Essential China, Beijing to Shanghai - 12 Days
You will definitely see the best of China on this tour! Of course, the Great Wall is featured, as well as the Terracotta Warriors. Then there’s a bit of nature out in Yangshou and we wrap it up with China’s biggest, most modern city: Shanghai. You are basically going to see the cream of the crop of Chinese culture- it is going to be ridiculously sweet and sour!
Is this trip for you?
- This is a organised group tour - perfect for solo travellers, well all travellers really!
- Group size 1-16 people.
- Group age range from 18 - 39 year olds.
- Accommodation on this tour will be a combination of Guesthouses, hotel and overnight train
- The transport on this tour will be overnight train, taxi, plane and metro
- Transport on tour
- Local guide
- Some activities
What's not included?
- Flights (request a quote)
- Travel insurance - We can help you with this
- Any optional activities
Please call us on the number below for any questions!
Day 1: Beijing
Dajia Hao! Everybody, welcome!
Our first day consists of a welcome meeting at 6pm in the hotel reception, as per usual. We take your insurance and next of kin details here, so have them ready. We do recommend that you spend a day or two early so you have time to explore the city a bit more. We can even book your accommodation for you.
We also head out for an optional group dinner together to get to know each other better, of course we’ll be trying Peking duck. The skin is carved for you to pop in to pancakes with hoisin sauce (yummy), and the carcass of the duck is used to make a soup.
Day 2: Beijing- Great Wall
One of the best-preserved (and most easily accessible) parts of the wall is at Mutianyu (it’s like a 2 hour drive). If you are lucky as a fortune cat in a Beijing taxi and the skies are clear, you can see for miles around. People wonder at this beautiful piece of architecture and engineering, which is almost 6,000 km long. It was supposed to protect Chinese empires from the Mongols in the north (otherwise known as ‘barbarians’)… key word being supposed. It didn’t really work, but it is still a pretty epic achievement.
Great Wall Mutianyu
Day 3: Beijing
Today, we spend a bit of time sight seeing in Beijing. We walk around Tianamen Square in the morning, and to make the most of your free afternoon, take in the following friendly advice: Forbidden City, 798 Art District, renting a bike to see some hutongs (old, preserved streets showing a bit of traditional China pre-revolution), chill out in the Temple of Heaven park, or visit the Lama Temple if you like.
In the evening, we board the overnight train from Beijing to Xi’an. It is a six-berth cabin you will be staying in (this is also called the hard sleeper class).
More Friendly Advice: Train travel in China is not considered luxurious by Western standards, but it is such a great way to meet locals as it is their main form of transport. We always use hard sleeper class trains for overnight train journeys- and no, they are not as rough as they sound! Compartments are clean, tidy, air-conditioned with padded 3-tier berths (6 to a compartment). Although sheets, pillows, and blankets are provided, we do recommend you bring your own sleeping sheet as the quality of cleanliness is not necessarily what you are used to. Hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea, or instant meals (and yes, it’s safe!). You should probably bring your own mug, spoon, knife and fork so you can make your own hot drinks and food and noodles (Chinese cup noodles for the win!). At the end of each carriage, there are basic bathroom facilities with toilets and wash basins. As toilet paper is not a guarantee on the train, you should definitely have your own with you. Most trains do have a dining carriage where they sell meals three times a day, and of course snacks are often available as well. It is still a good idea to buy some extra snacks to have with you on your trip.
Beijing Hutong Walking Tour
Day 4: Xi’an
We arrive in what was the imperial centre of China (for 2,000 years) this morning, namely the city of Xi’an. It’s now actually a vibrant, modern city that has many preserved historical sites. There is even a monument that pays homage to the fact that the Silk Road actually started right here.
You get a bit of free time today, so why not head to the Muslim Quarter boasting a great market, and snap a pic of the Great Mosque. You can also try climbing the Bell or Drum Towers for a better view- and, don’t ever fail to try the fantastic street food.
Small Wild Goose Pagoda- CNY50
Great Mosque- CNY25
Bell & Drum Towers- CNY50
Xi’an- Cycling on the City Wall- CNY80
Big Wild Goose Pagoda- CNY80
Day 5: Xi’an
Dum, dum, dum… drum roll please because one of the most exciting discoveries of the 20th century is about to unfurl itself before your very eyes! The Terracotta Warriors ladies and gentlemen. Even a local guide who will show you all the ins and outs of the archaeological treasure that has been hidden from sight for thousands of years. The emperor of the Qin dynasty wanted a mausoleum to commemorate his greatness, and well, thousands of years later, here we are!
The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to further enjoy the city.You should definitely head to the night markets to try local specialties - everything from hot pot, BBQ, hand-pulled noodles, and pao mo (best lamb broth ever).
Terracotta Warriors Entry & Local Guide
Day 6: Xi’an to Yangshou
Hold on to your Terracotta horses - today is a travelling day. We fly from Xi’an Airport to Guilin, and from here we transfer to Yangshou to finally check in to our hotel. Yangshou has become quite the little traveller’s paradise over the last few years, with cafes and bars very much starting to become part of the local culture. Once we have settled in, our leader will take us on an orientation walk around town (this is a good time to ask where the best bar is, and of course, the best Chinese restaurant).
The famous Chinese landscape paintings of old and new have drawn their inspiration and love for natural beauty from Yangshou, and boy does it live up to its name. Limestone karsts burst out of the rural landscape and tower over rice paddies, only enhanced with the beauty of the Li River.
Yangshou Walking Tour
Day 7-8- Yangshou
Over the next two days here, you get plenty of free time to explore this beautiful town and surrounding areas.There are lots of activities to keep you occupied - from a bike ride through rural China to the outdoor light show (staged by the Olympic Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou of the Beijing Olympics back in ‘08). You can also cruise down the Li River in a boat, or join oldies in their Tai Chi routine in the morning, and most importantly, try the local food - Beer Fish! There is a cooking class and market tour for you to learn a few essential cooking skills - it will make your stir fry’s back home taste a million times better, that’s a promise!
Bike hire - CNY20
Zhang Yimou's Impressions Show - CNY198
Yangshuo - Tai Chi class - CNY50
Cooking School & Market Tour - CNY150
Li River cruise - CNY100
Day 9: Yangshou- Shanghai
From Yangshou, we head back to the hub city of Guilin to get on an overnight train to Shanghai. It is going to be another hard sleeper overnight train, so make sure you buy some snacks before you leave Yangshou!
Shanghai is … well, what is it not? It is large, looming, glamorous, it is everything you want it to be, and so much more!
Day 10- 11: Shanghai
Known as ‘Paris of the East’, you are going to need to have all the energy you have got to get the most out of this fast-paced, action-packed city. Your leader will take you on a tour of historical Shanghai, including the Bund (its like, kind of a big deal so listen up). Then there are the winding, narrow lanes of Nongtang, and of course the French Concession for a bit of European inspiration.
At your own leisure, check out the Propaganda Museum to gain another perspective of China’s past. The Pearl Tower will give you a fabulous bird’s eye view of the city from their observation decks. If you love art and all things bronze, head to the Shanghai Museum, which houses some of the best of both.
If you like Cirque du Soleil, then you will want to check out the Shanghai Acrobats - they are sure to give them a run for their money.The Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar are also worth a little gander, as they are famous gardens completed all the way back in the 16th century!
Bund Walking Tour
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel - CNY70
Shanghai Museum - Free
Old Shanghai Urban Adventure - CNY350
Shanghai Foodie Walk - CNY300
Explore Shanghai's Rooftop bars - At own expense
Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar - CNY40
Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower - From CNY 120-220
Day 12: Shanghai
Sadly, our tour ends today *enter super sad emoji. No activities are planned for today so people can depart at different times. If you want to book a transfer with us, please let your agent know, or if you want a couple more days, then also let us know so we can book some accommodation for you.
Don’t say goodbye, just hold back your tears, because in Chinese we say ‘Tzai Jien’, or ‘See you again’.