Yangshuo landscape, China

Highlights of China

12 days
from
£2,279
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 4 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
ACH
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

A classic journey exploring China's historic sites and stunning landscapes

Tracing the remnants of China's imperial past, we discover the magnificent monuments of Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors, the imposing mosques of Xi'an, and the picturesque city of Hangzhou. We also have time to explore some of the exquisite landscapes and tranquil countryside of Yangshuo, so beloved by Chinese poets and painters. Visit a time capsule containing one quarter of the human race, where the modern world coexists with the ancient, and each region has its own traditions and mouthwatering culinary delights.

Highlights

  • Beijing in depth
  • Stunning scenery in Yangshuo
  • Cosmopolitan Shanghai
  • The Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors
  • UNESCO World Heritage West Lake at Hangzhou

Key information

  • 11 days land only/ 12 flight inclusive
  • Travel by train, private minibus, public bus and 2 internal flights
  • 9 nights comfortable hotels and 1 night overnight train
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • Optional single supplement, available on request
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) (excludes sleeper train)
  • Vaccinations
  • Chinese Visa - GBP201 with Travcour or GBP151 plus GBP18 special delivery direct with embassy
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Beijing
to
Shanghai
  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Beijing.

    There will be a welcome briefing this evening followed by an opportunity to taste the famous Beijing duck during an optional welcome dinner.

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

  • Day 3

    Great Wall

    We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, an approx 2 hour journey to the north of the city. We go to one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall at Mutianyu which is an impressive sight, snaking across mountains and valleys into the distance. This section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. The wall here is upto 8.5 metres high and 5 metres wide, and has 22 watchtowers on its 2,250-metre-long stretch. There are some steep steps to navigate and clients who suffer from vertigo may find it difficult, (there is an optional cable car and chairlift). There is the option of seeing a Kung Fu show or a trip to the opera this evening in Beijing.
    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    More exploration of Beijing; to Xi'an

    The sightseeing in Beijing today will include the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples, and the Temple of Heaven Park in the southern part of the city. We also visit Tiananmen square, the largest square in the world and able to hold over a million people. We will take a walking tour of the cities hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. In the afternoon we board an overnight train to the ancient city of Xi'an. It is recommended to try and get food before the train as there is a limited selection provided on the train. The train itself is of a good standard, although facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers. Sleepers are four berth and bedding is provided.

    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Morning walking tour of the Muslim area; free afternoon or optional cycle ride.

    Xi'an is one of China's former capitals and one of the few cities in the country to have retained its city walls, probably because they are so massive that no revolutionary was willing to tackle the huge task of removing them. Today we will visit the city and the Bell and Drum Plaza at its heart, along with the Great Mosque. The Muslim quarter is a fascinating place to visit, especially in the evening as it comes alive with the bustle of the bazaars and food stalls. It is possible to hire bikes (optional) and cycle on the city walls to appreciate the sheer scale of the walls.

    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Full day in Xi'an/Terracotta Warriors

    Today we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin. Originally four armies were planned, at each point of the compass, life-size and lifelike. Three have been found and it is assumed the emperor's successors decided enough was enough before the fourth was begun. The first pit excavated had an estimated 6,000 figures in its one army. The third pit has been opened to the public, which contains the 'command post' for the entire operation. This is one of China's great tourist attractions, and some people may find the sheer numbers of visitors rather overpowering. 

    After our visit we will take our lunch at a local farmer's restaurant nearby with the opportunity to taste some fresh seasonal produce, home-made noodles and bread. The rest of the afternoon and evening is left free to relax. It is possible to hire bikes (optional) and cycle on the city walls to appreciate the sheer scale of these constructions. There is also the opportunity to attend an evening performance of the Tang Dynasty Show; a performance of the region's ancient music with accompanying dance.

    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Flight to Guilin; transfer to Yangshuo

    This morning we fly to Guilin in the South of China. We then drive for 2 hours through the stunning towering limestone scenery to Yangshuo. The surrounding region is famous for the steep-sided Karst Mountains that pierce the otherwise flat landscape of paddy fields. A view of a rural landscape that has changed little in centuries. Despite its small size Yangshuo has quite a good tourist infrastructure due to its large transient population of backpackers and domestic tourists.

    Once we have settled into our hotel there will be time for a short orientation walk before dinner.

    Starway Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Cycle to Moon Hill past rice terraces; free afternoon.

    Today we have the chance to appreciate the spectacular landscape on two wheels; as we take a bike and ride towards Moon Hill, one of the most famous in the area. Lunch is spent at a local family-run restaurant, giving us the opportunity to sample some new dishes. The afternoon is free to relax or enjoy one of the many optional activities Yangshuo has to offer. A local cooking class is recommended, as under the watchful eye of an expert we learn more about the Chinese cuisine and hopefully pick up a few skills to learn in the future!

    Starway Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Transfer to Guilin; fly to Hangzhou and lakeside dinner

    This morning we transfer back to Guilin to take a flight to the eastern city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. The city is most famous for its natural beauty, with the pretty West Lake being a favourite subject of countless poets and artists, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apparently described by Marco Polo as "the finest and most splendid city in the world", Hangzhou was named one of the top 52 places to go by the New York Times in 2016. We will take an afternoon walk exploring the city's highlights before enjoying a scenic lakeside dinner.


    Zhejiang Culture Plaza Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Morning tour of Hangzhou; to Shanghai

    This morning we will take a tour of Hangzhou. Highlights include the Buddhist Lingyin temple, which translates as the 'Temple of the Soul's Retreat'. From here we will take a short walk to experience the beautiful surroundings before experiencing a tea-tasting at a local teahouse.

    After a late afternoon bullet train to Shanghai we take a walking tour of the famous Bund area, to see the iconic buildings along the riverside lit up in all their glory. There will be the opportunity to visit the Jin Mao Tower (optional), which is the 18th tallest building in the world and boasts a spectacular view of Shanghai from the observation deck.

    Kingtown Hotel Plaza or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Full day in Shanghai

    Today we will spend the day exploring the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, which has a real international feel to it when compared to many of our previous destinations. We will make a morning visit to the Shanghai museum which boasts some of China's most beautiful and best preserved cultural relics, with some over 5,000 years old! Then we will head to the Yuyuan garden which offers an oasis of calm and tranquility in contrast with the hustle and bustle of city life. The garden is composed of six scenic areas and the exquisite architecture, carving and scultures are a delight to see.

    In the evening there is a chance to see the fantastic Shanghai Acrobatic Show along with a farewell dinner (both optional) before our departure tomorrow.

    Kingtown Hotel Plaza or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Fly to London.

    For those on the group flight to London the flight is in the morning, with a same day arrival into London in the evening.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

China

Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter China, which must be obtained prior to departure. The Chinese authorities now require a letter from Exodus, confirming all your accommodation details. Along with this, you need to supply a copy of your flight details, which are on your invoice if you have booked directly through Exodus. For further information see here. It is also essential that we have a clear copy of the details page of your passport. This is required to book certain ground services in China and we cannot confirm your details with our local partners until it has been received. This must be emailed as an electronic scan to [email protected] a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your trip.

IMPORTANT: Please note that as of the 1st November 2018, all visa applicants aged between 14 and 70 will need to visit one of the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres (appointment required) where biometric data will be taken as part of the visa application process.

Vaccinations

China

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

If your trip visits Hong Kong, dengue fever is a known risk - this is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten: apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 1 dinner included.

One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine. On this trip you will be able to try many different dishes that will be carefully selected with your leaders help and based on the group's dietary requirements and preferences. Meals generally consist of shared dishes, which is the best way to experience as many different ingredients as possible and try things you might not usually choose. Examples of popular dishes include Ma Po Tofu, a delicious tofu dish made with beef, chillies and onion, Gong Bao chicken, a very popular dish with chilli and peanuts, the iconic Peking Duck, served with hoisin sauce and pancakes, and dumplings in many shapes and sizes. There are many different dishes to try and the leader will always try and accommodate tastes, but if you do tire of Chinese food there are always opportunities to eat Western-style dishes in the cities you visit. For vegetarians or those with dietary requirements, many of the traditional dishes can be amended to omit the meat products.

Weather

Beijing & Xi'an: The north of China has warm (25º+C), quite humid summers, and cold dry winters. If you travel between June and August, it will be hot more or less everywhere, except in the mountains. Some rain must be expected, possibly heavy. If you travel in September/October, you will probably get less rain and the temperatures will be fairly warm (around 20ºC) everywhere. Yangshuo/Shanghai: The south of China is sub-tropical with hot (30ºC), wet summers (May to September), and warm, relatively dry (November to March) winters, though rain is possible at almost any time of year. The winter months in China are cold (+3ºC), so if travelling in November/March be prepared for temperatures to drop to below freezing at night in the North, but with almost guaranteed dry sightseeing. The weather is milder in the south.

Is this trip for you?

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of China in less than two weeks. There is a lot to see in the time you are there, and the distances covered are large, but everything is scheduled so that it doesn't feel too rushed. You should come armed for an experience: China can be hard work and the summer heat and the bustle of some of the cities can be a little overwhelming. That said, there are places where you can find peace and quiet and we try to fit these into the itinerary at regular intervals.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Train

On this trip you will spend 9 nights in comfortable hotels and 1 night 1st class sleeper train, soft-bed berths. In all the cities, we stay in good, tourist class hotels with twin rooms and private facilities. Nearly all the hotels are locally rated as at least 3-star and wherever possible located as near to local attractions as possible. The overnight trains are in the 'soft sleeper' cabins, which are 4 berth (bunk beds) private cabins. The train itself is of a good standard, although please note that facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers and the cleanliness can never be guaranteed. Bedding is provided but we do recommend you consider taking a thin sleep sheet. Whilst we make every attempt to place passengers together in cabins, sometimes this is impossible, however we will never place a solo traveller in a cabin by themselves (they will always be either with another passenger on the trip or with the leader).

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed October 2018
    Cathy LouisThrower

    Great trip

    A well-organized, fun trip. Good hotels, good scheduling, many included sightseeing experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the Great Wall at 9:00 am on a beautiful ,sunny, clear day without any crowds. Second best highlight was the cycling trip along the Yulong river in Guanxi.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wang Shuang Wu a.k.a. "Peter" was an excellent leader/ guide. He was personable, efficient, humorous, knowledgeable; his concern for our well-being was his top priority. The trip flowed very smoothly due to his efforts. He was great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring antiseptic cream for potential blisters or bug bites; finding a Chinese version is a challenge. Same for cold/allergy medication. Also, pack lightly.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The daily schedule was well-organized, often with more than one highlight, and on travel days at least one event - a boat trip, or dinner excursion. A nice balance between included meals, and optional ones. Overall good value, I found.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Cathy Gardner

    Memorable trip!

    A whirlwind tour of all the top sights but expertly and efficiently guided by the group leader so that we never felt anxious or hurried. The hotels were not luxurious but comfortable. I particularly enjoyed travelling on the public buses and eating in local restaurants to get a feel for the real China.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on the Great Wall of China early in the morning before the crowds arrived with no other tourists to spoil my view!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - pleasant personality and very efficient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack lightly and have a case with wheels because you will be carrying your luggage quite long distances through stations and city streets to the hotels when the bus cannot get near the entrance.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this holiday was rated as 'leisurely', you will need to be fairly fit to keep up with the early starts and all the walking involved. The reccomended extra cash in the trip notes for meals and oprional events was not enough. The meals were very reasonable but many of the sights and experiences at each destination require you to pay for an optional trip or show. They are all worth the extra payment but I spent in ecess of £400 for these.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    R G

    You get a taste, albeit a brief one, of China

    This was an exhilarating trip full of adventure that takes you to some of the most famous places and sites in China. The food was excellent throughout and plenty of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the Great was truly memorable. Our guide was very clever and got us there early and there was nobody about. The Terracotta Warriors were amazing and cycling around the city wall of Xi’an and among the paddy fields was an experience not to forget. Tai Chi in the park was a delight!.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacky was a excellent group leader. He was very professional with an wonderful sense of humour. He was very quick to think on his feet and change things around when circumstances needed it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is definitely a FULL ON trip rather than leisurely/moderate as per Exodus. From the moment we landed we did not stop. The optional extras offered by the guide differed from those offered by Exodus and there were more of them as advised in the trip notes. We did nearly all of the extras based on the fact 'we had to make the most of it' thus making the trip more intense. It would have been good to have a couple of extra nights with some of the optional extras included in the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want a taste and a bit of flavour of China and it's people this is the trip. However, we would like to mention the the optional River Li cruise was a tad disappointing in that it was somewhat bland and little to see.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    kristina kelly

    Adventures in China

    Great trip to some iconic places in China. The pace is full on particularly if you partake in the extras offered , be prepared to walk a lot around the cities countryside and parks .We enjoyed all the different forms of transport including riding a tandem ! We learnt a lot about China , food was good and very reasonably priced

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Great Wall was awesome, get up early as it’s even better before the hordes of people arrive. Don’t miss the sound and light show in Yangshuo the backdrop of the mountains and the lake it is a real spectacle, also the extra tour up the mountains finishing at sunset fantastic spot for photos Terra-cotta army absolutely amazing and Tai Chi in the Park very calming., cycling Xi’an Wall great fun !

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jackie was brilliant, incredibly organised always abreast of any problems or delays. We learnt so much about China from him he is very calm but has a great sense of humour and really made the trip come alive we would highly recommend him,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a leisurely trip as advertised, you are covering a huge part of China in a short time so there is a lot to see , we walked a lot so take good footwear . Consider having a few days down time after the trip , we went to Hong Kong which was very easy to navigate after China.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are a lot of extras offered all of which we enjoyed but you need more than £200 / person as advised by Exodus .

Dates & Prices

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Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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Call us on 020 8772 3936