Day 1 – Shanghai to Yangshuo
Shanghai – Yangshuo. Huan ying, welcome to China. Meet your tour leader and group at the roof top bar of our joining hostel, before we take the night train to Guilin. Overnight: Sleeper Train.
Days 2-4 – Yangshuo
On arrival in Yangshuo you’ll have today to explore independently – why not participate in some of the optional activities on offer? Thrill seekers can kayak along the scenic Li River whilst those looking to relax can enjoy authentic Chinese therapies such as hot cupping.
Day 3 begins with a cycle ride to the beautiful Yulong River where we’ll take to the water on traditional Chinese bamboo rafts, before you enjoy the rest of today and day 4 as you please. Hike to the Moon Hill caves and enjoy a dip in the mud baths or the hot springs. Alternatively, relax and enjoy watching the local fisherman use their trained cormorants to catch fish or visit your tour leader’s home village and learn about rural Chinese life. Overnight: Yangshuo.
Day 5 – Yangshuo to Chengdu
Yangshuo – Chengdu. Enjoy our final morning in Yangshuo at leisure before we board the night train to Chengdu. Overnight: Sleeper train.
Days 6-7 – Chengdu Pandas
On day 6 we’ll visit the famous Giant Panda Research and Breeding Centre – where this iconic Chinese creature has been pulled back from the brink of extinction. Visit the nursery to meet the new born pandas and discover other rare Chinese species including red pandas and black-necked cranes. Later, we’ll enjoy a Mandarin lesson with our tour leader before an evening at leisure – why not enjoy an optional visit to the traditional Sichuan opera?
You’ll have free time on day 7 to further explore Chengdu as you please or enjoy one of the optional excursions. Visit Leshan and the world’s largest stone Buddha, which took over 90 years to carve. Alternatively, relax with a massage before enjoying local Sichuan hot pot for dinner and discovering Chengdu’s lively nightlife. Overnight: Chengdu.
Day 8 – Chengdu to Xi’an
Chengdu – Xi’an. Enjoy your final morning in Chengdu with an optional excursion to Jinli street where you’ll admire the fascinating Qing Dynasty style buildings. Later, we’ll board the night train to the ancient city of Xi’an. Overnight: Sleeper train.
Days 9-10 – Terracotta Warriors
Arrive in Xi’an and enjoy the remainder of day 9 at leisure – why not participate in an optional bike ride along the 14th century Ming Dynasty City Walls? This evening there is an optional visit to the Bell-Drum towers and the Muslim Quarter.
On day 10 we’ll explore the famous Terracotta Warriors – Xi’an’s most popular attraction. The sculpted army, organised by rank and legion, was constructed during the 3rd century BC to protect Emperor Qin Shihuang in the afterlife. Enjoy the rest of today at leisure before you have the option of a visit to volunteer at the Star Sun Home in the Muslim district, which cares for children with mental illness. Overnight: Xi’an.
Day 11 – Xi’an to Shaolin
Xi’an – Shaolin. Today we’ll travel to Shaolin where you can participate in an optional excursion to the Kungfu Children’s home. Here you’ll enjoy a Kung Fu lesson and show from a Shaolin Temple master before improving your Mandarin with another lesson from our tour leader. Overnight: Shaolin.
Day 12 – Shaolin to Beijing
Shaolin – Beijing. Wake early this morning and enjoy an optional excursion to the Shaolin Temple – the flagship of Kung Fu. Watch as the masters put on an unforgettable display with near impossible moves. Later, we’ll hike to the Dharma Cave atop the Elephant Trunk Mountain for spectacular views of the region before boarding the night train to Beijing. Overnight: Sleeper train.
Day 13 – The Great Wall
Arrive in Beijing and enjoy a final Mandarin lesson from our tour leader before you put your new language skills to the test around the city’s ancient streets in our Mandarin Challenge. This afternoon we’ll travel to the iconic Great Wall of China. Hike along a secluded section and enjoy the beautiful sunset before we pitch our tents and camp for the night along the ancient wall. Overnight: Great Wall.
Days 14-15 – The Great Wall and Beijing
Wake early on day 14 to enjoy the dazzling sunrise over the Great Wall before we return to Beijing to spend the day at leisure in China’s capital. Why not enjoy an optional visit to the famous Bird’s Nest Stadium, built for the 2008 Olympics? Alternatively, you may attend an exciting acrobatics show in the heart of the city, and we’d recommend tasting Beijing’s delicious signature Peking roast duck for dinner.
Day 15 is spent independently in Beijing, exploring its famous sites. Discover highlights including the famous Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City before taking a stroll through Jingshan Park for scenic views over the city. Overnight: Beijing.
Day 16 – Beijing to Hangzhou
Beijing – Hangzhou. Enjoy your final morning in Beijing as you please before we board the night train to the beautiful city of Hangzhou. Overnight: Sleeper train.
Day 17 – Hangzhou and West Lake
This morning we’ll arrive in Hangzhou and head to West Lake for a scenic boat tour. Enjoy the picturesque scenery as we pass islands of green trees, flowers and traditional pagodas. Later, we’ll hike to Jinuyao Mountain where the reward is romantic sunset views over the shimmering lake. Spend the evening exploring Hangzhou at leisure – why not visit the modern waterfront? Overnight: Hangzhou.
Day 18 – Hangzhou and Shanghai
Hangzhou – Shanghai. Enjoy the final morning of your Chinese adventure in Hangzhou with a hike along the Nine Creeks Trail in the stunning Misty Forest. We’ll then take the train to Shanghai where our tour comes to an end.