14 days

Icons of China

Icons of China

Terracotta Warriors of Xian

Cooking school and market tour in Yangshuo

The Forbidden City

Yangshuo's limestone karsts

Victoria Peak


Trip rating
  • Starting in Hong Kong, we travel to Yangshuo via Guilin for a couple of days of exploration. Xian is home to both a flourishing Muslim population and the world renowned 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors. In Beijing we explore all the major places of interest, including the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We also visit a mostly unrestored and remote section of the Great Wall, allowing you to absorb the immenseness of this incredible structure without jostling for a position with thousands of other tourists. Tongli offers an escape to a timeless water town before ending in vibrant Shanghai - the modern face of China.

    Why we love it

    • Starting in Hong Kong, you will to Yangshuo via Guilin for a couple of days of exploration.
    • Xian is home to both a flourishing Muslim population and the world renowned 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors. A fascinating site to explore.
    • In Beijing you will explore all the major places of interest, including the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.
    • You will also visit a mostly unrestored and remote section of the Great Wall, allowing you to absorb the immenseness of this incredible structure without jostling for a position with thousands of other tourists.
    • Tongli offers an escape to a timeless water town before ending in vibrant Shanghai - the modern face of China.


    Day 1 - Hong Kong

    • Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
    • You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
    • An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
    • It was as a British colony that Hong Kong made itself known to the world - now back under Chinese rule since the 1997 handover, the city is still a unique and fascinating place to explore and see where the East really does meet the West. Hong Kong's cityscape is spectacular and its modern fast-paced life is only minutes from picturesque islands and beaches. The locals are very proud of their Cantonese culture and history, so step out of the shopping malls and off the main streets to discover another side of the city.
    • As we will depart Hong Kong on Day 2 we highly recommend arriving a few days earlier to enjoy all the city has to offer. Some activities for your free time could include:
    • Take a scenic journey around the islands of Hong Kong on the famous passenger ferry service, the Star Ferry.
    • Venture up to the top of Victoria Peak for a bird's eye view.
    • Watch the harbour's spectacular light show - a stunning spectacle of coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights synchronised to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong.
    Metropark Hotel Kowloon or similar

    Day 2 - Hong Kong - Overnight Train

    • After a delicious Dim Sum breakfast on Day 2 we begin our journey into China.
    • Cross over into China - it can take about 2 hours to get from Kowloon to the Chinese mainland. Take the efficient metro to the border point, complete the immigration procedures and then walk the short distance from the border to the train station.
    • Catch an overnight soft sleeper train to Guilin, gateway to Yangshuo (approx 12 hrs).
    • Train travel in China may not be entirely 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. We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are closed compartments with three-tiered bunk beds (six to a compartment) and sheets, pillows and a blanket provided. Luggage storage space is inside the cabins. Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins. As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Safe hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. We recommend bringing a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins) Most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available three times a day, and there are often snacks available on the train along the way. You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train. While we always try to have our groups staying together there may be times where, due to ticket availability, the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages. If the group number doesn't divide into four then you can also expect that some group members will be sharing a compartment with other travellers.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Dim Sum breakfast
    Overnight Train

    Day 3-4 - Guilin - Yangshuo

    • Arriving in Guilin, transfer by private bus to the picturesque town of Yangshuo (approx 1.5 hrs).
    • Yangshuo has become very popular with international and domestic tourists in recent years and has a great cafe and bar culture. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions and have plenty of fun at the same time.
    • The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings - picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape and towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River.
    • Get a feel for local produce with a visit to the market, then learn to cook some Chinese dishes at the Yangshuo Cooking School. The recipes are easy to make and the ingredients readily available outside of China so you'll be able to recreate them once you get back home.
    • Take an early morning tai chi class with a local master to experience this ancient gentle but powerful martial art and one of China's favourite pastimes.
    • In your free time you might like to:
    • Take a bike ride to gain an insight into rural Chinese life. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location.
    • Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Li River.
    • Try your hand at Chinese calligraphy.
    • Moon Hill is one of Yangshuo's most visited sights - a limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped hole penetrating the hill with views to the stunning countryside beyond. The climb up is definitely worth it!
    • The spectacular outdoor light show staged by Olympic Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou,director of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceronmony, is a definite highlight and highly recommended.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Tai Chi class, Cooking School & market tour
    Starway Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 5 - Yangshuo - Xian

    • Travel to Guilin Airport (approx 90 mins) to board our flight to Xi'an (approx 2 hours).
    • The imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites. A monument pays homage to the fact that this was the start of the famous ancient trading route of the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by city walls.
    • Your leader will take you on a short walking tour of the city centre, showing you some of the highlights such as the Bell & Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter, the City Walls and Gates.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Walking tour
    Union Alliance Hotel or similar

    Day 6 - Xian

    • In your time here why not:
    • Try a leisurely cycle on the Xi'an city wall - a total distance of 13.74 km. The wall, an ancient fortification surrounding the heart of Xi'an, was established in 1378 AD.
    • Visit the impressive Tang Dynasty Small or Big Wild Goose Pagodas. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is in a newly renovated scenic area which is very popular with locals especially in the evenings when there is a nightly light & music show around the many fountains. The Xi'an Museum and Jianfu Temple are also nearby.
    • Explore the Muslim Quarter further and enjoy the local street snacks on offer at the Night Market.
    Union Alliance Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 7 - Xian - Overnight Train

    • Visit Xi'an's most famous site - the Terracotta Warriors. Travel by bus for around 2 hours to reach the site. Once there hear all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being buried for thousands of years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on view to the public.
    • Board an overnight train bound for the capital (approx 12 hours).
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Terracotta Warriors
    Overnight Train

    Day 8 - Beijing

    • The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's ancient past as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture.
    • Explore Tiananmen Square - apparently the largest down town square in the world. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its Mao portrait, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum it's a place of pilgrimage for Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation.
    • Visit our friends at Beijing Huiling (meaning 'wise spirit') - a special Peregrine-supported project for people with intellectual disabilities.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Huiling visit
    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Day 9-10 - The Great Wall - Beijing

    • We take an early morning trip to the Mutianyu Great Wall (approx 2 hrs drive from Beijing). An incredible piece of engineering, it stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it is still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements, and an iconic destination. It's a 30 minute climb up some steep steps to the wall itself but well worth the effort! There is also the option of taking a chair lift or cable car to the top and back if you are after a more leisurely experience and great views. We'll have a few hours to explore the winding wall before heading back to the city for the afternoon. Please note that the wall is quite steep in places so make sure you have some appropriate footwear for this activity.
    • Reward yourself on the way back from the wall with a relaxing traditional reflexology foot massage.
    • Take in some of Beijing's many other attractions in your free time here such as:
    • Catch a performance of the world renown Beijing Acrobats.
    • A metro ride can take you to the Summer Palace, once an imperial residence and the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China.
    • Visit beautiful Yonghegong, or Lama Temple, which was built in 1694 and is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan style monastery building in Beijing.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Great Wall Mutianyu, Cable Car, Foot massage
    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Day 11 - Suzhou - Tongli

    • Travel over 1300km by high-speed train from Beijing to Suzhou (approx 5 hours) on one of China's newest and most efficient train lines.
    • Suzhou is world renowned for its classical Chinese gardens, all based on the principles of Fengshui, Yin-Yang and harmony with nature. Stop in at the picture perfect Humble Administrator's Garden for a glimpse at one of the best examples of Suzhou's many such gardens.
    • Travel by bus (approx 2 hrs from Shanghai, 30 min from Suzhou) to Tongli, one of the picturesque "Water Towns" built along ancient networks of canals that provide a stark contrast to the nearby big cities. Wander along cobblestone streets on a walking tour admiring the traditional village-style stone and wood architecture and you'll feel like you have stepped straight into a Chinese water colour painting. Don't be surprised if you are asked to have your photo taken by groups of visiting Chinese tourists and locals! There are plenty of photogenic vantage points for photography of your own of the bridges, local life and serene waterways. Try the local specialities of pork knuckles or peanut candy, explore old residences and gardens, ride a gondola along the canals or visit the surprisingly educational Chinese Sex Culture Museum housed in an old mansion.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Tongli Walking tour, Suzhou Humble Administrators Garden
    Lao Jie Courtyard Inn or similar

    Day 12-13 - Shanghai

    • We travel today by private bus or high-speed train (depending on ticket availability) to our final destination in China, Shanghai.
    • Blending 21st-century architecture with old-world character, Shanghai is the vibrant pulse of new China.
    • Join your leader for a walking tour of historical Shanghai including the Bund with its spectacular array of art deco style buildings, the narrow winding lanes of the Nongtang or the European-influenced French Concession.
    • Celebrate your time in China in style with a drink at Cloud 9 Bar - voted one of the world's best and maybe the highest in the world! Situated on the 87th floor of the Jinmao Tower, relax and look out on 360 degree views of the city lights below.
    • INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Shanghai walking tour, Cloud 9 Bar
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 14 - Shanghai

    • There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
    • There is plenty in Shanghai to fill an extra few days. If you are staying longer, why not:
    • Visit the Propaganda Museum for a fascinating look at China's revolutionary past.
    • Get a glimpse at the future development of the city at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre.
    • The impressive Shanghai Museum houses one of the best collections of Chinese bronze and artwork - you could easily spend the whole day here discovering the various exhibitions.
    • Ride the Shanghai Maglev Train to a top speed of 430 km/h and travel 30km in under 8 minutes.
    • Go across the river to take in the sights of Pudong - the modern financial centre - with its amazing skyscrapers such as the iconic Pearl Tower and the world's highest observation deck on the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Arrival transfer
    • Sightseeing & entrance fees including: Muslim Quarter & Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an; Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square in Beijing
    • An experienced, English-speaking local Peregrine leader and specialist local guides at some sites
    • Learn the art of taichi with an early morning lesson in Yangshuo
    • Walk on the Great Wall at Mutianyu and follow it with a traditional foot massage
    • Dine on Peking Duck in Beijing, a Dim Sum breakfast in Hong Kong and cook up your own feast in Yangshuo
    • Visit the tranquil water town of Tongli and step into a serene garden in Suzhou
    • Enjoy a drink in a bar in a Shanghai skyscraper
    • Overnight train from Guangzhou or Shenzhen to Guilin in a ‘soft-class’, four-berth compartment
    • Domestic flight from Guilin to Xian and high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai
    • Authentic Accommodation includes: 11 nights comfortable hotel, 2 nights sleeper train
    • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 4 dinners
    • Chinese visa support documents

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Departure transfer
    • Visas
    • Insurance
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more nights
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip

    Safety Information

    China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safetly concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, laptops, mobile phones, purses and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, Beijing International Airport, major international events and conferences and popular bar areas after dark.


    There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint.

    Counterfeit bank notes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine bank notes for counterfeits. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so.

    Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.

    Fire protection standards in Chinese accommodation are not always the same as at home. Check fire precautions including access to fire exits.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PCIC
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Hong Kong (China) (Country)
End City: Shanghai, China

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