Tour escorts & guides for some segments
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from October 2015 – May 2016|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Washington Dulles (IAD), Houston (IAH); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||The Great Wall at Badaling, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven with Tai Chi Lesson, Yu Garden|
|Themes||History & Culture|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, partially escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
|As Seen in|
If you thought that China, one of the world's most attractive and popular destinations, was too expensive to visit this year, think again! Check out our new tour to China including Beijing and Shanghai, with air service from either Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco or Washington D.C. Dulles.
Discover a wonderful mélange of impressive modern achievements within a rich and ancient culture, whose recorded history dates back 5,000 years. Start in Beijing, fabulous capital city of China, and visit the Great Wall. Then fly to Shanghai, often called the "Paris of the East". Spend a couple of days exploring this exciting city, or choose optional tour to Suzhou, the "city of gardens". Reserve your spot today, because at prices this low, our Beijing & Shanghai Express departures will sell out quickly!
To take full advantage of your visit to China, we offer a variety of optional excursions, which must be purchased locally. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers in various hotels—all our optional excursions are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. See our detailed itinerary below for full descriptions of each excursion.
This tour offers multiple departure airports. Please select a departure below to check availability.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Mon||Oct 19||2015||Tue||Oct 27||2015||$1699||$1399||Available|
|Mon||Oct 26||2015||Tue||Nov 3||2015||$1699||$1399||Available|
|Mon||Nov 2||2015||Tue||Nov 10||2015||$1649||$1349||Available|
|Mon||Nov 9||2015||Tue||Nov 17||2015||$1649||$1349||Available|
|Mon||Nov 16||2015||Tue||Nov 24||2015||$1599||$1299||Available|
|Mon||Nov 23||2015||Tue||Dec 1||2015||$1599||$1299||Available|
|Mon||Nov 30||2015||Tue||Dec 8||2015||$1549||$1249||Available|
|Mon||Dec 7||2015||Tue||Dec 15||2015||$1399||$1099||Closed|
|Mon||Jan 11||2016||Tue||Jan 19||2016||$1399||$1099||Closed|
|Wed||Jan 13||2016||Thu||Jan 21||2016||$1499||$1199||Available|
|Mon||Jan 18||2016||Tue||Jan 26||2016||$1399||$1099||Closed|
|Mon||Feb 1||2016||Tue||Feb 9||2016||$1549||$1249||Available|
|Mon||Feb 8||2016||Tue||Feb 16||2016||$1549||$1249||Available|
|Mon||Feb 29||2016||Tue||Mar 8||2016||$1599||$1299||Available|
|Mon||Mar 7||2016||Tue||Mar 15||2016||$1599||$1299||Available|
|Mon||Mar 14||2016||Tue||Mar 22||2016||$1599||$1299||Available|
|Mon||Mar 21||2016||Tue||Mar 29||2016||$1649||$1349||Available|
|Mon||Mar 28||2016||Tue||Apr 5||2016||$1649||$1349||Available|
|Mon||Apr 4||2016||Tue||Apr 12||2016||$1699||$1399||Available|
|Mon||Apr 11||2016||Tue||Apr 19||2016||$1699||$1399||Available|
|Mon||Apr 18||2016||Tue||Apr 26||2016||$1699||$1399||Available|
|Mon||Apr 25||2016||Tue||May 3||2016||$1749||$1449||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Beijing & Shanghai Express|
|China Visa Fee1|
|China Visa Fee for CA, AZ, NM, & HI residents (paid separately)||+$180|
|China Visa Fee for residents of all other states (paid separately)||+$195|
1. All visitors to China must obtain a visa. Comprehensive visa instructions will be included in your confirmation packet.
|Dec 7, Jan 18||unavailable|
|All other departures||included|
|Los Angeles (LAX)|
|Dec 7, Jan 18||unavailable|
|All other departures||included|
|San Francisco (SFO)|
|Dec 7, Jan 18, Mar 28, Apr 4||unavailable|
|All other departures||included|
|Washington Dulles (IAD)|
|Oct 19, Nov 2, Nov 9, Nov 16, Nov 23, Nov 30, Dec 7, Jan 13||unavailable|
|All other departures||included|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities.
Check approximate costs to depart from other U.S. cities.
Houston (IAH) passengers must check-in no later than 9 PM of the night before scheduled departure.
Transfers: Transfers for this tour are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA. Depart the USA aboard your Air China flight to Beijing.
Note: Passengers departing from Houston (IAH) will leave the USA just after midnight on the morning of the Tour Date (Day 1). You must check-in at the airport the night before!
Day 2: Arrive Beijing. Today arrive in Beijing, China’s historic and cultural capital. After passport control and customs, meet your guide and transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy your first night in China at leisure. Accommodations: Beijing International Hotel.
Day 3: Beijing. Today's tour begins at historic Tiananmen Square. The square was originally built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty and at 440,000 square meters, it is the largest open square in the world. It was here that the People's Republic of China was proclaimed by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949. Next, continue to the Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing where it served as the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and Qing Dynasties. Known as the Palace Museum today, its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, with 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. The Forbidden City is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage site in 1987. The rest of the day is at leisure, but we highly recommend that you take advantage of your expert guide and join our optional afternoon excursion to the Lama Tibetan Monastery and Beihai Park. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Lama Tibetan Monastery & Beihai Park with lunch, $35 (purchased locally). Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before proceeding to the Lama Tibetan Monastery, the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. The Monastery was once the official residence of the Qing Dynasty prince Yin Zhen, who became Emperor Yong Zheng in the year of 1723. His former residence was converted into a lamasery and became home to a number of monks from Mongolia and Tibet. Continue to picturesque Beihai Park which was once the site of Kublai Khan's palace and the original center of Beijing before the creation of the Forbidden City. The park is now a relaxing place to take a stroll, grab a snack, or watch calligraphers practicing Chinese characters.
Optional Excursion: Kung Fu & Peking Duck Dinner, $53 (purchased locally). Tonight, enjoy an optional Peking Duck dinner followed by the Legend of Kung Fu show, a special Shaolin Kung Fu stage performance that blends music, martial arts, and a moving story.
Day 4: Great Wall of China. Depart after breakfast on a full day included excursion to the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall follows a ridge of barren hills and stretches at least 13,000 miles. Construction of the Great Wall, which spanned more than two thousand years, began between the 7th and 6th century BC and continued through the Ming Dynasty. The wall was originally built of stone, wood, grass and earth, but during the Ming Dynasty, bricks were produced in kilns set up along the wall. The bricks were transported by men carrying them on their backs or by donkeys, mules and even goats. Next, enjoy a visit to a jade factory with lunch and some time for shopping. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Beijing. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore on your own. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of Beijing, close to major attractions, restaurants and shopping. Make the most of your time in China by joining our guided optional excursion to Beijing’s Hutongs, Summer Palace, and Panda Zoo. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Hutongs, Summer Palace & Panda Zoo with Lunch, $70 (purchased locally). For those who want to explore the way the Chinese live and have lived for centuries, a rickshaw ride through the intricate maze of Beijing's Hutongs is essential. These ancient, labyrinthine alleys are still an important feature in the urban landscape of Beijing, where houses along Hutongs still occupy one third of the total area, providing housing for half the population and providing yet another example of Beijing as an ancient yet modern city. Next, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by a visit to the Summer Palace, the quintessential Chinese garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site ranked among the most noted classical gardens of the world. Conclude your optional tour with a visit to the Panda Zoo, dedicated to the preservation of this endangered (and adorable) species of bear, of which only about 2000 remain in the wild.
Day 6: Beijing & Shanghai. This morning visit the most holy of Beijing's Imperial temples, the Temple of Heaven. Ancient Chinese Emperors came here to worship and pray for a good harvest, since a bad harvest could be interpreted as the Emperor's fall from heavenly favor and threaten the stability of his reign. The 6-meter-high walls surrounding the temple take a square shape to the south and a semi-circular one to the north, and the main buildings in the temple are circularly shaped. This architecturally unique pattern represents an ancient belief that heaven was round while earth was square. The whole complex, gorgeously painted and set off by thousands of pine and cypress trees, expresses a harmonious atmosphere as if heaven and earth are integrated into one. Here you will have the unique opportunity to meet a Tai Chi master who will present a stimulating lesson on this ancient martial art. Next, it’s off to a pearl store for some souvenir shopping before continuing to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China's most modern city. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Shanghai Ocean Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Shanghai. After breakfast, board your touring coach for an included visit to one of Shanghai's oldest attractions, the Yu Garden. The garden was originally constructed in the 16th century, but the current layout was part of a five-year restoration project which began in the 1950's. Next, enjoy some shopping at a silk store featuring a colorful collection of high quality silk products. The balance of the day is at leisure in Shanghai to explore on your own or join our optional guided tour to see more of Shanghai’s most important sights. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Shanghai City Tour with Lunch, $60 (purchased locally). Begin at the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art, which possesses a collection of 120,000 precious works. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramic and calligraphy is known throughout the world. Next, view the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a unique architectural addition to the Shanghai cityscape and one of the largest radio and TV towers in the world. Continue with a stroll along the Bund River waterfront exploring this historic area.
Optional Excursion: Dinner & Acrobatics Show, $35 (purchased locally). This evening, take advantage of an optional dinner followed by an exciting acrobatics show, featuring daring performances that are sure to have you sitting at the edge of your seat in amazement.
Day 8: Shanghai. Enjoy a full day at leisure in Shanghai to explore on your own. We suggest joining our optional guided excursion to Suzhou to see even more of this remarkable country. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Full Day Suzhou Tour with Lunch, $90 (purchased locally). Suzhou is China's well-known "city of gardens" where the art of gardening has evolved over more than 1,500 years. There were once over 200 gardens in the city, and an impressive 69 of them are still well-preserved today. You'll visit the Master of Nets Garden (1140 AD), which has been duplicated at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy a Rickshaw tour among the local streets and river banks. After a boat ride through Suzhou's lovely Grand Canal, stop for lunch at a local market and experience the sights and sounds of China first-hand. Round out your day at the Silk Reeling Factory and learn how silk is produced from the cocoons of silkworms and turned into the beautiful fabric we all know and love.
Day 9: Shanghai/USA. Today, bid farewell to China as you transfer to the airport for your flight back to the USA via Beijing. Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
I have just returned from a great trip to Shanghai and Beijing. Our local Shanghai guide, Tracy, was so gracious, charming and knowledgeable about everything. Our national guide, Peter, was very organized and efficient. He was able to adjust elements of the trip according to weather and traffic changes without missing anything. He kept a running commentary on all aspects of Chinese history and current life. We were very impressed with his ability to make us welcome and informed. He is the best I have encountered anywhere. I highly recommend this trip.
Ron Alexander, Beaumont, TX