Days
12
Price from
€1,265EUR

From Beijing to Xi'an, Yangshuo to Shanghai: this is China at its most epic

This is pretty much the China highlights tour: you’ve got the Great Wall just outside of Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, epic outdoorsyness in Yangshuo and the high life in China’s biggest city, Shanghai. Just remember, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and that giant panda all descend from China and were all awesome at kung fu. So take this trip, pay close attention and you could be too. Maybe.


Start
Beijing, China
Finish
Shanghai, China
Country
China
Code
GCTS
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
2 reviews
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Visit the Great Wall of China! Walk the walk.

  • Travel how the locals travel and make friends on our 2 overnight train routes!

  • See the historic Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an

  • Check out beautiful Yangshuo and try the local delicacy "Beer Fish"

  • Walk along the famous Bund waterfront in Shanghai and visit the many rooftop bars of this bustling city.

  • Eat your way through the night food markets in Beijing, what will you dare eat?

Is this trip right for you?

  • A reasonable level of fitness is required for this trip.

  • A lot of time is spent on walking around a city or town so please bring comfortable walking shoes.

  • You must be able to carry your luggage up stairs, onto public transport and to and from Hotels.

  • We use a mix of transport on this itinerary: Train (Overnight Sleeper), Bus, Metro and Plane. Which allows us to interact with the locals.

  • This itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom and indulge in some yum cha!

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2016

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If arriving early there is loads to do in this amazing city.  Get acquainted with Beijing on your own before joining your group and leader for the welcome meeting.  Then head out for an optional first night dinner. Go nuts and order your Peking duck for your first meal in the country. First the skin is carved and served in pancakes, next the carcass is chopped and cooked up into a soup. Don't forget to grab your doggy bag (ducky bag?) of leftovers.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we head out to the Great Wall at Mutianyu (approximately 2 hours) - one of the best preserved and easily accessible sections from Beijing. Take in the surrounding amazing views (provided that it is a clear day!). An incredible piece of engineering, the 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.
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Great Wall Mutianyu
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Donghuamen Night Market Walking Tour - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today spend the morning exploring Tiananmen Square. In the afternoon enjoy free time to explore as you wish, maybe visiting the Forbidden City, the 798 Art District, jumping on a bike and riding through the hutongs, hanging out in the Temple of Heaven park or visit the Lama Temple! This evening we board the first overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an in a six-berth, air-conditioned cabins (hard sleeper class). 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.
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing - Hutong Walking Tour
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City - CNY60
  • Beijing - Summer Palace - CNY40
  • Beijing - Lama Temple - CNY25
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven - CNY40
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
  • Beijing - Factory 798 Art District - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we arrive in Xi'an, 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. In your free time today we highly recommend visiting the Muslim Quarter with its great market and peaceful Great Mosque, climbing the Bell or Drum Towers or feasting on amazing street food.
Optional Activities
  • Xi'an - Small Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Great Mosque - CNY25
  • Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Cycling on City Wall - CNY80
  • Xi'an - Karaoke - CNY100
  • Xi'an - Big Wild Pagoda Fountain Light Show - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we visit Xi'an's most famous site - the Terracotta Warriors with a local guide. Travel by public bus for around 2 hours to reach the site, where we will spend a few hours exploring.  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. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free time, for you to further explore. Perhaps visit the night markets and try many of the tantalising local specialities such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand pulled noodles, hot pot and barbeque.
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors & Guide
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a long travelling day.  This morning we transfer to Xi'an Airport and take a domestic flight to Guilin.  Once arriving in Guilin we transfer to Yangshuo and check into our hotel. Yangshuo has become very popular with international and domestic tourists in recent years and has a great cafe and bar culture. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions and have plenty of fun at the same time!  On arrival the leader will take you for an orientation walk around the town. The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings - picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape and towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River.
Included Activities
  • Yangshuo Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The next two days in Yangshuo are free time for you to explore this town and its surrounds.  There are plenty of interesting activities to keep us entertained during our time here! Why not: Take a bike ride to gain an insight into rural Chinese life. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location. The spectacular outdoor light show staged by Olympic Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou,director of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceronmony, is a definite highlight and highly recommended. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Li River. Take an early morning tai chi class by the riverside. Eat and drink your way around the town tasting the classic dish - Beer Fish! Get a feel for local produce with a visit to the market, then learn to cook some Chinese dishes at the Yangshuo Cooking School. The recipes are easy to make and the ingredients readily available outside of China so you'll be able to recreate them once you get back home.
Optional Activities
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class - CNY50
  • Yangshuo - Li River Cruise - CNY100
  • Yangshuo - Bike hire - CNY20
  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour - CNY150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we make out way to the bustling city of Shanghai!  This city is fast paced and full of condradictions, definitely a city you want to tick off your bucketlist!  From Yangshuo we return to Guilin and it is here we board our overnight train to Shanghai.  Get some rest on the hard sleeper (6 berth) train before arriving into another city that never sleeps - Shanghai!
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive into Shanghai, China's largest city, once known as the 'Paris of the East'. Join your leader 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. Choose your own adventure next: Visit the Propaganda Museum for a fascinating look at China's revolutionary past. Get a bird's eye view of the city from the Pearl Tower's observation decks. The impressive Shanghai Museum houses one of the best collections of Chinese bronze and artwork - you could easily spend the whole day here discovering the various exhibitions. 
Included Activities
  • Shanghai - Bund Walking Tour
Optional Activities
  • Shanghai - Propaganda Museum - CNY20
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Museum - Free
  • Shanghai - Shanghai for Food Lovers Urban Adventure - CNY300
  • Shanghai - Old Shanghai Urban Adventure - CNY350
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Continue to explore the bustle and hustle of Shanghai today with free time today! Get a bird's eye view of the city from the famous Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower observation decks, with a height of 468 meters high it is the 4th highest in Asia! Catch a performance by the famous Shanghai Acrobats. Try a Shanghai Urban Adventure. Visit the Propaganda Museum for a fascinating look at China's revolutionary past. Wander the Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar. These famous classical gardens were completed in 1577 by Pan Yunduan, a government official of the Ming Dynasty or check out the local bar scene.
Optional Activities
  • Shanghai - Propaganda Museum - CNY20
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Museum - Free
  • Shanghai - Shanghai for Food Lovers Urban Adventure - CNY300
  • Shanghai - Old Shanghai Urban Adventure - CNY350
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your adventure comes to an end today, there are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. A departure transfer is available to book, please arrange this prior to departure with your booking agent.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Overnight Hard Sleeper Train, Plane, Taxi, Subway, Public bus, Private bus

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights), Overnight Hard Sleeper Train (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Beijing - Great Wall Mutianyu
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing - Hutong Walking Tour
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors & Guide
  • Yangshuo Orientation Walk
  • Shanghai - Bund Walking Tour

Reviews

Our Essential China trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Essential China , April 2016

giulia carozzi

Essential China , April 2016

Joshua Barlow

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available to purchase for this trip. Please note overnight trains are excluded.
2. This itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom and indulge in some yum cha!
3. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our Gecko's Beijing Office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328
4. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
5. 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.

Essential Trip Information

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