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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 2012)
  • Day 1/2 - Overnight Flight to Shanghai
  • Day 3/4 - Shanghai
  • Day 5 - Shaolin
  • Day 6 - Longmen cave - Luoyang
  • Day 7-9 - Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Day 10 - Chengdu
  • Day 11/12 - Sichuan Countryside
  • Day 13-15 - Beijing
  • Day 16 - Tour Ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »

Overnight Flight to Shanghai

Take an overnight flight to Shanghai. On arrival you'll be transfered to your hotel. You will then be free to relax after your flight before the welcome meeting at 6:00pm. Details of where this will take place will be with the hotel's reception. Hotel - 2 nights



Your China adventure begins properly today as you set out to explore its most modern and progressive city, discovering how 21st century architecture is blended with China's old-world character. In the morning, you will go on a walking tour of historical Shanghai, including the Bund with its spectacular array of art deco style buildings, the European influenced French Concession and the narrow, winding lanes of the Nongtang.

The French Concession is the area of Shanghai that was once designated for the French and today it consists of the Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, which are extremely popular shopping and dining hotspots. You'll really get a sense of being in the 'Paris of the East' as you wander the area's tree-lined avenues past Tudor mansions. 

Next Morning is at your leisure before you board an overnight train to Louyang. (Approx. 16hrs).

Sleeper Train - 1 night

Train travel in China is not luxurious, but it is one of the best ways to see the country and its people as it is the main form of transport for locals. You'll be in hard sleeper coaches, which consist of open-plan compartments, with padded three-tier berths (six to a compartment). A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some people like to bring their own sleeping sheets. Basic bathroom facilities are located at either end of the carriage, but bringing your own toilet paper is a good idea! Safe, hot drinking water is available throughout the journey and most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available three times a day. You should be aware that compartments are mixed gender and on occassion due to availability issues, you may find yourself sharing a compartment with locals, or people who are not a part of your group.



You'll arrive in Yuoyang early in the morning and from there, board a local bus to Shaolin (Approx. 2hrs). The legendary Shaolin Temple is the birth place of Kung Fu and attracts thousands of young disciples every year. You will have the opportunity to watch the monks and their students practice their moves at the Shaolin Temple Wushu Training Centre, and even take part in the class (additional charge)! After class you can wander the temple's beautifully painted halls, adorned with deities and smokey with incense and explore the Pagoda Forest, which is one of the largest in China Hotel - 1 night

Longmen cave - Luoyang

Longmen cave - Luoyang

This morning a private charter vehicle will pick you up and take you to the Longmen Grottoes, where you will see countless Buddha images that were carved into the mountain side around 1,500 years ago and are now a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Having been awed by the Longmen Caves, your vehicle will then take you on to Luoyang (total driving time approx. 2hrs). Once the imperial capital of thirteen dynasties, Luoyang played a crucial part in the introduction of Buddhism into China. If you want to learn more about this period of history then you can visit the Luoyang Museum, or White Horse Temple (both additional charge) where legend says that Buddhist sutras from India were first brought in the 1st century AD.

As a fairly small city in China, your time in Luoyang is a good chance to see and experience typical everyday Chinese life and to really get an inside look at the urban culture, which you will be able to contrast to village life later on in the tour. Why not check out a produce market, visit a park, have a traditional reflexology massage or join the locals for a game of table tennis? Hotel - 1 night

Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors

Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors

Mid-morning you will take the seated train to Xi'an (approx. 5hrs). The imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many historical points of interest. A monument pays homage to the fact that the city was the start of the famous ancient trading route, the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by it's city walls. In the afternoon you will get a walking tour of the city.

The next day you hop aboard a local bus (approx 1.5hrs) to visit the incredible army of terracotta warriors. After being buried for thousands of years, they were unearthed in 1976 by farmers who were digging a well.  Over 7,000 clay soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been discovered. Standing in battle formation, they were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum. Most of the statues have since been restored to their former grandeur and there are several pits on view to the public.

Back in Xi'an you can escape the noise of the city in the peaceful Great Mosque (additional charge) and try some local food from the Muslim Quarter. Alternatively, if you want to get a different view of the city, you can climb to the top of the bell or drum towers (additional charge). The bell tower is in the centre of downtown Xi'an where the city's four main roads converge. Originally built in 1582 and restored in 1739, the tower was used to announce the time of day and served as a watch tower. The Drum Tower marks the entrance to the Muslim Quarter and originally contained a drum that was used to signal the closing of the city gates.

Your last day in Xi'an you will have the morning at leisure and board your overnight train to Chengdu in the afternoon (approx. 17hrs). Hotel - 2 nights, Overnight train - 1 night



In early morning you will reach the Land of Milk and Honey and transfer to the Panda Breeding Centre (approx 1hr). Due to a variety of reasons, including habitat destruction, the giant panda is possibly the most famous endangered animal. The centre is home to around 50 giant pandas, but also has some red pandas and a colony of black-necked cranes. The best time to visit is in the morning, when the pandas are most active, they usually sleep during the hottest time of the day. This is a great opportunity for you to get a close encounter with these gentle giants and learn about conservation issues.

Even though it is one of China's biggest cities, Chengdu has managed to keep a lot of its traditional flavour and you can still find plenty of teahouses, markets and some of the most interesting food in the country. If you like it hot, then this is definitely the place to be, as Sichuan food is known for its spicy flavours. Must tries include huoguo (hot pot) and mapo doufu (spicy tofu). Hotel - 1 night

Sichuan Countryside

Sichuan Countryside

The next two days will be spent exploring the beautiful and traditional countryside and you will head to the mountains for a taste of ancient China. After a two hour drive you will stop at your lovely guesthouse, located in a town with 2,000 years of history and a profound cultural heritage. You'll then take a stroll through the village and tea terraces for a few hours, where you can help pick tea leaves and soak up the mountain scenery. This evening and tomorrow you will then explore a few traditional villages and ancient towns, with hikes to some mountain spectacular views. Guesthouse - 2 nights



Your next stop is the city of Beijing where you will get to explore some of China's most iconic sights. After transferring back to Chengdu (approx. 2hrs), you catch your flight to Bejing (approx 3hrs flight) and transfer to your hotel. The capital of the most densely populated country on Earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of the more modern. However, there are still plenty of places that will give you a great insight into the nations ancient past, and the first on your list the the infamous Tiananmen square. Best known in recent memory as the focal point of the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. You will also visit the incredible Forbidden City, the former imperial residence of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, where you will spend approximately three hours exploring its secrets. The afternoon will be at your leisure and you may like to hire a bike and cycle to the Temple of Heaven (additional charge), or jump into a rickshaw and explore some of the local markets.

No trip to China is complete without a visit to the Great Wall and taking a walk along this incredible structure makes a fantastic finale to your adventure. The Great Wall of China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups, is one of the greatest wonders of the world, and was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.

Just like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles) from east to west across China. With a history of more than 2000 years, some of the sections are now in ruins or have disappeared. However, it is still one of the most appealing attractions owing to its architectural grandeur and historical significance.

You will transfer to the site  (3hrs drive) and walk for 8km (approx 5hrs) soaking in the magical atmosphere and endless view of the country and mountains. In the afternoon will be your last chance to buy more souvenirs and further your exploration of the city's treasures. Hotel - 3 nights 

You should be aware that the walk on the Great Wall is physically demanding in places, with lots of steps, steep climbs and uneven footing. You'll need to be reasonably fit and have good walking boots with ankle support. It's a good idea to bring a picnic lunch with you from Beijing to enjoy atop the wall.

Tour Ends

Tour Ends

The tour ends for Land Only passengers. Those on our group flights will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.