25 days Hong Kong Loop
25-day China Loop
Explore the tropical south, rural west, historic north and the flourishing east, in the biggest, most comprehensive, best-value backpacking China tour on the market!
Our best selling 25-day China 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.
What's included on the China tour
Including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping
Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city
Transport within China
Itinerary & map
China Group Tour
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 10.30am, ready to leave the hostel at around noon and set out for Yangshuo.
After a 4 hour train (with a quick stop in Shenzen), you’ll arrive in Yangshuo, ready to 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 a 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. This is a really essential part of any China tour!
Later in the day, you will also be taught some Mandarin thanks to your Adventure Leader, and this evening, you have the option to enjoy a traditional Sichuan opera 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 & Xi’an:
This morning you can enjoy a lazy lie in to recover from the night before. Or, if you’re keen to get out into the area, use the morning to pay a visit to a local rehabilitation center for children with autism.
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 your Adventure Leader and board your train to travel to Xian, the next stop on your China group tour. Here, you will meet your new Adventure Leader and go to your hostel.
Day 9 – Xi’an:
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 the city walls, which date back to the Ming Dynasty. Later, you can explore the Bell-Drum Towers and the Muslim Quarter to learn about the history of the Silk Road. Make sure to enjoy some local street food while you’re there!
Day 10 – Xi’an:
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 terracotta 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 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 school to 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 Buddhas.
Later, you can have a late lunch at the guesthouse before you 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 you can use the shower rooms and common areas to relax in, before we move on later today. After a couple of hours, you can take another Mandarin lesson and then put your skills to use on Beijing’s ancient streets.
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 hike on the unrestored sections of the Wall, before setting up camp on a deserted section.
[Please note: Due to cold weather before the end of April and after the end of September, we stay in a guest house near the Wall instead of camping. However, we make sure to return to the Wall to watch the sunrise in the morning.]
Day 14 – Beijing:
The sunrise on the Great Wall of China will be the most unforgettable part of your China group tour. 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. 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 24 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.
You can also watch a stunning Chinese acrobatics performance, which features young talents recruited from all around China.
Additionally, you can try Beijing’s signature dish of Peking Roast Duck – this dish was enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times!
Day 15 – 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 16 – Beijing:
Enjoy another free morning and afternoon 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. Be sure to ask your Adventure Leader for recommendations!
In the late afternoon/early evening, we’ll transfer to Beijing station, where we’ll board a night train bound for 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.
After you’ve checked in to your new hostel, 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. Then, in the late afternoon you will hike up Jiuyao Mountain to catch the stunning sunset over West Lake.
Day 18 – Hangzhou & Shanghai:
An early start today as you 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, leading to beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes.
Then you will return to the hostel, check out and have lunch, before heading to Shanghai by train. Once there, you’ll take the metro to the hostel. After you’ve settled in, you will have the option to experience the city’s nightlife!
Day 19 – Shanghai:
First things first, you’ve got a special Mandarin lesson today! You’ll be taught by professional teachers from the Mandarin Garden Chinese Language School.
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 admire Shanghai’s skyline from a rooftop bar. Enjoy your free evening!
Day 20 – Shanghai:
Today is yours to do as you please. 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 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’ll 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 Longyan, Fujian, where you will be transferred by minivan deep into the Fujian tea-growing hills. Here, you can 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 accommodation, before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fujian Tulou. You’ll explore the Hakka Minority Roundhouses, picturesque villages, tea fields, traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting. You’ll head up the mountain and 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:
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! If you get tired, don’t worry – there’ll be a support vehicle with you if you feel like taking a load off. You’ll end up at a neighbouring local village, where you’ll have some time to explore.
This afternoon is yours to relax, and prepare yourself for an early transfer tomorrow morning.
Day 25 – Hong Kong:
This morning, we’ll transfer by minibus back to Zhangzhou Station, ready to transfer by train back to Hong Kong. It’s here that your China group tour comes to the end, and you’ll bid farewell to your fellow travellers.
Check out our included activities for your China group tour below:
- Visit to Victoria Peak (Hong Kong)
- Bike ride on the Yulong River (Yangshuo)
- Bamboo raft river cruise (Yangshuo)
- Visit the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center (Chengdu)
- Visit to the Terracotta Warriors (Xi’an)
- Great Wall of China experience (Beijing)
- Visit to the West Lake & boat tour (Hangzhou)
- Jiuyao Mountain hike (Hangzhou)
- Hike to the Nine Creeks (Shanghai)
- Visit to the tea-growing hills (Fujian)
- Explore the UNESCO Fujian Tulou site (Fujian)
- Tea plantations visit (Fujian)
- Roundhouse visit & bike tour (Fujian)
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 this China group tour 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.
Please note that due to seasonal weather conditions, the camping experience only takes place between May and September. For all tours departing in this time, wherever possible we aim to include this experience. However, in the event of adverse weather conditions, travellers will stay in a nearby hostel.
Activities that aren’t included on your China group tour:
- Hot cupping (Yangshuo)
- Rock climbing (Yangshuo)
- Cooking class (Yangshuo)
- Kayaking (Yangshuo)
- Moon Hill & mud baths (Yangshuo)
- Day trip to Sally’s village (Yangshuo)
- Day trip to Leshan Buddha (Chengdu)
- Hotpot dinner (Chengdu)
- Sichuan Opera (Chengdu)
- Children’s Autism Rehabilitation Center (Chengdu)
- Cycling the city walls (Xi’an)
- School visit (Dengfeng)
- Shaolin Temple visit (Dengfeng)
- Extra kung-fu show (Dengfeng)
- Longmen Caves (Dengfeng)
- Forbidden City (Beijing)
- Temple of Heaven (Beijing)
- Jingshan Park (Beijing)
- Acrobatics & circus show (Beijing)
- National Tea Museum (Hangzhou)
- National Silk Museum (Hangzhou)
- Lingyin Temple (Hangzhou)
- Zhujiajiao Watertown (Shanghai)
- Vue Bar (Shanghai)
- Yu Garden (Shanghai)
- Propaganda Art Museum (Shanghai)
- Karaoke (Shanghai)
- Viewing platform on Jinmao Tower (Shanghai)
- Skywalk on Jinmao Tower (Shanghai)
- Huangpu River Cruise (Shanghai)
Room & Train Upgrades
Room upgrade requests must be communicated to the Dragon Trip before the start of the trip, as customers wishing to upgrade their China tour once the trip has started must do so independently. Room upgrades for our 25-day China tour are £660 for a single room upgrade, or £225 per person for a double room upgrade. In Beijing, all rooms are twin as standard, so those who have paid for an upgrade will receive a superior room.
Train upgrades are unavailable once train tickets have been booked, so please let us know with plenty of time if you wish to upgrade. Please note that train upgrades only apply to the Zhengzhou to Beijing & Beijing to Hangzhou trains. Train upgrades cost around £35.
The Yes Inn @ YMT has a luggage storage service that is available to use for Dragon Trip travellers. It is $50 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 for a fee if you plan on arriving early or staying on at the end of your trip. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A deposit is required to make a reservation on our China group tour, 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 group tour 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.