SEMI INDEPENDENT: Travel from Hong Kong to Beijing on this 17-day China group tour. Relax amongst the karst mountains of Yangshuo and see the famous giant pandas of Chengdu. Visit the famous Terracotta army in Xi'an and opt to cycle along the historic city walls. Learn the basics of Mandarin, join an optional Kung Fu lesson at Shaolin Temple, visit the Forbidden City independently and spend a memorable night camping by the Great Wall, rising early to watch the sunrise. A great mix of included sightseeing and optional activities to give you the flexibility to explore China your way!
Welcome to China!
Upon your arrival in vibrant Hong Kong, make your own way to the hostel. You can take the opportunity to independently explore the surroundings today, gearing up to meet our fellow travelers and Adventure Leader bright and early tomorrow!
Overnight: Hong Kong
Hong Kong - Yangshuo. This morning we meet the group and tour leader who takes us to Victoria Peak where we admire the incredible panoramic views of the city below and have our pre-departure meeting.
Returning to the hostel to collect our bags we then make our way to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station where we board a bullet train to Guilin in mainland China (changing in Shenzhen). Arriving in Guilin we board a private bus to Yangshuo where we check-in to our hostel. The rest of the evening is at leisure to explore the town and try some of the local delicacies including beer fish, a must try.
Yangshuo is a picturesque town, surrounded by dramatic karst mountains and known for its outdoor adventure opportunities. Day 3 is at leisure, with three available optional activities including a Chinese cooking class, kayaking along the Li River or a Chinese therapy experience, where you can enjoy traditional hot cupping.
Day 4 sees us heading out to enjoy some included activities. We start the day with a bike ride before transferring to bamboo rafts to cruise down the Yulong River. You can either enjoy the rest of the day at leisure exploring the city or take part in a couple of optional activities which are a trip to Moon hill and cave complex featuring mud baths and hot springs and an evening Karaoke trip or night out.
Day 5 is free to continue exploring independently. However, there are a couple of optional activities that you could join. These include a highly recommended rock climbing trip and a visit to a local village to experience what life is like there.
Yangshuo - Chengdu. This morning we leave beautiful Yangshuo and our tour leader behind and board the train to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province and home to the largest and best-known Panda breeding and research center. After approximately 7 hours we arrive in Chengdu and are met by our local tour guide and make our way to our hostel for an evening at leisure.
On day 7 we take a short drive out of town to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, to visit China's animal emblem. We spend time exploring the grounds and watching the pandas munch on bamboo. We can also see other endangered animals including red pandas, golden monkeys and more. We visit the panda nursery and get close to the new born or infant pandas. In the afternoon we learn some useful Mandarin phrases in a brief lesson with our tour leader. The rest of the evening is free to relax. For those looking for an authentic experience, there is the optional trip to a traditional Sichuan Opera & Culture show.
Day 8 is at leisure to explore Chengdu, and perhaps wander down Jinli street or explore the Tibetan districts. There is also the option activity which takes us to Leshan to see the worlds largest stone Buddha. Returning to Chengdu the rest of the day is either at leisure or you can take part in an optional trip for a hot pot dinner, a must try in Chengdu.
Chengdu - Xi’an. Today there are two optional activities before we leave Chengdu. In the morning you can join a visit to a rehabilitation center for children with autism and in the early afternoon, we wrap up our time in Chengdu with an optional visit to Jinli & Chengdu People’s Park. We enjoy scenic spots like the Gold Water Stream, Goldfish Island, and the Potted Landscape Garden. We can take part in activities such as sailing on the artificial lake, sipping tea in the lakeside teahouse, and witnessing various exhibitions and performances on Rockery Square.
This afternoon we take the train from Chengdu East Train Station to Xian North Train Station which should take approximately 3.5 hours. When we arrive we meet our next adventure leader and transfer via metro to the hostel.
The morning of day 10 is at leisure and the adventure leader is happy to suggest some activities for you do to. In the afternoon there is an optional bike ride along the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Walls, an unforgettable experience which we strongly recommend you partake in! You can also join an excursion to visit the Bell Drum Towers and the Muslim Quarter to learn more about the history of the Silk Road and taste some delicious street food.
On the morning of day 11, we visit the jewel of Xi’an - The Terracotta Warriors. The army was made to guard Emperor Qin Shihuang in the afterlife after he unified China for the first time in history. Take time to walk through this impressive army and museum, which has been built on top of the emperor’s underground palace and burial site. In the evening, you can join an optional activity to watch the music and light show which takes place at the fountain near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of Xi'an's most famous landmarks.
Xi’an - Shaolin. Today we leave Xi’an behind and board the bus to Shaolin (approx. 7 hours). On arrival we make our way to our family run guest house, located a stone’s throw away from the Shaolin Temple. This afternoon there is an optional Kung Fu lesson and show at a local children’s home run by a master from the Shaolin Temple. We finish our day with another Mandarin lesson from our trip leader.
Today is either a free day to explore or this morning we can take an optional trip to the iconic Shaolin Temple, birthplace of kung-fu. From there we hike up to the Dharma Cave for spiritual serenity and breathtaking views of local shrines. Not into martial arts? You can choose to explore the Longmen Grottoes with 100,000 carved Buddhas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After this we enjoy a late lunch at the guesthouse, leaving our evening free for exploration.
Shaolin to Beijing
Shaolin - Beijing. Up before dawn, we catch a bullet train to Beijing! Arriving in late morning, our first stop is the awe-inspiring Great Wall. After a lunch break at a local farm, we hike the secluded, unrestored sections of the Wall in the mid-afternoon. Camping on this Wonder of the World, we'll witness a stunning sunset.
Please Note: Due to seasonal weather conditions, the camping experience only takes place between May and September. For all tours departing in this time, wherever possible we aim to include this experience. However, in the event of adverse weather conditions, travelers will stay in a nearby hostel.
Overnight: Great Wall
We wake early in order to watch the sunrise over the Great Wall. There is a strong possibility this will be the highlight of your trip! Take in your surroundings and appreciate the early morning silence. Following this we transfer back to Beijing. Here, you can take part in the optional activities which include a walk through Tiananmen Square and a visit to the Forbidden City.
There's also an optional Chinese acrobatics show and a group dinner for those who would like to sample traditional Peking duck, a meal fit for an emperor!
Enjoy a leisurely day! You can explore the fake goods markets for shopping as well as visit the nearby Temple of Heaven. In the afternoon, venture to the Nanluo district—renowned for well-preserved historical hutongs, siheyuan courtyards, and a vibrant scene of bars, cafes, and handicraft shops.
Bid farewell to your fellow travelers as your tour ends today.
Is this holiday for you?
If you’re the kind of traveler that doesn’t mind time spent travelling independently on public transport and sharing a mixed dorm room with other travelers, then this trip will suit you just fine. There’s plenty of free time on this tour so it’s a great option if you like to explore a city at your own leisure.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling and the Dorm prices shown are based on mixed dormitory rooms. There is also a Twin / Double Room Upgrade and a Single Room upgrade for solo travellers. Twin / Double room upgrades are based on two people travelling together and are subject to availability.