from US$1054 per person

China Civilian Residential Culture Tour, from US$1054

(Hong Kong), Guilin, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing

We focus on China's civilian residential culture in this tour, but we don't skip these "must sees" in every city. So it's a combination of a featured tour on civilian residential culture and a classic China trip. You will see different types of people's residential houses and gardens in these different cities. Those four cities (Excluded Hong Kong) have been the "Top Four" tourist cities in China ever since this country was firstly opened to the outside world in the late 1970s. They are so popular with international tourists because you can experience different attractions that are all China's prides. The "Most Beautiful Landscape under the Heaven" in Guilin will give you the first impression of a naturally beautiful China. The picturesque scenery along the Li River will amaze you and consume dozens of films or a big capacity of the memory card in your camera. The beautiful and peaceful environment and the relaxing life-pace will stimulate you to think about making a home here. You will probably be shocked by Shanghai's modernization and fashionable life. A walk to the Nanjing Road and the Outer Bund will inform you how booming China's economy is. The private garden there will show ancient Chinese people's exquisite handcraft and architecture technique. People say if you regard China as a huge and robust tree, the city of Xi'an is definitely the deeply-earthed roots of the tree. The Bell Tower, the City Wall, the pagodas are all the witnesses of this ancient capital's prosperity and brilliance in the past. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is still a mysterious legend of the first centralized feudal empire of China. In the capital of Beijing, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven and the other places of interests that are in the list of the World Cultural Heritage are the "must sees". Stories told by your guide when you're standing in the world's largest imperial palace will help you learn lots of history about China's last two imperial dynasties, the Ming and the Qing Dynasty.

  • Tour Code:
  • CET-AC01
  • Length:
  • Cities Visited/Stayed:
  • (Hong Kong), Guilin, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing
  • Highlight Attractions:
  • Li River, Yangshuo, Terraced Rice Paddies at Longji, Yu Yuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace
  • Experience & Features:
  • Biking in Yangshuo, Visit to a Local Famer’s House in Yangshuo, Visit to the Zhuang’s Village in Longji, Visit to a Cave Dwelling House near Xi’an, Hutong Tour and Siheyuan in Beijing
  • Physical Rating : 1
    (What Is It?)
    • Every CET tour is given a Physical Rating, which indicates how much physical activity is required to participate in it.
    • Rating of 1 ( ) : Always very easy to go! Sometimes getting around on your own, up and down steps and carrying your own small backpack.
    • Rating of 2 ( ) : Light walking or hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.
    • Rating of 3 ( ) : May include moderate hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and other activities that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.
    • Rating of 4 ( ) : May include high altitude hiking of up to 4-6 hours per day some days of the tour or other activities that require a moderately high level of fitness.
    • Rating of 5 ( ) : High altitude trekking suitable only for those with a higher level of fitness and endurance.
  • Cultural Shock Rating : 2
    (What Is It?)
    • Every CET tour is also given a Culture Shock Rating, designed to help you choose a trip that is suitable to your travel tastes and preferences.
    • Rating of 1 ( ) : Little or no adjustment at all is required. The comforts of home are here for the most part.
    • Rating of 2 ( ) : A generally easy trip but there may be the occasional local home accommodation, remote lodging or some public transportation, simple meal or language barrier.
    • Rating of 3 ( ) : Expect an occasional cold shower and remote or even multi-share accommodation, and public transportation or train ride without shower on board…Remember though, this is all part of your CET authentic travel experience!
    • Rating of 4 ( ) : Expect to rough it here and there. This may mean a packed public bus, very remote and rustic accommodation, and no access to western-style food.
    • Rating of 5 ( ) : You are totally off the beaten track with none of the comforts of home, and are exposed to a totally foreign culture to what you are accustomed ... Sounds fantastic, doesn't it!
Pricing & Accommodation
Q & A
Tour Reviews
Trip Notes
Pricing & Accommodation
Q & A
Tour Reviews
Trip Notes
Day 1: Hong Kong-Guilin

As soon as you arrive, our CET guide will meet you at Guilin airport in the evening. Your China tour we sponsored will start there. Then you will be transferred to your hotel.

Stay overnight in Guilin.


Day 2: Guilin-Yangshuo

This morning, we will drive to the wharf for [Li River cruise] (about 4 hours) to enjoy the Li River picturesque scenery along the way to Yangshuo. After disembarkation, we will have [a bicycle tour] to the countryside around the town of Yangshuo, seeing the stunning scenery and getting to know local farmers' life in their villages and fields. [We will call at a local farmer's house] that made of adobes and old bricks. It is said that the house's got a history of some 300 years and is a typical one of the Han nationality people in south China's countryside area.

(Recommended Options: 1. Bamboo Rafting on the Dragon River during the bicycle tour. 2. A gorgeous minority nationality show called "Impression—the Third Sister Liu" in the evening)

Stay overnight in Yangshuo.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 3: Yangshuo-Guilin

It will take one and half hour to drive back to Guilin in the morning. We will visit [Elephant Trunk Hill] that is the symbol of the Guilin city. Then we go to the [Reed-flute Cave] Known as "the Palace of Natural Arts" where you can see beautiful stalactites & stalagmites, and learn how they are formed. At last you're going to enjoy your free time for the rest of this afternoon. You can have a walk in the nice pedestrian's street and going to a local restaurant to have your own dinner.

(Recommended Options: 1. An amazing Chinese acrobatic show in the evening 2. A night cruise on the beautiful lakes at the downtown area of the city in the evening)

Stay overnight in Guilin.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 4: Guilin-Longsheng-Guilin

Today we will have a whole day round trip to [Longji Terraces] (Dragon Back), a minority area with magnificent terraced rice paddies. We are going to do some climbing there, but on the way and at the top of the mountain you will see beautiful views of terraced rice paddies. You will also see local minority people wearing their exotic and colorful costumes with delicate silver ornaments on their black long hairs. At the meanwhile, we will have [a walk through their village] on the mountainside, taking a zero-distance look at those wooden structure cottages will leave you an unforgettable memory there. We are sure that you will be very interested in their houses. They are all made of fir-tree wood and the local people apply a method of "Tongue and Groove" instead of using nails to connect the wood timbers. Then we will  drive back to Guilin.

Stay overnight in Guilin.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 5: Guilin-Shanghai

We will take a morning flight to Shanghai. You get to Shanghai around lunch time. After lunch, we will get to[Yuyuan Garden], a beautiful private garden which is the most typical representative of its sort of Chinese garden; the [Outer Bund] will enable you to see the modern skylines of this China's biggest city; and then we continue to visit [Nanjing Road] nearby to experience the most prosperous and bustling shopping center of Shanghai.

Stay overnight in Shanghai.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 6: Shanghai

Today is free for you; you can explore this fascinating city yourself. You can do as your plan, enjoying the traditional one in the day and appreciating the modern at night. You can ask the local guide for suggestions the day before.

Stay overnight in Shanghai.

Meals: (B)

Day 7: Shanghai-Xi'an

Today we visit the [Jade Buddha Temple] which is a good place to go whether you are a Buddhist or not, the peaceful and transcendent atmosphere adds a kind of richness to our busy modern society. After lunch we have to drive to the airport for a pm flight to Xi'an.

Stay overnight in Xi'an.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 8: Xi'an 

This day we will go to visit [Banpo Museum] to see a relic of a Neolithic village where there lived a Matriarchal Clan Community dating back to about 6000 years ago. Afterwards we will visit  the[Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum] that boasts "the Eighth Wonder of the World". On the way back from the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, [we will visit a cave dwelling house that represents the local farmers' housing way the best].

(Recommended Options: 1. A Tang Dynasty singing and dancing show in the evening 2. A dumpling banquet)

Stay overnight in Xi' an.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 9: Xi'an-Beijing

We are going to visit the [Bell Tower], the landmark of Xi'an and the [City Wall] that was the defense work for the city in Ming Dynasty. What follows will be the [Shaanxi Provincial Museum] which will explain to you how Xi'an became the cradle of Chinese culture. And next we will  the [Big Wild Goose Pagoda], built by the eminent monk Xuanzang in 652 AD and has a great importance in China's Buddhism history. After that, you will take a pm soft-sleeper train to Beijing. We arrange this for you to experience how China's train-ride is. And this train-ride will take you about 13 hours, covering three provinces and one municipality.

Stay overnight on the deluxe train.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 10: Beijing

We will arrive in Beijing in the morning. Note that due to the early arrival, the hotel rooms may not be ready then. But we will try to get them as early as possible. We can have a morning walk on the [Temple of Heaven] where the ancient emperors used to pray for the God's bless of the whole nation. Also we will go to visit the [Tian'anmen Square], the largest city square in the world and the [Forbidden City] which is the largest imperial palace in China during the Ming and Qing dynasties has a history of around 600 years.

(Recommended Options: Peking Roast Duck dinner)

Stay overnight in Beijing.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 11: Beijing

Today we will have a chance to climb up the [Jinshanling Great Wall], the landmark of China and one of the most amazing feats of construction undertaken by man. And then we will go to see the [Ming Tomb], the elaborate burial ground for the Emperors of Ming Dynasty on the way back to town.

(Recommended Options: 1. Peking Opera in the evening 2. Chinese Kungfu show called "Kungfu Legend" in the evening)

Stay overnight in Beijing.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 12: Beijing

In the morning, we're going to take a [Hutong Tour]. [We will take some rickshaws] threading in those narrow lanes or bystreets in the old quarter of Beijing, experiencing the folk-customs of old Beijing. We're going to call at a local Beijing family in a Siheyuan (a traditional residential quadrangle dwelling compound in Beijing) and have our lunch with them. After lunch, we will make our way to the [Summer Palace], the biggest and most renowned imperial summer resort from the Ming and Qing Dynasty.

Stay overnight in Beijing.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 13: Beijing-Departure

You will be transferred to the airport together with our guide. Your China tour we sponsored will end there.

Meals: (B)

  • Currencies:
  • US Dollar
  • Euro
  • GB Pound
  • CA Dollar
  • AU Dollar
  • HK Dollars
  • Renminbi

  1 person 2-5 persons 6-9 persons ≥10 persons Single Room Supplement
First Class Tour $4166 $2617 $2224 $1773 $920
Comfortable Tour $3335 $2098 $1707 $1380 $520
Standard Tour $2750 $1766 $1449 $1054 $330
* Price in every box above is for each person.
* The default currency is in US dollar. Please use the Currency Converter to see the equivalent quote in your currency. Price is for references only, it may vary according to your actual travel itinerary, travel time, hotel price rise or fall, US dollar exchange rate fluctuation, car fuel price change and government tax adjustment, etc..
* The price is only for your reference and it is subject to seasons, high or low.Please send us your inquiry if you are interested.
* The differences between First Class Tour, Comfortable Tour and Standard Tour are mainly reflected in the hotels we use. For First Class Tour, we use mostly 5 star hotels (or hotels corresponded to 5 star ones), 4 star hotels for Comfortable Tour and 3 star hotels for Standard Tour. But there’re exceptions when there come home stay experience, remote destinations and other specified circumstances in the itinerary.

Price Inclusion

  • Attraction Entrance Fees
  • Centrally Located Hotels
  • Authentic Chinese Food
  • Private Experienced Guides
  • Private Cars/Van with Drivers
  • Internal Flights/Train(s) in China
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Airport Taxes and Fuel Fees
  • Service Charge & Government Taxes
  • Travel Insurance

Price Exclusion

  • International Airfare to Enter/Leave China
  • China Entry Visa Fees
  • Excess Baggage Charges
  • Personal Expenses
  • Single Room Supplement
  • Tips or Gifts to Guides/Drivers/Bellmen

How to Pack up
We suggest that each person packs up one rollable suitcase with the weight under 20 kg/44lb. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like iPods and mobile phones.

It's only for reference and you may not need all of them. Choose from below according to the tour you pick up:
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
USD cash and travelers checks
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
ChinaExpeditionTours vouchers and trip dossier
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Day pack for daily personal items
Wet wipes / Moist towelettes
Alarm clock
Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
Insect Repellent
Water bottle and Plastic mug for train journeys
Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers
Small towel and swim wear
Toiletries (biodegradable)
Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
Money belt
Shorts for summer months (June – September)
Long pants
Warm clothes for Nov-April. Fleece, Jacket, hat and gloves
Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
Camera, film and memory chip
Reading/writing material
First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Local Dress

Generally speaking, the dress standard is more conservative in China than it is in western countries. Things also changes quickly, nowadays the young Chinese share the same hobbies with their western counterparts. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of summers. In predominately Buddhist and Muslim regions we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.

Spending Money
Every traveler is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange
As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to internet for the recent exchange rates. There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and MasterCard and other credit cards in most Chinese cities. We also recommend the use of cash and travelers checks in USD currency. Major credit cards are accepted in big shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. For the small shops and the street venders, they take cash (either Chinese Yuan or US dollar) only.

Eating is a big part of your traveling in China. Travelling with ChinaExpeditionTours you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally breakfasts and lunches are included except dinners to give you the flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. Your group leader or local guide will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip.

Emergency Fund
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD200 (or equivalent) as an "emergency" fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control, necessitate a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

It is customary to tip service providers in travel industry in Asia, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from $6-$10 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service, for driver, it could be half. If necessary, ask your tour leader or call your ChinaExpeditionTours tour advisor for specific recommendations based on the circumstances. If you have a tour leader for the whole tour, at the end of the trip if you felt he/she did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference. However as a guideline $6-10 USD per person, per day can be used.

Local Flights
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are all e-tickets. They are issued locally and you will be given the information of them prior to the flight departure.

Generally laundry facilities are offered by our hotels for a charge. You also can go to a laundry service center near your hotel to have your clothing washed at a lower cost. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Safety and Security
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Many of the hotels we cooperate with have safety deposit boxes which are the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. When travelling on a trip, please note that your group leader or local guides has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your leader or local guides will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader or local guides will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time.

A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of China but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is not acceptable for ChinaExpeditionTours travelers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. Use of illegal drugs is completely contrary to this philosophy and local law. Our group leader or local guides has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or used.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders or local guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In China pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting a tour please carefully read the itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings in this dossier for trip specific information. For travelers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. ChinaExpeditionTours reserves the right to exclude any traveler from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our group leader or local guides they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Medical Form
It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an "average level of fitness and mobility" is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own bags at a minimum. Travelers over the age of 70, or travelers with a pre-existing medical condition, are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that senior travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders or local guides work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. You must have comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalization, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. Please take your insurance policy with you when you travel. You may take other cover, of course, but we require you to be adequately insured before we can allow you to participate in our programs. Your ChinaExpeditionTours leader or local guides will need to see and record your policy details at the pre-tour briefing at the starting city, so please bring a copy along to the meeting. If you arrive without travel insurance your tour leader or local guide will require you to purchase a policy before you continue your journey with us.

If you are covered by a policy arranged through your credit card company you will be asked to provide evidence of this cover, as well as a 24-hour emergency contact number. Many credit card companies do not provide an insurance policy number. In this instance, the tour leader or local guides will need to record your credit card number, as this is required to activate any request for emergency assistance. You should also bring along the travel insurance information booklet provided by your credit card company. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the requirements set out by your credit card company in order to be effectively covered and that the cover offered is of a suitable standard.

Passport & Visas
Well before travelling, please ensure that you have a current passport, with an accurate photo, that is valid for at least six months after your scheduled return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.

Please note that visas for China and Hong Kong are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. Americans, British, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders do currently require a visa for China. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your government. For the most up to date information please check your governments' foreign ministry website. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travelers there will probably have an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in. Please note if you are travelling from China, into Hong Kong then back into China, you will need a double entry Chinese visa. Note that on some occasions people transiting through China on way to Hong Kong have been made to go through immigration and had their single entry visa stamped making this invalid. Do not allow your visa to be stamped if you are only going through transit.

Keeping in Touch
If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend that you set up an email address that can be accessed on the road, rather than relying on postal mail. Email cafes are becoming increasingly commonplace and cheap throughout the country, and have quickly become the preferred way for our leaders and travelers to stay in touch. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact us so we can get into touch with your tour leader or local guide quickly by their cell phone and they can pass their cell phone to you! We recommend that family and friends don't try to contact you through phoning hotels en route, as our hotels are subject to change.

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us and we'll record you and give you ChinaExpeditionTours travel points so you can use the points to get discount for your next ChinaExpeditionTours trip or your friends' ChinaExpeditionTours tours.

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