The Ancient Inland

13 Days / 12 Nights

Beijing - Xian - Chengdu - Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Zhongdian - Shanghai

Visit Beijing, hike on the Great Wall, see the sights of Xian, take part in a calligraphy lesson, cycle along the City Wall in Xian, eat in the most famous hotpot restaurant in China, play with Panda cubs in Chengdu, explore Lijiang then hike along the Tiger Leaping Gorge before experiencing Shanghai's busy lifestyle.


Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.

Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience China with Seven Senses.


Day 1. Arrive Beijing (-/-/D)

Our guide will meet you at the airport, and escort you to your hotel. A Beijing duck welcome dinner awaits you at an upscale courtyard restaurant where you will savor your first taste of authentic Chinese food.

Day 2. Beijing (B/L/D)

Visit: After breakfast, you will trace the theme of the Forbidden throughout Beijing, a city well known for its rich culture and historical heritage. Our guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and you will start to explore the historical city of Beijing. First stop is Tian’anmen Square, the largest public square in the world. Walk through the square and visit today’s highlight: the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world.

Experience: In the afternoon, Hutong tour by Rickshaw. The Beijing Hutongs (old lanes) have a very special place in the rich history and culture of Beijing. The alleys give a wonderful glimpse into yesterday’s world, the old way of life and traditional Beijing culture, and highlight the dramatic changes the rest of Beijing has undergone.

Night show: Golden Mask.

Day 3. Great Wall Hike (B/L/D)

Experience: We will leave for the Great Wall at 8am, avoiding the crowds at the oft-tourist Badaling and Mutianyu, bound instead for a less visited and more remote section ranging from Simatai West to Jinshanling, a two and a half hour drive from the city. As you traverse this winding route, you will see sections of the wall restored to its initial splendour, and ruins that have crumbled from the original, true to the passage of time. For those of average or better fitness, your six-kilometer trek will start by a 40-minute ascent of modern concrete steps that lead up to the Wall, followed by two hours of walking on the Wall. Be prepared for uneven terrain, as some of the steps are huge and steep; it is the way the Wall tumbles and soars over the crests of the hills that gives it the beauty that will astound you. You can pause to take in the splendor at your own pace, or use an additional 30 minutes to meander a bit further, before enjoying an authentic countryside lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant just 20 minutes off the Wall. You will receive a certificate celebrating your hiking accomplishment of the Great Wall of China. For those who are concerned about finishing the whole hiking route, the driver can take you directly to the restored end at Jinshanling, where you can wander around at leisure.

Day 4. Beijing - Xian (B/L/D)

In the morning you are free to explore the city and have lunch on your own before we leave at 12:30 to take the bullet train to Xian via China’s world-class high speed train network.

The four and a half hours spent on the train will not only be more convenient and comfortable than flying, but will also allow you to see the landscape unfurl out your window. Our local guide will meet you at the train in Xian and will take you downtown to your hotel. The evening is yours to roam the surrounding area.

Evening: Tang Dynasty Show with Dumpling Bouquet.

Day 5. Xian (B/L/D)

Visit: The root of Chinese civilization, Xi’an, was the nation’s capital city for 13 dynasties, four of which played important roles in Chinese history: the Zhou, the Qin, the Han and the Tang. Xi’an is home to one of the most renowned 20th-century archaeological discoveries, the Terracotta Warriors. To avoid the crowds, we will leave at 7:30am to take in the battalion of more than 6,000 pottery soldiers. Accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974, there are now three pits opened to the public, while excavation continues in other pits. You will have opportunity to take photos from your VIP perch above where the first shard of the warriors was unearthed.

Experience: In the afternoon, we are visiting Tang Bo Art Museum, which gives you a brief history and examples of Chinese art. A calligraphy lesson will be arranged and we will try our hand at Chinese calligraphy, the art of the brush having been widely used in ancient China for over 2000 years. We will learn some basic skills and can even try to write our Chinese name with the brush and ink in this one and a half hour class.

Evening: Tang Dynasty Show with Dumpling Bouquet.


Day 6. Xian - Chengdu (B/-/D)

Visit: Xian features the best-preserved City Wall in China. Originally built during the Ming Dynasty, this 600-year old city defense project is flat and broad (5-8 meters wide). You will have a chance to ride a bike along the top of the wall. The 1.5 hour ride of 13 km along the perimeter will offer a contrasted view along the two sides of the Wall, with a few old houses huddled inside and many modern buildings outside. Afterwards we will fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Located in southwestern China, Sichuan is known for its hot spicy dishes,

considered to be the best regional cuisine.

Experience: In the evening we will take you to Haidilao, the most popular hotpot restaurant in China, a meal that you can customize to your liking by selecting from a smorgasbord of lamb, beef, fish, and vegetables for boiling in a broth of your choice (“plain” or spicy if you’re brave enough). You can practice your chopstick skills as you lift your dinner from the steaming pot, and will also be treated to a noodle-stretching performance.

You will need to prepare by coming hungry and ready for fun.

Day 7. Pandas in Chengdu - Lijiang (B/L/D)

Visit: We will visit the Panda Breeding and Research Base situated near the city, home to over 100 pandas. With over 1,000 pandas in Sichuan, the province shelters 70% of the world’s panda population. As one of the world’s endangered species, the giant panda has become an icon for conservation movements everywhere and a national treasure. Though pandas can still be found in the wild, they are very difficult to spot; at this base you will be guaranteed to see China’s iconic animal and could even pose with a panda friend for a photo.

After lunch you will fly to Lijiang.

After arrival transfer to the hotel. Evening free at leisure.

Day 8. Lijiang (B/L/D)

Continue along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang. Lijiang is both the name of the city and of the county. It is about 150 kilometers from Burma and about 200 kilometers from Tibet. Most of the county is sparsely populated with nature preserves, high mountains, small towns, farms, and shepherds’ pastures. The whole county of Lijiang has about 1.2 million people in area of about 21,200 square kilometers. The city of Lijiang has about a half million people.  

Experience: Taking a break in the historical market town of Shaxi, you will have the opportunity to bike in this ancient town. Explore the small paths and canals that weave through Lijiang's Old Town.

Day 9. Lijiang - Qiaotou - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Halfway Guesthouse (B/-/-)

Experience: Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges on the planet, and it has the best hiking trail in the Lijiang area. The scenery is spectacular. Foreign backpackers started hiking in the area in the 1980s. Inns and guesthouses have been built along the trail for hikers. The Yangtze River in the canyon isn’t navigable. Tourists can tour the gorge area on tour buses along a road at the bottom of the canyon that follows the course of the river. This tour road is very popular with Chinese tourists. The people who walk the high trail above the road are mainly foreigners. If you hike the path, you’ll find some solitude because you may meet only a few groups of hikers all day. Local Naxi people also use the trails. On the first day, hike from Qiaotou to Halfway Guesthouse. The whole distance covered on the first day is about 17 kilometers, and you’ll hike for about six hours in total. Halfway Guesthouse really is at the halfway point on the high trail. First, hike for two hours to Naxi Family Guesthouse and have lunch. Then continue to hike another 2 hours up the steep switchback called 28-bends before the next break. The views are unforgettable. After a break, hike another one or two hours, and then we will arrive at Halfway Guesthouse which has a great view of Yulong Snow Mountain and overlooks the Jinsha (Golden Sands) River Valley. You can sit out on a deck facing the mountain, and there are hot showers and clean beds.

Day 10. Halfway Guesthouse - Zhongdian (B/-/-)

Experience: Chinese breakfast at Halfway Guesthouse. Hike down to Tina's Guesthouse (about 2 hours) and pass through some pretty waterfalls and canyons on the way. Your vehicle and driver will meet you at Tina’s Guesthouse to transfer you back to Qiaotou. We will be transferred from Qiaotou to Zhongdian. Also named Shangri-La and Diqing, it is a famous area with numerous natural landscapes and unique Tibetan customs. Upon arrival in Zhongdian, transfer to you hotel and free at leisure.

Day 11. Zhongdian (Shangri-La) (B/-/-)

This day is free at leisure for your to roam and explore the surroundings.

Day 12. Zhongdian - Shanghai (B/L/D)

We will fly to Shanghai after breakfast, a beautifully-bustling cosmopolitan city offering sharp contrasts between the modern and traditional.

Experience: Upon arrival in Shanghai, we will start our day by rising above the city to the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center, the second tallest building in China, where we will take in a panoramic city view from the Sky Walk observatory, a perch 474 meters above ground. The observatory features a glass floor that you can walk along if you’re feeling brave and want to see the city beneath your feet.

Visit: Next we’re going to visit Yuyuan Garden, representative of private gardens in southern China: small but elegant and exquisite, the landscaping featuring water, pavilions and bridges amidst the gardens. The surrounding bazaar, popular for souvenir-hunters, is a beehive of activity. Here you can try your hand at bargaining.

Experience: Later we will explore the surrounding Xintiandi, a typical Shikumen area with modern renovation, where the local residences are modeled in traditional Shanghainese architecture. Unfortunately, most Shikumen disappeared quickly due the city’s rapid economic development, but in the old quarter of the city you can still find the historic structures.The afternoon is yours to adventure and explore or rest and relax, as you prefer.

Evening: Shanghai Acrobatic Show.

Day 13. Departure (B/-/-)

Transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule for your flight back to the UK.


The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.




13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS FROM £2,700 per person + international flights

based on 2 people travelling together

The price includes: 

Local economy class flights Xi’an/Chengdu/Lijiang/Zhongdian/Shanghai with tax.

High-speed train ticket form Beijing –Xi’an (2nd class seat)

Accommodation in standard boutique hotels on a twin-sharing basis

Quality private air-con vehicles & experienced drivers for all transfers and sightseeing.

Experienced English-speaking local guides throughout the tour.

Entrance fees for all listed attractions.

Meals as stated in the itinerary (B/L/D) = (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Welcome dinner in Beijing / Hotpot Dinner in Chengdu as mentioned in the itinerary.


The price does not include: 

Return flights from the UK to Beijing

Anything not specifically mentioned above

Visa fee for China

Tips to the guide and driver

Travel insurance

Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.

Photography charges at monasteries/palaces/sites.


At Seven Senses Tours, the sky’s the limit in terms of creating your next unforgettable experience. Our knowledgeable and experienced travel consultants are waiting to plan every last detail of your upcoming trip, so all that’s left for you is to enjoy it.

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