China: Beijing, Xi'an & Southern Provinces

Guided Walking Tour, China: Beijing, Xi'an & Southern ProvincesGuided Walking Tour, China: Beijing, Xi'an & Southern Provinces

China

Beijing, Xi'an & Southern Provinces

overview

Not so long ago, foreigners could not enter Beijing’s Forbidden City. Today, this is where your journey begins! Explore narrow hutong alleyways, pass elders playing Chinese chess, and watch shopkeepers making snacks like jian bing pancakes. Cook dumplings with a local family and walk up the remarkable 800-year-old Drum Tower. Then it's on to Xi’an, for a close encounter with China’s mysterious 2,000-year-old terra-cotta warriors. Explore the open-air markets and intricately carved Ming Dynasty watchtowers.

Heading next into the countryside, discover another side of China, complete with hair-tying demonstrations by Yao tribeswomen and a ride on a bamboo raft—just two of the highlights in this landscape of terraced fields and rice paddies, serpentine rivers and sheer limestone karsts. At every stop, feast on authentic Chinese dishes and relax in accommodations like Li’an Lodge, a living museum you’ll call home.

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
3-7 miles daily
Meet
Beijing, China
Depart
Beijing, China
Daily Itinerary
Download printable
itinerary
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
Guided Walking 
11 days, 10 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • On this tour there will be one CW tour leader with you 24/7, and local guides in Beijing, Xi’an, and Guilin/Yangshuo
  • All meals included, wine and local beer included with dinner
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $1,325
 

Solo surcharge + $0
 

Airfare additional + $925

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

 

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Airfare additional + $925

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip and for 2015 Private Pricing.

REQUEST RESERVATION

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Shuiguan
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2
Beijing
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3
Beijing
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4
Xi’an
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5
Longsheng
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6
Longsheng
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7
Guilin
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8
Yangshuo
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9
Yangshuo
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10
Yangshuo
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11
Yangshuo
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Day 1

Shuiguan

Arrival in Beijing. Transfer to Juyongguan. Great Wall exploration; 1 mile, easy to moderate

Following a brief introductory meeting, you begin your journey by visiting Jingshan Park, which was part of the Forbidden City until the early 1900s, when the walls were pulled down and a road was cut through it. Here, take in the best view of Beijing from the Pavilion of the Everlasting Spring, which was once the highest point in the city. Before driving out of Beijing to the Great Wall, you take a brief look at the National Stadium. Because of its web of twisting steel sections that form the roof, it is sometimes nicknamed the Bird’s Nest. It was built specially for the Olympic Games in 2008. On arrival in Juyongguan, you explore a section of the famous Great Wall. Walking the wall, which extends in a serpentine manner for thousands of miles, is an exhilarating experience. You take in this manmade wonder on a leisurely exploration before transferring to your first delightful home—a set of contemporary villas located in the mountains near a section of the “wild wall,” a term for sections that are not restored.

Here we gather in the hotel’s dining room for a welcome dinner, consisting of local specialties such as dim sum, spring rolls, pork ribs with black bean sauce, and steamed chicken with ginger sauce. The food served on this itinerary almost always comes in the form of a buffet, featuring freshly prepared dishes.

Commune By The Great Wall

Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

A private collection of contemporary villas located in the Shuiguan mountains outside of Beijing, adjacent to a section of the Great Wall.

Day 2

Beijing

Jinshanling Great Wall Hike; 5 miles, moderate, with challenging sections. Easy optional walk along part of the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall; 2-3 miles, easy to moderate

After breakfast in this peaceful setting next to the “wild wall,” you drive 2½ hours to reach the section at Jinshanling and begin the day’s walk. Slowly ascending and descending the many hills that form this wild landscape, you pass around 20 watchtowers, each offering an increasingly better perspective of this world wonder. The views of the wall lacing over the precipitous mountain ridges into the distance are breathtaking.

You may wish to take the easier option today. After dropping off guests who choose to take the more difficult walk, you take a cable car up to the Jinshanling part of the Great Wall, then take an easy to moderate walk along this section, passing around 10 watch towers. During your walk you stop for lunch and then your guide will accompany you either by cable car or on foot to the base of the wall.

You then meet the bus and return to downtown Beijing in the late afternoon, where you are once again immersed in vibrant city life. A sumptuous dinner of Cantonese specialties awaits in a restaurant overlooking Hou Hai Lake.

Bamboo Garden Hotel

Xicheng District, Beijing, China

A courtyard-style hotel with peaceful gardens and bamboo groves, ideal for relaxing in the Old City of Beijing. The rooms are newly decorated with traditional Chinese furniture, and have Western-style bathrooms.

Day 3

Beijing

Beijing Old City and Hou Hai neighborhood; 3 hours, easy city walk

Following breakfast, you set off to explore charming Old Beijing on foot. Strolling through the city’s traditional neighborhoods and narrow alleyways, called hutongs, you gain a sense of old-fashioned Beijing life. Among the hutongs, you pass elders playing Chinese chess or mahjong, ball dancing, stretching, or practicing Tai Chi. You also find shopkeepers selling such traditional snacks as jian bing (pancakes), or baozi (steamed buns), and hear calls announcing the arrival of the knife sharpener or cardboard collector. In the late morning, you may wish to take a steep walk up to the top of the Drum Tower, which served as a time-keeping center for the whole city, equipped with bronze water clocks and drums that were beaten to mark the hours. It was built in 1272, during the reign of Kublai Khan and is a wooden, two-story building with three layers of upturned eaves. If you wish you may walk up the 69 steep steps to the top of the tower and at the top you can see some of the drums of differing sizes. One drum is the largest in the world.

Those who wish enjoy a dumpling-making lesson with a local family before lunch in a local restaurant. This afternoon you may relax back at the hotel or take an easy walk through Hou Hai Park. Dinner this evening features the city’s signature delicacy, a delicious banquet of Peking Duck.

Bamboo Garden Hotel

Xicheng District, Beijing, China

A courtyard-style hotel with peaceful gardens and bamboo groves, ideal for relaxing in the Old City of Beijing. The rooms are newly decorated with traditional Chinese furniture, and have Western-style bathrooms.

Day 4

Xi’an

Transfer flight from Beijing to Xi'an (2 hours). Terracotta Warriors Museum guided visit; 1 mile, easy

Today you transfer to Xi’an, China’s former capital, famed for the Terracotta Warriors Museum. It was here, near the tumulus (or burial mound) of Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, where, in 1974, well-digging peasants unearthed one of the century’s greatest archaeological finds: literally thousands of life-size figures dating back some 2,000 years. Equally remarkable as the sheer number of warriors is the fact that each seems to be a rendering of a live model, complete with its own personality. Your encounter with this fascinating site includes an opportunity to view figures up close, sensing the scale and detail of individual warriors (and, in some cases, their horses).

For more than 1,300 years, due to its strategic location on the Silk Road, Xi’an has also been home to a thriving Muslim culture. This afternoon there will be time to walk in the Muslim quarter and open-air market featuring displays of colorful and sweet-smelling dried fruit. Later, transfer to your boutique hotel located beside Furong Lake. Dinner this evening is at a 100-year-old restaurant well-known among the locals for their 19 varieties of dumplings—all available to sample!

Tang Paradise Hotel

Xi'an, China

The Tang Paradise is a boutique hotel, located beside beautiful Furong Lake, and adjacent to Furong Park. It features a combination of Tang dynasty style and modern architecture and has state-of-the-art amenities.

Day 5

Longsheng

Transfer flight from Xi'an to Guilin (2 hours). Transfer to Longsheng

This leisurely morning allows you the choice of relaxing at the hotel or exploring the beautiful Tang Paradise Garden Park accompanied by your guide.

After a lunch of the traditional noodles for which Xi’an is famous, you bid farewell to this historic destination and fly to Guilin and dramatically different scenery. You then board your coach for a scenic 1½-hour drive to Longsheng. Your hotel lies among bamboo-covered hills and terraced rice paddies in a village accessible only on foot. You carry your necessities for the next few days up a narrow path to the village, leaving the rest of your belongings securely on the bus. Flashlights and your guides will lead the way as you arrive in darkness. After settling in, enjoy dinner in the hotel’s traditional dining room.

Li'an Lodge

Longsheng County, China

A museum-like hotel with spectacular views. Each room features an incredible display of art and antiques.

Day 6

Longsheng

Ping'an Village to Dazai Village; 7-9 miles, moderate

Today you awake to magnificent views of the terraced rice fields of Longsheng while enjoying a breakfast of fresh eggs, noodles, and sweet local fruit. Carved into the hillside over hundreds of years by the local Zhuang and Yao people, the rice paddies, when filled with water, resemble dragon’s scales, hence the mountain’s name—Dragon’s Back. Today’s walk begins in Ping’an, where you follow a trail that traverses terraced slopes, takes you through bamboo forests, and connects several smaller Zhuang and Yao villages. Enjoy lunch in the village of Tiantou before finishing the walk in the village of Dazai. From here you are transported back to your amazing accommodation.

Li'an Lodge

Longsheng County, China

A museum-like hotel with spectacular views. Each room features an incredible display of art and antiques.

Day 7

Guilin

Ping'an Village to Longji Village to Heping Village; 6 miles, easy to moderate. Transfer to Guilin

This morning, take a few more hours to deepen your appreciation of local life and the area’s spectacular scenery with a walk that follows the trails used by the locals to reach their fields. Solitude and calm embrace the path where, at times, the only sounds you hear are your footsteps, a babbling brook, or chirping birds. Lunch is enjoyed at the hotel with its tremendous views before transferring to Guilin and stepping back into bustling reality. This is a city dotted with intriguing limestone karst peaks and shaped by the Li River. Your hotel is in the city center, overlooking a park that invites a stroll in the company of elders performing their ritual evening exercise and dances.

Sheraton Guilin Hotel

Guilin, China

A comfortable international hotel located near the park and overlooking the Li River.

Day 8

Yangshuo

Yangdi Town to Xinping; 5-7 miles, moderate

The day’s adventure begins with a short transfer to your walk along the Li River. The passing landscape may resemble a continuous scroll of masterful artwork—the same imagery that has inspired Chinese artists for thousands of years. Along the way, you may see villagers navigating the river in traditional bamboo rafts and employing cormorants in an unusual, traditional fishing technique; or you can observe water buffalo taking a swim. Arriving in the ancient fishing town of Xinping, you see streets lined with traditional houses and residents going about their daily tasks. After time to discover Xinping, you transfer to Yangshuo, an amazing city that sits on the west bank of the Li River, nestled amongst beautiful limestone karst peaks. Settle into your hotel, a wonderful new resort overlooking the river.

Yangshuo Resort

Yangshuo, China

This brand new riverside resort has rooms overlooking lush green fields and limestone karsts typical of this area. All rooms are very tastefully decorated and furnished.

Day 9

Yangshuo

Yulong River to Baisha Village; 5 miles, easy to moderate

Beginning the morning on foot, you follow the scenic Yulong River. The route passes by picturesque hamlets tucked among subtropical plants and surrounded by rice paddies. You may spot water buffaloes and rice farmers working in their terraced fields. As you walk, you are surrounded by the region’s signature landscape—amazing limestone karst formations of irregular shape dotting the skyline. On completion of the walk, which ends in Baisha Village, you take the bus back to the hotel. This afternoon you may choose to take a short walk and return to the hotel by a traditional bamboo raft, or spend some time relaxing at the hotel.

Yangshuo Resort

Yangshuo, China

This brand new riverside resort has rooms overlooking lush green fields and limestone karsts typical of this area. All rooms are very tastefully decorated and furnished.

Day 10

Yangshuo

Yangshuo countryside; 3 miles, easy to moderate. Moon Hill; 1 mile, moderate

Following breakfast, you cross the Yulong River by bamboo raft and begin to walk along a country road toward the famous Moon Hill, which beckons in the distance. On arrival, you may ascend to the summit by climbing 819 steps (which generally takes about 30 minutes). From the top you are treated to a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding hills and a close look at the “Moon,” which used to be the underground river canal.

En route back to the hotel, explore Fuli, a small town with a proud craft tradition. In fact, one out of every four residents in Fuli earns a living by making painted fans and umbrellas. Your short walk in Fuli follows ancient, narrow, stone streets to the local market and fan workshops.

You return to Yangshuo in the late afternoon with time to relax before a barbecue under the stars.

Yangshuo Resort

Yangshuo, China

This brand new riverside resort has rooms overlooking lush green fields and limestone karsts typical of this area. All rooms are very tastefully decorated and furnished.

Day 11

Yangshuo

Departure from Guilin

After breakfast, you transfer to Guilin, to catch your 2½-hour flight to Beijing, where you bid farewell to your newfound friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a Country Walkers adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call Country Walkers at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Tiger Li

A native of Sichuan Province in Central China, Tiger studied English while at university. Li has hiked and guided extensively in the Himalayas, as well as in the Guilin region. He has also walked a large portion of the Great Wall and is one of the best-known Chinese national guides in the Beijing region. On tour, Li looks forward to sharing his love of hiking, China, and travel with guests.

Chris Che

Chris is a native of Heilongjiang, and earned a degree in Tourism Management at Beijing’s Foreign Language University. He began his career as a guide in 2001, and one of his favorite places in China is Yangshuo, for its unique natural beauty and traditional culture. He has an easy-going, affable nature and a ready sense of humor. In his free time, Chris enjoys playing ping pong, snow boarding, hiking, and reading.

Jessica Zhu

Jessica was born and raised in Xi’an. She graduated from Xi’an Translators Training College with a degree in English and is a mine of information about the traditional stories of culture and myth regarding her hometown. When not leading groups, she is an avid photographer and cook. She enjoys welcoming CW guests to Xi’an and sharing her passion for the “eternal city.”

Peter Mo

Peter Mo is a native of Yangshuo and grew up hiking through the many karst peaks surrounding his hometown. Passionate about the outdoors and sharing the ethereal beauty of the countryside, he began leading trekking tours in 2010. Peter has hiked all over Guangxi province and has been to Longsheng over a hundred times, guiding both large and small groups of travelers. Whether you are interested in hearing folk songs or trying some local cuisine, Peter is the ideal guide to tailor your adventure.

Jerry Dong

Born and raised in the stunning Yunnan Province, Jerry Dong moved away from his quiet hometown to attend university in Beijing. Graduating from the prestigious Foreign Studies University with a degree in English and Tourism Management, he immediately began work as a guide. Jerry's guiding style makes him an ideal host for Beijing taking you through a city of 17 million people in a seamless and relaxed manner. While Jerry misses Yunnan's cuisine and impressive mountains, he feels at home in Beijing's urban jungle and has fallen in love with the old alleyways of China's most fascinating city.

Guest Comments

C. Mueller, Minnesota, October 2008

Longsheng and Yangshuo were both areas of incredible beauty. This is the China I have seen in art all my life—to see it for real and be “in” it was unforgettable. China is a beautiful and exciting country to visit. It has a rich history and you can feel a great energy for the future there.

J. Norman, Connecticut, November 2010

Trip of a lifetime—China is brought alive—both city and countryside.

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