Amazing China Photo Tour with Zhangjiajie

14 Days Beijing/Xi'an/Zhangjiajie/Guilin/Yangshuo/Shanghai

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of China in these two weeks with our China photo tour from Beijing. You will walk into the 600-year-old Forbidden City and see the palace where the emperor ruled China; you will climb the Great Wall and touch the bricks that have a thousand years of history; you will see more than 6,000 terracotta warriors, although some of them are incomplete, but Still spectacular; you will walk into Zhangjiajie Forest Park and experience the excitement of adventurers. The tour will end in Shanghai, where history and modernity meet, Chinese and foreign cultures collide. Every scenery in China is worthy of your attention. Prepare your camera and let’s start thisphotography tour in China.

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing Arrival
Arrival in Beijing

After arrival, your guide will hold your name sign and wait for you at the airport. And then you will be transferred to the hotel.  

Option: If you are still energetic after a long-time flight and want to discover the city by yourself before we start the tour, I will recommend you to visit Qianmen Street. Qianmen Street is located on the central axis of Beijing. It is a traditional commercial street. It is also a place that reflects Beijing's culture very well. Qianmen Street was formed in the middle of the Ming Dynasty, around the year of 1436. At that time, commerce was very developed. Therefore, many hawkers brought the fish, vegetables, pigs, and other things to sell here. Over time, an early commercial street was formed here. Until now, there are still many century-old shops on Qianmen Street, such as Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, Zhang Yiyuan Tea Shop, Yueshengzhai Sauce Meat Shop. It is a good choice to stroll around here, taste Beijing’s snacks, or admire the preserved traditional Chinese architecture.

Day 2 Beijing
Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven

In the morning, we will visit Tian’anmen Square. It is the largest city center square in the world. Tian’anmen Gate Tower is the most important building on the square. And the square is named after this gate name. It used to be named as "Chengtian Gate" which means that this is the gate tower to take over the will of God. There are five doors on the gate tower. The middle one is the largest. In the past, only the emperors can walk through this door. Another important building on Tian’anmen Square I want to introduce to you is the Monument to the People’s Heroes. This monument is mainly to commemorate the people's heroes who died in the Chinese People's Liberation War and the Second World War. It is 37.94 meters high. Eight golden Chinese characters inscribed by Chairman Mao Zedong are engraved on it which means "The People's Heroes are Immortal". Besides, there are 10 reliefs on the monument. It shows the brave, strong, and unyielding spirit of the Chinese people in the war, and the scene of the people celebrating the success after the revolution.   

And then we will visit the Forbidden City (It is closed each Monday). The Forbidden City is the most well-preserved and largest wooden structure building in China and even in the world. It covers a large area, with more than 70 palaces and more than 9,900 houses and it is known as “the first of the five major palaces in the world”. There are many sculptures such as bronze lions, bronze cranes, and bronze unicorns in the Forbidden City. They are all exquisitely crafted. Especially the bronze lions, their ears are standing and look very majestic. But if you look closely, you will find two bronze lions in front of the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqingmen). You will see their ears are drooping. Why? The thing is like this. After entering the Gate of Heavenly Purity, it is the place where the emperor's concubines lived. But in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, concubines were not allowed to interfere in state affairs. Therefore, the dropping ears of the two lions are to tell the concubines that do not listen or talk about the country's affairs. 

After lunch, we will take you to visit the Temple of Heaven. In ancient Chinese perception, the sky is round and the earth is square. So they built the Temple of Heaven according to that. The north wall of the Temple of Heaven is arc-shaped. It represents heaven. The south wall and the east and west walls form a right-angled square. It represents the earth. The main building of the Temple of Heaven is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Every year the emperor holds a sacrifice ceremony here to pray for a good harvest in the coming year. Besides, the Hall of Abstinence is a place where the emperor bathed and fasted before offering sacrifices to the heavens. The Circular Mound Altar near the south gate is the place where the Winter Solstice Ceremony is held.

Tian’anmen Square
Tian’anmen Square
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 3 Beijing
Ming Tombs, Chang Tomb, Great Wall, Bird's Nest, Water Cube

In the morning, we will drive about 1 hour (45KM) to visit the Ming Tombs which is in the northwest of Beijing city center. The Ming Dynasty in China started in 1368 and ended in 1644. In the past 276 years, the Ming Dynasty replaced 16 emperors. The first emperor of the Ming Dynastywas buried in Nanjing. The second emperor was missing after his death. The seventh emperor was killed and buried elsewhere because of the coup. The remaining 13 emperors are all buried here. Today we will take you to visit the Chang Tomb. This is the tomb of the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty and his empress. It took 18 years to build the Chang Tomb. That makes it the largest one of the 13 tombs. You will see a stele that is located 5 KM away in front of Chang Tomb. This stele is 5.32 meters high. And the stele is engraved with words, which says that everyone should dismount here. Because in ancient times, the tombs of emperors were regarded as sacred places. Therefore, people who come to worship the emperors need to dismount their horses and enter the mausoleum on foot respectfully. 

After that, we will drive about 1 hour (45 KM) to visit the Great Wall. It is located in the northeast of the Ming Tombs. The Great Wall is the longest defensive project in the world. Someone has calculated that the construction of the entire Great Wall includes labor costs, material costs, and maintenance costs, which require tens of billions of dollars. This is a large amount of money whether in thousands of years ago or even today. This shows that the construction of the Great Wall is super huge. You will take a cable car or cable chair up to the Great Wall. Prepare your camera and record the WOW moment on the Great Wall.

On the way back to the city center, we will have a photo stop at the Bird's Nest and Water Cube. In 2008, Beijing hosted the 29th Olympic Games. At the same time, the two Olympic venues, the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, have entered the vision of the people of the world. They have particular shapes and unique designs. They are the hot places that many photographers love.

Warm Tips:

1. The Great Wall is located on the mountain, and the temperature is lower than that of the city center. Please wear appropriate clothes according to the temperature of the day.

2. A pair of comfortable shoes is very necessary for visiting the Great Wall. Try not to wear slippers, high heels, etc.

3. The light and ultraviolet rays on the Great Wall are strong. We recommend that you wear sunglasses and sunscreen.

4. The Great Wall is built on the mountain, and some parts have steep slopes. Please visit according to your physical strength.

5. If you cannot take a cable car or cable chair, please inform us in advance.

Ming Tombs
big-wild-goose-pagoda2
Water Cube
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 4 BeijingXi’an
Beijing Zoo, Panda House

In the morning, we will visit the Beijing Zoo. The most popular part is the Panda House here. Many photography enthusiasts come to China to photograph giant pandas. Their lovely appearance and chubby body bring endless joy to people. The weight of an adult giant panda is about 80-120 kg. Their biggest hobbies are eating bamboo and sleeping. In addition, they also like to play in the trees or the pond. You can see 8 giant pandas here. And if you want to buy some panda dolls or a T-shirt with panda patten as your souvenir, you can go to the gift center.

After lunch, you will take an estimated train G87 14:00/18:19 to Xi’an. Your guide will pick you up from the train station and then you will be transferred to your hotel.

Xi'an has a history of more than 3100 years, and 13 dynasties used to establish their capitals here. Therefore, Xi'an is a world-famous historical capital on par with Athens, Rome, and Cairo. It used to be the political, economic, and cultural center of China. The world-famous "Silk Road" started from Xi'an. That makes Xi’an become the first city to open to the world. In 1981, the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization designated Xi'an as a "World Historic City". Follow our steps and discover the mysterious city.

Beijing Zoo
Beijing Zoo
Panda House
Panda House
Day 5 Xi’an
Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Great Mosque, Muslim Street

After breakfast, we will take you to visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The terracotta warriors here are with different emotions and looks. Some are with arms and some are riding a horse. Besides the 8,000 terra cotta warriors, there are also some terra cotta horses and bronze carriages. The bronze carriages are half life-size horse carriage used by Emperor Qin Shihuang. The whole carriage is painted with exquisite patterns; the gold and silver ornaments on the bronze carriage weighing 14 kilograms, showing the nobleness of the bronze carriage.

After lunch, we will go and visit the Great Mosque. Covering an area of 13,000 square meters, it is the largest mosque in Shaanxi province and one of the four largest mosques in China. The mosque has a history of 1200 years. It is the only Chinese-style Islamic building in the world and a classic of ancient architecture. You can see many wood carvings and brick carvings on the building. And the three-dimensional techniques of Islamic art style are used to depict Chinese flower patterns in the mosque. 

After that, we will visit Muslim Street. Xi’an Muslim Street is a famous food and cultural street. At the same time, it is also a gathering area for the Xi’an Muslim people. There are currently more than 60,000 Muslim people living here. Walking on the street, you can see many shops that combine traditional Chinese architectural styles with Muslim architectural styles. Ethnic costumes, handicrafts, halal non-staple food, restaurants, and Muslim snack bars are everywhere. 

Option: Tang Dynasty Singing and Dancing Show with Dumplings Banquet.

In Xi'an, eating dumplings and admiring Tang Dynasty singing and dancing performance are both unmissable experiences. The chefs make dumplings into different shapes with different fillings. That allows you to taste many kinds of dumplings at once. The performance here is also very attractive. Actors in Tang Dynasty costumes will show you the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty in China through dances. You will have a feeling of traveling back to the Tang Dynasty 1000 years ago. 

Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Muslim Street
Muslim Street
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 6 Xi’anZhangjiajie
Train to Zhangjiajie

After breakfast, we will take an estimated train G98 9:59/15:10 to Changsha. Your guide will pick you up at the train station. And then you will be transferred to Zhangjiajie. 

Zhangjiajie is one of the famous tourist cities in China. Unlike Xi'an, where you just left, Zhangjiajie is mainly known for its natural landscapes. The unique peak forest landscape has attracted countless tourists. It is worth noting that the scenic spots in Zhangjiajie are all above 1,000 meters above sea level, and the temperature difference between day and night is large, generally around 10 degrees. Therefore, please prepare suitable clothes before you travel. Zhangjiajie has a humid monsoon climate with more rainfall. So, it is also necessary to carry a rain coat or umbrella with you.

Breakfast
Lunch
Day 7 Zhangjiajie
Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Tianzi Mountain, Yuanjiajie Scenic Area, Bailong Elevator

Today you will have a full day visit to the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. First, we will visit Tianzi Mountain. It is one of the top four attractions in Wulingyuan. Although Tianzi Mountain looks dangerous, it gives you a mysterious and secluded feeling. The most famous sightseeing here is peak forest. Let's take Yubi Peak as an example. This is one of the best scenic spots that fascinate countless photographers and painters. More than 30 graphic magazines and newspapers in the world have shown its beauty. Yubi Peak is located in the valley on the west side of Tianzi Mountain. Standing on the viewing platform and looking far to the southwest, you will see dozens of beautifully scattered peaks in the valley rising straight into the sky. One peak on the right is like a pen inserted upside down, and one peak on the left is like a pen holder. The scenery is spectacular. 

After lunch, we will visit the Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. The most famous attraction in Yuanjiajie is Hallelujah Mountain, which is the floating mountain in the movie Avatar. The director of Avatar once completed a four-day location filming here. So many elements on the planet Pandora in the movie are taken from here. 

Another activity you can experience is the Bailong Elevator. In the past, tourists had to walk the arduous mountain road for more than three hours to go to the Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. Since the completion of the Bailong Elevator, this time has been shortened to 1 minute and 32 seconds, which can be said to be a miracle. The Bailong Elevator is magnificent, with a vertical height difference of 335 meters and an operating height of 326 meters. It was included in the Guinness Book of World Records with the honor of "The Highest Outdoor Elevator". It is the perfect combination of natural beauty and man-made wonders.

Wulingyuan Scenic Area
Wulingyuan Scenic Area
Tianzi Mountain
Tianzi Mountain
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 8 ZhangjiajieGuilin
Train to Guilin

After breakfast, we will drive about 4 hours to Changsha. And then you will take an estimated train G423 13:56/17:13 to Guilin. Your guide will hold your name sign and wait for you at the train station. 

Option: If you want to enjoy the night view of Guilin, I will recommend you to visit the Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas. They are located in the Guilin city center. And they are known as the best night scenery in Guilin. The higher one is called Sun Pagoda, which is 41 meters high. And another one is called Moon Pagoda which is 35 meters high. The Sun Pagoda is built of bronze and will light up in golden light. The Moon Pagoda is made of colored glaze and will light up in silvery light. The lights of the pagodas will be turned off at 11 p.m. So please go and visit before 11 pm.

terra-cotta-warriors-and-horses-museum
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
great-mosque-xian
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 9 GuilinYangshuo
Li River Cruise, Yellow Shoal, Yangshuo West Street

In the morning, you will take the Li River Cruise to Yangshuo. The Li River is a typical section of karst terrain. The hundred miles Li River is known as hundred miles gallery. The pattern on the back of Chinese currency 20 yuan is a section of the Li River landscape. The Li River has different sceneries along Li River. Your cruise will pass by the Yellow Shoal. You can see a large yellow slab at the bottom of the river, which is over ten meters long and over ten meters wide, just like a piece of yellow cloth spreading on the river bed. The Yellow Shoal is named after it. There are seven peaks of different sizes on both sides of Yellow Shoal. It seems like seven demure girls, people call them "seven fairies peaks". Besides, you will also see a Lotus Peak which resembles a blooming lotus. 

Today’s lunch will be on the cruise. And then you will disembark at Yangshuo. We will take you to visit Yangshuo West Street. Yangshuo West Street has a history of more than 1,400 years and is the most prosperous street in Yangshuo. The street is paved with stone slabs, the houses on both sides of the street are from the Ming or Qing Dynasty. They look simple but elegant. After visiting Yangshuo, we will drive back to Guilin.

Option: The three major specialties of Guilin are Guilin Chili Sauce, Guilin Fermented Bean Curd, and Guilin Sanhua Liqueur. But if you want to take some home, I suggest you buy Guilin Chili Sauce. Most of the tourists will choose it.

Guilin's chili sauce has a history of more than 100 years. Its raw material is local chili, which is marinated in a unique technique to make chili sauce. Guilin chili sauce is not only very popular in China but also sells well in some countries in Southeast Asia. It is a good seasoning product when you eat chow mein.

Li River Cruise
Li River Cruise
Yangshuo West Street
Yangshuo West Street
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 10 GuilinLongsheng
Longji Rice Terraces, Ping’an Village

After breakfast, we will drive for about 1 hour (72 KM) to Longsheng. It is in the north of Guilin city. Longsheng is famous for the Longji Rice Terraces. Many tourists come here for hiking or photography. Someone arrived before dawn to photograph the beautiful sunrise of the terraced fields. The terraces are coiled from the foot of the mountain to the top of the mountain layer by layer. Its scale is majestic and magnificent. If you look it in a distance, the shape of the rice terrace is just like a giant dragon. Therefore, the terraces here are called "Longji Terraces" which means dragon’s back terrace. 

After that, you will visit a Zhuang minority village here named Ping’an Village. The houses here are built of bamboo and wood and are very distinctive. People of Zhuang nationality are good at singing and dancing. The third day of the third month of the lunar calendar is a grand festival of the Zhuang nationality. On this day, they will put on costumes and sing folk songs to pray for peace and happiness. Because they live near rice terraces, the staple food of the Zhuang people is rice. They use various vegetables to squeeze the juice for steaming colorful rice. Local people always use colorful to entertain their important guests during festivals.

And then we will drive back to Guilin.

Longji Rice Terraces
Longji Rice Terraces
Ping’an Village
Ping’an Village
Day 11 GuilingShanghai
Reed Flute Cave

After breakfast, we will take you to visit the Reed Flute Cave. You will see mountains, forests, thousand-year-old trees, and lions in the cave, all of which are formed by stalactites. There is an interesting legend about Reed Flute Cave. There was an emperor who planned to celebrated his birthday. He forced people to give him lots of treasures as gifts. Although people are reluctant, they dare not disobey the emperor's orders. So, they prepare their treasures and plan to give them to the emperor. The fairy in heaven heard about this thing. She hid people's treasures in the Reed Flute Cave. But she was worried that the emperor would find it, so she turned all these treasures into stone. But local people can use it if they need. This is the origin of the stalactites in the Reed Flute Cave. In addition to these peculiar stalactites, there are more than 70 murals in the cave. These are all left by the ancient people when they visited here.

After lunch, we will take you to the airport and you will take an estimated flight 9C6136 14:50/17:10 to Shanghai. Your guide will pick you up from the airport and then you will be transferred to your hotel. 

Shanghai is an international metropolis in China. Shanghai has two airports, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. Pudong Airport is about 30 kilometers away from downtown Shanghai. Flights from here can reach 47 countries around the world. Hongqiao Airport is 13 kilometers away from the city. Starting from April 2020, all international flights from Hongqiao Airport have been transferred to Pudong Airport. Therefore, currently, only domestic flights arrive at Hongqiao Airport. In addition to convenient transportation, Shanghai is also a paradise for shoppers. There is Nanjing Road, the most famous shopping street in China. You must not miss it.

Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 12 Shanghai
Yu Garden, Jing’an Temple, the Bund, Nanjing Road

After breakfast, we will take you to visit the Yu Garden (It is closed each Monday). Yu Garden is a typical Chinese classical garden. Both the architectural style and the old trees and flowers inside are impressive. Yu Garden is favored by tourists from all over the world, and it receives more than 1.6 million tourists annually. Many dignitaries and celebrities, including former US President Clinton, British Queen Elizabeth II, and International Olympic Committee President Rogge, have visited the garden. 

You may not know that there is a “sister garden” of Yu Garden in Dunedin, New Zealand. Its name is Lan Garden. Shanghai and Dunedin are “sister cities”. During the construction of the LanGarden, the professional staff of Yu Garden had visited New Zealand many times to share experience and technology with the construction staff of New Zealand. The exchanges between the two gardens, Yu Garden and Lan Garden, have also promoted exchanges and cooperation between Shanghai and Dunedin. 

After that, you will visit the Jing’an Temple. Jing'an Temple is located in the prosperous Jing'an business district in the center of Shanghai. There are many tall and modern buildings in the surrounding area, which is in sharp contrast with the ancient temple. After entering the Jing’an temple, you will see a square with a large incense burner made of 15 tons of white copper. Also, there is a silver Buddha statue in the temple which also weighs 15 tons. The halls of Jing'an Temple are topped with copper tiles, and the roof of the pagoda behind the temple is gold-plated. Looking at the whole temple from a distance, the golden roof gleams in the sun. 

And then we will take you to visit the Bund. It is the best place to take photos of Shanghai. On the one side of the Huangpu River, it is the business district center of Shanghai. On the other side, it is the historical buildings with different national styles.

After that, you will visit the famous Nanjing Road. Nanjing Road is the most prosperous commercial street in Shanghai. It was a gathering place for department stores as early as the 20th century. Nowadays, there are both old department stores such as Yong'an Department Store and Silk Commercial Building, as well as large shopping centers such as New World City, Bailian World Trade International Plaza, and Hongyi Plaza. You can buy almost any product here. Besides, Nanjing Road is a paradise for foodies. There are a variety of restaurants, coffee shops, and some of them are time-honored brands, such as Lao Kele Restaurant that specializes in Shanghai local cuisine, Shen Dacheng Dim Sum shops which is famous for its cakes.

 

Yu Garden
Yu Garden
Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 13 Shanghai
Zhujiajiao Water Town, Tianzifang Market

After breakfast, we will take you to Zhujiajiao Water Town. Zhujiajiao is located about 50 kilometers southwest of downtown Shanghai. We will arrive by car in 1 hour. Zhujiajiao is known as the Venice of Shanghai. This is the best-preserved ancient water town in Shanghai. Zhujiajiao has a long history. As early as five thousand years ago, there were human activities here; as early as 1700 years ago, there was a village market here; as early as 450 years ago, it had become a prosperous market town where merchants gathered. Today, you can still see the antique streets and buildings of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Taking a cruise is the best way to enjoy the beauty of Zhujiajiao Water Town. You will see various ancient bridges. In addition, there is a Peking Opera Corner. If you are lucky enough, you will see people performing Peking opera here.

And then you will visit the Tianzifang Market. Tianzifang is a place integrating shopping, leisure, dining, and art. You will see the unique Shikumen architecture here which is the typical architecture in the 1920s and 1930s. There are many shops for Chinese traditional handicrafts, such as tea sets, silk, cotton, and linen clothes. Of course, there are also many western cultures restaurants and bars. In addition to various shops for you to choose souvenirs, Tianzifang is also a good place to take photos. Let your tour guide help you choose the best photo background, and your photos will be a masterpiece.

Option: Shanghai Plain noodle is a traditional Shanghai food, and it is also a food that often appears on the tables of Shanghainese. You will know from its name that it has no complicated ingredients. Except for the noodles and noodle soup, only some green onions are sprinkled on the noodles. But such simple ingredients are the most authentic and delicious food for Shanghai people. If you want to taste the classic Shanghai flavor, why not eat a bowl of Plain noodles.

Zhujiajiao Water Town
Zhujiajiao Water Town
Tianzifang Market
Tianzifang Market
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 14 Shanghai Departure
Fligh back home

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport and fly back to your sweet home.

Option: If your flight is in the afternoon, you can visit the Shanghai Museum (It is closed each Monday) in the morning. Shanghai Museum covers an area of 12,000 square meters. The ancient Chinese bronze exhibition hall and ancient Chinese sculpture exhibition hall are on the first floor; the ancient Chinese ceramics exhibition hall is on the second floor; the Chinese calligraphy exhibition hall and the painting exhibition hall are on the third floor; the China Ancient Jade exhibition hall, Chinese ancient Coins exhibition hall, China Furniture of Ming and Qing Dynasties exhibition hall and Chinese Minority Arts exhibition hall are on the fourth floor.

Editor: Besty He

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