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Beijing & Shanghai


  • Duration: 10 days
  • Price: from $1,049
Itinerary at a glance Tour Highlights Your Beijing and Shanghai tours include
  • International flight to Beijing
  • 5 nights in Beijing
  • 3 nights in Shanghai
  • International flight to USA


  • Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
  • Great Wall (Beijing)
  • Temple of Heaven (Beijing)
  • The Bund (Shanghai)
  • Suzhou Excursion (Shanghai)
  • Yuyuan Garden (Shanghai)
  • Round-trip airfare from San Francisco via Air China. New York – JFK departures add $100.
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-China flights and all transfers
  • Accommodations at superior first class hotels
  • Full buffet American breakfast daily (B) & 1 lunch (L)
  • Services of English-speaking tour hosts

Click on the tabs below to learn more!

Day 1
Depart USA.
Your fascinating sojourn to China begins as you depart San Francisco or New York today.
Day 2
Arrive Beijing.
Evening arrival in Beijing, China’s historic and cultural capital. You’ll be met by your guide and escorted to your upscale hotel located in a vibrant area in central Beijing, within short driving distance of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The hotel offers tastefully decorated rooms, several restaurants and a fitness center. Penta Hotel.
Day 3

Meet your fellow travelers at a special “orientation breakfast” hosted by your local Beijing tours guide. You’ll have several days in Beijing to explore on your own. Your hotel is conveniently located within short distance of many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Your professional guide will be glad to make suggestions if you prefer to explore independently. To make the most of your visit and enrich your experience, your guide will offer you a chance to join some exclusive excursions to the city’s highlights as well as memorable evening activities. Today is a day at leisure. Consider an optional tour to the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. During this optional tour, visit the famous Tiananmen Square, enter the Forbidden City, and after an included lunch, venture outside the city to see the Summer Palace, summer resort of the Empress Dowager. Please click on the “Optional Tours” tab above for more detail. (B)

Day 4

Embark on an exhilarating full day excursion. First travel to the legendary Great Wall which extends over 3,700 miles and is the only man-made structure visible from the moon. There is time to mount the ramparts of this ancient wonder before proceeding to the Ming Tombs, burial site of the Ming Dynasty royalty. These evening, consider a Kung Fu performance with classic Peking duck dinner. Please click on the “Optional Tours” tab above for more detail. (B,L)

Days 5-6

These days are at your leisure. To make the most of your visit and enrich your experience, your guide will offer you a chance to join some exclusive excursions to the city’s highlights as well as memorable evening activities. These amazing optional activities include the Hutong (Old Beijing) and the Temple of Heaven, the Beijing Zoo and the Lama Temple.  Please click on the “Optional Tours” tab above for more detail. (B)

Day 7
Today, board a short flight to Shanghai, China’s largest city, bustling commercial center and port. Our Shanghai tours show how the city has gone through a major revitalization and is now considered one of Asia’s most vibrant and exciting cities. Transfer to your upscale, conveniently located hotel. It offers well-appointed rooms, several restaurants and a fitness center. Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan. (B) 
Days 8-9

Two full days to savor Shanghai’s exotic temples and colorful markets as well the modern additions to the cityscape. Your local guide will offer an optional full day city tour to explore the new and the old. You may also wish to take in a performance of the renowned Shanghai Acrobats. While in Shanghai, do not miss the optional excursion to Suzhou, called “Venice of the East” by the explorer Marco Polo or the spectacular night river cruise. Please click on the “Optional Tours” tab above for more detail. (B)

Day 10
Today you’ll be escorted to the airport and bid farewell to China as you board your return flight. Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive the USA later today. (B) 

Optional Tours

To enhance and make your China tour packages  more complete and memorable, you will be offered several optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. You’ll need to decide while in Beijing, which of these tours you want to participate in and pay for. Payment should be made by cash (U.S. dollars).  You may also pay with credit card (Visa or Mastercard only!).  Please note that if you wish to use credit card, 4% service charge will be added automatically by the bank to the optional tour prices listed below.  A minimum purchase of $150 (for Beijing & Shanghai tours combined) is required if you wish to use your credit card. Once paid, optional tours are non-refundable.  Additional optional tours may be added for your enjoyment, and the optional tours listed below may not be available on all departure dates. Note that optional tours are non-refundable.

Special Offer: Purchase a Full Day Hutong (Old Beijing) & Temple of Heaven with Full Day Xi’an Excursion with Lunch, and you will receive a FREE full day tour to The Forbidden City & Summer Palace with lunch, a $65 value! This offer is per person and non-transferable (the same person must take the two paid optional tours in order to be entitled to the free tour). No substitutions. Tours must be purchased in China through your Beijing tour host.

Day 3
Full Day Forbidden City/Summer Palace Tour with Lunch ($65 per person)
Start your day with a visit to the famous Tiananmen Square. You then enter the Forbidden City, an architectural masterpiece and home to the National Palace Museum. After an included lunch, venture outside the city to see the Summer Palace, summer resort of the Empress Dowager.

Day 4
Evening Kung Fu Performance and Peking Duck Dinner Banquet ($50 per person)
Enjoy an elaborate Chinese Dinner Banquet featuring the famous “Peking Duck”. Following dinner you’ll attend the “Legend of Kung Fu” show, a special stage performance that blends music, martial arts and a moving story. The show highlights the fascinating Chinese martial arts, known as Kung Fu.

Day 5
Full Day Xian Excursion with Airfare & Lunch ($469, airfare, lunch, and transfers included)
Join an unforgettable full day excursion to Xian from Beijing. Morning flight to Xian, the ancient capital of China under eleven dynasties and historic gateway to the old silk-trading route. Upon arrival embark on a guided tour to explore one of the century’s great archaeological discoveries: a buried army of life-size Terra Cotta soldiers and horses guarding the tomb of the emperor Qin Shi. Late afternoon fly back to Beijing and transfer to your hotel. Please Note: This excursion requires a minimum of 6 travelers to operate.

Day 5
OR Half Day Beijing Zoo and Lama Temple Tour ($40 per person)
Enjoy a morning tour of Lama Temple, formerly an imperial palace, later converted to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Then, delight in a visit to the Beijing Zoo where you’ll see the Giant Pandas.

Day 6
Full Day Hutong (Old Beijing) & Temple of Heaven Tour with Lunch ($65 per person)
Enjoy an unforgettable look at behind-the-scenes of Hutong, the old city of Beijing. You’ll ride on a traditional 3-wheel cycle through the labyrinth comprising this district. Walk along ancient alleyways and see where ordinary citizens live side by side with gracious old estates once owned by Beijing’s old aristocracy. After an included lunch, proceed to the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of architectural harmony and precision.

Day 7
Shanghai Acrobats Performance and Dinner ($45 per person)
This evening you will delight in seeing a breathtaking performance of the renowned Shanghai Acrobats.  Chinese dinner will be included in tonight’s activities.

Day 8
Full Day Shanghai Tour of the City with Lunch ($50 per person)
Start your day with a guided walk amidst the scenic ponds, colorful pavilions and walkways of the 16th century Yuyuan Garden, a delightful reminder of old Shanghai. You’ll also visit the acclaimed Shanghai Museum displaying exquisite ancient Chinese art and artifacts. Conclude the tour with a visit to the colorful Bund, Shanghai’s famous waterfront.

Day 8
Shanghai by Night River Cruise ($35 per person)
Enjoy postcard views of Shanghai as you take a 1-hour evening cruise along the Huangpu River. The glittering views along the river as well as those you’ll enjoy while traveling along the Bund to embark the cruise are mesmerizing and offer a true testimony to the unique blend of past and future, east and west that Shanghai offers. Transfers from and back to your hotel are included.

Day 9
Full Day Suzhou Excursion with Lunch ($65 per person)
On this most memorable excursion, journey by road to the charming, canal laced Suzhou often called “Paradise on Earth”. Here you embark on a short cruise on the ancient “Grand Canal” and enjoy a walk of the old town followed by a visit to one of Suzhou most famous Chinese gardens. After lunch visit a silk workshop to learn about silk production. Return to Shanghai late this afternoon.

Trip Preparation


Your departure flights from USA to China and back are via Air China.  You are expected to arrive at your departure airport at least   3 ½ hours before your scheduled departure time. Your return flight is scheduled back 10 days later.  Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs, if you are planning a connecting fight.  We recommend at least 3 ½ hours.  Please Note: flight schedules are subject to change.  Current flight schedule is as follows:


Airline SFO JFK





Mar. – Apr. 2018

Air China






Air China does not assign seats in advance. Seat assignment can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport. Please note that Air China does not offer any frequent flyer miles for passengers traveling on a group fare.


Travel to China requires a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. American citizens require visa to enter China. Non U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Passengers traveling to China need to have individual visas stamped in their passports. To obtain an individual visa for China, please follow one of the following:

  1. If you prefer to apply for your visa directly with the Chinese Consulate, you will have to apply in person.   Chinese Consulates do not accept mailed-in visa applications.  Please contact the Chinese Consulate nearest your area for visa requirements and application forms and fees.
  2. If you do not reside close to a consulate, we suggest that you use a visa service to facilitate the processing of the visa.  We recommend using CIBT.  Please use the following link to download instructions and forms at
  3. If you do not have access to a computer, and you are not able to apply for your visa in person, please contact CIBT to have a form mailed to you.  If you plan to use the services of CIBT and have any questions regarding the application please call them directly at 800-406-1523.
  4. We recommend that you apply for the visa in-person or through CIBT, at least 45-50 days before your scheduled departure to China. If you apply earlier, your visa may expire by the time you are scheduled to take your trip!

PLEASE NOTE:  An invitation letter addressed to the Chinese Consulate will be e-mailed to you approximately 50 days prior to your departure date.  This invitation letter will include the addresses and telephone numbers of the hotels and land operator in China.  You will need to print this invitation and present it with your China visa application.  When you send us your final payment, please make sure you provide us with your correct e-mail address on your tour registration form.  Also please note that visa procedures may change at any time.  You should check directly with the consulate, or if using CIBT online at, for the most up to date instructions before submitting your paperwork.  Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.


Your airline tickets along with final instructions and additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.  Please make sure to advise us in case your address changes.


Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions.


Weather in Beijing is similar to that of the Northeastern USA.  You may expect day time high temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s in April, 40’s and 50’s in March and November and 30’s’and 40’s in December, January, February. Shanghai temperatures are about 5-10 degrees warmer than Beijing. Evening temperatures are cooler. Formal or evening attire is not necessary.


To enhance your China visit, you will be offered several optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. You’ll need to decide while in Beijing which of these tours you want to participate in and pay for through your local tour host. For any questions regarding the optional tours you may contact by email:


The hotels used on this tour have several dining choices from coffee shop to specialty restaurants.  Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in the coffee shop is about $15 – $20 per meal per person.  Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals.


Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards.  However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. Dollars.  Your hotels will be able to exchange for you cash to local currency.  It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.


Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase maximum 44 pounds) and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18” x 10” x 8”.  We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.


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 10 reviews
by Tom and Lila Behr on smarTours
Wonderful China Experience!

We just returned from our smarTours trip to Beijing and Shanghai. It was a great trip, from the quality of our accommodations to the knowledgeable and friendly tour guides Tiger (Beijing) and Linda (Shanghai). The hotels were of excellent quality and we had the options of various tours on a daily basis. Tiger and Linda spoke flawless English and their tours were full of historical and cultural information to go along with the sites visited, filled with interesting facts but delivered with humor as well. They were very caring and friendly, going out of their way to make sure us tourists were comfortable. We definitely recommend this smarTours trip and look forward to taking others in the future.

by Kristina Quintana on smarTours
Beijing & Shanghai 12/4-12/13/16

This was my first Groupon trip and I was a little worried but SmarTours was in constant contact to make sure everything for the trip was in order. Air China had great entertainment & food. My husband and I both thought the hotels in Beijing & Shanghai were excellent. I do not remember seeing an option to select the bed size but we were able to upgrade from a twin to king bed at the Shanghai hotel. We thought the tours were great and very informative. Tiger & Allie had great personalities. Allie constantly made us laugh. We enjoyed the night activities and main attractions. I liked that we didn't just go to museums and we had plenty of free time during the tours to shop or walk around. We would definitely travel with SmarTours again.

by Yvonne Collins on smarTours

I traveled to Beijing and Shanghai with smarTours in April 2015. I had a wonderful time. Our tour guide, Tiger, was amazing and very knowledgeable. The sites and excursions were fun. I am hoping to find a great rate for a Hong Kong and Tokyo combined trip before my visa expires. I still have eight years remaining.

by Belle Turner on smarTours
10 days Beijing & Shanghai

I actually took this tour solo January 2016. The experience was great being so far away independently. Air China flights were direct connections and very accommodating! I went online with the flight confirmation code and booked my own seats ahead of time! The only leg of the flight that was assigned by the airline was returning to SFO from Beijing. Otherwise the buffet breakfast every morning was good, connections and transportation were great! Our tour guides had great personalities and always made sure we were safe. I did use China Highlights as a tour company while I was in Beijing, and booked day tours with smarTours in Shanghai. The total trip itself was priced very reasonable! I would definitely recommend using smarTours for this destination!

by John Knorr on smarTours
April 3rd China Trip

We recently returned from the April 3, 2016 trip to China and our first trip with Smartours. We have to say both, the trip and the travel agency exceeded our expectations!!! Everything was just as they said when we first read about the trip. The travel arrangements, the hotels, optional tours, and tours guides were outstanding. The individuals in our group were all amazing!! We had FUN!!! The weather the entire trip was wonderful for sightseeing!! We truly enjoyed the trip and we would highly recommend Smartours to everyone and we are currently looking at another trip with them for early 2017. Thanks again for an amazing trip. John Knorr, Kansas City

by Lodz Jean-Jacques on smarTours
10 days Beijing&Shanghai

The tour was fantastic,the guides were very good,the hotels were also very good.Over all everything was very good.I had a good time.

by Margaret Richardson on smarTours

3 friends and I took the Beijing-Shanghai tour in early April of this year. SmarTours provided a great experience and all tours were enjoyable and worth the price. Air China was surprisingly comfortable, offers a variety of entertainment and the food is good. They served a meal in our 2 hour flight from Beijing to Shanghai and back. The Penta Hotel in Beijing and Holiday Inn in Shanghai both serve a wonderful breakfast buffet, are clean, comfortable, attractive and located in the city with different restaurants and malls nearby. Our tour guides were also wonderful, knowledgeable, helpful and speak nearly fluent English. Ally Wang is adorable and gave us lots of information about each tour, their country and what to buy. Lia and Neil were great too! I recommend this tour.

by Mel on smarTours
Beijing-Shanghai trip

My husband and I had the Beijing-Shanghai tour last March of this year as part of our 10th year anniversary. This is the 1st time we purchased from Smartour and we're really happy about our experience. Air China is a good air carrier, they have vast range of entertainment on board and the food is good. My husband and I sat on the back of the aircraft and we noticed that the back was like an open bar to passenger when they can get unlimited drinks while on flight. They even served a meal in our 1 1/2 to 2 hour flight from Beijing to Shanghai/ Shanghai to Beijing. The Penta Hotel in Beijing and Holiday Inn in Shanghai were really really good. They're clean and offers great variety of foods in their daily breakfast buffet plus both hotels are located in the Center of the city with different restaurants and malls around it. Our tour guides were also wonderful and speaks understandable English and they're always willing to help us out . They're both knowledgeable and gave us information not only about their country but also gave us tips where to eat, what to eat, where to go and what need to do. My husband and I were also pleased to meet and know other people in our group. They're all wonderful and nice to know that they're also well traveled ( the ladies from New York, the family from Iowa and the couple from LA). We had a great time and it was really fun . My husband and I recommends this tour to our friends and we're planning to go back to China with our kids maybe in a year or so.

by Josue Aponte on smarTours

First time I use Smart Tours and they did not disappoint. I was very nervous all the way until I reached China. However I was very welcome and recommend this tour to anyone. Definitely will be going back to China.

by Carol Hasbrouck on smarTours
Beijing/Shanghai Tour

We just came back from a wonderful trip to Beijing and Shanghai China purchased through SmarTours. We never used SmarTours before and we were a little apprehensive. We flew from San Francisco to Beijing and were met by our SmarTours leader Michael who spoke very good English. The transfer to the hotel was smooth and we received our room key before leaving the bus. We were given an updated itinerary and were able to purchase excursions the first night. Everything in Beijing went very smooth. Michael was very informative and patient. We flew to Shanghai and was met by Alli who also spoke fluent English. We travelled to our hotel and that evening went to a acrobatic show and peking duck dinner.
The excursions purchased from SmarTours were superior. You got more than your money's worth and when they say "full-day" it truly is a full day. You are usually gone from 8a-5p with many activities in one day.
The Penta Hotel in Beijing and the Holiday Inn in Shanghai were wonderful. Very clean, modern and centrally located.
We went with 2 other couples and the 6 of us were more than satisfied with every aspect of our trip. I highly recommend SmarTours and we will be looking for another vacation with them.

Check out photos taken by smarTours travelers on this trip of a lifetime!

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