Day 1: Xi’an – Luoyang (L)After hotel pickup in Xi’an in the morning, you’re transferred to the railway station to board the high-speed train for Luoyang. Your local guide greets you upon arrival and drives you approximately 30 minutes to the Longmen Grottoes, where many Buddhist sculptures are delicately carved in stone cliffs next to the Yi River.
Explore the site, including Fengxian Temple and the Wanfo Cave, each of which holds various ancient artifacts and features intricate decor. Afterward, you’re served lunch at local restaurant.
Reboard the minivan and head to the Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits, where 400 tombs, 36 horse-and-chariot sacrificial pits, and more than 1,000 relics of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC to 256 BC) were found preserved in perfect condition. Learn about the funeral custom of burying the royal horses and chariots, excavated in 2002.
Then, continue to the Luoyang Museum, exhibiting items and various folk art collections from the Zhou period, including exquisite bronze ware of ancient China. Tour the museum with your guide and gain insight into the rich heritage of the region.
Later, head to your comfortable accommodation to check in and retire for the evening. Your guide can recommend local restaurants for dinner (own expense).
Overnight: 4-star hotel in Luoyang
Day 2: Luoyang – Xi’an (B, L)After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a scenic 2-hour drive through gorgeous valleys, bringing you to the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Shaolin Temple — a famous martial arts monastery and the birthplace of both kung fu and Zen Buddhism. Take a guided tour of the temple to see its impressive design, visiting Guanyin Hall, containing frescoes of fighting Shaolin monks.
Visit the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Pagoda Forest, the Dharma Cave and the Martial Arts Training Center. Watch a live kung fu performance and witness an incredible display of concentration and skill, with stunts such as breaking a metal bar with bare hands.
After lunch at a local restaurant, your guide transfers you to the railway station in the afternoon. You’ll return to Xi’an by high-speed train, where you are free to explore or return to your hotel on your own.