China Golden Triangle Tour

10 Days Shanghai-Xi’an-Beijing

Where is the best destination for the tour in 2022 and 2023? It must be China. Take a look at this well-selected China tour from Shanghai to Beijing. We will take you to spend 10 days in China and you will definitely feel the charm of China from many aspects. Shanghai is a modern metropolis where you will feel the fast development of China here. Xi’an is a historical city and the 2000 years old terra cotta army will take you back to the Qin Dynasty. Beijing is the most famous city in China and walking into the Forbidden City, you will experience the royal and luxurious life of ancient Chinese emperors. Nothing can be better than see all of these in person. Let China Tour Star realize your China tour in 2022and 2023.

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

Welcome to Shanghai! Our guide will be waiting for you at the airport arrival hall, holding a sign with your name. After meeting you, we will drive you to the hotel. Both our guides and drivers are well trained and qualified. Wish you a pleasant journey!

Shanghai, also known as Hu or Shen, is a municipality directly under the Central Government. It is China’s center of the international economy, trade, shipping, as well as science and technology innovation. By 2019, it governs 16 districts, taking up an area of about 6,340 square kilometers. Shanghai is located in the east of China. Standing at the estuary of the Yangtze River, it is to the west coast of the East China Sea. Taking the white magnolia as the flower of the city, Shanghai has adopted an image comprising the white magnolia, a large sand boat, and a propeller as the emblem of the city. One of the most famous achievements about Shanghai is the Shanghai Cooperation Operation (SCO), a permanent inter-government organization started by the six countries – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in 2001 in Shanghai.

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

After having breakfast at the hotel, we will drive you to the first stop of our journey today – Jade Buddha Temple. Located at No. 170, Anyuan Road, Putuo District – which is a quite busy and prosperous place in Shanghai, the temple has the fame of “a pure land in downtown”. Different from most of the temples that are built first and then invite buddha statues, Jade Buddha Temple got the buddha statues first and then established the temple. In 1882, a monk named Huigen (who became the first abbot of the temple later) started his pilgrimage alone from Zhejiang Province of China to India which was the sacred place of Buddhism at that time. On his journey back to China, he got five jade buddhas made with the jade from the mountains of Burma. Because of various causes, when monk Huigen passed by Shanghai, two of the buddha statues were left here and the temple was built to enshrine them. The seated Buddha, one of these two buddhas, 195 cm in height and chiseled from an entire piece of jade, is the buddha of Sakyamuni. And it is now displayed in Jade Buddha Hall, one of the main buildings of the temple. Besides that, here you can also enjoy other rare collections such as the Avalokitesvara statue made of jujube wood.

After that, we will visit Yu Garden which is in the northeast of Shanghai. A warm tip is that this place is closed each Monday. Yu Garden used to be a private garden built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Since 1599, Pan Yunduan, a government officer, had started to establish the garden on the basis of his old family house. Finally, the work was done with 20-year’s effort. Designed in the classic style of gardens on the Yangtze Delta, Yu Garden has the fame of “ranking the first place among all the gardens to the south of China”. The name of the garden is also meaningful. “Yu” means “no mishaps” and “safe and sound”. Taking up more than 20 thousand square meters, there are 6 major sightseeing spots, including 40 plus ancient structures in the garden. When you step into the garden through the front gate, the first building that jumps into your eyes will be the Sansui Hall. Behind that are the Yangshan Hall and Juanyu Building, facing the big rockery. Besides all the beautiful sceneries, there are also varieties of cultural relics, such as brick carvings, stone carvings, clay sculptures, and wood carvings as well as great paintings, furniture, potteries, and porcelains.

After a lunch break, we will visit Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower. With a height of 468 meters, the tower is one of the cultural landmarks of Shanghai. The construction started in July 1991 and it was put in use in May 1995. The tower comprises three-sphere structures – a topmost sphere, an upper sphere, and a lower sphere. The topmost sphere with a four-story structure includes a sightseeing story where tourists may overlook the magnificent scenery of the great city; the nine-story upper sphere, with a 45-meter diameter, contains varieties of recreational zones such as karaoke rooms, a revolving restaurant, and a sightseeing platform; in terms of the lower sphere, all its four storeys are set as an indoor amusement park. Besides, there is an exhibition center at the base of the tower which consists of 6 exhibition halls. With hundreds of historical relics, 117 human-sized wax statues, as well as almost a thousand small wax statues and clay figurines, it illustrated the developing process of Shanghai vividly.

Our next station is the Bund, a Chinese historical and cultural block. Here stand 52 classical Renaissance buildings in diverse architectures called the exotic building clusters on the Bund and they are regarded as one of the landmarks of Shanghai. Here, you can roam in the Public Park where stands the Tower of the People’s Heroes telling the stories of the heroes who died in the Opium Wars, May Fourth Movement, and China’s War of Liberation. In addition, you can enjoy the breezes from Suzhou Creek by standing on the Garden Bridge of Shanghai.

After that, we will visit Nanjing Road, one of the ten great business centers of Shanghai. Besides numerous fancy modern shopping malls, you can also find some great specialty shops. One example is Laodafang, a food shop famous for its smoked fish and pork mooncakes. The sauce for the smoked fish is made of a traditional secret recipe and the stuffing of the mooncake is served after being baked at the temperature of 260℃. The scissors sold by Zhang Xiao Quan, a shop of cutting tools, is super sharp and there are even patterns engraved at the end of the blades. And Duoyunxuan, a shop selling traditional Chinese drawings and writings as well as the brush and inkstone, will be a nice place for you to choose some gifts taken back home.

Yu Garden
Yu Garden
The Bund
The Bund
Day 3 ShanghaiSuzhouShanghai
Drive to Suzhou, Tiger Hill, Shantang Street, Humble Administrator's Garden. Drive back to Shanghai

After breakfast, we will pick you up at the hotel and drive west for about one and half an hour, and then we will arrive at today’s first stop, Tiger Hill, located in the northwest corner of Suzhou. With a history of more than 2,500 years, it has the fame of “the first sightseeing spot of Suzhou” and “the greatest hill of Suzhou”. Tiger Hill can be roughly divided into three parts – the front hill area, the Thousand People Stone area, and the hilltop area. The Thousand People Stone, one of the most famous sightseeing spots of Tiger Hill, attracts numerous tourists by its wonderful view – every time after a rain, the blood-like liquid will come out from the stone, which is creepy and mysterious. The truth is that the ferric oxide in the stone comes out because of rain wash. Beside the Thousand People Stone is the Sword Pool. It is said that one of the kings of the Wu Kingdom was buried under the Sword Pool accompanied by three thousand treasured swords.

After lunch, we will visit Shantang Street. It is in the northwest of Suzhou and west of Tiger Hill, the place which we just visited. The length of the street is 3,600 meters. There are several sightseeing spots. The famous ones are the ancient stone bridges. Within the street, 7 ancient stone bridges span the Shantang River, 8 ancient bridges stand on the river levee and another 8 bridges stand on the other side of the river. Among all these ancient stone bridges, four of them – Shantang Bridge, Caiyun Bridge, Bianshan Bridge, and Dong Bridge have a history of more than a thousand years! 

Suzhou Chamber of Commerce Museum is another place where you can enjoy yourself. The museum displays the development of Suzhou in the last hundred years through the exhibition of historical documents. With the help of digital tools such as the WeChat applet and AR technology, tourists can get access to Suzhou’s history by using their mobile phones!

Before driving back to Shanghai, we will visit Humble Administrator's Garden, the last attraction in today’s itinerary. This majestic garden was built in 1506 (the Ming Dynasty). Together with the Summer Palace (which we will visit later), Chengde Mountain Resort, and Lingering Garden, it is one of the Four Great Gardens of China. Built around ponds, the garden has a unique arrangement in buildings. After entering through the front gate, you will arrive at the East Garden, one of the three major parts of Humble Administrator’s Garden. You can enjoy the classic Chinese architecture and decorations, for instance, the wood carvings on the windows here. After that, you will visit the West Garden. The main building of this part is the Mandarin Duck Hall which used to be the place for treating guests and holding concerts. The glass on the windows of this hall is white and blue. Even in summer, the strong sunlight shines into the hall through the glass will become very soft. 

Shantang Street
Shantang Street
Humble Administrator's Garden
Humble Administrator's Garden
Day 4 ShanghaiXi’an
Take a flight to Xi'an

After breakfast, we will pick you up at the hotel and drive you to the airport. You will go to Xi’an by the estimated flight HO1211 11:25/13:55. After arriving in Xi’an, your guide will meet you at Xi’an airport and then you will be transferred to the hotel.

Day 5 Xi'an
Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Great Mosque, Muslim Quarter

After having breakfast at the hotel, we will visit today’s first attraction – Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Driving 37 kilometers toward the northeast, we will get there in about an hour. The museum is built based on the subordinate tomb which is about 955.5 meters to the east of the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of ancient China. In the museum, about 7,000 terra cotta warriors and horses are exhibited. For example, the high-ranking officer (also called general), characterized by their resplendent headwear and well-built bodies, represents the highest figure in terms of ranking. The standing archer, featured by their unarmored battle robes and unique positions of arms, together with the kneeling archer constitutes a crossbow army. Besides, the bronze chariots and terra cotta horses displayed in the exhibition hall are really pieces of masters.

We will visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda (closed each Tuesday) first in the afternoon. The pagoda is located in the Jianfu Temple, and together with the ancient bell hung in the bell tower of the temple, it has the fame of “Morning Bell Tone in the Wild Goose Pagoda” which is one of the Eight Greatest Sightseeing in Xi’an. Built between 707 and 710, it is considered as one of the two significant legacies of the city passed down since the Tang Dynasty (618-907). 

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built in order to conserve the Buddhist scriptures and Buddha’s statues brought back from ancient India by Yijing, an eminent monk at that time. Today you can learn the combination of exotic Buddhism and Chinese culture here. You will see a tower-shaped stone stele located in the southeast corner of Small Wild Goose Pagoda. It is in octagonal shape with a lotus top and a quadrate base, on which there are exquisite relief carvings of Buddhist scriptures. The headless stone Buddha excavated from the foot of the pagoda is another famous cultural relic here. FYI, there is a free Chinese Calligraphy Class outside the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. If you are interested in it, you can join them.

Our next station is Great Mosque. Great Mosque locates in Huajue Lane. Taking up more than 12,000 square meters, it is the largest mosque in Xi’an. The mosque was presumably built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), according to the architecture style, although the real construction time is hard to verify. The building area is about 4,000 square meters and is divided into four courtyards. In terms of the layout, it adopts the traditional Chinese style – symmetric buildings with a central axis. But if you look it closely, you will find all the decorations in the mosque are in Islamic style as well as the inscriptions on tablets are written in 3 languages: Chinese, Persian, and Arabic. Nowadays it is an important place for more than 60,000 Muslims in Xi’an to hold religious activities.

Just by walking east for less than 10 minutes, we will arrive at today’s last destination – Muslim Quarter. It is a snack street famous for traditional Xi’an food and Muslim food. One of the most popular specialties you cannot miss is the Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup. It used to be served only in royal feasts and regarded as precious gifts within royal families in ancient China. Another famous Xi’an cuisine is the Chinese hamburger made by stuffing a piece of Chinese bread with chopped meat.

Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Day 6 Xi'an
Shaanxi History Museum, Beilin Museum, City Wall

In the morning we will visit Shaanxi History Museum (closed each Monday). With the construction starting in 1983, the museum was not open to the public until June 1991, which reflects the fact that it is the first large-scale Chinese modern museum of the national level. The 1.7 million collections are conserved and displayed in its 8000-square meter storerooms and 11,000 square meter exhibition halls. Among the collections, you can find almost all kinds of historical and cultural relics such as bronze wares, murals of the Tang Dynasty, gold, silver, and jade vessels, and currencies of each dynasty. 

Among them, one of the most interesting objects is a scaled-down Tri-coloured Bed. It is 25.2 cm in length, 18.7 cm in width, and 6.3 cm in height. This kind of exquisite bed is usually used by well-off families in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). In addition, the Gold Dragons in Running Position unearthed from Hejiacun village, Xi'an City in 1970, are the representation of the exquisite handicraft technology of the Tang Dynasty.

The first stop after lunch break is Beilin Museum, a museum of steles. The construction of the Beilin Museum started in 1087. After the restoration and expansion within the later dynasties and generations, now it has more than 4,000 steles which have a time span of 2,000 years. Besides the stone carving art room, there are seven exhibition rooms, all of which are used to display literary manuscripts of masters of ancient China and religious classics.

After that, we will visit the ancient City Wall. The ancient City Wall is the walls built in the Ming Dynasty on the basis of the relics of the walls built in the Tang Dynasty. And after several times of reconstruction, it became a tight defense system. With a 13.74-kilometer perimeter, it is one of the largest ancient walls in China in terms of scale. Originally, there were only 4 gates on the City Wall. Now the number of gates has increased to 18.

City Wall
Beilin Museum
Beilin Museum
Day 7 Xi'anBeijing
Take a flight to Beijing

After breakfast, we will drive you to the airport. You will take the estimated flight MU2107 12:00/14:10 to Beijing. Your guide will pick you up at Beijing airport and you will be transferred to the hotel.

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

In the morning, we will take you to Tian’anmen Square after having breakfast at the hotel. Tian’anmen Square locates at the center of Beijing. With an area of 0.44 million square meters, it can accommodate 1 million people at the same time to hold a grand assembly. Within the square, along the central axis of Beijing from north to south, there stands the national flag pole, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, and Zhengyangmen Gate Tower in sequence. Located at the center of the square, the Monument to the People’s Heroes has been the first building constructed in the square since the People’s Republic of China was established. It is built to memory the heroes who died for the people in all the wars and battles after 1840. You will be amazed by the wonderful anaglyph on it although you may not be familiar with Chinese history.

To the north of Tian’anmen Square is the Forbidden City (closed each Monday). The Forbidden City was the royal palace in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1912). Taking up about 0.72 million square meters, it contains 70 plus halls and palaces with more than 9,000 rooms. The Forbidden City may be roughly divided into two parts – the outer court and the inner court. The center of the outer court used to be the place of holding important ceremonies of the country. And the Three Great Halls you can not miss is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony, and the Hall of Preserving Harmony.

Three main palaces located in the center of the inner court are the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union and Peace, and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility. They are the chambers of emperors and empresses. Behind the Palace of Earthly Tranquility is the Imperial Garden. The Six Eastern Palaces and the Six Western Palaces stand on each side of the three main palaces respectively and they are the places where concubines live. Besides all the grandiose and majestic buildings, there are varieties of interesting and educational exhibitions of cultural relics in the Forbidden City depending on the time you visit.

After having lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Temple of Heaven is the place where emperors worshiped the God of heaven and prayed for good harvests. A wall divides the Temple of Heaven into two parts – an inner part and an outer part. The south side of the wall is square and the north side in a circle, which refers to the ground is square and the sky is round in traditional Chinese legends. Entering from the south gate, the first sightseeing spot is the Circular Mond Altar. It is the place where the grand ritual activity was held on Winter Solstice. In its north is the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The main and auxiliary halls of the Imperial Vault of Heaven are surrounded by a circular wall that is 3.72 meters in height and has a diameter of 61.5 meters. The inner surface of the wall is smooth, which makes it possible to transmit sound waves regularly and the echoes are long-drawn-out, so the wall is named the “Echo Wall”. In fact, besides the sightseeing spots introduced here, there are lots of other interesting places for you to explore in the Temple of Heaven. Just prepare yourself and start the tour with us!

Today’s last spot is the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). It has the fame of “Imperial Garden Museum”. Emperors and his family always spent their summertime here. With the West Lake in Hangzhou taken as its blueprint, the Summer Palace consists of Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill. The Kunming Lake is the largest lake in the royal gardens of the Qing Dynasty. There are three small islands in the center of Kunming Lake. Because in ancient Chinese people’s minds, the immortals live in three celestial islands. And the three islands in Kunming Lake are the embodiment of them. 

The most famous sightseeing spot in the Summer Palace is the Long Corridor. Located at the southern piedmont of Longevity Hill, the corridor is on the north bank of Kunming Lake. With a length of 728 meters and 548 pillars, it is recognized as the longest corridor in the world and was listed in Guinness World Records in 1992. You will see about 14,000 paintings on the Long Corridor. And most of them are themed with natural scenery, folk stories, and history. The Seventeen Hole Bridge is another interesting place. It spans over Kunming Lake, linking the Eastern Embankment and the South Lake Island with a width of 8 meters and a length of 150 meters. On the railings of both sides of the bridge sit 500 stone lions with diverse figures and in different sizes which are very cute. There is a stone lion with the post of a fortune cat. Try to find it when you visit here. 

Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
Day 9 Beijing
Sacred Way, Chang Tomb of the Ming Tombs, Mutianyu Great Wall

The first stop today is Sacred Way, the ancillary buildings of the Chang Tomb (which we will visit later). It is in the northwest of the city center and we will drive for about an hour (47KM) to get there. the Sacred Way is the way that leads to Chang Tomb and is about 7.3 kilometers in length. The major attractions include the Stone Archway, the Dismounting Tablet, the Dragon and Phoenix Gate, the ornamental column, and the stone statues.

Passing the Sacred Way, we will arrive at the Chang Tomb of the Ming Tombs. Chang Tomb is the tomb of Zhu Di, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and his empress whose surname was Xu. The construction started in 1409 (the seventh year of the Yongle Period). Taking up 0.12 million square meters, the tomb ranks first among the Ming Tombs. It has a unique layout – a square front part and a circle back part. That is the embodiment of the traditional Chinese idea that the sky is round and the earth is square. The front part consists of three courtyards. In front of the first courtyard, there is a tomb gate; in front of the second courtyard there is a hall gate named Ling’en Gate and on each side of the hall gate there is a side gate, and in front of the third courtyard there is the third tomb gate. All of these buildings are in traditional Chinese style and have exquisite decorations which show the grandeur of ancient Chinese royal tombs. Among visiting the Chang Tomb, you will know more about the ancient Chinese funeral culture.

Driving 40 kilometers toward the northeast for about one hour, then we will arrive at the last scenic spot of our journey – Mutianyu Great Wall. As one of the Seven Wonders in the World, the Great Wall attracts countless tourists every year. And there are several parts of the Great Wall in Beijing that have opened to the public but the longest part is the Mutianyu Great Wall. The most important is there are no crowded people. So you don’t need to wait for a long time for the cable car and you can get more time to enjoy the spectacular scenery on the Great Wall. Please kindly note: graffiti is strictly forbidden on all parts of the Great Wall. If you want to leave your trace here, please go to the Graffiti Area on the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Sacred Way
Sacred Way
Chang Tomb
Chang Tomb
Day 10 Beijing Departure
Take you to the airport. Flight back home

There is no schedule today. Our driver will take you to the airport after having breakfast at the hotel. Thank you for choosing us! We are looking forward to serving you again!

Author: Rui Zhou
Proofreader: Betsy He

This tour ends here
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