China Railway Pilgrimage

China Railway Pilgrimage

CET-18: 13 Days Train Tour: Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu –Guilin

China has a vast territory, diverse natural landscape and rich culture. The advanced railway systems connect people right across the country. On this tour, you will travel by train from north to south, to better understand this great nation. You can enjoy the changing landscape along the journey, from the plains in the north to the hills in the south and across to the coastal area. You can experience spending a night on the train and interacting with locals. We have selected the best tourist destinations and in-depth cultural activities for you to ensure a lifetime memorable trip.

Trip Highlights

  • Experience the overnight train
  • Beijing Hutongs adventure and Calligraphy class
  • Learn Tai Chi at the Temple of Heaven
  • Dumpling making at a local family of Xi'an
  • Visit lovely pandas in Chengdu
  • Rice terraces hiking
  • The Li river cruise and bamboo raft
  • Ride a bike through the countryside
Suitable For: School, Family, Team Building, Women, Train Lovers

Full itinerary for China Railway Pilgrimage

Day 1
Beijing Arrival

Welcome to the capital of China! Your tour guide is holding your name sign and waiting for you at the airport. You will be transferred to your hotel, and the tour guide will help you with hotel check-in. Relax yourself, adjust for jet lag for the rest of the day.

Day 2
Beijing: Royal Life Discovery and Calligraphy Class (breakfast & lunch)

We will start our tour from Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square is for sure one of the most famous and historical squares in the world. It is the heart of China, a must see in Beijing. Just beside the square, the Forbidden City is the highlight of the day. This immense site contains hundreds of individual buildings, several dozen courtyards, formal gardens, and a number of exhibits of royal artifacts. We will visit palaces and gardens, including the Hall of Clocks, so feast your eyes on the colorful exhibits and displays of royal life. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant; Beijing cuisine and Peking duck are recommended.

Gate of Great Harmony

Gate of Great Harmony (Taihe Men)


This afternoon, you will visit the Hutongs area in Beijing; find the traditional life in those quadrangles (Siheyuan). A calligraphy class will satisfy your curiosity about Chinese characters art, and your work will be the best souvenir. After that we will visit the Shijia Hutong Museum, a museum dedicated to the traditional life of Beijing. Maybe you will find some interesting things of Beijing folk life.

Chinese character

Chinese Characters

Go to Jingshan Park before sunset. You can look over the whole Forbidden City by climbing to the top of the hill. "Sunset of the Forbidden City" is one of the best views in Beijing.

The sunset view from Jingshan Park

the Sunset View from Jingshan Park

Day 3
Beijing: The Great Wall and Tai Chi Learning (breakfast & lunch)

Spend the morning in the Temple of Heaven. It was the place for ritual ceremonies of sacrifice, where the emperors would pray and express gratitude to Heaven for the previous harvest here. Nowadays the temple of heaven has become a public park for citizens. You can see people doing morning exercises and playing Tai Chi. A master of Tai Chi will teach you this Chinese Kungfu. Drive for 2 hours to the Mutianyu Great Wall and we will have lunch at a local restaurant.

the Temple of Heaven

the Temple of Heaven


The Great Wall is always a popular site for tourists, as it is one of the landmarks of China. The Mutianyu Great Wall was built in the Ming dynasty and remains intact. We'll go up and down by cable car, as it is a light hiking trip. You will have enough time to enjoy the scenery and take photos.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

Day 4
Beijing - Xi'an: City Tour and Overnight Train (breakfast & lunch)

The Summer Palace is a beautiful royal garden to wander through, with lakes, numerous buildings, a boat ride, gardens, impromptu music, the longest corridor in the world (listed in the Guinness Book of Records) with thousands of painted frescoes on the ceiling and support beams. A boating tour lets you fully understand the beauty of the Summer Palace. The historic sites in the garden tell you the stories of the royal family.

Qingyan Stone Boat

Qingyan Stone Boat


Walk through the 798 Art Zone to immerse in the artistic atmosphere. It is one of the landmarks of Beijing Urban Culture which was rebuilt from an abandoned factory and then gathered a numbers of artists.

Joy Art in 798 Art Zone

Joy Art in 798 Art Zone

Visit the China Railway Museum, which contains the history of China's railway development. You can feel the speed of China's modern development from the exhibits here. The museum is also an introduction to the highlights in the evening.

China Railway Museum

Old Pattern Locomotive in China Railway Museum


You will experience the overnight train in China tonight as one of the highlights of this tour. Make full preparations, as this will be a unique Chinese culture course. This overnight train tour last about 12 hours, with the ordinary "Green Train".

Day 5
Xi'an: City Wall, Muslim Quarter and the Terracotta Army (lunch)

After an overnight train tour, you are now arriving in Xi'an. Relax yourself in this ancient city in the morning. Cycling on the ancient City Wall, with old Xi'an lying around the Wall like a living museum.
Go down from the City Wall, and after walking a short distance you will find the Muslim Quarter. There is a large collection of halal cuisine and Xi’an traditional food in this quarter. All you need to do is satisfy your taste buds.

Cycling on the ancient City Wall

Cycling on the Ancient City Wall


About 1 hour’s drive away, we will arrive at the Terracotta Army Museum, one of the most famous sites in China. Admire the proudly unflinching, life-sized Terracotta Army, which was built 2,200 years ago.

the Terracotta Army

the Terracotta Army

Day 6
Xi'an - Chengdu: Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Dumpling Making (breakfast & lunch)

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist heritage construction situated in Jianfu Temple. A quiet garden with fewer tourists, it is a great place to let you slow yourself down and think about the truth. Xi’an Museum, which is not far away, will tell you the story of ancient Xi'an.

Xi’an Museum

Visit a local family and make dumplings with the host family. As the most famous Chinese food, dumplings culture is also an important part of Chinese culture. You will try making this food step by step and enjoy what you made. Drive to the train station, we will take a High Speed Train to our next destination. Looking out of the window, see the landscape change from plains to hills. You will be in Chengdu tonight.

on a train

on a Speed Train

Day 7
Chengdu: Panda Country and Chuan Cuisine (breakfast & lunch)

Chengdu is the best place for you to get face to face with giant pandas. Here you can have a chance to get close to pandas rather than just taking photos from far away. Get up early to visit the Panda Breeding Center, as morning is the most active time for pandas.


Wander through Wuhou Temple to appreciate stories from "The Romance of Three Kingdoms". This beautiful temple with traditional architecture, gorgeous gardens, amazing bonsai collections and many historic art pieces shows you the history of Three Kingdoms Period. Then take a walk along KuanZhai Lanes to try the most authentic and interesting snacks of Sichuan. You will find that there are not only hot-pots in Chengdu.

the red wall corridor of Wuhou temple

the Red Wall Corridor of Wuhou Temple

Day 8
Chengdu – Guilin: Reed Flute Cave (breakfast)

Get up early and go to the train station after breakfast. This morning we will take a High Speed Train to Guilin. It is a long train tour that takes about 6 hours and you will need to have your lunch in the train. You can try the box lunch in the train or get some food in the dining car. Bringing your own food is also a good idea.


The first stop in Guilin is the Reed Flute Cave, which is representative of a stalactite cave, one of the features of the karst landscape. The light along with the large amount of stalactites and stalagmites make the cave appear to be a fantasy kingdom.

Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave

Day 9
Guilin – Longsheng: Explore Terraced Fields (breakfast & lunch)

Drive for about 2 hours to Longsheng, and the destination for today is the Rice Terraced Fields. The bus will take you to Ping'an Village, after that you can have a whole day to explore the Terraced Fields. Nine Dragons Five Tigers (Jiulongwuhu) is the name of viewing platforms near the Village. Just climb up the hill, and you will find this famous view.
Have lunch in Ping'an Village, and bamboo rice and bamboo chicken are the exclusive delicacies here.

the Rice Terraced Fields

the Rice Terraced Fields


Walk around the village, hiking to find some beautiful views, or greeting the Yao people in the village, as these are all good ideas in the Rice Terraced Fields. We will drive you back to Guilin in the late afternoon.

Yao Woman

Yao Woman

Day 10
Guilin – Yangshuo: Li River Cruise and Countryside Cycling (breakfast & lunch)

A cruise along the Li River will leave you with enduring memories of your China tour. Karst hills, fern leaf hedge bamboos and fishing villages – this is the essence of Guilin. See the hills pass by like Chinese art during this 4 hour cruise tour; the narrator will explain the scenery in both Chinese and English. A box lunch will be served on the cruise, and specials such as fish and shrimp from the Li River can be enjoyed for an extra charge.

Li River Cruise

The cruise will transport us from Guilin to Yangshuo, a small town full of eastern romance. A countryside cycling trip will start after checking into the hotel. We can stop to visit a local family, and see what life is like in such a beautiful place. Just enjoy the idyllic life.

countryside cycling
Day 11
Yangshuo: Cooking Class and Bamboo Rafting (breakfast & lunch)

The culture activity today is a Chinese Cooking Class. Several dishes that are easy to learn and delicious to eat will be selected for today's lesson. You will experience the feeling of cooking over an open fire in an iron pan. Enjoy your cooking for lunch!

Cooking Class

We choose the Yulong River for our Bamboo Rafting in the afternoon. The Yulong River, a tributary of the Li River, is quieter and more primitive than the busy Li River in Yangshuo. Ancient villages, paddy fields, and interesting hills make this a great place for rafting.

Yulong River

Good to know:
Impression Sanjie Liu (Evening Show): The show was directed by Zhang Yimou, who was the director of the Opening Ceremony for Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. With the mountains as the background, Li River as the stage, and more than 600 actors, this show is a ‘must-see’ in Yangshuo.
West Street: Yangshuo West Street is the oldest street, with a history of more than 1,400 years, and is attractive to a lot of foreigners. It comes alive with pubs and clubs open at night.

Day 12
Yangshuo - Guilin: Free Day (breakfast)

Have a nice sleep and wake up naturally, as there is no sightseeing this morning. You will be driven back to Guilin. Walk around the city and find some nice food for yourself.

Good to know:
1. Pay a visit to Zhengyang Pedestrian Street to explore the local shops and snacks.
2. Walk around the Shan Lake and Rong Lake, as it’s the best way to see the water system and scenes of the city.

Sun and Moon Pagodas

Sun and Moon Pagodas on Shan Lake

Day 13
Farewell China (breakfast)

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and pack your luggage. Your guide will take you to the airport for your international flight home. We are hoping to see you again.

Featured Hotel

  Comfortable Deluxe
Beijing Penta Hotel Beijing Regent Beijing
Xi'an Grand Noble Hotel Xi'an Wyndham Grand Xian South
Chengdu Tibet Hotel The Ritz-Carlton,Chengdu
Guilin Guilin Bravo Hotel Sheraton Guilin
Yangshuo Green Lotus Hotel Green Lotus Hotel

What’s Included

  • 11 nights’ hotel accommodation
  • All meals as listed
  • Entrance fee and cost for all listed activities
  • Overland transfer with a private driver
  • Train ticket as listed
  • Your own attentive and knowledgeable English speaking tour guide
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