China Signature Series: Beijing & Shanghai 10 days
About This Experience
Journey in style to Beijing and Shanghai to discover China’s ancient culture and modern cityscapes from the inside out. On this exclusive China Signature Series tour, you’ll be thrilled by the highlights, from the endless ramparts of the Great Wall to the towering skyscrapers of Shanghai. Then you’ll delve deeper, riding a rickshaw through the hutong, practicing the principles of tai chi, speaking the sounds of Mandarin and experiencing China in all of its complexity.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
8 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 3 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Stunning architecture & landscapes
A rickshaw ride through the hutongs
The immensity of the Great Wall
Shanghai—China’s showpiece city
Formal Farewell Gala on the Bund
Age-old customs, from a tea ceremony to tai chi
Overnight Flight1 night
Beijing4 nights - hotel info
Take a walk across Tiananmen and ride a rickshaw through the hutong
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Take in two millennia of Beijing history, starting with a guided tour of the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, climb aboard a rickshaw for a ride through Beijing’s oldest neighborhoods, or hutongs. Revel in the sights, sounds and smells as the pedicab winds its way through ancient alleyways, stopping for tea in an authentic hutong tea house. End the day with your fellow travelers at tonight’s Welcome Dinner, featuring the city’s delicious specialty, Peking Duck.
Stroll the grounds where the Qing Dynasty spent their summers
Optional Excursion - Peking Opera
Spend the morning at the magnificent Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and masterpiece of landscape design. Stroll along the seemingly endless (and aptly named) Long Corridor with its ornate gates and vibrant paintings. At one end of the corridor, visit the elaborate waterside pavilion known as the Marble Boat. Then, enjoy a scenic cruise on Kunming Lake. In the evening, opt to attend the Peking Opera to witness this unique form of theater that dates to the Qing Dynasty.
Peking Opera $59* pp
Prepare to be dazzled by this traditional form of Chinese theater, featuring 90 minutes of elaborate costumes, expressive dance and percussive music. Dating back to the Qing dynasty, this art form is different from western opera, distinctive for its high-pitch singing and historic story lines. Relax at your table, enjoy tea and traditional snacks and soak in the setting at the renowned, two-centuries-old Huguang Guild Hall.
Walk along the ancient ramparts of the Great Wall
Cable car, Great Wall
Escape from the city for a day of adventure, starting with a demonstration of China’s age-old martial arts at a kung fu school. Afterwards, journey along the Sacred Way, a sculpture-lined pathway that leads to the Ming Tombs. Stop for lunch and shopping at a jade factory, where you will see a demonstration of jewelry making and sculpture. The excursion culminates with a cable car ride up to the Great Wall at Badaling, where you will have a few hours to take in the immensity and artistry of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop at the Olympic Park to snap some photos on the way back to Beijing.
Shanghai4 nights - hotel info
Practice the tai chi taolu at the Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
Savor your last morning in Beijing with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a magnificent prayer hall where Ming and Qing dynasties offered prayers for abundant harvests. On the grounds of the temple, a tai chi master will teach a class to introduce the basic forms of this ancient art form. This afternoon, fly to Shanghai. En route from the airport, you’ll visit the EF China headquarters, voted one of the “world’s coolest” offices. EF staff will offer a brief tour and an introductory Mandarin lesson. Afterwards, dinner is served at the romantic Yunnan restaurant, Lost Heaven.
See, hear and taste the cultural and culinary attractions of Shanghai
Optional Excursion - Shanghai Acrobatic Show
Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden
Your all-day guided tour of Shanghai starts with a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple, to witness Buddhist monastic life and to glimpse the namesake Buddha statues. Afterwards, visit the classical Yuyuan Garden, where you will have lunch, followed by a walking tour and a traditional tea ceremony. In the evening, opt to attend the Shanghai Acrobatic Show, featuring lively music, creative staging and incredible stunts.
Shanghai Acrobatic Show $69* pp
After enjoying a nice dinner at a local restaurant, you’ll be treated to a dramatic, gravity-defying performance, similar to the likes of Cirque du Soleil. Taking place inside the state-of-the-art Circus World arena, this mesmerizing acrobatic show will make you rethink your idea of “dinner and a show.”
Explore the winding canals and classic gardens in romantic Suzhou
Lose yourself in the enchanting city of Suzhou, a moat-encircled settlement of gardens and canals. A local guide will show you the city’s most intriguing spots, including the Suzhou Museum and the UNESCO-recognized Humble Administrators Garden (which is not so humble). At Panmen Gate, board a small boat and cruise along the canals to see Suzhou from the inside. The excursion includes lunch and a visit to a silk factory before returning to Shanghai.
Discover the diversity and energy of Shanghai’s neighborhoods
Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, Jin Mao Tower
Start your day at the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum for an overview of the city’s many neighborhoods. Then embark on a walking tour to see it firsthand, starting in the shopping district of Nanjing Road. In the Pudong District, ascend to the top of Jin Mao Tower for a 360-degree view from one of the city’s highest points. Afterwards, cross the river to the affluent pedestrian zone of Xintiandi, where you will have free time for lunch and shopping. Your day ends with a celebratory Farewell Gala. Board a Huangpu River cruise, where you can take in the spectacular views of the Shanghai cityscape. After disembarking, stroll along the Bund waterfront to a premier local restaurant for a formal dinner.
Hop over to Hong Kong or head home
Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
This morning, travel to the airport on the Shanghai Maglev Train, a magnetic levitation line with some of the fastest train speeds in the world. It can reach 220 mph in two minutes or less. If you are not continuing on our tour extension to Hong Kong, board a flight home. If you are extending your tour, hop on a flight to Hong Kong and delve deeper into Chinese history and culture during a three-night stay.
Extend Your Stay
Add Hong Kong $1,199*
Immerse yourself in the complexity and contrasts of Hong Kong. Your first impressions will be the skyscrapers of glass and steel and the hustle-bustle of passers-by. But look past the shiny new surfaces to discover an ancient culture that gives the city an exotic flavor and its citizens a unique outlook.
Hong Kong3 nights - hotel info
Feast on dim sum and take in Hong Kong’s expansive cityscape
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today’s guided tour shows off the marvels of Hong Kong, including the panoramic view from Victoria Peak, a sampan ride at Aberdeen Fishing Village and a stroll through Stanley Market. For lunch, sample the delights of traditional dim sum with fellow travelers; then relax with some free time in the afternoon. During tonight’s excursion, Hong Kong by Night, you will see a different side of the city. Start with dinner near the central Hong Kong Business District. Browse the famous Temple Street night market, and then board a sightseeing cruise around Victoria Harbor. Enjoy a complimentary drink as the boat cruises toward Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, sailing along the Tsim Sha Tsui East waterfront and passing Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter.
Sail back in time to ancient monasteries and traditional villages
Optional Excursion - New Lantau Island Tour
Spend the day exploring Hong Kong at your leisure or join an excursion to Lantau Island. Embark on a ferry ride through the city’s bustling harbor to discover this island of pristine beaches, traditional fishing villages, soaring mountains and Ngong Ping 360.
New Lantau Island Tour $95* pp
When you first arrived in Hong Kong, you may have noticed that in this city where “east meets west,” mountains rather than high-rises dominate the view—especially to the south, where a giant Buddha sits perched on a hilltop. This is Lantau Island, a quirky island replete with temples, rugged mountain paths and wandering cattle. On this full-day excursion, you'll visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. You'll also enjoy a cable car ride over the island and the South China Sea.
Passport and visa requirements
In order to enter China (as well as Hong Kong on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home and at least two blank pages. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter China. You can obtain an individual visa through our recommended provider VisaCentral (www.visacentral.com/goaheadtours). If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing and packing tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There is some risk of the following diseases in China, mostly concentrated in rural areas: dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. Travelers should make sure to wear protective clothing and insect repellent when outside, particularly in forested or rural areas. Sun protection is also highly advisable. No vaccinations are required for entry. However, be sure to check with your healthcare provider at least eight weeks prior to departure for recommendations and the latest updates on requirements. For updated information on travel in this area, call the Centers for Disease Control and Protection at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or visit its website at www.cdc.gov/travel and view the sections on East Asia.
Important health tips
In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:
• Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth. • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled. • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.
The diversity of Chinese cuisine reflects China’s long history. With each dynasty, new recipes and cooking styles emerged. China is known for having “Eight Cuisines:” Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Anhui. Shandong cuisine, from the eastern coastal province, has had the greatest influence on Beijing cuisine; however, you can find a wide variety of food in the capital. Shandong cuisine is characterized by its use of seafood, light flavors and soup dishes. Beijing is also famous for their Peking roast duck. Shanghai is most influenced by Jiangsu and Zhejiang cuisines. Here, dishes frequently call for alcohol in the recipes and feature seasonal ingredients and soft textures.
Round-trip flights arrive in Beijing and depart from Shanghai. Passengers traveling on the tour extension will depart from Hong Kong. An internal flight from Beijing to Shanghai is included in your trip cost, as well as an internal flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong for travelers on the tour extension. All other included transportation is by private motor coach or riverboat.
China operates on 220 volts.
China is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s 10 a.m. in New York, it’s 11 p.m. in Beijing. Because there is no daylight-saving time, China is only 12 hours ahead of EST during the summer.
Chinese money is called renminbi (RMB), which means “People’s Currency.” The popular unit of RMB is yuan. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.