• 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 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, as well as escape the tourist traps - all under the expert guidance of an experienced local leader who is passionate to share their country and culture.
  • Spend the night in a charming family-run guesthouse near the Great Wall and see this iconic structure without the masses.
  • Stop by Xitang, a water town just outside of Shanghai, and imagine a way of life lost long ago while exploring the narrow alleyways and canals.
  • 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, Tianmen Square and the Terracotta Army (or thousands of local tourists at the Forbidden City!).

Get a taste of China on this short but culture-filled adventure. Travel from modern Shanghai to old Beijing and explore busy Xi'an, taking in iconic attractions such as the Great Wall of China and Terracotta Warriors along the way. Of course, there is time to delve beneath the surface, discovering gourmet delights and learning about Chinese life and traditions. NEW UPDATES FOR 2019: From 1st January 2019 there has been a change to the start day of our departures, with the most regular departure day becoming Saturday. On Day 2 we will enjoy a walking tour of Shanghai in the morning before travelling to Xitang where we will stay for the night. The Shanghai Acrobat Show will no longer be included in 2019.

Cities & Attractions
  • N/A
Flights & Transport
  • Only ground transport

Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
97% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 2,593 Great 707 Average 136 Disappointing 53 Terrible 50
4.6 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.6 Meals
China Highlights



Good mixture of program and free time October 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Good mixture of program and free time, local guide is a very good idea as you get much more information about the living in that country, group of max 12 is good size

Operator Intrepid Travel



The guide Jane wAs fantastic, the variety October 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The guide Jane wAs fantastic, the variety of destinations and activities was excellent. The tour was a great overview of China

Operator Intrepid Travel



It was a great experience September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
It was a great experience

Operator Intrepid Travel



The trip allowed us to see many September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The trip allowed us to see many parts of China, mix with the locals,try different food, transport and walk.

Operator Intrepid Travel



Our tour guide Dennis (Xuanbo Yang) was September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our tour guide Dennis (Xuanbo Yang) was awesome! He made everything so smooth, found the most amazing food, and modified plans after seeing group response.

Operator Intrepid Travel


Day 1 Shanghai

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Blending 21st-century architecture with old-world character, Shanghai pulses with the beat of new China. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm this evening. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Settle into your hotel and then get a feel for this vibrant city – Shanghai’s bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into the dazzling global future of the country. Your evening is free for your first exploration of the city – perhaps get a taste of Shanghai’s eclectic food scene, which draws influence from far beyond China’s walls. Notes: As we only have one full day in Shanghai as part of the trip, we highly recommend arriving a few days earlier to make the most of your time here. Those who arrive early could 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, wander the Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar, barter in markets, stroll through modern Pudong or scope out the city’s buzzing nightlife at a local bar. Check out our range of Urban Adventures for the insider's take on exploring the city.

Day 2 Shanghai

Today join your leader for a walking tour that will take you to historical Shanghai. At the Bund you can get a taste of 1920s Shanghai; its spectacular array of art deco style buildings, formerly belonging to Western banks, line what was once the most important financial street in Asia. Wander the narrow winding lanes (nongtangs) of old Shanghai, where you can get a real glimpse into the locals’ daily life. Explore the European-influenced French Concession, the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today's Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for visitors. The area's tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions still retain an air of the 'Paris of the East'. This evening you’ll witness the impressive feats of the famous Shanghai acrobats.

Day 3 Xitang - Overnight train

Get a taste of traditional China on a day trip to an ornate water town. Drive approximately 2 hours by private transport out to Xitang, a town full of picturesque architecture and views. Wander through the small streets and across the bridges that criss-cross the town. Chill out by the canals, sip steaming cups of tea at a local teahouse or learn about local history at one of the many museums. Get lost among the maze of peaceful cobblestone streets lined with village buildings – it’s a welcome break from the bustle of modern Shanghai. While here, gliding along the waterways in a gondola is the ideal way to enjoy a real water town experience. Return to Shanghai and then board an overnight hard sleeper train bound to Xi'an (approximately 15 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 4 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. Today you’ll join your leader on a short walking tour to uncover what was once the start of the ancient trading route of the Silk Road. Perhaps visit the Bell & 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. The city also has a wonderful Muslim Quarter, and you’ll wander the narrow streets of quaint shops, lively markets, groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes, and the Great Mosque, one of the most important in China. 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. 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 5 Xi'an

Today you’ll journey out in to the countryside surrounding Xi’an (approximately 2 hours) and 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 after being buried for 2,000 years by farmers digging a well in 1976. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots (and originally individually 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 over 1,000 warriors are displayed – each individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height, and even facial expressions – stand in battle formation. The scale is incredibly impressive. Afterwards you'll enjoy lunch with a local family, before visiting our friends at Xi'an Huiling (meaning 'wise spirit') – a special Intrepid-supported project for young people with intellectual and learning disabilities. Here you'll enjoy a performance of singing and dancing by the students (don't be surprised if you're asked to join in) and have a chance to see their artwork and handicrafts. Return to Xi’an for you final evening in the city.

Day 6 Great Wall

Today is a big day of travelling so grab some snacks for the journey. Transfer to the railway station and then board the high-speed train (approximately 6 hours) to Beijing. Watch the landscape change from farmland and villages to industrialised cities and urban sprawl. On arrival in Beijing meet your private vehicle to drive out into the countryside to a section of the Great Wall (approximately 3 hours) where you’ll spend the night in a family run village guesthouse. Dinner is included here - a great chance to sample local produce and delicious home style cooking.

Day 7 Great Wall - Beijing

This morning you’ll visit a section of the Great Wall 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. You’ll often feel like you have the whole wall to yourself as you take your time strolling along the wall, which snakes through the hills almost endlessly into the distance. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. You’ll then journey back to Beijing (approximately 3 hours) – your last stop on your journey. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's ancient past as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture.

Day 8 Beijing

Today you will make our way to the centre of the city – Tian'anmen Square (travelling by metro and local bus). Perhaps most famous outside of the country for the 1989 massacre (and the iconic picture of a single man standing up to a tank), this square – supposedly the largest down town square in the world – is 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, its a truly amazing place. Despite the transformation of the city around it, the Forbidden City thankfully 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. Beijing is vast and overflowing with sights – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises.

Day 9 Beijing

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There's so much to see and do in Beijing that we highly recommend staying an extra few days. Some activities for your free time might be: a trip to the 798 Art District, cycling round the city with Beijing Urbanadventures, visiting the park surrounding the Temple of Heaven, or an exploration of beautiful Tibetan-style monastery of Yonghegong (the Lama Temple).

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 1,284

Price Per Day:

$ 143 per day
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Nov-23-2018Dec-01-2018$ 1,318Yes7 spots left Reserve
Dec-07-2018Dec-15-2018$ 1,343Yes3 spots left Reserve
Dec-14-2018Dec-22-2018$ 1,398Yes4 spots left Reserve
Dec-21-2018Dec-29-2018$ 1,610Yes11 spots left Reserve
Dec-23-2018Dec-31-2018$ 1,740Yes3 spots left Reserve
Dec-28-2018Jan-05-2019$ 1,740Yes1 spots left Reserve
Jan-04-2019Jan-12-2019$ 1,630Yes3 spots left Reserve
Jan-05-2019Jan-13-2019$ 1,525Yes7 spots left Reserve
Jan-12-2019Jan-20-2019$ 1,510Yes13 spots left Reserve
Mar-08-2019Mar-16-2019$ 1,284Yes12 spots left Reserve
Mar-16-2019Mar-24-2019$ 1,284Yes15 spots left Reserve
Mar-23-2019Mar-31-2019$ 1,334Yes13 spots left Reserve
Apr-06-2019Apr-14-2019$ 1,615Yes7 spots left Reserve
Apr-12-2019Apr-20-2019$ 1,570Yes16 spots left Reserve
Apr-13-2019Apr-21-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
Apr-14-2019Apr-22-2019$ 1,630Yes14 spots left Reserve
Apr-20-2019Apr-28-2019$ 1,630Yes10 spots left Reserve
Apr-21-2019Apr-29-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
May-04-2019May-12-2019$ 1,630Yes15 spots left Reserve
May-11-2019May-19-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
May-18-2019May-26-2019$ 1,570Yes7 spots left Reserve
May-25-2019Jun-02-2019$ 1,570Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-09-2019Jun-17-2019$ 1,570Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-15-2019Jun-23-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-22-2019Jun-30-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-23-2019Jul-01-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-29-2019Jul-07-2019$ 1,510Yes13 spots left Reserve
Jul-06-2019Jul-14-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jul-07-2019Jul-15-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jul-13-2019Jul-21-2019$ 1,510Yes14 spots left Reserve
Jul-14-2019Jul-22-2019$ 1,510Yes15 spots left Reserve
Jul-20-2019Jul-28-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jul-27-2019Aug-04-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Aug-03-2019Aug-11-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Aug-10-2019Aug-18-2019$ 1,510Yes15 spots left Reserve
Aug-17-2019Aug-25-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Aug-24-2019Sep-01-2019$ 1,570Yes15 spots left Reserve
Aug-31-2019Sep-08-2019$ 1,570Yes15 spots left Reserve
Sep-01-2019Sep-09-2019$ 1,570Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-03-2019Sep-11-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-05-2019Sep-13-2019$ 1,630Yes15 spots left Reserve
Sep-15-2019Sep-23-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-18-2019Sep-26-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-20-2019Sep-28-2019$ 1,630Yes13 spots left Reserve
Oct-08-2019Oct-16-2019$ 1,630Yes15 spots left Reserve
Oct-11-2019Oct-19-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-12-2019Oct-20-2019$ 1,630Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-19-2019Oct-27-2019$ 1,570Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-26-2019Nov-03-2019$ 1,570Yes15 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2019Nov-17-2019$ 1,570Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-23-2019Dec-01-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-30-2019Dec-08-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-07-2019Dec-15-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-14-2019Dec-22-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-21-2019Dec-29-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-23-2019Dec-31-2019$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-28-2019Jan-05-2020$ 1,510Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jan-04-2020Jan-12-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Feb-12-2020Feb-20-2020$ 1,510No16 spots left Reserve
Mar-07-2020Mar-15-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Mar-14-2020Mar-22-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Mar-21-2020Mar-29-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Apr-11-2020Apr-19-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Apr-18-2020Apr-26-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Apr-25-2020May-03-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
May-09-2020May-17-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
May-16-2020May-24-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
May-23-2020May-31-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
May-30-2020Jun-07-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-06-2020Jun-14-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-13-2020Jun-21-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-20-2020Jun-28-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-27-2020Jul-05-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-04-2020Jul-12-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-11-2020Jul-19-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-18-2020Jul-26-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-25-2020Aug-02-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-01-2020Aug-09-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-08-2020Aug-16-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-15-2020Aug-23-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-22-2020Aug-30-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-29-2020Sep-06-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-05-2020Sep-13-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-12-2020Sep-20-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-19-2020Sep-27-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-10-2020Oct-18-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-17-2020Oct-25-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-24-2020Nov-01-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-31-2020Nov-08-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-07-2020Nov-15-2020$ 1,630No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-14-2020Nov-22-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-21-2020Nov-29-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-28-2020Dec-06-2020$ 1,570No12 spots left Reserve
Dec-05-2020Dec-13-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Dec-12-2020Dec-20-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Dec-19-2020Dec-27-2020$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Dec-26-2020Jan-03-2021$ 1,510No12 spots left Reserve
Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel
Flights & Transport
Only ground transportOvernight Sleeper Train,Private Bus,Public Bus,Train,Subway
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 12
Hotel (6 nights),Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night),Guesthouse (1 night)
Start City
End City
Guides All Intrepid 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. Intrepid endeavours 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. At Intrepid we 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

  • King Parkview Hotel (Huayu Hotel) 北京华育宾馆
  • 55 Shatan Hou Street 地址:北京东城区沙滩后街 55号 (近五四 大街,在景山公园东门对面的胡同里)
  • Dong Cheng District
  • Beijing
  • 100009
  • Phone: +86 (010)58757888

Trip ID#: intrepid-CBSD

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