Experience China’s historic traditions and modern development in Beijing, Pingyao, Xian, Dunhuang, Urumqi, and Shanghai
This tour gets its name from the Han Dynasty, which was an era of cultural development and economic prosperity. Science and technology during Han flourished. To this day, China’s majority ethnic group refers to itself as the “Han people”. This tour views the main attractions in Beijing and also ventures out to the Pingyao ancient town and silk road destinations of Dunhuang and Urumqi.
16 Days – Download 4 pg pdf Han – Golden Land
At Access China Tours, all of our China tour packages include all land prices, private accommodation, transportation, expert guides and most meals in China.
Scroll down for the tour’s price and dates. For more information, please see What is Included in ACT’s tours.
Day 1 Depart North America
Fly to China from your nearest airport via the best routing. We can book your international air travel for your convenience.
Day 2 Beijing
Arrive in Beijing today and you are met by Access China Tours staff at the airport and transferred by vehicle to your hotel downtown. Meet your fellow travelers and tour manager at the Evening Reception and learn more about the tour activities of the coming days.
The Regent Hotel Beijing (Evening Reception)
Day 3 Beijing
After breakfast, our exploration of Beijing starts from Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest. From there, we will visit the futuristic “Egg” National Performing Arts Center. Next, we will tour the Forbidden City, the magnificent imperial palaces of Ming and Qing dynasties for half a millennia. After lunch, explore by a pedicab ride some of Beijing’s old Hutongs (alleyways) and traditional courtyards. Climb up the nearby Drum Tower and Bell Tower for an aerial view of the traditional neighborhood and visit the private home of a local resident to hear their life stories. Return to the hotel for relaxation, then enjoy a welcome banquet featuring Peking Duck this evening.
The Regent Hotel Beijing (B-L-D)
Day 4 Beijing
Visit the Temple of Heaven early this morning. Observe Beijing residents doing traditional Taichi and other exercises in the exquisite parklands. Behold the beautiful Hall of Prayers and echo wall. Stop by the lively Silk Market, a bustling place where buyers and vendors bargain hard over clothes, accessories, handbags, and traditional arts and crafts. After lunch on your own, visit the enchanting Summer Palace, the renowned retreat of Qing dynasty royals. The Long Corridor, Marble Boat and Longevity Hill are all structures of grace and beauty. Enjoy a boat ride on tranquil Kunming Lake. Conclude the day in a courtyard restaurant with the famous Imperial Cuisine Dinner.
The Regent Hotel Beijing (B-D)
Day 5 Beijing – Pingyao
Put on your hiking shoes for an excursion to the extraordinary Great Wall of China. The remote and scenic Mutianyu section is a fine example of the Ming era construction. Stop by a small mountain village for lunch and meet with local rural residents. Afternoon transfer to airport and fly to Taiyuan. Met upon arrival and transfer to Pingyao, an ancient town in central Shanxi Province. Check in the hotel in the center of old town and enjoy dinner in hotel.
Jing’s Residence (B-L-D)
Day 6 Pingyao
Pingyao is an exceptionally well-preserved small city founded in the 14th century. From the existing buildings one can see the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in imperial China.
Start from Rishengchang, the oldest bank in China. Then, continue on to explore the wooden City Tower, the Courthouse, Shuanglin Buddhist Monastery, the ancient City Wall, and a local family’s residence. Strolling along the historic streets and architecture of Pingyao is like taking a trip back in time to ages long past. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Jing’s Residence (B-L)
Day 7 Pingyao – Xian
Morning transfer to Taiyuan Airport and fly to Xi’an, the ancient capital of eleven Chinese dynasties. Met and transfer to your deluxe hotel upon arrival.
After refreshing in hotel, start your exploration by visiting the massive Ancient City Wall and the nearby Shuyuanmen Market.
Tonight, enjoy a special Xi’an Cuisine Dinner in an elite local restaurant followed by Tang Evening Show.
Hilton Xi’an (B-D)
Day 8 Xian
Take a morning excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2,200-year-old Terracotta Warriors of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shihuang. This archaeological excavation site is a stunning exhibit of more than 7,000 ancient life-size terracotta statues of Qin soldiers, officers, horses, chariots and other artifacts. Upon returning to the city, visit the elegant Big Goose Pagoda which has survived over a millennia of war and earthquakes. Tour Xi’an History Museum for its wonderful collection of ancient relics. Return to hotel and evening is free.
Hilton Xi’an (B-L)
Day 9 Xian – Dunhuang
Early morning transfer to airport for a flight to Dunhuang, an ancient city in the Gobi Desert and an important caravan stop on the famed Silk Road. It was also a military stronghold during the dynasties protecting China’s vital Hexi Corridor trading route.
After checking in hotel and some rest, enjoy a city tour that includes visit to Dunhuang Museum, White Horse Pagoda, and Shazhou Market if time permits. Enjoy a Local Cuisine Dinner.
Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (B-L-D)
Day 10 Dunhuang
Today, you explore the fascinating Buddhist art at the Mogao Caves, a World Heritage Site since 1987, carved into cliffs facing the desert.
For well over one thousand years from the Wei to Ming dynasty, Buddhist monks and devotees had poured tremendous amounts of money and effort to create this treasure house of fascinating Buddhist art with thousands of murals, sculptures, carvings, and reliefs. Unfortunately, many of these treasures were looted or taken away by foreign “explorers” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A research institute was set up on site in 1970s to catalogue, study, and protect these precious ancient artworks.
In the afternoon, visit the incongruous Crescent Spring Lake, a spring fed pool situated within the huge Singing Sand Dunes of the Gobi Desert. You have the opportunity to enjoy a Bactrian camel ride up the sand dunes. Dinner is on your own.
Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (B-L)
Day 11 Dunhuang – Urumqi
After breakfast, transfer to Dunhuang Airport and fly to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Province.
Xinjiang is home to about half of China’s Muslim population. The Turkic-speaking Uygurs are the largest ethnic minority group in the province. A geographic superlative, Urumqi is the most inland city on earth, 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) from the nearest ocean.
Check into hotel upon arriving in the city. After refreshing, visit the Xinjiang Museum for a view of the famous Caucasian featured “Loulan Mummies”, buried and preserved in desert for over 2500 years before being excavated, and then the Erdaoqiao Muslim Bazaar for a true enjoyment of the senses.
Enjoy a Local Uygur Cuisine Dinner followed by an ethnic Song & Dance Performance.
Sheraton Urumqi Hotel (B-D)
Day 12 Urumqi – Turpan
Take an excursion to Turpan, a Uygur town in an oasis flanked by searing desert and dry mountains. The Turpan depression is the second lowest spot on earth (only the Dead Sea is lower) at 154 meters (505 feet) below sea level.
Once in Turpan, visit the site of the ancient Jiaohe City built on a strategic high ground over 2,000 years ago, the remains of some structures are still standing. Then tour the iconic Emin Minaret, the tallest Islamic structure in the region. Next, explore the Gaochang Ruins, which reveals traces of a prosperous ancient Silk Road trading center and Chinese military stronghold dating from 100 BC.
Turpan is famous throughout China for its large sweet grapes. A visit to the Grape Valley gives you the opportunity to walk through the shady vineyards, stop by homes of Uygur farmers, and go down into Karez Wells – an ingenious underground irrigation system that has been efficiently keeping all the crops alive in the scorching summer heat for millennia.
Return to Urumqi and dinner is on your own.
Sheraton Urumqi Hotel (B-L)
Day 13 Urumqi – Shanghai
A morning excursion takes you to the turquoise Heavenly Lake nestled among the alpine peaks of Tianshan Mountain. The snow-capped Mount Bogda (5,445 meters or 17,900 feet) is reflected in the clear water of the lake. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant hike along the trails or visit a yurt home of the local Kazakh herdsmen.
Transfer to the airport for a flight to Shanghai, the largest city and financial center in China. Met upon arrival and transfer to hotel for check-in and rest.
Fairmont Peace Hotel (B-L)
Day 14 Shanghai
After breakfast in your hotel, visit the exquisite Yuyuan Garden and the European Bund with Art-Deco architecture. Gaze across river at the towering structures of ultra-modern Pudong district.
In the afternoon, visit the marvelous Shanghai Museum, whose galleries contain precious collections of ancient art and artifacts dating back millennia. The Bronze Gallery is probably the world’s finest, a must-see section. Wander around and explore in the former French Concession, represented by the leafy Fuxing Park and colonial era architecture.
After dinner in a local restaurant, go to a Shanghai theater to enjoy a stunning Acrobatic Show.
Fairmont Peace Hotel (B-L-D)
Day 15 Shanghai
The morning of your last full day in China, visit the World Financial Center in Pudong District. Stop by Ohel Moshe Synagogue to learn the scarcely reported history of Jews living in China during WWII. Finally, take a stroll in Moganshan 50 or Tianzifang Art District and visit a couple of galleries to get a glimpse at contemporary art in today’s China.
Afternoon is free for you to explore wonderful Shanghai on your own.
Join fellow travelers tonight for a special Shanghai Cuisine Dinner in a high-end local restaurant.
Fairmont Peace Hotel (B-D)
Day 16 Return Home
Enjoy a last breakfast in your hotel. Transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight. Arrive in
North America on the same day.
16 Days (Tour Code-HGL)
This tour departs on Saturdays and returns on Sundays in 2013. There are four tour departures during the year in April, May, September, and October.
Please view what is included in our tours, along with testimonials from previous ACT travel clients. Feel free to browse through our other luxury and adventure tours. If you don’t see exactly what you like, we are happy to arrange a private or custom tour for you.