Days
10
Price from
£1,715GBP
Map of Best of China including China

Explore the mystery and history of imperial China in this trip from Shanghai to Beijing

Take a ten-day journey into China’s rich and fascinating history on this tour from the busy streets of Shanghai to majestic Great Wall near Beijing. Jewels of the many dynasties are found among breathtaking scenery, and this trip showcases wonders both natural and man-made. See how ancient traditions have been adapted for the modern world in Shanghai and the Shaolin Monastery, and witness the formidable power of imperial China with visits to the Terracotta Army and the Great Wall.


Start
Shanghai, China
Finish
Beijing, China
Destination
China
Style
Peregrine
Code
PCCH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Explore the highlights of ancient China, from the Shaolin Monastery and Longmen Grottoes to the Terracotta Army of Xi’an and finally the Great Wall.

  • Tour Shanghai’s imminently photogenic Bund, where historic buildings display a variety of architectural styles along a waterfront promenade.

  • Taste your way through the delectable halal dishes in the sizzling Muslim Quarter of Xi’an.

  • Enjoy a peaceful night in a traditional courtyard guesthouse near the Great Wall and visit a section of the Wall.

  • Admire and try your hands at the intricate art of paper cutting from a master from a family that has passed down the tradition for generations.

  • Zip through China by bullet train, going as fast as 300km per hour.

Is this trip right for you?

  • We suggest packing relatively lightly for this trip, as you’ll need to be able to comfortably carry your own luggage going through busy train stations.

  • The trip covers a fair amount of ground to enable you to see some of China's biggest cities and main highlights, so be prepared for some long travel days.

  • We pack a lot in, in a short amount of time, so if you have some time to spare we highly recommend extra time in Shanghai and Beijing.

  • As a short, city based trip there's not a lot of time to experience China's beautiful natural landscapes or get further off the beaten track. If you have longer to spend exploring, consider our Wonders of Yunnan or Yangzi & Beyond trips.

Itinerary

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. 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 receive a private transfer to your hotel, located within walking distance of the famous Bund, where dozens of imposing European colonial buildings line the promenade. It’s crucial you attend a welcome meeting at your hotel at 6 pm to meet your leader and provide them with insurance and next of kin details. After the meeting, your evening is free and so are you. Perhaps get a taste of Shanghai’s eclectic food scene, which draws influences from far beyond China’s walls. Ask your leader for suggestions on where to begin.
Accommodation
  • Shanghai Kingtown Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Shanghai by morning is bustling with street vendors and workers making their morning commute, and today you’ll weave among them in an early walking tour of the city. Begin with the pride of Shanghai – the Bund. On one side of this waterfront strip you’ll see gothic, baroque and neoclassical architecture dating as far back as 1897. These historic buildings sit in wonderful contrast to the uber modern high rises and sleek office buildings that lie across the water. Then, zig zag through the back lanes off of East Nanjing Road, the oldest (and busiest!) shopping street in Shanghai. Finally, examine the myriad bronze and ceramic pieces in the Shanghai Museum. The afternoon and evening are free for you to do as you please. Those feeling a little overwhelmed by the chaos may wish to visit the classical garden of Yuyuan - on of the must-see sights of Shanghai.
Accommodation
  • Shanghai Kingtown Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Museum
  • Shanghai - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Shanghai - Acrobat Show - CNY50
  • Shanghai - Oriental Pearl Tower Viewing Deck - CNY150
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
  • Shanghai - Propaganda Museum - CNY20
  • Shanghai - Urban Planning Exhibition Centre - CNY30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
A traditional Shanghai breakfast is salty, savoury and rich. As you have a free morning in in the city, why not ask your leader for the best place to get a bowl of congee (savoury rice porridge) or jian bing (egg crepe)? At midday, board a bullet train bound for Luoyang. Once the capital of Imperial China, Luoyang boasts plenty of historic sights. It’s also the gateway to Shaolin Monastery. The journey will take about 6 hours, so it’s a good idea to have a book or podcast on hand to keep you occupied as the scenery rushes past you outside the window.
Accommodation
  • Luoyang Peony Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, visit the legendary birthplace of kung fu - the Shaolin Monastery. A private bus journey of around 3 hours will take you to the monastery, which remains the primary source of Shaolin Buddhist training and learning to this day. Learn about the warrior monks of Shaolin and how the martial art has changed over centuries. Watch an athletic kung fu performance and then wander through the Pagoda Forest, where respected monks have been laid to rest in towering tombs since AD791. For lunch enjoy a vegetarian feast at nearby Yongtai Temple where you will sample innovative Buddhist cuisine. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in Luoyang. As night falls, you’ll see thousands of colourful lamps light the streets and squares across the city, creating a lovely ambiance.
Accommodation
  • Luoyang Peony Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show
  • Shaolin - Buddhist vegetarian lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Embrace an early start to visit the nearby honeycomb caves and stone-carved Buddha statues of the Longmen Grottoes. This UNESCO World Heritage site features more than 100,000 statues and carvings of the Buddha that date back to the 4th century. You’ll explore them with a local guide. Return to Luoyang and board a bullet train bound for Xi’an. The 2-hour journey will deliver you to the city widely regarded as the birthplace of Chinese civilisation, and you’ll dive in with a late afternoon walking tour of the historic Muslim Quarter. This buzzing commercial quarter is the best place to sample some unique regional halal dishes. One local favourite is yang rou pao mo, a clear broth soup filled with tender mutton and crumbed flatbread.
Accommodation
  • Xi'an Skytel Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour
  • Longmen - Longmen Grottos
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The most famous archaeological site in Xi’an, if not all of China, awaits today. The Terracotta Army was hidden for thousands of years until farmers accidentally uncovered the archaeological wonder in 1976. This immense clay militia – including soldiers, horses and chariots -- was commissioned by First Emperor Qin as part of his mausoleum, designed both to protect him in the afterlife and commemorate his victory over the Warring States during his reign. Explore the pits that are on display to the public and marvel at this impressive display of ancient power. Sit down for a local lunch and then return to Xi’an for the evening. If you have the energy to venture out, the South Square is lit beautifully in the evening and is home to ancient Big Goose Pagoda and numerous contemporary sculptures.
Accommodation
  • Xi'an Skytel Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
A long day of travel is necessary today to reach what is arguably the greatest wonder of the world -- the Great Wall of China. A 5.5-hour bullet train ride to Beijing is followed by a 3-hour transfer to your guesthouse, located in the countryside near the Wall. Enjoy a barbecue dinner and relax in preparation for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Great Wall Courtyard Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Great Wall - BBQ dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
An early start is necessary today to get the most out of the spectacular Great Wall. A feat of engineering that began construction around 2700 years ago, the section of the Wall most are familiar with stretches 6000 kilometres west from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. Although unsuccessful in protecting the Chinese empires from ancient enemies, it's without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements and an iconic destination. Follow the serpentine fortifications through green mountains in a cable car, then spend a few hours exploring a section of the wall that is further from the city (and therefore less crowded). Later, return to the guesthouse and learn the fine art of paper cutting from a master of the tradition. Finally, make the 3-hour journey back to Beijing and spend the evening relaxing in the capital.
Accommodation
  • Beijing Dongfang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Great Wall - Cable car
  • Great Wall - Traditional paper cutting class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make your way to Tiananmen Square in the centre of the city. Framed by many imposing and iconic buildings such as 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 many Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation. From here you will enter the enormous scarlet walls of the Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago and until recently off limits to commoners, explore the great halls and courtyards of this palace complex. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to further explore Beijing. The ornate and colourful halls of the Lama Temple are a beautiful place to spend an hour or two and in the evening you can choose to have an optional farewell dinner with your leader and fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Beijing Dongfang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City
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.
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, high-speed train, metro

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights), Great Wall Guesthouse Feature Stay (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Shanghai - Shanghai Museum
  • Shanghai - Walking tour
  • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show
  • Shaolin - Buddhist vegetarian lunch
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour
  • Longmen - Longmen Grottos
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
  • Great Wall - BBQ dinner
  • Great Wall - Cable car
  • Great Wall - Traditional paper cutting class
  • Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City

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Important notes

1. A complimentary arrival transfer is included. Please advise your agent your arrival details no later than 14 days prior to departure.
2. Gratuities are included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package, but not for tour leader. Please see our Tipping section of these trip notes for more information.
3. A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip except Day 7, subject to availability.
4. A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport is required at time of booking or no later than 40 days before departure in order for us to purchase your train tickets.

Essential trip information

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