Classic China - 2015

5 out of 5 stars

9 days

from £1800 pp

Trip available from May 2015 to Oct 2015.
"It hits all the must-see places"
Elaine , Jul 2014

China's must-see cities eclectic Beijing, buzzing Shanghai and historic Xi'an are mixed with its must-do experiences, like cruising down the iconic Huangpu River by night.

It's Insider moments like… dashing through the ‘Hutongs' of Beijing by rickshaw, as your driver navigates these ancient alleyways and you see street life unfurling at homes and market stalls. Arriving at a local family's home, you're invited in with smiles to an authentic meal of dishes like bean noodles, kung-po chicken, deep-fried meatball and homemade dumpling – dished up with stories of life in the Hutongs. And in Xi'an, it's watching an expert chef create delicious hand-made noodles, and sampling them yourself during a traditional meal.

Trip type:
Hidden Journeys
Trip code:

Large Map

Trip Itinerary

  • 1.


    Welcome to Beijing! Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and settle in before meeting your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers.


    Welcome Reception


    Novotel Peace

  • 2.


    Begin your visit to this great capital city by exploring one of the world's largest public areas—Tiananmen Square, home to the National Museum of China, the mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Great Monument to the Peoples' Heroes. Pass through the south gate to the magnificent Forbidden City, a 180 acre complex of courtyards, palaces, pavilions and gardens, which served as the imperial palace for emperors and their households for more than 500 years. After lunch continue to the stunning Temple of Heaven visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to heaven. Later, indulge in a relaxing foot massage, a Local Speciality, at the Foot Reflexology Centre. This evening, enjoy a succulent Peking Duck Regional Meal - a must during any visit to Beijing.


    Buffet Breakfast
    Regional Meal

  • 3.


    Travel outside the city and look down upon the Chinese countryside from your perch on top of the Great Wall, which is actually a collection of fortifications built and rebuilt from the 5th century B.C. to the 16th century to defend against nomadic invaders like the Mongols. Walk the Sacred Way home to the remnants of the Ming Tombs, the once-lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Later this evening why not attend an optional martial arts show at the Red Theatre, featuring lively daring acrobats and Kung Fu.


    Buffet Breakfast,Lunch

  • 4.


    Begin your day by greeting the famed Chinese giant pandas at Beijing Zoo, before embarking on a unique tour by rickshaw around the ancient alleyways of the courtyard Hutong residences. Stop at the home of a local family for a Be My Guest lunch of traditional Chinese cuisine, followed by a visit to a local tea house, a Local Speciality. This afternoon, bid farewell to Beijing and fly to the city of Xi'an.


    Buffet Breakfast,Be My Guest Dining


    Sheraton North City

  • 5.


    Try a morning Tai Chi Class, a Local Speciality, and learn the fundamental principles of Tai Chi as well as some of the basic movements. Then venture out and explore Xi'an with a Local Expert starting with a visit to the ancient city wall, the most complete city wall that has survived in China. Continue to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks, possibly the most beautiful building left in Xi'an today. Learn the origin of Chinese characters, a Local Speciality, in a basic calligraphy class. Enjoy a Local Speciality meal including a noodle making demonstration. This afternoon visit the legendary army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Emperor Qin Shi Huang's subterranean tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, you have the option to enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner and cultural performance featuring music, dance, and traditional costumes with a special backstage visit.


    Buffet Breakfast,Lunch

  • 6.


    This morning visit Xi'an's Muslim Quarter with a Local Expert. The streets are full of life with men riding bicycles as their daily transportation, women chatting with their friends while selling food on the street and watching over children playing happily around their stalls. Admire the Great Mosque, one of the oldest and grandest Muslim buildings to be found in China. See the wooden Bell Tower, built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers. Enjoy some free time to explore the area before continuing to a local restaurant to watch a demonstration on the art of making dumplings, a Local Speciality. Enjoy a Regional Meal of this delicious traditional Chinese dish and later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. This evening take a relaxing cruise along the Huangpu River and admire Shanghai's illuminated skyline; a great introduction to the city.


    Buffet Breakfast
    Regional Meal

  • 7.


    With a Local Expert take a stroll along Shanghai's famous 'Bund', the city's renowned waterfront, lined with former colonial buildings and modern sky-scrapers. Learn how marshland was turned into one of the most important trading hubs in the modern world. Visit the Jade Buddha Temple, built in 1928 after the original temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. It houses two precious jade Buddha statues made out of sparkling crystal-clear white jade. Later continue to Old Shanghai, a little known treasure trove of winding streets and vibrant markets. Despite the rapid pace of development in the rest of the city, the established customs and lifestyle of this area have remained relatively unaltered. Enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping in the Old Town before continuing to visit a silk making factory. This evening enjoy a performance by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.


    Buffet Breakfast

  • 8.


    Today is yours to explore Shanghai, do some last minute shopping or take an optional trip to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town founded more than 1700 years ago. In its heyday, Zhujiajiao was a bustling market town well known throughout the country.  Today, old historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found when strolling down the ancient streets and exploring the many bridges that crisscross its canals. In the afternoon enjoy some free time back in Shanghai before joining your travel companions for a Farewell Dinner.


    Buffet Breakfast,Farewell Dinner

  • 9.


    After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight home. Why not extend your trip with a few days in Hong Kong? See our <a href="" target="_blank" >extensions page</a> for options.


    Buffet Breakfast

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Be My Guest

    Get a glimpse into Chinese life during a visit to a Hutong family in Beijing for a delicious lunch featuring local cuisine
  • Hidden Treasure

    Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Local Expert

    Enjoy the company of a Local Expert in Xi'an and Shanghai
  • Local Speciality

    Indulge in a relaxing foot massage at the foot reflexology centre in Beijing.
    Visit a tea house in Beijing
    Try a morning Tai Chi class.
    Experience making traditional Chinese dumpling in Xi'an
    Chinese calligraphy class in Xi'an

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.

What's Always Included

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Visit Tiananmen square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Walk the Sacred Way in Beijing, The Terracotta warriors and City Wall in Xi'an, and the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai.
  • City Tour of Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai
  • See local people practicing Tai Chi in morning.
  • View the Great Wall, Giant Pandas in Beijng Zoo and the Shanghai Acrobats
  • Cruise the Huangpu River in Shanghai.


  • 8 buffet breakfasts
    3 Dinners:

    including Welcome Reception, Regional Meal and Farewell Dinner.

    5 lunches: (including Be My Guest, Regional Meal and 3 lunches)

Travel Highlights

  • Expertly sourced accommodations - always with private facilities.
  • Audio Headsets: provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • All your transportation and airport transfers.
  • A travel wallet with your travel documentation

Airport Transfers

Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page

Optional Experiences


Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.



    Adult Price: ¥210.00 The Legend of Kung Fu Show is a mix of traditional martial arts and modern theatre. It is presented by a group of marvellous Kung Fu artists from all over China whose average age is only 17 but they have studied Chinese Kung Fu for many years. The story tells of a young boy who dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master and attaining enlightenment. He takes the path of a monk in which he must face many obstacles both from this world and his own mind to overcome his fears and to become a true master of Kung Fu. During the 80-minute show, the artists do not speak but perform daring acrobatics and Kung Fu dance but there are English subtitles above the stage explaining the story line. Transfers to and from the Red Theatre are included. NB. The above price is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.



    Adult Price: ¥218.00 In the morning, drive to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town in the suburbs of Shanghai. With a history that goes back more than 1,700 years, the town is the best preserved among the four ancient towns of Shanghai. Today, historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found. The town is also blessed with small rivers shaded by willow trees, bubbling streams and traditional houses with ancient courtyards. The town has 36 bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, differing in shape, style and structure; from wooden to stone and marble. Take a paddle boat ride along the water to admire the distinct bridges, and then enjoy some free time to stroll through the narrow alleys and small food shops. The town is also famous for its cuisine, particularly green soy beans and Zarou (lotus roots) as well as homemade candy and braised pork leg. There will be an opportunity to try some local food during the included lunch, before returning to Shanghai. NB. The above price is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.



    Adult Price: ¥250.00 Enjoy a sumptuous Tang banquet followed by a wonderful performance of ancient music and dance which has graced the region for centuries. The show consists of 8 parts filled with vibrant costumes, colourful dances and traditional music. Under the ruling of the Tang Emperors from 618 to 907, China became the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. During this time the economy, politics and military strength reached an unprecedented level whichinfluenced the culture of its neighbouring countries. It was during this flourishing and peaceful period that exquisite Tang imperial feasts with music and dance emerged and developed. Step back in time and enjoy the delightful hospitality and performances of the Tang Dynasty. NB. The above price is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
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