
Day 2 Beijing (B, L)
Sightseeing: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City
This morning our tour will begin with a visit of the Temple of Heaven, which was completed in 1420, and expanded over the years by two Qing Dynasty Emperors. It was the place where the Emperor came every winter solstice to worship heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest. With the three blue-tiled cone-shaped roofs, a unique wooden and blue-tiled structure built without a nail, it has become a worldwide symbol of Beijing. In the park nearby local people practice Tai Chi or sing and dance relaxingly. They will invite you to join in with these activities which will become a very worthwhile and unforgettable experience.
After lunch, we will go on our city tour to visit Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart of China and gathering place for the masses. It is the biggest public square in the world, which can hold one million people.
From here we will walk across the Golden River Bridge to visit the Forbidden City and experience the ancient Emperor's daily life. For 5 centuries Chinese emperors carried out their administration here. With almost 10,000 rooms, it was the centre of the Ming and Qing dynasties, a massive complex of palaces, pavilions, courtyards and gardens where 24 emperors used to live. (Also Bertolucci's film "The Last Emperor" was produced here). Forbidden City was the largest palace in the world, and in the past it was indeed a forbidden place for commoners. Your tour here will include private access to the Emperor's palace.
Day 3 Beijing (B, L)
Sightseeing: Badaling Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Sacred Way
After experiencing the royal lifestyle, today we will be transferred to the surrounding countryside of Beijing and visit the Badaling Great Wall, the pride of China and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Whereas Genghis Khan contemplated it as a military obstacle, Richard Nixon described it as one of humankind's greatest achievements. You will be able to climb and walk one of the best preserved sections of the 2,000 years old ancient wall, admiring the splendid mountain views. Bring a jacket and layer - although it is breezy, the climbing is tough. So be in a good shape!
In the afternoon we will visit the legendary Ming Tombs, which are situated at the foot of Heavenly Longevity Mountain, Changping, northwest of Beijing. Since there are 13 Ming emperors buried there, this place was called the 13 Ming Tombs.
You will walk along the Sacred Way, a road guarded by stone statues on both sides, as the ancient emperors did to hold a memorial ceremony for their ancestors. Finally, you will encounter the marble tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors and visit one of the spectacular tombs, indeed an underground palace.
Day 4 Beijing / Xi'an (B, L)
Transfer via: Overnight train (soft sleeper class)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Hutong Rickshaw Tour, Xiushui Street, Summer Palace
We will experience a unique Hutong tour by taking a men-driven rickshaw this morning. Hutongs are a kind of ancient city alley or lane and are very typical for Beijing. Most of them can be found close to the Forbidden City, and were built during the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing. Today, the Hutong is a living museum of Beijing history showing the traditional lifestyle of Beijing people. We will make stops to visit a local family and experience how the people of Beijing live.
Then we will visit the Xiushui Street, which is a market located nearby the embassy area where you can find a number of duplicates of clothing in traditional Chinese style. Here you will mingle with Beijing people, overseas and local art dealers as well as farmers who import goods from the countryside. Therefore you may find some interesting things and enjoy your bargaining with shopkeepers.
After having lunch at a local restaurant, you can spend the whole afternoon to visit the famous royal garden-Summer Palace. In 1888, the notorious Empress Cixi used the money intended for the Chinese Navy to build this opulent summer retreat for herself. Have a lakeside cruise on the lovely Kunming Lake and enjoy the magical views of the temples, pavilions and covered corridors around. Late in the evening you will be transferred to the railway station for your overnight train to Xi'an.
Day 5 Xi'an (L)
Sightseeing: Ancient City Wall, Bell Tower, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
This morning you will arrive in Xi'an, one of the most important cities in China's history. Being the first stop on the Silk Road, Xi'an was the first Chinese city which opened up its doors to the Ancient world since Tang dynasty. You will be met at the railway station and then visit the Ancient City Wall. You will experience a half-hour's hike along the Ancient City Wall. It is the largest and best preserved present city wall in ancient China and is probably the best military battlement in the world. If you want to, you can rent a bicycle for a ride on top of the spectacular city wall. The wall was built in the Tang dynasty (618 -907) and enlarged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
Then we will go on to visit the Bell Tower, which is the best-preserved and best-known one among many. The Bell Tower was built in 1384. In early mornings of ancient times it had the mission of ringing the bell and giving the correct time to the whole city, hence called "The Bell Tower". With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant.
Our last stop today will be the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated in the south of Xi'an city, it is one of the main constructions in the famous Buddhist temple-Da-Ci-En Temple. There, the well-known Buddhist Master Xuanzang (Monk Tripitaka) stored his collection of classic Buddhist artifacts brought from India in Tang Dynasty. Now it is the Landmark of Xi'an.
Afterwards you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Day 6 Xi'an / Guilin (B, L)
Transfer via: Flight –on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, Huaqing Hot Springs
Today you will experience the highlights of Xi'an. After breakfast you will depart from your hotel and visit the amazing 2000-year-old Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. Regarded as the "8 th Wonder of the World", the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Over 2,200 years ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, ordered the construction of a vast army of Terra-cotta warriors in search of immortality. After his early death they were buried with him to protect his empire. More than 7000 vivid figures in full battle array are formed for battle in several large pits.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit Huaqing Hot Springs. The Tang Emperor Xuanzong used to spend his wintertime in company of his favorite concubine Yang Guifei here. Entering the West Gate of Huaqing Hot Springs, you will see the delightful gardens of Nine-Dragon Pool, the Lotus Flower Pool and the Frost Drifting Hall with Tang style.
In the evening you will be transferred to the airport and take the flight to Guilin. After your arrival in Guilin, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, to enjoy some leisure time for the rest of the day.
Day 7 Guilin / Yangshuo (B, L)
Sightseeing: Li River Cruise to Yangshuo, West Street
Guilin is famous for its picturesque scenery, and the best way to see it is from the deck of Li River Cruise ships. In the morning you will depart from your hotel and be transferred to the Zhujiang Pier (about 1 hour drive) for a 4.5 hours wonderful cruise. You will enjoy the unique mountains, peaceful green fields, farms and villages with water buffalos, cows wondering around on both sides of the river bank.
In the afternoon you will disembark at the old town Yangshuo. Having a history of more than 1,400 years, West Street is the oldest street in Yangshuo. You will have some time to explore the old town's lovely attractions.
Stay tonight in Yangshuo.
Day 8 Yangshuo / Guilin / Guangzhou (B, L)
Transfer via: Overnight train (soft sleeper class)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, Fubo Hill
This morning we will drive back to Guilin. Start off with visiting the Reed Flute Cave, which is a vast and very impressive cave system. Known as "the Palace of Natural Arts" where you can see beautiful stalactites & stalagmites, it is one of the most famous attractions of Guilin.
Later we'll head for Fubo Hill. There, you can see lots of rock stone carvings & Buddha statues from Tang Dynasty. If you climb to the summit, you will have a wonderful bird's-eye view on Guilin city.
We will continue our tour and visit Elephant Trunk Hill. Located at the conjunction of the Li River & the Peach Blossom River, the hill looks very much like a giant elephant with a long trunk drinking out of the river; it is the symbol of Guilin city.
After the tours, you will be transferred to railway station to take overnight train for Guangzhou.
Day 9 Guangzhou (B, L)
Sightseeing: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
Upon your arrival at the airport you will be met by your local guide. Then you will start your sightseeing tour by visiting Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. It is a magnificent building in the shape of octagon and an important place for large scale meeting and performance. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built in order to commemorate the contributions of Sun Zhongshan, the great predecessor of Chinese revolution for democracy. It is a memorial construction donated by the people in Guangzhou and the overseas Chinese and is listed as one of the first class cultural relics in Guangdong Province.
Afterwards you will visit the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family which is also called Chen Clan Academy. It is a place both for offering up sacrifices to ancestors and for study. Now the Chen Clan Ancestral Temple in Guangzhou City, the Ancestors' Temple in Foshan City, the former Residence of Sun Yat-sen in Zhongshan City and the Opium War Memorial Hall in Dongguan City are regarded as the four major cultural tourist sites in Guangdong Province.
Day 10 Guangzhou / Hong Kong (B, L)
Transfer via: train (soft seat ticket) on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Yuexiu Park, Temple of Six Banyan Trees, Western Han Nanyue King Tomb Museum
In the morning we will start off to Yuexiu Park, the biggest comprehensive sight-seeing park. Yuexiu Park consists of seven hummocks and three artificial lakes. Yuexiu Park is well-known for beautiful hills and waters and plenty of antiques which you can enjoy at ease in the park. There are verdant grasses and trees, birds' singing, and fragrant flowers all through the year. Travelers will lose themselves in the elaborately engraved and Linnan-styled pavilions, platforms, towers, and corridors; and the rippling water of the lakes.
Then you will head to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees. It has a long history in Guangzhou and is an ancient monastery famous at home and abroad. There are majestic towers, dense trees, plenty of antiques and valuable heritage from those famous people in the history. It is one of the four Buddhism temple complexes in Guangzhou is an important unit for the preservation of antiques.
Finally you will visit Western Han Nanyue King Tomb Museum, which is the oldest and largest Han tomb with the most funerary objects in Lingnan (South of the Nanling Mountain) Area. As one of the 80 famous museums in the world, the museum covers 14,000 square meters (150, 699.6 square feet) with 10 exhibition halls.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to railway station to take train to Hong Kong. Arrive at Hong Kong, you will be met by local guide and then be transferred to your hotel.
Day 11 Hong Kong (B)
Sightseeing: Aberdeen, Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay, Abrdeen
Today we will start to explore Victoria Peak first. The Peak is Hong Kong's number one tourist destination. It features the city's oldest mode transport, the 112-year old Peak Tram and Hong Kong's most unusual building and icon, The Peak Tower where you will find shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
Then you will visit lovely Repulse Bay: Primarily an exclusive residential area, Repulse Bay has a relaxed, resort-like atmosphere. You will find statues of Kwun Yum and Tin Hau, both protectors of fishermen.
The tour will continue with a visit to Aberdeen fishing village where you will enjoy a Sampan Ride on the harbor to get a close-up look at this unusual way of life.
For the rest of the day you will have leisure time to explore Hong Kong on your own.
Day 12 Hong Kong Departure (B)
Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement
You will have the last hours in Hong Kong for yourself until our guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to your next destination.