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China Discovery Small Group Tour

CHINA: China Discovery Tour - 18 days
Enqiries Welcome

Destinations: CHINA: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Yangshuo, Longsheng, Shanghai (Suzhou & Tongli) Yangtze River Cruise

Tour Grading MODERATE: Suitable for travellers with an average level of fitness and mobility

Tour Commences In: Beijing

Number of Days: 18 days / 17 nights

Accommodation: Luxury / Deluxe

Leaders: Australian Tour Manager and professional expert local guide

Tour Concludes In: Shanghai

Tour Style: Luxury / Deluxe Escorted Small Group Tour

Meals: Breakfasts; 17: Lunches; 12: Dinners; 12:

Transportation: Luxury / Deluxe private chauffeur driven air-conditioned vehicles

Tour Summary

Be captivated by the best of the Middle Kingdom. Enjoy amazing experiences, a unique cultural and nsider interactions during tour. We will share a host of extraordinary moments in both ancient and modern China on this China Discovery Tour.

Discover the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City in the heart of the cultural and political capital of China, Beijing. Ride in a rickshaw and tour a kitchen of a famous restaurant. Visit food & other markets and be impressed with the wonderful city’s burgeoning contemporary art scene precinct.

Xian with a history beyond belief; it was the ‘start’ of the ‘silk road’. Then marvel at the legacy of the army of terracotta warriors, it truly is amazing.

Discover the landscape of limestone peaks and rice paddies and the beauty of the Li River, and be in awe when you visit the scenic rice terraces of Longsheng and meet the local ethnic people of Yangshou. 

Savor some of Suzhou's remarkable UNESCO World Heritage gardens and enjoy a ‘gondola’ cruise in a local water village.

Don’t be too overwhelmed by the buzz of the dynamic and exciting cityscape of Shanghai. It's glitzy and smart and one of our most favourite cities. It has a wonderful history, great museums, shopping spaces, parks, and wonderful dinning.

Join us and share our passion and discover why China is truly breath-taking.


Tour Highlights

  • Experience Tiananmen Square and be in awe of the largest square in the world
  • Be in awe of the spectacular Great Wall at Mutianyu & its breath- taking grandness as the world’s largest military structure
  • Be overwhelmed in the Forbidden City and explore the complicated royal life of the Ming and Qing emperors
  • Be entranced whilst trying to comprehend the cosmic harmonies of the Temple of Heaven and the Ancient heavenly
  • worshipping and sacrificial ceremonies
  • Be delighted at the Emperors holiday resort - the exquisite Summer Palace - a playground for the imperial court
  • Be captivated with a rickshaw-ride as you weave your way through the Hutongs
  • Spend twilight in the Lake District
  • Visit the famous Pearl Market (a must for all shoppers
  • Be impressed by the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, designed to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by a travelling monk
  • Be in awe of The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The tomb of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang
  • Visit the Grand Mosque see the fusion of both Middle Eastern and traditional Chinese architectural styles
  • This evening be entertained at the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show
  • Be impressed by Xian’s ancient city wall, one of the few well-preserved city walls in China
  • Be adventurous and rent a bicycle and traverse along the top of the wall’s perimeter for the finest views of this historic city
  • Cruise along the Li River and soak up the beauty and serenity of this amazing picturesque landscape
  • Explore the scenic back roads, amongst lush rice paddies shaded by limestone pinnacles
  • Visit the amazing Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces that stretch layer upon layer up the mountain
  • Meet some of the ethnic minorities of the Zhuang and Yao nationalities that live here, the Yao women well known for their very long hair.
  • Experience the Bund early in the morning and be amazed by the symbols of new Shanghai
  • Explore the Yu garden & markets
  • Be overwhelmed by the staggering collection of artefacts on display at the famous Shanghai Museum
  • Visit the fascinating Shanghai Urban Planning Centre
  • Enjoy a spectacular and breath-taking performance of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe
  • Tour the World Financial Centre Tower the sixth tallest tower in Asia and with-in it the highest hotel in the world
  • Walk & shop the delightful French Concession and enjoy the highlights of Shanghai’s international lifestyle
  • Be entranced  watching the embroideriers at the embroidery museum in Suzhou
  • Enjoy fabulous fine dining with wonderful cuisine and regional delicacies including magnificent Peking Duck.


Boutique Special Dining:

Enjoy fabulous fine dining with wonderful cuisine and regional delicacies

  • Dine on a sumptuous Peking Duck Banquet at our Welcome Dinner
  • We have Lunch at a special place at the summer Palace
  • Spend twilight enjoying cocktails and dinner in the delightful Lake District
  • Enjoy a fabulous lunch at the Great Wall
  • Enjoy cocktails and snacks in this magical fine dining restaurant followed by a very special Kitchen Tour
  • Be entertained at lunch watching noodle making
  • Witness a Tang dynasty performance while dining on a Tang Dynasty Special Menu
  • Enjoy cocktails and a delicious dinner whilst overlooking Peoples Park
  • Dine at the restaurant where the Queen and Bill Clinton have
  • Enjoy amazing views of Shanghai’s skyline during your fabulous 

Tour Inclusions

  • Private international & domestic airport arrival and departure transfers for all guests
  • Domestic Flights -Economy Class: Beijing / Xian – Xian / Shanghai
  • (Price and availability for upgrade available on request)
  • 5 & 4 Star Modern & Boutique Hotels
  • Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • Meals as indicated in Itinerary; B = Breakfast: L=Lunch: D=Dinner:
  • Chauffeur driven luxury air-conditioned private vehicles for all transfers & sightseeing
  • Fully escorted by our experienced professional tour guide
  • Entrance fees to sights, monuments, shows and activities as per the Itinerary
  • Bottled water when travelling in vehicle
  • An exclusive information travel package 

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1:   Monday:   Beijing:
  • Day 2:   Tuesday:   Beijing:
  • Day 3:   Wednesday:   Beijing:
  • Day 4:   Thursday:  Beijing:
  • Day 5:   Friday:   Beijing:
  • Day 6:   Saturday:  Beijing – Xian:
  • Day 7:   Sunday:   Xi’an:
  • Day 8:   Monday:   Xi’an – Guilin:
  • Day 9  Tuesday:   Guilin – Li River – Yangshuo:
  • Day 10:   Wednesday:   Yangshuo – Guilin:
  • Day 11:   Thursday:   Guilin – Lonsheng – Guilin:
  • Day 12:   Friday:   Guilin – Shanghai:
  • Day 13:   Saturday:   Shanghai:
  • Day 14:   Sunday:   Shanghai Suzhou, Tongli, Shangahi:
  • Day 15:   Monday:  Shanghai -  Chongqing:
  • Day 16:   Tuesday: Yangtze River Cruise
  • Day 17:    Wednesday: Yangtze River Cruise
  • Day 18:    Thursday: Yiching - Shanghai

Country Information


All our hotels are excellent four and five star boutique hotels. We highly recommend our hotels as they have excellent services and facilities. All rooms have modern facilities, private bathrooms with double or twin beds.

Climate & Clothing:

The best time to travel to China is in spring and autumn; March to May and mid August to November. The majority of rain falls in the summer months, whilst the coldest period is January to February. The general rule is to bring comfortable clothing including lightweight cottons for the warmer months and warmer clothing for the cooler months. Comfortable walking shoes are essential as is a light waterproof jacket. We provide a detailed packing list to all our guests prior to departure.

Currency & Money Matters:

Chinese currency is known as RENMINBI (RMB) and the basic unit is the YUAN (made up 100 Fen). It is similar to the Australian system where $1=100cents. The current exchange rate is approximately $1.00 = 5.00 yuan. We recommend that you take a combination of cash, credit cards and travellers’ cheques. Major foreign credit cards are acceptable in designated shops, hotels and large restaurants.


The electrical current in China is 220 volts AC. 50Hz. There are about four electric plug types with the most common plug being a two narrow pin type A, type C, type I.


You must obtain Comprehensive Travel Insurance as a condition of travelling with Boutique Tours & Travel. We recommend that you purchase insurance at the time of Booking. Boutique Tours & Travel is able to arrange your Travel Insurance.


The official Chinese language is Mandarin (or Putonghua). There are also numerous dialects spoken throughout different parts of China.


Our hotels offer a wonderful selection of dishes at their buffet breakfasts with a wide variety of both menu and venue for lunches and evening


Medical Services & Facilities:

Our hotels have access to a doctor if required. They can also assist guests with purchasing of medicine. The international hospitals in China are very good and have western trained medical and surgical specialists. Dental care is also available.

Passports & Visas:

To enter China you require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry and with at least two blank pages. A visa is required for most guests and will be organised prior to departure. Contact BT&T to arrange this.

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation:

Boutique Tours & Travel suggests that you may like to arrive a day before the start of your tour to allow time to relax and refresh. You are also very welcome to linger longer after the tour is completed.

Boutique Tours & Travel has negotiated special overnight rates at this hotel for both pre and post tour accommodation. Please ask for details at time of booking. Local tour guides are also available on request.

Solo Traveller:

We welcome single travellers and we are able to arrange single accommodation. We negotiate strongly to keep single supplements at a reasonable cost. If you wish to share a room, we will endeavour to match you with another single guest and adjust the costs accordingly and refund any costs after you return home. We accept no responsibility for the suitability of a room partner.

Special Requests:

Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs or any other arrangement should be advised at time of booking. Please note that every effort will be made to secure your special request; however, they cannot always be guaranteed.

Time Zone: 

Despite the size of the country, standard time throughout China. GMT +8.

Tour Group:

Our small group tours provide you with a good balance of group activity and personal discovery.


We generally use modern luxury Cars and minibuses for tours. We also walk where and when it’s suitable.

Water & Beverages:

Our hotels offer bottled water and bottled water is provided throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this tour


  • Imperial Palaces of the Ming  & Qing Dynasties in Beijing (1987)
  • Summer Palace & Imperial  Garden Beijing (1998)
  • Temple of Heaven: an  Imperial Sacrificial Alter in  Beijing (1998)
  • The Great Wall (1987)
  • Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (1987)
  • The Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin (1996)

Full Itinerary

Day 1:   Saturday:   Beijing:   (SD)

Ni hao & welcome to China. You will be met by our VIP staff and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you may have free time to explore Beijing.  Dinner this evening is delicious Peking Duck.


Day 2:   Sunday:   Beijing:   (B/L)

Today be in awe as we ‘soak-up’ the atmosphere that is China as we explore some of the world’s most famous sites beginning with a walk through Tiananmen Square; built on the orders of Mao Zedong. It is the largest public square in the world and is said to have the capacity to hold over one million people. For those who wish to, we can visit Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum. We continue through the beautiful Gates of Heavenly Peace and enter the splendid Forbidden City; the renowned Chinese Imperial Palace with traditional Ming and Qing dynasty architecture. It contains 9,999 rooms and large courtyards and is known as the city within a city. Visit the Emperor's clock collection and the Qing Dynasty Jewellery, Robes and Relic collection “Zhen Bao Hall”(which Westerners rarely see).

It was once the sole preserve of the Chinese Emperors from which the Emperor’s ruled the land for over 500 years.

This afternoon you may wish to join a cooking class (extra cost) or shop at the markets. 

This evening you have the option to attend the Peking Opera or the Kongfu Show in the Red Theatre or linger longer over dinner.


Day 3:   Monday:   Beijing:   (B/L/D)

Today travel to the delightful Summer Palace - a former imperial summer resort with the largest and the best preserved of all Imperial Gardens. Admire the amazingly vast and beautiful landscape of elegant gardens, lakes, pavilions, the Long Corridor and the Marble Boat. Enjoy a private cruise on Lake Kunming to view this magnificent site. This afternoon explore the alleyways - “Hutong” by riding in a traditional rickshaw and visit a traditional courtyard family to catch a close-up glimpses of local life. Optional cooking lesson available.

Day 4:   Tuesday:   Beijing:   (B/L)

This morning we journey to the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China at Mutianyu located North East of Beijing in Huai Rou County. This section of the "The Wall" is about 75 KM from the centre of Beijing is one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall. Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. Walk along the wall admiring the panoramic views and reflect on the enormity of the material and labour required for the construction of the Wall. Its just amazing.

After lunch we drive back to the Silk and Pearl Markets for those who wish to continue shopping or return to your hotel.


Day 5:   Wednesday:   Beijing:   (B/L/D)

This morning tour the spectacular Tiantan Park, within it is the Temple of Heaven, a magnificent example of 15th century mechanics and geometry whose design that follows strict numerological symbolism. This is the best preserved and largest sacrificial building complex in the world. It includes the Altar of Heaven, the Imperial Heavenly Vault and the spectacular Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. This afternoon is at your leisure. you may wish to return to the pearl market or perhaps visit an Art Gallery.

This evening, enjoy a relaxing evening with a spectacular view of the South Gate.


Day 6:   Thursday:   Beijing – Xian:   (B/D)

This morning we transfer to the airport for your flight to Xi’an. Along the way, stop off at a local 'wet market' and shop with the locals.  Xian is one of China’s oldest cities and is the starting point of the Silk Road, it possesses a rich mix of culture and people. On arrival, en route to the hotel, we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, designed to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by a travelling monk. This evening enjoy a traditional Dumpling Banquet.

Day 7:   Friday:   Xi’an:   (B/L/D)

Today’s highlight is one of the most spectacular and memorable places in China and one of their most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The tomb of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang being buried for over 2000 years; was unearthed accidentally in 1974 by farmers digging a well.This sight is truly a breath-taking experience. Lunch is at a famous local restaurant. This afternoon, we explore the old city, an interesting fusion of both Middle Eastern and traditional Chinese architectural styles. We visit the Grand Mosque were you can enjoy a moment of reflection. This evening, be entertained at the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show.

Day 8:   Saturday:   Xi’an – Guilin:   (B/L)

Sight seeing this morning features Xian’s ancient city wall, one of only a few well-preserved city walls in China. Perhaps you may like to rent a bicycle and traverse along the top of the wall’s perimeter for the finest views of this historic city; it’s an unforgettable experience .Then we visit the Provincial History Museum. After enjoying lunch at a famous Cantonese restaurant, we transfer to the airportfor our flight to Guilin.

Day 9:   Sunday:   Guilin – Li River – Yangshuo:   (B/L/D)

Today’s highlight is a cruise excursion along the Li River that will take you to Yangshuo. Upon arrival, stroll along the west street, have a short cycling trip around the village (electric car is an alternative) and pay a visit to a villager’s home en route. Cycling along the lane through the village, savour the breathtaking scenic countryside. This short bicycle tour will be a memorable part of your China tour.

Day 10:   Monday:   Yangshuo – Guilin:   (B/L/D)

Later this morning, drive back to Guilin and visit the Seven Star Park, the Elephant Trunk Hill and the Reed Flute Cave, which is also one of the city’s most famous sights with its multicoloured lighting and fantastic stalagmites and stalactites

Day 11:   Tuesday:   Guilin – Longsheng – Guilin:   (B/L)

Today we visit the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces north of Guilin. Located high on a mountain side, these were first cultivated in the 13th century and are an amazing site stretching layer upon layer up the mountain. The Zhuang and Yao nationalities live here, the Yao women well known for their very long hair. Lunch will be in Pingan Village. You will have the option of walking between scenic lookout points behind the village, well worth it for the views.

Day 12:   Wednesday:   Guilin – Shanghai:   (B)

Morning flight to Shanghai. On arrival, we visit the tranquil Yu Gardens with its winding alleyways lined with shops tea-houses and restaurants.  This evening enjoy the spectacular and breath-taking performance of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. 

Day 13:   Thursday:   Shanghai:   (B/L/SD)

This morning, walk though an old market then one of Shanghai’s last ‘longtangs’ or ‘hutongs’ and mingle with the locals.  We visit the amazing Shanghai Urban Planning Centre then onto the awe-inspiring Shanghai Museum. We then travel to the French Concessions lined with shops, tea houses and restaurants. Later this afternoon enjoy a spectacular view of Shanghai from its tallest building.

This evening enjoy dinner in a special place.

Day 14:   Friday:   Shanghai:   (B/D)

It’s an early start this morning; we are off to Tongli. Here, perhaps take a gondola ride and experience the charm of Tongli’s waterways. You have free time to browse and wander the cobbled stone streets and arched stone bridges and reflect on this amazing journey.   We then drive to Suzhou, famous for its silk and its UNESCO heritage listed classical Chinese Gardens. We’ll enjoy a private tour of one of these famous gardens and then it’s onto learning about silk manufacturing at the Silk Museum followed by a visit to the Embroidery Institute. Both have an extensive range of silk products for sale.   Later this afternoon we return to Shanghai. Dinner this evening is within an historic Park.


Day 15:   Saturday:   Shanghai - Chongqing:   (B)

Today we depart Shanghai and fly to Chongqing, gateway to the Yangtze River. Visit the Panda House in Chongqing Zoo. After dinner, check in at the deluxe German-made cruise ship for your Cruise down the mighty Yangtze River.


This tour concludes after breakfast. At your leisure before transferring to the airport for your onward or homebound journey.


DAY16:    Sunday:    Yangtze River Cruise:   (B/L/D)

After breakfast the river guide will give you a brief introduction of the cruise and the schedule. Unforgettable scenery unfolds as we cruise through the fabled Three Gorges. Later, disembark and visit the ‘Ghost City’ of Fengdu County. It is believed that every soul is judged in the Ghost City after death, you can learn a lot about the culture of ghosts in China here. There is a plethora of demon-decorated temples, buildings and statues found in this river town. Wonder by the artisanship of ancient craftsman and the unique style of architecture.

The Captain's Welcome Party will be held on board the boat tonight.


DAY 17:    Monday:    Yangtze River Cruise:    (B/L/D)

Today you will travel the most unique scenic stretch of the Yangtze as we sail through Qutang Gorge, the shortest and narrowest and Wu Gorge, from where you will you will disembark for an excursion to Daning River or Shennong Stream. The crystalline waters, verdant forests and stunning riverine gorges provide an incredible backdrop for an amazing experience aboard traditional sampans. Then sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest and renowned for the numerous shoals, swift currents and grotesque peaks and on to the Three Gorges ship locks. The ship will pass the Five Level Ship Lock of the Three Gorges Dam.


Day 18:    Tuesday:     Yichang – Shanghai:    (B/L)

This morning enjoy an excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Project and learn about this immense engineering masterpiece and what it means for the Chinese people and the Yangtze. The Three Gorges Project is the world’s largest irrigation project.

Continue to Yichang where you will disembark and be transferred to the airport for your flight to Shanghai International Airport were our small group tour concludes for all guests today.


Some guests may wish to stay longer in this amazing country; please don’t hesitate to contact Boutique Tours & Travel for further travel arrangements.


Depending on your departure itinerary, you may have time for some last-minute sightseeing and shopping. We are able to organise our private guide to accompany you.

Some guests may wish to stay longer in this amazing country; please don’t hesitate to contact Boutique Tours & Travel for further travel arrangements.


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