18-Day China Budget Backpacking Tour | Shanghai | The Dragon Trip

18-day China Backpacking Tour | Shanghai – Shanghai

Change currency £(GBP) $(USD) €(EURO)

18 days / 17 nights - £1,179

Start in Shanghai to go straight to Yangshuo, then join one of our trips all the way back to Shanghai. This includes most of the highlights of our big (25 day) China tour, including the pandas in Chengdu, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, bamboo rafting in Yangshuo and camping under the stars on the Great Wall. Details below - to book or ask for any advice, get in touch!



Day 1: Shanghai

With a fascinating modern history and sizzling economy, Shanghai dazzles as an epic place for nightlife, Western comforts, getting lost and much, much more. Learn about Shanghai


Day 2-5: Yangshuo

Towering karst peaks, a carpet of green, fertile fields and a never-ending list of activities; rafting on the Li river, mud baths, cycling, cooking, swimming and more. Learn about Yangshuo


Day 6-8: Chengdu

Find yourself in the slow-paced heart of Western China, enjoying tea houses, pandas, buddhist shrines, spicy hot-pot, temples, and as much KTV as you can handle! Learn about Chengdu


Day 9-10: Xi'an

Sense the medieval feel in this ancient ‘frontier’ city. Stroll the Muslim quarter, barter for souvenirs, cycle the huge, old city walls, and try local delicacies. Learn about Xi’an


Day 11-12: Shaolin

An unforgettable time at the Shaolin temple. Learn Kungfu from a monk and really get to know the locals as you hike and discover this tranquil, ancient place. Learn about Shaolin


Day 13-16: Beijing

Camp out under the stars on a remote section of the Great Wall. After an unforgettable sunrise, head back to the city for more history, culture and food. Learn about Beijing


Day 17-18: Moganshan

A breath of fresh air between two major stops. Discover a stunning mountainous area that has accommodated Shanghai’s elite; from the old colonialists to Chairman Mao. Learn about Moganshan

Day 1: Shanghai

  • Kickstart you Shanghai to Shanghai backpacking tour at the rooftop bar of the Pheonix Hostel. Leave your luggage at the hostel if necessary.
  • Transfer to Shanghai South Station to board a night train to Guilin.
  • One guide will put you on the train and another will collect you in Guilin.

Day 2-5: Yangshuo

  • Try your hand at cooking up some traditional Chinese foods at this friendly and practical local cuisine institute
  • Group lunch
  • Unmissable Activity: Cruise down the Yulong River on these Chinese style Gondolas – Bamboo Rafts! Bikes included to ride around! (please make sure you wear a helmet at all times when you are riding your bike!)
  • Optional: Cormorant Fishing
  • Optional: Bike Ride to Moon Hill and a cave complex including mudbaths and hot springs
  • Optional: Enjoy Deep Water soloing or Rock- Climbing, both highly recommended!
  • Optional: Experience Chinese traditional therapies such as Hot Cupping
  • Optional: Enjoy kayaking on the Li River (must be back by 13.00!)
  • Optional: A true treat, experience what life is like on a farm by visiting your Adventure Leader’s home village
  • Board minibus to North Bus Station and then board your bus to Guilin
  • Depart Yangshuo on a bullet train to Chengdu, arriving in the evening. Take a metro to your hostel and meet your new Adventure Leader!

Day 6-8: Chengdu

  • Optional: Massage from blind Masseuse
  • Mandarin Lesson 1: Have a Mandarin Lesson with your Adventure Leader
  • Optional: Watch a traditional Sichuan opera performance
  • Unmissable Activity: Gather up to go see the Pandas at the world’s main, and biggest, Giant Panda Breeding & Research Center.
  • Optional: Leave to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha.
  • Optional: Wander Jinli street and the Tibetan districts independently. (Chengdu is right next to Tibet, or Xizang in Mandarin, so there is a large ethnic community here)
  • Optional: Sample the famous Sichuan Hot Pot if you dare!(Legendary Spice!)
  • Have a night out in Chengdu
  • Optional: Visit Wenshu Monastery, Sichuan Province Museum, People’s Park and a traditional Tea House
  • Take bus or metro to Chengdu North Railway Station
  • Say goodbye to your Adventure Leader and board your train to Xian

Day 9-10: Xi’an

  • Arrive in Xi’an and meet your next Adventure Leader
  • Check-in to your hostel
  • Optional: Explore the Bell Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque to learn about the history of the Silk Road, towers, mosque and some local legends.
  • Enjoy a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter. Relax after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
  • Optional: Volunteer at the Star Sun Home
  • Un-missable Attraction – Terracotta Warriors – Free
  • Optional: Bike Ride on Ming Dynasty City Walls. Please make sure you wear a helmet!

Day 11-12: Shaolin

  • Board a private minivan than a bus to DengFeng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple.
  • Arrive in DengFeng
  • Optional: Kung fu lesson & show at a local children’s home run by Shaolin Temple where the monks teach these children to be kung fu masters. All proceeds go directly to the Children’s Home.
  • Dinner in the Guesthouse
  • Mandarin lesson: Have your second Mandarin lesson
  • Optional: Visit the flagship of Kung Fu, The Shaolin Temple
  • Optional: Hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims, and be rewarded by beautiful views of both the shrines/temples in the area and the views of the area
  • Have a late lunch at the guesthouse then pack and check out
  • Depart to Zhengzhou to board your train to Beijing
  • Arrive at the train station and have some food before your train leaves

Day 13-16: Beijing

  • Arrive Beijing and meet your next Adventure Leader. Transfer by minibus to the hostel. 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 Wall in the afternoon
  • Mandarin lesson: Have your 3rd Mandarin Lesson
  • It’s time for the Mandarin Challenge! Use your freshly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways. The winning team earns a prize.
  • Mandatory meal at a local farm to obtain permission to access the locals only sections of the unrestored Great Wall
  • Unmissable Attraction – Hike on totally unrestored sections of the Great Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section of the wall to watch the sunset on one of the Wonders of the World (Please note, due to cold weather before end of April and after September, we stay in a guest house near the Wall instead of camping, but still return to the Wall to watch sunrise in the morning)
  • Unmissable Attraction – Sunrise on the Wall
  • Return to Beijing
  • Optional: Visit the Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium designed by one of the most controversial figures in modern China.
  • Optional: A stunning Chinese acrobatics performance performed by young talents recruited from around China.
  • Enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, taste Beijing’s signature dish Peking Roast Duck.
  • Optional: Take a walk through the globally recognized, Tiananmen Square
  • Optional: Visit the Forbidden City. The largest palatial complex in the world, the grounds boast 980 buildings and a history of housing 24 different Chinese royalty
  • Optional: Go to Jingshan Park for a bird’s eye view of the three palaces: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square.
  • Test your bargaining skills in the Fake Goods Market!
  • Push your taste buds to the limit at the Wangfujing night market where you can sample most foods you’ve never tried, like scorpion, dog, cat, bugs and more
  • Optional: Go to the Temple of Heaven, the largest complex dedicated to heaven worship in the world and where ancient sacrifices were made to bring bountiful harvests
  • Board night train to Hangzhou

Day 17-18: Hangzhou & Moganshan

  • After breakfast the group will take a minivan from Hangzhou railway station to Moganshan, famed for its bamboo forests
  • Optional: Hike to Moganshan Peak
  • Dinner
  • Have breakfast then check-out, but you can leave your bags at the hostel
  • Unmissable Activity: Bike Trek
  • Lunch at the hostel
  • Travel to Hangzhou East Train Station to take your bullet train to Shanghai
  • Arrive in Shanghai and transfer via metro to your hostel
  • Optional: Set off for the Shanghai Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl – a big favourite with our fun-loving travellers!
  • Say goodbye to your fellow Dragon Trippers as they continue on their journey.

Departures 2017/2018

Departing Finishing Price Status
7th Mar, 2018 24th Mar, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
12th Mar, 2018 29th Mar, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
14th Mar, 2018 31st Mar, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
19th Mar, 2018 5th Apr, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
21st Mar, 2018 7th Apr, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
2nd Apr, 2018 19th Apr, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
4th Apr, 2018 21st Apr, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
11th Apr, 2018 28th Apr, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
16th Apr, 2018 3rd May, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
23rd Apr, 2018 10th May, 2018 £1,179 FULLY BOOKED
2nd May, 2018 19th May, 2018 £1,179
9th May, 2018 26th May, 2018 £1,179
16th May, 2018 2nd Jun, 2018 £1,179
21st May, 2018 7th Jun, 2018 £1,179
23rd May, 2018 9th Jun, 2018 £1,179
28th May, 2018 14th Jun, 2018 £1,179
30th May, 2018 16th Jun, 2018 £1,179
4th Jun, 2018 21st Jun, 2018 £1,179
6th Jun, 2018 23rd Jun, 2018 £1,179
11th Jun, 2018 28th Jun, 2018 £1,179
20th Jun, 2018 7th Jul, 2018 £1,179
27th Jun, 2018 14th Jul, 2018 £1,179
2nd Jul, 2018 19th Jul, 2018 £1,179
4th Jul, 2018 21st Jul, 2018 £1,179
9th Jul, 2018 26th Jul, 2018 £1,179
16th Jul, 2018 2nd Aug, 2018 £1,179
18th Jul, 2018 4th Aug, 2018 £1,179
23rd Jul, 2018 15th Aug, 2018 £1,179
25th Jul, 2018 11th Aug, 2018 £1,179
1st Aug, 2018 18th Aug, 2018 £1,179
6th Aug, 2018 23rd Aug, 2018 £1,179
8th Aug, 2018 25th Aug, 2018 £1,179
15th Aug, 2018 1st Sep, 2018 £1,179
22nd Aug, 2018 8th Sep, 2018 £1,179
29th Aug, 2018 15th Sep, 2018 £1,179
3rd Sep, 2018 20th Sep, 2018 £1,179
5th Sep, 2018 22nd Sep, 2018 £1,179
12th Sep, 2018 29th Sep, 2018 £1,179
17th Sep, 2018 4th Oct, 2018 £1,179
19th Sep, 2018 6th Oct, 2018 £1,179
26th Sep, 2018 13th Oct, 2018 £1,179
1st Oct, 2018 18th Oct, 2018 £1,179
3rd Oct, 2018 20th Oct, 2018 £1,179
8th Oct, 2018 25th Oct, 2018 £1,179
10th Oct, 2018 27th Oct, 2018 £1,179
17th Oct, 2018 3rd Nov, 2018 £1,179
24th Oct, 2018 10th Nov, 2018 £1,179
31st Oct, 2018 17th Nov, 2018 £1,179
11th Mar, 2019 28th Mar, 2019 £1,179
13th Mar, 2019 30th Mar, 2019 £1,179
18th Mar, 2019 4th Apr, 2019 £1,179
20th Mar, 2019 6th Apr, 2019 £1,179
25th Mar, 2019 11th Apr, 2019 £1,179
1st Apr, 2019 1st Jan, 1970 £1,179
3rd Apr, 2019 20th Apr, 2019 £1,179
10th Apr, 2019 27th Apr, 2019 £1,179
15th Apr, 2019 2nd May, 2019 £1,179
22nd Apr, 2019 9th May, 2019 £1,179
1st May, 2019 18th May, 2019 £1,179
8th May, 2019 25th May, 2019 £1,179
15th May, 2019 1st Jun, 2019 £1,179
20th May, 2019 6th Jun, 2019 £1,179
22nd May, 2019 8th Jun, 2019 £1,179
27th May, 2019 13th Jun, 2019 £1,179
29th May, 2019 15th Jun, 2019 £1,179
3rd Jun, 2019 20th Jun, 2019 £1,179
5th Jun, 2019 22nd Jun, 2019 £1,179
10th Jun, 2019 27th Jun, 2019 £1,179
19th Jun, 2019 6th Jul, 2019 £1,179
26th Jun, 2019 13th Jul, 2019 £1,179
1st Jul, 2019 18th Jul, 2019 £1,179
3rd Jul, 2019 20th Jul, 2019 £1,179
8th Jul, 2019 25th Jul, 2019 £1,179
15th Jul, 2019 1st Aug, 2019 £1,179
17th Jul, 2019 3rd Aug, 2019 £1,179
22nd Jul, 2019 8th Aug, 2019 £1,179
24th Jul, 2019 10th Aug, 2019 £1,179
31st Jul, 2019 17th Aug, 2019 £1,179
5th Aug, 2019 22nd Aug, 2019 £1,179
7th Aug, 2019 24th Aug, 2019 £1,179
12th Aug, 2019 29th Aug, 2019 £1,179
14th Aug, 2019 31st Aug, 2019 £1,179
21st Aug, 2019 7th Sep, 2019 £1,179
28th Aug, 2019 14th Sep, 2019 £1,179
2nd Sep, 2019 19th Sep, 2019 £1,179
4th Sep, 2019 21st Sep, 2019 £1,179
11th Sep, 2019 28th Sep, 2019 £1,179
16th Sep, 2019 3rd Oct, 2019 £1,179
18th Sep, 2019 5th Oct, 2019 £1,179
25th Sep, 2019 12th Oct, 2019 £1,179
2nd Oct, 2019 19th Oct, 2019 £1,179
7th Oct, 2019 24th Oct, 2019 £1,179
9th Oct, 2019 26th Oct, 2019 £1,179
16th Oct, 2019 2nd Nov, 2019 £1,179
23rd Oct, 2019 9th Nov, 2019 £1,179
30th Oct, 2019 16th Nov, 2019 £1,179

Price includes:

  • Bilingual Adventure Leaders
  • Accommodation (hostels, guest houses, camping (1 night))
  • Transport within China
  • Loads of fantastic, 'unmissable' activities (see itineraries)
Please note: Accommodation is in dorm rooms as a standard. Upgrade options (to single, twin, or double rooms) are available - please contact us for more information. All our hostels have WIFI.


  • A deposit is required to make a reservation, with the balance due one month prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £200 GBP / $300 USD / $300 AUD / €300 EUR.
  • 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.

Upgrades & Extras

  • Need hostels booked for after your trip ends? We are more than happy to help - just let us know what you need!
  • 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.
  • Room upgrades are $375 USD (please note that for one night in Moganshan - Day 17- there is no option for room upgrade). Train upgrades are $231.25 USD.
  • The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers. The price is GBP 30 for a pick up and GBP 30 for a drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 4 PAX). 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 GBP 20 for a pick up and GBP 20 for a drop off (up to 3 PAX). This service is available from and to the following airport locations: Guilin, Chengdu, Xian, Beijing, and Shanghai.


  • Please take note if you wish to use your own camera/phone to take photos and videos that is absolutely fine. However, The Dragon Trip runs a no drone policy for our China trips.
  • 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. Every group travels with a Dragon Trip emergency phone. 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.)

To book or find out more, contact us

Tell me more about:

Accommodation UpgradesTrain UpgradesPre/Post Trip Accommodation

From Our Latest Adventures

China adventures

China’s highspeed train revolution

China’s high-speed train revolution happened in the blink of an eye. It transformed the movement of people and enabled tourists to pack more into China tours than ever before.

More About This
China adventures

Xi’an – The end of the Silk Road

The Terracotta Warriors attract most attention but Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter is a real gem and a human link to the city’s illustrious past.

More About This
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial