Your Dream Journey Bespoke China: A Custom Journey Through the Middle Kingdom

Andrew Harper Travel Journey Overview

Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Yangshuo, Shanghai

Duration: 14 Days

Starting at: $10,292

This journey is a pioneering mix of the classic and the remote, fully capturing China in all its complexity. Explore its pulsating cities and essential ancient treasures, and journey far into the remote countryside to meet tribal peoples practicing their traditional ways of life. Through our partner, Asia Transpacific Journeys, an Andrew Harper Travel advisor will be your guide to explore one of the world’s oldest and greatest civilizations during its current seismic cultural uplift.

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Upon entering the Arrival Hall meet your private driver and transfer to your centrally located, luxury hotel for check-in with the remainder of the evening at your leisure. Take in the sights of Beijing and see why the city is China's administrative, financial and political capital, rivaled only by Shanghai. Despite all this new development, the old Beijing of the emperors and the mandarins still lurks just beneath the surface.

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Late this morning meet your English-speaking guide and depart on an afternoon exploration of the city focusing on the city's traditional neighborhoods on foot and by bicycle rickshaw. Traveling through fast disappearing traditional neighborhoods, allows you to see what the entire city once looked like, and what the old way of life was like. Afterwards, visit Liulichang Street and explore the antique shops. It's a nice spot for a late afternoon stroll. Return to the hotel late this afternoon with evening at leisure.

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Following breakfast reconvene with your English guide and depart on a full day exploration of Beijing beginning with Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing and the largest public square in the world. You will likely see families flying kites, elderly people taking walks and other aspects of everyday life. Walk through the Gate of Heavenly Peace and enter the Forbidden City—the seat of power for emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. End your exploration of the Forbidden City with a short climb to the summit of Jinshan Hill for lovely views  and the surrounding imperial gardens where locals gather to fly kites and practice tai chi and then enjoy lunch. This afternoon visit the Temple of Heaven, where the former emperors prayed for good harvests.

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After breakfast depart Beijing on a full-day excursion to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, located 50 miles northeast of the city with your English speaking guide. Spend the day exploring the wall, enjoying the superb natural beauty of the area based on your interests and suggestions of the guide including hikes ranging from one to several hours. Returning to Beijing this afternoon, stop along the way to visit the Ming Tombs, also known as Shisan Ling (Thirteen Tombs). This is in a charming area of rolling countryside dotted with tombs, small villages and farms.

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Succeeding breakfast, take your private transfer to the airport for the flight to Chengdu. It has half the population of Shanghai, but twice the number of tea houses, and a visit to one is a window into the life of the locals. The streets are narrow, lively and lined with trees and old houses, providing the perfect setting for leisurely tea houses and flower shops. Continue with a visit to the Wuhou Temple and Wenshu Temple. Next, you will visit Jinli Street, in the heart of the Old City, lined with cafes, stores and artisan workshops. It is an excellent introduction to street food and local specialties including Sichuan dim sum and hot pot.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a 5-star accommodation. Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor for more information.


Early this morning depart Chengdu on the one hour journey to the newly developed Dujiangyan Panda Valley. Arriving early, walk around the panda areas to see them when they are most active. Afterwards begin the "Panda Keeper" program. This opportunity allows the lucky visitor to experience and enjoy close contact with the giant pandas and learn about the wilderness-training program. With Chinese staff members take care of the pandas, including cleaning the panda areas, preparing the panda's food and feeding them. This afternoon, return to Chengdu stopping at the ancient town of Jiezi where you will witness Guangyan Buddhist Temple, primary forests, and ancient stone pagodas.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a 5-star accommodation. Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor for more information.

Day 7 XIAN

Following a leisurely breakfast, you will be transferred to the train station for the short journey to Xian, the ancient capital of China, which has witnessed the rise and fall of 14 imperial dynasties over two millennia. After arriving to your hotel and getting settled, explore Xian's Old City and the Muslim quarter, passing narrow streets lined with mud brick houses. The area is also home to traditional restaurants, shops and the Great Mosque.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a 5-star accommodation. Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor for more information.

Day 8 XIAN

Partake in a full-day exploration of Xian beginning with the renowned Terracotta Warriors, found in the tomb of China's first emperor, Qinshihuang. Then visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. This museum is considered to be one of the best in the world and is as complex as it is striking. There are Tang dynasty-style pavilions, housing a collection of 113,000 historic and cultural artifacts unearthed in Shaanxi Province. This visit includes special, exclusive access to the underground frescos which are not normally open to the public. From the museum continue next door to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The pagoda was built in 648 and stands in the middle of the Temple of Great Eternal Grace.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a 5-star accommodation. Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor for more information.


In the morning, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Guilin and explore the Li River that has been an inspiration to Chinese poets and artists throughout the centuries. On arrival meet your English-speaking guide and depart on the two hour drive to Yangshuo, located in the heart of the Li River Valley. Early this evening pick up from the hotel and enjoy the Liu Sanjie Evening Show, held just south of town. The epic performance was designed and directed by Zhang Yimou, director of the film Hero and the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a 5-star accommodation. Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor for more information.


Spend the morning exploring Moon Hill, a very unique natural formation that is a must-see in the area. If you have the energy, climb the 819 steps to the top of Moon Hill, affording a bird's-eye-view of the surrounding hills. Take a close look at the "Moon" which used to be the underground river channel. Next, visit Xingping, an ancient town where locals have been living along the ancient street for many generations. Visit the old houses and rice noodle factory in Xingping. Then drive along the old Chinese "Pony Express Road" to the small town of Fuli, with a history of 1,000 years and a population of only about 4,000. End the day viewing the Dragon Bridge before a private bamboo raft trip on the Yulong River, one of the tributaries of the Li River, considered to be one of the most beautiful rivers in China.

Enjoy an overnight stay at a 5-star accommodation. Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor for more information.


Late this morning pick up from the resort and transfer back to the Guilin Airport for the afternoon flight to Shanghai. Once China's den of iniquity, this seductive city was established by Europeans in the mid-19th century to facilitate their trade in opium, silk and tea. A Buck Rogers-esque, science fiction-style architecture defines much of Shanghai's unique new skyline, with flying saucers, orbs on pinnacles and glass skyscrapers towering over the more moderately scaled structures of bygone eras.

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Begin your day with a walking tour of Shanghai's French Concession. In Shanghai, the French Concession is the most famous of these districts. The Concession once covered an area extending from the Bund to Xiangyang Road. Explore the streets, take shade under the parasol trees, discover the old residences and take a break in some of the city's trendiest restaurants and bars. Spend the morning and early afternoon exploring the area including some of the most iconic and famous, historic residences as well as the surprisingly interesting Arts & Crafts Museum and the Shikumen Openhouse Museum which showcases and presents Shanghai life. End the day with a visit to the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world and enjoy panoramic, late afternoon views of the city from the Observatory on the 118th floor.

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This morning reconvene with your guide and continue on a full day exploration of Shanghai. Visit Yu Garden and the zigzag Bridge of Nine Turnings. Surrounding the center garden is the City God Temple Bazaar. From antiques to inexpensive souvenir toys, there is little that cannot be had at this bazaar. It is locally famed for delicious and inventive snacks, especially bao. In the afternoon, visit the Shanghai Museum which contains the finest collection of imperial and colonial relics in mainland China. Or enjoy an afternoon stroll along The Bund, the city's original financial center and a busy bustling harbor.

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Day 14 Departure

This morning you will be transferred to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport and check in for your international flight departure.

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Prices are per person, based on two people sharing, except where noted. Room categories, dates of travel and change to services will affect the price. Dollar conversions shown will fluctuate throughout the year. Contact the Andrew Harper Travel Office to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.