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Highlights
  • Like everything it does, China’s ancient history is on an epic scale – see it when face-to-face with thousands of Terracotta Warriors, walking the Great Wall (or encountering thousands of local tourists at the Forbidden City!)
  • Find peace in one of the holiest places in China as you trek around Emei Shan and stay in a monastery, waking to the sound of drums and morning prayers
  • Learn about the endangered (and adorable) giant pandas’ struggle for survival, and get up close to these unique creatures in Chengdu
  • Take a tourist boat trip through the iconic scenery of the Yangzi River, which meanders through the dramatic Three Gorges

This in-depth tour has proven to be one of the most popular we offer in China. Experience the Middle Kingdom as you take in the major tourist attractions in China and visit some of its lesser-known sites. See the majestic splendour of Beijing, visit the Great Wall of China and discover the Terracotta Warriors before travelling to Hong Kong to soak up the electric vibe. From sizzling Sichuan dishes in Chengdu and a cruise along the Yangzi River to the tranquillity of the Buddhist temples in Emei Shan, experience the true essence of China - you won't be disappointed.

Countries
Activities
  • N/A
Rivers & Seas
  • Li River

2,887
Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings
98% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 2,621 Great 705 Average 129 Disappointing 50 Terrible 48
Value
4.6 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.6 Meals
4.6
China Experience

A

Recommends

Overall, the trip was excellent. This was October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Overall, the trip was excellent. This was my first time with Intrepid but I have taken several similar trips (Tucan). The tour leader (Kris) was excellent and the activities were a good balance._x000D_
_x000D_
One aspect - I've noticed a sharp shift in the demographic of group towards older travellers. I suspect this is but one side effect of wider economic conditions. While the individuals in our group were fine, I do worry that in future this could lead to a watering down of the experience. It is very important, that the "Original" trips are an adventure travel product. While of course, economic circumstances may lead to fewer of these trips and more trips specifically targeting older/less active/less change-averse groups, these should be differently labelled rather than diluting the "original" experience._x000D_
_x000D_
Another minor oddity is that I received an itinerary adjustment 2 weeks before departure which turned out to be incorrect. Kris hadn't heard about the adjustment so was a bit puzzled people asked her about it (see comment about risk-averse old people above). No big deal but might have been nice to get another mail from HQ.
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Operator Intrepid Travel

A

Recommends

Emma was an excellent group leader- very September 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Emma was an excellent group leader- very friendly, helpful and polite. We really liked her suggested restaurant and activity recommendations and felt that they were the same ones the locals were at instead of aimed at Westernern._x000D_
We felt that we really would have struggled travelling to China on our own, trying to visit the areas where we went due to the language barrier. It was really easy having it all organised for us and just having to be at a certain place at a certain time. We liked the fact that we still got enough free time to do the things we wanted to do while seeing the best of each city with organised activities.
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Operator Intrepid Travel

S

Recommends

Excellent Guide. Good Itinerary. September 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Excellent Guide. Good Itinerary.

Operator Intrepid Travel

B

Recommends

A well put together itinerary from Intrepid September 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
A well put together itinerary from Intrepid and my tour guide Emma Guo was fantastic. She made herself available to the group 24 hours with added information on local areas and events, history and an outgoing/fun loving attitude. Many options for 'free time' were given with in depth information on transport available and pricing. Meals were selected carefully with everyone's food choices/intolerances kept in mind. A well balanced trip with lots of laughs and added information._x000D_
I feel that is is of importance to note that there was a difficult team member within our group who on a daily basis was quite negative towards daily activities and meal options, often complaining and their actions led to their decision to excluded them self from the rest of the group. _x000D_
I feel Emma handled this customer with a mature approach under some extremely difficult and tiring situations
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Operator Intrepid Travel

C

Recommends

I had a amazing time during this September 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I had a amazing time during this trip. China Experience is a very good to see a lot of spots in China. That only negative point was that we couldn't see the Forbidden City because of the 70th anniversary end of WWII. But this give me an other opportunity to come back to China.
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Operator Intrepid Travel

Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing

Ni Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing has quickly shed its historical face in favour of progress and modernity. However, there are still plenty of places that give an insight into the nation's ancient past, as well as newer sights that showcase China's contemporary culture. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm this evening. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. After the meeting maybe head out to explore the Beijing Streets – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises. Perhaps kick off your China adventure with an iconic dish – Peking duck.

Day 2 Beijing

Today you’ll explore two of the most popular sights in Beijing. There will be a lot of walking today as well as using public buses and the subway to get around. Make your way to the centre of the city – Tian'anmen Square, the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its Mao portrait, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, and with elaborate flag raising and lowering ceremonies at dawn and dusk, it's a place of pilgrimage for the Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation. From here you will enter the enormous Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all that time, is a truly amazing place. Despite the transformation of the city around it, the Forbidden City looks much like it always has. As you explore the great halls and courtyards you’ll be able appreciate the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power in the Ming and Qing dynasties. This evening is free to explore the Beijing street food scene; there are many night markets to visit and hutong (historic narrow streets and alleys) eateries in which to try local treats.

Day 3 Great Wall - Beijing

This morning you’ll take a private bus to visit Mutianyu Great Wall (approx. 2hrs) and spend some time exploring, taking photos and learning the history of this mighty site (and sight). 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. The walk is generally on the restored section of the wall, but this still means walking on steep, uneven terrain and multiple steps, so reasonable fitness and comfortable shoes are needed. The walk is approximately 5 kilometres (2 - 3 hrs depending on your level of fitness). There are different ways to go onto/off the wall. You can choose to take the cable car, chairlift or even toboggan to get off the wall (at your own expense). A great idea is to bring a picnic lunch with you to enjoy atop the wall during a rest break. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. Return to Beijing by private bus, and then enjoy a free evening to either relax or explore Beijing further.

Day 4 Beijing - Overnight Train

Before you depart Beijing today you will visit our friends at Beijing Huiling (meaning 'wise spirit') – a special project for young people with intellectual and learning disabilities. If you’re lucky you might enjoy a performance of singing and dancing by the students (and be asked to join in!) and have a chance to see their artwork and handicrafts. You will then transfer to Beijing West train station and board your first overnight sleeper train to Xi'an, (approximately 12 hours). 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). Wherever possible, we will group our travellers together, but this will depend on group size and ticket availability. Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. Some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Safe, hot drinking water is always available. 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 with toilets and washbasins are situated at the end of each carriage. As toilet paper isn't always available, it's best to bring an emergency supply. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Food is available on the train, but it's a good idea to stock up on snacks for the trip. An optional upgrade from a hard sleeper to a soft sleeper berth (4 travellers per compartment with a lockable door) may be available for some overnight train journeys on this trip. Please contact us for booking and more details.

Day 5 Xi'an

Arrive in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and the largest city in northwest China. Once the imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites and is a great place to explore. Join your leader on a short walking tour to uncover what was once the start of the ancient trading route of the Silk Road. The city has a wonderful Muslim Quarter, and you’ll wander the narrow streets of shops, lively markets, and groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes. See the City Walls and Gates, the most complete in China, running over 13 kilometres around the city. Xi’an’s Silk Road history means it has an exciting mixture of cultures, especially found in its food options, ranging from delicious Muslim fare to great little dumplings in Chinese restaurants. Maybe choose to visit the Bell and Drum Towers, the former built (according to legend) to restrain the dragons that were causing earthquakes, the latter is (unsurprisingly) full of drums, once used to mark time and warn in emergencies. Perhaps visit the night markets and try many of the tantalising local specialties such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand pulled noodles, hot pot and barbecue.

Day 6 Xi'an

Today we will travel by public transport (approx 2 hours) to visit what is undoubtedly one of the man-made wonders of the world – the Terracotta Warriors. You’ll learn all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered in 1976 by farmers digging a well, after being buried for 2,000 years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots (originally all painted) were commissioned by the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi as part of his mausoleum after he ascended to the throne in 264 BC. Three main pits are open for you to view, where just under 2,000 of the total 6,000 warriors – each individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height, and even facial expressions – stand in battle formation. The scale is incredibly impressive. Return to Xi’an for you final evening in the city.

Day 7 Xi'an - Overnight Train

Today you’ll have free time in Xi'an until you board our overnight sleeper train to Emei Shan. There’s still much to see in the city: perhaps cycle around the city walls that you saw on your first walking tour, or visit the impressive Tang Dynasty Small or Big Wild Goose Pagodas. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a picturesque Buddhist pagoda built in 652 AD, located in a scenic area that also includes the Shaanxi History Museum and Da Cien Temple. It’s especially popular with locals in the evenings, when there is a nightly light & music show around the many fountains. You can learn about Chinese dynasties in the Small Wild Goose Pagoda (inside the Jianfu Temple) and the nearby Xi'an Museum. You could also visit the Great Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in China. Featuring an unusual blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture, the mosque is still in use today and serves as a place of worship for Xi’an’s large Muslim population, made up predominantly of the Hui minority. Although non-Muslims are not allowed within the main hall itself, a visit during one of the five daily prayer times adds another dimension of spirituality, no matter what your religion. This train usually departs at around 10pm, so you’ll have most of the day free to further explore Xi'an. We will arrive in Emei late afternoon the following day (approx 18 hours) so it's a good idea to stock up on some snacks and food to take with you for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Day 8 Emei Shan

Arrive into Emei Shan late afternoon today after your long train journey. Emei Shan is one of the holiest places in China, long associated with bodhisattva (person committed to the enlightment for the sake of others) Samantabhadra. At just over 3,000 metres high, this mountain of thick forest has been a centre of pilgrimage for over 1,800 years, with over a hundred temples and monasteries hidden in its peaks. The area is stunning at any time of year, from the lush greens of the summer, to the golden reds and yellows of autumn, and the clear, mystical whites of winter. Here you will visit and overnight at the peaceful Baoguo Monastery, where you’ll experience sharing accommodation with monks and waking up to the sounds of drums and prayers.

Day 9-10 Emei Shan

Day 11 Leshan - Chengdu

Today, travel by private bus to the town of Leshan (approximately 2.5 hours) for a stopover on your way to Chengdu, and visit the amazing Leshan Giant Buddha. A World Heritage site, the Leshan Giant Buddha is a statue of Maitreya (a Bodhisattva usually represented as a very stout monk with a broad smile on his face and with his naked breast and paunch exposed to view) in sitting posture. Facing the river, the Buddha is beautifully captured in its solemn stillness. It is 71 meters high, has 8.3-meter-long fingers, and took 90 years to carve. You’ll arrive into Chengdu in the early afternoon or evening depending on traveling time (approximately 4.5 hours). Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, which is most famous for two main things – the pandas living in the mountains and the food. Its hot, spicy dishes are considered by the Chinese to be the best cuisine within China. In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat. Maybe sample a spicy Sichuan hotpot this evening.

Day 12 Chengdu

It might be one of China's biggest cities, but Chengdu has preserved plenty of its traditional flavour and visitors can still find famous teahouses, numerous markets and some of the most interesting food in China. Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base today, where you're able to witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endearing endangered species. There are only around 1,000 pandas left in the world and 80% of them are found in the mountains in Sichuan. The facility was set up 30 years ago to help conserve this animal, and there are more than 80 giant and red pandas living at the base. The pandas have over 600 acres of parkland to live in, and you can get up close and learn more about these majestic creatures. Watch them play, eat bamboo and climb the trees. If you’re lucky enough you might even get to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery (July-September). You’ll then return to Chengdu for some free time this evening. The tranquil Renmin Park (People's Park) is a relaxing spot to spend a few hours, with interesting tea-houses and areas full of locals exercising, singing, playing mahjong or relaxing in their bamboo chairs drinking tea. Perhaps yake in a performance of traditional Sichuan Opera, visit the Wenshu Temple, or take a cooking class.

Day 13-15 Yangzi River

Day 16 Yichang - Overnight Train

Your Yangzi boat trip will end in the small city (by Chinese standards!) of Yichang. It offers a great chance to see typical everyday Chinese life in the provinces. Here you’ll enjoy a tour of the incredible feat of engineering that is the Three Gorges Dam. The world’s largest hydroelectric project, the dam generates power and prevents the major flooding that had long threatened the people of the area (though the impact on displaced people and archaeological sites should not be ignored). From here you’ll take a private bus to the train station and board your second overnight train to Liuzhou (approximately 15 hours). As Yichang is not a major railway hub there's only one train heading south passing through here. To make the long journey as comfortable as possible, you will travel by soft sleeper (4 people per compartment with a lockable door) on this leg of our trip. It's important to get a good night's sleep as you’ll have to disembark the train very early tomorrow morning.

Day 17 Yangshuo

Arrive in Liuzhou very early in the morning (approximately 4.30am) and travel by private transfer direct to your next destination, Yangshuo (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive, take the day to rest and soak up the charm of this little town, popular with the Chinese and Western travellers alike, who come for the beautiful landscape and stay for the 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, while having plenty of fun at the same time. 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, all celebrated on every 20 yuan note.

Day 18 Yangshuo

Today you’ll shake out your train legs and experience the dramatic limestone karst landscape on a bike ride, where you’ll gain a real insight into rural Chinese life. Stop for lunch at the house of our local friends for a tasty meal made from locally grown produce. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location. You’ll have a local guide take us on this bike trip, and helmets and bike rental are included. Cycling through some of China’s most epic landscapes is a highlight for many passengers. The evening is free for you to explore Yangshuo's lively cafe and bar scene.

Day 19 Yangshuo

Today is free day for you to do as you wish, and there are lots of activities on offer. You could begin the day by focusing your body and mind with a morning Tai Chi class or Kung Fu lesson. Perhaps try your hand at Chinese calligraphy or simply sit back and relax as you enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Li or Yulong Rivers. Maybe visit the market to shop with the locals and get a feel for the regional produce. You can then put this new knowledge to use in a cooking class at the Yangshuo Cooking School. Learn to cook Chinese dishes with recipes that are easy to make and ingredients readily available outside of China, so that you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back at home. Later, perhaps watch an outdoor light show staged by 2008 Beijing Olympics’ Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou.

Day 20 Hong Kong

Take a private bus from your Yangshuo Hotel to Guilin North Station, and then board a bullet train to Shenzhen North Station (approximately 3.5 hours). Then it’s a short metro train from Shenzhen to the Hong Kong border. The China-Hong Kong border is busy, so there can often be a bit of a wait to get through and a lot of patience is required. On average, it takes around 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. Your bags will be with you during this time. Then you’ll walk the short distance from the train station to the border, go through procedures to exit China, and then enter Hong Kong. Once all that's done, you’ll travel on the KCR train to central Hong Kong. It was as a British colony that Hong Kong made itself known to the world and, since the 1997 handover, the city is still a unique and fascinating place to explore and see where the East really does meet the West. Hong Kong's cityscape is spectacular and its modern fast-paced life is only minutes from picturesque islands and beaches. The locals are very proud of their Cantonese culture and history, so step out of the shopping malls and off the main streets to discover another side of the city. This evening, enjoy a optional final farewell dinner to sample some of the best Cantonese dishes.

Day 21 Hong Kong

There are no activities planned for the today and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 3,319

Price Per Day:

$ 158 per person
 
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
May-26-2018Jun-15-2018$ 3,514Yes6 spots left Reserve
Jun-23-2018Jul-13-2018$ 3,618Yes5 spots left Reserve
Jul-07-2018Jul-27-2018$ 3,319Yes8 spots left Reserve
Aug-04-2018Aug-24-2018$ 3,905Yes8 spots left Reserve
Aug-25-2018Sep-14-2018$ 3,905Yes7 spots left Reserve
Sep-01-2018Sep-21-2018$ 3,950Yes4 spots left Reserve
Sep-08-2018Sep-28-2018$ 3,950YesSold Out Reserve
Sep-15-2018Oct-05-2018$ 3,760Yes8 spots left Reserve
Oct-06-2018Oct-26-2018$ 3,870Yes3 spots left Reserve
Oct-13-2018Nov-02-2018$ 3,760Yes5 spots left Reserve
Oct-20-2018Nov-09-2018$ 3,615Yes10 spots left Reserve
Oct-27-2018Nov-16-2018$ 3,615Yes12 spots left Reserve
Nov-03-2018Nov-23-2018$ 3,615Yes10 spots left Reserve
Mar-02-2019Mar-22-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Mar-09-2019Mar-29-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Apr-06-2019Apr-26-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Apr-20-2019May-10-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
May-04-2019May-24-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
May-18-2019Jun-07-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
May-25-2019Jun-14-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-22-2019Jul-12-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-06-2019Jul-26-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-20-2019Aug-09-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-03-2019Aug-23-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-17-2019Sep-06-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-24-2019Sep-13-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-31-2019Sep-20-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-07-2019Sep-27-2019$ 4,100No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-14-2019Oct-04-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-05-2019Oct-25-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-12-2019Nov-01-2019$ 3,950No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-19-2019Nov-08-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-26-2019Nov-15-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-02-2019Nov-22-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2019Nov-29-2019$ 3,795No12 spots left Reserve
Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel
Details
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 12
Accomodations
Hotel (11 nights),Guesthouse/Monastery (3 nights),Overnight Riverboat (3 nights),Overnight Hard Sleeper Train (2 nights),Overnight Soft Sleeper Train (1 night)
Start City
Beijing
End City
Hong Kong
Guides All our group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavor to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Additional Information:

Finish point

  • West Hotel 偉晴軒
  • No.39 Wai Ching Street,Kowloon 地址 : 香港九龍佐敦偉晴街39至47
  • Kowloon
  • Hong Kong
  • CHINA
  • Phone: +852 27707718
  • Fax: 85227707718

Trip ID#: intrepid-CBSE

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