Itinerary & Map
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. After your over night flight you will arrive in Beijing in the early afternoon. Your time is free until the welcome meeting that evening at 6pm. After arriving in Beijing, there will be plenty of time for relaxing and meeting the other members of your group, before perhaps heading out to enjoy the first of many superb Chinese meals. Although the original terminus of the Silk Route was Xi'an, the infamous Mongolian warlord Kublai Khan made Beijing his capital and extended the route. During the Ming dynasty two of the city's great monuments were built – The Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven - which we will visit on Day 3 of our tour.
Dong Fang Hotel or similar
Pull on some comfy shoes and head to perhaps China’s best-known attraction, the Great Wall (approximately 2 hours). As historically significant as it is visually striking, this experience is often said to be one of the most memorable of the trip. Stretching over 5,000 kilometres from the coast in the east, the wall was built as a defence against invasion from the horsemen of the far north. Surrounded by woodland and countryside and around 90 kilometres from Beijing, the 1,500 year old Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is considered one of the best preserved and restored parts of the wall. Renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers (there are 22 of them over this 2,250 metre-long stretch) and built mainly of granite, the wall is an impressive sight at over 7 metres high and more than 4 metres wide. You’ll walk along a section of the wall, taking in the surrounding scenery and getting a feel for the sheer size of this amazing construction. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for lots of steps! For those wanting a more relaxing way to get to the top of the wall there is the option of taking a cable car. Return to Beijing by private bus for an early duck dinner and then some free time, if you still have the energy.
Dong Fang Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
This morning after breakfast we will head out for a discovery of the Chinese capital.The maze of buildings within the City became the symbolic and literal heart of the capital and the kingdom. Symbolism abounds here; dragon and phoenix represent emperor and empress, and construction was in accordance with the principles of Yin and Yang - the balance of negative and positive forces.Tonight we are in for a treat as we head out for a night of acrobatics at a Beijing acrobatic show.
Dong Fang Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
Beijing and overnight train
Today we take a local bus to visit the Temple of Heaven Park, a masterpiece of Chinese architecture, set in beautiful surroundings where people enjoy tai chi, fan dancing, diablo, kite flying, water calligraphy and more.
In the afternoon we will head back to the hotel (1 room per family provided), where there’s the chance to freshen up before transferring to the train station (approximately 30 minutes ) and boarding an overnight sleeper train to Xi'an (approximately 12 hours).Notes: Train travel in China is a great way to mix with local people. On soft sleeper trains compartments are closed with two tier bunk beds, four to a cabin. Sheets, pillows and blanket are provided, with luggage is stored in the cabin. There are basic bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage with a toilet and washbasin. It's a good idea to bring your own toilet roll and some wet wipes. Please keep in mind that standards of cleanliness will not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is provided for making tea, coffee or instant meals. You will need to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork to prepare your own meals. Most trains have a dining carriage and limited snacks can be purchased en route. Please be prepared that you may have to share a carriage with persons outside of the group. Why not use your free time on the train for an informal language lesson from your leader or a local and learn a few simple words to use in your travels?Overnight Sleeper Train - Breakfast included
Explore the historical splendour of this ancient city on a walking tour. Dating back 6,000 years and once known as the main eastern terminus of the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an served as the imperial capital of 11 dynasties, holding a wealth of history within its cobbled pavements.
The city itself has spread beyond these walls, but the centre still retains the original grid formation, making it easy to navigate. We'll be taken by our Group Leader on a walk to the city wall where we will get to bike on top of the city walls, a fantastic way to experience the city from a different angle. Visit our friends at a local charity: Huling ("wise spirit") and learn about the great work they are doing for the mentally challenged members of the community , a project supported by the Intrepid Foundation.We will take a night time tour of the city when the Bell and Drum towers are lit up and end up enjoying another Chinese delicacy, a dumpling dinner.Union Alliance Atravis Executive Hotel or similar - Breakfast and Dinner included
Xi'an is, of course, famous for the Terracotta Warriors, guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Although this vast army was buried some 22 centuries ago, it was only discovered as recently as 1974. Today we drive to the site (approx. 11/2 houra) which is spread over several tombs. The sheer size of the assembled terracotta army and the excellent displays really feed the imagination. There is also an interesting museum housing a collection of artefacts from the original digs.
Union Alliance Atravis Executive Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
Today we transfer to the airport (approx. 1 hour) and fly to Chengdu (approx. 90 min), capital of Sichuan province.
Chengdu is famous throughout China for many things including spicy Sichuan food and the endless chatter of the city’s tea houses. We'll have an included dumpling dinner tonight to tempt our tastebuds and explore the interesting old town streets or Tibetan quarter.
Chengdu City Garden Hotel or similar – Breakfast and Dinner included
Globally Chengdu it is renowned for the panda research centre, which we will visit this morning. China’s national pride, the giant panda is a rare and increasingly threatened creature. The research centre is home to both giant and red pandas, and we can marvel at these incredible creatures in a close approximation of their habitat. It’s an early start as pandas are only active for a few hours of the day to eat and exercise, but the opportunity to get close to these remarkable beings is an experience not to be missed.
Chengdu City Garden Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
This morning we take a flight to Guilin (approx. 90 min), from where we head into the picturesque countryside to Yangshuo (approx. 2 hours).
The inspiration for many paintings and literary works, Yangshuo lies on the western bank of the Li River, which meanders languidly through a remarkable landscape of dramatic limestone sugarloaf peaks, one of the most memorable classical images of China.
Starway Hotel Xinfuan Yangshuo or similar - Breakfast included
Start this more chilled portion of the trip at an easy pace – the same as the locals. Take a short walking tour with your leader to familiarise yourself with this laid-back town, then test out your moves with a local Kung Fu or Tai Chi teacher. Focus your body and mind, and pick up a few tricks or two. In the afternoon, visit a local farmers' market, where you can get a feel for the regional produce and daily life. Then make a short drive to Chalong, where you can put this new knowledge to use and learn the art of Chinese cooking. This class will allow the whole family to learn the techniques and skills of Chinese cuisine from experienced chefs, and after an afternoon trying out delicious recipes, you can eat what you’ve made for dinner! With recipes that are easy to make and ingredients readily available outside of China, you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back at home.
The rest of the time is free to explore Yangshuo. There are many activities available here including calligraphy classes and boat trips on the river or many shops and cafes to browse and relax in.
Starway Hotel Xinfuan Yangshuo or similar - Breakfast and Dinner included.
Continue your Yangshuo adventure today, beginning with a chance to explore some more of one of China’s most epic landscapes. Head out of town on bikes to cycle through the surrounding countryside, and gain an insight into Chinese rural life on a ride where each turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location. Take farm tracks, meander through paddy fields, and enjoy spectacular limestone karst scenery on all sides. You might pause for a cold drink beside one of the most beautiful of the Li River tributaries, and then continue on to a local village nestled at the base of Moon Hill. Look up to see the almost perfect semi-circle hole in a hilltop limestone arch. Here you can sample local farmers’ cooking (drinks and lunch at your own expense), before cycling back to Yangshuo. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and the surrounding area. There are many activities available here – perhaps try your hand at Chinese calligraphy, simply sit back and relax on a relaxing cruise down the Li or Yulong River, or browse the local shops and cafes.
Starway Hotel Xinfuan Yangshuo or similar - Breakfast and Lunch included
This morning around 9am, head to the train station and board the Bullet train towards Hong Kong. Experience the rush of speeding 300 km/h on the bullet train from Guilin to Shenzhen, before continuing on to Hong Kong. The train journey takes 4-5 hours, and then you’ll take the intercity bus from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. The China-Hong Kong border is busy, so there can often be a bit of a wait to get through, and a lot of patience is required. On average, it takes around 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. Your bags will be with you during this time. It was as a British colony that Hong Kong made itself known to the world and, since the 1997 handover, the city is still a unique and fascinating place to explore and see where the East really does meet the West. Arrive in the city around 5-6pm and take an orientation walk to get you settled in a city full of surprises just waiting to be uncovered. If there’s the time (and energy), end the day with the Symphony of Lights laser show in Victoria Harbour.
Metropark Hotel Kowloon or similar - Breakfast included
Hong Kong has been back under Chinese rule since 1997 and it is a truly unique place where east and west meet. The vibrant and fast paced city is only minutes away from quiet islands and beaches.
Ride on the Star Ferry, see the nightly light show on the Harbour, travel on the double decker buses and trams or take a day trip to Macau if you have extra time in Hong Kong. Travel to the city's highest point - Victoria Peak on the unique Peak Tram and hope that the weather will be clear for spectacular views!
Metropark Hotel Kowloon or similar - Breakfast included
It’s time to end this enlightening journey into the heart of China. Thoss on a flight inclusive package will be up early and transferred to the airport for their flight home, arriving later today.