Important Please Note
For departures before 6 January 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
Super Massive Giant China
|China, Hong Kong (China)
||Hong Kong, Hong Kong
In 210BC when the first Emperor of China died, he had every man working on the Terracotta Army buried alive to keep him company. But he also unified China and standardised writing. So, you could argue he's not a total monster.
(Was China Odyssey)
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1-4: Beijing - Great Wall
Stay in the thick of Beijing’s action at our hotel with rooftop bar and view of Tiananmen Square. We've also managed to find a section of the Great Wall that's still relatively undiscovered.
- Arrive in Beijing and enjoy free time to explore many of the city's main attractions
- Pre-departure briefing with your tour guide in the early evening (approx. 6 pm)
- Take a walk along the Great Wall
- Survey the spectacular surrounding countryside from the wall - the surrounding views are amazing
- Enjoy ample free time to explore the many other sights of Beijing, such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace or the Temple of Heaven
- Board an overnight six-berth hard-sleeper class train for Xian
Day 5-6: Xian - Terracotta Warriors
It’s said there are 7000 warriors at the site, but only about around 1800 have been excavated. Each warrior is different; look for moustaches, hair, smiles, frowns and sneaky sideways glances.
- Arrive in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi province
- Explore the awesome army of Terracotta Warriors
- Enjoy free time to wander around this historical city
- Perhaps swing by the Muslim Quarter - a fascinating place to visit
- Why not cycle along the top of the ancient city walls or climb the Bell Tower
- Board an overnight six-berth hard-sleeper class train for Shanghai
Day 7: Shanghai
The Bund, Art Deco buildings Yuyuan Gardens blah blah blah...dumplings!
- Take a stroll along the famous river waterfront known as The Bund
- Optional visit to Yu Gardens, a fine example of a classical Ming Dynasty garden
- Enjoy plenty of free time to visit any of the fascinating museums or the many shopping arcades
- Cut loose in some of Shanghai's many bars, restaurants and nightclubs
Day 8-10: Yellow Mountain - Hongcun Village
This is the China of medieval movies. The craggy peaks of Yellow Mountain make for a great place to go walking, but you can also catch the cable car.
- Catch the bus to Yellow Mountain (Huangshan)
- Head up Yellow Mountain's eastern steps by foot or cable car for spectacular views
- The more adventurous can walk up the eastern steps and down the western steps
- Optional visit to the Jade Gorge where the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was filmed
- Overnight in traditional village of Hongcun
Day 11-12: Shanghai
Hit Shanghai for its great cafes and restaurants. Perhaps catch a lift up to the top of one of the seriously high skyscrapers on the Pudong side and enjoy a cocktail while you're there.
- Travel back to Shanghai
- Last chance to grab a plate of your favourite xiao long bao. We also recommend finding some sheng jian bao - a final pork dumpling fix.
- Enjoy a night out on the town
Day 13-14: Xiamen
Travel to Fujian province and the seaside city of Xiamen. This is the original home of the Hokkien people whose delicious noodles have made their way across Southeast Asia.
- Travel down the coast to Xiamen.
- In your free day catch a ferry across to Gulangyu Island and check out the elegant buildings and cobbled streets from the colonial era.
- Check out the seaside scenery take a walk along the beach.
Day 15: Tolou Village
Spend a night in a fortified Hakka dwelling and pretend that you're in China during the Middle Ages.
- Travel out to the countryside to a 'tolou' village. 'Tolou' means 'earthen structure'
- These circular buildings are some of the most amazing houses in China, and we get to stay in one!
- Learn about the lifestyle of the Hakka people who built these communal homes.
Day 16-18: Yangshuo
You can't come to Yangshuo without trying the famous beer fish. Carp (yes, we know, just stick with us) is fried skin-side down and tossed with beer, pickled chilli, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce and spring onions. Continue to Guilin and board a private bus on to Yangshuo
- Spend two days exploring the region on bicycle and by foot
- Ride bikes past the limestone outcrops that jut up from the paddy fields on the way to Moon Hill
- Perhaps opt to climb Moon Hill or explore some of the caves in the area, such as Black Buddha and New Water
- Stop in the villages en route and mingle with the locals
- Enjoy plenty of free time to relax in the many cafes and restaurants that line Xi Jie (West Street)
Day 19-21: Longji Rice Terraces
These are the rice terraces that you see on postcards - only bigger and more awesome! You'll need to trek for the best part of a day but get to meet some amazing village folks and get some great views.
Travel by public bus to the Longji region via Guilin and Longsheng (approx 4.5 hrs). Pack an overnight bag for our two night stay here as we leave our main luggage at the train station to pick up again on our return.
- Hike through the terraces to visit local hilltribe communities and learn about village life. Expect to walk around 5 hours on our second day here although actual trekking times will depend on the location of our accommodation and the fitness of the group.
In Longji, we stay in local guesthouses.
- Bus back to Guilin (approx 3 hrs)
Take an overnight hard sleeper train to Shenzhen - gateway to Hong Kong (approx 13 hrs).
Day 22-23: Hong Kong
Grab a bargain at Stanley Market or maybe ride to Victoria Park for epic city views and cap it all off with high tea at the Peninsula.
- Arrive in Shenzhen and catch a train to Hong Kong, taking in the skyline of the city en route
- Free time on arrival - perhaps take a funicular ride up to Victoria Peak and enjoy views over the city, visit the market or spend time shopping
- Get together for an optional final group dinner or enjoy some of the many bars and nightclubs around town
- Watch the free Sound and Light Show on the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island
- The trip ends this morning in Hong Kong. You can depart at any time
Nuts and Bolts
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking Chinese tour guide throughout the tour and local site guides at some sites.
• Sightseeing: Beijing, Terracotta Warriors, Huangshan, Shanghai and Xiamen.
• Visit traditional Chinese villages of Hongcun and Tolou.
• Walk on a famous section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
• Explore the mystical countryside around Yangshuo.
• Hike through the rice terraces of Longji.
• Free time to explore Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Xiamen.
• Fly from Xiamen to Guilin.
• Overnight trains from Beijing to Xian, Xian to Shanghai and Guilin to Shenzhen. Accommodation in six-berth, air-conditioned cabins.
Summary of accommodation, transport & meals
- Sleeper train
- 3 nights Sleeper train
- 17 nights Budget/tourist class hotels
- 2 nights Guesthouse
International flights, departure taxes, visas, insurance, meals unless indicated, drinks, optional additional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
- Beijing - Acrobats
CNY 100 - 180 (USD $15- $25)
- Beijing - Bicycle Hutong Tour
100 CNY(USD $15)
- Beijing - Lama Temple
25 CNY (USD $4)
- Beijing - Opera
CNY 150 - 200 (USD $20- $28)
- Beijing - Shaolin Monks Kungfu Show
CNY 100 - 180 (USD $15 -$25)
- Beijing - Summer Palace Entrance Fee (and transport)
CNY 50 + 35 (USD $7 + $5 )
- Beijing - Underground City
25 CNY ( USD $3.50)
- Hong Kong - Light Show Hong Kong Harbour
- Hong Kong - Ocean Park
HKD 93-185 (USD $ 13 - 26)
- Hong Kong - Peak Tram (return journey)
HKD 35 (USD $ 5)
- Hong Kong - Star Ferry
HKD 3 (USD$ .50 )
- Huang Shan - Jade Gorge
CNY 45 (USD$6.50)
- Shanghai - Acrobats
CNY 200 (USD $29.50)
- Shanghai - Jinmao Tower
CNY 70 (US$10)
- Shanghai - Oriental Pearl Tower
CNY 50 (US$7)
- Shanghai - Shanghai Museum
- Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple (and taxi)
CNY 30 + 30 (USD $4.50+ $4.50)
- Xian - Bell and Drum Tower combined ticket
CNY 45 (USD $6.50)
- Xian - Big Goose Pagoda (and entrance fee to climb to top)
CNY 50 (USD $7.50)
- Xian - Dumpling Banquet
CNY 80 (USD $12)
- Xian - Dumpling banquet & Tang Dynasty Show
CNy 220 (USD $32)
- Xian - Great Mosque
CNY 25 (USD $4)
- Xian - Shaanxi History Museum
- Yangshuo - 1 hour Chinese Cultural Classes: Calligraphy, Kungfu or Tai Chi
CNY 50 (USD $7.50)
- Yangshuo - Buddha Water Cave
CNY 120 (USD$ 17.50)
- Yangshuo - Cooking School
CNY 100 (USD $14.50)
- Yangshuo - Kayaking
CNY 130 (USD $19)
- Yangshuo - Li River Cruise (including transfers)
CNY 160 (USD $23.50)
- Yangshuo - Zhang Yimo River Light Show
CNY 188 (USD $27.50)
Infrastructure and Itinerary Changes
China is a developing country whose infrastructure, values, customs and standards differ from what you are used to at home. Please bear this in mind as you are travelling in this exciting country and respect the fact that you should not impose your standards and expectations on the culture there. The driving habits in China are something for which you ought to prepare yourself for!
Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control, such as bad weather and poor road conditions. Changes to flight and train schedules can sometimes occur, which may also lead to changes to this itinerary.
Travelling During Holiday Periods
When travelling during local holiday periods, be prepared for some inconveniences. This is especially so during the Spring Festival holiday period (Chinese New Year) and the National Day Golden Week.
In 2014 Chinese New Year day is on Friday 31st January, ushering in the Year of the Horse. All days from 30th January to 5th February 2014 are designated as public holidays. In 2015 Chinese New Year will be on 19th February (Year of the Sheep) and in 2016 it will be on 8th February (Year of the Monkey). The greeting in Mandarin for ‘Happy New Year’ is ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’, whilst the greeting in Cantonese is ‘Gong Hey Fat Choy’. China’s National Day is on 1st October and this ushers in a 7-day national holiday known as Golden Week. During these holiday periods, most businesses will be closed as the local people usually spend this period returning to their homes and celebrating with their families. This will involve a major burden on all forms of transport, and despite booking in advance, tickets for planes and trains especially are extremely difficult to obtain. Even if bookings are obtained, transport services during this period will be overcrowded and heavy delays are to be expected, so you will need to make sure that you pack your sense of humour. In order to facilitate your travels during these holiday periods, we may need to substitute your train/plane journey with a private bus trip, if required.
Train Travel in China
Overnight train accommodation on this tour is in 6-berth ‘hard-sleeper’ class, which are six bunk beds set out in an open cubicle compartment. Bedding is provided and wash basins and toilet facilities (usually one with a toilet seat and one squat-style in each compartment) are available on all trains, but there are no showers or baths. There are urns or thermos flasks for making hot beverages. It is quite possible that our group may be divided over a series of different compartments and we may also have to share our compartments with other passengers on the train. Train travel is an integral part of the China travel experience and offers some of the best chances of meeting and making friends with the locals.
Local Tour Guides
By employing and training local tour guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour guide’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Adventure in China
This is an ‘adventure’ trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local culture. Please be open-minded.
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
22 October 2013
General Contact Details
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