Essence of China map

This is a 12-day classic guided tour in China. You will experience the essence of China by traveling to 4 popular destinations of China: dynamic Hong Kong, incredibly beautiful Guilin, historical and cultural Xi’an & the capical city of Beijing. You will explore both scenic sights and cultural attractions, apart from real local experience and food tasting. The highlights there such as Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Li River Cruise,Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and so on,  certainly will let you forget to return.

Duration: 12 days & 11 nights

Destinations: Hong Kong - Guilin - Xi'an - Beijing

Customize Your Tour:
☑  Travel Dates  ☑ Your Interests  ☑ Your Travel Style

Arrival in Hong Kong, you will be met and welcomed by our local guide at the airport and transferred to your hotel. One of the most popular destinations in Asia, Hong Kong offers all modern convenience. So you may use public transportation to explore the city, discovering its food markets, bars, high-end restaurants and shopping areas on your own pace.

A full day guided tour begins with a visit to the Wong Tai Sin Temple, one of the cultural landmarks in Hong Kong, where it is said every request is answered if you prayed earnestly. Then wander in Bird Market to have fun and witness the local way of living. Thereafter go to the Victoria Peak, which combines shopping, restaurants, and entertainment and features the oldest mode transport, the 112-year old Peak Tram and Hong Kong's most unusual building and icon, The Peak Tower. Aberdeen Fishing Village comes the next spot. It is where people can have a glimpse of floating restaurants and boat-dwellers at Aberdeen Bay. Later, enjoy time at the Repulse Bay, a relaxing sandy beach with a strong characteristic of local culture. At last, shopping at Stanley Market, lined with stalls and shops that sells local specialities.

Meal: B, L

Victoria Peak

Travel by ferry from Hong Kong to Lantau Island, the biggest island in Hong Kong and an ideal getway. See the world's largest seated outdoor bronze statue - Tian Tan Buddha. If you want to pay homage to the Buddha statue closely, you need to Climb 268 stone steps. Then walk through the village full of cultural integrity. Visit the grand Po Lin Monastery to experience the timeless tranquility of Buddhism and see locals pray and burn joss sticks. Explore the Ngong Ping Village with fresh air, beautiful scenery and traditional fishing village.

Meal: B, LTian Tan Buddha Hong Kong

This morning is free at leisure and then depart Hong Kong. You will be escorted by your guide to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station to catch your bullet train to Guilin (4 hours). You can expect to meet a lot of Chinese on the train (which is super fast, comfortable and punctual), as the high speed train has been the most popular mode of transportation for traveling and business in China.

Guilin is famous for its karst landscape, numerous cultural sites and laid-back atmoshere. Upon arrival, meet your local guide in Guilin and transfer to the hotel.

  Suggestion for Evening Activity  

  • A leisure walk around Two Rivers and Four Lakes - the renowned downtown water system of Guilin. You can see the famous Elephant Trunk Hill, Sun and Moon Twin Pagoda, the Ancient South Gate, and enjoy the amazing night views.

Meal: B

After a sound sleep, embark on the journey to Longji Rice Terraces or named Dragon’s Backbone Terraced Fields, ranking one of the best and the largest of its kind in China. After around 2.5 hours’ drive, you’ve come to the foot of the mountain of vast terraced fields. Climb up along the trails, venturing through the minority villages, and led by your guide to the viewing platform, the best sites, to have a full picture of the rice terraces that extends from mountains to mountains. Lunch will be served at a restaurant of a village or a local family with homemade dishes.

This afternoon have an in-depth visit of Longji Ancient Zhuang Village, with a history of over 430 years. The Zhuang people’s ancestors in the village were among the first people who excavated the rice terraces. There’s interesting things to discover, from China’s oldest and best preserved wooden diaojiaolou dwellings, Wind and Rain Bridge, stone-paved path and Zhuang traditions and folklores.

Later today drive back to Guilin. 

Meal: B, L

Longji Rice Terraces

Today, you will see China’s most spectacular karst scenery and cruise Li River, known as one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. Board your ship, set sail from Guilin to Yangshuo, the best part of Li River. We will try to reserve for you the best seat on the upper cabin, so that you can take in the amazing views, from the ever-changing limestone peaks, the lovely islets, the serene villages from the disance… Your guide will point for you the highlight attractions: Nine Horse Fresco Hill and Yellow Cloth Shoal – view on the 20 RMB note. Lunch will be served on board.

After the relaxing cruise voyage, this afternoon is time to explore the countryside of Yangshuo by bike or by private vehicle based on your request. Explore the Yulong River, as beautiful as Li River, but smaller and more delicate. Immersed yourself in the picturesque and peaceful countryside, see farmers work on the garden or fields, and call on a local villagers’ home or a workshp of straw plaiting if you wish. 


  • Impression Liusanjie Show – An open-air live show beside Li River of Yangshuo, it introduces the beautiful scenery of Li River, the colorful culture of the ethnic groups in Guangxi and the brave imagination of the excellent artists in China. 

Meal: B, L

Li River Cruise

Leave Yangshuo, back to Guilin, and visit a magical karst Cave – Reed Flute Cave, located on the halfway of a limestone hill and surrounded by idyllic scenery. Inside the cave, you will definitely be marveled by various shapes of stalactites and stalagmites, which are illuminated by colorful lights, creating a fabulous visual effect. Transfer to the airport and fly to Xian by an afternoon flight. Check into your hotel. Xian is the most important historical capital of China and once the starting point of the Silk Road. So you must already have the idea there’are a wealth of historical sites and ruins to explore.

Meal: B, L

Visit the most famous Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, one of the top attractions in China. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China in 221BC. Then proceed to visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda which has a brick frame built around a hollow interior, and its square base and shape reflect the building style of other pagodas from the era of Tang Dynasty. It is an important site of the Silk Road. 


  • Tang Dynasty Singing and Dancing Show - A wonderful performance of the ancient music and dance. This is also a good way know more about the ancient Tang dynasty and some more history and art of that period. 

Meal: B, L

Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum

The old city wall is another highlight of Xian, known as the best-kept and longest in China. There were originally four ancient city gates (still exist today) and now expanded to 18. Get in the wall, you can see the old town of Xian, as well as the new development. Later, meander through the old Muslim districts lined with food stalls, and explore the Grand Mosque of Chinese architectural style. Go visit a local family/restaurant in Xian, where you will learn to make dumpling – your lunch today.

Transfer to railway station and catch your bullet train to Beijing. Be met and transferred to the hotel.

  Suggested Dinner  

  • Enjoy delicious Peking roast duck dinner at night. Used to be a royal dish, roasted by wood charcoal, Peking duck is now a must-eat food in Beijing, and tastes crispy and tender. Hua Jia Yi Yuan and Da Dong Roast Duck are two recommended restaurants. 

Meal: B, L

After breakfast, go to Tiananmen Square, which is the largest city square in the world. Later, pay a visit to the Forbidden City, nominated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1987, is the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and the best-preserved imperial palace in China. It used to be home to 24 Chinese kings and keeps numerous cultural treasures.

Then enjoy Hutong tour by rickshaw. Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys in Beijing and connected with the traditional courtyard houses. Hutong represents an important cultural element of the city of Beijing and offer a glimpse of Beijingers’ daily life.

Meal: B, L

Forbidden City

This morning, private escorted tour to China's existing largest structure for sacrifice to heaven, Temple of Heaven. It was used to hold a memorial ceremony for the God in Winter Solstice Festival and to pray for harvest in the first month of the lunar year by the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties.

This afternoon, private escorted tour by round-way cable car to Mutianyu Great Wall -- the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall that connects with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi and Jinshanling in the east.

 Kind Reminder  

  • Round-trip cable car ride is included at Great Wall. If you would like to descend by toboggan, please tell your tour guide in advance.

Meal: B, L

After breakfast, visit the Summer Palace (with a short cruise on Kunming Lake if weather permits). This world-wide known palace is located northwest of Beijing and said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest of its kind still in existence in China. It is only a short drive (15 km) from central Beijing but seems like another world.

End of your 12 days Essence of China tour from Hong Kong to Gulin, Xian and Beijing. Transfer to the airport, wave goodbye and fly to your next destination. Welcome to China again.

Meal: B, L

End of service.

What's included

  • 1-on-1 Travel Consultant

    Your China based expert listens to your wishes carefully, provides professional advice, ensures unlimited itinerary revisions before done and 24/7 helpline service while traveling.

  • Private Local Guide and Driver

    Your guides are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and your drivers are professional, polite and patient. They are very flexible to accommodate your personal needs and happy to show you the local attractions, history, culture, foods and real life. 
    Private transfers from hotel to attractions, airport or train station are also included.

  • Accommodation to Suite Your Preference

    In each place, we hand pick hotels ranging from luxury 5 star, superior 4 star to comfortable 3 star. Luxury or cozy boutique hotels and budget guesthouses are also among your choices. You could decide where to stay to meet your taste and budget.

  • Gourmet Meals

    Most of the hotels we select offer both Western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Lunch and dinner included are arranged in selected restaurants to taste authentic Chinese cuisine and local specialties. Thus you may also have a unique food tour.
    Meals specified in itinerary as B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner.

  • Attractions and Activities Listed on the Itinerary

    Our China tour packages have included the (first/main) entry to all attractions and the expenses of activities on the itinerary (except the optional activities).

  • Internal Transportation

    Based on your needs, we could make bookings of internal transportation, including domestic flights, inter-city trains, long-distance bus, etc.

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