Exciting Days, Comfortable Nights
FROM: USD $4,975

South China Discovery - 12 days

Visit Giant Pandas in Chengdu and see Leshan's incredible Giant Buddha; admire spectacular views from the summit of Mount Emei and go trekking at Tiger Leaping Gorge; discover the stunning scenery of Yangshuo, meet minority tribes and more on this exciting 12 day tour which starts and ends in cosmopolitan Shanghai.

Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Chengdu - Giant Panda Research Base and Wenshu Monastery for a cup of green tea
Mt Emei - Cable car to UNESCO-listed sacred mountain dotted with temples and pavillions
Tiger Leaping Gorge - Guest house with stunning views of the gorge, mountains and fields
Yangshuo - Rafting on Yu Long River, bicycle ride to a local village and visit to West Street
Shanghai - independently explore the city
Leshan - UNESCO-listed Giant Buddha
Baisha & Wenhai villages - Experience local way of life and learn about tradition and culture
Lashi Lake - Dinner with a local family
Dragon’s Backbone - Explore these iconic rice terraces


11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner
4 economy class flights: Shanghai - Chengdu, Chengdu - Lijiang, Lijiang - Guilin and Guilin - Shanghai
Touring of Chengdu, Leshan, Mt Emei, Lijiang and Yangshuo
Mt Emei cable car ride
Yangshuo bicycle ride to a local village
Escorted by an English-speaking tour guide (4 guides in total each a specialist in their province. 1 in Shanghai, 1 in Chengdu, 1 in Lijiang and the last in Yangshuo)
All transfers and transportation in private A/C vehicles
11 nights 3-4 star hotels
Airport arrival and departure transfers days 1 and 12
Hiking at Tiger Leaping Gorge, Baisha and Wenhai villages
Rafting excursion on the Yu Long River in Yangshuo
Day trip to the rice paddy terraces of Longsheng, known as the Dragon's Backbone
Specialist guides at local sights

Not Included

International flights and visa
Entrance Fees: USD$95-105, paid in local currency
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 5 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: USD$65-75, paid in local currency


Day 1


Saturday. Upon arrival at Shanghai airport you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free for you to independently explore this cosmopolitan metropolis where east really does meet west. If time permits perhaps head to Shanghai's Bund, explore the Old City or go up the iconic Oriental Pearl TV tower to admire the spectacular views.
Overnight: Shanghai

Day 2

Panda Research Base

Shanghai - Chengdu. This morning you will be transferred back to Shanghai airport for a flight to Chengdu where you'll meet your guide. Touring begins today with a visit to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where we get to see China's beloved mascots. At the centre the pandas' natural habitat is imitated to create the best possible environment for rearing and breeding.

Leaving the pandas behind we head to Wenshu Monastery which is a hidden gem built during the Qing Dynasty. The delightful teahouse inside the temple grounds serves a great cup of green tea and some of the best vegetarian food in the city. Spend the evening at leisure. On most nights Sichuan Opera is performed at the Shufengyayun Theatre and tickets can be booked locally or in advance.
Overnight: Chengdu  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

Giant Buddha of Leshan

Chengdu - Emei. We travel on to Leshan this morning to see the UNESCO-listed Dafo (Great Buddha). Leshan's spectacular Giant Buddha is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, carved into the face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers below it. Dafo has huge 8m feet, his ears droop 7m, his shoulders span 28m and his nose measures 5.6m. This afternoon we continue our journey to Mt Emei. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure exploring the local area.
Overnight: Emei Shan  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Mt Emei

Emei - Chengdu - Lijiang. We begin our day with a trip to lofty UNESCO-listed Mt Emei. Taking a cable car half way up the mountain we then continue on foot to the summit to take in the breathtaking views. As one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, Mt Emei is a site of pilgrimage for many and is dotted with temples and pavillions. Later we’ll take the cable car back down the mountain and return to Chengdu airport for our flight to Lijiang.
Overnight: Lijiang  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge. Today we take a scenic two hour hike to Baisha and Wenhai villages, both nestled at the foot of Yulong Snow Mountain. Here we’ll enjoy a cultural experience, meeting Naxi and Yi people, learning about their way of life, traditions and culture. Bidding the villages farewell we’ll drive out to Tiger Leaping Gorge and check in to our guest house for the night. Spend the evening enjoying views of the gorge itself, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and endless fields.
Overnight: Tiger Leaping Gorge  |  Breakfast

Day 6


Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang. This morning we explore our spectacular surroundings, with a two hour hike in the upper reaches of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Later we drive to Shigu Town, located on the first bend in the Yangtze River where we have some free time to explore before travelling to beautiful Lashi Lake where we’ll enjoy dinner with a local family. We head back to Lijiang for the night.
Overnight: Lijiang  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Days 7-9


Lijiang - Yangshuo. This morning we fly to Guilin and travel on to scenic Yangshuo which is renowned for its striking scenery, where karst limestone peaks rise up from flat rice paddy fields. This afternoon we enjoy a rafting excursion on the scenic Yu Long River.

The following day we take a bike ride through the beautiful countryside to a local village. Later we’ll spend some time exploring West Street, an ancient alley laden with quirky shops tea shops, antiques, calligraphers and art studios. By nightfall, visit any of the cafes, pubs or bars or attend the nightly ‘Impression Liu Sanjie’ musical.

Spend day 9 at leisure further exploring Yangshuo at your own pace. Maybe enjoy a morning class at the ‘Cloud 9’ cooking school.
Overnight: Yangshuo  |  Breakfast x 3

Day 10

Dragon's Backbone - rice paddy terraces

Yangshuo - Longsheng - Guilin. Early today we drive out to Longsheng, to walk the rice terraces of the Dragon’s Backbone. Beginning at the base of Mt Longji the verdant green rice fields coil up the steep mountain, layer upon layer, climbing to its summit. Taking a walk along the stone paths no more than a metre wide, we’ll pass many of the Yao and Red Yao minority women. Reaching the ‘Seven Stars accompanying Moon’ lookout, soak up the spectacular views. The full panorama reveals thousands of ribbon like terraces cascading to the valley floor beneath. Leaving the Dragon’s Backbone we continue to Guilin.
Overnight: Guilin  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Fly to Shanghai & time to discover the city

Guilin - Shanghai. Today we return to Shanghai by flight. The late afternoon and evening offers free time, you may wish to consider taking a sunset cruise along the Haungpu River, exploring the Bund on foot or heading to the top of the Shanghai Plaza Tower for spectacular 360 degree views of the city.
Overnight: Shanghai  |  Breakfast

Day 12


Wednesday. Today our holiday concludes. Included departure transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Start And End Your Trip In Chengdu

If you like this holiday but are not interested in visiting the sizzling city of Shanghai, opt for our Southern China Explorer Tour with holiday arrangements starting in Chengdu.
Day 1 - Arrive Chengdu and overnight
Day 2 - 10 Morning at leisure then arrangements as per our South China Discovery, detailed above
Day 11 - Fly to Chengdu and overnight
Day 12 - Included departure transfer to the airport

Prices & Dates

Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.

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Extra Prices

Price /
Pre-Tour Accommodation - Shanghai
USD $80
USD $85
Post-Tour Accommodation - Shanghai
USD $80
USD $85


The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Ramada Wujiaochang Shanghai , Shanghai

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Located within the Wujiaochang business district, this modern high-rise hotel boasts comfortable living. Guests can grab a drink at the lobby bar and dine in the on-site restaurant, or alternatively venture out into the city to find somewhere to local to eat. Guest rooms benefit from high-speed internet access and LCD TVs. There's also a gym, sauna, spa, shop and concierge for additional convenience. The Bund and People's Square, in the heart of Shanghai are less than 10km away as is the shopping haven of Nanjing Road.

Holiday Inn Express West Gate, Chengdu

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The newly opened Holiday Inn Express West Gate is a bright and modern hotel in downtown Chengdu. Guest rooms are clean and stylish with excellent amenities. Wi-Fi is available and complimentary wired internet is available in all rooms. Breakfast is served buffet style in the restaurant with a delicious array of Western and Chinese dishes. There is also an onsite bar available for refreshing beveradges. Located in the north of Chengdu and a 20 minute walk from Baiguolin Subway Station.

Huasheng Hotel , Emei Shan

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The magnificent Huasheng Hotel is a practical and popular accommodation choice encompassing contemporary Chinese design and warm hospitality. The spacious guest rooms are stylish and comfortable and come with air conditioning and ensuite facilities. During their leisure time, guests can take a dip in the outdoor pool or head to the wellness centre for a touch of pampering. A number of sightseeing tours can be arranged at the hotel's reception and there is free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel is located just 5 minutes on foot from Dafo Temple.

Zen Garden Hotel (Wuyi Yard), Lijiang

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: Mid Range Heritage Hotel

Set in a beautiful and tranquil courtyard of flowers with a water feature, the Zen Garden Hotel Wuyi Yard is a traditional Naxi style property. The authentically designed guest rooms are equipped with modern bathrooms and many of the rooms have marvellous panoramic views over Lijiang and the surrounding mountains. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout and breakfast and snacks can be purchase at the on site Tea House. Perfectly located in the centre of Lijiang and great for exploring the city.

Naxi Yage Guesthouse, Tiger Leaping Gorge

Our Category: Simple   |   Regional Category: Guesthouse

While many people simply stop at the Naxi Yage Guesthouse for lunch on their way along the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek, there is a lot to be said for spending the night in this simple but comfortable accommodation. Rooms are neat and well-decorated and the restaurant prepares delicious home cooked food that has been freshly prepared from scratch each time. The property is the perfect place to stock up on energy before tackling the 28 bends that lie ahead of you. In addition to this, the view of the sunset from the guesthouse is spectacular and alone makes a stay here worthwhile.

Days Hotel Frontier Yangshuo, Yangshuo

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Days Inn Frontier Yangshuo is conveniently located beside the picturesque Li River, with easy access to all the attractions of Yangshuo, including historic West Street with its plethora of shops and cafes. The friendly hotel staff are always on hand to provide assistance and guests can be assured of a comfortable stay in the spacious guest rooms, where they can enjoy 24 hour room service and complimentary wifi.

Hotel Universal, Guilin

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

As well as a great location with views of the Li River, the hotel offers a full range of facilities to ensure a comfortable stay. The guestrooms are smart and tastefully furnished, and the hotel's restaurant provides tasty dishes with spectacular views.

In Brief

Trip Type
Hotel Rating
3 - 4 star
Local Payment
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Breakfast: 11, Lunch: 3, Dinner: 1
1st March 2017

Tour Bolt-ons

Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and bolt-ons

USD $855 / 3 days
USD $735 / 3 days
USD $875 / 5 days