Golden Passage: Highlights of China in Luxury

Aerial view of Guilin, with the Li River and Karst Mountains in Guanxi Province, China.
A 18 day trip to China 
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Discover the majesty of diverse China in luxury. The name of this tour is inspired by Tang Dynasty, regarded by historians as the golden age of Chinese civilization. This comprehensive tour includes the major sites of China including the Great Wall at Mutianyu, Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, Li River Cruise, Dragon Back Rice Terraces, West Lake, Shanghai Museum, Victoria Peak and more.

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General Information

a terracotta army figure against a red background
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guilin and Hong Kong

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1

Fly to China from your nearest airport and via the best routing. We can book your international air individually for your convenience.

Day 2

Arrive at Beijing Capital Airport. You are met by ACT service staff and transferred by vehicle to your fine hotel. Meet your fellow travelers at the Evening Reception and learn more about upcoming activities. Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Day 3

Your exploration of Beijing starts in Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest. Observe the ultra-modern “Egg” National Performing Arts Center. Next, visit the Forbidden City, the magnificent imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties which were built almost 600 years ago. After lunch, explore by a pedicab ride some of Beijing’s old Hutongs (alleyways) and traditional courtyards. Climb up the nearby Drum and Bell Towers for a great aerial view of the traditional neighborhood below. Visit a local home then return to the hotel for relaxation. Enjoy a welcome banquet featuring the capital's signature dish: Peking Duck. (B-L-D) Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Day 4

Visit the Temple of Heaven early this morning. Observe Beijing residents doing traditional Taichi and other exercises in the tranquil parklands. Behold the beautiful Hall of Prayers, one of four UNESCO World Heritage sites you will visit in Beijing. Stop by the lively Silk Market, a bustling place where buyers and vendors bargain hard over clothes, accessories, beddings, and traditional arts and crafts. After lunch, go to visit the enchanting Summer Palace, a renowned imperial retreat of the Qing dynasty. Enjoy a boat ride on tranquil Kunming Lake. For tonight’s dinner, savor the famous Imperial Cuisine in a courtyard restaurant that was favored by the Ming and Qing Emperors. (B-L-D) Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Day 5

Put on your hiking shoes for an excursion to the extraordinary Great Wall of China. The rugged and scenic Mutianyu section is a fine example of the Ming era construction. Stop by a small mountain village for lunch and meet local rural residents. Return to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to discover more of Beijing’s treasures or to just relax. (B-L) Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Day 6

After breakfast visit the trendy 798 Art Complex on the way to view some Chinese modern art created by Beijing’s newest artists. Go to the airport and fly to Xi’an, the ancient capital of the Qin and many of the following dynasties. After refreshing in the hotel, go to visit the massive ancient City Walls and a nearby street market. Tonight, enjoy a special Xi’an Cuisine Dinner in an elite local restaurant. (B-L-D) Shangri-La Hotel Xi'an

Day 7

A morning excursion takes you to the magnificent 2,200-year-old Terracotta Warriors of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shihuang, one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites. This archaeological excavation site is a stunning exhibit of over 7000 individually unique ancient terracotta life-size statues. Upon returning to the city, visit the elegant Big Goose Pagoda which has survived over a millennium of war and earthquakes. Tour the fine Xi’an History Museum for its wonderful collection of ancient relics spanning almost 3,000 years. In the evening, you will enjoy a Special Dumpling Dinner in a local restaurant followed by an elaborate Tang Dynasty-Style Stage Show.(B-L-D) Shangri-La Hotel Xi'an

Day 8

This morning visit the Great Mosque and the Muslim Market in a neighborhood dating back to the Silk Road. Later, transfer to the airport for an afternoon flight to Shanghai. On the way, visit the remarkable Yangling Archaeological Site Museum that displays priceless antiquities found in the Han imperial tomb. Upon arrival in Shanghai, financial center of China, take the Maglev Train at 430 kph to the city and transfer to hotel by vehicle. The evening is free time and dinner is on your own tonight. (B-L) Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Day 9

After breakfast in your hotel, you will visit the exquisite Yuyuan Garden and the European Art-Deco architecture of the Bund. Gaze across the river at the towering structures of the modern Pudong district. In the afternoon, visit the marvelous Shanghai Museum, whose galleries contain fine collections of art and artifacts dating back millennia. Wander around the former French Concession, represented by the leafy Fuxing Park and colonial era architecture. Stop by Xintiandi, a redeveloped neighborhood with trendy pubs, coffee shops, chic restaurants, and fashion stores frequented by Shanghai’s new yuppies. After enjoying a Shanghai Cuisine dinner in a fine restaurant, go to a Shanghai theater to enjoy an amazing Acrobatic Show. (B-L-D) Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Day 10

After breakfast, visit the World Finance Center in Pudong, the tallest building in China and the 4th tallest on earth, to have a panoramic view of the city on its 1555-foot observation deck. Stop by to visit Moganshan Road Art District and the Ohel Moshe Synagogue to reflect upon the scarcely reported history of Jews living in China during WWII. Transfer back to hotel. Afternoon and evening are free. (B) Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Day 11

Travel by vehicle to the countryside and visit the water village of Wuzhen. Here, rivers and canals criss-cross the town and local residents maintain the traditional way of life in centuries-old courtyards and houses. Have lunch in a village restaurant. Continue travel to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province and cultural gem of China. After check-in at the hotel, unwind in the comfort of the wonderful amenities and serene surroundings. (B-L) Four Seasons Hangzhou at West Lake

Day 12

For centuries, Hangzhou has been known for the beauty and tranquility of West Lake, nestled in the city center. Its blue mists and soft hills have been the inspiration for countless poets and artists throughout the centuries. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the lake and pleasant strolls in the gardens and bamboo groves along the lakeshore. Next, visit the Lingyin Monastery in the suburban hills to witness the active practice of praying and worshiping. This spectacular temple is one of the most celebrated Buddhist monasteries in China. The city is flanked to the west by hills cultivated with lush tea bushes that produce the highly regarded Longjing Tea. Visit a Tea Plantation and the China Tea Museum to learn about the ancient art of tea cultivation. This evening, enjoy a Hangzhou Cuisine Dinner with its delicately flavored seafood followed by a masterly outdoor show Impression West Lake. (B-L-D) Four Seasons Hangzhou at West Lake

Day 13

Relax in your resort like hotel after breakfast this morning. Check out at noon and go to Hangzhou’s old neighbourhood for lunch and visit Huqingyutang Traditional Pharmacy. Transfer to the airport and fly over the southern mountains of China to Guilin, perhaps China’s most scenic city. You are met and transfer to hotel. Dinner is on your own. (B-L) Shangri-La Hotel Guilin

Day 14

Guilin is home to some of China’s most beautiful landscapes. Its lush limestone peaks and tranquil rivers create endless panoramas. After breakfast, travel to the mountainous Longsheng area by vehicle for a full-day excursion to see beautiful Rice Terraces and to visit villages of ethnic Dong and Yao peoples, two of China’s fifty-five ethnic minorities. Some moderate climbing is involved, so you will need comfortable walking shoes. Those who cannot hike can still enjoy all of the scenery as sedan-chair service is available. Return to Guilin by late afternoon. Enjoy a Sichuan Cuisine Dinner in a local restaurant. (B-L-D) Shangri-La Hotel Guilin

Day 15

Today, you will board a cruise boat for a beautiful four-hour Li River Cruise. The cruise will give you a chance to savor the unique and charming views of the area’s extraordinary landscape of sheer limestone peaks and rice paddies that have inspired thousands of famous Chinese scroll paintings. Get off the boat in Yangshuo, a lovely and tourist-friendly small town with streets lined with small hotels, countless souvenir shops selling traditional ornaments, jewelry and paintings, and restaurants serving international foods. Visit a small farming village and the marvelous Sculpture Garden on the way back to Guilin. Dinner at a local restaurant. You will enjoy an evening lake cruise through the city waterways of lights and bridges. (B-L-D) Shangri-La Hotel Guilin

Day 16

Enjoy some leisure this morning. Later, go to visit the Panda Garden in the Seven Star Park where you can get a closer look at the lovely bears. Then, climb up the Fubo Hill for a bird’s-eye view of the city. After lunch, transfer to airport and fly to Hong Kong. Upon arrival, you are met and transfer to hotel. (B-L) The Peninsula Hong Kong

Day 17

Hong Kong has always been inextricably linked to mainland China through family ties, trade, economy and traditions. Although returned in 1997, the British legacy is still quite apparent due to 155 years of colonial rule. Take a half-day guided tour of Hong Kong Island. Ascend by cable car to the top of Victoria Peak for a spectacular view of the harbor, hills and masterpieces of modern architecture. Later, visit the south side of the island and the characteristic fishing Village of Aberdeen, where lifestyles seem unchanged for centuries. Finish your tour at beautiful Repulse Bay with sandy beaches facing the South China Sea. The afternoon and evening are at your leisure. English signage and shopping opportunities abound in the Pearl of the Orient. (B) The Peninsula Hong Kong

Day 18

Enjoy breakfast in your hotel. Transfer to the airport and board your home-bound flight. Arrive in North America on the same day. (B)


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.