One of our “signature” circuits that we recommend to our friends, families and travelers wishing to understand and discover the current and real China in all its complexity and diversity.
Daily program: Wonders of China (20 days) Download the PDF brochure
Day 1: Departure from Paris
Booking Air China flight (direct flight of 10h20) departing at 12h25, direction China and Beijing!
Day 2: Arrival in Beijing ~ 1h transfer
Arrival at Beijing Airport at 4:45. Welcome by your French speaking Chinese guide. Begin visits with the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, once home to the Chinese emperors and center of political power. It is the largest and best preserved architectural ensemble in China. Walk to Tiananmen Square, Heavenly Peace Gate, and Coal Hill from where you can enjoy 360-degree views of Beijing. Walk in the district of Beijing lakes, and discovered a traditional market.Day 5: Xi’an
Overnight at Shadow Art Hotel.
Option: Adding a first free day to Beijing => + 300RMB (37 €) per person
Day 3: Beijing & Great Wall of China
Departure for the Great Wall at Mutianyu: built over 6700 km long to protect the Middle Kingdom from the invasions of the Barbarians of the North, listed as World Heritage of Humanity. Ascent in gondola, descent on foot. Lunch, then visit the site of the thirteen tombs of the Ming emperors: you will reach the site by following the path of the spirits, lined with 36 animal statues, then mandarins, military and civilians. Overnight at Shadow Art Hotel.
Day 4: Beijing - night train to Xi'an
Visit the Temple of Heaven nestled in the huge park of Tiantan Gongyuan, whose majestic triple roof rotunda is one of the most beautiful achievements of Ming architecture. Walk in a typical neighborhood of Hutongs, around the drum and bell towers through a popular market. Visit the summer palace outside of Beijing, as well as its great Kunming Lake. You can go for a boat ride on the pond in the huge park of Empress Cixi. Transfer to the train station for the night train to Xi’an.
Day 5: Xi'an
Arrival in Xi’an in the early morning. Meet with your new English speaking guide, then transfer to Zuoyouke Hotel 3.5 *, conveniently located in the center of Xi’an City. Breakfast. Departure for the famous site of the army in terracotta supposed to protect the tomb of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. Reminiscent discovery of 6,000 warriors and clay horses, life-size, aligned in battle formation. Return to the city center through the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower and the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Overnight in Xi’an.
Day 6: Xi'an - Lijiang - Shuhe ~ 1h + 40min transfer. Altitude: 2300m
After breakfast, visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. Known as the cradle of Chinese civilization, Shaanxi Province is very rich in archeology, and there are objects in this museum from all periods of Chinese history. You can then take a bike tour on the ramparts that measure 14KM. Walk in the Muslim neighborhood inhabited by the Hui community. Visit the mosque and the house of Gaofu, where you will attend a show of shadow theater. Transfer to Xi’an airport for flight to Lijiang late afternoon. Welcome by a chauffeur, and transfer to the charming hotelManty House in the heart of the old town.
Day 7: Lijiang
Day of discovery of the old city of Lijiang. Climb to Wangu Pagoda, for a 360 ° view of the city and its surroundings. Descent through the Mu Palace, then the Lijiang Market. Also make the walk just outside the old town towards the Black Dragon Pond Park. Discovery of the Dongba Museum. Overnight at Manty House.
Day 8: Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri La ~ 4h drive. Altitude: 3200m
Discovery of the Naxi village of Baisha, before taking the road to the Tibetan region of Shangri La. Stop at Shigu, site of the first curve of the Yangtze River, then to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, among the deepest in the world in which flows the Yangtze River, between Haba Mountain (summit at 5400m) and Jade Dragon Mountain (summit at 5600m). Small walk back 40 minutes to access the bottom of the Gorges (many Chinese tourists to this place, but not too much alternative to apprehend the site). Continue on a beautiful mountain road to Shangri La. Upon arrival, check into the Timeless Inn boutique hotel.
Day 9: Shangri La
Day of visit Shangri La and its region, starting with the beautiful Tibetan monastery Songzanlin. Walk to the local market, then walk through the old town, including the Bai Ji Si temple with beautiful views of Shangri La and the Shika Mountains. Note that the central part of the old town was ravaged by fire on January 11, 2014. In the afternoon, explore on foot or by bike the Tibetan countryside (several possible routes, to discuss in the morning with your guide according to your desires and abilities). Random stop of the road and your meetings with a Tibetan family, always welcoming, to taste the Yak butter tea, “Tsampa” and Yak butter cheese, local specialties and bases of their daily food. Attend and participate if you wish in spontaneous dances in the evening of locals in the Old Town Square. Overnight at your bed and breakfast.
Day 10: Shangri La - Shaxi ~ 4h drive. Altitude: 2050m
Road to Shaxi. Lunch en route. In the afternoon, discover the Shibaoshan Mountains, a superb set of Buddhist sculptures carved into the rock and very Zen temples. After the visit, it is possible to walk down a small path leading to the old town of Shaxi, if not by car. Discovery of Shaxi, former big trading center on the caravan route of tea and horses. Accommodation in the heart of the old city at Aoding Courtyard.
Day 11: Shaxi - Xizhou ~ 30min drive. Altitude: 1900m
Walk through Shaxi this morning, before taking the road to the Dali region. Discovery of the pleasant Bai minority village of Zhoucheng, meeting its inhabitants (learn more about the batik dyeing process, practiced here for generations) and its small but charming old temples. Discover the old town of Dali, stroll through its old streets. Continue to Xizhou. Installation at the beautiful and comfortable Linden Center boutique hotel, built in a beautiful traditional Bai mansion, and equipped with all modern comforts.
Day 12: Xizhou ~ 40min drive. Altitude: 1900m
Nice day in Xizhou. You can freely explore the morning market and the village of Xizhou, walk from your hotel, then cycle through the surrounding countryside to Lake Erhai (bike available at the hotel). Overnight at Linden Center.
Day 13: Xizhou - Kunming & Stone Forest (PDJ)
Transfer to Dali station for a direct train to Shilin (3h). Discovery of the site of the Stone Forest. We suggest a walk of about 2 hours inside the site, between rocky peaks and sometimes through narrow paths, away from the trails crossed by many Chinese tourists. Back to Kunming, for a walk in the old district of the flower and bird market, discovery of a traditional Chinese pharmacy. In the evening, attend Yunnan’s beautiful Yunnan minority dance and song show “Dynamic Yunnan” (8: 00-21: 30). Overnight at Grand Park Hotel 5 *
Day 14: Kunming - Guilin - Yangshuo
Beginning of a day without guide, with a walk in the district of the Green lake. Continuation possible on foot to Yuantong temple. Transfer to Kunming station for the fast train to Guilin (4h40 drive). Welcome by your new driver (without guide), then transfer to the village of Yangshuo. Installation at the River Lodge Hotel set back from the city on a hill and enjoying great views.
Day 15: Yangshuo - Xingping - Fuli ~ 1h30 drive.
After breakfast departure by car to the beautiful Xianggong Viewpoint (if the site is closed it will be replaced by the viewpoint from the Seven Star Tea Farm). Climb to the top of the scenic point for a view of the hill and site of the Li River World Heritage Site. Find the vehicle that will drop you 5km away from a trail that you will walk through citrus orchards and small hamlets to the village of Xingping (1:30 to 2:00 hiking). The path offers a beautiful perspective on the river. You will also visit a small temple nestled on the banks at the entrance of the cave of the Snail where some monks still live. Cross the river with the local ferry and discover the old Xingping Street where you can have lunch. In the afternoon take a raft ride on one of the most beautiful portions of the Li River between Xingping and the hill of 9 horses, through small fishing villages, rice paddies and bamboo groves (about 45min cruising ). It is a landscape of this portion that inspired the illustration of the Chinese 20RMB Note. Return to Xingping Village and drive to Yangshuo and your hotel.
In the evening, you can enjoy the sound and light show “Liu San Jie”, based on a very popular Chinese musical, directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou. It takes place on the Li River in a beautiful natural setting surrounded by karstic mountains (not included in the quote: 280RMB / pers B2 comfort spot with transport). Overnight in Yangshuo.
Day 16: Yangshuo - Yulong - Longji
After your breakfast, bike ride (or electric scooter with charge of + 80RMB / scooter, including for the guide) to the perched wild cave remained away from the tourist circuits. The climb is made in a fault of the mountain on steps carved in the rock. Great view from side to side of the cave. Continuation of the bike ride along the Yulong River, through sleepy hamlets, rice paddies and fish ponds to the village of Jiuxian. Lunch in a beautiful inn in an old house in the village (at your expense).
Find your vehicle and drive to the region of rice terraces Longsheng or Longji, north of Guilin, gathered around the village of Ping’an (3:00 drive). Arrival below the village of Ping’an that you reach on foot after 30 minutes of walking (carriers available). Installation in your wooden inn the Ping an Hotel (good comfort with air conditioning and view). First walk in the village and rice terraces.
Day 17: Longji - Guilin - Shanghai ~ 2h30 drive
In the morning, take a short hike to the top of the Dragon’s Backbone to the two highest views of the rice paddies. According to your desire and the time available to continue the walk to the old village of Longji (+ 2:00). Meet the Yao women, famous for their beautiful embroidered pink costumes, their heavy jewels and their long hair sometimes touching the ground! Return to Ping’an for a lunch. Find your vehicle and drive to Guilin airport for the flight to Shanghai. Reception then transfer to the hotel SSAW Narada Boutique 4 *, well located. You can make some first walks around the hotel, and along the bund which is 5min away.
Day 18: Shanghai
Meet with your French guide. Visit Fuxing Park, then Bund (East Nanjing Road to People Square). Discovery of the old city of Shanghai, the French concession and garden Yu. Transfer to the district of Pudong, and climb to Park Hyatt where you can have a drink (at your expense) for a beautiful view of the city. Overnight at the SSAW Narada Boutique Hotel.
Day 19: Departure from Shanghai
Day without guide, before transfer to Shanghai MAGLEV station, for quick transfer to Pudong airport, and your Air China flight (12:25 direct flight) departing at 00:15.
Day 20: Arrival in Paris
Arrival at Paris CDG at 6:40. End of your trip, we wish you a pleasant return home!