Chinese meal

China Food Adventure Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Destinations:
China
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
ACW
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

13 Days Flight Inclusive
12 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

China has an unmistakable love of food; even the standard greeting “Chi fan le mei you” literally translates as “have you eaten (rice) yet?” Each region brilliantly showcases its own unique flavours and ingredients, from the quintessential Peking duck with its plum sauce to the Muslim-influenced Shaanxi cuisine of Xi’an, and from the deliciously fresh seafood of Xiamen to the tantalising spices of Chengdu, this itinerary follows our tastebuds. We sample from the smorgasbord of Chinese regional cuisine whilst visiting some of the country’s most iconic sights such as the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and Gulangyu Island. We try our hand at cooking some of the most popular dishes, learn about the history of Chinese cuisine and really get under the skin of the country by taking in the incredible sights, sounds, smells and, of course flavours of the incredible street food on offer. 

At a Glance

  • 12 days land only/ 13 flight inclusive
  • Travel by train, private minibus, public bus and 2 internal flights
  • 10 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night overnight train
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 7 dinners included
  • Optional single supplement, available on request
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

Trip Highlights

  • Hone your culinary skillls with two cookery classes
  • Peking duck, Dim Sum and other specialities
  • Street food tours, local markets and night bazaars
  • The Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors 
  • The Giant Panda Breeding Centre near Chengdu

Is This Trip for You?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

This holiday is designed so you can experience the culinary highlights of China at a comfortable pace. There is a lot to see and do in the time you are there, but everything is scheduled so that it doesn't feel too rushed. You should come ready for an experience; China can be hard work, and the heat and bustle of some of the cities can be a little overwhelming. That said, there are places where you can find peace and quiet. Although the temperatures in the summer can frequently top 30 degrees Celsius there are many places that offer air conditioning (hotels, transportation and restaurants/shops) so you will find many places to cool down.

Please note that there are several occasions where you will need to carry your own luggage, mainly when journeying to and from the train stations and along the long platforms; sometimes there will only be stairs for access. Trolleys and porters are often available but these should not be relied upon as some stations do not offer these facilities. Many passengers find it useful to bring luggage with wheels.

This food trip will offer you a taste of many different types of Chinese cuisine. The leader will generally order food that famous to the local area, whilst taking note of the preferences of the group.  Please see the food section for more information on what to expect for meals.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

ACW Trip Map

Land Only

Start City:
Beijing
End City:
Shanghai

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Beijing

    There will be a welcome briefing this evening followed by an arrival dinner. Tonight we will experience arguably one of China's most famous exports by tasting the delicious Beijing duck. We will visit a restaurant that specialises in this dish; theatrics should be expected as the servers expertly carve the mouth-wateringly tender duck in front of us before it is served with pancakes, spring onions and a hoisin sauce.
    Dongfang Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Full day at the Great Wall; food walk in Beijing

    We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, an approx. 2.5 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 up to 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).

    Lunch will be taken at a restaurant on the way back to Beijing; we should expect some traditional northern Chinese cuisine involving vegetables (aubergine, lotus roots, mushrooms etc.), tofu, chicken and pork - and much more! During most meals a variety of dishes will be served for the group to share (frequently utilising the ingenious 'Lazy Susan' rotating table-piece) and our leader will help us select dishes depending on the groups' preferences.

    Late in the afternoon we will embark upon a Beijing food adventure to remember as we wander around the busy streets of the capital to gain some real insight into local life. Our dinner will comprise of delicious street food and 'on the go' snacks and we'll explore the stories behind dishes such as 'Queen's dessert', mini hotpots and spring onion pancakes (dishes are seasonal so will vary). Along the way we'll meet local culinary masters, and there'll be an opportunity to practice some of our newly-learnt Chinese words and phrases as we go shopping in the market. 

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Sightseeing in Beijing, visiting Tiananmen Square, hutongs and The Forbidden City; evening sleeper train to Xi'an

    This morning we take public transport to Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world and able to hold over a million people. Then we walk to The Forbidden City and explore its innumerable courtyards and temples. Next we take a walking tour of the city's hutongs (narrow alleys) close to the nearby Jinshan Park to see what's left of old Beijing. We will try some local delicacies in one of the hutong restaurants for lunch.

    After lunch, we take a public bus back to our hotel, stopping to buy some food or snacks for tonights overnight train as there is a limited selection on board. There will be a little time to freshen up at the hotel (we reserve a couple of day rooms for the group) before heading to the train station to catch the sleeper train to the ancient city of Xi'an. The train itself is of a good standard, although all facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers. Sleepers are four berth (bunks) and bedding is provided.

    Overnight train

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 4

    Arrive Xi'an; visit local markets, Grand Mosque and Muslim area

    Xi'an is one of China's former capitals, and one of the few cities in China 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.

    We walk from our hotel, past the Bell and Drum Plaza, to the Muslim quarter where we visit the Great Mosque. The Muslim quarter is a fascinating place to visit, especially in the evening when it comes alive with bustling bazaars and food stalls. Dinner is another sampling extravaganza; we follow a food trail to experience some of the very best cuisine that Xi'an has to offer; from the delicious 'roujiamou' (a shredded, braised meat burger) served with' liangpi' (cold noodles), hot and sour dumplings, flatbread in mutton soup (yangrou paomo) to some of the many 'chuan'er' (meat skewers) on offer. The food here is a delicious combination of flavours resulting from a fusion of Han Chinese and Muslim culture in Xi'an, and these bustling food markets have become food heaven for locals and tourists alike.

    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Morning visit Terracotta Warriors; afternoon 'farmers' style' lunch

    Today we visit the famous mausoleum of Emperor Qin with its staggering display of Terracotta Warriors. 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 now 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 along the city walls to appreciate the sheer scale of these constructions.

    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 6

    Morning bullet train to Chengdu; afternoon trip to local spice market and hot pot dinner

    This morning we will take the bullet train to Chengdu; the capital of Sichuan Province. In China, Chengdu is synonymous with the country's beloved mascot, the Giant panda, which we will have the opportunity to see tomorrow. Sichuan is also well-known for being one of the biggest tea-producing regions in China; this has led to an abundance of different teahouses in the city which seem to define daily life for its inhabitants.

    Sichuan is also recognised throughout China as 'the Spicy Province', and it certainly lives up to its name! Major flavour combinations include garlic, star anise, chili peppers, and the ever-present Sichuanese peppercorn (hua jiao) which is used in many recipes. This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of Chengdu Spice Market which is a delight to the senses! We will learn about the variety of peppers and spices that make Sichuanese cuisine so unique. After this it is time to experience one of the region's most iconic dishes; Sichuanese Hot Pot. Restaurants serving this hugely popular dish can be found on almost every street in Chengdu and we will see groups of friends and families gathering to socialise and eat together. Eating hot pot is quite interactive and everyone turns into a chef, as we each cook our own ingredients in a a steaming pot of hot broth placed at the centre of the table. The soup comes in both spicy and non-spicy forms and the extensive ingredients list includes a variety of meat, eggs, vegetables and tofu so there really is something for everyone!

    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Panda breeding centre; afternoon Sichuan cooking class

    Today is a long and busy day so we have an early start to visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Hopefully these intriguing and rare animals will be feeding, as this is when they're most active; otherwise we will have the opportunity to watch the Pandas indulge in their most common form of entertainment, sleeping!

    In the afternoon we partake in a cooking class. We visit the 'Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Museum' and try our hand at creating some of the area's most popular dishes such as Gong Bao Chicken and Mapo Doufu (bean curd with pork). For those who do not like spice there will be plenty of delicious alternatives guaranteed to make the mouth water!  It's a great opportunity to learn about the history of Sichuanese cuisine and the ingredients available - and we get to eat our creations as an early dinner. 

    For those who have the energy, there is the option to attend the Sichuan Opera tonight, which dates back over 250 years (tickets cost approx. CNY90 per person). Expect slapstick comedy, glass-shattering songs, extravagant costumes, gymnastics and even fire breathing! 

    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Fly to Xiamen; evening trip to seafood market with dinner

    We have a pre-dawn start as flights to Xiamen (on the South East coast of China) are limited and there is no other option but an early morning flight. Known for its sunny climate and picturesque seaside scenery, Xiamen is a popular holiday destination for both domestic and international tourists. Highlights include the vehicle-free Gulangyu Island which boasts classical and romantic European-style architecture.

    This afternoon we will visit one of Xiamen's bustling seafood markets where hundreds of vendors offer the freshest of produce including crab, lobster and many types of fish. Our leader will help us choose from dishes such as BBQ squid skewers, king crab, Xiamen spring rolls and fried oyster omelette, all of which are freshly prepared using the days' catch.

    Xiamen Huaqiao Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    Morning visit to Gulangyu Island; free afternoon

    This morning we will take a 10 minute boat ride to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Gulangyu island. Gulangyu was once the home of a large foreign community group and the architecture is quite different to the mainland's, with charming colonial buildings and many interesting museums. The whole island is pedestrianised and so the beauty of the city is best appreciated on foot, as we meander through the small alleyways and pretty courtyards, and perhaps sip a cup of coffee and watch the world go by from one of the many popular cafes.

    This afternoon is free to relax back in Xiamen. Optional activities include a trip to the beautiful university grounds, a visit to Huli Shan Fortress, or a boat ride along the coast.

    Xiamen Huaqiao Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Fly to Shanghai; orientation walk and Xiaolongbao (steamed bun) dinner

    Transfer to the airport (approx. 1 hour) and fly to Shanghai (the flight usually departs around lunch time and is approx. 1hr 45mins in duration). Upon landing, we drive to our hotel, which can take an our or more depending on traffic. After checking in, we'll take a short walking tour of the famous Bund area to see the iconic buildings along the riverside lit up in all their glory. We end the night with a Xiaolongbao (steamed bun) dinner.

    Shanghai Kingtown Plaza Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 11

    Market tour and cookery class in Shanghai

    This morning we'll take public transport (bus and subway) to the cookery studio and kickstart the experience with a traditional tea ceremony. Sample Kongfu tea, some of the finest in China. Next we'll visit the fresh food market, selecting the best produce before bartering for our ingredients. Back in the kitchen the chef will teach us about Chinese cookery methods and spicing and explain a bit about the links between the food and traditional Chinese medicine. We'll each prepare 2-3 dishes, typically steamed buns, fried dumplings and pancakes, learning how to make dumpling wrappers and the fillings. Afterwards, we eat our creations for lunch together. 

    The rest of the afternoon is free for individual exploration or a bit of shopping before the tour ends. For a different vantage point of the city scape you may want to go to the observation deck of Shanghai Tower (currently the second tallest skyscraper in the world) or the Jin Mao Tower (both optional).

    Shanghai Kingtown Plaza Hotel or similar 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 12

    End Shanghai

    The trip ends today after breakfast.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotels & Sleeper Train

This trip spends 10 nights in comfortable hotels with en suite facilities and 1 night on a first class sleeper train with soft bed berths. In 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 where possible are centrally located. 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).

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £350.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 7 dinners included.

One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine, which can often be in sharp contrast with Western expectations. This trip is designed so you can experience the many flavours and tastes that the country has to offer. Meals generally consist of shared dishes, which is the best way to experience many different ingredients and try things you may not ordinarily choose. There will be traditional dishes such as Beijing duck served with Hoisin sauce and pancakes, Xiaolongbao (steamed buns) in Shanghai and popular meals such as Ma Po Tofu (tofu with beef, chillies and onion) and Gong Bao chicken (chicken with chilli and peanuts). There will also be many opportunities to try some more unusual cuisine such as the interactive Sichuanese Hot Pot, and the delicious fusion of Chinese food with its Islamic influence in Xi'an. On the coast in Xiamen there is an abundance of fresh seafood and this can be cooked to order in the markets, with mouthwatering dishes such as king crab, oyster omelette and BBQ squid skewers. There are two hands-on cookery classes included where you can hone your culinary skills and taste your creations.

On this trip there will be many different dishes to try and the leader will always try and accommodate tastes, but if you do tire of Chinese food there are usually 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. Please ensure you inform us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Transportation

There are two domestic flights included in this tour - these will be in economy class. Road travel will be by private minibus and public bus or taxis in some cities. On trains we use first class 'soft-seat' or 'soft-sleeper'. Most of the driving days are not long, usually no more than four hours. The overnight trains will be booked in first-class sleeper A/C, sleepers are usually four berth (bunks) and bedding is provided. Trains in China are very good and the seating and sleeping arrangements are almost in line with European standards. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with people who are not part of your group. Snacks are often available on board (at an additional cost) but you may wish to purchase your own food prior to the journey.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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 practically 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 20º+C) everywhere. 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 (3º+C), so if travelling in November to March/April 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.

Weather Charts

Beijing

Beijing

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 13 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways or Air China (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Internal flights during the trip are with a local airline.

Travelling land only: 12 days starting in Bejing and ending in Shanghai

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Beijing in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival transfers for any flight, so no matter which flight you choose to arrive on you will be met and transferred to your hotel. A free departure transfer is also offered but only on the day the tour ends. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance; unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre‐tour) hotel; transfers to other hotels in the same city may attract an extra charge; transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

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:
Bejing
Location end:
Shanghai

What to Take

Essential Equipment

In addition to your 'normal' daily clothes, you will need the following:

Light casual cotton clothing is recommended.

Please remember that you will be expected to cover your legs and arms (to the elbow) during visits to some temples and palaces.

Sandals are useful as they are cooler and are easier to take off when visiting temples.

A light pair of long underwear, a fleece and a wind-proof or down jacket if visiting in November to March.

Lightweight walking boots or at least comfortable and strong trainers are recommended for the walk on the Wall, that give proper ankle support. 

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, 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 in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Lightweight waterproof jacket or an umbrella.

The overnight trains are generally very 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!

Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, and eye-protection (sunglasses) and a waterbottle or hydration system (e.g. camelbak) are also useful.

Practical Information

Passport

China

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

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.

For assistance with obtaining visas please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website: http://www.travcour.com/page/tour-packs/exodus.php

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

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.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

China's Timezone:
Asia/Shanghai CST (GMT +08:00)

Electricity

China's Electricity:

China uses non‐grounded twin flat plugs, similar to the nongrounded US version. The voltage provided at sockets is 220V ‐ 240V in China. In China, they also sometimes use Australian style 3‐pronged sockets. Sockets are widely available in the hotels that we use for charging camera equipment.

WiFi, Apps and Websites in China

In China, certain websites and phone apps are blocked, including Google (and therefore Gmail accounts), Facebook and Whatsapp. You may get coverage of these from time to time but for the most part, they will not work during your stay. Alternative web search engines such as Bing are, however, available. The locals commonly use an all-in-one app called 'WeChat' for messaging, voice and video-calls, photo-sharing and language support. If staying connected while you are away is important to you then you may want to download WeChat before you go (and ask those who you want to stay in touch with to do the same).

Money

China's Currency

The national currency of China is the Chinese Yuan (Renminbi) (CNY), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 8.9 to the UK£ and 6.8 to the US$.

Exchange facilities are readily available in all the big cities, and many of the hotels that we stay in also have foreign exchange facilities that do not charge a commission as the banks do. Exchange facilities may be limited in smaller towns. Please note that if you wish to change RMB back into hard currency when you leave China, you may have to produce your exchange certificates to do this.

ATM Availability

There are ATMs almost everywhere in China, either actually in or close by the hotels we use, in the major towns and cities. Most but not all ATMs will take British/ European style cards, but your leader will be able to advise you. Credit cards are widely accepted in China in the cities, less so outside of them. Cash (GBP or USD) is much easier to exchange than travellers' cheques, and can sometimes attract a better rate of exchange. We advise against taking travellers cheques as very few banks can cash them.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow about £200/US$265 for the optional activities mentioned and meals not included, more if you include options given to you locally by your leader not mentioned here. Please note this does not include tips, please see the box below for more details.

Optional Excursions

There are a number of optional activities, which if you wish, your leader can arrange for you. They are subject to schedules and availability; your leader will let you know what is available and the local costs.

Beijing
Opera: CNY265 (approx. £30/US$39)
Kungfu Show: CNY265 (approx. £30/US$39)
Cable car at Great Wall: CNY91 (approx. £10/US$14) one way; CNY116 return (approx. £13/US$17)

Xi'an
Bell and Drum Tower entry CNY50 (£6/US$8)
City wall entry CNY50 (£6/US$8)
Bike rental on the city walls in Xian (90min) CNY45 (£5/US$7)
Tang Dynasty Show and dumpling banquet CNY275 (£30/US$40)

Xiamen
University entry: free
Hulishan Fortress: CNY42 (£5/US$6)
Boat trip from CNY108-750 (£12-83/US$16-110), depending on how many passengers

It is not compulsory to join any of these optional activities and your leader can recommend other options. It is also possible to arrange many of these activities independently if you prefer. The prices quoted above are subject to change and generally do not include transportation to get to these activities, which will cost extra, and there are more expensive tickets available for better seats at various performances.

Please note: Some hotels in China require a refundable deposit of between 200-400CNY (£22-44/US$30-60) 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.

Tipping

This is entirely at your own discretion, however, we suggest that you allow a few pounds to tip the local guides and staff. In China, tipping has become customary. The local staff will probably expect some gratuity and we suggest you allow for this. The leader may suggest to the group that they donate a sum of CNY220 (£24/US$32) per person towards a kitty on arrival. This money is then used for tipping of local guides, hotel porters, drivers etc. It is basically to ensure that the hassle is taken out of various activities for you. Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. If you feel that your leader has performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide, CNY30-35 (£3-4/US$4-5) per person per day would be a reasonable starting point. The 'tipping kitty' explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leader.

Peking Duck

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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 www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, 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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.