China - Best Tours & Trips 2019

521 China tours from 119 tour companies. 947 reviews. 4.8/5 avg rating.
China is the world’s most populous nation, and has rapidly emerged as the powerhouse of Asia. It's the region’s largest economy, and a treasure-house of art and artifacts, temples and tombs, walls and cities stretching back 3,000 years. The attractions are many, the nation vast. Let Stride be your guide in selecting a trip through the dreamscape of China.
All China tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Itinerary Focus

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Classic China

Travel China Guide
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 149 / day
$ 2,079
From : $ 6,190
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Opportunity to cruise Li River is the essence of landscape
  • Explore Guilin
  • Visit to Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City
  • Discover Shanghai
  • See the amazing Badaling Great Wall
  • Explore Chongqing
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Guilin, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Xian, Yangshuo, China
View Trip

China & Yangtze River Cruise with Hong Kong

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
17 days
$ 176 / day
$ 2,999
From : $ 7,897
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit the Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
  • See the Great Wall (Beijing)
  • Learn about the Terra Cotta Soldiers (Xian)
  • See The Bund (Shanghai)
  • Enjoy an Yangtze River Cruise
  • Li River (Guilin)
  • See spectacular city view from Victoria Peak (Hong Kong)
Visits:
Yangtze River, China
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China: Touring Yunnan – From Xishuangbanna to ...

Myths and Mountains
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
17 days
$ 382 / day
$ 6,495
From : $ 7,989
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit a wonderful old village, not too far from Tenchong
  • Visit some of the extinct volcanoes around the village of Mazhan
  • Visit the Sunday Market at  one of the villages close to the Burma border.
  • See the mountain as you wander the Old Town
  • Visiting the Black Dragon Pool and other sites.
Visits:
Beijing, Xian, China
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Walking the Great Wall

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 155 / day
$ 1,549
From : $ 2,091
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Trek alongside mountains on lesser-visited parts of the wall
  • Experience rural life first hand in little villages
  • Guided tour or Beijing's 'hutongs', Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City
  • Possibility to add Terracotta Warrior extension
Visits:
Beijing, China
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China's Heritage: Off the Beaten Path

Global Basecamps
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
21 days
$ 322 / day
$ 6,756
From : $ 7,702
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Despite the boom in tourism for China, there are still destinations relatively free from international influence
  • Get off the grid in this itinerary, and then return for the modern highlights in the second half
Visits:
Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Hong Kong, China
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China – Panda Conservation Adventure

Discover Corps
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 374 / day
$ 2,995
From : $ 4,043
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Venture behind the scenes of a panda rescue center for hands-on interaction with these gentle creatures
  • Experience the unforgettable Great Wall of China
  • Visit two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Leshan Giant Buddha and Beijing’s Summer Palace
  • Share a homemade meal with a local family in Beijing’s traditional districts, or “hutongs”
  • Zip through the bustling city of Beijing in an open- air rickshaw
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, China
View Trip

Hike and Bike China

World Expeditions
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 261 / day
$ 3,399
From : $ 4,759
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Hike remote sections of the Great Wall
  • Cycle through the sublime limestone scenery of Yangshuo
  • Visit to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing
  • View the Terracotta Warriors in Xian and cycle along the ancient city walls
  • Explore the ancient World Heritage town Lijiang and surrounding minority villages
  • Hike the spectacular scenic Tiger Leaping Gorge
Visits:
Beijing, Lijiang, Xian, Hong Kong, China
View Trip

China Highlights

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 143 / day
$ 1,256
From : $ 1,733
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • This is our most popular trip in China and one of the top trips from the entire Intrepid range. The trip may be quick, but it is packed full of experiences that will give you a great insight into China in a short time.
  • In addition to the main highlights in the big cities of Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, you'll get a glimpse of small-town life in Xitang and a taste of the countryside when we stay near the Great Wall. 
  • Our small group size allows us to explore destinations on foot together, eat in authentic local restaurants, travel by subway and train, and escape the tourist traps - all under the expert guidance of a passionate local leader.
  • Spend the night in a charming, family-run guesthouse near the Great Wall. Learn how to make dumplings for dinner and see this iconic structure without the masses.
  • Stay overnight in Xitang, a water town just outside of Shanghai. Imagine a way of life lost long ago as you explore the narrow alleys and canals after the daytrippers go home. 
  • Like everything it does, China’s ancient history is on an epic scale. No matter how many guide books you have read, nothing truly prepares you for the grandeur and immensity of sights like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Terracotta Army (or thousands of local tourists at the Forbidden City!).
Visits:
Beijing, Shanghai, Silk Road, China
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China Sampler

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 150 / day
$ 1,499
From : $ 4,097
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit the Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
  • Explore the Great Wall (Beijing)
  • See the Terra Cotta Soldiers (Xian)
  • Embark on a guided orientation drive and stroll down the Bund (Shanghai)
  • Enjoy Suzhou Excursion (Shanghai)
Visits:
Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Xian, China
View Trip

12 Day Imperial China & Yangtze River Gold Ex ...

Pacific Delight Tours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 292 / day
$ 3,799
From : $ 4,331
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • See Tiananmen Square and the extravagant Ming-era Imperial Palace in the Forbidden City
  • Visit the renowned Great Wall
  • Visit the exquisite 15th-century Temple of Heaven
  • See the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors
  • A traditional performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty period
  • Visit to Three Gorges Dam
Visits:
Beijing, Chongqing, Great Wall of China, Imperial Palace, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Xian, Yangtze River, Yichang, China
View Trip

China Delights

Travel China Guide
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 139 / day
$ 1,529
From : $ 4,362
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • See the fascinating Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City
  • Explore Beijing
  • Discover Shanghai
  • Opportunity to Li River cruise to Yangshuo
  • See the Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden
Visits:
Beijing, Guilin, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Xian, Yangshuo, Yichang, China
View Trip

Modern China's Highlights

Global Basecamps
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
21 days
$ 487 / day
$ 10,236
From : $ 11,669
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Explore China's modern cities, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong
  • China's modern culture is focused on progress and optimism
  • No where is that more relevant than in this itinerary
Visits:
Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Hong Kong, China
View Trip

China’s Wild Yunnan

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 196 / day
$ 2,749
From : $ 3,711
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Discover Kunming; 'City of Eternal Spring'
  • Snow-capped mountains and panoramic rice terraces
  • Trek through the stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Visit ethnic villages and local markets
  • Sample the famous 'Crossing the Bridge' noodles
  • Visit the heritage towns of Lijiang and Dali
Visits:
Kunming, Lijiang, Tibet, Dali, China
View Trip

China Classic Odyssey

14 days
$ 547 / day
$ 7,655
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Forbidden City and theGreat Wall
  • Tour Beijing's atmospheric hutongs for a fascinating look into Old China
  • Marvel at the life-size army of Terracotta Warriors in Xian
  • Visit the giant pandas of Bisheng Gorge Panda Sanctuary
  • Cruise through the spectacular gorges of the Yangtze River aboard the luxurious Yangzi Explorer
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage gardens of Suzhou
  • Experience the historic, cultural and architectural marvels of the ultramodern metropolis of Shanghai
Visits:
Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Great Wall of China, Shanghai, Terra Cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Three Gorges Dam, Tiananmen Square, Xian, China
View Trip

Southern China Scenic Getaway

6 days
Check price
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Taste the famous Guilin Rice Noodles at a popular local Noodle Shop
  • Climb the peaks of Cuiping Hill and overlook some stunning rural scenery
  • Take a step back in time with a visit to a local rural market day in Yangshuo
  • Cycle through the scenic Yangshuo Countryside and Yulong Valley
  • Drift along the scenic Yulong River on your own private raft
  • Try local specialties among the hustle and bustle of West Street
  • Cruise along the famous Li River on your own private raft with Cormorant Fisherman
  • See a different bird’s eye view of the natural beauty from the peaks of Xianggong Hill
  • Look over the spectacular views of Guilin city from the peak of Yao Mountain
  • Enjoy an organic lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant on Maozhou Island
  • Step back in time at the old village of Jiangtou in Jiuwu Town
  • Experience the Longji Zhuang Ethnic Minority Village with a traditional meal at a local home
  • Explore the Longji Rice Terraces and the stunning scenery
  • Travel through the Dong Minority Region of Sanjiang and its famous Wind and Rain Bridge
  • Go off the beaten track at the nearby Dong Minority village of Gaoxiu
Visits:
Guilin, Yangshuo, China
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Top China Experiences and Attractions

Top China Experiences

Standing face-to-face with thousands of life-sized, Terra Cotta Warrior statues excavated from the vast necropolis of China’s First Emperor in Xi’an

Taking a long walking tour of the Great Wall of China

Sailing down the Li River from Guilin through an incredible landscape of sheer cliffs and peaks, resembling a dreamy ink-brushed scroll

Exploring the Forbidden City

Reaching two fabled oases on the Silk Road: Urumqi (China’s Timbuktu) and Kashgar, site of one of Asia’s largest outdoor markets and camel bazaars

Experiencing the uniqueness of Beijing

Circumnavigating the entire city wall of Xi’an by bicycle, then exploring the city within

Cruising through the remains of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River and visiting the huge hydroelectric dam that partially submerged them


view more

China Trip Reviews

947 China Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 740
Great 186
Average 15
Disappointing 2
Terrible 4
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.8
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Fabulous Tibetan tour to Everest Base Camp

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We have been fortunate to travel many places around the world, but Tibet counts as one of the most touching, authentic, and moving travel experiences that we've had.

Our family of four (including two children, ages 9 & 12) booked a 8 day tour which included Lhasa and several other cities and major sights on a round trip to Everest Base Camp. Great Tibet Tour worked with us on our itinerary and provided us options that worked for children.

Read more
Operator Great Tibet Tour

Fantastic

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

They took very good care of me as I was a woman traveling alone, never once did I worry about a thing. It was extraordinary. I am using them again to go to Japan.

Read more
Operator Alexander + Roberts

Overall I would give RITZ Japan Tour thumbs up.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I apologized for this late post. My husband and I went to Japan last April with RITZ TOURS. We can't tell you enough how much we enjoyed this trip. From our Japanese guide, Hiro who made sure our trip was awesome and simply wonderful. We were only a small group which made it a lot better. We all bonded. And the places we saw, the hotels where we stayed and the food that was included is unforgettable. The Kobe steak dinner where Hiro took us is so delicious, the steak melts in your mouth.
I can go on describing our experience in Japan. Overall I would give RITZ Japan Tour thumbs up.

Read more
Operator Ritz Tours

Precisely what I wanted

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I got what I wanted. I wanted to see the ethnic groups -- not the Han or the Viet. That was what I got to see. Precisely what I wanted. Thanks.

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Operator Myths and Mountains

Imperial China and Yangtze River Cruise

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

An excellent introduction to China covering a number of the very diverse
facets of the country.
I am inspired to return to China to explore other aspects of the country. In
particular the Great Wall trek.
I would recommend travelling with a group, such as Exodus. It is not the
easiest country to get about in. There is very little English spoken and most
of the signs are in Chinese only. Our tour leader took care of
interpretations.
The Great Wall was great, the Three Gorges cruise on the Yangtze, the cycling
in the country amongst the limestone karsts, amazing landscape. There were a
number of other WOW factors not least of which was the food.


Leon was excellent: very knowledgeable about all the areas that we visited,
he was helpful on a personal level as well as to the group particularly when
it came to ordering food where the menus were only in Chinese. He was well up
to the standard of tour leaders that I had come to expect of Exodus.
His English was excellent also.


Travelling in China could be a bit of a challenge particularly as there is
little English spoken and much of the signs even at airports and railway
stations are in Chinese. Having a competent Chinese speaker with you, such as
we had, made life much easier.

The trip was billed as 1 leisurely. I think a 2 grading would be more exact;
the steps up to the great wall and later on up to the Moon Rock were
something of a challenge for some.


Keep your eyes open and look for quaint English translations of signs.


Read more
Operator Exodus Travels

Hong Kong and Macau Experience

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

My tour guide was simply very professional, knowledgeable and friendly. She was a very nice person to work with!

Read more
Operator Trafalgar

China Tours and Travel Guide

China Attractions & Landmarks Guide

China video

China is the world’s most populous nation, and has rapidly emerged as the powerhouse of Asia. It's the region’s largest economy, second only to the U.S. But China is also a treasure-house of art and artifacts, temples and tombs, walls and cities stretching back 3,000 years. The attractions are many, the nation vast. Let Stride be your guide in selecting the best tours to China.

The contrast between the modern and the ancient is stark in many countries, as you would see on trips to Thailand or South Korea, but in China it takes on monumental dimensions. At every turn the world’s oldest continuous civilization collides with the 21st century’s most explosive economy, producing moments of bewilderment, but also of insight.

At one end of the street is the serene temple where Buddhism was born in China; at the other end, a traffic jam of raucous Volkswagens and Buicks. These jolting juxtapositions of past, present and future are abundant in the three places you should visit first in China: the modern capital of Beijing, the ancient capital of Xi’an and the capital of China’s economic future, Shanghai.

Beijing: The First Must-Do

Beijing is first on the list because nowhere else has so much survived that defines Chinese civilization -- and survived on such a monumental scale. The Great Wall is an emblem of all that China was throughout its history of dynasties, and it can be viewed and walked upon at several points north of the modern capital, foremost at Badaling where most tourists go, but notable too are the less visited sections at Mutianyu and Simatai.

Nearly as colossal is the Forbidden City, the lavish royal residence of Ming and Qing Dynasty rulers. The Forbidden City fronts Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square and site of Chairman Mao’s mummified remains.

Also flanking the square is the National Museum of China, the mainland’s largest repository of imperial treasures. There are legions of other sites to see in Beijing, too -- the splendid Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Ancient Observatory, the Ming Tombs, the traditional hutongs (alleyways), Olympic Park and the up-to-the-minute 798 Art District.

Ancient Xi’an

Westward and deep into China’s interior is Xi’an, China’s ancient capital spanning a dozen dynasties, including the first. Here Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified China in 221 BC and constructed the underground Army of Terra-cotta Warriors guarding his tomb. This site has become China’s foremost archaeological attraction and a top stop on the world tourism list.

Not to be missed in Xi’an, too, are its Ming Dynasty city walls, the towering Big Goose Pagoda (AD 652), the Great Mosque, an array of ancient Buddhist and Daoist temples and two museums: the Shaanxi History Museum, with its exceptional displays of terra-cotta warriors and Tang Dynasty arts, and the Forest of Steles Museum, with its incomparable collection of engraved stone tablets.

Ultra-Modern Shanghai

In stark contrast with Xi’an, there’s Shanghai, China’s boomtown, where skyscrapers serve as 21st century pagodas and high-end shops and restaurants give the city an international flare.

Historical treasures remain here and there -- especially in the fine Shanghai Museum and on the grounds of the splendid Yuyuan Gardens -- and there are still some interesting architectural reminders of Shanghai’s colonial days in the French Concession, along Nanjing Road and particularly along the Bund river promenade. But be prepared to be blown back by Shanghai’s very modern, frenetic pace, its arrogant attitude, and its grand and grandiose shopping outlets.

The Should-Do Spots

Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai are must-dos, but there are plenty of should-dos, too. These include the panda preserves of Chengdu, the uncanny karst scenery of Guilin, and the remoter Shangri-Las of Yunnan Province, Mongolia, the Silk Road and Tibet. 

For those touring China’s major cities, however, the most notable extension is a cruise on the Yangtze River, where two top Western operators, Viking River Cruises and Victoria Cruises, provide excellent voyages through the heart of the Middle Kingdom.

For many visitors to China, booking a tour from an experienced operator makes sense, saving time and effort while delivering quintessential sights and experiences. Stride gives you a wide choice of China escorted tours, capable of unrolling the enigmatic scroll of China and translating its ancient script.

Food in China

Chinese food is an extremely popular cuisine in the western world, but beware that “westernized” Chinese food is nothing like the traditional offerings you’ll encounter in China. Some things you absolutely won’t find while traveling in China  include Sweet & Sour Pork, Beef & Broccoli, Orange Chicken, and Fortune Cookies (yes!).

Food in China is a point of reservation for some travelers. Similarly to traveling in India, those with weaker stomachs may take much longer to adjust to the food, and it’s true that not everything will sit well.

Traveling with a tour in China is one of the best ways to ensure you eat in reputable establishments, as well as help you explore new tastes you might not otherwise eat simply because you don’t know what you’re ordering!

Here are some top dishes to try while you’re traveling in China:

1. Hairy Crab - despite the unappetizing name, this delicacy is one of the most popular items in Shanghai’s street food scene. It has a short season, so be sure to taste it if you can (and also be aware if you see it in the off-season). The best time to find it is in the Autumn for about three months. They are small - so you have to do some work for not much payoff amount-wise. But the meat is rich and very flavorful.

2. Cantonese BBQ - A Hong Kong street food staple, this is definitely an enticing meal option. Traditional meats include chicken, goose, and pork.

3. Chilled Sichuan Beef - One of the more recognizable Chinese regional cuisines by name, “Sichuan” is most commonly connected with spicy food, commonly meat based. The chilled version is a local treat found in Chengdu, where your China tour will highlight the best of Sichuan cuisine. Served with cilantro and hot chili oil this chilled beef combines wonderful flavors for a spicy pick-me-up.

4. Bamboo - Not just an aesthetically pleasing natural landscape, bamboo is also featured in many Chinese meals. In the region of Anhui especially, this hearty stalk is often used in savory dishes, especially soups and stews. Bamboo has a crunch texture and the flavor is often likened to corn.

5. Soup Dumplings - Steamed dumplings are an everyday staple in Chinese home cooking. The dough is wrapped tightly, containing broth inside, along with pork and a delicious blend of spices. They are served extremely hot, so be prepared to wait a bit before enjoying, or risk burning your tongue!  

Etiquette in China

The Chinese are infamous for having a complex and highly nuanced social and cultural structure. It’s easy to offend while traveling in China and their expectations of proper etiquette can be intimidating. However, they also have a wonderful sense of humor and are welcoming to people visiting their country, so simply being polite will go a long way.

Having a local tour leader in China is one of the best ways to avoid being unintentionally rude as you travel through the country, especially if you are visiting more rural areas. They will highlight certain conventions such as how introductions are made (typically younger people are introduced first to older members of the party, males are introduced first, and hosts are introduced to guests first).

Gift giving is a very important ritual in China. If you are a guest in somebodys home, it is customary to bring a small gift as a token of your appreciation. Many tours in China feature a homestay, where travelers can live with a family and learn more about local life and culture; having a gift to present will help you get off on the right foot (unless you bring a clock!).

Business travelers will learn Chinese etiquette rules very quickly. One of the more commonly talked about rules is one must accept business cards with two hands. And punctuality is extremely important, in both business and personal settings.

Important Information for Traveling to China

Capital city‎: Beijing

Dialing code‎: ‎+86

Language‎: ‎Mandarin

Currency‎: CNY

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Things to Know Before You Go

Tours to China usually visit the heavy hitters, such as the Great Wall, and major sites in Beijing. However, the benefit of going on a China tour is the opportunity to venture out to the countryside, get a glimpse of rural Chinese life, and the amazing ancient natural landscapes.

What to expect from a China Tour

Culturally, there are many nuances to Chinese life that will come to life as you travel through, and some things may be difficult to adapt to. Traveling on a tour in China will not only enhance your experience, it will help with the language barrier, and you’ll learn more about local life, bringing these many nuances to light in a safe and comfortable way.

History tours are a great way to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture, but they can only go so far. Try to book a tour that visits local establishments and villages as well as cities.

Here are a few unexpected cultural differences you can expect on your first trip to China:

  • Toilet paper. The majority of public restrooms (with the exception of higher-end restaurants and hotels) don’t carry toilet paper, and so you may want to carry around your own packet, or some tissues.
  • Service. The expectation that you will be waited on hand and foot is a uniquely American ideal. In China, like many other places, service is not quite so good. On a similar note, the Chinese do not tip, and won’t expect them from you.
  • Spitting. You might be shocked the first time you see an old Chinese man hock a loogie onto the street, but the Chinese do not use tissues. In fact, they are equally disgusted by the way that we Westerners “keep” our mucus!
  • Small talk. In most Western cultures, having a conversation with a stranger about your marital status, economic status, or personal history can seem incredibly invasive; these topics are not off limits for the Chinese.

Affordable Asia & Traveling China on the Cheap

There are two general, competing views on traveling to China:

  1. Buying a flight to Asia is really expensive, and so is having a decent vacation in one of China’s crowded, rapidly expanding cities.
  2. Traveling Asia is really cheap, and China is no exception, from its abundant street food and mass production.

The truth actually lies somewhere in between. If you want to live life to the fullest in one of China’s premiere cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong -- eating like a king, and then resting your weary bones in a luxury hotel, you can expect to pay similar prices to any big Western city.

There are, however, ways to travel China affordably. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Step outside the cities. As is the case any other country, prices in big cities (especially touristy ones!) are significantly higher than anywhere else
  • Public transportation. China not only has a cheap and effective taxi system within its cities, but an effective and very affordable rail system. If you plan to travel within the country, a ticket on a sleeper train will not only save you the cost of a hotel room, it will be at least half the price of a flight!
  • Check your credit card fees. This rule stands for all international travel -- make sure you are using a credit card with minimal, or no, international fees when making payments. Or sign up for WeChat, which is the most common method of payment in China, and only uses your phone.
  • Eat like the locals. Not only is this food likely to better, and is guaranteed to be authentic, eating Chinese food in China is much cheaper than eating any other foreign food. When in Rome! Another tip if you are eating a single portion of food, ask for your meal “xiao pan.” This will cut the size of meal, and reduce the price as well.

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