The China Express - all in one

Beijing, Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai

4 Nights I 5 Days  | Luxury hotels  



From Beijing (+Great Wall) to Xi'an to Shanghai Tour Overview

This Grand Tour of China hits all the major attractions perfect for a first time visit. We'll take in the major attractions, metropolises, must dos - the lot, with a touch of grit and glamour. Enjoy the excitement of ancient and modern Beijing, Tianenmen Square and the Forbidden City, then a day trip and hike along the world famous Great Wall of China.


Next stop - Xian, called Chang'an in ancient times, Xi’an is a birthplace of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River Basin, we'll follow the ancient route of the Silk Road, and enjoy a day to behold the Terracotta Army. Our trip will culminate in Shanghai – a perfect juxtaposition of old and strikingly futuristic for an unforgettable adventure.

Insider Experiences & Highlights:

Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China, Shanghai's glamouress Tianzifang and Yuyuan Gardens, Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors, local cuisines and more.



We'll stay at the luxurious Langham Hotel in Shanghai, The Peninsular in Beijing, the Crowne Plaza in Xi'an. This is what we call mixing it 'local and luxury'.



Accomodation/Hotel, Private Driver Transfers, Private Tour Guides, Museum & Heritage Buildings Entrances, Culinary Excursions  with daily lunch and dinners in selected restaurants highlighting excellent local cuisine.


Duration: 05 Days
Day 01 Welcome! Check-in, local dining and sights

After arrival, your guide will take you through the wide boulevards of the capital towards the 5 Star Prime Hotel - ideally located near the famous 700-year-old Wangfujing Street, with Beijing City views. After check-in, wind your way through the labyrinthine alleys of the hutong districts to meet with a local family for dinner, diving deep into the lingering culture of old China in a very 'ever-day' type of way.

Day 02  Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Summer Palace

For nearly five hundred years, the center of China’s political control laid within one place: Tiananmen Square. Start with a glimpse of the heart of modern China at the largest public square in the world, flanked by museums and monuments dedicated to the Chinese people, before passing through the massive imperial court gate hundreds of years back in time to view the Palace of the Emperors, with over a thousand ornate and extravagantly arranged palaces, pavilions and courtyards. We then move on to a walking tour of Liulichang Antique Street, a restored alley where cultural officiendos and historians have been selling traditional paintings and calligraphy for generations.


... Enjoy a lunch at one of our favourite hand made dumpling kitchens, and then an afternoon at the amazing Summer Palace.

Located on the western outskirts of Beijing, the Summer Palace is a welcome retreat from the stressful nature of Beijing, ranking as one of the finest classical gardens in the world. The park is exquisitely planned out to the smallest detail with the most supreme works of art, pavilions, and corridors skillfully fitting with the surrounding hills and the lovely Kunming Lake. By the end of the late Qing Dynasty, the garden had been enlarged to its luxurious size providing royal families with rest and entertainment, and today the graceful landscapes and magnificent pavilions rank as among the most beautiful sites in China

Day 03  A spot of Tai Chi, The Temple of Heaven, PLUS, The Great Wall of China, Beijing Art District, Boutiques & more....

We'll collect you from the hotel and enjoy the company of local citizens doing morning Tai Chi - we can even show you how its done and join in - guaranteed to relax and inspire you! Afterward we'll visit The Temple of Heaven which consists of a sequence of temples and altars set in a beautifully landscaped park. In Imperial China, twice a year the emperor and a magnificent procession of some 1,000 eunuchs, courtiers, and ministers would leave the Forbidden City for the temple where the emperor would entreat the gods to bless the coming harvest. The dominant feature of the complex is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which amazingly, was constructed without using a single nail or any cement; the walls and ceiling are supported by four huge timber pillars and a system of intricate timber brackets. 


...then the Great Wall of China & famous Art District 798


Then .... the awe inspiring Great Wall. Stand guard upon one of the wonders of the ancient world at the Mutianyu Great Wall, built to defend the capital from northern invaders hundreds of years ago. The Wall itself snakes across misty mountainsides as it reaches quite literally from one end of China to the other. Along the way back, see a different side of the city with a banquet at a local farmer’s house providing a taste of tuly authentic home cooked quisine with wonderful fresh produce. Afterward we'll return to the cosmopolitan and Beijing’s cultural flair with a visit to the 798 Art District, a restored factory complex turned into a showcase of the most famous galleries, artists, and designers alongside swanky boutiques and cafes. Flight to Beijing.



Day 04 The UNESCO listed Terracotta Army, Shanghai Nights

Enjoy your morning’s sightseeing of what has been called the 8th Wonder of the World – the Terracotta Army. Dating from 210 BC and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the Terracotta Army is an unparalleled collection of incredibly well restored and intricate terracotta sculptures of soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons. After lunch, we will visit the Bell Tower, which is considered to be in the best preserved and most well-known in China, followed by the Big Wild Goose Pagoda – a relic of Buddhism built in 652. In the evening, we will fly to Shanghai, the largest and most prosperous metropolis in China, known as the Paris of the East and book into the Four Seasons Hotel.

Day 05  Biking around the Old Town, Drinks at the Bund

Shanghai is a city of old and new, from the jumbled maze of narrow alleyways in the heart of the old city to the futuristic skyline of Pudong, just across the Huangpu River we'll provide you a real "insider's' perspective of this super star Asian mega-metropolis - by bike! We'll also finish with drinks on the 'Bund' and it is nothing short of a jaw dropping vista to enjoy a well mixed cocktail over. Firstly however, set off on bike around the old town of Shanghai, a mélange of architectural heritages from east and west, then stroll along the Bund, where buildings from the glory days of imperial Shanghai stand across the glittering skyscrapers of the contemporary city. Take the public ferry to explore the futuristic buildings up close, and look down from one of the highest observation points in the world. This is the perfect way to conclude your whirl wind tour of China!



Further Details: Accommodation, food, weather, inclusions ...

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On this exciting jourmey we have chosen leading luxury and reliable executive standard hotels in the major cities. From The Langham in Shanghai, The Peninsular in Beijing and The Crowne Plaza in Xi'an,  and, good, clean, reliable boutique local hotels in the village and more remote regions. These include the Tianyuan International, the Grand Sun and Yarkent Hotels in Kashgar, Turpan and and Yarket respectively. Following our travel ethos - we mix luxury and local for real experiences with a touch of style.

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Culinary Delights:



Beijing and Shanghai are major global cities with vibrant culinary scenes, if you're missing French or Italian styled cooking the Fairmont, Kempinski and Four Seasons Hotels have exceptional restaurants and cafes.


What to pack? What's the weather like?


Situated deep in the interior of Asia and unreached by air currents from the oceans, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has a  continental climate, with fluctuating temperatures between day and night, abundant sunshine, intense evaporation and little precipitation. We encourage you to pack clothing you can layer to allow you to adjust to changing climates.

What's Included: 

All hotel accommodation based on double occupancy. Brilliant hotels known for luxury, charm, hospitality and uniqueness are a hallmark of Variarts itineraries. Fly into town, unwind and know you'll be staying at the best places with truly great value offered via the tours. Every night you spend with us is included in the price of your trip.
All meals as indicated in the itinerary, highlighting the local cuisine including local beer or wine (as selected by VariArts local guides). We include meals where it makes sense, yet we understand that going off on your own to make a great discovery is rewarding, too!
All special events and private tours. Our guides will do whatever it takes to make your trip hassle free. They are equipped with cellphones and on call 24/7. They also happen to be firendly, highly informed, fun ... and they really care you get the most out of each trip! 
Services of professional local guides and other staff. Each morning, our guides brief you on the day’s options. We do this one-on-one, so you never get the feeling you’re involved in anything touristy.
Admission charges to all places and activities mentioned in the itinerary.
All transportation from rendezvous to drop-off.
All baggage transportation. Your baggage is transported from one hotel to the next. This is done by local handlers so the guides are free to concentrate on you.
Extra support. Each trip offers the opportunity to dine or lunch independently from the group…and we’ll happily make arrangements for you.
The VariArts difference - it may be intangible but years of experience and exhaustive research on the ground; local knowhow and the countless personal relationships we’ve cultivated which make for a seamless care free travel experience.

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