China Photo Tour with Ancient Capitals

14 Days Beijing/Zhengzhou/Xi'an/Nanjing/Hangzhou/Suzhou/Shanghai

China is a country with a long history. Beijing is a city with 3000 years history; Nanjing has a history of more than 2,000 years; Xi'an has a history of 3,500 years, and Zhengzhou has a history of 3,600 years. These cities are like museums, showing different aspects of China to tourists. In addition, Suzhou and Hangzhou, known as a paradise on earth, are famous for their beautiful scenery and many places of interest. Shanghai, next to them, is an international metropolis. The beauty of China is not only reflected in history, culture, and natural scenery, but also in food and architecture. Let us follow the route of the Chinese photography tour and explore charming China.

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing
Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to Beijing. Our guide will pick you up from the airport and then you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the time will be yours.

Option One: We can tailor your arrival pick-up service as you need. You can choose luxury cars, drivers with suites, tailor-made name signs, wheelchair service, and so on. If you want to get special care in your hotel, we can also arrange the VIP check-in. Flowers, fruit, welcome letter, wine are also good choices for you. We are more than happy to provide you a customized welcome. 

Option Two: If you want to walk around the city by yourself after you arrive in Beijing, we will recommend you to visit Wangfujing Street. It is a famous pedestrian shopping street in Beijing. It is also a commercial street with a century of history and has the reputation of Golden Street in Beijing. There are many shopping malls including international high-end brands, as well as traditional Chinese brands, such as Donglaishun Restaurant, which is known as the best hot pot in China, and Tongshenghe Shoe Store founded in 1902.

Day 2 Beijing
Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace

In the morning, we will take you to visit Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City. There are many famous squares in the world, such as Times Square in the United States and Red Square in Russia. Tian’anmen Square in China is as famous as them. It is the largest city center square in the world. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Tian’anmen Square was a royal square and an important place for the emperors to issue government decrees and a symbol of royal authority. Later, Tian’anmen Square got two expansions. At present, it is a must-see place for tourists to visit Beijing. Don’t forget to take photos here. And then we will visit the Forbidden City (It is closed each Monday). The Forbidden City is one of China's important cultural symbols. It is considered as a cultural treasure house. Since the completion of the Forbidden City 600 years ago, generations of emperors have enriched the culture and history of the Forbidden City. As a royal palace in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Forbidden City has magnificent architecture. It covers an area of 720,000 square meters and contains more than 9,000 rooms. The Forbidden City is beautifully decorated, from the roof to the floor and every part of the Forbidden City is very delicate.

After lunch, we will take you to visit the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was a place for emperors of the Qing Dynasty to escape the summer heat. It is also one of the four major gardens in China. The lake in the Summer Palace is called Kunming Lake. It is actually an artificial lake. The emperor ordered the excavation of Kunming Lake to maintain water for the royal gardens and irrigation of the surrounding farmland. Kunming Lake is now an important landscape in the Summer Palace.

Option: Chinese tea culture is with a long history. The tea ceremony includes a series of procedure such as tea selection, water selection, tea making, tea set art, and tea tasting. The whole process is about forty minutes. In addition to enjoying tea performances, you will also taste different teas such as Pu'er tea, Dahongpao tea, and so on. Chinese tea has a health care function, which is why it is called the miraculous oriental leaf by the world. If you are also interested in the Chinese tea ceremony, we can arrange it in your itinerary.

Summer Palace
Summer Palace
 Forbidden City
 Forbidden City
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 3 Beijing
Ming Tombs, Chang Tomb, Great Wall, Bird’s Nest and Water Cube

In the morning, we will drive about 1 hour (45 KM) to visit the Ming Tombs. It is the most complete tomb group in the world with 13 emperors buried. Visiting the Ming Tombs can help you learn about the funeral system of ancient Chinese emperors. Today, you will visit the Chang Tomb. It is the tomb of Zhu Di, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and his empress. Before Zhu Di became the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, the capital of the Ming Dynasty was in Nanjing. That is why you will see the tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, in Nanjing. After Zhu Di became emperor, he changed the capital to Beijing and chose the Ming Tombs as the cemetery for himself and his descendants. Therefore, Chang Tomb is the earliest and largest imperial tomb among the Ming Tombs.

After lunch, we will drive about 1 hour (43 KM) to visit the Great Wall. You may haven’t visited China before, but you must have seen the Great Wall of China in many movies. Today, you will have a chance to climb the Great Wall which is with the history of two thousand years. You can take a cable car or cable chair up to the Great Wall. And you will see many beacon towers which are important parts of the Great Wall. They are used to deliver information in ancient times. After that, we will drive back to the city center. You will have a photo stop at the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube on the way. They are famous for their unique building structure. The 2008 Beijing Olympics track and field and ball events were held in the Bird’s Nest; synchronized swimming and diving were held in the Water Cube.

Option: If you want to taste authentic Chinese food, we can arrange the Grand Mansion Restaurant. This restaurant has a unique building style. Its decoration is in traditional Chinese style, and it seems to have traveled back 1000 years ago. And the waiters here are also in traditional Chinese clothes. There is a stage on the side of the restaurant. There will be traditional Chinese performances such as face changing, operas, and magic shows around 8 o'clock every night. If you want such a dinner experience, we can make an appointment for you in advance.

 Ming Tombs
Ming Tombs
Great Wall
Great Wall
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 4 BeijingZhengzhou
Beijing Zoo, Panda House,

In the morning, we will visit the Beijing Zoo. The most popular part here is the Panda House. Panda is the national treasure of China. Although they only have black and white on their bodies, they are very cute. The chubby ones often make some cute gestures that make tourists laugh. Although they look fat, they are athletes. They like to climb to the tree to play, and sometimes play in the pool. Did you know that such a lovely creature has existed on Earth for 8 million years? They are also called living fossils. After lunch, you will take an estimated train G87 14:00/16:28 to Zhengzhou. You will meet your guide at the train station and then you will be transferred to your hotel.

Option: If you want to get some more local touch, we can exchange the Beijing Zoo for the Hutong. Beijing is a city that combines history and modernity. There are both high-rise buildings and traditional hutongs and dwellings. Hutong is very common in Beijing. It is like a line connecting many traditional houses together. Getting on the rickshaw and shuttling through the Hutongs. You will see courtyard houses where the most authentic Beijingers live. Walking into the courtyard, each household is with its own story. 

Beijing Zoo
Beijing Zoo
Hutong
Hutong
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 5 Zhengzhou
Shaolin Temple, Shaolin Kungfu, Shaolin Martial Art Show

Zhengzhou is the capital of Henan Province. In history, Zhengzhou used to be the capital of five Dynasties. Therefore, Zhengzhou is also a famous cultural and historical city in China.

In the morning, we will drive about 1.5 hours (90 KM) to the Shaolin Temple. Shaolin Temple is known as the greatest ancient temple in the world, and it plays an important role in Chinese Buddhism. An eminent monk from India used to translate Buddhist scriptures in Shaolin Temple. Many emperors in ancient times gave Shaolin Temple great rewards for various reasons. Shaolin martial arts also has an important position in Chinese Kungfu. It is the largest school in Chinese Kung Fu. There are 72 kinds of unique skills and more than 30 kinds of weapons in Shaolin Kungfu. The Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple is the must-see attraction there. It is the largest Pagoda Forest in China. Pagoda Forest is actually the place where eminent monks were buried after their deaths. There are more than 200 tomb pagodas of various eras. The pagodas are with different shapes, including cylindrical, quadrilateral, hexagonal, and so on. The height of the pagodas also varies from one to seven floors. The more the merits during his lifetime, the higher the pagoda built after death. At last, you will watch a Shaolin Martial Art Show. You will experience the shock of Shaolin Kungfu in the performance of the monks. And then, we will drive back to Zhengzhou.

Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Kungfu
Shaolin Kungfu
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 6 ZhengzhouXi’an
Yellow River Scenic Area

After breakfast, you will visit the Yellow River Scenic Area. The Yellow River is the second largest river in China and the mother river of China. Therefore, you will see a statue of a mother nurturing a baby in the Yellow River Scenic Area, which symbolizes that the Yellow River is like a mother to the Chinese. The attractions here include stone sculptures, altars, Wulong Peak, Yueshan Temple, and so on. After that, we will drive to the train station and then you will take an estimated train G667 14:56/17:04 to Xi’an.

Compared with Zhengzhou, Xi'an has a richer history. It was the capital of 13 Dynasties. China’s Silk Road started from here, and the famous Master Xuanzang in the Tang Dynasty also set off from here to India and brought back Indian Buddhism from India. 

Yellow River Scenic Area
Yellow River Scenic Area
Yellow River Scenic Area
Yellow River Scenic Area
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 7 Xi’an
Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Street

In the morning, you will visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The terracotta warriors and horses are the burial objects of Emperor Qin Shihuang. After the abolition of the ancient Chinese burial system, the ancient emperors chose to use pottery figurines instead of real human burials. They believe that someone serves and protects them when they are alive, and someone should protect them after death. Among the terracotta warriors and horses unearthed so far, there are more than 7,000 warriors, and the rest are horses and chariots. It is worth mentioning that these terracotta warriors are all exquisitely crafted and painted brightly. However, after the excavation, the pigment and the air contacted, causing the color to change. Therefore, most of the terracotta warriors seen now are the color of clay.

After that, you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. During the Tang Dynasty, Xuanzang went to India and brought back many Buddhist scriptures. In order to keep these Buddhist scriptures intact, Master Xuanzang arranged to build the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a brick tower with a square loft style. It is said that the reason why the brick tower is used instead of the wooden tower is to prevent fire damage to the Buddhist scriptures in the tower. Two Buddha bone relics are also enshrined in the tower, which are extremely precious.

After that, you will visit Muslim Street. This is the most popular shopping street in Xi’an. Don’t forget to taste the delicious local food here. A very popular food name Zeng Gao (Rice and jujube cake) is really delicious here. Candied dates and large kidney beans are wrapped in glutinous rice. If you like sweet food, you can sprinkle sugar or honey on the outside. You will love the taste. 

Option: If you want to get more interesting activity, we can arrange the cooking class for you. Cooked wheaten food in Xi’an is really famous, such as dumplings and noodles. You will get a class about how to make dumplings here. A professional cook will teach you from kneading dough, making filling to making it as a dumpling shape. After that, you can eat the dumplings you make as your dinner. During this process, your teacher will also teach you how to use chopsticks. This will be a very interesting session.

Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 8 Xi’anNanjing
Train to Nanjing

After breakfast, you will take an estimated train G1922 10:25/16:05 to Nanjing. You will meet your guide at the Nanjing train station. And then you will be transferred to your hotel.

Nanjing is known as the "Museum of Natural Geology", where various landforms such as the river floodplain, water-rich soft soil, hilly land, and karst coexist. Moreover, the Yangtze River flows through Nanjing City, forming a beautiful landscape along the river. In terms of history and culture, Nanjing has been a city that pays attention to culture and education since ancient times. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, most Chinese scholars came from Nanjing. Now, the number of universities in Nanjing is second only to Beijing and Shanghai.

Breakfast
Lunch
Day 9 Nanjing
Meiling Villa, Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Linggu Temple

After breakfast, we will visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (closed each Monday). It is the tomb of Mr. Sun Yat-sen, a famous politician in modern China. Mr. Sun Yat-sen overthrew the feudal monarchy that had existed for more than 2,000 years and made significant contributions to the independence, development, and prosperity of the Chinese nation. The mausoleum is built on the mountain, with a total of more than 80,000 square meters, and it is magnificent.

And then we will visit the Meiling Villa. Meiling Villa is the former residence of the Chairman of the National Government. It is also known as the greatest villa in the East. It is a palace-style building with a phoenix theme. More than 1,000 glazed tiles used on the roof are all custom-made from Russian factories, and each tile is printed with a phoenix. In addition, the white jade pillars and walls in the villa are also carved with various phoenix patterns. And then we will visit the Linggu Temple. Linggu Temple is a famous Buddhist temple in Nanjing. The bone relic of Master Xuanzang is enshrined here. There is a Linggu Tower in the temple to commemorate the soldiers who died for the country. Wuliang Hall is also a must-see attraction here. there is no beam or column in the entire hall, and it was all made of bricks. The construction method of the ancient Chinese stone arch bridge is adopted here. 

Option: People in Nanjing love to eat ducks. It is said that Nanjing people can eat about 100 million ducks a year. People joked that if you don't eat ducks for three days, you won't have the energy to walk. It can be seen that when you come to Nanjing, you must taste the duck here. We will recommend the Salt water duck for you. Unlike Peking roast duck, saltwater duck is cooked at low temperature. Low-temperature cooking preserves the umami taste of duck to a large extent. Coupled with the unique seasoning, the salted duck in Nanjing has a unique taste.

Meiling Villa
Meiling Villa
Linggu Temple
Linggu Temple
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 10 NanjingHangzhou
Jiming Temple

After breakfast, we will visit Jiming Temple. It is the oldest temple in Nanjing and is also an imperial temple in Nanjing. The emperor of the Southern Dynasty came to Jiming Temple four times. He even put on monks' clothes and lived with the monks. Because of this, it was once the center of Buddhism at that time. After that, you will be transferred to the train station and take an estimated train G31 14:33/15:35 to Hangzhou. Our guide will hold your name sign and wait for you at the train station. And then you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the time will be yours. You can walk around the city.

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province. Since ancient times, there has been a saying in China that the beauty of Hangzhou is unparalleled in the world. Hangzhou has West Lake culture, tea culture, and silk culture. It is a tourist city integrating culture and natural beauty. In addition, the well-known Alibaba company was born here. Therefore, the e-commerce industry in Hangzhou has been very hot in recent years.

Jiming Temple
Jiming Temple
Jiming Temple
Jiming Temple
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 11 HangzhouSuzhou
West Lake, Six Harmonies Pagoda, Dragon Well Tea Plantation

In the morning, we will first visit West Lake. Chinese people often use Suzhou and Hangzhou as a metaphor for heaven. It can be seen that the scenery here is beautiful. The beauty of Hangzhou is mostly in West Lake. According to statistics, the West Lake Scenic Area has a total area of 49 square kilometers and more than 100 scenic spots. And the photo of West Lake is also the back pattern of the Chinese RMB 1 yuan. Because of the beautiful scenery here, many poets have written poems here since ancient times. Many legendary love stories and myths in China also happened here. Today, you will have a chance to take a boat and visit West Lake.

After lunch, we will take you to visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda. It was built in 970 and has a history of more than 1,000 years. The pagoda is 59.89 meters high and 104 iron bells are hung on it. Inside the tower, there is a large clock weighing 2.3 tons. Every New Year's Eve, people will ring the clock to pray for the new year. After that, we will visit the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Tea has a long history in China. In this tea plantation, you can see the process of dragon well tea from growing to picking, then frying, and finally drying into tea. If you want, you can buy some tea to take home. And then we will drive to Suzhou.

Option: The most famous dish in West Lake is West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy. It was rated as one of the 10 most famous dishes in Zhejiang Province. The ingredients of it is fresh grass carp. There are sugar and rice vinegar in its soup. So it tastes a bit sweet and sour and very delicious. If you want to taste it, we can add this dish to your lunch.

Six Harmonies Pagoda
West Lake
West Lake
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 12 SuzhouShanghai
Shantang Street, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Hanshan Temple

In the morning, we will visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden. It is one of the four greatest gardens in China. It is also the largest existing classical garden in Suzhou. The Humble Administrator's Garden is divided into East Garden, Middle Garden, and West Garden. The layout of the entire garden is reasonable, some places are compact, some places are open and bright. The entire garden is with the theme of a lake. The layout of the pavilions is well-arranged, with lush flowers and trees.

After lunch, we will visit Shantang Street. Many old houses stand on both sides of Shantang Street. There are ancient bridges across the Shantang River. It is suitable for taking pictures here. You can also take a cruise or find a tea house for tea. There are also archways, ancestral halls, guild halls, and other historical sites, mostly built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The guildhalls here used to be the office of foreign chambers of commerce. After that, we will visit the Hanshan Temple. It is one of the top 10 old temples in China. Most of the buildings in Hanshan Temple are built in the Qing Dynasty, such as the Bell Tower, Stele Corridor. And then we will drive to Shanghai. 

Option: Silk is a special product of China. The ancient Chinese people invented and mass-produced silk products, which opened up the first large-scale commercial exchange between the East and the West in the history of the world, known as the "Silk Road". Since then, Chinese silk has been shipped abroad in large numbers and has become a world-famous product. China is also called the "Silk Country". The Suzhou Silk Museum (closed each Monday) showed people the history of Chinese silk through various exhibits, as well as the breeding process of silkworms, how silk was obtained, the tools used to make silk, and how people dyed silk in ancient times. In another exhibition hall, you will see Chinese silk go to the world and shine in kind of major shows. If you like silk, you can buy silk scarves or silk handkerchiefs in the silk sales area here.

Humble Administrator’s Garden
Humble Administrator’s Garden
Shantang Street
Shantang Street
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 13 Shanghai
Yu Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai Tower, the Bund, Nanjing Road

After breakfast, we will take you to visit the Yu Garden (It is closed each Monday). This is the most famous garden in Shanghai. Yu in China means peace and healthy. This garden used to be a private garden that was built for parents. For its name, we can know a good wish. There is a rare stone in the garden named Yulinglong. It is one of the top three rare stones in the south of China. After that, we will take you to visit the Jade Buddha Temple. Different from the other temples that are located in the outskirts, Jade Buddha Temple is located in the city center. The architectural style of the temple has imitated the architecture of the Song Dynasty. There are many Buddhist halls, as well as vegetarian restaurants, cultural relic rooms, etc. The famous Jade Buddha is enshrined in the Jade Buddha Tower. It is carved from a whole piece of jade, and the Buddha statue is inlaid with many jewels.

After lunch, we will visit the Shanghai Tower, which is the highest building in Shanghai with a height of 623 meters. The sightseeing hall on the 118th floor is known as the top of Shanghai. Standing there you can overlook Shanghai. The designer also plans to open an air post office and souvenir shop here. But the highest reachable locations in the Shanghai Tower are the 125th and 126th floors. Small concerts and art exhibitions can be held here. And then we will visit the Bund. It is the landmark of Shanghai and is also the best place to take photos. On the one side, there are many historical buildings with different countries’ styles; on the other side, it is Lujiazui District which is the financial center of Shanghai. Sanding on the Bund, you will see the famous Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Tower, and the Shanghai World Financial Center. After that, you will visit Nanjing Road. This is the busiest commercial street in Shanghai. Whether you want to buy international brand products or traditional Shanghai specialty products, this place can meet your needs. There are also special Shanghai snacks, such as moon cake with meat fillings, crispy duck, and so on. There are stone benches along the street. If you are tired from walking, you can sit down and rest.

Option One: The Shanghai ERA Acrobatic Show is very popular in Shanghai. Unlike traditional Chinese acrobatics, Shanghai ERA Acrobatics combines Chinese national characteristics and internationalization. The wonderful performances of the acrobats combined with high-tech stage equipment created a surprise and magical performance for the audience. The most exciting part of this show is Time Speed. Eight riders each ride their motorcycles straight into the giant steel ball with a diameter of 6.5 meters on the stage from all sides of the auditorium. The high-speed, thrilling, and exciting performances made people excited. If you want to enjoy the show, we can arrange it for you in the evening. It starts at 19:30 and lasts for 100 minutes. 

Option Two: Tai Chi Class. There are many Chinese morning exercises. Tai Chi is a favorite of many people. In Chinese parks, you will see many people practicing Tai Chi. If you also want to learn Tai Chi, we can arrange a professional Tai Chi teacher for you. She will teach you how to practice Tai Chi and how to adjust your breathing correctly. This may sound a bit like Indian yoga. They are all relatively soothing exercises.

Jade Buddha Temple
Jade Buddha Temple
Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road
Breakfast
Lunch
Day 14 Shanghai Departure
Flight back home

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

Option: If your flight is in the afternoon, it will be a good choice to visit the Tianzifang Market in the morning. Tianzifang is a cultural and leisure shopping place in Shanghai. In addition to creative souvenir shops, galleries, and photography exhibitions, here are many cafes. You can buy some souvenirs or traditional Shanghai snowflake pastry here. You can also spend a relaxing morning here with a cup of coffee.

I am sure you have got an unforgettable China tour. Please do not hesitate to let us know when you want to plan your next trip. We are more than happy to serve you again!

Editor: Betsy He

Breakfast
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Beijing Sunworld Dynasty Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Wangfujing
Zhengzhou Yuda Palace Hotel Holiday Inn Express Zhengzhou Zhengdong
Xi'an Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel Xi'an Sunworld Dynasty Hotel
Nanjing Central Hotel Days Hotel Nanjing
Hangzhou Landison Plaza Hotel Best Western Plus Meiyuan Hotel Hangzhou
Suzhou Grand Trustel Aster Hotel Suzhou Suzhou Jasmine Hotel
Shanghai Ocean Hotel Shanghai Courtyard by Marriott Shanghai Central
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