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PopSci in China: Ancient Culture & Cultivation



  • Duration: 10 days
  • Price: from $1,899

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Save up to $800 per couple!!!

For a limited time only save up to $800 per couple on these remarkable China tours. Reserve by June 14, 2018 to qualify for the early booking discount. Space is limited so please reserve early.

Itinerary at a glance Tour Highlights Your China tour includes
  • International flight to Beijing
  • 3 nights in Beijing
  • 2 nights in Xian
  • 3 nights in Shanghai
  • International flight to USA
  • Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
  • Great Wall (Beijing)
  • Terra Cotta Soldiers (Xian)
  • The Bund (Shanghai)
  • Suzhou Excursion (Shanghai)


Special PopSci Experiences

  • Museum of Clocks at the Forbidden City (Beijing)
  • Wangfujung Street Entomophagy (Beijing)
  • Ancient Observatory (Beijing)
  • Terra Cotta Soldiers Reproduction Factory (Xian)
  • Maglev Train Ride (Shanghai)
  • Science & Technology Museum (Shanghai)
  • Suzhou Excursion with Local Botanist (Shanghai)
  • Round-trip airfare from San Francisco via Air China (Add $129 if departing from NYC, JFK)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • All intra-China flights and ground transportation
  • Accommodation at deluxe and first class hotels
  • 15 meals: 8 buffet breakfasts (B), 5 lunches (L), 2 dinners (D)
  • Sightseeing tours as described in itinerary
  • Science & technology experiences handpicked by the PopSci editorial team
  • English-speaking Tour Director and local guides
  • Popular Science Representative for most (or all) of your trip

Click on the tabs below to learn more!

Guided Tour Pricing

Pricing includes land and airfare

(Land only pricing available upon request)



Best Value Pricing
Reserve by Jun 14 2018

Reserve after
Jun 14 2018






After Sale

Oct 30

Nov 8

$ 1999

$ 2099

$ 2399

Claire Maldarelli

Nov 27

Dec 6

$ 1899

$ 1999

$ 2299

Rob Verger

Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $299
New York Departures:
Add $129 if departing from New York (JFK)
Business Class Upgrade (International Flights Only):
Add $2995 from San Francisco and $3395 from New York
China visa fee not included
For more information on this China tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:30-5:30 EST) at 844-565-8582.
Reservations and Payments
Reservations can be made by phone (1-844-565-8582) and will be confirmed upon receipt of $300 per person non-refundable, non-transferable deposit (by check payable to smarTours) which must be received within 7 days of reservation. Full payment is due 75 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. For complete booking information and terms & conditions click here.


Day 1
Depart USA
Your magical journey with our China tour packages begin this afternoon as you depart on your wide-body jet flight bound for Beijing.
Day 2
Arrive Beijing
After crossing the International Date Line you arrive late this afternoon in Beijing, China’s lively capital and recent host to Summer Olympics.

You’ll be greeted at the airport and travel to your upscale hotel centrally located in downtown Beijing, within easy access to Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a welcome briefing.

Accommodations: Penta Hotel

Day 3
Start your day with a visit to the Forbidden City, the former seat of the emperors throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. This complex is a true architectural masterpiece and is home to the National Palace Museum.

Enjoy a special visit to the Museum of Clocks where you’ll be escorted by an expert.

After an included lunch, proceed to the Summer palace, a former royal retreat of the Empress Dowager and now a lovely park. Here, enjoy a scenic boat ride on the peaceful Kunming Lake. Return to your hotel late this afternoon. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner featuring the famous “Peking Duck”!

Accommodations: Penta Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4
On today’s exhilarating included excursion venture outside the city to the legendary Great Wall, which extends nearly 4,000 miles. Time to view and mount the well-preserved ramparts of this ancient wonder before proceeding to the Ming Tombs, burial site of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty.

This evening, visit Wangfujung Street, popular for it’s street food, where you’ll visit the insect stalls. Learn about the history and future of entomophagy and consider snacking on pupa, scorpions, or some of the more familiar foods en route!

Accommodations: Penta Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5
Beijing – Xian
This morning, visit the Beijing Ancient Observatory, where old instruments designed to see the stars are kept. Here, discover how people learned about celestial bodies before they could be seen up close with modern technology.

Later today, fly to Xian, the ancient capital of China for eleven dynasties and the historic gateway to the old silk trading route.

Accommodations: Golden Flower Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6
On a guided morning excursion visit one of the world’s most amazing archaeological discoveries: a life-size Terra Cotta Army of soldiers and horses guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi. It was unearthed in 1974 after being buried with the first Qin emperor for 22 centuries!

Today you’ll also visit a Terracotta factory where you’ll learn how reproductions of these incredible warriors are made.

On this evening’s optional outing, savor a delicious dumpling dinner, a local specialty, and delight in a Tang Dynasty spectacular folklore show.

Accommodations: Golden Flower Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7
Xian – Shanghai
Today, fly to Shanghai, often described as “Paris of the East”. An intriguing, dynamic city, today’s Shanghai weaves the seaport legacy of its past with impressive new 21st century architecture.

Upon arrival, experience the incredible speed of Shanghai’s maglev train from the Shanghai Airport.

Accommodations: Fudan Crown Plaza Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8
Start your day with a panoramic drive of Shanghai and an orientation tour around the city including a walk along the Bund. Enjoy a guided walk amidst the scenic ponds, colorful pavilions and walkways of the 16th century Yu Yuan Garden, a delightful reminder of old Shanghai. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore at your own pace.

After lunch, visit the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum.

This evening you may consider an optional dinner followed by a mesmerizing acrobatic show.

Accommodations: Fudan Crown Plaza Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9
Suzhou Excursion.
Today, enjoy an excursion with lunch to the charming, canal laced Suzhou, often called “Paradise on Earth”. Here you embark on a boat ride on the ancient “Grand Canal” and enjoy a walk around the old town.

Next, visit one of Suzhou’s most famous gardens where you’ll meet a local botanist and learn more about the local plants.

After lunch visit a silk workshop to learn about silk production. Return to Shanghai later this afternoon. This evening join your fellow travelers for an included festive farewell dinner featuring Shanghai cuisine.

Accommodations: Fudan Crown Plaza Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10
Shanghai – USA
Today, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Your memorable journey of your China Tours come to an end as you arrive back in the U.S. later today.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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 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.

Day 6
Tang Dynasty Show and Special Dumpling Dinner ($45 per person)
On this evening outing, savor a delicious dumpling dinner, a local specialty.  Later, delight in a spectacular folklore show featuring music, dances and costumes from the Tang Dynasty.

Day 8
Afternoon Shanghai Museum and Jade Buddha Temple Tour with Lunch ($38 per person)
If you purchase this optional tour, you’ll enjoy an included lunch followed by a guided afternoon tour. First, visit the acclaimed Shanghai Museum, displaying exquisite ancient Chinese art and articrafts. This museum has some of Asia’s best art exhibits. Proceed to the Jade Buddha Temple that houses exceptional Buddha statues carved of a single piece of white jade.

PopSci Representatives

Billy Cadden
Billy Cadden
Departure: Aug. 28
Commerce Editor Billy Cadden researches, tests, and reports on new and intriguing gadgets. His life outside of work is shockingly similar. He also writes music, makes great coffee, and promises himself he’ll go to the gym tomorrow.
Claire Maldarelli
Claire Maldarelli
Departure: Oct. 30
Claire Maldarelli is an assistant editor at Popular Science, where she focuses on health and medicine with a particular interest in the tiny world of the microbiome. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Scholastic’s Science World magazine.
Rob Verger
Rob Verger
Departure: Nov. 27
Rob Verger is the assistant technology editor at Popular Science, where his interests include writing about artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, and cybersecurity. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Boston Globe, Nautilus, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other publications.

Trip Preparation

Your flights from the U.S. to China and back are on Air China with the corresponding schedules.  We recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 3 ½ hours before the scheduled departure. 

Departure Date SFO JFK
Depart Return Depart Return
2018: Aug. 28 2:30pm 12:30pm 4:30pm 2:30pm
2018: Oct. 30 2:30pm 11:30am 3:30pm 1:30pm
2018: Nov. 27 1:30pm 11:30am 3:30pm 1:30pm

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 that flight schedules are subject to change without prior note.                                               

Air China does not assign seats in advance. Please note that smarTours is not involved with your seat assignment. It is between you and the airline! Seat assignment can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport.


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.

You may expect temperatures averaging in the 30’s and 40’s in December, January and February, 50’s and 60’s in March and November, 60’s and 70’s in April, May, September and October and 80’s in June through August.

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 (maximum 44 pounds) and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18”x10”x8”. 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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