Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 15:23

Essential China

Essential China Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: China
  • Programmes: Culture
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 12 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 11 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: ACD

Trip Overview

Travel from Beijing to Shanghai for a taste of ancient and modern China

Visit iconic sites and bring the fascinating history and culture of China to life! Beijing’s past spans three millennia and the scale of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City never fail to amaze. Leaving the grandeur behind, explore the narrow hutongs of the old town. Head out of the city and step foot on one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall; here, we begin to comprehend the magnitude of this construction as it snakes across the mountains to the horizon and beyond. In Xi’an, we explore the vibrant Muslim Quarter and see the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin. A trip to China would not be complete without visiting Chengdu to see giant pandas. End in cosmopolitan Shanghai, with its unmistakable skyline illuminated at night.

At a Glance

  • Travel by bullet train, sleeper train, domestic flight, metro/public bus and private coach
  • Nine nights in hotels and one night on a sleeper train
  • All breakfasts and one lunch included
  • Optional single supplement, available on request (excludes sleeper train)
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16

Highlights

  • Visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park in Beijing
  • See giant pandas at Chengdu Breeding & Research Centre
  • Marvel at one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu
  • Admire the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin
  • Discover the Bund waterfront area and French Concession of Shanghai

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level  (Moderate). For more information on our trip gradings please visit the Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.  

This is an ideal introduction to China for anyone who wants to experience the most iconic sites in the country.

Despite the grading, this is still an adventurous trip and you should come prepared for the experience. There are large numbers of visitors at many sites and the summer heat (particularly July and August) can be intense.

Walking: Although not strenuous, the amount of walking on most days is considerable and fast-paced (we recommend comfortable walking shoes). Good fitness levels are essential. For the Great Wall visit, the walk up and down from the wall is quite steep; for anyone not wanting to do this, there is the option to take a cable car.

Transport: We make several journeys by train, an efficient way to cover large distances. You need to be able to carry your own luggage unassisted, please pack accordingly. The train stations are very large and can involve walking for 15-20 minutes with your luggage. It is also essential that all group members are punctual to ensure we do not miss any services.

Although the distances in China are massive, this tour has been carefully designed to keep travelling time to a minimum by utilising an overnight train,  a bullet train and a domestic flight. With two-night stays in every location and a free day in Xi’an, the pace should not be too tiring but there are some early starts and long days. On days 8 and 9 in particular, early starts are required to view the pandas and to catch our morning flight to Shanghai.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Essential China

Land Only

  • Start City: Beijing
  • End City: Shanghai

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Beijing

Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China. There is a welcome briefing at approximately 6pm, in which you meet your tour leader and the rest of the group (please see the noticeboard in the hotel reception for further details).

Free arrival transfers are available for all customers arriving into either Beijing’s Capital airport (PEK) or Daxing airport (PKX). Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel (or similar)

Day 2
Sightseeing including the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park and a walking tour of the ‘hutongs’

We head straight to Tiananmen Square (approximately 30 minutes by public bus/metro), one of the largest squares in the world, able to hold more than a million people. The square is named after the Tiananmen (meaning Gate of Heavenly Peace) at its north, which leads to the Forbidden City.  Continuing on foot, we spend a few hours exploring the innumerable courtyards and temples of the Forbidden City. Exiting via the north gate of the complex, we walk directly to Jingshan Park and climb to the top of the hill for a different vantage point.

After lunch, we have a walking tour around traditional hutongs (narrow alleys of the old town), before meandering back to the hotel.

Note

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, maximum numbers of daily visitors to the Forbidden City have been significantly reduced, impacting availability of tickets. Our local team aim to secure tickets for the Forbidden City, but if unable to do so, we’ll visit the Ancestral Temple (used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties to offer sacrifices to ancestors, and architecturally quite similar to the Forbidden City) and the Summer Palace (a complex of lakes, gardens and palaces from the Qing dynasty) instead. You will be advised at the start of the trip if this change needs to be made.

Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Visit the Great Wall of China; return to Beijing and take an overnight train to Xi’an

We leave the capital and head into the countryside to visit one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall, at Mutianyu (approximately two hours’ drive). It is an impressive sight, snaking across mountains and valleys into the distance. We take the shuttle bus to the ticket office; from there, it’s about a 40-minute uphill walk to the top of the Great Wall (anyone not wanting to walk can pay to take the cable car, which takes about eight minutes). We spend the next couple of hours or so walking along the top of the wall. There are some steep steps to navigate and anyone who suffers from vertigo may find it difficult. This section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier, defending the capital and the imperial tombs. The wall here stands up to 28ft (8.5m) high and 16ft (5m) wide, and there are 22 watchtowers along its 7,380ft (2,250m) stretch.

We leave the wall and drive a short way to our lunch stop in a village. We then drive to the train station in Beijing, arriving in the late afternoon/early evening to catch our overnight train to Xi’an (approximately 12 hours) which is scheduled to depart at 8.40pm (the schedule can change throughout the year – please see the ‘Accommodation’ section for more details). We recommend purchasing food beforehand as there is a limited selection on board.

Accommodation: Overnight train

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Arrive Xi’an; afternoon walking tour of the Muslim Quarter

The train is scheduled to arrive into Xi’an at about 8.30am (subject to change). We take a short transfer to the hotel, drop off the luggage, and freshen up in the lobby bathroom (the rooms won’t be available for check-in until later). Xi’an is a former capital of China 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, after an opportunity to try a local breakfast, we embark on a walking tour, passing the Bell and Drum Plaza and exploring the spice markets of the vibrant Muslim Quarter. Optionally, we may be able to visit Gao’s family mansion and enjoy a shadow puppetry show (approximately 30 yuan/US$4.15 per person). We return to the hotel to check in at about 2pm, and the rest of afternoon is free.

Accommodation: Bell Tower Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Excursion to the Terracotta Warriors

Today we visit the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin (the transfer is approximately two hours each way). 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 the great tourist attractions in China and some people may find the sheer numbers of visitors overpowering. After our visit, we have lunch at a nearby farmer’s restaurant before driving back to Xi’an.

Accommodation: Bell Tower Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6
Free day in Xi’an; optional cycling along the old city walls.

There are no planned activities today, but your leader will provide information on what is available to do and help you to arrange it. Perhaps you might like to walk (or hire bikes and cycle) along the city walls to appreciate the sheer scale of these constructions.

Accommodation: Bell Tower Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Bullet train to Chengdu; afternoon walking tour around the People’s Park – try Chinese water calligraphy (weather permitting)

Take a short transfer to the train station and board a late morning bullet train to Chengdu (approximately four hours), the capital of Sichuan province, arriving in the early afternoon. This region is recognised throughout China as being ‘the spicy province’ and major flavour combinations include garlic, star anise, chili peppers, and the ever-present Sichuanese peppercorn (hua jiao). We recommend having a hotpot dinner during your stay here (spicy or mild broths are available).

In the late afternoon, we set off for a walking tour, passing through the city centre square (Tianfu Square) and visiting the People’s Park where, weather permitting, we can see and have a go at Chinese water calligraphy.

Accommodation: Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Centre

We leave early today to spend the morning visiting the Giant Panda Breeding & Research Base located 6mi (10km) outside the city. These furry animals once roamed large expanses of Asia but the last survey estimated the world’s population of wild giant pandas at only 1,864. Giant pandas eat for up to 14 hours a day and so hopefully we will witness these highly endangered animals feeding, as this is when they’re most active. Otherwise, we can watch the pandas indulge in their next favourite past time – sleeping! Afterwards, we drive back to Chengdu and the afternoon is free to explore at your own pace.

Accommodation: Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
Fly to Shanghai; afternoon visit to the Shanghai Museum

We catch an early flight to Shanghai, so we take a simple box breakfast with us from the hotel. The flight is approximately 2hr 30min; we should land by late morning and arrive at our hotel by lunchtime. With a population of around 12m, Shanghai is a cosmopolitan coastal hub with a futuristic skyline.

This afternoon, we take the public bus (metro) to visit the Shanghai Museum, which has 11 galleries housing some of the most beautiful and best-preserved cultural relics in China – some more than 5,000 years old!

Accommodation: Shanghai Kingtown Plaza Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10
Explore the Bund waterfront area and the French Concession

After breakfast, we set off to discover some of the highlights of Shanghai on foot, starting with the Bund waterfront area to see iconic buildings, before exploring Nanjing Road (one of the busiest shopping streets on the planet) and the French Concession with its tree-lined avenues, cafes and Tudor mansions. The afternoon is at your leisure.

Accommodation: Shanghai Kingtown Plaza Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11
End Shanghai

The trip ends in Shanghai after breakfast and we begin our return journeys home. If you’d like the adventure to continue, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

Free transfers are included for everyone to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels and train

Shanghai Kingtown Plaza

We spend nine nights in hotels and one night on a sleeper train.

In all the cities, we stay in good tourist-class hotels with twin rooms and private facilities. Nearly all are locally rated at least three-star and, wherever possible, located as near to local attractions as possible.

There is one overnight sleeper train, from Beijing to Xi’an (journey time approximately 12 hours). For this, we book soft-sleeper class, where you are accommodated in comfortable four-berth (bunk bed-style) cabins. Please note, while every attempt is made to place passengers together in the same/nearby cabins, this is not always possible due to availability and you may find yourself sharing a cabin with other non-Exodus train passengers. However, we never place a solo traveller in a cabin by themselves (they are always either with another passenger on the trip or with the leader). Clean bedding is provided and there are shared washrooms on board but you may choose to bring your own sheet. The train itself is of a good standard, although facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers and the cleanliness can never be guaranteed.

The hotels usually used are named in the detailed itinerary; however, these may be subject to change by departure date, depending on availability. Chinese government officials occasionally take over hotels at short notice and so there can sometimes be last-minute hotel changes that are beyond our control. In this event, we book an alternative of the same local rating but we cannot guarantee the facilities will be the same.

A limited number of single supplements are available on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, excluding the overnight train. Please request this at the time of booking.

Single supplement from £ 410

Food & Drink

All breakfasts and one lunch are included.

One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine. On this trip, you can try many different dishes selected with your leader’s 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; Peking duck, served with hoisin sauce and pancakes; and dumplings in many shapes and sizes. Chengdu in Sichuan province is known for its spicy hotpots but you can request mild options too. There are many different dishes to try and your leader will always try to accommodate tastes, but if you do tire of Chinese food there are often opportunities to eat Western-style dishes in the cities we visit.

Vegetarians can be accommodated quite easily. Vegans will find options are limited. Not all food allergies and intolerances are well understood in China. Options which contain no gluten at all are very limited (as for example soy sauce contains gluten and is very widely used).

Transport

Much of the sightseeing is on foot.

The main road journeys, such as to the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Giant Panda Centre, and other main transfers are by private coach/minibus (depending on group size). In Beijing and Shanghai, we also use public transport (bus/metro) for short journeys where it is the most convenient way to get around.

We take a high-speed bullet train from Xi’an to Chengdu (journey time approximately four hours) in second-class seating. There is also one overnight sleeper train, from Beijing to Xi’an (journey time approximately 12 hours) – please see the Accommodation section for further details.

There is one domestic flight from Chengdu to Shanghai, which is in economy class.

Weather & Seasonality

Beijing and Xi’an: Northern China has warm (25C+/77F+), 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 (around the Great Wall). 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 20C/68F) everywhere. November is starting to get cooler (3C-13C/37F-55F) and can sometimes feel chilly. The Great Wall region will be colder than the cities due to the mountainous terrain.

Shanghai: South China is subtropical with hot (30C/86F), wet summers (May to September), and warm, relatively dry winters (November to March), though rain is possible at almost any time of year.

The winter months in China are cold (3C/37F). 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.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Dong Fang Hotel. 11 Wanming Road, Xuan Wu District, Beijing
Phone: +86-10-63014466
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) or Beijing Capital airport (PEK).

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately one hour’s drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers for any flight into Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) or Beijing Capital airport (PEK). Transfers need to be booked with us at least two weeks before the start of the trip.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

This trip ends in Shanghai. Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Shanghai Pudong airport (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao airport (SHA) from the end hotel.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Beijing
Location end: Shanghai

What To Take

Essential Equipment

As you will be moving from point to point, pack light and only bring one main suitcase with you, weighing no more than 44lb (20kg), this is the limit for the flight and train. There is a 5kg hand luggage allowance on the flight.

Light, casual cotton clothing is recommended in general; however, due to the distances covered, the climate can vary significantly from one place to another, so we recommend packing layers.

Other items to bring include:

  • Backpack to carry personal items such as clothing layers, water, your camera etc during the day
  • Comfortable practical shoes for sightseeing on foot
  • Trainers (sneakers) or walking shoes/boots are required for the walk on the Great Wall
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket and/or an umbrella
  • Sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Warm jumper/fleece, hat, gloves and a windproof or down jacket (November to March departures)

For the train journeys, airport-style security has to be passed through and all luggage travels with you in the compartment. Aerosols over 150ml are not permitted on trains. There are are also limitations on the quantities of certain other items, including nail polish, hair dye (up to 0.6floz/20ml). Items that could be classified as weapons, such as scissors and pocket knives could be confiscated even from your main suitcase, so are best left at home. The overnight trains are generally clean, but as standards vary, you may feel more comfortable bringing a sleeping bag liner or similar to sleep in. You may also wish to take earplugs just in case there are louder sleepers in the berth!

Water included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.

Practical Information

Visa

China

Most nationalities require a visa to enter China, including holders of British, US, Canadian and Australian passports. This must be obtained prior to departure. Applicants aged between 14 and 70 are required to make an in-person visit to a Chinese visa application centre where biometric data is collected. 

The Chinese authorities require a letter of invitation, which Exodus will provide you with approximately eight weeks before the start of the trip. This details all your accommodation bookings. 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 on the process for British passport holders, please see here.  

Visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through. 

If you’re a UK citizen and would like assistance with obtaining visas, please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website: www.travcour-vls.com

Some governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below. 

Essential information: We must have a clear copy of the photo page of your passport. This is required to book certain ground services in China and your booking is not fully confirmed until it has been received. This must be emailed as an electronic scan to customerops@exodus.co.uk at least eight weeks prior to your trip. 

Vaccinations and Health

China

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, tick-borne encephalitis and tuberculosis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Additionally, if you’re visiting Hong Kong on your trip, please be aware that 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; therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten: apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

Local Time

China's time zone: Asia/Shanghai (UTC +08:00)

Electricity

China's electricity: The most common socket type in China is type I (for plugs with three flat pins). In some places you will find sockets will additionally accept type A (two flat pins) or C (two round pins) plugs.  Internet: When accessing the internet in China (eg through hotel wifi), certain websites and apps are blocked, including Google (and therefore Gmail), Facebook, WhatsApp and many news sites. Alternative web search engines such as Bing are available. Yahoo (including email) is not supported. Most Chinese people use an all-in-one app called WeChat for messaging, voice and video calls, photo-sharing, language support and more.  If you wish to stay connected, you may want to download WeChat before you go (and ask those who you want to stay in touch with to do the same). Please note, the security and privacy levels offered by WeChat may not be as high as that of apps you may use at home.  If your phone is eSim compatible, you may want to purchase one that works in China before travelling − 4G and 5G network coverage is excellent throughout most of the country. 

Essential China

Money

China's currency: Chinese yuan (also known as renminbi) (CNY)

ATM Availability

China is well serviced by ATMs, which are available in all the major towns and cities. Credit cards are accepted in hotels and large establishments, such as shopping malls, but are not recommended for day-to-day spending. Many restaurants and shops throughout China use WeChat Pay or Alipay, an electronic payment made through the application on your mobile phone.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow about 3,000-3,470 yuan (US$425-US$480) spending money per person for optional activities and meals not included (assuming you may do two or three optional activities in total). This does not include tips, shopping, or alcoholic beverages.

Meals in good standard local restaurants typically cost around 80 yuan (US$11) per person for lunch and 120 yuan (US$16.50) per person for dinner. If you drink alcoholic drinks, you will spend more than the suggested spending amount.

Please note: Some hotels in China require a refundable deposit of between 200-400 yuan per room, to be paid upon check-in, to cover items from the minibar etc. This can usually be paid in cash or on credit card and will be refunded in full upon departure providing no items have been consumed.

Optional excursions

There are several optional activities, which your leader can arrange for you. The below examples provide an indication of what is available and approximate costs but prices are subject to change throughout the season and may be dependent on the number of people taking part. They are subject to schedules and availability; your leader will let you know what is available and the actual local costs.

Beijing

  • Acrobat show, including public transport: 290 yuan (US$40)
  • Cable car at Great Wall: 100 yuan (US$14) one way, 140 yuan (US$19) return

Xian

  • Bell and Drum Tower entry: 50 yuan (US$7); city wall entry: 54 yuan (US$8); bike rental on the city walls in Xian (90 minutes): 45 yuan (US$7)
  • Tang Dynasty show and dumpling banquet (minimum five people): 290 yuan (US$40)

Chengdu

  • Sichuan Opera, including private transfer: 280 yuan (US$39)

Shanghai

  • Acrobat show, including public transport: 280 yuan (US$39)
  • Huangpu River cruise at night, including public transport: 120 yuan (US$17)

It is not compulsory to join any of these optional activities and your leader can recommend many more options. It is also possible to arrange many of these activities independently if you prefer.

Tipping

This is entirely at your own discretion; however, with the increase in tourism in China, tipping has become customary. If you have received good service, a tip would be appreciated by local staff. To take the hassle out of this, your tour leader usually suggests that each member contributes approximately 200 yuan (US$27.50) per person towards a group tipping kitty on arrival – this will be used to tip local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters and so on as a group rather than individually. Your leader will keep a record of how the kitty is spent and will be happy to share this with you at any time during the trip. If you do not wish to contribute to a central pool for tips, you are free to opt out and tip as an individual.

If you feel your leader has performed well over the course of your trip and you would like to show your appreciation of their service, a tip would be appreciated. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal; as a guide, 35-50 yuan (US$4.80-US$7) per person per day would be a reasonable starting point. We suggest sending an envelope around the group to collect tips anonymously; this can then be presented to the leader by a volunteer spokesperson on the final night.

The ‘tipping kitty’ explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leader.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • This trip visits local communities in Beijing hutongs and in the Xi’an Muslim Quarter. This provides an opportunity to gain an insight into culture and heritage.
  • We have lunch with a local family, which enables the sharing of cultures.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income which is used to upkeep and develop these important sites.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices regarding working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We visit the Chengdu panda breeding centre and fees collected fund their important work on conservation of this endangered species.
  • With our partners, Rewilding Apennines, we rewild 100 square meters (1,075 sqft) of land per passenger who travels with us.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • On days 2 and 10, we use public transport for the city tours, which reduces the carbon footprint of the group.
  • Our local partners have reached B Corp Certification, which requires that they demonstrate high social and environmental performance.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.