• Start with a bang in Beijing, hike the heights of Huangshan, explore the Great Wall, soak up the glow of Shanghai’s city lights and step back in time in the idyllic rural villages of Huizhou
  • Spend two night at the base of the Great Wall, and follow in the footsteps of soldiers hundreds of years ago when you trek the Gubeikou to Jinshanling section
  • Forget seeing the sights from the window of a packed tour bus, this tour offers plenty of opportunity to get active among the wonders of China. Explore cities laneways on walking tours, climb the steps of Yellow Mountain, trek the Great Wall and cycle countryside lanes in Hongcun
  • Two overnight trains means you'll maximise your time in each destination, get to know your fellow travellers, and get a real sense of the vast size of the country
  • Go local every step of the way with an experienced local leader, public transport, and family-run guesthouses and local hostels where possible – this trip is all about authentic local experiences 

Discover the breathtaking countryside of China's north on this 12-day journey bookended by bright city lights. From the dizzying heights of Huangshan and the Great Wall, to the underground pits that hold thousands of Terracotta Soldiers and the waterfront Shanghai, this trip reveals myriad sides of China. Go beyond the tourist trail and immerse yourself in local life with stays in small guesthouses and travel on public transport.

Cities & Attractions
  • N/A

Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
98% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 2,324 Great 623 Average 99 Disappointing 34 Terrible 36
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.7 Lodging
4.7 Transportation
4.7 Meals
North China Getaway



Everything worked fine. Gina is an amazing September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Everything worked fine. Gina is an amazing travel guide.

Operator Intrepid Travel



Most important highlights of Northern China in September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Most important highlights of Northern China in a well organized trip.

Operator Intrepid Travel



Gina could answer any questions i had September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Gina could answer any questions i had and she made the trip very enjoyable.

Operator Intrepid Travel



Gina was very efficient, patient, Knowledgeable, Fun September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Gina was very efficient, patient, Knowledgeable, Fun to be with. and all round a great guide for us. Wouldn't have been such an enjoyable holiday without her.

Operator Intrepid Travel



Everything is taken care of, great guide September 2015

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Everything is taken care of, great guide and lots of free time and choices. A great trip all over

Operator Intrepid Travel


Day 1 Beijing

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is a food-centric city with both ancient and modern architectural charm. 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. We’ll be collecting your insurance and next of kin details at this meeting, so it’s important you attend. Make sure you book a flight that will deliver you with enough time to transfer to the hotel, or perhaps arrive with a few days to spare to make the most of Beijing. We can assist with booking any extra accommodation, and there are plenty of suggested optional activities listed below to give you an idea of how to spend your time. Following the meeting, settle into your hotel and then perhaps strike out with new friends or alone and watch an acrobatic performance at the famous Chaoyang Theatre.

Day 2 Great Wall

Enjoy a few hours of free time in the morning to explore Beijing before taking a three-hour private bus to a section of the Great Wall unmarred by reconstruction – Gubeikou. Built as a northern defensive line for Beijing (then called Youzhou), this section of the Great Wall was first constructed between AD550 and AD557 and then fortified during the early years of the Ming Dynasty. Spend the night in a family-run guesthouse. While the facilities are more basic than some of the other accommodation on this trip, the homegrown hospitality more than makes up for it. Most of our travellers choose to eat at the guesthouse for dinner as it's a great chance to sample local produce and delicious home cooking.

Day 3 Great Wall

Embrace an early start and make the trek from the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall to the Jinshanling section. Hike over steep, remote terrain for around 5—6 hours, taking in incredible views along this comparitively quiet trail. Some parts of the wall are unrestored, so you'll need to concentrate hard to keep your footing, while other stretches will take you off the wall to walk alongside it through the countryside. The trek will be challenging, but the sight of the wall snaking through the hills as far as the eye can see and the feeling of being immersed in ancient history will be ample reward for your efforts. After the hike, check-in to a guesthouse by the foot of the Great Wall and put your feet up, have a few beers or maybe learn how to play Mahjong in the evening.

Day 4 Beijing/Overnight Train

Make the three-hour drive back to Beijing before midday and make use of your last free afternoon in the capital. Consider checking out the Temple of Heaven while you're in the city, or making the most of your last chance to eat Peking duck in it's place of origin. Speaking of food, the train journey to Xi'an will take around 13 hours so even if you plan on sleeping for most of it, stocking up on snacks and having a good book on hand is a great idea. Board the train in the evening and get your first taste of high-speed rail travel in China. Train travel here is far from 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.

Day 5 Xi'an

Good morning and welcome to Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and the largest city in northwest China. Head to the hotel to freshen up and then join your leader on a short walking tour to uncover what was once the start of the ancient trading route known as the Silk Road. Visit the Bell Tower, which according to legend was built to restrain dragons that were causing earthquakes, and then the Drum Tower, which is full of instruments once used to mark time and warn the population in emergencies. Your leader will also introduce you to the Muslim Quarter, which features narrow streets of quaint shops, lively markets, and the largest mosque in China. FInally, explore the 13-kilometre-long City Walls and attached Gates. Xi’an’s Silk Road history means it has an exciting mixture of cultures, especially found in its food options, with everything from Halal fare to great little dumplings in Chinese restaurants. In the eveining, perhaps visit the night markets and try local specialties such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand pulled noodles, hot pot or barbecue.

Day 6 Xi'an/Overnight Train

Make the two-hour journey by public transport to an iconic monument to ego and human endavour – the Terracotta Warriors. Spend a few hours at this incredible archaeological find, discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well after being buried for 2000 years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots 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 viewing, where just under 2000 of the total 6000 warriors – each an individual with a different costume, height, and even facial expression – are on display. Later, return to Xi'an and board your second overnight train bound for Shanghai (approximately 16 hours).

Day 7 Shanghai

Blending 21st-century architecture with old-world character, Shanghai pulses with the beat of contemporary China. Arrive and take the subway to your accommodation. Enjoy a full day of guided and unguided exploration, but don't worry if you can't see everything you want to –  you'll be back at the end of the trip. First up is a leader-led walking tour that will take you to historical Shanghai. Get a taste of the city during the roaring 1920s with a tour of the Bund, a strip of spectacular art deco-style buildings. Wander the narrow winding lanes (nongtangs) of Old Shanghai, where you can get a glimpse of local life. Explore the European-influenced French Concession, then pound the pavement along Luwan's Huaihai Road, a busy shopping street. The area's tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions earned it the nickname 'Paris of the East'. When night falls, perhaps get a taste of Shanghai’s eclectic food scene.

Day 8-9 Huangshan

Travel into the stunning countryside on a six-hour public bus journey to Huangshan, otherwise known as Yellow Mountain. The 72 sharp peaks of Huangshan provide some of China's most breathtaking scenery, as well as a respite from the bustle of the city. Spend the next two days in a guesthouse with free time to explore the area as you wish. Two beloved trails are the Eastern Steps (7.5 kilometre, approximately 3-4 hours) and the Western Steps (15 kilometre). We recommend taking the cable car to the summit, exploring the area and then descending via the Western Steps. Whatever you choose, the dramatic limestone peaks populating this beautiful area make for some breathtaking vistas. After taking in the iconic beauty of Huangshan during the day, return to the guesthouse for a well-earned rest in the evening.

Day 10 Hongcun

Hit the road again on public transport and travel through Anhui province to the picturesque villages of the Huizhou region (approximately 2 hours). A number of these villages are now World Heritage-listed, and you may recognise the ramshackle, ornate buildings from the film ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’. Arrive in Hongcun, check in to your village guesthouse and then set out on a guided tour of cobbled alleys and Ming Dynasty architecture. Following this short tour, you have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to spend as you wish. Maybe clamber up into the hillsides for panoramic views over the traditional settlements. Or maybe you'd prefer to explore the surrounding villages on two wheels? Ask you leader for information on bicycle hire and other optional activities. 

Day 11 Shanghai

Bid farewell to the glorious countryside and make the six-hour journey back to the big smoke of Shanghai by public transport. Perhaps celebrate the end of your adventure with the group at a traditional tea ceremony, or grab a couple of travel buddies and sit down for a final Chinese meal in one of Shanghai's great restaurants. Hairy crab is the city's most notable delicacy, though it’s only available in winter between the months of September and November. If you haven't already, tonight is the perfect chance to try the city's famous xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings). 

Day 12 Shanghai

Your tour finishes after breakfast today and you are free to depart at any time following check-out. If you're planning to stay on in Shanghai for a little longer, take a look at the Urban Adventures on offer in this groovy,graceful city here: urbanadventures.com/destination/Shanghai-tours.

Dates & Pricing
Checking price

Price From

$ 1,545

Price Per Day:

$ 129 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Mar-13-2019Mar-24-2019$ 1,605Yes7 spots left Reserve
Apr-10-2019Apr-21-2019$ 1,685Yes8 spots left Reserve
Apr-17-2019Apr-28-2019$ 1,670Yes13 spots left Reserve
May-08-2019May-19-2019$ 1,755Yes8 spots left Reserve
Jun-12-2019Jun-23-2019$ 1,545Yes14 spots left Reserve
Jul-03-2019Jul-14-2019$ 1,620Yes10 spots left Reserve
Jul-31-2019Aug-11-2019$ 1,590Yes7 spots left Reserve
Aug-07-2019Aug-18-2019$ 1,605Yes9 spots left Reserve
Sep-11-2019Sep-22-2019$ 1,670Yes13 spots left Reserve
Sep-18-2019Sep-29-2019$ 1,670Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-09-2019Oct-20-2019$ 1,670Yes14 spots left Reserve
Oct-16-2019Oct-27-2019$ 1,605Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-06-2019Nov-17-2019$ 1,545Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-13-2019Nov-24-2019$ 1,545Yes14 spots left Reserve
Dec-18-2019Dec-29-2019$ 1,545Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jan-01-2020Jan-12-2020$ 1,620No14 spots left Reserve
Mar-11-2020Mar-22-2020$ 1,545No16 spots left Reserve
Apr-08-2020Apr-19-2020$ 1,685No16 spots left Reserve
Apr-15-2020Apr-26-2020$ 1,755No16 spots left Reserve
May-06-2020May-17-2020$ 1,755No16 spots left Reserve
May-20-2020May-31-2020$ 1,755No16 spots left Reserve
Jun-10-2020Jun-21-2020$ 1,685No16 spots left Reserve
Jun-17-2020Jun-28-2020$ 1,620No16 spots left Reserve
Jul-01-2020Jul-12-2020$ 1,620No16 spots left Reserve
Jul-29-2020Aug-09-2020$ 1,620No16 spots left Reserve
Aug-05-2020Aug-16-2020$ 1,685No16 spots left Reserve
Sep-09-2020Sep-20-2020$ 1,755No16 spots left Reserve
Sep-16-2020Sep-27-2020$ 1,755No16 spots left Reserve
Oct-14-2020Oct-25-2020$ 1,755No16 spots left Reserve
Oct-21-2020Nov-01-2020$ 1,605No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-04-2020Nov-15-2020$ 1,620No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-11-2020Nov-22-2020$ 1,620No16 spots left Reserve
Dec-16-2020Dec-27-2020$ 1,620No16 spots left Reserve
Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 16
Guesthouse/Hostel (6 nights),Hotel (3 nights),Overnight Hard Sleeper Train (2 nights)
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

  • Shanghai City Central Youth Hostel 万里路青年旅馆
  • 300 Wuning Road, Caoyang Road Station 地址:上海市普陀区武宁路300弄50号
  • Putuo district
  • Shanghai
  • Phone: +86 2152905577

Trip ID#: intrepid-CBRF

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