Popular China Tours from Canada!
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One of our most popular China tours since 2002, this premium vacation package has stood the test of time. The well paced itinerary is packed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the ancient capital of Beijing to the megalopolis of Shanghai. Highlights include the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army Museum, day cruise on the picturesque Li River and a multi-day cruise through the mighty Three Gorges of the Yangtze.
19-day China Odyssey
Beijing – Xian – Guilin – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Wuhan – Suzhou – Shanghai
Explore ancient sites in Beijing and Xian, admire nature’s beauty in Guilin, sail through the majestic Three Gorges of the Yangtze, stroll classical gardens in Suzhou, marvel at China’s economic boom best showcased in Shanghai – this China tour package allows you to do all that and much more!
Among all of our China tours from Canada, this one has been a crowd favourite for well over a decade. Trip highlights include the Forbidden City and the Great Wall at Mutianyu in Beijing, Terracotta Army in Xian, a day cruise on Li River in Guilin and a 3-day cruise down the mighty Yangtze.
- Small group size – 20 maximum.
- Top guides handpicked and trained by the owners of Laurus Travel.
- Gratuities included for all local guides and drivers.
- No forced shopping stops of any kind.
- Non-tourist restaurants for lunches and dinners when included.
- Travel by bullet train from Beijing to Xian and from Wuhan to Shanghai.
- Mutianyu Great Wall including cable car.
- Day hike at Longji terraced rice fields.
- Shanghai walking tour unlike any other.
- Important Forbidden City sections most companies leave out.
- Free in-room Wi-Fi in all hotels.
- Daily breakfast, most lunches and dinners.
- Unlimited supply of bottled water.
China Tour Trip Itinerary
Day 1/Thu: Departing Home City
Your China tour begins with your transpacific flight departing from a city of your choice. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Fri: Arrival in Beijing
Welcome to Beijing! Meet your guide on arrival in late afternoon and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Day 3/Sat: Beijing (B/L/D)
We begin today with a visit to Tiananmen (tian an men) Square. Located in the heart of Beijing, the square is 880 metres from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west. Said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, Tiananmen Square has the capacity to hold one million people. Tiananmen (Heavenly Gate) Tower sites at the north end of the square while the Monument to the People’s Heroes dominates the centre. The square is flanked by The Great Hall of the People (west) and the National Museum of China (east). Chairman Mao’s mausoleum and Qianmen (Front Gate) sit in the south of the square. Considered one of the top 16 tourist attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square is also the witness of the Chinese people’s great struggles for democracy and personal freedom since 1919.
After lunch we proceed to the Forbidden City. Also known as Palace Museum or Gu Gong in Chinese, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties lived and carried out their administration. Construction of the Forbidden City took 14 years (1406-1420) to complete. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares or 180 acres. It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
We conclude our sightseeing today with a visit to a hutong neighbourhood. Hutong refers to an ancient alleyway with siheyuan or ”4-sided courtyard house” on both sides. The name hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.). According to some experts, the word originated from the Mongolian language, in which it is pronounced as hottog and means “well.” In ancient times, people tended to gather and live around wells. So the original meaning of hutong should be “a place where people live around”.
Today we enjoy a delicious dinner at high-end Beijing roast duck restaurant.
Day 4/Sun: Beijing (B/L)
Morning sightseeing takes us to historic Jingshan Park for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from above. The park to the north of the Forbidden City was part of the imperial palace in the old days, serving the royal families as a convenient site for farming, recreation and ancestor worshipping. The man-made hill (46 meters above ground, 89 meters above sea level) overlooks the Forbidden City and provides a great spot for bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.
Next on our schedule is the Summer Palace, a well preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The imperial resort was first named Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860 during the Second Opium War (referred to as Arrow War by the British). Reconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895 when the name was changed to Yi He Yuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony). The design gives prominence to Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, south of the hill. The sprawling complex covers an area of 290 hectares and the buildings inside consist of over 3,000 bays.
Afternoon sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in southeastern Beijing the Temple of Heaven is China’s largest extant sacrificial temple where, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors conducted the elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed to “the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.” Construction of the temple started in 1406, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and took 14 years to complete. The temple was expanded under the Qing emperors Qianlong (1736-1796) and Jiaqing (1796-1820). Occupying 2.73 square kilometres (roughly 1,700 by 1,600 metres), the area of the Temple of Heaven is more than twice that of the Forbidden City.
The famous Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest of its kind in the world, sits right across from the Temple of Heaven. The market is recommended in various guidebooks as a good place to buy fresh water pearls, a market segment dominated by the Chinese. If you are interested, please ask the guide to drop you off there. However, you’ll need to get back to the hotel by taxi, which costs about 50 yuan or $8.
Day 5/Mon: Beijing (B/L)
Today we embark on a full-day excursion to the legendary Great Wall at Mutianyu, 75km northeast of the city. Zigzagging over 6,000 kilometres from east to west along the undulating mountains, the Great Wall was built to hold off tribal invaders from the north. Construction of the earliest sections of the Wall started in the 7th century B.C. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today in Beijing is almost exactly the result of this effort.
Day 6/Tue: Beijing – Xian (B/D)
Free morning to relax or explore on your own. We check out the hotel at noon and travel to Xian by the high-speed train. The four-hour-forty-minute rail journey cuts through fertile farmland dotted with villages, providing the visitor an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The track we travel on is part of the new 2,298 km high-speed railway connecting Beijing and Guangzhou, the longest high-speed rail line in the world. The Chinese for the past 20 years have been on a building spree expanding the country’s rail network and upgrading existing railways. This new rail service rivals France’s TGV and Japan’s “shinkansen” in terms of speed, comfort, cleanliness and onboard facilities.
Day 7/Wed: Xian (B/L/D)
Eastern terminus of the fabled Silk Road and one of the ancient capitals of China, Xian is home to the world famous Terracotta Army.
Morning visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Built on the excavation site, the museum is located 30km east of the city. Designed to follow the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) into eternity, the Terracotta Army represents one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th Century.
After lunch we return to the city for a stroll on the ancient city wall. The wall, declared national treasure by the State Council in 1961 under the premiership of Zhou Enlai, was started in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty, encircling an area of 14 square kilometres. The wall runs 13.7 kilometres long and measures 12 metres in height and 15 to 18 metres in thickness at the base.
Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner in the hotel.
Day 8/Thu: Xian (B/L)
Morning sightseeing begins with Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The modern, well-organized museum was completed in 1992 and traces the history of Xian from prehistory to Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The extensive galleries and exhibitions offer the visitor an excellent introduction to the area that greatly improves understanding of the numerous historical sites in and around the city.
We then visit the ancient grand mosque in the old town centre and the adjacent Muslim bazaar. The mosque was established in the 8th Century but the majority of the complex was constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was further expanded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, this mosque is completely Chinese in its architectural style. It has neither domes nor traditional style minarets.
Day 9/Fri: Xian – Guilin (B/L)
Free morning to explore on your own. We recommend Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. You can reach both by Subway Line 2, which has a stop right next door to our hotel. Bell Tower is 3 stops away (8 minutes). The pagoda is 7 stops away plus a short taxi ride at the other end which costs about 15 Yuan (less than $3).
Late afternoon flight to Guilin. A small city by Chinese standards, Guilin has long been renowned for its unique scenery. The name Guilin literally means “forest of sweet osmanthus”, owing to the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees in the city.
Day 10/Sat: Guilin (B/L)
We begin today with a five-hour cruise down the Li River, a key highlight of your China tour. The 83km stretch of the river between Guilin and Yangshuo affords breathtaking scenery as the river snakes through tall karst mountains, gigantic bamboo sprays, and picturesque villages — sights that have inspired countless poets and painters for generations.
We disembark in Yangshuo after lunch and drive back to Guilin, stopping by at a village en route. We wrap up the day with a quick tour of the scenic Fubo Hill (63 metres) located 2 km from the hotel.
For dinner, you will find all kinds of restaurants around the centrally located hotel. To avoid hassle and waste of time, please ask your local guide for advice.
Day 11/Sun: Guilin (B/L)
Enjoy a full-day hiking excursion to the terraced rice fields in Longji. Located 80km (2 hours drive) to the northwest of Guilin, Longji, meaning dragon back, is famous for its terraced rice fields. Because the villages at Longji are in the jurisdiction of Longsheng County, the tourist attraction is often collectively referred to as Longsheng Terraced Fields. The scenery is arguably at its best in early May during transplanting and in late September right before harvest when the fields turn golden.
Built by local farmers of different ethnic groups from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the mountainous fields cover a total area of 66 square kilometres, rising between 300 meters and 1,100 metres above sea level.
Day 12/Mon: Guilin – Chongqing (B/L/D)
Morning flight to Chongqing. Our city tour of Chongqing includes the zoo (giant pandas) and Stilwell Museum built on the site of the former U.S. military headquarters in China during World War II. We board Victoria Cruises’ Jenna (the newest among the U.S. cruise operator’s fleet of seven) after a delicious dinner of Sichuan cuisine.
Day 13/Tue: Yangtze Cruise (B/L/D)
At 6,380km the Yangtze is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world after the Nile and the Amazon. The most impressive section of the Yangtze is the Three Gorges stretching 119km.
On today’s shore excursion we visit a relocation village built for locals affected by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Please note that at the cruise line’s discretion the village visit may be substituted with Fengdu Ghost City. The Ghost City is a Buddhism and Taoism-themed tourist project rebuilt in the 1980s with extensive murals and sculptures depicting life in the Next World.
Day 14/Wed: Yangtze Cruise (B/L/D)
Admire nature’s grandeur while sailing through spectacular Wu Gorge (45km) and Qutang Gorge (8km). Later this morning we navigate Shennong Stream on a small vessel. Originating in the southern slopes of Shennongjia Nature Reserve, the crystal clear river twists and turns 66 kilometres through forested mountains before emptying into the mighty Yangtze. Please note this excursion may be replaced with a similar one on Daning River, another Yangtze tributary.
Day 15/Thu: Yichang – Wuhan (B/L/D)
Morning visit to the Three Gorges Dam site – the largest hydroelectric dam in the world with a reservoir stretching hundreds of kilometres upstream.
We disembark the ship around noon and travel to Wuhan by high-speed train (2 hours). Due to time constraint, we won’t have time for a proper lunch; instead, a lunch box would be provided for you to carry onto the train.
Afternoon sightseeing at a food market.
Day 16/Fri: Wuhan – Shanghai (B/L/D)
Our first stop this morning is Hubei Provincial Museum, one of the best of its kind in China. If we are lucky, we may get to watch a live performance by musicians using a set of bronze chime bells replicated from originals made two and half millennia ago. The museum visit is followed by a stroll along scenic East Lake nearby. We then proceed to Changchun Taoist Temple to learn about Taoism – the only native religion among all the major religions practised in China.
We board the high-speed train G600 (15:01/19:13) for Shanghai after lunch.
Day 17/Sat: Shanghai (B/L)
Our full-day walking tour begins with a stroll through an old but vibrant neighbourhood near our hotel. We then proceed to the magnificent Shanghai Museum with a huge collection of national treasures collected from around the country.
After lunch, we walk to Yu Garden in the old town centre. The last stop of our schedule is the Bund, a waterfront promenade famous for its landmark neoclassical buildings of European style. The skyline of the glitzy buildings across the river in Pudong looks better in late afternoon and certainly works better for your camera!
Day 18/Sun: Shanghai – Suzhou – Shanghai (B/L/D)
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Suzhou today. We must leave the hotel no later than 7:00 AM so that we can return to Shanghai early and avoid being caught up in heavy traffic on the way back.
Eighty kilometers to the northwest of Shanghai, ancient Suzhou is most famous for its gardens, canals and silk industry. In late 13th Century a Venetian named Marco Polo visited Suzhou and he was very impressed by what he saw. He vividly described the prosperous silk making trade and dubbed Suzhou Venice of the East due to the small waterways crisscrossing the city. Our schedule today takes in historic Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator’s Garden and a short cruise on the Grand Canal. If time permits, we’ll stop by the silk spinning mill before returning to Shanghai.
Tiger Hill has been a popular tourist destination for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, as is evident from the poetry and calligraphy carved into the rocks on the hill. The hill is so named because it is said to look like a crouching tiger. Another legend states that a white tiger appeared on the hill to guard it following the burial of King Helu. The highlight here is the brick pagoda constructed between 959 and 961 AD as part of Yun Yan Buddhist temple. Because of its unintended tilt to one side (2.34 meters off towards northeast), the pagoda is also called by some China’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, except this one is 200 years older than the bell tower in Italy.
The traditional Humble Administrator’s Garden is a masterpiece listed by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site with a style in sharp contrast with the Yu Garden of Shanghai.
Day 19/Mon: Shanghai – Home City (B)
Your memorable China tour ends today. Spend the morning packing and relaxing. Transfer to the airport to board return flight departing in the afternoon. Re-cross the International Date Line and arrive home the same day.
China Tour Testimonials
“I already had high expectations from reading testimonials and friends who had used Laurus. Our trip was even better than we expected. I travel a lot and this was one of my best trips. The guides are very attentive-especially one from Xian who helped retrieve a lost ATM card. Hotels were great and food delicious. I highly recommend Laurus. I wish they went to other countries besides China.”
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
“Hello Heidi, we arrived back from China on Wednesday, November 9th, after fulfilling a long-time dream to visit the land of my father’s birth.
We were fortunate to find your company on the internet and booked the 19 day China Odyssey Tour, plus 2 days in Hong Kong. I want to express a whole-hearted THANK YOU to you and the Laurus Travel team for facilitating what was our first guided trip and one that will remain as our most memorable. There were many things we appreciated about your organization; there were a variety of tour options available for China and other parts of Asia as well as the size of the group. When I contacted you earlier in the year, you were quick to respond and supplied the information requested by us and our two friends who travelled with us, with no pressure for us to book. You followed up when I asked you to and you were very helpful in arranging the flights not only with our preferred airline but were able to secure reduced seat pricing for us. You also obtained our China visas very quickly and saved us a lot of pre-trip leg work. The reminders and travel tips, you provided prior to leaving, were very helpful especially since we were leaving our home for a significant period. Thanks again.
Now, on to the trip itself. On our arrival in Beijing we were happy and relieved to see the Laurus flag being held high by our smiling taxi driver. He didn’t speak a whole lot of English, just enough to let us know where he was taking us. We didn’t know what to expect since this was our first to Asia and as mentioned before our first guided tour. The Sheraton hotel in Dongcheng, Bejing, was extremely well appointed and our stay was exceptional. We ventured out on our own as we arrived one day early and were surprised as to how little English was spoken in Bejing and our Mandarin was at best, laughable. By pointing to the picture of Tiananmen Square on the map, our taxi driver was able to get us there quickly in spite of the rain. Later, we made our way to the recommended South Beauty restaurant close to our hotel and managed to order dinner by pointing to the pictures on the menu. The four of us ate dinner for about 10 people! Every dish was absolutely delicious and spicy. We received a telephone call that evening from Jacob Wei, our extraordinary tour leader, who gave us instructions for the next morning (spoken in perfect English)! What a relief!
China is in one word—Majestic. The splendour of its vast landscape, culture, beautiful people (many), rich history and the mixing of the ancient, well preserved monuments and buildings with the modern sky scrapers, as we saw in every city, particularly Shanghai, certainly exceeded anything we imagined China would be. Photos or print cannot capture or duplicate the reverence one feels when walking on the iconic great wall or experiencing the splendour of the majestic Yangtze River. We woke at 3am to watch the ship go through one of the locks.
The local guides were exceptional and added great dimension to the tour, in particular David in Guilin who eloquently shared so much of the history with us and was able to offer insight on life in modern day China as well. We thoroughly enjoyed Elaine’s female perspective who guided us in Shanghai and yes, she told us where to find the good shops!
A special thank you goes to Jacob Wei, our exceptional and much beloved tour leader who travelled with us, on each leg of the China tour. He was not only very well versed in the history, politics and culture of China but showed true compassion and genuine care for our group. We always felt safe as we knew that he was looking out for us, no matter where we strayed, trying to get the perfect photo. We nicknamed him our “warrior”. It was difficult to say goodbye to him on leaving China; We extended an invitation to host him and his family, should he wish to visit our beautiful country.
Hong Kong was over the top opulent and breathtakingly beautiful. Quite the jaw dropping experience seeing so many tall buildings and the view from the Peak was incredible. We found a wonderful Italian restaurant and although we enjoyed all the delicious chinese dishes in China, we were craving some Italian pasta by this time. We enjoyed our sightseeing day with Alex. who was also very knowledgeable and was amazed at how warm the water was at Repulse Bay beach.
I have nothing but praise for Laurus Travel and the entire team for putting together an amazing tour which exceeded our expectations. Thanks for making my friend’s birthday memorable with a birthday cake at lunch. What a thoughtful touch! Another great aspect of this trip was the friendships we made with the wonderful group of people from Canada & USA who shared this experience with us. We will be more than happy to endorse your organization and hope to travel with you on our next trip to Asia in two years.”
masterfully planned China travel packages from 10 to 30 days.