Beijing & Xian
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China has a history as rich and beautiful as it is turbulent and awe-inspiring. Beijing gives us the very essence of all that is most provocative about Chinese political & cultural history, both ancient and modern. An exciting school tour, contact us now to customise your China itinerary.

  • The Terracotta Warriors
  • Overnight train journey
  • Tiananmen Square
  • The Forbidden City
  • The Temple of Heaven
Teacher
testimonials
TCBC School Tours are superb - the staff are the most helpful, professional and knowledgeable people I could hope for.

Nick Axon Head of History

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Ideal For:

Departments:

  • History
  • Religious Studies
  • Chinese Language
  • Art

Topics:

  • The Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
  • Rise of Mao
  • Chinese Civil War
  • Tiananmen Square and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
  • Great Wall of China
  • The Terra Cotta Army
  • Developing Chinese language, listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
  • Learning about Chinese culture

Download our latest China brochure

The People's Republic of China
has a rich and well-chronicled history stretching back thousands of years, much of which can be experienced from its capital Beijing. From the Forbidden City to the Great Wall of China, Beijing has much to offer the student of ancient history. This enigmatic city also provides a fascinating comparison of Eastern and Western political and economic thinking, that can’t fail but broaden the horizons of many a young mind.

Beijing is not only the capital of the PRC but also one of its premiere attractions for the traveller. Considered to be rapidly becoming one of the 21st Century world cities it also hosts a wealth of historical sites and thankfully, much of the historical side has survived the construction boom of the last decade. In short, Beijing has it all - history, modern masterpieces, cuisine, local culture.

Xian - Many centuries ago Xian was once the fabled Chang An - a thriving city of emperors, soldiers, arts and culture, and capital of the Tang Dynasty. It was also one of the world's great trading cities being both the beginning and end of the fabled Silk Road. It is all this history that people come to see today and Xian still has much evidence of this glorious past including one of China's most famous sights - the Terra Cotta army.

What is Included

  • Full Chinese visa fees (processing fees, consular fee, application support)
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure with your local TCBC guide
  • Transfers to and from train stations with your local TCBC guide
  • Experienced local TCBC guides in Beijing & Xian for all excursions
  • Transportation to all scheduled activities by coach fitted with seat belts
  • 4 nights twin room accommodation in 3 or 4 star hotels
  • 2 overnight train journeys in soft sleeper class (4-berth closed compartments)
  • Local TCBC guide to accompany your group on overnight train journeys
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners daily (begins with dinner on Day 2 and ends with breakfast on Day 8)
  • Beijing - Half day tour on arrival day to the Temple of Heaven
  • Beijing - Full day tour to the Great Wall at Badaling and the Ming Tombs
  • Beijing - Full day tour to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and Olympic Stadium
  • Xian - Full day tour to the Wild Goose Pagoda and City Wall
  • Xian - Full day tour to the Terra Cotta Warriors and Huaqing Hot Springs
  • Beijing - Full day tour to the Summer Palace, Silk Market and Friendship Store
  • Entrance fees to all included activities
  • Free staff places as requested
  • 24 hour emergency contact numbers
  • Our exclusive Trip Guidebook personalised for your tour with over 100 pages. This book covers all the destinations you visit as well as sections on language, food, history and practical information about China and your trip
  • ROOF charity donation

What is not Included

  • Flights (see FAQs)
  • Medical, trip cancellation / interruption or baggage insurance (see FAQs)
  • UK airport transfers (unless requested)
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and Tour Manager (see FAQs)
  • Tickets for evening activities (see FAQs)

8 DAYS - AT A GLANCE

  • Day oneOvernight flight to Beijing
  • Day twoArrive in China, transfer to hotel, Temple of Heaven
  • Day threeGreat Wall of China, Ming Tombs
  • Day fourTiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Olympic Stadium, overnight train to Xian
  • Day fiveArrive Xian, Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian city walls
  • Day sixTerracotta Warriors, Huaqing Hot Springs, overnight train to Beijing
  • Day sevenSummer Palace, Silk Market
  • Day eightFree morning, airport transfer, flight home

BEIJING & XIAN 8 DAYS

Overnights: Flight (1), Beijing (2), Beijing-Xian train (1), Xian (1), Xian-Beijing train (1), Beijing (1)

The 8 day itinerary below is our most popular China school tour, but we can customise any visit to China to suit your needs and budget. Some schools prefer a 6 day Beijing only trip for example. Alternatively we can include Shanghai or the famous Shaolin Monastery to learn more about the martial arts. Please contact us to discuss your needs further and to get a free quote.

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DAY 1 - FLY TO BEIJING

Overnight flight to China

DAY 2 - BEIJING

Early morning arrival with a transfer from the airport to the hotel by deluxe coach. After checking in (if early check in is possible) you will visit the magnificent Temple of Heaven, one of Beijing’s finest ancient buildings and set in a large park. The Temple of Heaven was where the emperor came every winter solstice to worship Heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest. Since his rule was legitimized by a perceived mandate from Heaven, a bad harvest could be interpreted as his fall from Heaven's favor and threaten the stability of his reign. So, it was not without a measure of self-interest that the emperor fervently prayed for a very good crop. The design of the Temple of Heaven complex, true to its sacred purpose, reflects the mystical cosmological laws believed to be central to the workings of the universe. Hence, complex numerological permutations operate within its design. For example, because the number nine was considered to be the most powerful digit, you will see that the slabs that form the Circular Altar have been lain in multiples of nine. Similarly within the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, the interior twenty-eight columns are divided into four central pillars to represent the seasons, twelve inner columns to represent the months and twelve outer columns to represent the two hour tranches that make up a day. There are many such examples of this intense numerology at play. Evening meal and time to relax at the hotel. Overnight hotel.

DAY 3 - BEIJING

A full day excursion to the Great Wall at Badaling, perhaps China’s most famous landmark. The Badaling section of the Great Wall is more than 1,000 meters (3281ft) above sea level, and commands a strategic position for transportation and defense in ancient times. Badaling, literally meaning “reach eight directions”, got its name because the maze of its ridges stretches in all directions. The Badaling section is 7,600 meters (4.7 miles) long. It has the best wall architecture among all the sections of the Great Wall. Built with tall granite slabs (weighing 1,000 kg or 2,205 pounds each). The wall is on average 7.8 meters (26 ft) tall and 5.7 meters (19 ft) wide, which allows five horses to gallop abreast and ten people to go shoulder to shoulder. Badaling was built in the 18th year (1505) of the reign of Hong Zhi, an emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). After lunch, a drive to the Ming Tombs along the Sacred Way lined with giant marble figures and animals guarding the tomb area for deceased Emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD). Return to the city late afternoon. Evening dinner, free time and overnight.

DAY 4 - BEIJING TO XIAN

A full day starting with Tiananmen Square. The Square is the largest city square in the world, at 440,000 square meters, and can hold about one million people. Tiananmen Square holds the Monument of the National Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. To the north is the Forbidden City and to the south the Temple of Heaven. After walking across the square we move onto the vast palace complex of the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is the best preserved imperial palace in China and is situated in the very heart of Beijing. It was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Construction started in the fourth year of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1406), and ended in 1420. In ancient times, the emperor claimed to be the son of Heaven, and therefore Heaven’s supreme power was bestowed upon him. The emperors’ residence on earth was built as a replica of the Purple Palace where God was thought to live in Heaven. Such a divine place was certainly forbidden to ordinary people and that is why the Forbidden City is so named. The Forbidden City covers an area of about 72 hectares with a total floor space of approximately 150,000 square meters. It consists of 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 rooms. To represent the supreme power of the emperor given from God, and the place where he lived being the center of the world, all the gates, palace and other structures of the Forbidden City were arranged about the south-north central axis of Beijing. In the afternoon a complete contrast with a visit to the famed Bird’s nest Olympic Stadium, an iconic symbol of the new Beijing. Late afternoon meal before a transfer to the station for the overnight train to Xian, Tang Dynasty capital and eastern end of the Silk Road. Overnight on board the train.

DAY 5 - XIAN

Early morning arrival in Xian with a transfer to your hotel and breakfast, time to freshen-up before starting a full day tour to the Wild Goose Pagoda. The Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. The Pagoda was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the study of Buddhist scriptures. A pagoda was built on the site in 589 A.D. in the Sui Dynasty. It was called Wu Lou (Five Storey) Temple. It was not until 648 A.D. that Li Zhi, then still a crown prince, sponsored a renovation project on the temple in memory of his mother's her kindness, after she suffered an early death. The temple then assumed the present name: Temple of Kindness and Grace. When Li Zhi became the Tang Emperor Gaozong, he was said to pay homage to his mother twice a day by looking towards the temple from Hanyuan Palace, built in 663. The temple once had 13 separate courtyards and contained 1,879 magnificent-looking rooms. It was a place of grand dimensions in the Tang Dynasty. However, it went into gradual decay after the dynasty's downfall. The halls and rooms that have survived to this day are structures that were built in the Ming Dynasty. The Tang regime gave orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist scriptures in an effort to have the then widely renowned Master Xuanzang agree to be the head of the temple. Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk who travelled to India, translated Sanskrit scriptures and developed theories of consciousness, karma and rebirth that were adopted by some later popular schools of Buddhism. he Big Wild Goose Pagoda was finished in 652 A.D. Its five storeys were 60 meters in height. The decay of the earth-cored pagoda made necessary the new construction of a new 10-storey pagoda from 701 to 704 A.D. However, the winds of war in the years to come, not to mention a massive earthquake in 1556, reduced the pagoda almost to ruins, which in turn resulted in the construction of a 7-storey, 64 meter-tall structure in the later Ming Dynasty, which still stands today. In the afternoon you will visit the City Walls of Xian. Xian City Wall was erected in the 14th century Ming Dynasty and stands 12 meters high. It is 12-14 meters across the top, 15-18 meters thick at bottom, and 13.7 kilometers in length. There is a rampart every 120 meters. The ramparts were built to allow soldiers to see enemies trying to climb the wall. The distance between the ramparts is within the range of arrows fired from either side. This allowed soldiers to protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. There are altogether 98 ramparts; each has a sentry building on top of it. The gates of the city wall were the only way to go into and out of town. Therefore, these gates were important strategic points. A watch tower is located on each of the four corners of the wall. Along the outer crest of the city wall there are battlements. Under each of the 5,984 crenels there is a square hole, from which arrows were shot and watch was kept. The lower, inner walls are called parapets. They were used to prevent soldiers from falling off the wall, when traveling back and forth. Evening meal and free time. Overnight hotel.

DAY 6 - XIAN TO BEIJING

After breakfast a full day tour starting with the Terracotta Warriors in the morning. The Terracotta Army were discovered in March 1974 by a farmer near the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang, which took 38 years and 720,000 builders to complete. The Terracotta Army was buried for 2,200 years. So far, 1,868 terracotta warriors and chariots have been unearthed. Every figure differs from those around in facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures. The horsemen, the longbow bearers, the archers and the senior officers and generals were positioned in strict accordance with the ancient directives on the Art of War. Many of the figures originally held real weapons of the time, such as bronze swords, longbows, arrows, spears, dagger-axes and other long-shafted weapons. Surface treatment of the weapons made them resistant to rust and corrosion so that after being buried for over 2,000 years they were still sharp. In the afternoon continue to the Huaqing Hot Springs. Huaqing Hot Spring has been the site of a famous imperial bathing pool and various palace complexes over its 3,000 year history. Huaqing (Hua means brilliant; qing means pure or clear) Hot Spring is located about 35 kilometers east of the city of Xi'an, at the foot of Li Mountain. The present day site is only a small part of the Tang Dynasty Palace, covering an area of 85,560 square meters. Entering by the west gate to the hot spring, you will see Nine Dragon Pool, Lotus Flower Pool and Frost Drifting Hall. All these structures were rebuilt in 1959 according to the Tang architectural style. The Tang Emperor Xuanzong used to spend his wintertimes at Huaqing Hot Spring in the company of his favorite concubine Yang. Yang, who was recognized as one of the most enchanting ladies in ancient China, was spoiled by the emperor. Emperor Xuanzong's behavior finally resulted in the An Lushan Rebellion, which damaged the stability of his regime and resulted in the destruction of some of the palaces built on the Huaqing site. Late afternoon meal before a transfer to the station for the overnight train back to Beijing. Overnight on board the train.

DAY 7 - BEIJING

Early morning arrival in Beijing with a transfer to your hotel and breakfast, time to freshen-up before a half day tour of the Summer Palace, the imperial playground of China’s Emperors. Although only a short drive (15 km) from central Beijing it seems like another world. The Chinese call it Yihe Yuan (Garden of Restful Peace), and the landscaped gardens, temples and pavilions were designed to achieve harmony with nature, to soothe and please the eye.  The park spreads across the low hills, including Longevity Hill, around Kunming Lake, and was is divided into three main zones (administration, living, and relaxation).  The buildings and courtyards wander beside the lake, along the waterways and climb the low slopes of the hillside. The arched bridges, pretty promenades, decorated ‘corridors’ and breezeways all lead visitors through ever-changing views and scenery. Here the marvelous marble boat, there an old theatre, over there an island reached by small wooden boat, and in the distance the hills, with a temple on the hillside, framed by dark trees.  Small wonder that UNESCO added this 300 hectare site to the World Heritage List in 1998. An afternoon visit to the Silk Market and Friendship store for this essential souvenirs before a final farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight hotel.

DAY 8 - RETURN HOME

Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight out of China back home, arriving later the same day due to time differences.

RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES

Our China itineraries are very full - each day is taken up with sightseeing, so we do not recommend adding any other activities. Evenings however are generally free, and there are some excellent and reasonably priced activities to experience, the best of which are listed below.

EVENING ACTIVITIES - BEIJING

Peking Duck meal

Enjoy a traditional Peking Duck dinner - Beijing’s world famous signature dish and cooked to perfection in one of Beijing’s best restaurants specialised in this classic cuisine. After the meal transfer back to your hotel with the rest of the evening free.


Chairman Mao themed meal

This evening we lightheartedly step back to the 1960s China style at a themed Chairman Mao restaurant. The food will be simple but delicious peasant fare common during that time and the staff add to the atmosphere by dressing in their Mao Suits and launching into patriotic songs and dance.


Kung Fu Martial Arts Show

Be entertained at a noisy and colourful Kung Fu show demonstrating a wide variety of martial arts disciplines that have been honed to perfection over the centuries. After the show transfer back to your hotel.


Lao She Tea House

A fun evening of entertainment awaits you at the Lao She Teahouse where you will enjoy an atmospheric performance that includes a fast mixture of Peking Opera, Acrobatics, Martial Arts, Cross Talk, Music and Shadow Puppetry - there is something for everyone here and in a classic relaxed and informal tea house environment. After the show you will be transferred back to your hotel.


Acrobats Show

Be entertained at the world famous Chinese acrobats show full of colour, noise and amazing feats of balance. After the show you will be transferred back to your hotel.


Peking Opera

Visit the Peking Opera - a vibrant local theatre combining acrobatics, music, singing, mime and dance. A true Beijing experience. After the performance you will be transferred back to your hotel.


EVENING ACTIVITIES - XIAN

Tang Dynasty Show

Enjoy the lavish Tang Dynasty show set in a beautiful theatre. The show itself highlights Chinese culture from this dynasty, considered a golden age in China’s long history. Music, singing and dance with a traditional orchestra and colourful costumes makes this a visual feast for all ages.

ACCOMMODATION

Listed below are the hotels we use the most on our China tours.

BEIJING - RAINBOW HOTEL 4*

Good standard and value long time popular hotel south of Tiananmen. All the facilities you would expect of a hotel of this size and recently refurbished.

XIAN - KING DYNASTY HOTEL 4*

Large hotel located by the City Walls and ideal for groups. Good sized rooms and a gym with a pool which is rare in Xian.

LUOYANG - PEONY PLAZA HOTEL 4*

Looking a bit like a space ship about to launch this large hotel has good standard rooms and amazing views from the rooftop revolving restaurant.

SHANGHAI - JIN JIANG METROPOLE HOTEL 3*

Great Location close to the Bund and Nanjing Road in the heart of where tourists want to be in Shanghai. A little old but with character.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Below are some handy links to help you plan your trip to China. If you find a broken link or have a good addition to this section, please let us know. Please note that we are not responsible for the content of any external links.

CHINA TRAVEL

British Foreign Office Travel Advice

Advice from the British Foreign Office on travel to China

Fit For Travel - China

Vaccination information for people travelling to China from the UK

Healthcare Abroad

The NHS site dedicated to Healthcare abroad with handy tips and information

National Geographic's China pages

A wealth of information about China from a geographic perspective

CHINA GENERAL

BBC China Country Profile

BBC Weather - China profile

China National Tourist Office

The official, government run Chinese tourist site

China Daily
The State run English language newspaper telling it all how the Chinese government would like you to hear it

China Today
A wealth of general information on how China works

China History

BEIJING

Beijing Official Tourism Portal

eBeijing - The official website of the Beijing Government

BBC Weather 5 Day Forecast - Beijing

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

Climate Care

Information on what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint whether at home or when you are travelling.

World Wildlife Fund - China
China's branch of the worldwide organisation helping to protect what remains of China's habitat for plant and wildlife.

FAQs

How do I get more information or make a booking?

Please contact us here

Where can I find your booking conditions?

Please click here

Are Chinese visa fees included?

Yes!

Do you help with the visa process?

Yes, we do. Closer to your departure date we will be in touch with a step by step guideline of how to apply. You will need to send off your group's passports for about 3 weeks. Passports should not expire earlier than 6 months after the date of your return from China and there should be at least 2 blank pages to allow space for the visa.

Are flights included and what is your ATOL number?

Yes, ATOL 10834

What is your free staff ratio?

We normally include 1 free staff place for every 10 paying participants, but we are flexible with this. Please contact us for more details.

Can you arrange travel insurance?

A fully comprehensive school group travel insurance policy is included as a matter of course in all our quotes. For more information please see our booking conditions.

What is my luggage allowance?

Each airline has different policies on luggage allowance and it is best to visit your airline’s website to check the latest allowance. Here are some of the most popular airline links:

British Airways Baggage Guide

Lufthansa Baggage Guide

KLM Baggage Guide

What are the current hand baggage restrictions?

Air Travel Hand Baggage Rules

This handy site details what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage, including current restrictions on the quantities of liquids and size and type of hand baggage allowed.

Where can I get the latest travel advice?

For the latest travel advice please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website

Will I need any vaccinations?

Please click here for up to date travel health information provided by the NHS.

What money should I take?

It is wise to take some Chinese Yuan, also known as "Renminbi", with you to China. This will save the whole group needing to withdraw money on arrival, although ATM’s are not difficult to find. You can also take GBP cash to change once there.

What is the current exchange rate?

Please see this handy currency converter for the latest rates

How much should we budget per day?

All meals and entrances are included, so you will only need additional money for souvenirs and snacks. There is no shortage of temptation in China for keen shoppers, but we suggest allowing for a minimum of £5-£10 per person to cover the snacks and bottled water.

Do we need to tip anybody?

We ask that you recognise the service your receive from your local guides and drivers. We will provide you with a gratuity guideline in our quote.

Are there any hidden expenses?

Never. Our aim is to include as much as possible in our quotes so you can work out exactly how much money your students will need in China. There will be no hidden costs on tour - everything will be explained clearly beforehand. There are, however, some items we cannot include this far in advance, for example tickets for evening activities, as these are dependent on schedules and ticket availability which we usually will not know until two months before departure. Nearer your departure time we will look at all the options for your group and inform you of ticket prices. The only other items your students will need extra money for in China will be for snacks and any souvenirs they may wish to buy. Gratuities are not included, but we suggest you collect this money in advance of departure.

Do you organise UK airport transfers?

Yes we do. Just let us know of this requirement at the outset.

How will we get around China?

A coach is included for all your sightseeing activities

What is the overnight train like?

This is usually a highlight of the trip for most students. Carriages are made up of 9 compartments with 4 beds in each. Compartments can be locked from the inside and there is space to store luggage under the bottom two berths and above the top two. There are two toilets, one at the end of each carriage. Your guide will travel with you to assist with any language issues.

What is the time difference between the UK and China?

China is GMT +8hrs

What type of plug socket do they use in China and do I need an adaptor?

There seems to have been some indecision in China about which style of socket to use, so they use both as per the picture, but not on all plugs, so make sure you can plug into both designs. Electrical power is 220V 50Hz. Please check your equipment to see if you need a 120V to 220V converter. We recommend you bring this with you from home rather than trying to find it on tour.

 

What clothes should we bring?

If visiting over the autumn and winter months it is advisable to prepare for the worst and pack a good warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves, plus a water proof jacket and sensible shoes. Remember you’re likely to be outside a great deal as well as walking between sights of interest. Layers are best.

If travelling in spring and summer it is possible to pack lighter clothing, however always be prepared for the rain. Again, sensible footwear is essential.

Will there be hairdryers in the rooms?

Some hotels provide hairdryers in some rooms although it is unusual for students to have one in their rooms. We would suggest where students are sharing a room they take one or two hairdryers between them.

What will the food be like?

All meals will be included on our China tours, some at your hotel, some in local restaurants. These will be either set menu or buffet style but there will always be plenty of choice. We will take details from you of any special dietary requirements to ensure that meals are arranged with these requirements in mind.

Checklist of essential items to bring

  • Passport
  • Photocopies of passports
  • Spending money 
  • Standard European continental power adaptor 220v
  • Camera (perhaps suggest not to bring expensive video cameras)
  • Hairdryers if not supplied by your hotel
  • Toiletries and travel tissues
  • Medications and supporting prescriptions or letter from your GP
  • Food supplements if you are on a special diet
  • Small suitcase and daypack
GET A QUOTE
Please contact us to plan your school trip to China. Why travel with TCBC?