Classic China and Tibet

Take in the highlights of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai, including the Forbidden City, the Terra-Cotta Warriors, and Yu Yuan Gardens, and venture to Lhasa, set high on a Himalayan plateau for an insider's look at Tibet's Buddhist culture.

Starting at: $6,871 * Including airfare, airline taxes & departure fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Potala Palace in Lhasa  A panoramic view of the Forbidden City  The breathtaking gorges of the Yangtze River  Prayer flags in Tibet  Potala Palace, Lhasa  Prayer wheels at Lhasa's Potala Palace  Monks amid the mountain landscape of Tibet  Young Tibetan monks  Beijing's Forbidden City   The Great Wall of China  The Terra-Cotta Warriors of Xi'an  Detail of the Dazu Rock Carvings, a World Heritage site  China's Yangtze River  The architecture of Shanghai's Pudong area  The Shanghai Museum

Tour Details



Best quality and attention to detail at a great price! 

Dick S.

I met so many interesting people on this tour. We bonded exceptionally well with each other and with the study leader and tour director. I will certainly use Smithsonian in the future. 

Mary Jeanne C.

This trip was so much better than our expectations (and they were high). My husband hesitates traveling abroad, but we both were totally captivated. Every night on tour, we celebrated the day!

Christina T.

If you want to learn about the history, culture, and art of China and Tibet, I highly recommend this tour!

Richard T.

Amazing journey! The quality of our expert and guide were unparalleled in our experience!

Kathleen S.

This was our first organized tour, and we were a bit wary of how it would work. Our wariness was unwarranted. As the tour went on, we were happier and happier with our decision. We now fear that no future tour will measure up to this one.

Jim S.


See All Journeys Dispatches ››


Julia Murray

Julia Murray

Sep 10 - 28, 2015

Julia K. Murray is Professor Emerita of Art History, East Asian Studies, and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin, where she taught courses in the history of Chinese art.  She earned her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies and Art & Archaeology from Princeton University, and her B.A. and M.A. in Chinese Studies from Yale University.  Her research focuses on Chinese pictorial art and the visual and material culture associated with the veneration of Confucius.  Her most recent books are Mirror of Morality: Chinese Narrative Illustration and Confucian Ideology and (co-authored) Confucius: His Life and Legacy in Art, and she has published many articles on varied topics in Chinese art. She has also worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, and the Harvard University Art Museums and has organized numerous exhibitions. After making her first visit to China in 1980, she served as a Smithsonian Journeys Expert for some of the early Smithsonian tours of China and has a great perspective on China’s amazing transformation into the modern nation that it is today.

Diane Perushek

Diane Perushek

Oct 8 - 26, 2015

Diane Perushek has traveled to China more than 70 times since her first visit in 1979, traveling with Smithsonian groups, purchasing books and other documents for libraries in the U.S., and, most recently, as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar for one year at Nanjing University researching how Chinese university libraries cooperate with one another. She worked as head of the East Asian libraries at Princeton and Cornell Universities, and is the current Director of Global Relations at the University of Hawai‘i whose Chinese studies programs date back to the 1920s. She earned a master’s degree in modern Chinese literature from Columbia University and did her Ph.D. work in classical Chinese literature at Princeton University. She has taught courses on the history of Chinese books and printing, and is an avid fan and preparer of Chinese cuisine. In the past year she has participated in two conferences, one in Hong Kong concerning university library consortia around the world, and one in Beijing comparing journalism in China and the U.S.

Rose Lee

Rose Lee

Apr 6 - 24, 2016

Rose E. Lee is an art historian, curator, and editor of Asian art whose focus is on the material cultures and societies of North Asia. With a working knowledge of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, she has lived and worked in Asia for over twenty years. Formerly a curator of Chinese art at the Denver Art Museum and the National Palace Museum of Taipei, Rose also taught Chinese art history at Colorado College and Soochow University. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and edits exhibition catalogs and journal articles on Asian art.

Virginia Bower

Virginia Bower

May 5 - 23, 2016

Virginia Bower is an expert on Chinese art and archaeology. Virginia did her graduate study at Princeton University, and is now an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; she also teaches regularly at Rutgers University. She has contributed to numerous museum catalogs and exhibitions and is a co-editor of Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010). She has lived in Taiwan and worked at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Virginia first visited China as a tour lecturer in the 1980’s and has returned many times on a wide range of itineraries sponsored by educational institutions, including the Smithsonian.

Robert Foster

Robert Foster

Sep 14 - Oct 2, 2016

Robert W. Foster has been fascinated by Chinese culture since he first read a translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching in high school. Since that early encounter with a strikingly unfamiliar worldview, he has spent his academic career developing a better understanding of the history of one of the world's great civilizations. After receiving a B.A. in History from Kenyon College in Ohio, Foster pursued graduate work at Harvard University, where he earned his Master's degree in East Asia Studies (1990) and his Ph.D. in Chinese History (1997), during which time he was an exchange student at Peking University (1990-1991). Since 1997, he has been a member of the faculty of the Department of History at Berea College, where he created the Asian Studies program. Although his courses at Berea focus on Chinese and Japanese history, Foster has also developed a broader understanding of the cultural interactions throughout East Asia and between China and Central Asia. Foster has been a participant in National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes on the Silk Road sponsored by the East-West Center in Hawaii and seminars on modern China at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. Foster has worked to make Chinese culture more accessible to a Western audience. He has translated key Classical Chinese texts, has written on China's relation to the Silk Road, on Confucian philosophy, and on the modern use of Confucian imagery in the PRC and Japan. Recognizing the value of directly engaging Asian cultures, he has taken student and faculty groups to the Peoples' Republic of China and Japan. He has served as Smithsonian Lecturer in China and has led workshops on Asia with organizations as diverse as the U.S. military and secondary school educators in Kentucky.