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Explore China

Trip type: 
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
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Awaiting reviews
Asia, China | 15 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Taxi, Private Bus, Bus, Overnight sleeper train, Train

Accommodation - Hotel (10 nts), Overnight sleeper train (3 nts)

Meals - This trip is accommodated only, no meals are included.

Trip Highlights: 
Terracotta Warriors
Historic Beijing & cosmopolitan Shanghai
Great Wall Trekking
Getting off the beaten track
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in China
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
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(Departures in 2013)
  • Day 1/2 - Shanghai
  • Day 3/4 - Shanghai
  • Day 5/7 - Xi'an
  • Day 8/9 - Xiahe
  • Day 10 - Tongren
  • Day 11 - Xining
  • Day 12/15 - Beijing
  • Day 16 - Beijing
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »


Overnight flight to Shanghai. Hotel - 2 nights



Join your guide for a walking tour of historical Shanghai including the Bund with its spectacular array of art-deco style buildings, the narrow winding lanes of the Nongtang or the European influenced French Concession.

The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today's Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busyshopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists. The area's tree-lined avenues andtheir many Tudor mansions still retain an air of the 'Paris of the East'.

The next morning is at your leisure before you board an overnight train to Xi'an. Sleeper Train - 1 night

Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face to face with the country and its people as it's the main form of transport for locals. We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins) Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins. As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available three times a day, and there are often snacks available on the train along the way. You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train.



The imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites. A monument pays homage to the fact that this was the start of the famous ancient trading route of the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by city walls. Visit Xi'an's most famous site - the Terracotta Warriors. Travel by bus for around 2 hours to reach the site. Once there hear all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being buried for thousands of years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on view to the public. Visit our friends at Xi'an Huiling (meaning 'wise spirit') - a special Intrepid-supported project for young people with intellectual and learning disabilities, where we enjoy a performance of singing and dancing by the students (don't be surprised if you're asked to join in) and have a chance to see their artwork and handicrafts. For a different view of the city, climb to the top of the Bell or Drum Towers.

The Bell Tower is in the centre of downtown Xi'an where the city's four main roads - Bei, Nan, Dong and Xi Dajie (North, South, East and West Avenues) - converge. Originally built in 1582 and restored in 1739, the tower was used to announce the time of day and serve as a watchtower. The previous Bell Tower, dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), stood two blocks to the west. The Drum Tower marks the entrance to the Muslim Quarter. It no longer contains the giant drum once used to signal the closing of the city gates, though it does retain some good views, including one of the Great Mosque. Try a leisurely cycle on the Xi'an city wall - a distance of 13.74 km. The wall, an ancient fortification situated in the heart of XI'an, was established in 1378 AD. Board an overnight hard sleeper train for the capital of Sichuan Province, Chengdu (approx 17 hrs). Hotel - 2 nights, Sleeper train - 1 night



Often nicknamed 'the second tibet', you'll visit the samll bustling town of Xiahe. Smack bang in the middle of the ethnically Tibetan town lies Labrang Monastery, where you'll have a guided tour. Its not just the monastery that impresses here though as other key landmarks include Gongtang Chorten a recently established golden topped Chorten, Man Jus'ri Temple a massive hall with many intrecotaly decortaed Buddha statues and Thangka sunning Terrace where you can obtain great views of the monastery. Hotel - 2 nights



Zig-zag your way along mountain sides, valley floors and raging rivers to Tongren, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Visit Wutong Monastery and see the galleries of the Thangka artwork opainted by artistic monks. Another great monastery to see is the Longwu Monastery on the south west edge of the town which composites a sprawling mass made up of monks resdences and Chinese style halls. Hotel - 1 night



With a strong Islamic flavour, the large city of Xining is home to may Hui people. You'll stop by before your overnight train journey back to Beijing the following day. The city is home to many monasteries, mosques and museums so cultural exposure in this area is an absolute gurantee. The local food is also spectacular and in particular the dried fuits and nuts freshly grown within the region. Hotel - 1 night



The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's ancient past as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture. Explore Tiananmen Square - the largest downtown square in the world. It covers an area of 44 hectares, big enough to hold one million people. From the Gate of Heavenly Peace in the north to the southern Front Gate, it measures 880 metres, and from the Museum of Chinese History in the east to the Great Hall of the Peoplein the west, it's about 500 metres.

The Forbidden City is the former home to China's imperial rulers. Take a guided tour of the palaces, buildings and seemingly never-ending grand courtyards. An incredible piece of engineering, the Great Wall stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements, and an iconic destination.

On our trek we walk over some steep, remote terrain (approx 5km or 3-4 hrs walking depending on fitness). Some parts of the wall are unrestored so you'll need to concentrate hard to keep your footing. A great idea is to bring a picnic lunch with your from Beijing to enjoy atop the wall during one of our rest breaks. You'll need reasonable fitness and walking shoes with good support and grip for this activity. There are many steps and slopes on the way so be prepared for a tough climb insections. The views and experience though are a real highlight for all our travellers.

Pick up a bike for the day. You'll need comfortable clothes for cycling. Helmets may not be available for hire - if you wish to have a helmet you'll need to supply yourown.The Temple of Heaven Park is one of the most popular in Beijing and at any time of the day is full of people of all ages taking part in traditional pastimes such as taichi, fan dancing, diablo, kite flying, water calligraphy and more. Sleeper Train - 1 night, Hotel - 3 nights



Fly home.