This 8-day tour to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai shows off China's highlights at a relaxed and comfortable pace. Start in Beijing to see Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China, then continue to Xi'an to see the Muslim Quarter and the Terracotta Warriors. End your trip in metropolitan Shanghai to see the modern Bund waterfront, ancient Yu Gardens, and historic French Concession.


  • Hike the 7th-century Great Wall of China, one of the 7 Wonders of the World
  • Tour Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing
  • See the 7,000+ figures of the Qin Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an
  • Explore old architecture in Yu Garden and modern skyscrapers on the Bund in Shanghai

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival / Beijing Beijing
Day 2 Beijing city tour to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace Beijing
Day 3 Guided tour to Mutianyu Great Wall, Chang Tomb, and Sacred Road Beijing
Day 4 Beijing / Xi'an Xi'an
Day 5 Guided Xi'an Tour - Terracotta Army Xi'an
Day 6 Visit the Ancient City Wall and fly to Shanghai Shanghai
Day 7 Guided Shanghai tour Shanghai
Day 8 Shanghai / Exit  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival / Beijing

Temple of Heaven in Beijing
Temple of Heaven in Beijing

Welcome to Beijing! A tour representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Settle in, then in the evening visit Wangfujing Street for dinner and drinks. 

Day 2: Beijing city tour to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace

Walls of the Forbidden City
Walls of the Forbidden City

Start your full day tour at historic Tiananmen Square, site of the famous 1989 protest and the central location for most current-day national ceremonies. From the square, you can walk to the adjacent Forbidden City for a full-day tour. Situated in the middle of Beijing, it is protected by high walls and a moat on all four sides. 

The largest imperial palace is most notable for its high red walls and the vast complex of golden-roofed buildings. For a fully immersive experience, join a famous Rickshaw Hutong Tour & Local Family Visit to see the hutongs—traditional alleyways—that characterize Beijing's old city. The rickshaw ride is a unique opportunity to see an old way of life and experience traditional Beijing culture, as well as to see the dramatic changes to the city's architecture through the centuries.

Your last stop for the day is the Summer Palace, a relaxing garden oasis used by the Royal Family to escape the summer heat. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Day 3: Guided tour to Mutianyu Great Wall, Chang Tomb, and Sacred Road

Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
Mutianyu section of the Great Wall

Head out for a private guided tour of the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, a stone and earthen fortification and a symbol of China's history and heritage.  The Mutianyu section of the wall is easily accessible from the Beijing city center and is popular with tourists. Built in the 7th century and repaired many times to protect the Chinese empire from invaders, the wall is an iconic part of China's history. Take the cable car up to the wall and then walk down as you enjoy views of the surrounding hills.

From here continue to Chang Tomb, the tomb of Emperor Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty and his wife Empress Xu. Chang is an underground tomb, the first and biggest of the Ming tombs and is similar in architectural style to the Imperial Palace. Head to the top of the Chang Tomb to take a look at the other 12 Ming Tombs. 

Leading from the tombs, the Sacred Road was regarded as the "road to Heaven". The highlights here are the twelve pairs of animal stone sculptures and twelve pairs of human sculptures which line the road. 

Plan your trip to China
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Beijing / Xi'an

Bullet train from Beijing to Xi'an
Bullet train from Beijing to Xi'an

Transfer to the train station to catch a high-speed train to Xian, then transfer to your hotel. Visit Moslem Street in the Muslim Quarter of the city, located next to the Drum Tower, where a vibrant local market offers a wide selection of Chinese and Muslim food, goods, and gifts. 

Day 5: Guided Xi'an tour to Terracotta Army, Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell Tower, and Drum Tower

Terra-cotta Warriors
Terra-cotta Warriors

Today you will visit the legendary Qin Terracotta Warriors, an army of more than 7,000 figures which guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. The incredible testament to Chinese military power was buried along with the emperor in 210-209 BCE and discovered by local farmers in 1974. 

Afterward, drive back to the city and visit the Wild Goose Pagoda, which was built during the Tang Dynasty to store Buddhist scriptures from India. Tour the Bell Tower and Drum Tower, both symbols of Xian's history, then head out for dinner downtown. 

Day 6: Visit the Ancient City Wall and fly to Shanghai

Nanjing Road at nighttime
Nanjing Road at nighttime

In the morning visit the Ancient City Wall of Xi'an to see the most complete city wall system left in China. Learn about the history and battles fought along the wall, which was used in one of the largest ancient military defense systems in the world. Continue to the Shanxi Historical Museum to see local and national treasures and history. In the afternoon head to the airport to catch a flight to Shanghai

Transfer to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening exploring the vibrant cosmopolitan city center of Shanghai. 

Day 7: Guided city tour to Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Yu Garden, The Bund, and the former French Concession

City Temple of Shanghai in the Old Town
City Temple of Shanghai in the Old Town

Start your city tour at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the best place for a panoramic view of the city, then continue to the 400-year-old Yu Garden and explore the Yangtze Delta architecture of the pavilions, halls, ponds, and cloisters of this serene city oasis. 

Later take a walk on Nanjing Road and The Bund to enjoy modern day life in Shanghai. End your day with an elevator ride up to the TV Tower for a panoramic view of the metropolitan city. 

In the evening visit the French Concession, a pedestrian street with a traditional Shanghai Shikumen architectural style to enjoy shopping and dinner. 

Day 8: Shanghai / Exit

Bund Waterfront in downtown Shanghai
Bund Waterfront in downtown Shanghai 

Spend some free time in the morning finishing up last-minute shopping or sightseeing before transferring to the airport for your departing flight home. Safe travels! 


Map of China Golden Triangle Tour - 8 Days
Map of China Golden Triangle Tour - 8 Days
Written by Max Yang, updated Feb 18, 2021