25-day China Loop
Explore the tropical south, rural west, historic north and the flourishing east, in one of the biggest, most comprehensive, best-value backpacking China tours on the market!
Our 25-day China adventure goes through the major regions, top destinations, famous sites and countless hidden gems in off-the-beaten-track locations. It’s probably the quickest, most cost-effective and enjoyable way of seeing so much that this eye-opening country has to offer.
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Day 1: Hong Kong
- First Meeting time 7am @ Yes inn @ Yau Ma Tei Hostel (formerly known as Hi Inn @ Nathan Road / Wing Sing Hotel). The address is 2nd Floor, 1B Wing Sing Lane, Yau Ma Tei.
- Travel up to Victoria Peak and enjoy a view of Hong Kong from above. (PLEASE NOTE: From late April to late July 2019, the Peak tram will be suspended. The Peak may not be open for visitors during this period. If it is closed, The Dragon Trip will provide an alternative program.)
- Pre-departure briefing on top of Victoria Peak
- Second meeting time at 10am to Depart from the Yesinn to cross the border and board your train to Guilin. This is the last time and chance to meet your group if you’ve missed the 7 am departure.
- Depart from the Yesinn to cross the border and board your train to Guilin.
- Board your 3-hour bullet train to Guilin
- Arrive in Guilin. You have the choice to have dinner at this point, or enjoy a meal in Yangshuo two hours from now.
- Check-in (time may vary depending on whether the group decides to have dinner in Guilin, or Yangshuo)
Day 2-5: Yangshuo
- Try your hand at cooking up some traditional Chinese foods at this friendly and practical local cuisine institute
- Group Lunch
- Unmissable Activity: Cruise down the Yulong River on these Chinese style Gondolas – Bamboo Rafts! Bikes included to ride around! (please make sure you wear a helmet at all times when you are riding your bike!)
- Optional: Bike Ride to Moon Hill and a cave complex including mudbaths and hot springs
- Optional: Try your hand at Rock-Climbing!
- Optional: Kayaking on the Li River!
- Optional: Experience Chinese traditional therapies such as Hot Cupping
- Optional: A true treat, experience what life is like on a farm by visiting your Adventure Leader’s home village
- Board minibus to North Bus Station and then board your bus to Guilin
- Depart Yangshuo on a bullet train to Chengdu, arriving in the evening. Take a metro to your hostel and meet your new Adventure Leader!
Day 6-8: Chengdu
- Unmissable Activity: Gather up to go see the Pandas at the world’s main and biggest, Giant Panda Breeding & Research Center.
- Mandarin Lesson 1: Have a Mandarin lesson with your Adventure Leader
- Optional: Watch a traditional Sichuan Opera & Culture Show
- Optional: Leave to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha.
- Optional: Wander Jinli street and the Tibetan districts independently. (Chengdu is right next to Tibet, or Xizang in Mandarin, so there is a large ethnic community here)
- Optional: Sample the famous Sichuan Hot Pot if you dare! (Legendary Spice!)
- Have a night out in Chengdu
- Optional: Volunteer at an Autism Children Rehabilitation Centre (If you would like to donate money or school materials, please talk to your Adventure Leader.)
- Optional: Visit Wenshu Monastery, Sichuan Province Museum, People’s Park and a traditional Tea House
- Take bus or metro to Chengdu North Railway Station.
- Say goodbye to your Adventure Leader and board your train to Xian
Day 9-10: Xi’an
- Arrive in Xi’an and meet your next Adventure Leader
- Check-in to your hostel
- Optional: 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.
- Enjoy a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter. Relax after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
- Un-missable Attraction – Terracotta Warriors
- Optional: Bike Ride on Ming Dynasty City Walls. Please make sure you wear a helmet!
- Optional: Watch the Music & Lights show near the Big Goose Pagoda
Day 11-12: Shaolin
- Board a private minivan than take a bus to DengFeng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple
- Arrive in DengFeng
- Optional: Kung Fu Lesson & Show at a local Children’s Home run by the Shaolin Temple, where the monks teach these children to be Kungfu masters. All proceeds go directly to the Children’s Home.
- Dinner in the Guesthouse
- Mandarin lesson: Have your second Mandarin lesson
- Optional: Visit the flagship of Kung Fu, The Shaolin Temple
- Optional: Hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims, and be rewarded by beautiful views of both the shrines/temples in the area and the views of the area
- Optional: Had enough of temples or kung-fu? Visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO world heritage site with over 100,000 carved Buddha’s
- Have a late lunch at the guesthouse then pack and check out
- Depart to Zhengzhou to board your train to Beijing
- Arrive at the train station and have some food before your train leaves
Day 13-16: Beijing
- Arrive Beijing and meet your next Adventure Leader. Transfer by minibus to the hostel. 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 Wall in the afternoon
- Mandarin lesson: Have your 3rd Mandarin Lesson
- It’s time for the Mandarin challenge! Use your freshly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways. The winning team earns a prize.
- Mandatory meal at a local farm to obtain permission to access the locals only sections of the unrestored Great Wall
- Unmissable Attraction – Hike on totally unrestored sections of the Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section of the wall to watch the sunset on one of the Wonders of the World (Please note, due to cold weather before end of April and after September, we stay in a guest house near the Wall instead of camping, but still return to the Wall to watch sunrise in the morning)
- Unmissable Attraction – Sunrise on the Wall
- Return to Beijing
- Optional: A stunning Chinese Acrobatics Performance performed by young talents recruited from around China
- Enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, taste Beijing’s signature dish Peking Roast Duck
- Optional: Take a walk through the globally recognized, Tiananmen Square
- Optional: Visit the Forbidden City. The largest palatial complex in the world, the grounds boast 980 buildings and a history of housing 24 different Chinese royalty
- Optional: Go to Jingshan Park for a bird’s eye view of the three palaces: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square.
- Test your bargaining skills in the Fake Goods Market!
- Optional: Go to the Temple of Heaven, the largest complex dedicated to heaven worship in the world and where ancient sacrifices were made to bring bountiful harvests
- Optional: Visit Nanluo district, one of the best-preserved historical areas in Beijing. It is famous for its hutongs and siheyuan courtyards as well as the bars, cafes and handicraft shops
- Enjoy a free day before heading to your next destination
- Optional: Visit the 798 art district, the Summer Palace, or any other highlights of Beijing
- Board night train to Hangzhou
Day 17-18: Hangzhou & Shanghai
- Head to West Lake for a relaxing boat tour
- Optional: Learn about China’s trade history with visits to the China National Tea Museum or the National Silk Museum
- Hike up Jiuyao Mountain to catch the sunset over West Lake
- Enjoy a delicious group dinner back in the city centre
- Optional: Explore Hangzhou old town
- Have a big breakfast ready for more activities
- Head to Misty Forest for a hike around the Nine Creeks area
- Return to the hostel to freshen up, grab lunch and check out
- Take a private transfer Hangzhou Station for your train to Shanghai
- Arrive in Shanghai and take the metro to the hostel
- Optional: Experience the city’s nightlife with the Shanghai Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl! (Only available on Saturday. If you arrive on a different day, then you can enjoy our alternative activity, a cruise on the Huangpu River by night. Please see Day 19-21 for more details.)
Day 19-21: Shanghai
- Optional: Take the bus to ZhuJiaJiao Water Town, a Chinese equivalent to the Italian Venice
- Take the bus back to Shanghai
- Enjoy the night Chinese-style by going out for some Karaoke at KTV
- Spend your free day as you please! As your Adventure Leader for suggested activities or look in your Little Red Book for inspiration
- Optional: Spend your free day releasing your inner child at Shanghai Disneyland
- Mandarin Lesson 4: Today your lesson is run by professional teachers from Mandarin Garden Chinese Language School!
- Optional: Walk to the Yu Gardens and back a bustling historical site of a former dignitary lavish family quarters
- Optional: See People’s Square, before heading on to the World’s busiest shopping street, Nanjing Road. Afterwards, go for a walk along the bund, a hub of global architecture. To finish off, head to the top floor of a skyscraper to enjoy some champagne whilst sitting in a hot tub.
- Optional: Stroll through the former French Concession to hear a little bit about Shanghai’s international history, visit a secretive propaganda history museum, take in the sights of the ultra-modern Shanghai financial district, take a local ferry cross the famous Huangpu river from east to the west of The Bund and finish off the afternoon by visiting TianZiFang a local artisan’s lane that blends the chic and traditional
- Optional: For the daredevils, head to the top of Jinmao Tower and brave the Skywalk! Or just go up and take in the panoramic views
- Optional: Go to VUE bar to view the city skyline from a rooftop jacuzzi!
- Optional: Take in the bright city lights from the water with a night cruise down the Huangpu River
Day 22-24: Fujian
- Take the metro to Hongqiao station.
- Take a bullet train to Nanjing, Fujian.
- Arrive in Nanjing then transfer by minivan deep into the Fujian tea-growing hills and stay overnight in a mud roundhouse, the traditional homes of the Hakka Minority People.
- Arrive at the traditional roundhouse and have dinner
- Un-missable Activity – Walking tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fujian Tulou, exploring the Hakka Minority Roundhouses, picturesque villages, tea fields, traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting.
- Visit the tea plantations. Take some cash if you’d like to purchase some tea.
- Un-missable Activity: Bike tour, visit the biggest roundhouse. (There is a support vehicle at all times if you have had enough of cycling) See the largest Tulou in the world and explore upstairs. Then make a visit to the neighbouring local village.
- Free time
- Arrive at the train station to take your train to Guangzhou.
Day 24-25: Macao day trip then back to HK
- If you travel to Macao for the day trip, you’ll arrive at Guangzhou East and take the bus to the Zhuhai border.
- Go through the border. Try some delicacies offered while passing through. Board casino bus to a hotel on the Kotai strip. Freshen up, and drop bags and then take the bus to Old Town.
- Un-missable Activity: Take a quick tour of the Ruins of St Paul and the Old Fortress in Macao’s Historic Centre.
- Optional: Test your courage with the World’s Highest Bungee Jump.
- After your day trip to Macao, you will:
- Grab your luggage then head to the ferry port to take the hydrofoil back to Hong Kong.
- Arrive in Hong Kong and take the metro back to the Yes Inn @ Yau Ma Tei Hostel at 22:30.
- Say goodbye to your group and finish up your tour with The Dragon Trip. We wish you safe travels!
Our China tour package price includes the following:
Bilingual Adventure Leaders
Accommodation (hostels, guest houses, and 1 night camping)
Transport within China
All unmissable activities (see itinerary).
Please note: Accommodation is in dorm rooms as a standard on our China tours.
Upgrade options (to single, twin, or double rooms) are available, please contact us for more information.
Need hostels booked for after your China tour ends? We are more than happy to help – just let us know what you need!
A deposit is required to make a reservation on our China tours, with the balance due one month prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £200 GBP / $300 USD / $300 AUD / €300 EUR.
For customers making payment from the UK: please note that when you are making a payment into our US dollar account you must request your bank to send the money directly to our US dollar account at HSBC UK. Otherwise they may use an intermediary bank resulting in an added wiring fee charged to you of $25.00.
Late booking customers must understand that they may be sat separately from the rest of the group on trains, and may have to be booked into a separate dorm room. No bookings can be accepted within 18 days of a trip departure date.
If you would like to alter your trip itinerary from the one provided to you by us then please let us know more than 30 days before your trip departs so that we can make your trip the perfect one for you! When you let us know that means we can relay all information to our on the ground staff and make the appropriate arrangements. Some such requests from previous Dragon Trippers are: I would like to skip Macau and go directly to Hong Kong from Fujian, I don’t need accommodation in Shanghai because I am staying with a friend, I would not like to camp on the wall and instead want to stay in regular accommodation, I would like to take a flight instead of a train for certain legs of the trip. Please let us know more than 30 days in advance. If you do not let us know in advance The Dragon Trip will not be responsible for assisting you, or for providing reimbursement for accommodations or transportation not used.
Upgrades & extras
Room and train upgrades for the entirety of this route are available. Room upgrade requests must be communicated to the Dragon Trip before the start of the trip. Customers wishing to upgrade once the trip has started must do so independently. Train upgrades are unavailable once train tickets have been booked, train upgrades only apply to over-night trains.
Room upgrades are $780 USD. In Beijing everyone will get twin rooms, those who have paid for an upgrade will receive a superior room. Train upgrades are £350.
The Yes Inn @ YMT has a luggage storage service that is available to use for Dragon Trip travellers. It is $20 HKD per day, per bag. Please make sure to receive your receipt from the Yes Inn at time of luggage storage. Please note that any theft, loss or damage caused to your luggage while in storage is not the responsibility of The Dragon Trip and any queries or issues with the service should be brought directly to the attention of the Yes Inn @ YMT.
The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers for our China tours. In Beijing and Shanghai, the price is GBP 40 for a pick-up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 PAX). 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 GBP 40 extra for a pick-up or drop off (up to 3 PAX). In Guilin, Xi’an and Chengdu, the price is GBP 30 for a pick-up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 PAX). If you’d like a bilingual guide, it is GBP 30 for a pick-up or drop off (up to 3 PAX). This service is not available in Hong Kong.
All train tickets in China must be purchased through a central booking centre which means there is always a small chance that you may not be seated together with the person that you have booked the tour together with. If you or your PAX has a seat that is not next to the group’s our Adventure Leaders have a process to help you switch your tickets so that you are seated next to the group. (In some train stations, the Adventure Leader will be able to board the train even when they won’t be travelling themselves. In this case, they will switch you or your PAXs tickets with a local so that Dragon Trippers can sit together. In the case that our Adventure Leader cannot board the train, they will be able to explain in Mandarin over the phone to a conductor, or directly to a local passenger to help switch seats so that Dragon Trippers may be seated 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.
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