The first stop on this fantastic adventure is China's most famous landmark - the Great Wall. We travel to a quiet section of the wall and walk along this mighty fortification, which stretches for miles towards the horizon. Back in Beijing we explore the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. Travelling south by train, we visit the Terracotta Warriors of Xian. Buried for 2000 years, each one has a different costume, height and even facial expression! Flying west we visit Sichuan province and meet that region's most famous citizens - the giant pandas. The spectacular limestone karsts of Yangshuo are best explored by bike; we cycle amongst lush paddy fields, before stopping for lunch at a local family's home. After cruising down the Li River, we head for the shimmering skyscrapers and bright lights of Hong Kong.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Our Family Adventures are designed specifically for the spirited family and operated by our sister company The Family Adventure Company. We understand that travelling with kids sometimes requires a slightly different perspective. Keeping this in mind, we travel at a slower speed - recognising that showing your family around our exotic destinations can take time. By travelling at a relaxed pace, while still offering plenty of optional activities along the way, we're providing your family with the ultimate travel experience together.
Accommodation is chosen carefully to ensure your family gets the best of both worlds, with some of the creature comforts of home as well as experiencing accommodation unique to the region you are travelling through. Wherever possible you will stay in hotels with small comforts to make your stay more enjoyable - such as restaurants nearby, or accommodation with a pool. On some trips you may even find your family being rocked to sleep on an overnight sleeper train or drifting off while camped out under a canopy of stars - and we reckon it'll be these experiences the kids will love and remember the most.
Best of all, we find trips with children are so successful because kids have such a special ability to break down barriers with their natural curiosity, and because delighted locals always greet them with much affection. For all these reasons and more, you'll discover that Family Adventures are an amazing experience for all.
Why we love it
- Climb the Great Wall.
- Cycle through Paddy fields and the Limestone Karsts of Yangshuo
- Explore the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.
- Take a train to the Terracotta Warriors of Xian.
- Visit the Giant Pandas in Sichuan.
- Cruise down the Li River.
- Head for the shimmering skyscrapers and bright lights of Hong Kong.
Day 1 - Beijing
- Nimen Hao! Welcome to China.
- On arrival in Beijing you will be transferred to your hotel, which is located in the southern part of the city.
- Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
- After arriving in Beijing, there will be plenty of time for relaxing and meeting the other members of your group, before perhaps heading out to enjoy the first of many superb Chinese meals – Peking Duck is a popular choice.
Dong Fang Hotel or similar
Day 2 - Beijing
- Beijing offers endless opportunities for exploration.
- The enormous Forbidden City, built more than 500 years ago (it was off-limits to commoners for most of that time), is a truly amazing place. Its size might surprise you (it is huge!), but what makes it more fascinating is that every square metre has a special point of interest, from intricately carved walkways to colourful, painted ceilings.
- You will make an afternoon visit to Tiantan Park, better known as the Temple of Heaven Park. Children and adults alike will appreciate this fun-filled area of open space in the city, filled with historical structures.
- In the evening you will enjoy a performance of the amazing Beijing acrobats.
Day 3 - The Great Wall - overnight train
- Today we set off for the drive to perhaps China’s best-known attraction, the Great Wall (approx 2 hours). Stretching over 5000km from the coast in the east, the wall was built as a defence against invasion from the horsemen of the far north, and has survived since then. Surrounded by woodland and countryside and around 90km from Beijing, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is considered by many to be one of the best preserved and restored parts of the wall. Renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers (there are 22 of them over this 2,250 metre-long stretch) and built mainly of granite, the wall is an impressive sight at over 7 metres high and more than 4 metres wide. We'll walk along a section of the wall, taking in the surrounding scenery and getting a feel for the sheer size of this amazing construction. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for lots of steps! For those wanting a more relaxing way to get to the top of the wall there is the option of taking a cable car.
- In the afternoon we'll stop at a local hotel (1 room per family provided), where we have the chance to freshen up before we transfer to the station (approx. 3 hours) and board our overnight sleeper train to Xi'an (approx. 12 hours).
- Train travel in China is a great way to mix with local people. On soft sleeper trains compartments are closed with two tier bunk beds, four to a cabin. Sheets, pillows and blanket are provided, luggage is stored in the cabin. There are basic bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage with a toilet and washbasin. It's a good idea to bring your own toilet roll and some wet wipes. Please keep in mind that standards of cleanliness will not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is provided for making tea, coffee or instant meals. You will need to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork to prepare your own meals. Most trains have a dining carriage and limited snacks can be purchased en route. Please be prepared that you may have to share a carriage with persons outside of the group. Why not use your free time on the train for an informal language lesson from your leader or a local and learn a few simple words to use in your travels?
Day 4-5 - Terracotta Warriors - Xian
- Arrive in the imperial city of Xi'an. Human activity in this area dates back 6,000 years, but it was the Zhou dynasty which established Xi'an as its capital. Then under the Tang dynasty, a magnificent city was built which was used thereafter as a model for other Chinese cities and also for the Japanese capital at Nara. As terminus of the Silk Road, Xi'an was the world’s largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city and capital of a powerful kingdom. Many monuments reveal Xi'an’s importance over the centuries and reflect the fact that it was the capital of an empire some twelve times in its history.
- Xi'an is one of the few cities in China to have preserved its city walls virtually intact. The city itself has spread beyond these walls, but the centre still retains the original grid formation, making it easy to navigate. We'll be taken by our Group Leader on a walk around the city centre, including spending some time wandering through the back streets of the Muslim quarter, which is home to one of the largest mosques in China.
- We'll have free time for optional activities too. You might like to visit the Big or Small Wild Goose Pagodas, built to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India. Climb to the top of the Drum or Bell Towers, ride a bike around the city walls, or shop for souvenirs at the Night Markets.
- Xi'an is, of course, famous for the Terracotta Warriors, guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Although this vast army was buried some 22 centuries ago, it was only discovered as recently as 1974. On Day 5 we drive to the site (approx. 1 hour) which is spread over several tombs. The sheer size of the assembled terracotta army and the excellent displays really feed the imagination. There is also an interesting museum housing a collection of artefacts from the original digs.
Day 6 - Chengdu
- This morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.
- Sichuan is known for its hot, spicy dishes, considered by the Chinese as the best cuisine in the country. In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat.
- A history of trade built on ‘cottage industry’ handicrafts has had a major influence on the development of Chengdu. Recent changes in the regulations in China have seen a revival of this tradition of private industry, and, at almost every turn, you see signs of a thriving market.
- There will be free time to explore the city. There is a large statue of Chairman Mao in the middle of the city, and the tranquil Renmin Park is well worth a visit, with its beautiful gardens and interesting tea houses.
Day 7 - Leshan - Chengdu
- Today you will travel out to Leshan, where you will see the world’s largest Buddha, carved into the hillside near the confluence of the Dadu and Min Rivers.
- A seated figure (as opposed to the ‘standing’ or ‘reclining’ Buddha images found elsewhere), it is a staggering 71 metres high. It is over 1000 years old and took almost 100 years to build. It is not only impressive at close quarters, but can be viewed on a boat from a distance in order to gain a different perspective.
Day 8 - Chengdu - Guilin - Yangshuo
- Globally Chengdu it is renowned for the panda research centre, which we will visit this morning. China’s national pride, the giant panda is a rare and increasingly threatened creature. The research centre is home to both giant and red pandas, and we can marvel at these incredible creatures in a close approximation of their habitat. It’s an early start as pandas are only active for a few hours of the day to eat and exercise, but the opportunity to get close to these remarkable beings is an experience not to be missed.
- After the pandas we take a flight to Guilin (approx. 90 min), from where we head into the picturesque countryside to Yangshuo (approx. 2 hours). The inspiration for many paintings and literary works, Yangshuo lies on the western bank of the Li River, which meanders languidly through a remarkable landscape of dramatic limestone sugarloaf peaks - one of the most memorable classical images of China.
Day 9-10 - Yangshuo
- Located deep within karst peaks of Guangxi province, Yangshuo is a haven for many visitors from the hustle and bustle of ever-developing China. We have a great chance to explore the countryside this morning as we head out of town on bikes to cycle the farm tracks, meandering through paddy fields and with spectacular limestone karst scenery on all sides. We might pause for a cold drink beside one of the most beautiful of the Li River tributaries and then Continue on to a local village nestled at the base of Moon Hill. Here we can sample local farmers’ cooking before cycling back to Yangshuo.
- In the afternoon we take a short drive to Chaolong, where we will be able to learn the art of Chinese cooking. This class will allow the whole family to learn the techniques and skills of Chinese cuisine from experienced chefs, and after an afternoon trying out delicious recipes, we can eat what we have made for dinner!
- The following days are free to explore Yangshuo. There are many activities available here including calligraphy classes and boat trips on the river or many shops and cafes to browse and relax in. We'll also have a chance for an included kung fu lesson!
- Please note that helmets are not provided for the cycling - these can be bought in Yangshuo or please feel free to bring one from home.
Day 11 - Yangshuo – Guilin – overnight train
- You will enjoy a very relaxing day in Yangshuo – a chance to partake in some of the activities you haven’t had a chance to do as yet.
- Yangshuo is also one of the better places for souvenir shopping, so make the most of it.
- Day rooms will be available in the hotel for you to use. In the evening you will head to the railway station in Guilin and board the overnight train to Shenzhen.
Day 12 - Hong Kong
- Our train arrives at its destination this morning. Crossing the border from China into Hong Kong is a busy and time consuming task. It can take up to 2 hours on each side to clear immigration and customs, and our bags will be with us during this time. Patience is essential! Once on the Hong Kong side of the border we board the local KCR train into the centre of the city.
- Hong Kong has been back under Chinese rule since 1997 and it is a truly unique place where east and west meet. The vibrant and fast paced city is only minutes away from quiet islands and beaches.
- There are many optional activities to choose and we don't have long in Hong Kong so we recommend booking extra time here.
- Ride on the Star Ferry, see the nightly light show on the Harbour, travel on the double decker buses and trams or take a day trip to Macau. Travel to the city's highest point - Victoria Peak on the unique Peak Tram and hope that the weather will be clear for spectacular views!
Day 13 - Hong Kong
- The tour will come to an end after breakfast in Hong Kong.
- Post-tour accommodation is available in Hong Kong - please consult us or your travel agent for details.
- This would certainly allow time for additional exploration of Hong Kong, highly recommended if you have not visited this vibrant city before.