25 days Hong Kong Loop
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 best selling 25-day China adventure tour 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, budget friendly and enjoyable way of seeing so much that this eye-opening country has to offer.
Including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping
Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city
Transport within China
Itinerary & map
Day 1 – Hong Kong & Yangshuo:
On the first day of your China group tour, you will meet your Adventure Leader at 7am at the hostel for a pre-departure meeting.
If you’re an early bird, you will travel up to Victoria Peak and enjoy an exceptional view over Hong Kong. If you’re a little jetlagged, you can join at 10am, when the group will leave the hostel, say goodbye to Hong Kong and head to Yangshuo.
After a 3-hour bullet train to Guilin and a 2-hour bus to Yangshuo, you will check-in to your new hostel.
Day 2 – Yangshuo:
Today is a free day! You can decide how you’d like to spend it. You have the option to join a traditional cooking class, kayak along the Li River or experience traditional Chinese therapy such as hot cupping.
Day 3 – Yangshuo:
Get ready for adventure! You’ll start the day at 9.30am with a morning bike ride along with a cruise down the Yulong River on bamboo rafts. If you have a waterproof camera, definitely bring it along for this activity!
Later on in the day, you have the option to continue the fun and visit local mud baths and hot springs. In the evening, why not participate in some karaoke with the rest of the group?
Day 4 – Yangshuo:
Another free day! There is a tonne to see and do in Yangshuo and its beautiful surroundings are a feast on the eyes. To gain a new perspective, this morning, we recommend rock climbing to the top of one of the regions limestone peaks.
In the afternoon, you can experience life on a farm by visiting your local Adventure Leader’s home village.
Day 5 – Chengdu:
On to the next destination! You will board a bus and travel back to Guilin and take a bullet train to Chengdu, arriving in the evening. You will take the metro to the hostel and meet your new Adventure Leader!
Day 6 – Chengdu:
The day starts early as you will be off to the Giant Panda Breeding & Research Centre. You can’t hold or touch the pandas but you will see them up close and learn about the centres efforts to breed them and release them into the wild.
Later in the day, you will also be taught some mandarin thanks to your Adventure Leader and after lunch will visit an Autism Children Rehabilitation Centre.
In the evening, you have the option to enjoy a traditional Sichuan show.
Day 7 – Chengdu:
Today is a free day! In the morning, you have the option to go to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha. Carved into the side of Mt. Lingyun, the colossal statue is over 1,300-years-old and is considered to the tallest pre-modern statue. The site attracts millions of people every year, including Buddhist pilgrims, making it something of a sacred destination and an ancient wonder of the world.
In the evening you can sample to famous Sichuan Hot Pot (if you dare!) You can also have a night out in Chengdu and enjoy your freedom!
Day 8 – Chengdu & Xian:
This morning you can enjoy a lazy lie in to recover from the night before or get up early and explore the sights of Chengdu – perhaps enjoy a spot of shopping.
After lunch, you have the option to visit the Chengdu People’s Park. There are many scenic spots in this park, including the Gold Water Stream, the Goldfish Island and the Potted Landscape Garden. Besides appreciating the charming landscape, tourists can sail on the artificial lake, drink tea in the teahouse by the lake and watch all kinds of exhibitions and performances on the Rockery Square.
Around 5pm you will say goodbye to the Adventure Leader and board your train to travel to Xian. Here you will meet your new Adventure Leader and go to your hostel.
Day 9 – Xian:
You have the morning free to visit temples, museums or go shopping in your own time.
In the afternoon, you have the option to bike ride on Ming Dynasty City Walls and later, to explore the Bell-Drum Towers and Muslim quarter to learn about the history of the Silk Road. Make sure to enjoy some local street food!
Day 10 – Xian:
Today’s unmissable attraction is the tour of 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 11 – Shaolin:
The next morning, you will be off on a long journey to Shaolin.
This 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 12 – 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 for Zhengzhou. Here you will board your night train to travel to Beijing.
Day 13 – The Great Wall of China:
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 we will gain access to a section of the Great Wall that only the locals get to see and then we will hike on the unrestored sections of the Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section
Day 14 – 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 and have the option to visit fake good markets and the nearby Temple of Heaven.
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 15 – Beijing:
Today is a free day! You’ll have the option to take a walk through the infamous, Tiananmen Square, or visit the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is the largest palatial complex in the world, with 980 buildings and a history of housing 2 different Chinese emperors.
You can also go to Jingshan Park for a bird’s eye view of the three palaces: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square.
In the afternoon, you can visit the Nanluo district, one of the best-preserved historical areas in Beijing, famous for its hutongs and siheyuan courtyards as well as the bars, cafes and handicraft shops.
Day 16 – Beijing:
Enjoy another free morning to pack in the last few of Beijing’s sights before heading to your next destination. You can visit the 798 art district, the Summer Palace, or any other highlights of Beijing.
In the evening, you will board the night train to Hangzhou.
Day 17 – Hangzhou:
You’ll arrive in Hangzhou in the morning where you’ll go to your hostel for a late breakfast. Then, you will visit the famous West Lake and take a relaxing boat tour to one of the islands.
You will also have the option to learn about China’s trade history with visits to the China National Tea Museum or the National Silk Museum and then around 5pm, you will hike up Jiuyao Mountain to catch the stunning sunset over West Lake.
Day 18 – Hangzhou & Shanghai:
An early start today, to hike up to the Nine Creeks meandering through the Misty Woods. This is where you will witness a peaceful and charming setting in the hills of Hangzhou, with paved paths winding along streams and trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes.
Then you will return to the hostel, check out and have lunch before heading to Shanghai by train, and then you’ll take the metro to the hostel.
Once settled in, you will have the option (if it’s a Saturday) to experience the city’s nightlife with the Shanghai Dragon Pub Crawl!
Day 19 – Shanghai:
Today is a free day! There are plenty of activities you can do and a highlight for many is visiting Disneyland! If you fancy something more cultural, we also recommend visiting the Shanghai Museum, Moganshan Art Street or ZhuJiaJiao Water Town.
Day 20 – Shanghai:
In the late morning, you will have a fourth mandarin lesson held by professional teachers from the Mandarin Garden Chinese Language School. By now, you should be really getting the hang of things.
Later, you’ll have the option to walk to the Yu Gardens, a bustling historical site of a former dignitary’s lavish family quarters. You can also see People’s Square, before heading on to the world’s busiest shopping street, Nanjing Road.
Afterwards, you can 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 and admiring Shanghai’s ever-changing skyline. Enjoy your free evening!
Day 21 – Shanghai:
In the morning, you have the option to stroll through the former French Concession to learn about Shanghai’s international history, visit a secretive propaganda history museum and take in the sights of the ultra-modern Shanghai financial district.
For the daredevils, you can head up to the top of Jinmao Tower and brave the Skywalk! Or you can just go up and take in the stunning panoramic views.
In the evening, you take in the bright city lights from the water with a night cruise down the Huangpu River.
Day 22 – Fujian:
Off to the next destination: Fujian! You will take a bullet train from Shanghai to Nanjing, where you will be transferred by minivan deep into the Fujian tea-growing hills and visit the famous mud roundhouses, the traditional homes of the Hakka Minority People.
Take a minibus back to your accommodation, where you’ll have some free time to kick back and relax.
Day 23 – Fujian:
In the morning, you will have some breakfast at your hostel and then head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fujian Tulou, exploring the Hakka Minority Roundhouses, picturesque villages, tea fields, traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting. You will visit the tea plantations, so take some cash if you’d like to purchase some tea!
This evening, there will be a movie night if you want to chill out.
Day 24 – Fujian & Guangzhou:
Grab your bike for a tour of the local area and visit the world’s biggest roundhouse, also known as a Tulou, along the way!
Then, visit to the neighbouring local village. Later on, you will have some free time to relax before going to the train station to take your train to Guangzhou.
Day 25 – Hong Kong:
Once you arrive in Guangzhou, there will be time for breakfast before taking a bus to the Zhuhai border.
You’ll head back to Hong Kong and take the metro back to the hostel, arriving at around 2pm – say goodbye to your group and finish up your tour with The Dragon Trip.
We wish you safe travels!
Our list of affordable activities:
• Victoria Peak Walk (Hong Kong)
• Bamboo rafting (Yangshuo)
• Yulong River bike ride (Yangshuo)
• Giant Panda Breeding and Research Centre (Chengdu)
• Jinli Street and Tibetan district (Chengdu)
• Wenshu Monastery, Mao’s Statue, People’s Park and traditional tree house (Chengdu)
• Volunteer at a local Autism Rehabilitation Centre (Chengdu)
• Terracotta Warriors (Xi’an)
• Hike to Dharma Cave (Shaolin)
• Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
• Fake market (Beijing)
• Great Wall of China (Beijing)
• Visit the 2009 Olympic Park (Beijing)
• National Tea or National Silk Museums (Hangzhou)
• Explore the Old Town (Hangzhou)
• People’s Square (Shanghai)
• Walking tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Tulou (Fujian)
• Tea plantations (Fujian)
• Bike tour around the roundhouses (Fujian)
*Unmissable activities are listed in bold and included in the trip price. The rest are optional, affordable and highly recommended. 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.
Room and Train upgrades
These are available for the entirety of this route. 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 for our 25-day China Loop are £240 for a single room upgrade, or £120 per person for a double room upgrade. In Beijing everyone will get twin rooms, those who have paid for an upgrade will receive a superior room. Train upgrades are £70.
The Yes Inn @ YMT has a luggage storage service that is available to use for Dragon Trip travellers. It is $30 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.
Airport transfers in Hong Kong are not available.
We can arrange additional nights accommodation in Hong Kong if you plan on arriving early or staying on at the end of your trip. Do get in touch to find out the price.
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.