What do camping on the Great Wall of China, riding bikes along the Medieval walls of Xi’an, and visiting a panda research centre in Chengdu all have in common? You can do them all on our 25-day China loop.
It’s the perfect mixture of the must-sees and off-the-beaten-track experiences, from the verdant fields of Yangshuo to the UNESCO World Heritage Fujian Tulou. Along the way, you’ll try every region’s stunning local cuisine, get to grips with China’s rich history, and see some of the most stunning landscapes on the planet. So, if this is tempting you at all – here’s how to spend a month in China.
You’ll touch down in Hong Kong, where you’ll meet your Adventure Leader and your group. It’s a flying visit, because you’ll whiz straight off to your first destination – Yangshuo. Not far from Guilin, Yangshuo is a picturesque city renowned for its natural beauty. You’ll spend 3 days there, where you’ll cruise down the Yulong River on bamboo rafts, join a traditional cooking class, visit mud baths and hot springs, or rock climb some of the region’s beautiful limestone peaks.
From there, it’s on to Chengdu, where you’ll spend another 3 days. This city is known the world over as the home of the Giant Panda – so of course, we couldn’t bring you there without taking you to a research centre. You’ll get to meet research specialists who are looking at the best ways to help this amazing species thrive. But that’s not all! You’ll also get to test your mettle with some spicy Sichuan food, learn some Mandarin from your Adventure Leader, and head out to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha.
Bags packed and it’s off to Xi’an, where you’ll spend two days. Spend some time exploring the many museums and galleries across the city, before you bike along the Medieval city walls and learn the history of the Silk Road. No visit would be complete, however, without a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Terracotta Warriors. Considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, the thousands of life-sized carved warriors accompany the tomb of First Emperor Qin, to safeguard him in the afterlife.
Next stop: Shaolin. It’s the home of kung-fu, so you can join a lesson run by a master from the Shaolin Temple itself. You’ll top up your learning with another Mandarin lesson, get the chance to explore the stunning temple itself, or head out to Longmen Grottoes, another UNESCO site containing some of the most stunning works of Chinese stone carving on the planet. There’s over 2,000 caves, which together house over 100,000 (yes, you read that right!) stone Buddhas over a 1km stretch.
Now, we are taking you to Beijing first, but we thought we’d head via a must-see. Anyone fancy a trip to the Great Wall of China? Weather-depending – because it can get very chilly up there – you’ll camp overnight on a deserted section of the wall, waking up to a view you will quite literally never see anywhere else in the world.
In amongst that, though, you’ll get the chance to speak some more Mandarin in Beijing, as well as having a nice lunch on a local farm. You can explore the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven – and be sure to try the specialty Peking duck whilst you’re in town.
We’re bidding a fond farewell to Beijing as we head to pastures new in Hangzhou. Famous for its tea production, you might want to take a trip to the China National Tea Museum while you’re there. However, you’ll have your hands full as, among other things, we’ll take you a on boat tour across the magnificent West Lake, a sunset walk up Jiuyao Mountain, and a stunning hike through the Misty Woods to the Nine Creeks.
From the slower pace of Hangzhou, we kick things up a notch with a trip to the bustling international hub of Shanghai. It’s all systems go here – nightlife, sights to see, and endless fun to be had. Among other things, you’ll take a stunning night cruise down the Huangpu River, get the ultimate skyline view from a rooftop bar, and get an extra special Mandarin lesson from the Mandarin Garden Chinese Language School. Not content with that? You can also explore the People’s Square, the Yu Gardens, and the Former French Concession. You can even spend a free day at Disneyland!
After 3 days, we’ll head to our final destination; the Fujian province. Based in the beautiful city of Longyan, it’s here that you’ll get the incredible iconic views of the tea-growing hills. Amongst other things, you’ll explore the remarkable UNESCO Fujian Tulou site, visit the tea plantations, and take a bike tour through some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. Another 3 days here, and then all that’s left to do is make the journey back to Hong Kong.
You’ll spend a month in China seeing everything. From the tourist highlights – the must-sees, if you will – to the hidden gems that set the tour apart, there’s no end of things to do. You’ve got some unmissable experiences like the below:
- The Great Wall of China
- The Fujian Tulou
- The Terracotta Warriors
- The West Lake boat tour
But you’ve also got some truly unique moments that help make the trip what it is. You’ll visit your Adventure Leader’s home in Yangshuo, learn Mandarin from both locals and specialists, and visit tea plantations deep in the Fujian hillsides. It’s these experiences that help shape your trip to China, taking it from a standard sightseeing holiday to a truly insightful dive into the Chinese way of life.