Great Wall, Pandas & Pagodas

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

China really does have it all; spectacular natural scenery, a rich and interesting history, and no shortage of archaeological and religious attractions. See the best of the north and south on this awesome five-week overland trip between Beijing and Kunming. Visit no less than three sacred mountains: Wutai Shain, Emei Shan, and Wudang Shan; explore the world-famous Giant Panda Centre in Chengdu; trek the upper trail of the imposing Tiger Leaping Gorge; spend three days among the locals on a cruise along the Yangzte River; and walk along the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China. Our local Chinese guide will help us find the best local restaurants and street food stalls, so we can eat as the locals do. As we travel between provinces we'll have the chance to sample the local specialities, including Sichuan hotpot or biangbiang noodles.

Highlights
  • Trek up the Wudang Shan's Tianzu Peak to the Taoist martial arts school
  • Visit the three gorges dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world
  • Stop off at the ancient Zhang Fei temple, famous for its red-light decoration
  • Stay overnight in a Lijiashan cliff-side guesthouse built into a cave
  • Side trip to see the amazing sleeping Buddha in the Dazu Caves
  • Visit to the Giant Panda breeding centre in Chengdu
  • Trek at the world famous Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Go to the birthplace of the martial art of Tai Chi at Wudang Shan
  • Relax at the lakeside town of Dali
  • Guided tour of Xi'an's world famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Explore Xi'an and its myriad of attractions
  • Visit the beautiful and ornate Black Dragon temple near Lijiashan
  • Trek up the holy mountain of Emei Shan
  • Take the Beijing metro to the centre's famous Tiananmen Square
  • Visit Datong's Hanging Monastery and the stunning Yungang Caves
  • Fully explore the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China at Jinshanling
  • Explore the myriad of temples at Wutai Shan
  • Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming
  • Explore the sites of Pingyao such as Mian Shan Mountain Resort and Zhangbi Underground City
  • Explore the Imperial city of Chengde, summer home to the Emperor's family
  • 3 day Three Gorge cruise on the Yangtze River
  • Discover the old and the new of Kunming
  • See the Dafo Great Buddha, the world's largest rock-carved Buddha statue
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary, One Local Crew Member
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Ferry, Overnight Boat, Metro, Taxi
Destinations
  • Far East
  • China
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • Overland
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Cultural
  • Attraction-Based Hikes
  • Wildlife
  • Eco
  • Food & Culinary
  • Foodie
  • GAP Year
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Local Guide
  • Local Living
  • Nightlife
  • Overland truck
  • River Cruise
  • Sightseeing

Location: Kunming

<p>Border Information: if joining in Kunming, you will most likely enter China at Kunming Changshui International Airport (IATA code: KMG). <br/><br/>There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting. <br/><br/>The rest of the day will be free to explore the city of Kunming, its museums and its parks. <br/><br/>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kunming before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kunming.</p>

Location: Dali

Today our journey begins with a morning drive to the beautiful Naxi town of Dali, where we will stay for 2 nights.</span>

Location: Dali

Today we will have a free day to fully explore the area and for optional activities such as some short treks in the nearby Cangshan mountains or hiring bicycles to ride around the Dali lake.</span>

Location: Tiger Leaping Gorge

Today we drive further north through Yunnan province to the beautiful 'Old-China'-style town of Lijiang, the base for visiting the world-famous Tiger Leaping Gorge.</span>

Location: Tiger Leaping Gorge

These following 2 days&nbsp;we will have free time to explore the town of Lijiang and its surroundings. One very popular excursion here is to go on a 2 day/1 night trek along the high trail above the Tiger Leaping Gorge - this is by far the best way to see the gorge from some truly incredible vantage points, and we will have the opportunity to take this trek during our time here (staying in a local guesthouse on the trail on the first night and returning to Lijiang for the second).&nbsp;</span>

Location: Tiger Leaping Gorge

For those that haven't done the full trek, your crew will also be able to arrange a trip to the low sections of the gorge, where there is a flat walkway to various viewpoints.</span>

Location: Panzhihua

Today we have a long drive north through stunning mountain scenery towards China's Sichuan province.</span>

Location: Emei Shan

Today we will continue our drive to the small town of Emei Shan.</span>

Location: Emei Shan

Today&nbsp;we will have a full day to explore Emei Shan Mountain, one of the holiest sites in Chinese Buddhism and the site of hundreds of temples and an incredible golden statue of the deity known as Samantabhadra. It is possible to walk all the way up the stairs from the base of the mountain, joining the many pilgrims in their journey to the temple complex at the mountain summit, or take the cable car up instead!</span>

Location: Chengdu

Today we continue our journey north to the town of Leshan to visit to the Leshan Grand Buddha - at 71m tall, this statue is the largest Buddha rock carving in the world!</span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">After our visit we will continue to the incredible city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where we will stay for 2 nights. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to explore the city's parks, streets, and museums, and visit the fascinating and incredibly photogenic Jinli Old Town.</p>

Location: Chengdu

Today&nbsp;we will have an included visit to the fantastic Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre. We'll then return to Chengdu for another free afternoon to further explore the city.</span>

Location: Dazu

From Chengdu we will continue to the small village of Dazu, where we visit the Bei Shan and Baoding Shan caves, famous for their brightly-coloured freizes and carvings.</span>

Location: Chongqing

Today we will drive on the Chongqing, where we will have time to explore the city and prepare for tomorrow's ferry cruise on the mighty Yangtze River!</span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">We will most likely stay in a local hotel in Chongqing tonight, but on occasion our ferry may need to depart tonight, in which case we will have a spare day later in the trip that we can use at our discretion.</p>

Location: Yangtze River

<p>Today we embark on our Yangtze River Cruise. We travel on a local ferry boat used by local people, a much more authentic and interesting way of travelling than on a tourist cruise. We stay in shared cabins (4 members of the group to each cabin) with private bathrooms and air conditioning where possible.<p>The journey itself usually takes 3 days/3 nights and heads through some areas of stunning scenery, especially near the Three Gorges - the Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges. The boats usually stop at the Fengdu (Ghost City), Shibaozai Tower, home to the Lanruo Dian (Orchid Temple) and at the three Lesser Gorges at various points on the trip. However due to local conditions, stops cannot always be guaranteed.</p></p>

Location: Yangtze River

<p>Second day of our Yangtze River Cruise.</p>

Location: Yangtze River

<p>We will arrive in the city of Yichang and disembark our ferry to rejoin our truck and co-leader and have some free time to explore Yichang and the surrounding area.<p>We will most likely have an included visit to the incredible Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, on the last day.</p></p>

Location: Xiang Fan

This morning we will have some free time in Yichang or visit the Three Gorges Dam if we did not have time yesterday. After lunch we will drive to the town of Xiang Fan, en route to Wudang Shan.&nbsp;</span>

Location: Wudang Shan

Today we will continue our journey with a drive to the beautiful Wudang Shan Mountain Reserve, the birthplace of the martial art of Taichi and the location of the filming of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'.&nbsp;We will also try to stop at the Purple Cloud Monastery en route if time allows.</span>

Location: Wudang Shan

Today&nbsp;we will have a full day to explore the mountain's sights, temples and martial arts schools.</span>

Location: Xi'an

Today we will drive to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! We will have a free afternoon on arrival to&nbsp;explore the city of Xi'an, its famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.</span>

Location: Xi'an

Border Information:</span>&nbsp;if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at&nbsp;Xi'an&nbsp;Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).</span><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Welcome to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'!</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">There will be a group meeting today at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting.</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">This afternoon we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour.</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Please note that many of the optional activities listed will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Xi'an</span>.</span></p>

Location: Xi'an

Today we will have a free day to explore the city of Xi'an, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.</span>

Location: Yan'an

Today we make our way to the city of Yan'an. Yan'an is famous for being the ending point for those on the 'Long March', and became the CCP headquarters for a brief period. During our time here we have an included visit to the Revolutionary Museum and the CCP Headquarters site.</span>

Location: Lijiashan

Today we continue our journey to visit the ancient village of Lijiashan, famed for settlement of cave dwellers and still home to more than 600 families.</span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">In Lijiashan we will stay in a cave room, run by a local family and set up for guests.</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><em style="box-sizing: inherit;">Please note that&nbsp;some</span>&nbsp;caves include a traditional 'Kang Stove bed'. The Kang bed is a hollow platform made from bricks that is used both as a bed and as a work area, these are common in remote villages in Northern China. In winter a coal fire can be lit under the bed, providing a huge amount of warmth day and night and it is very common for the whole family to sleep on one large bed. This means there may be times that members of the group may have to share 1 large bed with others in the group.</em></p>

Location: Pingyao

We will set off early this morning for an included visit to the Black Dragon Temple just outside of Lijiashan. We will then drive to China's best-preserved ancient walled town, Pingyao.</span>

Location: Pingyao

We will stay for 2 more nights in Pingyao, giving us plenty of time to explore this ancient town and surrounding sites such as the Mian Shan Mountain Resort and the Zhangbi Underground City.</span>

Location: Pingyao

<p>Today we will have another day to explore Pingyao and its surroundings. </p>

Location: Wutai Shan

This morning we continue to the stunning mountainous area known as Wutai Shan, one of the holiest sites of Chinese Buddhism and a major centre of pilgrimage in the country.</span>

Location: Wutai Shan

Today we will have a full day to explore the area and visit its incredible array of temples and religious sites.</span>

Location: Datong

Today we will drive to the city of Datong. We will have an included visit to the incredible Hanging Monastery en route.</span>

Location: Datong

Today we will head out of Datong in the truck on an included visit to the awe-inspiring Yungang Buddha Caves.&nbsp;</span>

Location: Jinshanling

This morning we will drive to one of the world's most incredible sights - the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China! We will have time this afternoon and the following morning to thoroughly explore and walk along the Great Wall.</span>

Location: Chengde

This morning we will spend some more time exploring the Great Wall of China. We will then continue with a short drive to the city of Chengde.</span>

Location: Chengde

On&nbsp;the following day we will have a full day to explore the Puning Temple and the famous Imperial Summer Resort.</span>

Location: Beijing

Today we complete our journey to China's chaotic and evocative capital, Beijing!</span>

Location: Beijing

Today we will head out on the Beijing metro to the city centre's famous Tiananmen Square, which we will walk through and then take a tour of&nbsp;the&nbsp;</span>Forbidden City. We will then have a free afternoon to fully explore the&nbsp;many sights, sounds and flavours of&nbsp;</span>Beijing.

Location: Beijing

Border Information:</span>&nbsp;if leaving in Beijing, you will most likely exit China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK).</span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Beijing. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation&nbsp;in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.</span></p>

Included
  • Accommodation
    -Comfortable Hotel 6 nights. Multishare Hostel 2 nights. Basic Hotel 21 nights. Guesthouse 5 nights. Overnight Boat 2 nights
  • Meals
    -Breakfasts x 28, Lunches x 2, Dinners x 2

Dates Price Single Availability
07-Apr-2022
36 Nights
Standard Room View live deal View live deal

Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

36 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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View live deal View live deal 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Start:Kunming
Finish:Beijing
Group size:0 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 6 nights. Multishare Hostel 2 nights. Basic Hotel 21 nights. Guesthouse 5 nights. Overnight Boat 2 nights
Physical rating:Low
Meals:Breakfasts x 28, Lunches x 2, Dinners x 2
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
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