9-day Beijing to Shanghai Tour | China Budget Tour | The Dragon Trip

9-Day Beijing to Shanghai Tour

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9 days Beijing to Shanghai

9-day Beijing to Shanghai Tour

Get a taste of China as you travel between two of its biggest cities.

From the capital city (the centre of politics and loads of history), via Hangzhou – a scenic and relaxed pace settlement – ending at the most populated city in the world, famed for its nightlife and fascinating colonial past. This short Beijing to Shanghai tour encompasses both China’s urban and rural sides, giving travellers a whistle-stop journey through the fascinating country.

What's included

Hostel Icon

Including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping

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Adventure Leader

Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city

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Local transport

Transport within China – all train, boat and bus tickets

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7 activities included
Optional activities can be added.
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Itinerary & map

Day 1 – Beijing:

Welcome to your Beijing to Shanghai tour! On your first day in Beijing, you will meet your group and Adventure Leader at the Beijing Spring Time Hostel at 10am. This is where you’ll have a trip briefing, drop off your bags and get to know your fellow travellers. After a couple of hours, you can take another Mandarin lesson and then put your skills to use on Beijing’s ancient streets.

Then, 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 2 – Beijing:

The sunrise on the Great Wall of China will be the most unforgettable part of your Beijing to Shanghai 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 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.

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 3 – 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 4 – 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 5 – 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, right next to the hostel, to catch the stunning sunset over West Lake.

Day 6 – 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 (if it’s a Saturday) to experience the city’s nightlife with the Shanghai Drunken Panda Pub Crawl!

Day 7 – 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 enjoy some champagne whilst sitting in a hot tub and admiring Shanghai’s ever-changing skyline. Enjoy your free evening!

Day 8 – 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 9 – 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.  The optional activities will finish at around 7pm, at which point you’ll say goodbye to your group and finish up your Beijing to Shanghai tour with The Dragon Trip.

We wish you safe travels!


Need hostels booked for after your trip ends? We are more than happy to help – just let us know what you need!

deposit is required to make a reservation on our China tours, with the full 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 £100 GBP / $150 USD / €150 EUR / $200 AUD. 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.

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.

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 for our 9-day Beijing & Shanghai tour are £100 for a single room upgrade and £50 per person for a double room upgrade. On Day 5 (Hangzhou) there is no option for a room upgrade. In Beijing everyone will get twin rooms, those who have paid for an upgrade will receive a superior room. Train upgrades are £50.

The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers. In Beijing and Shanghai, the price is £40 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 customers). 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 £40 extra for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 customers). In Guilin, Xi’an and Chengdu, the price is £30 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 customers). If you’d like a bilingual guide, it is £30 for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 customers). This service is not available in Hong Kong.

Our included activities:

  • 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)

*Unmissable activities are listed in bold. Find our extra optional activities here.

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.)

Train Tickets

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.

Visit our FAQs page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Please note: The Chinese Golden Week public holidays take place from 1st-7th May and 1st-7th October. During this time, many attractions can be much busier than usual.

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