This week-long tour, designed for families with children, covers the most famous cities in China: Beijing and Shanghai. Explore the treasures of the labyrinthian Forbidden City, hike the Mutianyu section of the iconic Great Wall, visit the Summer Palace by boat, and enjoy panoramic city views from the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Cap it off with a true family favorite: an epic day at Shanghai Disneyland.

Highlights

  • Explore the treasures of the 9,999-Room Forbidden City
  • Hike and Toboggan ride Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Explore the Summer Palace by boat and by foot
  • Get a bird's eye view of Shanghai from the Oriental Pearl TV Tower
  • Spend a day at Shanghai Disneyland

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Beijing Beijing
Day 2 Beijing City Tour and Peking Opera Makeup Beijing
Day 3 Great Wall Hiking and Toboggan - Mutianyu Beijing
Day 4 Beijing to Shanghai by Train Shanghai
Day 5 Shanghai City Tour Shanghai
Day 6 Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour Shanghai
Day 7 Shanghai Disneyland Shanghai
Day 8 Farewell from Shanghai  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

Beijing offers a mix of the old and the new | Photo taken by Shiru H
Beijing offers a mix of the old and the new | Photo taken by Shiru H

Upon arrival at Beijing, your private tour guide will warmly greet you at the airport and then transfer to your hotel in the Beijing city center. The remainder of the day is yours to rest and relax. For dinner, consider eating traditional dumplings and stroll Wangfujing, a vibrant shopping area with a variety of shops, eateries, and boutiques that is also home to one of Beijing's famous night markets. Be sure to sample tanghulu, sugar-coated skewers of fresh fruit.

Day 2: Beijing City Tour and Peking Opera Makeup

Visit iconic sights like Tian'anmen Square
Visit iconic sights like Tian'anmen Square

After a sound sleep and a good breakfast, your family will be picked up and drive to China’s most famous square: Tiananmen Square, which is the heart of Beijing and the world's largest city center square. From the iconic square, you can walk to the splendid Forbidden City. The Forbidden City, a walled city filled with national treasures, has a long history of more than 500 years. This UNESCO-listed site is not only China's largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings but also the largest palace complex in the world. Prepare to be wowed by the sheer number of buildings with red walls and golden roofs and listen to legendary stories from within the walls of this palatial imperial palace. Your children will enjoy climbing to the top of Jingshan Mountain, where you and your family will be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view of Forbidden City.

Later in this afternoon, you will visit a hutong (alleyway), the old quarters of Beijing that are comprised of siheyuans (courtyard homes), which once made up the majority of Beijing’s old city planning. While there, you will have fun learning to apply Peking Opera facial makeup.

In the evening, you will enjoy dinner and a show. Your guide will arrange you a delicious and special Peking duck dinner. A royal dish in ancient Beijing, Peking duck is a slow-roasted duck served with paper-thin pancakes, thinly sliced scallions and cucumbers, and drizzled with hoisin sauce. Afterwards, enjoy an exciting kungfu show.

Day 3: Great Wall Hiking and Toboggan - Mutianyu

Mutianyu Great Wall has a cable car, chair lift, and toboggan
Mutianyu Great Wall has a cable car, chair lift, and toboggan

Today, you will see one of world’s most important cultural and historical legacies: the Great Wall. Drive one-and-a-half hours to the Mutianyu Great Wall, a restored section of the wall that boasts majestic views of the Chinese countryside. Located in Huairou District within the city limits of Beijing, Mutianyu served as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. There are 22 watchtowers on this 7,381-foot (2,250 meter) section. When you arrive at Mutianyu, you take a ride on the cable car to the top or take a chair lift up. Along the way, enjoy the spectacular mountain view and get to know how this magnificent structure was made. When children walk through the worn-out beacon towers, they can imagine what an ancient war was like. Your family will enjoy a picnic lunch on the wall before departing down the wall via an adrenaline-fueled toboggan ride for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Overnight camping on the Great Wall is an option for adventurous families that enjoy the great outdoors.

In the afternoon, you will drive back to Beijing to see giant pandas at Beijing Zoo, which is home to 10 of the magical creatures.

Driving time: 90 minutes
Driving distance: 36 miles (58 km)

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Day 4: Beijing to Shanghai by Train

Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the Summer Palace
Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the Summer Palace

In the morning, you will drive to visit the Summer Palace to admire the peaceful lakes, gardens, and palaces dating back to the Qing Dynasty. This was the royal family’s formal residence during the hot summer months, and you'll quickly see why they chose this beautiful area in northwest Beijing to escape the heat. During your tour, you will take a boat ride on the picturesque Kunming Lake.

After a leisurely tour of the Summer Palace, you will transfer to the train station to catch a high-speed train to Shanghai. More than RMB220 billion was spent to build China's high-speed rail system—the largest in the world—that crisscrosses four provinces and travels up to 236 mph (380 kph).

Travel time: 4 hours and 18 minutes
Travel distance: 819 miles (1,318-km) 

Day 5: Shanghai City Tour

Take family portraits at the Bund
Take family portraits at the Bund

Today, your family will see both the historic and modern parts of the city. The day begins at the Bund, Shanghai's famous waterfront promenade, which is populated with colonial period and new-erect modern skyscrapers.

Then drive to the Central Business District to take an elevator ride to the top of the 1,841-foot (561.3 m) Oriental Pearl TV Tower for an amazing bird's eye view over Shanghai.
 
Next, you will have time to browse the chic boutiques and trendy cafes that line the leafy boulevards of the former French Concession. Later, you will be taken to the Shanghai Museum, which specializes in ancient artworks of China, Highlights of the 120,000 treasures in the museum's collection include bronze ware, china, calligraphy, and paintings.

Day 6: Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour

Zhujiajiao is a 1,700-year-old water town
Zhujiajiao is a 1,700-year-old water town

Today's itinerary includes a day-trip to the city's outskirts to Zhujiajiao, a 1,700-year-old ancient water town in Qingpu District. Take an educational and scenic boat tour to admire the dozens of ancient bridges and buildings that dot the riverbank.

After lunch, you will drive back to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you and your family to explore this bustling metropolis. Consider concluding the day by going to an acrobatics show. 

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving distance: 28.5 miles (46 km)

Day 7: Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland includes Adventure Isle, Pixar Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, and Treasure Cove
Shanghai Disneyland includes Adventure Isle, Pixar Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, and Treasure Cove

In the morning, drive to Shanghai Disneyland for a full day of fun at 'the most magical place on Earth.' The theme park, which opened in 2016, is the first Disney Park to incorporate Treasure Cove, a pirate-theme land and the only one to have a TRON rollercoaster ride. Your family will stay overnight at the enchanting Shanghai Disneyland Hotel or the whimsical Toy Story Hotel, both are adjacent to the park.

Driving time: 40 minutes
Driving distance: 18.5 miles (30 km)

Day 8: Farewell from Shanghai

Shanghai is China's financial hub | Photo taken by Gary C
Shanghai is China's financial hub | Photo taken by Gary C

On the morning of your departure, you will be picked up from your hotel in Shanghai and transferred to the airport for your departure home or to your next destination. 
 

Map

Map of Family Trip to Beijing and Shanghai - 8 Days
Map of Family Trip to Beijing and Shanghai - 8 Days