China Nature Exploration

10 Days Shanghai-Suzhou-Hangzhou-Guilin-Yangshuo-Beijing

If you are a lover of nature and planning a China tour to get close encounters with the natural landscapes in China, then this 10 days China tour in 2022 & 2023 is recommended to you. During this China nature exploration tour in 2022 & 2023, you will not only go to visit the two international metropolises – Beijing and Shanghai but also go to the “Paradise on Earth” – Suzhou and Hangzhou, where you will stroll around the most classical Chinese gardens to learn about the harmonious combination of natural and artificial landscapes in Chinese gardening art and take a boat on the West Lake to enjoy the picturesque lake views. More importantly, you will have a Li River Cruise experience from Guilin to Yangshuo to go deep into the natural karst landscapes and admire the wonders created by nature. This China nature tour with Li River Cruise is really a good choice for you. Come and explore the nature of China with China Tour Star!

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Shanghai
Arrival in Shanghai. Transfer you to the hotel

Welcome to Shanghai, the largest city in China and a famous port city in the world. Your wonderful China 10-day tour will start here. Our guide will be waiting for you at the airport. When you get to the exit, you will see the guide holding your name sign. After a warm greeting, you will be transferred to the reserved downtown hotel and have a nice rest.

Day 2 Shanghai
Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden, Shanghai Tower, The Bund, Nanjing Road

After enjoying your breakfast buffet, you will visit the Jade Buddha Temple, a Buddhist holy land. As one of the top ten tourist attractions in Shanghai, the Jade Buddha Temple is well-known for its finely carved Jade Buddha that is enshrined in the Jade Buddha Tower. The gleaming Buddha statue with 1.95 meters high will attract you. It is decorated with more than 100 jadeites, agates, and other gemstones. It is said that if one looks at the Buddha for a few seconds, he or she will feel peaceful. Besides the Jade Buddha, there are also many precious Buddhist classics and other cultural relics in this temple. If you are interested in Buddhism, the Jade Buddha Temple will be a better place for you. Many tourists come here to pray for good careers, physical health, or good fortune. You can also make a good wish if you believe in Buddhism.

Next, the guide will lead you to the Yu Garden (closed each Monday). As a Chinese classic garden, it used to be a private one spanning more than 450 years. Now it has become a famous place of interest and tourist attraction at home and abroad. It is a typical garden of south China style with flowing water, lush flowers, and rockeries within a small-sized courtyard. The environment in the garden will make you feel cozy and relaxed. It is this pleasant environment and unique layout that attracts many tourists worldwide. Wish you have a great time here!

Your lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After lunch, our next destination is the Shanghai Tower, a giant high-rise landmark skyscraper in Shanghai. Shanghai Tower is designed by Gensler Architecture Design Office in the US, with an auger-type appearance, symbolizing China’s traditional totem – dragon. The best place to have a panoramic view of Shanghai is the “Top of Shanghai” observatory on the 118th floor of the tower. You can see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center; you can have a vista of the Shanghai Expo site. If you want to share the beautiful view of Shanghai with your beloved ones, you can go to the Air Post Office in the “Top of Shanghai” observatory. There are many beautiful postcards that record the amazing scenery of Shanghai. Buy some for your family members and friends, write down what you want to say, and mail the postcards to them. The postcards with your message on them will be valuable and eternal gifts. I believe your family and friends will like and treasure them.

After visiting the Shanghai Tower, you will come to the Bund, which has witnessed the great changes in Shanghai. Located on the bank of Huangpu River, the Bund with a length of 1.5 kilometers is a must-visit spot in Shanghai. Classic buildings of different styles and the night scene here are the most attractive things about it. If you are interested in architecture, you can appreciate the classic styles from different countries, including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classical, Renaissance, and so on. At night, with the neon lights shining on both sides of the Huangpu River, visitors can enjoy a fascinating night view of the Bund, which is completely different from the scene in the daytime.

Next, you will follow your guide to the Nanjing Road, one of the most bustling commercial streets in Shanghai. You will mainly visit the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street, the east part of Nanjing Road. It is about 1,200 meters long. The street is always crowded with tourists from home and abroad. Walking on the street, you can see creative urban sculptures, chic street lamps, flower beds, and telephone booths. There are a large number of benches in the middle of the street for tourists to take a rest. The street is a paradise for shoppers and gastronomes. Fashion stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and snack stores can be found on the street. You can buy anything you want here.

Optional Activity: After the sightseeing tour today, you may feel hungry. What would you like to eat for dinner? If you want to try authentic Shanghai foods, Shanghai Dim Sum Dinner is a good choice for you. Shanghai Small Steamed Buns is one of the traditional snacks popular among customers at home and abroad. The juicy buns are full of meat stuffing and taste very delicious. If you take a bite, you may want to eat the whole bun. Wish you have a nice meal.

Yu Garden
Yu Garden
Shanghai Tower
Shanghai Tower
Day 3 ShanghaiSuzhou
Drive to Suzhou, Tiger Hill, Shantang Street, Lingering Garden, Master of Nets Garden

Today, your Shanghai tour comes to a happy termination. Let’s start the trip to Suzhou. Suzhou is situated in west of Shanghai, about 100 kilometers away from Shanghai downtown. It takes about two hours to get there by car. Known as the “Paradise on Earth”, Suzhou has a history of nearly 2,500 years and is one of the national historical and cultural cities. There are 34 national-level cultural relics and 73 well-preserved classical gardens in Suzhou, of which the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Lingering Garden are included in the four famous gardens in China.

When we arrive in Suzhou, we will first go to the Tiger Hill. The whole Tiger Hill Scenic Area covers 100 hectares, including the Tiger Hill and the Tiger Hill Pagoda. The Tiger Hill has a history of more than 2,500 years. It has an altitude of only 34.3 meters, but it enjoys the reputation of “the number one hill in Suzhou”. The Tiger Hill Pagoda is also called the “Oriental Leaning Tower of Pisa”. It was built in 959 with a history of more than one thousand years. What’s more, flower fairs are held in the Tiger Hill Scenic Area every year, which attract a lot of visitors. Many Chinese and foreign flowers and plants are displayed, such as peonies, tulips, Belgian azaleas, and lilies.

After visiting the Tiger Hill, you will go to Shantang Street. The street got its name because it was built along a river called Shantang River in the Tang Dynasty. Shantang Street has a total length of 3,600 meters, known as “the epitome of old Suzhou”. There are rows of ancient folk houses along the street. Along the Shantang Street, there are many local people selling agricultural products and time-honored food stores selling local snacks. There are also old tea houses, traditional Suzhou woodcut shops and Suzhou-style embroidery shops. Walking along the street, you will get in touch with local people and feel the local people’s enthusiasm.

After lunch, the guide will lead you to the Lingering Garden, a large-scale classical private garden in the Ming Dynasty. The Lingering Garden is known as one of the four famous gardens in China (the other three: the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, the Summer Palace in Beijing, and the Imperial Summer Resort in Chengde). The Lingering Garden is divided into four parts. The east part is dominated by old buildings; the middle part is focused on natural landscapes; the west part is a large rockery made of earth and rocks; the north part is themed on countryside scenery. Strolling in the garden, you can stand on the bridge and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the water. If you are tired, you can also take a rest in the pavilion. The architectural layout and landscapes here give you a relaxing feeling and make you indulge in the fine views.

After the Lingering Garden, the Master of Nets Garden is waiting for you. The Master of Nets Garden is a representative work of the medium-sized classical landscape garden in Suzhou. It was built in the Southern Song Dynasty. It was originally owned by the bibliophile Shi Zhengzhi, but it was later abandoned. In the Qing Dynasty, the retired official named Song Zongyuan bought this garden and rebuilt it, naming it “Master of Nets Garden”. Because the masters of the garden were refined scholars, there are many poems and inscriptions of them left in the garden.

Having enjoyed the all-day tour, you might need a good rest. You will be transferred to the local hotel in Suzhou.

Shantang Street
Lingering Garden
Lingering Garden
Day 4 SuzhouHangzhou
Drive to Hangzhou, West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Meijiawu Tea Plantation, Six Harmonies Pagoda

We will go to Hangzhou in the morning. Hangzhou is in southwest of Suzhou, about 160 kilometers away. It will take us two and a half hours to drive there. Hangzhou, an important commercial distribution center in history and now the capital of Zhejiang Province, has been known as the “Paradise on Earth” together with Suzhou because of the beautiful scenery. Hangzhou is located in East China. It is a core city around the Yangtze River Delta and an internationally important e-commerce industry center. With a long history of more than 2,200 years, Hangzhou also houses a lot of cultural relics. You can see a large number of natural and cultural landscapes around the West Lake Scenic Area. As a major tea-producing region, Hangzhou is also famous for its tea culture.

Upon arriving in Hangzhou, you will first visit West Lake. It is one of the top ten attractions in China. In 2011, it was included in the World Heritage List. The West Lake is located in the west of Hangzhou, with a water area of 6.38 square kilometers. The West Lake is nearly oval. Legend has it that that the West Lake was formed by a falling pearl from the Heavenly Palace. Standing by the lake and looking at the mountain far away, you will be amazed by the magical works of nature. Then, you will take a cruise on the West Lake to feel its distinguished beauty. Just embrace the nature and enjoy your cruise on the lake!

After enjoying West Lake, you will go to visit the Lingyin Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hangzhou. Adjacent to the West Lake, it is one of the top ten ancient temples in China, keeping many exquisite cultural relics of various dynasties. There are many fantastic Buddhist grotto statues on the peak in front of the Lingyin Temple. They are rare ancient grotto art treasures in the southern part of China. It is said that praying for Buddha’s blessings in the Lingyin Temple is very efficacious, so there is an endless stream of pilgrims who come to worship the Buddha and pray for Buddha’s blessing every day. If you have a wish to realize, why not come here and have a try? Maybe it will come true.

Out of Lingyin Temple, it’s time for lunch! Have a good meal!

Your tour in the afternoon will start with the Meijiawu Tea Plantation. Meijiawu Tea Plantation with an area of more than 1.5 million square meters, also known as Meijiawu Tea Culture Village, stretches ten kilometers along its main road. It is located near the West Lake and surrounded by green hills. I believe you must hear of Chinese tea, and it can be said for sure that Meijiawu Tea Plantation is a great place to learn about Chinese tea culture and the tea-making process. It is an ancient village with a tea-planting history of more than 600 years. Walking into Meijiawu Tea Plantation, you can see the green hills covered with neatly trimmed tea trees. This tea plantation is famous for producing Longjing Tea (Dragon Well Tea) with green color, fresh fragrance, mellow taste, and beautiful shape. Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People’s Republic of China, visited Meijiawu Tea Plantation five times before his death to care for and guide the development of the tea industry here. It has also received a great number of state leaders from the United States, Vietnam, and Romania, as well as visitors from all over the world. You can walk through the tea plantation and see the tea farmers picking tea leaves. Wish you enjoy this unforgettable experience!

The next spot is the Six Harmonies Pagoda, located on the north bank of the Qiantang River. The name of the pagoda originates from the Buddhist terminology which is a principle aimed at making the disciples live in harmony. The Six Harmonies Pagoda is about 60 meters high. From the outside, the tower has 13 floors, but there are only 7 floors inside the tower. You can climb the Six Harmonies Pagoda and find out the reason. The higher you go up, the narrower the stairs are. You can have a different view of the outside scenery on each floor of the pagoda. The Six Harmonies Pagoda has been a favorite place for literati such as Bai Ting in the Yuan Dynasty, Lu You in the Southern Song Dynasty, and Guo Moruo in modern China to admire the Qiantang River and compose poems since ancient times. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty once visited it and erected a stele that recorded the history of the pagoda and the real feelings of Emperor Qianlong when he visited the pagoda and saw the Qiantang River. You can climb to the top of the pagoda and have a look at the Qiantang River, just as the emperor did.

After a day’s tour, you may need a comfortable place for a good sleep. You will be sent to the reserved hotel in Hangzhou. Then you can arrange your time freely.

West Lake
West Lake
Six Harmonies Pagoda
Six Harmonies Pagoda
Day 5 HangzhouGuilin
Take a flight to Guilin, Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill

Today, you will leave Hangzhou and go off to Guilin. The guide will take you to the airport in the morning and then you will take the estimated flight CA4645 10:05/12:25 to Guilin. When you arrive at the airport in Guilin, the local guide will pick you up at the arrival hall and lead you to explore Guilin.

Our first destination is the Reed Flute Cave, known as the “Palace of Art of Nature”. Reed Flute Cave is situated in the northwest suburb of Guilin, about 5 kilometers away from the city center. We need to drive northeast for about 45 minutes (32 kilometers) to get to the Reed Flute Cave from the airport. It is a scenic area mainly for admiring karst caves. The Reed Flute Cave is 240 meters deep with a 500-meter long winding route. It is said that there was a kind of reed grass at the mouth of the cave, which could be used as a flute to play pleasant music. Therefore, the cave got its name, Reed Flute Cave. The stalactites in the cave are famous for their exquisiteness, magnificence, and diversity. Since the Tang Dynasty, it has become a tourist attraction and there are 77 ancient murals preserved in the cave. In 1959, it was well developed by the government. Since then, it has become a tourist hotspot for Chinese and foreign tourists to visit Guilin.

The next place you are going to is Elephant Trunk Hill. It is named for a giant elephant-like mountain standing by the Li River. It is known as the “symbol of the Guilin landscapes”. It became a famous tourist attraction as early as the Tang Dynasty. The hill is not very high, but the stone steps up to the top of the hill are a little steep. It takes about 20 minutes to climb up to the top. Then you can overlook the spectacular scenery of the Li River.

After visiting the two natural spots, you will be transferred to a local hotel for a good rest.

Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave
Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill
Day 6 GuilinYangshuo
Take the Li River Cruise to Yangshuo, Yangshuo West Street

After breakfast in the morning, you will be transferred to the Mopanshan Wharf where you will begin your Li River Cruise. You will spend about 4 hours cruising on the Li River with a length of 83 kilometers. Taking a cruise ship from Guilin to Yangshuo is the best way to enjoy the scenery on both sides of the Li River. During your Li River Cruise, you can see green mountains, beautiful water, and lush trees. The water of the Li River is clear. The rolling mountains on both sides of the Li River, rising up from the ground, are in various shapes. Cruising along the Li River, you will feel like you were unfolding a Chinese landscape painting slowly. Throughout the cruise on the Li River, the guide will introduce the most famous attractions along the river to you in detail and may tell you some interesting stories that happened at the Li River. Just embrace this natural miracle and enjoy the charm of the Li River.

When you arrive in Yangshuo, the guide will take you to Yangshuo West Street, a renowned pedestrian street in Yangshuo. Situated in the center of Yangshuo ancient town, it is about 8 meters wide and 800 meters long. Yangshuo West Street is the oldest and the most prosperous street in Yangshuo with a history of more than 1,400 years. There are a lot of shops selling various tourist souvenirs on both sides of the street. You can also find snack stores selling local snacks, bars, and cafes on the street. The styles of the shops on both sides are the combination of Chinese and western elements. The sellers can talk with tourists in fluent foreign languages. You can communicate happily with them. In the evening, local people usually hang out with their friends along the street.

Optional Activity: After enjoying the Yangshuo West Street, you can watch the live performance – Impression Sanjie Liu, which is the first large-scale landscape live performance in China. The performance stage is set by the Li River with a radius of two kilometers. It tells the story of the singer Sanjie Liu. This performance combines the songs of ethnic minorities, the natural scenery along the Li River, the life of fishermen and villagers, and the folk customs of ethnic minorities. You will be amazed at all kinds of colorful ethnic costumes that the actors wear and marvel at the beautiful dancing. Each performance lasts 70 minutes. In summer, the first show starts at 8 p.m. and the second one starts at 9:40 p.m.; in winter, the first starts at 7:30 p.m. and the second starts at 9:50 p.m.

The hotel in Yangshuo has been prepared for you and then the guide will take you there and you will have a nice sleep!

Li River
Li River
Yangshuo West Street
Yangshuo West Street
Day 7 YangshuoGuilinBeijing
Drive back to Guilin. Take a flight to Beijing

Your visits to Guilin and Yangshuo come to an end this day, and you will be transferred to the airport in Guilin after finishing your breakfast in the hotel. The airport is in northwest of Yangshuo; the journey of 84 kilometers from Yangshuo to Guilin airport will take us about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then you will take the estimated flight HU7128 11:45/14:45 to Beijing.

When you arrive at Beijing’s airport, you just need to find your guide who will be waiting for you at the exit and holding your name sign. After picking you up, the local guide will take you to the well-prepared hotel in Beijing.

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the political and cultural center of the country. It is also a world-famous ancient capital as well as a modern international city. More than 3,000 years of history have created many places of interest, such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Badaling Great Wall, and the Summer Palace. With the reputation of “Capital of Museums”, it has 151 registered museums, of which the National Museum of China is the largest museum in the world and the Palace Museum housing the Forbidden City is hailed as one of the five greatest museums in the world. A visit to Beijing will always give you different surprises. Please just keep your eyes open and feel the historical atmosphere and traditional cultural customs here with your heart.

Day 8 Beijing
Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace

Your magnificent 2-day Beijing tour starts today! Are you ready? Tian’anmen Square is the top choice for tourists who come to Beijing. It tops the list of the largest squares in the world. At the center of Tian’anmen Square stands the Monument to the People’s Heroes, with the Great Hall of the people on the west, the National Museum of China on the east, and the Tian’anmen Gate Tower opposite the square. Every morning, the flag-raising ceremony will be held at Tian’anmen Square. At that time, there will be a sea of people in the square. If you would like to watch the flag-raising ceremony on your own, you need to get up very early, around 5 o’clock in the morning. You will feel the patriotic enthusiasm of the Chinese people there.

After the Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City (closed each Monday) – the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties is waiting for you. It is the most complete as well as the largest ancient wooden architectural complex in China and even in the world. The Forbidden City is centered on the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony, the Hall of Perfect Harmony, and the three grand palaces at the back with six small palaces on each side – East Six Palaces and West Six Palaces. The three main halls in the front of the Forbidden City are the places where grand ceremonies were held. The three grand palaces together with East Six Palaces and West Six Palaces were the residences of emperors, empresses, and imperial concubines, also known as the “Three Palaces and Six Courtyards”. According to statistics, there are millions of precious cultural relics in the Forbidden City, accounting for one-sixth of the total number of the cultural relics in China. It’s really worth a visit!

You will go to the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon. The Temple of Heaven was an altar for emperors in the Ming and Qing Dynasties to worship heaven, pray for rain and pray for good harvests. Ancient Chinese emperors claimed themselves “the son of heaven”, so they respected heaven very much. It is now famous for its rigorous architectural layout and magnificent architectural decoration. As the earliest building in the Temple of Heaven, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a three-eave circular hall with a gilt top, blue tiles, red columns, and brilliant colorful paintings. You can feel the ancient Chinese people’s awe of heaven when visiting it.

The next destination is the Summer Palace. Located in the western suburb of Beijing, the Summer Palace is the top of Chinese classical gardens. It was listed on the World Heritage List on December 2, 1998. It is composed of the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. There are many beautiful views in the Summer Palace, including the famous Seventeen-arch Bridge, the Long Corridor, the Marble Boat, and Pavilion of Buddhist Fragrance. Walking through the Long Corridor and enjoying the lake view, you can feel the tranquility of the garden.

Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Summer Palace
Summer Palace
Day 9 Beijing
Sacred Way, Chang Tomb of Ming Tombs, Mutianyu Great Wall

Today, the guide will lead you to visit the Sacred Way, the first scenic spot of the Ming Tombs. The Sacred Way is a road leading to the Ming Tombs. On both sides of the road, there are 24 stone animals including elephants, horses, camels, and lions, as well as 12 stone people including military officials and civil officials, which are neatly arranged. The stone statues are vivid and the carving is exquisite.

Having visited the Sacred Way, you will be taken to the Chang Tomb of Ming Tombs. The Chang Tomb is in northeast of the Sacred Way, 5.6 kilometers away. It will take us about 10 minutes to drive there. The Chang Tomb is the first tomb of the Ming Tombs. It is the joint tomb of Zhu Di, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and Empress Xu. It is also the mausoleum with the largest scale and the best-preserved above-ground buildings. What’s amazing is that all the wooden structures in the main hall are made of golden nanmu, a precious Chinese timber, with a diameter of more than one meter and a height of more than ten meters, which is magnificent and unparalleled in the world.

After lunch, you will visit the last spot, the Mutianyu Great Wall. With a total length of 5,400 meters, it is the longest section of the Great Wall in China, of which a section of 2,250 meters is open to the public. To better climb the Great Wall, there are three ways: 1. climbing up and down through cable car, which is better for the elderly and children; 2. climbing up and down by chairlift which is without a canopy; 3. climbing up by chairlift and down by toboggan, which is more interesting and exciting than the other two. You can choose any one of the three ways to go up and down.

Sacred Way
Sacred Way
Mutianyu Great Wall
Mutianyu Great Wall
Day 10 Departure
Escort you to the airport. Flight back home

Today, your brilliant 10-day China Nature Exploration Tour is coming to an end. Your private guide will pick you up from the hotel and escort you to the airport on time. Look forward to your next wonderful China tour!

Author: Liping Wang

Proofreader: Vivian Zhou

This tour ends here
Tour Map
City Five Star hotel list Four Star hotel list
Shanghai Ocean Hotel Shanghai Courtyard by Marriott Shanghai Central
Suzhou Grand Trustel Aster Hotel Suzhou Suzhou Jasmine Hotel
Hangzhou Landison Plaza Hotel Best Western Plus Meiyuan Hotel Hangzhou
Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel Guilin Bravo Hotel
Yangshuo Yangshuo Greenlotus Hotel New Century Hotel
Beijing Sunworld Dynasty Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Wangfujing
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