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Vancouver with air: $1999 / From Toronto with air: $2430

12-day Essence of China Special (2015/16)

Beijing - Xian - Shanghai

Take advantage of this budget-friendly vacation package and visit China while the country is still affordable! The quality tour takes in China's top three tourist cities visiting all major highlights while leaving you time to explore on your own. Trip highlights include the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army. Optional day tour to Suzhou, a city also known as Venice of the Orient, is available during your stay in Shanghai.China cheap budget tours from Canada to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Great Wall, Terracotta Army with air from Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angles


Our trips involve strenuous walking and stair climbing, requiring tour participants to have a high level of stamina. Since we do not provide luggage handling, the participants must be able to lift and carry their own luggage at airports and train stations, sometimes over very challenging terrain.

Important Features

Meal Code:

B = buffet breakfast at hotel / L = Chinese lunch / D = Chinese dinner

Scroll down to bottom for departure dates, prices and hotel list.

Day 1/Thu: Departing Home City
The journey begins with your transpacific flight departing from a city of your choice. You'll lose a day upon crossing the
International Date Line.

Day 2/Fri: Arrival in Beijing
Welcome to Beijing! Meet your guide or driver on arrival in late afternoon and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.

Day 3/Sat: Beijing
Capital of China, Beijing is a world-class cultural and educational centre with a population of 21 million (2013), ranking it China's second largest city behind Shanghai. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates, treasures that make it the most popular tourist city in China.

Beijing was already a strategically important city in northern China for centuries when Kublai Khan decided to move his capital here from Karakorum in Mongolia. With the collapse of the vast Mongol empire in 1368 AD, Beijing, known as Da Du or Grand Capital at the time, lost its status as the country's capital but soon regained it when the imperial court of the successive Ming Dynasty moved here from Nanjing. Beijing continued to serve as China's capital after Manchu tribes dethroned the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1644 and established the Great Qing Empire (Qing Dynasty), which lasted till chinese China tour company from Beijing first class budget vacation package

We begin our walking tour by public transit with a visit to Tiananmen Square. Located in the heart of Beijing, the square is 880 metres from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west. Said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, Tiananmen Square has the capacity to hold one million people. Tiananmen (Heavenly Gate) Tower sites at the north end of the square while the Monument to the People's Heroes dominates the centre. The square is flanked by The Great Hall of the People (west) and the National Museum of China (east). Chairman Mao's mausoleum and Qianmen (Front Gate) sit in the south of the square. Considered one of the top 16 tourist attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square is also the witness of the Chinese people's great struggles for democracy and personal freedom since 1919.

We then proceed to the Forbidden City. Also known as Palace Museum or Gu Gong in Chinese, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties lived and carried out their administration. Construction of the Forbidden City took 14 years (1406-1420) to complete. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares or 180 acres. It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Our final stop today is Jingshan Park (Prospect Hill) located to the north of the Forbidden City. Once part of the imperial palace, the park served the royal families as a convenient site for farming, recreation and ancestor worshipping. The man-made hill (46 meters above ground, 89 meters above sea level) overlooks the Forbidden City and provides a great spot for bird's-eye view of the surrounding area. (B/D)

Day 4/Sun: Beijingbeijing china great wall tour companies reviews from usa, australia
Today we embark on a full-day excursion to the legendary Great Wall, 75km northeast of the city. Zigzagging over 6,000 kilometres from east to west along the undulating mountains, the Great Wall was built to hold off tribal invaders from the north. Construction of the earliest sections of the Wall started in the 7th century B.C. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today in Beijing is almost exactly the result of this effort.

If you are interested in tasting Beijing's famous roast duck for dinner, please ask your guide for help. Our guides are respectable professionals who introduce you to good restaurants without any bias, meaning they won't seek or accept any kind of compensation from the restaurants for referring you. However, if you invite the guide to come along, please do acknowledge that this is extra work for them. (B/L)

Day 5/Mon: Beijing - Xian 
Today is a free day. We meet in hotel lobby in late afternoon to transfer to the train station for our overnight rail journey to Xian. (B)

Our full-day optional program with delicious hot lunch includes a hutong neighbourhood, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and Hongqiao Pearl Market. The cost per person is $90 USD or $110 CAD and subject to a minimum of 10 participants signing up.

We start our sightseeing today with a visit to a hutong neighbourhood. Hutong refers to an ancient alleyway with siheyuan or ''4-sided courtyard house" on both sides. The name hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368 A.D.). According to some experts, the word originated from the Mongolian language, in which it is pronounced as hottog and means "well." In ancient times, people tended to gather and live around wells. So the original meaning of hutong should be "a place where people live around".

Next on our schedule is the Summer Palace, a well preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The imperial resort was first named Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860 during the Second Opium War (referred to as Arrow War by the British). cheap china vacation travel packages from usa with airReconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895 when the name was changed to Yi He Yuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony). The design gives prominence to Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, south of the hill. The sprawling complex covers an area of 290 hectares and the buildings inside consist of over 3,000 bays.

Afternoon sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Situated in southeastern Beijing the Temple of Heaven is China's largest extant sacrificial temple where, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors conducted the elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed to "the Supreme Ruler of the Universe." Construction of the temple started in 1406, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and took 14 years to complete. The temple was expanded under the Qing emperors Qianlong (1736-1796) and Jiaqing (1796-1820). Occupying 2.73 square kilometres (roughly 1,700 by 1,600 metres), the area of the Temple of Heaven is more than twice that of the Forbidden City.

The famous Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest of its kind in the world, sits right across from the Temple of Heaven. The market is recommended in various guidebooks as a good place to buy fresh water pearls, a market segment dominated by the Chinese.

Day 6/Tue: Xian
We transfer to the hotel for breakfast upon arrival in Xian in the morning. The balance of the morning is at leisure.

Once known as Chang'an (Eternal Peace), Xian is the capital of Shaanxi Province. The city is also the eastern terminus of the fabled Silk Road and home to the world famous Terracotta Army.English speaking China tours from Vancouver to China xian terracotta army museum

After lunch we drive for one hour to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Built on the excavation site, the museum is located 30km east of the city. Designed to follow the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) into eternity, the Terracotta Army represents one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th Century. (B/L)

Day 7/Wed: Xian
Free day to explore on your own. (B)

Our full-day optional program using public transit includes the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Grand Mosque in the Muslim Quarter and the ancient City Wall. The cost including delicious hot lunch is $75 USD or $90 CAD per person subject to a minimum of 10 participants.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist structure located inside a Buddhist monastery in southern Xi'an. It was built in 652 AD and was rebuilt in 704 with its exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang.

The ancient grand mosque in the old town centre and surrounded by a huge bazaar is a major tourist attraction in Xian. The mosque was established in the 8th Century but the majority of the complex was constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was further expanded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, this one is completely Chinese in its architectural style. It has neither domes nor traditional-style minarets.

After lunch we go for a stroll on the ancient city wall, a national treasure declared by the State Council in 1961. The wall was started in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty, encircling an area of 14 square kilometres. The wall runs 13.7 kilometres long and measures 12 metres in height and 15 to 18 metres in thickness at the base.

Day 8/Thu: Xian - Shanghai 
Free morning to explore on your own. 
Afternoon sightseeing at Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The modern, well-organized museum was completed in 1992 and traces the history of Xian from prehistory to Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The extensive galleries and exhibitions offer the visitor an excellent introduction to the area that greatly improves understanding of the numerous historical sites in and around the city.

We board the overnight soft sleeper train for Shanghai in late afternoon or early evening. You will be sharing a compartment with three others. Each rail car is equipped with its own toilet but shower is not available. (B)

Day 9/Fri: Xian - Shanghai
We transfer to the hotel for breakfast upon arrival in Shanghai in the morning. We spend the balance of the morning at leisure.

Before 1949, Shanghai was widely known in the West as a city of quick riches and paradise of the adventurers. After four decades of anemic growth in a state planned economy, Shanghai is roaring back to recapture its position on the world stage. With a population of 23 million and rapid economic expansion in the last 20 years, Shanghai has again become a leading global city with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport.

Our afternoon sightseeing begins with a visit to Shanghai Museum, one of the best of its kind in China. We then proceed to the exquisite Yu Garden in the old town centre. Later in the day, we stop by the famous Bund - a waterfront promenade famous for its landmark neoclassical buildings of European style. (B/L)

Day 10/Sat: Shanghai
Today is a free day. Please feel free to ask your guide for china tours operator companies recommended on tripadvisor and by frommers

Depending on the number of people expressing interest, we may offer a full-day walking tour using subway. The itinerary would include Jewish Refugees Museum, Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, Jinmao Tower, the historic French Concession, and the spectacular ERA acrobatic show. The cost per person would be $105 USD or $128 CAD subject to a minimum of 10 participants. (B)

Day 11/Sun: Shanghai
Today is your second free day in Shanghai. You may use the time to load up on souvenirs or take a day trip to Suzhou or Hangzhou by the high-speed train. You can reach Suzhou in 35 minutes and Hangzhou in 50 minutes. There is no need to buy the train tickets in advance. Depending on the number of the people expressing interest, we may offer an excursion to Suzhou taking in one of the top gardens, a cruise on the Grand Canal, and a visit to a silk factory.

Later today, we walk to a local restaurant near the hotel for our farewell dinner. (B/D)

Day 12/Mon: Shanghai - Home City
Spend the morning packing and relaxing. Transfer to the airport to board return flight departing in the afternoon. Re-cross the International Date Line and arrive home the same day.

Travellers returning from Pudong airport will bid farewell to the guide at Longyang Maglev Train Station. Your train ticket is included in the tour price. Completing the 30km journey in 7 minutes, the maglev train travels at a maximum speed of 431km per hour and delivers you right into the airport. The walk from the platform to the airline check-in counter takes about 5 minutes. (B)

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City Nights Hotel Star Rating
Beijing 3 Xizhao Temple Hotel or similar tour packages to chinatour packages to chinatour packages to chinatour packages to china
Train 1 Overnight soft sleeper train Beijing to Xian not applicable
Xian 2 Xian Garden Hotel or similar tour packages to chinatour packages to chinatour packages to chinatour packages to china
Train 1 Overnight soft sleeper train Xian to Shanghai not applicable
Shanghai 3 Xingyu Oriental Bund Hotel or similar tour packages to chinatour packages to chinatour packages to chinatour packages to china

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Toll Free: 1-877-507-1177 | Local: 604-438-7718

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