- Discover beautiful Yangshuo and the Yulong River on a bike ride and bamboo rafting
- See majestic giant pandas
- Camp on the Great Wall and watch an unforgettable sunset and sunrise
- Explore the mega-city of Shanghai
- Take a tour of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors
- Take part in a traditional tea ceremony and visit the Fujian tea plantations
This group trip takes in all of China’s biggest and best highlights, including vibrant Beijing, the heavenly mountains and rivers of Yangshuo, the historic streets of Xi’an, and the enchanting Fujian tea hills. Plus, you’ll explore sleek Shanghai and the city islands of Hong Kong. This brilliant journey around China includes unique and unforgettable experiences, such as a visit to a Giant Panda breeding centre, and a night of camping on a remote section of the Great Wall of China. You’ll also enjoy plenty of free time to explore each destination for yourself, giving you a great combination of guided and independent travel experiences.
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Day 1: Arrival Day – Welcome to Hong Kong!
Once you arrive in Hong Kong, you’ll get settled in to your accommodation. If you want to get a feel for the city, why not head out and explore the vibrant, heaving streets? With an endless stream of things to see and do, make sure you allow for a little R&R before your adventure begins – but definitely take time to sample some of the city’s outstanding food – Hong Kong is one of the world’s culinary capitals!
Day 2: Depart from Hong Kong
Meeting your guide and the rest of the group today, you’ll all head to Victoria Peak where, at over 550 metres high, you’ll get to enjoy incredible views of Hong Kong. You’ll have a briefing to give you a good idea of what to expect over the next few weeks, and then board the train to Guilin and then Yangshuo. You’ll arrive in Yangshuo at around 7:30 this evening.
Day 3-6: Yangshuo
On your first morning in stunning Yangshuo, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in an optional traditional Chinese cookery class, as well as an optional kayaking experience on the Li River. You can also opt to relax with some traditional Chinese therapies such as hot cupping.
On day 4, you’ll head out to the Yulong River for an included bike ride and bamboo raft river cruise. Glide gently past soaring mountain peaks and hill-slopes blanketed with green. Over the next couple of days, you’ll have the chance to try out optional activities including a local village visit or heading to a cave complex for a mudbath. On day 6, the group will head to Guilin railway station to board a train to Chengdu.
Day 7-9: Chengdu
On your first full day in Chengdu, you’ll meet beautiful pandas at China’s biggest Giant Pandan Breeding and Research Centre. Seeing these incredible creatures up close is an unforgettable experience. You’ll then enjoy your first Mandarin lesson. Learn the basics in this class and then try out what you’ve learnt on the locals!
The rest of your time here is free to explore and get involved with optional activities. Optional activities include: getting a massage, a trip to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha, a trip to a traditional tea house, or helping out at a local charitable programme. In the afternoon of day 9, you’ll catch a train to Xi’an, where you'll arrive in the evening.
Day 10-11: Xi’an
Have a free morning in Xi'an, where you’ll have the chance to explore the historic city properly. Take an optional look around the Bell-drum Towers, the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, then this evening enjoy some delicious street food before looking around the local silk market. On day 11 we’ll visit the world-renowned Terracotta Warriors before chilling out in the afternoon.
Day 12: Dengfeng
In the morning, we’ll make the journey to DengFeng, an ancient city surrounded by stunning green countryside. After we arrive, we’ll make our way to a local children’s home run by the Shaolin Temple, where you’ll be able to take an optional Kung Fu lesson and watch an inspiring performance by the children. After dinner, you’ll have your second Mandarin lesson.
Day 13: Shaolin Monastery
Time for a bit of spiritual discovery today with an optional trip to the Shaolin Temple. With this trip you’ll also hike to Dharma Cave – a spiritual place for Buddhist pilgrims, and witness the stunning views of the shrine and temples in the area. After a late lunch, we’ll head to the train station and travel overnight to Beijing.
Day 14-17: Beijing and Great Wall
Arriving nice and early in Beijing, you’ll get to relax and find some breakfast. Later on, we’ll make our way to a farm to eat with the locals and hike to an incredible un-restored section of the Great Wall. We’ll set up camp and watch the sunset before bedding down for the night (during the colder months we’ll stay at a guesthouse near the wall instead, as the temperatures will be too low to set up camp).
The next day we’ll start with spectacular sunrise views from the Great Wall before returning to Beijing. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from over the next couple of days: watch a Chinese acrobatic performance, or visit the Forbidden City. On day 17, we’ll board the night train to Hangzhou.
Day 18-19: Hangzhou
After breakfast in Hangzhou, we’ll discover the beautiful West Lake and hike up to the summit of Jiuyao Mountain in time for sunset. On day 19, we’ll explore the atmospheric Misty Forest before travelling to Shanghai, where you’ll have the opportunity to party with the group on our Shanghai pub crawl (approx £20-£25 – Saturdays only.).
Day 20-22: Shanghai
Once you’ve recovered from your night out, there’s a lot to see and do in China’s biggest city. Why not take a trip to Zhujiajiao Water Town, walk through the historical and picturesque Yu Gardens, take time to visit the bustling streets around People’s Square, partake in a little karaoke, or sip cocktails from the top of a skyscraper?
Day 23-24: Nanjing in Fujian Province
Back on the train, we’ll arrive in Nanjing in the afternoon and make our way deep into the Fujian tea hills. This is a rare opportunity to experience the bare bones of Chinese culture, and during your stay you’ll have a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site, getting to explore the traditional round houses, villages and tea fields in the area. You’ll take part in a traditional tea ceremony and get to visit the plantations.
Day 25: Fujian Tulou
In the morning we’ll take a bike tour to visit the biggest roundhouse in the region, and you’ll get to have a proper look around both levels. You’ll then have free time in the afternoon to chill out and relax before our onward journey, via night train, to Guangzhou and bus ride to the Zhuhai border.
Day 26: Hong Kong
Today, we'll arrive back into Hong Kong, wher ethe tour began. After checking into the hostel, you'll have the rest of the day to explore this buzzing city - why not get off the beaten track and explore Lantau Island with it's giant Buddha - before having one last night with your group.
Day 27: Hong Kong
Today you’re free to make your own plans – whether you want to head home or continue your travels elsewhere. If you have a few hours before having to depart, you’ll be able to make the most of being in Hong Kong with a spot of shopping, last-minute sightseeing, or filling up on delicious food before making tracks.
Please note itineraries and activities are subject to change. Due to operational reasons some activities may occur on different days. Optional activities are at extra cost.
Please note: This tour uses public transport to get to activities and to transfer between hostels and train stations. Most overnight train journeys are unaccompanied, but one guide will put you on the train and you will be met at the end by another guide.
- 26 Nights of accommodation
- All transport (excluding airport transfers)
- Experienced and knowledgeable tour guides
- Victoria Peak visit
- Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River
- Bike ride around the Yulong River
- Mandarin lessons
- Visit to the Panda Breeding Research Centre
- Terracotta Warriors tour
- Great Wall of China Hike and camp
- Great Wall sunrise and sunset
- Jiuyao Mountain hike
- Misty Forest visit
- Walking tour of a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting
- Tea plantation visit
- Fujian bike tour
- 24/7 emergency support
- Airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- Food and drinks
- Optional activities
Accommodation will mainly consist of mixed sex dorm rooms that sleep 4-12 people in clean, safe hostels in good locations. One night will be spent camping on the Great Wall of China between May and September (we recommend you bring something warm to wear for this). On a few occasions we will travel to our next destination by night train, where you will have a fully flat bed.
Food and drinks aren’t included on this trip, but your guide will always be able to recommend the best places to eat locally and will arrange, where possible, a discount for you. You’ll need to budget roughly 60-80RMB per meal.
You should arrange your flights to arrive into Hong Kong (HKG) on your programme start date, day 1 of your itinerary. You should arrange your flights to depart from Hong Kong (HKG) on your programme end date, day 27 of your itinerary; no activities are planned for this day and you are free to depart at any time. Airport transfers are not included but you will be provided with all of the information you need to make your own way to the trip joining point.
Minimum age for this programme is 18.
For stays of up to 30 days, citizens of the European Union, the USA, Australia and New Zealand must obtain a Tourist (type L) visa in advance of travel. Visas can be obtained from your local embassy and must be used within 3 months of issue.
As part of your visa application you will need an 'Invitation Letter' which we will provide for you as a document on your Online Account. It lists all the accommodation details you require to obtain your L visa
You will need to apply for your visa through a Chinese embassy or consulate and you should consult your relevant embassy for detailed instructions.
You should ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after your return. All visa information is subject to change and you should consult the nearest High Commission or Embassy for the most up to date information.
How Many People Will Be In My Group?
Usually there will be a maximum of 20 people travelling in your group.
Will I Be With The Same Group Of People Throughout My Trip?
This trip is made up of a number of sectors, so you may find that you are joined with different people at different stages of your trip, this is a great opportunity to meet lots of different travellers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.
Will I Have Any Free Time?
This trip is very flexible and you’ll have as much free time as you like outside of any optional activities you sign up for.
How Much Spending Money Will I Need?
You’ll need to budget for food, drinks and optional activities, which shouldn’t cost more than £130 per week.
Do I Need A Visa To Visit China?
Yes, once you have sent us a scanned copy of your passport we will issue you with a visa invitation letter to support your visa application. You should allow 90 days to apply for your visa prior to flying to China.
How Long Will I Be Travelling Between Destinations?
The journeys vary from one hour to 15 hours with the majority travelled on China’s extensive rail network. To make sure you make the most of your time in China, longer journeys will be taken on overnight sleeper trains.
Do I Need To Bring A Sleeping Bag Or Mosquito Net?
No need for either – you won’t need a mosquito net and all bedding will be provided.