12 days Chengdu to Beijing
12-day Panda Volunteering & Travel
There is no animal on earth quite like the Giant Panda. Endangered, massive and incredibly cute! This China group tour enables you to get up close and personal with these amazing animals and make a genuine difference to their lives.
After your time with the pandas- there are more highlights in store with six days travelling through China on The Dragon Trip. In this time, you’ll see the terracotta warriors, learn kung fu in Shaolin and camp under the stars on the Great Wall of China.
Including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping
Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city
Transport within China
Itinerary & map
Day 1 – Chengdu:
Your guide would have already been in touch to arrange your transfer this morning to your guesthouse that you’ll be staying in whilst you’re volunteering. You will be picked up at 10.30am from Mrs Panda Hostel, so that you can be transferred to the to the Dujiangyan Panda Research Centre. Upon arrival, you will get to know your new Adventure Leader who will be with you for the next 4 days. Take time to unpack your belongings and take a tour of the local area.
Day 2 to 4 – Dujiangyan Panda Research Centre:
From day 2 to 4 of your volunteering experience at the Panda Research Centre, you will make your way to the Panda enclosures after breakfast. The first thing you will do is a general cleaning of the enclosures, and then, you will feed the Pandas, this usually happens from 8:40am until 11am.
It is important to note that pandas do not like to move too much, especially during summer, so they are given a daily rest from 11am until 2pm. During this time, you can have your lunch provided by the centre, look at the videos about Pandas or you can also have a rest.
Usually, the afternoons are spent helping the rangers with whatever they need doing like cleaning, feeding pandas and making the food. Normally, the volunteering section finishes around 3pm, after that you will have free time to go out and explore the surrounding beautiful scenic sights. Or, you can take part in a variety of optional activities. Immerse yourself in the outdoors with a hike to Qingcheng Mountain, explore some of the popular local historic sites, take time to relax in the local hot springs or learn how to make your own tea! On day 4, you’ll receive your certificate in recognition of your efforts at the Panda Reserve.
Day 5 – Chengdu & Xi’an:
With your volunteering having come to an end, today you will transfer back to Mrs Panda’s hostel. Here, you will meet up with the rest of the group who you’ll be travelling with for the rest of your trip. You will have some free time until 3pm to walk around, for example, you could visit Jinli & People’s park or if you’d like to have a rest and some free time of your own, that’s fine too!
Around 5pm, you will board a 4-hour bullet train to Xi’an where you will meet your Adventure Leader and transfer by metro to the hostel.
Day 6 – Xian:
You have a free morning! Your Adventure Leader will suggest some activities such as visiting museums, temples or going shopping. You could explore the Bell Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque to learn about the history of the Silk Road, towers, mosque and some local legends.
Around 3pm, you have the option to bike ride along the Ming Dynasty City Walls. Please make sure you wear a helmet!
In the evening, enjoy a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter. You will discover more of Xian after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
Day 7 – Xian:
Here you’ll tick off a bucket-list destination with a trip to see the world famous Terracotta warriors. The Terracotta Army in Xian, is a large collection of life-size terra cotta sculptures in battle formations, reproducing the mega imperial guard troops of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210BC), the first emperor of the first unified dynasty of Imperial China. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Terracotta Army is no doubt a must-see for every visitor to Xian.
In the evening, you can enjoy the music and light fountain show that takes place on the North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in the Qujiang District.
Day 8 – Shaolin:
The next morning, you will be off on a long journey to Shaolin.
In the afternoon, you can visit a local Kung Fu Children’s Home and join in on a lesson and show run by a master from the Shaolin Temple. After dinner, you can have another Mandarin lesson to top up what you have learned so far!
Day 9 – Shaolin:
You have two options today:
– You can visit the home of Kung Fu, The Shaolin Temple, and hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims. Here, you will be rewarded by beautiful views of both the shrines and temples in the area.
– Or if you’ve had enough of temples and Kung Fu isn’t your combat style, you can visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO world heritage site with over 100,000 carved Buddha’s.
Later, you can have a late lunch at the guesthouse then check out and depart to Zhengzhou to board your night train to Beijing.
Day 10 – Beijing:
When you arrive in Beijing, you will meet your next Adventure Leader and go to a hostel for a rest. You won’t be staying the night here, so you won’t be able to get into rooms, but can use the shower rooms, and common areas to relax before heading to the Great Wall of China in the afternoon.
After a couple of hours, you can take another mandarin lesson and you can use your freshly learned language skills to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways on a scavenger hunt – the winning team earns a prize!
After a late lunch at a local farm you will gain access to a section of the Great Wall that only the locals get to see and then you’ll hike on the unrestored sections of the Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section. Enjoy the peace and quiet!
Day 11 – Beijing:
The sunrise on the Great Wall of China will be the most unforgettable part of your trip. Today you will wake up early, enjoy the silence and watch the sun rise over the Great Wall.
Around 9am, you’ll return to Beijing. On your way back to Beijing, you may stop off at the 2009 Olympic Park to take a few snaps. For the rest of the day, you are free to do what you want, however you can take part in some optional activities. Either pay a visit fake good markets or go to Jingshan park for a bird’s-eye view of the three places: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square
You can also watch a stunning Chinese Acrobatics Performance performed by young talents recruited from around China. Additionally, enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, you can taste Beijing’s signature dish Peking Roast Duck.
Day 12 – Beijing:
Today is the last day of your China tour. Say goodbye to your fellow travellers and head back home! We hope that you had an amazing experience and we wish you safe and happy onward travels!
Check out some of the affordable activities you can do on our tour:
- Panda Volunteering (Chengdu)
- Qingcheng Mountain (Chengdu)
- Jiezi Ancient Town (Chengdu)
- Hot Springs (Chengdu)
- Puzhao Buddhist Temple (Chengdu)
- Six Senses Afternoon Tea (Chengdu)
- Zhujuan Coffee Shop (Chengdu)
- Tie-Dye Process (Chengdu)
- Tea Process (Chengdu)
- The Jinli Old Street & People’s Walking Tour (Chengdu)
- Bike Ride on Ming Dynasty Walls (Xian)
- Bell Drum Tower and Muslim Quarter (Xian)
- Terracotta Warriors (Xian)
- Big Goose Pagoda (Xian)
- Kung Fu Lesson (Shaolin)
- Hike to Dharma Cave (Shaolin)
- Longmen Grottoes (Shaolin)
- Great Wall of China (Beijing)
- Visit the 2009 Olympic Park (Beijing)
- Fake Goods Market & Temple of Heaven (Beijing)
- Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
- Chinese Acrobatics Show (Beijing)
- Peking Roast Duck (Beijing)
*Unmissable activities are listed in bold and included in the trip price. Find our extra optional activities here.
There is always a small chance a group member’s ticket may not be sat with the rest of the group on one of the trains. Not to worry, in this situation the Adventure Leader will help you switch with a local so that the Dragon Trippers can sit together.
The use of Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited during activities organized by The Dragon Trip. If you are in possession of a drone when entering the country it is your responsibility to be informed of and follow all local laws. This may include registering your drone with authorities. If you violate this policy or operate a drone illegally you are subject to removal from the tour as per our terms & conditions.
You will receive a wristband which will have a phone number on it for you to call in emergencies.
Accommodation at the Panda Centre are single or twin rooms. Dorm rooms are as standard throughout the rest of the tour.
Upgrade options to private rooms on the tour are available, please contact us for more information.
If you are arriving early into Chengdu before your volunteering experience with the Giant Pandas or staying on at the end of the group tour, we can arrange additional accommodation for you.
Train upgrades are unavailable once train tickets have been booked, train upgrades only apply to over-night trains. Train upgrades cost £45 per person.
The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers. In Beijing and Shanghai, the price is £40 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 customers). If you’d like a bilingual guide to meet you and ride with you from the airport to your destination, or vice versa, it is £40 extra for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 customers). In Guilin, Xi’an and Chengdu, the price is £30 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 customers). If you’d like a bilingual guide, it is £30 for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 customers). This service is not available in Hong Kong.
A deposit is required to make a reservation on our China tours, with the balance due 40 days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply).
The deposit is 10% of the group tour price (unless stated otherwise). If you book on to our China tours less than 40 days prior to departure, the full balance will be due within 3 days of booking.
No bookings can be accepted within 18 days of a trip departure date.