Days
29
Price from
$10,350AUD

From Hong Kong to Beijing, see the best of China on this immersive journey

Take a journey into a land overflowing with ancient history, myth and legend but heading fast into the modern world. From contemporary Hong Kong, step back in time with the painterly scenery of the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, where the Yangzi and Yalong rivers meander through dramatic limestone karsts and crash through the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge. Spend time with locals as you cook Chinese dishes, learn Tai Chi, stroll through minority tribe towns, and absorb the culture in a central square or at a local show. Take memorable hikes through rural landscapes with stunning views of ancient villages and temples, before heading north-east to Shanghai, where the bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into the dazzling global future of China. Experience wonders both manmade and natural, see the waterways of the ‘Venice of the East’, the enigmatic faces of the Terracotta Warriors and the imperial highlights of Beijing, the engendered pandas of Chengdu, the serene surrounds of the Three Gorges and the beauty of endless stretches of the Great Wall set in rolling hills. This is a trip that will bring you the real China, where tradition and modernity fuse in an exhilarating concoction.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1st January 2017 this trip will become 28 days in length. Based on feedback of the standard of accommodation in Tiger Leaping Gorge being lower in other destinations we will now visit for a day trek and return to Lijiang for the night.


Start
Hong Kong, China
Finish
Beijing, China
Country
China
Style
Peregrine
Code
PCYY
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Explore the memorable limestone karst scenery of Yangshuo, immortalised in countless traditional Chinese paintings

  • Spend the night in a guesthouse in the traditional town of Shaxi, and be transported back to when it was a significant stop on the Tea Horse Trail

  • Enjoy two days to hike around the dramatic scenery of Tiger Leaping Gorge

  • Stay in the centre of Lijiang’s Old Town and get lost in its culture and jumble of shops and temple-filled alleyways

  • Discover Shanghai's bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace, which provides a glimpse into modern China

  • Stoll the canals, alleys, and bridges of Zhouzhuang, the Venice of the East, much like Marco Polo did almost 800 years ago

  • Learn about the endangered (and adorable) giant pandas’ struggle for survival, and get up close to these unique creatures in Chengdu

  • Step back in time with a boat trip through the iconic scenery of the Yangzi River, which meanders through the spectacular Three Gorges

  • Like everything it does, China’s ancient history is on an epic scale – see in the faces of the thousands or Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, and in the endless stretch of the Great Wall as you walk along it

  • Get a hands-on insight into Chinese dishes and ingredients with a cooking class in Yangshuo

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes two overnight trains in soft sleeper class. Train travel in China may not be totally luxurious, but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face-to-face with the country and its people. It's the main form of transport for locals, so take the chance to interact.

  • This trip uses a mix of transport for a local experience including fast trains, overnight trains, a boat and plane, as a well as private buses. The trip covers a fair amount of ground, so be prepared for some long journeys.

  • We suggest packing relatively lightly for this trip, as you’ll need to be able to comfortably carry your luggage for the duration of the trip. This includes to and from accommodation, and on and off flights, trains and buses.

  • Accommodation on this trip is on a twin-share basis, unless booking a Single Supplement.

  • This is a longer Peregrine trip at 29 days, but it really lets you see so many highlights of this fascinating country.

Itinerary

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Start this Chinese splendours discovery in the energetic city of Hong Kong. There’s so much to do in this fusion of East and West that we recommend arriving early to explore the sights. An airport arrival transfer is included, please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or no later than 14 days prior to 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. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm this evening. Meet with your group in the evening and perhaps enjoy a first Chinese meal together.

Notes: Should you arrive early perhaps 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 or ride the peak tram to Victoria Peak for incredible views of the Hong Kong skyline.
Accommodation
  • Metropark Kowloon Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After a delicious Dim Sum breakfast this morning you begin your journey into the Chinese mainland. Be prepared for a long day of travel today. From 2015 China cancelled the overnight trains between Shenzhen & Guilin, so our only option is to travel overland by high-speed rail and bus. You’ll take a taxi from the hotel to Mongkok Station and board the bus to Shenzhen North. Complete the immigration procedures (be patient as this could take some time) and then walk the short distance from the border to the train station. You’ll then cross border from Hong Kong to China. Travel by high-speed G train to Guilin North Station (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive in Guilin you’ll be met by your private transfer to continue on to Yangshuo (approximately 1.5 hours), where you’ll stay for the night. Soak up the charm of this sleepy little town, popular with the Chinese and Westerns alike, who come for the beautiful landscape and stay for the great cafe and bar culture.
Accommodation
  • Yangshuo New Li River Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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, all celebrated on every 20 Yuan note. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions, while having plenty of fun at the same time. Today you'll visit the market to shop with the locals and get a feel for the regional produce. You can then put this new knowledge to use in a cooking class at the Yangshuo Cooking School. Learn to cook Chinese dishes with recipes that are easy to make and ingredients readily available outside of China, so that you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back at home. The evening is free for you to explore Yangshuo's lively cafe and bar scene.
Accommodation
  • Yangshuo New Li River Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Begin the day by focusing your body and mind with a morning Tai Chi class or Kung Fu lesson, and then maybe continue the active theme by hiring a bike. Gaining an insight into rural Chinese life on a cycle where each turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location. You could climb up to Moon Hill – a limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped hole penetrating the hill – or simply stroll along the river and be immersed in the natural beauty of the valley. For something a little less energetic you could simply sit back and relax as you enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Li or Yulong River. Later, perhaps watch an outdoor light show staged by 2008 Beijing Olympics’ Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou.
Accommodation
  • Yangshuo New Li River Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Today you’ll return to Guilin (approximately 1.5 hours) and then fly from Guilin to Kunming (approximately 1.5 hours). Kunming, known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ for its year-round temperate climate, is an increasingly modern city, but it still holds pockets of old-world charm in a relaxed atmosphere. After you arrive, in the afternoon maybe delve into local culture at the ancient temples and intriguing museums dotted around the area – the Buddhist Yuantony Temple dates back 1,200 years and you will uniquely enter the complex from above and descend down into the elegant garden and halls. Meanwhile, the Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology has a number of interesting displays on artefacts of the Han and Yi people. Otherwise, soak up the unique atmosphere by wandering the ‘Old Town’ areas and people-watching in Green Lake Park.
Accommodation
  • Haikun Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Kunming by private bus and prepare for the adventure ahead as you travel through the countryside to Dali. Kunming to Dali is 340km and the drive can take up to 7 hours. You’ll travel through the foothills of the Himalayas, driving through the mountains (some tunnels are kilometres long) that it used to take weeks to pass. When you arrive you’ll stretch your legs on an orientation walk with your leader, who’ll introduce the options for you during your stay here. Dali is a favourite among travellers in China, a place where you can soak up the (rare) fresh mountain air. Resting near the banks of Er Hai Lake, with the Cang Shan mountain range forming an impressive backdrop, the town's cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses, and laid-back charm make it a wonderful place to relax. Dali is also home to the proud Bai people, a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship. The town is overflowing with places to eat and drink, so you will not have trouble finding a good meal this evening.
Accommodation
  • Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dali - Ancient Town Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Today you’ll take a trip to the nearby lesser-visited town of Xizhou (approximately 1 hour), an authentic town of the Bai – a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout the country for their craftsmanship. Be guided around this photogenic town filled with Bai architecture, characterised by ornate gateways with elegant detailing. The town was long a stop on the Silk Road, home to wealthy merchants, officials and scholars, and during World War II, many of China’s universities decamped to this remote part of Yunnan to continue their studies. Wander around this unique town and don’t forget to try the local treat 'Xizhou Baba' – a warm baked cake filled with savoury or sweet filling. You’ll then return to Dali for the night.
Accommodation
  • Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dali - Xizhou Day Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to Shaxi from Dali today (approximately 4 hours). What makes Shaxi so special is that unlike many other ancient towns in Yunnan, it has been restored rather than rebuilt, and being off the main highways it hasn't seen the rapid development of the tourist industry as other places like Lijiang and Dali have. Here you can still find the Yi and Bai ethnic minorities living their traditional lives, farmhouses lining the country roads, and the cobblestone streets, original walled town gates and market square showing that Shaxi was once an important stop on the old Tea Horse Trail. You’ll spend the night in a peaceful guesthouse.
Accommodation
  • Huishui Guesthouse or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shaxi - Shibaoshan trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll join a local guide to walk the Shibaoshan Trek to Shizong Temple (4-5 hours return), perhaps taking a picnic lunch along to make the most of the beautiful “danxia” landscape along the way (the beautiful multi-coloured rocks formed by millions of years of sandstone and mineral deposits). The hike climbs up to around 2,400 metres above sea level and is accessible to all travellers with a reasonable level of fitness. Bring your walking poles if you have them, as these will also be useful for the more challenging Tiger Leaping Gorge hike. For those travellers who wish to sit out this activity there is the option to stay in Shaxi for the day instead. In the evening, take the opportunity to mix with the locals on the town square, where it's not rare to see impromptu dancing, singing and games happen (feel free to join in or just observe).
Accommodation
  • Huishui Guesthouse or similiar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Another breath-taking journey takes you past the upper reaches of the Yangzi River to one of the world's deepest gorges and China's most spectacular natural scenery. The starting point of your trek is approximately 5 hours drive from Shaxi. Part of the Yangzi River (known here as the Jinsha River) thunders through Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is in turn framed by 5,000-metre-high mountains. In the gorge, a sheer cliff face rises from the raging torrents. A memorable walk in the gorge is a wonderful way to take in its awesome beauty, passing local villages such as enchanting Ben Di Wan. Todays hike will be between 4-6 hours long and an experienced local guide will accompany you. The rewards are simply stunning, with awe-inspiring views. The first part of the trek is quite arduous – this is not flat terrain by any means. Some paths along the mountainside are extremely narrow, with a steep drop down and few protective barriers, so if you suffer from fear of heights then this walk is not for you. For the brave though, it's an exhilarating walk. After a slow and steady climb, you will reach the 24 bends (the most challenging part of the trek), a steep and twisting path where you really gain some altitude. After stopping for a break, continue along a flatter section of the gorge to your guesthouse.

Notes: The degree of difficulty on the particular trail that you take will vary greatly, depending on the time of year. Your tour leader will advise you in advance and help you to prepare. Please note that this walk is geared towards travellers who enjoy physical activity, but it is not an extreme trek for advanced mountain walkers. The walk can be quite challenging for some people depending on the weather conditions, and good footwear, preferably hiking boots, is essential. There is the possibility of opting out of the trek but you will need to talk to your leader at the group meeting on Day 1 to make arrangements, and there may be extra costs involved for transport, accommodation or activities that you will need to pay locally. Large backpacks/luggage will be stored for two nights, so please ensure you bring along a daypack (carried by you for the whole course of the trek) to store the most basic essentials. On the trek, accommodation is in simple but comfortable guesthouses with all meals included. It is necessary to bring warm clothing, especially for the evenings, and for the cooler months in general. Please note that the standard of rooms may differ and only some of the rooms may have private bathrooms, while others will have with shared facilities.
Accommodation
  • Tina’s Guest House or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge - Guided Trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today is your second trekking day, and the duration of the hike will be around 4 hours. Start out after breakfast with a nice easy flat section featuring incredibly spectacular views. There are then only a few uphill battles and one last long, slippery downhill stretch before you reach our destination for the night, where there are more hiking options to lookout points for those who still have the energy. Otherwise, it's a tranquil place to simply sit back, relax, enjoy the scenery and rest your weary legs.

Notes: In recent years, Tiger Leaping Gorge has become a very popular tourist attraction for both local and foreign travellers. The area is rapidly developing with more guesthouses and cafes being built every year and major construction of a highway and local roads taking place, which will bring more travellers to the area. The local tourism authorities strictly control tourism here, which means that tour groups such as ours need to stick to approved routes. So be prepared - you will see other tourists here and this is not the remote experience it once was. But with this in mind, Tiger Leaping Gorge is still very much a rewarding travel experience and one travellers continually list as a highlight of their time in China. Tiger Leaping Gorge is subject to dramatic and unpredictable weather conditions. We have scheduled departures in the more stable seasons, but the possibility still exists that conditions may make travelling through the gorge dangerous. If our local partners advise us in advance that conditions are likely to be unsuitable for trekking in Tiger Leaping Gorge, we'll spend an extra night each in Shaxi and Lijiang. Should your leader and guide deem the weather as too rainy or foggy to safely complete the trek once in the gorge area, we'll be required to reroute this section of the itinerary or travel between stops by minivan instead of trekking.
Accommodation
  • Tina’s Guest House or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel south to Lijiang and explore the former capital of the Naxi kingdom (approximately 3 hours). Lijiang is a former capital of the famed Naxi Kingdom. The Old Town is a maze of cobblestone streets, narrow canals, and decorative wooden houses, a wonderful place to wander around and imagine being part of a bygone era. Take a walking tour of the ancient town and wander up to the Wangu Pagoda on Lion Hill, which offers an impressive view of the rooftops of the Old Town. Your accommodation is located right in the middle of the Old Town and set up like a local Naxi house, but with the rooms containing all of the facilities that one would expect at home. In the evening, maybe take the opportunity to witness a performance of the local Naxi orchestra, a unique and entertaining musical experience. The musicians play Taoist temple music, a style that has been lost to the rest of the country. This was due in no small part to the Cultural Revolution, with instruments having to the buried to hide them from authorities.
Accommodation
  • Sanhe Naxi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lijiang - Ancient Town Walking Tour
  • Lijiang - Wangu Pagoda
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day for you to further explore Lijiang. Soak up the atmosphere as you wander the jumble of cobblestone streets of the Old Town, crossing canals and bridges and popping into wooden shops selling everything from silverwear, handicrafts and pastries to dried yak meat. Sample the local street food (like tofu or dumplings) with a bottle of the local beer, then walk out to the Black Dragon Pool. The pool looks just like a Chinese painting, with a white marble bridge, lake-centre pagoda, and mountain in the background. That mountain is the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and, though it can be touristy, it’s possible to take a 40-minute bus ride out and a cable car up to the top for spectacular views. You could also hire a bike to cycle out to the picturesque surrounding villages.
Accommodation
  • Sanhe Naxi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Fly from Lijiang back to Kunming (approximately 1 hour) and explore any sights you might have missed the first time around – there are a number of fascinating little markets hidden in the backstreets of the old warehouse area. Kunming is a perfect place to relax as your journey comes to an end. This evening maybe join the rest of your group for a final farewell dinner to celebrate the end of your China adventure.
Accommodation
  • Haikun Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will take a flight from Kunming to Shanghai (approximately 3 hours). Shanghai’s bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into the dazzling global future of China. On arrival in the city you’ll be transferred to your hotel, located near the famous Bund (waterfront area), where dozens of imposing European colonial buildings, remnants of the concession era, line the promenade. The second part of your china adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm this evening, where you'll meet your new group and leader. Your evening is free for your first exploration of the city – perhaps get a taste of Shanghai’s eclectic food scene, which draws influences from far beyond China’s walls.

Notes: The flight today is unaccompanied but all departure and arrival transfers are included.

Accommodation
  • Bund Riverside Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free for you to explore Shanghai at your leisure. On the doorstep of your hotel is the Bund, where you can get a taste of 1920s Shanghai. Art-deco buildings, formerly belonging to Western banks, line what was once the most important financial street in Asia. You can wander down the wide boulevard, with old Shanghai on one side and the future of the city on the other – exemplified by the soaring Oriental Pearl Tower. If you wanted you could take a ferry across the river and climb to the top of Jinmao Tower, stepping out on to the observation deck for sweeping city views. Back on the western bank, Nanjing Road runs perpendicular to the Bund and is a wide pedestrian street filled with every manner of shop. For a different type of Shanghai city street head to Nanshi (Old Town), a traditional neighbourhood of crowded, narrow streets where you can get a real glimpse into the locals' daily life. Your leader can point you to the famous Yuyuan Gardens and bazaar, a fascinating highlight of the city and worth exploring for its tranquil Chinese garden and wonderful food stalls. Perhaps drop by the impressive Shanghai Museum, which houses one of the best collections of Chinese bronze and artwork; you could easily spend the whole day here discovering the various exhibitions. This evening you’ll witness the impressive feats of the famous Shanghai acrobats.
Accommodation
  • Bund Riverside Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shanghai - Acrobat Show
  • Shanghai - Walking Tour
Optional Activities
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Museum - Free
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
  • Shanghai - Urban Planning Exhibition Centre - CNY30
  • Shanghai - Maglev high speed train (round trip) - CNY100
  • Shanghai - Propaganda Museum - CNY20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you’ll board a private coach to drive to Zhouzhuang (approximately 2 hours). You’ll spend the day exploring Zhouzhuang, an ancient, well-preserved Chinese water town. Surrounded by lakes and rivers, with canals running through the centre and bridges crossing them, the town has unsurprisingly gained the nickname ‘the Venice of the East’. Here you can wander across the famous bridges and roam the streets, just like Marco Polo did nine centuries ago. Explore the various Quing and Ming dynasty residences dotted around the town, and find some peace (as the town can be popular with tourists) in the 900-year-old Taoist Chengxu Temple. For lunch you might try the pork shoulder for which the town is known, and then maybe take a boat trip, with a tea ceremony and traditional Chinese music on-board. When you return to the city, perhaps end your last Shanghai evening with an optional beer or cocktail in one of the highest bars in the world.
Accommodation
  • Bund Riverside Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Zhouzhuang - Day Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a flight from Shanghai to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province (approximately 3 hours). Sichuan is most famous for two things – the pandas living in the mountains and the food. Its hot, spicy dishes are considered by the Chinese to be the best cuisine within China. In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat. The city sits in the fertile Red Basin and has a long history of trade built on cottage industry, with handicrafts having 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 will see signs of a thriving market. When you arrive there will be some free time to explore the city. Overlooked by a large statue of Chairman Mao, Tianfu Square in the middle of the city has a fountain that bursts with an elaborate water show throughout the day, and there are a number of interesting temples nearby. The tranquil Renmin Park (People's Park) is a relaxing spot to spend a few hours, with interesting tea-houses and areas full of locals exercising, singing, playing Mahjong or relaxing in their bamboo chairs drinking tea. Perhaps investigate the street food of Jinli Ancient Street this evening.
Accommodation
  • Chengdu Garden City Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chengdu - Sichuan Opera - CNY80
  • Chengdu - Wenshu Monastery - CNY5
  • Chengdu - People's Park - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, where you're able to witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endearing endangered species. There are only around 1,000 pandas left in the world and 80% of them are found in the mountains in Sichuan. The facility was set up 30 years ago to help conserve this animal, and there are more than 80 giant and red pandas living at the base. The pandas have over 600 acres of parkland to live in, and you can get up close and learn more about these majestic creatures. Watch them play, eat bamboo and climb the trees. If you’re lucky enough you might even get to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery (July-September). You’ll then return to Chengdu for some free time this evening – maybe try the local teahouses or sample spicy Sichuan hotpot.
Accommodation
  • Chengdu Garden City Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
  • Chengdu - Tea Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll travel to Chongqing by train (approximately 2 hours), where you will board a boat for a trip on one the world’s greatest rivers. For the next three days and nights you’ll cruise down the 6,300 kilometres Yangzi (also known locally as the Chang Jiang), the world's third longest waterway. It winds deep into the heart of the province of Qinghai, to the north of Tibet, and flows relentlessly eastwards until it empties into the East China Sea near Shanghai. Effectively dividing the country into north and south, the river not only supplies the rural heart of China, but has also spawned many industries reliant upon its power. The Yangzi has also inspired numerous poets, writers and travellers over the centuries. You will travel along one of the most picturesque sections, through the renowned Three Gorges. The dramatic 'Sanxia', as they are known in Chinese, stretch for 200 kilometres and vary from 100 metres to 300 metres in width.

Notes: You will spend three nights on board and sleep in twin share cabins with private facilities, in accommodation similar to a small hotel room. Bedding and sheets are provided, as are all meals throughout the cruise. However, before you board, you may wish to purchase some small snacks to take with you on the cruise. Please note that all rooms on the Yangzi cruise are on a twin share basis. If you are not already sharing a room with someone from your group, you may be required to share with someone (of the same gender) from outside your group. This could be a member of another tour group or a local person. If you have paid a single supplement, please note that this does not cover the boat.
The Yangzi River region is one of the most industrialised and rapidly developing areas in China. We travel on Chinese tourist boats rather than luxury tourist vessels. We like to call it a river trip, rather than a traditional cruise. The Chinese authorities oversee the travel of all boats on the Yangzi and we've found that quality and stability of service (including that of the food served on board) isn't high on their list of priorities. We do everything we can to ensure standards are maintained for our river trip but some things are outside our control. We use a range of different boats, depending on availability and the date of our departure. All boats are of a standard that complies with our required safety standards, although the size and age of boat varies from trip to trip. As the departure times of the boats are subject to frequent change this can mean that we need to make some changes to our itinerary and at times we've been unable to see all three gorges due to the boat schedule or poor visibility. Any changes made will be done with the aim of giving you the best possible Yangzi experience but we'd like to forewarn you of the possibility. Your leader will update you of any changes at your group meeting.
Accommodation
  • Yangzi River Boat (3 nights)
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Your Yangzi boat trip will end in the small city (by Chinese standards) of Yichang. Here you’ll enjoy a tour of the incredible feat of engineering of the Three Gorges Dam. The world’s largest hydroelectric project, the dam generates power and prevents the major flooding that had long threatened the people of the area (though the impact on displaced people and archaeological sites should not be ignored). Afterwards you’ll have some free time in Yichang, perhaps to try some of the delicious street-side snacks, before you board an overnight train to Xi’an (approximately 12 hours).

Notes: 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. You'll travel on a soft sleeper class train for this trip. These are four berth compartments with a lockable door. Note that compartments are not segregated by gender, so you could be sharing with members of the opposite sex. Wherever possible, we will group our travellers together, but this will depend on group size and ticket availability. Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. Some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Safe, hot drinking water is always available. It is a good idea to bring 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). Basic bathroom facilities with toilets and washbasins are situated at the end of each carriage. As toilet paper isn't always available, it's best to bring an emergency supply. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Food is available on the train, but it's a good idea to stock up on snacks for the trip.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Xi'an - Great Mosque - CNY25
  • Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Small Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Cycling on City Wall - CNY80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and the largest city in northwest China. Once the imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites and is a great place to explore. Today is free for you to uncover what was once the start of the ancient trading route of the Silk Road. The history means Xi’an has a mixture of cultures, especially found in its food options, ranging from delicious Muslim fare to great little dumplings in Chinese restaurants. The city also has a wonderful Muslim Quarter, and today can easily be spent wandering the narrow streets where you will find quaint shops, lively markets, groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes, and the Great Mosque, one of the most important in China. You might learn about Chinese dynasties in the Shaanxi history museum, climb up the Little Wild Goose Pagoda or walk along the top of the city walls – the most complete in China, running over 13 kilometres around the city. For dinner, perhaps try one of the city’s signature dishes, Yang Rou Pao Mo – bread and mutton soup.
Accommodation
  • Union Alliance Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you’ll journey out in to the countryside surrounding Xi’an and visit what is undoubtedly one of the man-made wonders of the world – the Terracotta Warriors. You’ll learn all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being buried for 2,000 years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots (once all individually painted) were commissioned by the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi as part of his mausoleum after he ascended to the throne in 264 BC. Archaeologists have located around 600 different pits, but most have still not undergone the painstaking process of excavation. Three main pits are open for you to view, where over 6,000 warriors – each individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height, and even facial expressions – stand in battle formation. The scale is incredibly impressive, even more so when you consider the as yet uncovered pits – Qin Shi Huang’s tomb itself is rumoured to contain a model of China (complete with 100 rivers of flowing mercury) and the sky above, replicas of palaces and scenic towers, the most wonderful and rare objects in the world at the time, and booby-traps set up to stop any break-ins. To maintain the secrets of the mausoleum most of the hundreds of thousands of workers who built the tomb were sealed inside upon completion. Return to Xi’an for you final evening in the city.
Accommodation
  • Union Alliance Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors & Guide
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven Park
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Great Wall - Mutianyu Section
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Lama Temple - CNY25
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will depart Xi'an on a fast train to Beijing today. The high-speed G train takes approximately 6 hours to travel the 1,200 km to Beijing. Use the time to brush up on all the things to see and do in the Chinese capital. After you arrive the rest of the day is free, so spend some free time exploring this imperial giant. Perhaps walk to the highest pavilion of Jingshan Park to look down upon the Forbidden City (which you’ll visit tomorrow), fill up on dumplings in a hutong (historic narrow streets and alleys) eatery, or maybe catch a performance by the renowned Beijing Acrobats.
Accommodation
  • Dongfang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make your way to the centre of the city – Tian'anmen Square. Perhaps most famous outside of the country for the 1989 massacre (and the iconic picture of a single man standing up to a tank), this square – supposedly the largest down town square in the world – is the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its Mao portrait, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, and with elaborate flag raising and lowering ceremonies at dawn and dusk, it's a place of pilgrimage for the Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation. From here you will enter the enormous Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all that time, is a truly amazing place. Despite the transformation of the city around it, the Forbidden City thankfully looks much like it always has. As you explore the great halls and courtyards you’ll be able appreciate the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power in the Ming and Qing dynasties. You will also visit the Temple of Heaven, a fine example of extraordinary workmanship, surrounded by a park full of locals singing, dancing, and practising tai chi. Beijing is vast and overflowing with sights – with your hotel located in the south of the city, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises.
Accommodation
  • Dongfang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
No trip to China would be complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Today you’ll visit one of the best-preserved areas, the Mutianyu section (approximately 2 hours). It used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs, and features guard towers dating back to the Ming dynasty. You’ll often feel like you have the whole wall to yourself as you take your time strolling along the wall, which snakes through the hills and seemingly endlessly into the distance. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. This afternoon you’ll visit the Summer Palace back on the way back to Beijing. This is one of the best imperial gardens in China, a summer retreat for the Qing Dynasty. The palace was built on a hill made from the earth excavated by hand to create the surrounding lake, and features stunning artwork of imperial life on The Long Corridor. This evening, perhaps head out for a final farewell meal with your group – maybe splurge on famous Peking duck.

Notes: On the Great Wall you'll walk over some steep, remote terrain. Some parts of the wall are unrestored, so you'll beware of your footing. A great idea is to bring a picnic lunch with you from Beijing to enjoy during one of the rest breaks.
Accommodation
  • Dongfang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The tour will come to an end today after breakfast. There's still lots to see and do in Beijing, so perhaps consider staying a few days longer.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

26 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Overnight Train, Plane, Private Vehicle, Fast Train, Trekking

Accommodation

Hotel (22 nights), Riverboat (3 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Soft Sleeper Train (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class
  • Dali - Ancient Town Walking Tour
  • Dali - Xizhou Day Trip
  • Shaxi - Shibaoshan trek
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge - Guided Trek
  • Lijiang - Ancient Town Walking Tour
  • Lijiang - Wangu Pagoda
  • Shanghai - Acrobat Show
  • Shanghai - Walking Tour
  • Zhouzhuang - Day Trip
  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
  • Chengdu - Tea Tasting
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors & Guide
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven Park
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Great Wall - Mutianyu Section

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A complimentary arrival transfer is included.
2. A Single Supplement is available for this trip. Overnight train nights are excluded from this.
3. Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package. Please see our Tipping section of these trip notes for more information.
4. Overnight train accommodation on this tour is in 4-berth ‘soft-sleeper’ class, which are four beds in a compartment. Bedding is provided and wash basins and toilet facilities (usually one with a toilet seat and one squat-style in each compartment) are available on all trains, but there are no showers or baths.
5. The boat trip through the Three Gorges offers some incredible sightseeing and is a genuine way to experience the Yangzi River. Many travellers consider it a highlight of their adventure. Please note that all rooms on the cruise are on a twin share basis. If you are not already sharing a room with someone from your group, you may be required to share with someone (of the same gender) from outside your tour group.
6. Maximum altitude on this trip will be 2650m.
7. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Peregrine's Beijing office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328
8. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.