High Speed Train from Ancient to Modern China

CET-17: 10 Days Train Tour: Beijing - Pingyao - Xi'an - Shanghai

China has a long history and splendid ancient culture as demonstrated by some of the ancient cities that are still intact today. With the rapid development of the country, high-speed rail connects these ancient cities and gives them new life. On this tour, we set off from the capital, Beijing, to explore ancient Chinese culture by galloping modern high-speed railway. The tour ends in Shanghai – the symbol of China's modernized city. It is a journey through the past and the present.

CET Advantages

  • Experience the high-speed train
  • Beijing Hutongs explore and Diabolo learning
  • Learn Tai Chi at Temple of Heaven
  • Dumpling making at a local family of Xi'an
  • Cycling on the ancient city wall
  • Oriental pearl tower bird's-eye view


No Shopping Traps

Group Type


Tour Focus

Train Travel, History, Culture



Best Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

Suitable For: School, Family, Train Travel Enthusiast

Map of My Trip

High Speed Train from Ancient to Modern China
Click to enlarge

Full Itinerary

Day 1
Beijing Arrival

Welcome to China! Your tour guide will be waiting for you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Have a nice rest after check-in.

Day 2
Beijing: Forbidden City and Diabolo in Hutongs (breakfast & lunch)

The tour starts with Tiananmen Square, which is a must see in Beijing. Tiananmen Square is for sure one of the most famous and historical squares in the world. Just beside the square is the Forbidden City. Walk through the palace, including the Hall of Clocks and royal garden; feast your eyes on the colorful exhibits and displays of royal life.
Lunch will be served at a local vegetarian restaurant in the Hutongs.

The Nine Dragon Screen of The Forbidden City


Diabolo playing is a traditional Chinese recreational activity popular in northern China. We will visit the Hutongs area in Beijing to find folk artists for a Diabolo Playing lesson. After that we will visit the Shijia Hutong Museum to find traditional folk life in Beijing.

Hutong Alley

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

The Temple of Heaven was the place for ritual ceremonies of sacrifice. The emperors would pray and express gratitude to Heaven for the previous harvest here. Nowadays it has become a public park for citizens. You will learn some Chinese Kungfu – Tai Chi – in this park following a master.
After full exercise, drive about 2 hours to the Mutianyu Great Wall and we will have lunch at a local restaurant.

Learning Tai Chi


The Great Wall is a highlight of Beijing, as it is also one of the landmarks of China. Enjoy the beauty along the way, we'll visit the Mutianyu Great Wall by cable car. Hiking on the Great Wall, listening to the stories told by the ancient bricks and guard towers.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Day 4
Beijing–Pingyao: The Summer Palace and High Speed Train (breakfast)

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Summer Palace is a can't miss royal garden. It has the longest corridor in the world (listed in the Guinness Book of Records) with thousands of painted frescoes on the ceiling and support beams. Boating on Kunming Lake, take yourself back to the ancient times.

Kunming Lake


Take a High Speed Train from Beijing to Pingyao. The development of high-speed rail has made places which used to be hard to reach like Pingyao become accessible.

Day 5
Pingyao: The Wang Family Compound and Zhangbi Castle (breakfast & lunch)

Built over 300 years, the Wang Family Compound was once the home of a wealthy businessman. The exquisite carvings and liberality spatial pattern make this house of great artistic value.

the Front Gate of Wang Family Compound


Continue our tour after lunch in Zhangbi Castle. Zhangbi Castle is a rare mini ancient city with only 0.12 square kilometers’ area. It has a complete urban form and has a thorough military defense function. The massive tunnels are the highlight of this castle with more than 1600 years’ history.

the Roof Decoration of Zhangbi Castle

Day 6
Pingyao – Xi'an: Ancient City Life (breakfast & lunch)

Pingyao Ancient City is the most intact ancient city in China, and was once an important business location. Go through the ancient Pingyao City Walls and visit Rishengchang Draft Bank, which was the first bank in China. After that, find out about the armored transportation services, like in the Tongxinggong Escort Agency. Catch the daily show about an ancient trial at 11:30 in the Ancient Government Office. You can find a courtroom, prison, interrogation room and even an execution ground in the Ancient Government Office.

the Ancient Government Office


Go to the train station after lunch, a 3 hour high speed train journey will take you to Xi'an.


Arrive in Xi'an at the evening, you may want to find some things to do.

Good to know:
1. The music fountain at the north square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda is free to the public. You can stroll around it after dinner to experience local life.
2. Tang-Dynasty Palace Music and Dances is a performance that was re-created by many famous artists in Shaanxi province, displaying the essence of music, rhythm, and dance art in the Tang Dynasty.

Day 7
Xi'an: the Terracotta Army and City Highlight (breakfast & lunch)

Visiting the Terracotta Warriors is the main reason people traveling to Xi’an. With the excavation of more than 8,000 Warriors and Horses, the museum became the 8th Wonder of the World. It is a 1 hour drive to get to the museum.

the Terracotta Warriors and Horses


Get ready to be surprised by the bike riding tour on the Ancient City Wall. Stretching for about 14 kilometers, the city wall has been standing for more than 1400 years. The City Wall is the best place to have a bird's eye view of old Xi'an city.
People say ‘Your Xi’an tour is not complete without visiting the Muslim Quarter’. You can have a little bit of fun and be adventurous as you pick up an unfamiliar snack and chat with the friendly local people.

Rougamo = Marinated Meat in Baked Bun

Day 8
Xi'an – Shanghai: Museum and Dumpling Making (breakfast & lunch)

Avoid the noise of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we choose the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in the Jianfu Temple for the Buddhist heritage and Xi'an history part in this tour. Walk around the Pagoda and listen the story about it, you will find the Xi'an Museum is also in the Jianfu Temple. Visit the museum to find out about the history and development of Xi'an.

the Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Our Dumpling DIY activity will be held in a local family's home. You will do it yourself step by step and enjoy the process as simple ingredients change into delicate dumplings.

Making Dumplings


We will experience a 6.5 hour high speed train journey from Xi'an to Shanghai. You'll see the landscape change through the train windows from the boundless desolation to the gentle water town of southern China, as the sun sinks in the west and the moon rises. You can try the boxed meal in the train or get some food in the dining car when it's time for dinner. Bringing your own food is also a good idea.

Day 9
Shanghai: Shanghai Essence (breakfast & lunch)

Start with the Former French Concession. We will explore Shanghai from Ancient to Modern today. Founded in 1849, the former French Concession is a witness to China's history. Continue our tour in Yuyuan Garden, a privately-owned classical style garden built in the Ming Dynasty. Try Shanghai cuisine for lunch at a local restaurant.

Yuyuan Garden


Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city from the Oriental Pearl Tower. The 6,000 square meter Shanghai's urban exhibition hall will tell you the history about how the city developed from a poor land. Drive to the Bund and consider the historical architecture. Listen to the fascinating stories from the guide relating to each of the buildings on the Bund.

the Bund

Good to know: A variety of nice dining places are located on the Bund. Try some of them for high tea or supper and enjoy the great view.


Shanghai has a lot that you can discover easily on your own. For evening entertainment, going to watch an acrobatic show or experiencing a local bar would be interesting. Feel free to ask your guide for more suggestions.

Day 10
Farewell China(breakfast)

Enjoy some morning shopping or relaxing on your own. Your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the International Airport, where our guide will assist you to check-in. Have a safe journey back home.

Featured Hotel

  Comfortable Deluxe
Beijing Penta hotel Beijing Regent Beijing
Pingyao Hongshanyi Inn Pingyao Yunjincheng Mansion
Xi'an Grand Noble Hotel Wyndham Grand Xian South
Shanghai SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel

What’s Included

  • 9 nights’ hotel accommodation with daily breakfasts
  • Chinese food in popular local restaurants
  • Entrance fee and cost for all listed activities
  • Private English speaking tour guide and driver service
  • Cultural experience activities as listed
  • Train ticket between cities
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