Day 1 – Hong Kong to Yangshuo
Hong Kong – Yangshuo. Welcome to China. On arrival in Hong Kong travel independently to meet with your tour leader and group. We’ll then travel to Victoria Peak for stunning views over the city and harbour before boarding the bullet train to Guilin. Transfer to our hostel in Yangshuo where you’ll spend the evening at leisure. Overnight: Yangshuo.
Days 2-4 – Yangshuo
Day 2 can be spent exploring Yangshuo at leisure or taking part in some optional activities. Kayak down the rapid Li River or relax and enjoy traditional Chinese therapies such as hot cupping. In the evening, explore West Street and taste mouth-watering local delicacies.
On day 3 we’ll explore the stunning Yangshuo landscape on a bike tour through the countryside. Experience an exhilarating ride on traditional bamboo rafts as we travel down the Yulong River, under ancient bridges and past rural villages. Spend the rest of today and day 4 at leisure – why not explore the famous Moon Hill caves and take a dip in the mud baths and hot springs? Alternatively visit your tour leader’s home village for an authentic experience of rural Chinese life. Overnight: Yangshuo.
Day 5 – Yangshuo to Chengdu
Yangshuo – Chengdu. Enjoy the morning at leisure before we travel to Guilin and board the train to Chengdu. Overnight: Sleeper Train.
Days 6-7 – Chengdu Pandas
Today we’ll visit the famous Giant Panda Research and Breeding Centre – created to protect and breed this once endangered Chinese icon. Visit the nursery where the new-born pandas are reared and discover other endangered species housed here including the red panda and the black-necked crane. This afternoon our tour leader will give us a basic Mandarin lesson before an evening at leisure. There is an option to visit the traditional Sichuan Opera if you wish.
Spend day 7 exploring Chengdu as you please, perhaps enjoying some of the optional activities. Why not visit Leshan and admire the world’s largest stone Buddha, which took more than 90 years to carve? Enjoy the evening sampling the city’s vibrant nightlife. Overnight: Chengdu.
Day 8 – Chengdu to Xi’an
Chengdu – Xi’an. Enjoy free time during your final morning in Chengdu, perhaps by visiting a traditional Chinese teahouse, or the local Wenshu Monastery. Later, we’ll take the bullet train to Xi’an. Overnight: Sleeper train.
Days 9-10 – Ancient Xi’an and Terracotta Warriors
Explore Xi’an at leisure today – take a cycle ride along the ancient wall that divides the city, explore the Bell-drum towers or wander through the Muslim quarter to see unique Chinese mosques. Why not sample the delicious local street food whilst you’re here?
On day 10 we’ll visit the famous Terracotta Warriors – an impressive sculpted army built to protect Emperor Qin Shihuang in the afterlife after his death in around 210 BC. In the evening there’s an optional visit to the Star Sun Home, a local charity in the Muslim district, which provides care and education to children with mental illness. Overnight: Xi’an.
Day 11 – Xi’an to Shaolin
Xi’an – Shaolin. Say goodbye to Xi’an as we travel to our accommodation in Shaolin, located close to the Shaolin Temple. This afternoon you can choose to participate in an optional Kung Fu lesson and watch a show at a local children’s home, before improving your Mandarin further with another lesson from our tour leader. Overnight: Shaolin.
Day 12 – Shaolin
Shaolin – Beijing. Wake early this morning for an optional trip to the Shaolin Temple – the flagship of Kung Fu, where you’ll watch the masters’ practice incredible moves in the courtyard. Later, we’ll hike to Dharma Cave on Elephant Trunk Mountain and be rewarded with breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape. After lunch, we’ll board the train to Beijing. Overnight: Sleeper Train.
Day 13 – The Great Wall
On arrival in Beijing we’ll travel to the Great Wall, with a stop at a local farming village on the way. Walk on un-restored sections of the Wall and watch the sun set on one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. In the evening, enjoy another Mandarin lesson with our tour leader. Overnight: Great Wall.
Day 14 – The Great Wall and Beijing
Enjoy an unforgettable experience as you watch the sun rise over the Great Wall. Return to Beijing and spend the rest of the day enjoying China’s capital at leisure. There’s an optional excursion to the fake goods market where you can use your bartering skills to buy souvenirs. Later, we’d recommend trying Beijing’s signature dish of Peking Roast Duck for dinner before you enjoy a stunning acrobatics performance. Overnight: Beijing.
Day 15 – Beijing
Today is the final day of your adventure, so explore Beijing as you please. Discover the famous Tiananmen Square or visit the former imperial palace at the Forbidden City. There is an optional visit to the historical Nanluo district, famous for its narrow hutong streets and siheyan courtyards. Then it’s time to say goodbye to our group and make your way to the airport.