14 days Chengdu to Beijing
14-day Panda Volunteering & Travel China Group Tour
There's perhaps no more enduring image of China than the Giant Panda. On this China group tour, you'll spend time volunteering to help with rehabilitation and conservation projects in Chengdu, before moving on to explore the beautiful Xi'An, Shaolin & Beijing.
After spending time volunteering at a Giant Panda research center, you’ll explore the very best that China has to offer on this group tour. From the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’An to the Shaolin Temple, from camping on the Great Wall to exploring relaxed Chengdu – you’ll get the full taste of China on this 14-day tour.
Including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping
Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city
Transport within China
Itinerary & map
Day 1: Welcome to Chengdu
Welcome to China! Your panda volunteering group tour starts today, with some time to check into your local hostel. Ahead of meeting your group and beginning your exciting fortnight tomorrow, spend some time exploring the beautiful Chengdu under your own steam.
Day 2: Dujiangyan
This morning, you’ll meet your Adventure Leader and group bright and early in the hostel, ready to transfer to Dujiangyan City for a guided day trip. It’s a beautifully historic area about 50km from Chengdu, and you’ll see both of the area’s two World Heritage Sites over the course of the day.
In the morning, you’ll hike Qingchengshan, a stunning mountain that’s considered one of the birthplaces of Taoism. In the afternoon, you’ll head back into the city to visit Dujiangyan’s ancient irrigation system – built over 2000 years ago, it’s the oldest existing large-scale water project in the world. It plays an important part in flood prevention and agriculture, and is the reason that Chengdu earned the name ‘the Land of Abundance’.
Day 3: Dujiangyan
Your panda volunteering project starts today! After breakfast, you’ll make your way to the panda enclosures. Lasting for the next two days, your volunteer time will be spent helping the rangers and center workers look after the pandas and their enclosures. You can expect to help clean the enclosures, watch the pandas to learn more about their habits, or help them prepare food for them – among many other tasks.
Pandas like to have a siesta from late morning until early afternoon, so in this time you’ll be able to grab lunch and explore your surroundings. You’ll finish volunteering in the mid-afternoon, after which you’ll have free time to head into the Dujiangyan countryside to explore everything the Sichuan province has to offer.
Day 4: Dujiangyan to Chengdu
After spending the day volunteering, you’ll receive a well-deserved certificate marking your efforts helping the panda rehabilitation center before heading back to Chengdu. It’s here that you’ll meet your new Adventure Leader and the rest of your group, ready to carry on your China group tour .
In the evening, if you’d like you can enjoy a traditional Sichuan Opera & Culture Show!
Day 5: Chengdu
After a busy couple of days, today you’ve got some choices of how to spend your day.
If you’d like, you can leave for Leshan, where you’ll see the world’s largest stone Buddha. Carved out of the hillside in the 8th century, it stands at 71m high and looks down on the confluence of three rivers.
Alternatively, you can spend a free day exploring Chengdu at your leisure. Chengdu prides itself on a relaxed way of life, so you can spend time wandering between cafés, parks and forests.
In the evening, we dare you to sample Sichuan hot pot! It’s the region’s most famous staple, known for its healthy doses of spice and deliciousness in equal measure. Afterwards, if you’d like you can spend your evening out and about, exploring what Chengdu has to offer of a nighttime.
Day 6: Chengdu to Xi’An
In the morning, you can either get a well-deserved lie-in, or opt to join us on a visit to the Autism Children’s Rehabilitation Center. Then, just after lunch, if you’d like you can head about to explore Jinli & the People’s Park by public transportation. Built as the city’s first public park in the early twentieth century, it’s renowned for the beautiful landscaping, bonsai garden, winding streams and small tea houses.
This afternoon, it’s time to bid farewell to Chengdu as you head off to your next destination – Xi’An! You’ll grab a train, arriving into the city in the late evening – just in time to check in and grab a good night’s sleep at your new accommodation.
Day 7: Xi’An
You’ve got a free morning today, where you can either take it slow or opt to get out and explore the city’s many shops, museums or temples.
In the mid-afternoon, you’re invited to join us on a spectacular bike ride across Xi’An’s gorgeous Ming Dynasty city walls! [Note: in the hot summer, we may opt to take the bike ride earlier in the day to avoid the heat.]
Then, in the early evening, you can opt to join us for a tour around the Muslim Quarter and the Bell Drum Towers. Xi’An is renowned for its amazing architecture, and here you’ll be able to admire some beautiful examples as you learn about the city’s Silk Road History. While you’re in the Muslim Quarter, be sure to grab some delicious local food from the many street food vendors, before relaxing at the nearby Silk Road market into the evening.
Day 8: Xi’An
You’ve got a full day out today, with one of the China group tour’s most unmissable activities – the Terracotta Warriors! Discovered in the 1970s close to the mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang, the warriors were designed to guard the Emperor in the afterlife. Here, you’ll find thousands of intricately carved stone warriors that are over 2000 years old.
You’ll return into town in the evening – you can either choose to relax or head to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Here, you’ll find an amazing music and lights show that illuminates the whole area!
Day 9: Shaolin
This morning, you’re transferring to the next destination on your panda volunteer group tour – Shaolin! You’ll spend the morning grabbing a couple of buses, arriving in Dengfeng in the early afternoon.
In the afternoon, you can head to a local kungfu school – here, you’ll get a lesson and a demonstration, run by a master from the Shaolin Temple!
You’ll have time to break for dinner in the evening, before joining your Adventure Leader for a Mandarin lesson.
Day 10: Shaolin
Today, you’ve got two options for how to spend your day.
You can visit the home of kungu, the Shaolin Temple! While here, you’ll be able to hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the shrines and temples, and across the whole area.
Had your fill of temples for one day? Alternatively, you might want to visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with thousands of carved Buddhas. They’re some of the finest examples of Chinese art, and stretch through caves that span over a 1km. [Note: if you’re very keen, you can squeeze both options into your day – please tell us about this before your trip starts if you intend to!]
Back at the guesthouse, you’ll have a late lunch in the mid-afternoon, before you’ve got a free afternoon and evening to explore Dengfeng. Be warned – you’ve got an early start tomorrow!
Day 11: Shaolin to Beijing
It’s a pre-dawn rise today, as we’re up to transfer to our next destination – Beijing, the country’s capital! We’ll grab a bullet train this morning, arriving in the early afternoon where we’ll head straight to a local farm for a delicious meal.
We’ll then prepare ourselves to embark on the showstopper of any China Dragon Trip – camping on the Great Wall of China! In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the Wall, where we’ll hike off by hiking along some unrestored sections. We’ll walk until we find a nice secluded spot, where we’ll set up camp to watch the sun set over one of the world’s seven wonders. While you’re there, you’ll also get another helpful Mandarin lesson from your Adventure Leader.
[Note: Due to cold weather, before the end of April and after the end of September, we’ll return to a local guesthouse instead of camping outside.]
Day 12: Beijing
You’ll get the wake up of your life this morning, with a stunning sunrise across the Great Wall of China. After packing up, you’ll head back to Beijing to carry on exploring the capital.
Once back, you’ve got some time to explore under your own duress. You can opt to explore Tiananmen Square and visit the Forbidden City, the largest palatial complex in the world. The grounds boast almost 1000 buildings, and has hosted 24 different Chinese Emperors over the course of the nation’s history.
You can also visit Jingshan Park, where you’ll be able to get incredible views of the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square.
In the afternoon, if you’d like to, you can enjoy an amazing acrobatics and circus show. Performed by young talents recruited from all over China, the shows are a guaranteed great night out.
It’s dinner time! Enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, why not try Beijing’s signature dish – Peking roast duck!
Day 13: Beijing
Today is a free day! You’ll have the option to visit the fake good markets for a spot of shopping, as well as the nearby Temple of Heaven.
In the afternoon, you can visit the Nanluo district. Nanluo is one of the best-preserved historical areas in Beijing, that’s famous for its hutongs and siheyuan courtyards, as well as the bars, cafes and handicraft shops.
Day 14: Farewell
Enjoy another free morning packing in the last few of Beijing’s sights, before your panda volunteer group tour comes to an end. In the afternoon, you’ll bid farewell to your fellow Dragons and get ready to head home!
Check out our included activities for this group tour below:
- Dujiangyan City day tour – including Qingchengshan hike and irrigation system visit. (Chengdu)
- 2-day panda volunteering experience at the Panda Research Center in Chengdu. (Chengdu)
- Terracotta Warriors visit (Xi’An)
- 2x Mandarin lessons with your Adventure Leader
- Great Wall of China hike & overnight camping experience (Beijing)
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.
Activities that aren’t included:
- Free time activities in Chengdu (Chengdu)
- Sichuan Opera & Culture Show (Chengdu)
- Leshan Stone Buddha visit (Chengdu)
- Visit to the Autism Children’s Rehabilitation Center (Chengdu)
- Optional hot pot dinner (Chengdu)
- Free time activities in Xi’An (Xi’An)
- Bike ride on the City Walls (Xi’An)
- Tour around the Muslim Quarter and Bell Drum Towers, with Silk Road Market visit (Xi’An)
- Music & lights show at the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (Xi’An)
- Free time activites in Shaolin/Dengfeng (Shaolin)
- Kungfu lesson & show with a Shaolin master (Shaolin)
- Shaolin Temple visit & Dharma Cave hike (Shaolin)
- Longmen Grottoes visit (Shaolin)
- Free time activities in Beijing, including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Jingshan Park (Beijing)
- Optional Peking duck dinner (Beijing)
- Chinese acrobatics & circus show (Beijing)
As standard on the panda volunteering China group tour, a room upgrade is included on all accommodation.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
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 in Beijing, we can arrange additional accommodation for you.
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.