Upon arrival at Chengu's Shuangliu Airport and after you've claimed your checked bags, you will be met by your private driver and guide who will transfer you to your hotel.
Rest of your day at leisure.
Private Ancient Chengdu Tour
After breakfast, you will be met at your hotel for your private half-day tour of Ancient Chengdu. You will stroll down the picturesque Jinli Pedestrian Street - once the heart of the ancient Sichuan kingdom. Less than a quarter mile long, Jinli has been fully restored in the traditional style of the region with its official and folk residences, teahouses, inns, wine bars, handiwork and stages. Here, you can sample local delicacies and bargain for local arts and crafts, or simply sit at a cafe and people watch along this picturesque, bustling, and cheerful street.
You will visit nearby Wu Hou Temple - the major shrine to Sichuan's ancient Shu past and the heroes that made the Shu Kingdom legendary during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 AD). The temple burned during the wars that toppled the Ming Dynasty and was rebuilt in 1671-72 during the Qing Dynasty.
Continue your tour and visit the peaceful Wenshu Temple - the largest and best-preserved Buddhist Monastery in Chengdu. First built during the Sui Dynasty (605 - 617AD), Wenshu Monastery was called Xinxiang Temple. Small ponds and lightly used buildings offer spots for guests to sit down and relax, and every now and then, watch as a robed monk scurries past you and the other visitors strolling through the grounds. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Chengdu)
Private Panda Center and Sanxingdui Ruins Tour
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel for your private full day of touring beginning at the Panda Breeding and Research Center. The panda, the national animal of China, is also one of the most endangered animal species in the world. There is nowhere better on earth to see these special creatures than at the research center in Chengdu. The center closely mimics the giant panda`s natural habitat and covers a vast area. Meander through the winding pathways and catch the bears at sleep and at play. If you`re lucky, a baby panda or two will just have been born, and you can visit them in the panda nursery!
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before going on to contemplate the mysterious ancient burial rights at the Sanxingdui Ruins. These vast ruins are recognized as one of the most important ancient remains in the world. A farmer first found them in 1929, and the site is still under excavation to this day. In 1986, two major sacrificial pits were discovered, arousing widespread academic attention throughout the world. Part of the allure of the Sanxingdui ruins is their mystery: no texts mentioning this culture have ever been found, nor is there any mention of it in records of other countries. Analysis of the composition of the bronze artifacts has indicated similarities between the Sanxingdui ruins and other cultural artifacts found along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, but their true origins remains unknown. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch, & Accommodations, Chengdu)
Your private driver and guide will transfer you to the Chengdu's Shuangliu airport for your flight (not included) to Xian. After arrival at the Xianyang airport, you will be met by your driver and guide for your private transfer to your hotel in Xian.
En route you will visit the Terracotta Warriors, one of the most amazing sites in the world. Uncovered in 1974 by peasants digging a well, the Terracotta Warriors are Xian's greatest and most important attraction. These sculptures of soldiers, chariots and horses were funerary statues made to accompany China`s first emperor to the afterlife over 2100 years ago. Legend has it that it took 100,000 men and about 38 years to create the soldiers, which all vary in rank, posture, height, uniform and facial features. It is believed that there are still thousands of warriors and hundreds of horses and chariots buried in the three pits discovered so far. However, further excavations have been halted while researchers try to find a way to preserve the colorful paint that covers the statues from disintegrating once exposed to air.
(Breakfast, Chengdu; Accommodations, Xian)
Private Old Xian Tour
After breakfast. you will meet your guide for a private full day tour of Old Xian. The city walls of Xian are some of the oldest and best preserved in all of China, and can be dated back to the 2nd century BC, when Xian was the capital of the country. The existing walls were completed in 1370 AD, and are about 14 kilometers in length and are still surrounded by a deep moat to this day. Since 1993, the Xian city walls have played host to a world-famous marathon where participants run along the entire length of the wall several times. On this tour, however, we'll take a more leisurely pace to appreciate the spectacular views and rich history of this ancient structure.
You will visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda built in 707 AD and named after the already existing Big Wild Goose Pagoda due to its remarkable likeness. Damage caused by an earthquake in 1556 resulted in the Small Wild Goose Pagoda getting even smaller, its height reduced by a full two meters. In the lower level of the pagoda, you may explore the precious artifacts and historical objects housed inside the Xian Museum.
Lunch will be at De Fa Chang where you'll enjoy the most famous cuisine in Xian - the dumpling. Sample more than twenty different types of dumplings at this banquet-style lunch, and be amazed by the unique and delicate flavors of these tasty treats! On to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which was originally built in 652 AD during the Tang dynasty. You will view some of the most important sutras and figurines of the Buddha which were brought over to China from India by the famous monk Xuanzang. A massive earthquake in 1556 heavily damaged the pagoda and reduced it by three stories, to its current height of seven stories which lean very perceptibly to the west.
For over 1300 years, Muslims have been an integral part of the community in Xian. The city's Hui ethnic group traces their roots back to Persian and Arabic traders, who settled here at the eastern end of the Silk Road. Stroll through this unique and fascinating area of the city, the Muslim Quarter, and see the ways in which Central Asia has influenced the development of Mainland China.
You will visit the Great Mosque built in 742 AD and still used today as a place of worship by Chinese Muslims. Its construction and architectural style is almost indistinguishable from a Chinese Buddhist temple, but look closely and you will see the Arabic script and Islamic motifs that decorate the mosque. The main axis of the mosque is aligned in a very non-Chinese east to west direction so it will face Mecca.
Wind up your full day tour at Gaoyue Song's Folk House which won a UNESCO prize in 2002 for cultural heritage protection. Gaoyue Song was a high-ranking official in the Ming Dynasty over 300 years ago. Inside his famous house, which still stands today, you will experience a local shadow puppet show. Shadow puppetry is a takeoff on traditional Chinese opera, in which the audience can see colorful shadows interacting with one another through a screen. The puppets are made of transparent animal skin. This rich form of entertainment boasts a history of over 100 years in the northern mountain area of Shaanxi province. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch, & Accommodations, Xian)
Your private driver and guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Xian North Rail Station for your 6 - 7 hour (938 mile) 1st Class journey on High Speed Bullet Train to Shanghai.
Upon arrival at Shanghai Rail Station, you will be met by your private guide and driver who will transfer you to your hotel in Shanghai.
(Breakfast, Xian; Accommodations, Shanghai)
Private Shanghai Essentials Tour
After breakfast, your driver and guide will pick you up for a private full day tour of Shanghai.
You will visit the Jade Buddha Temple, one of Shanghai`s few Buddhist temples built between 1911 and 1918. Housing 70 resident monks, the centerpiece is a sitting Buddha carved out of white jade and encrusted with jewels, measuring over two meters tall and rumored to weigh over 2200 pounds.
Continue on to the Yu Garden which has been restored and reopened several times over the past several centuries but has almost always been in disarray. In 1956, the Shanghai city government took over and restored it to its former splendor, making it a peaceful oasis in the heart of bustling Shanghai. Outside the garden gates, the Old Town Bazaar is the perfect place to strike a bargain or chat with locals selling a variety of wares and souvenirs.
You will enjoy Shanghainese cuisine for lunch at a local restaurant.
Take in the amazing view from Shanghai's world-famous Bund, the promenade along the west side of the Huangpu River, which has been regarded for hundreds of years as the symbol of Shanghai. On the Bund side of the river you'll view magnificent colonial architecture which represents the splendor of old Shanghai. Across the water, enormous skyscrapers rise to create a futuristic skyline that has to be seen to be believed.
You'll visit popular shopping/entertainment centers located in the area of the former French Quarter. Recently renovated Xintiandi, which means "New Heaven and Earth", is divided into the South Block - a stylish glass mall with modern atmosphere - and North Block - mostly composed of the antique and charming Shikumen buildings that are attractively designed from the inside out. The nearby Tianzifang, where in an effort to stave off redevelopment, artists, business owners, and residents in the area banded together in the middle of the last decade and preserved the original architecture. Though still a Chinese residential area, it has become famous as a "rabbit warren" of arts and crafts shops, and some of the most charming bars and cafes in Shanghai.
Shikumen-style "stone-gate" houses with their high brick walls enclosing a small courtyard were once the main type of residence in Shanghai, but they are disappearing slowly with the modernization of the city. You will visit the Shikumen Open House Museum, a well-preserved Shikumen house from the 1920s that displays furniture and articles for daily use during that time. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch, & Accommodations, Shanghai)
Day at leisure until dinner. You might choose to book our full day Private Zhouzhuang and Suzhou Water Towns Tour where you'll view Zhouzhuang with its ancient residential houses and Suzhou known for its canals, bridges and classical gardens.
You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the Lost Heaven on the Bund for dinner. Lost Heaven on the Bund, the first and arguably most impressive location of this famous restaurant group, serves delicious food from Yunnan province in the far southwest of China. Lost Heaven combines impeccable service, an exotic combination of Tibetan, Dai, Bai, Yi and Miao influenced decor, and its Mountain Mekong cuisine, which features the recipes and ingredients of northern Thailand, Burma, and Yunnan designed to give you a superb dining experience. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast, Dinner, & Accommodations, Shanghai)
After breakfast, your private driver and guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Shanghai Rail Station for your 4-5 hour (819 miles) 1st Class journey on High Speed Bullet Train to Beijing South Station. You will be met by your private guide and transferred to your hotel.
Rest of your day at leisure.
(Breakfast, Shanghai; Accommodations, Beijing)
Your private driver and guide will pick you up at your hotel for a five-hour tour to the Great Wall which was first begun in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557) and finished in the 17th century. You will explore the much quieter Mutianyu section of the Great Wall which allows you to walk along its storied 1.5 mile length for over an hour and visit twenty-two watchtowers, should you so choose. Not only will you walk along this wonder of the world yourself, but you also will be able to see it from above during a breathtaking cable car ride to the top. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Beijing)
You will be picked up at your hotel for your private rickshaw ride through Beijing`s hutongs. The word hutong refers to the narrow network of lanes created by closely built quadrangular homes. Once the primary architectural feature of China`s capital city, hutongs now make up only a small fraction of Beijing, having been replaced by high-rise buildings in recent years. Recapture the feeling of Beijing`s past from the wooden seat of a traditional rickshaw, and visit a local family`s courtyard home along the way.
Complete your half day of sightseeing with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony where you will learn about the many and varied types of Chinese tea and the equally varied ways to drink them. As you sample several types of tea in a local teahouse, you will see that there is indeed a different tea for every occasion. Transfer back to your hotel.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Beijing)
Have your last taste of Beijing at breakfast before your private driver and guide pick you up and transfer to the Beijing Airport to continue to your next Avanti destination or to return home after an amazing adventure!