This great budget tour of China winds its way through the west of the country from the sky scrapers of Hong Kong, through stunning rural China, to the bustling capital of Beijing.
Our budget tour of China starts in lively and crowded Hong Kong before heading out to the stunning rural landscapes of Yangshuo. Surrounded by towering karst mountain and fertile valleys, the area is an adventure playground with plenty of fun activities on offer. Next it's on to Chengdu for an unforgettable encounter with the iconic panda bear.
Our next stop is Xi'an, rich in history & culture, and home of the world famous Terracotta Warriors. Then it's on to birthplace of kung fu for some martial arts training with the famous Shaolin monks.
Our final stop is bustling Beijing and a chance to visit the impressive Great Wall of China.
Bright lights of Hong Kong, active adventure in Yangshuo, rural landscapes of Fujian, cute Pandas, the Terracotta Warriors, Kung Fu monks of Shaolin, bustling Beijing & Great Wall of China
- Small Group
- River Cruise
Day 1, Meet in Hong Kong
Our tour starts early morning at the Yes Inn @ Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, where you'll meet your tour leader and the rest of the group. Leaving your luggage at the inn, we'll take the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak for a great view over Hong Kong and our pre-trip meeting. Returning to the hostel, we'll then head to the train station to catch the bullet train to Guillin and then on to Yangshuo.
Extra day in Hong Kong - pre-tour, Options available while on tour, Single Room Supplement
Day 2, Yangshuo, bamboo raft cruise
Today we enjoy the stunning rural setting of Yangshuo with a cruise down the Yulong River on board bamboo rafts. Kick back and put your feet up as you gently float down river. In the evening enjoy a nice cold beer on the rooftop bar at Monkey Jane's hostel.
Day 3, Yangshuo, cooking course
An optional challenge today is to cook up some traditional Chinese foods at a friendly and practical local cuisine institute, where you can try your hand at one of the many tasty local dishes as you try to master the skills of Chinese cooking. There are plenty of other optional activities to choose from to fill your day.
Day 4, Yangshuo, free day (optional excursions available)
You day if free today to relax and enjoy the idyllic setting, or alternatively you can try your hand out at one of the many adventure activities on offer. These include rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and more. You can also jump on bikes to explore the surrounding countryside.
Day 5, Yangshuo, train to Chengdu
Today we make our way by train to Chengdu, situated in the heart of Western China in Sichuan province. Sichuan province is renowned for its beautiful countryside, there are many attractions on offer and the food is amazing. We transfer by metro to your hostel.
On board sleeper train
Day 6, Chengdu, blind massage option & Chinese lesson
Chengdu has plenty of sights and experience to keep you busy during your stay. Today you can start with an optional massage from a blind physical therapist to help ease the stress of the OVERNIGHT train journey. Later in the afternoon we take a lesson in Mandarin to help you master the basics of this complicated language. In the evening you might like to head out to experience a night out in Chengdu and perhaps try the traditional dish of Sichuan Hotpot for dinner.
Day 7, Chengdu, Panda breeding centre
We take you on a tour of the city today, including a visit to the The Panda Breeding & Research Centre to see these incredible shy and endangered animals up close and perhaps a visit to Chengdu's Tibetan quarter to experience the many Tibetan shops and cafes. Plenty of other optional excursion are available to book locally including a trip to Leshan, to see the world's largest stone Buddha.
Day 8, Chengdu, free time then train to Xi'an
After some free time in Chengdu where you can visit WenShu monastery and a traditional Chinese tea house, we board the train to Xi'an, cultural capital of China. Start and end of the famous "Silk Route", Xi'an is like a history book of China and the perfect place to explore the countries rich and interesting culture.
Day 9, Xi'an, optional cycling tour
Today there is the option to take a bike ride over the city walls, an excellent way to get you bearing and a good overview of the city. In the evening is free for you to enjoy, perhaps try a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter and relax after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
Day 10, Xi'an, Terracotta Warriors tour
Today we take you to visit the legendary Terracotta Warriors, row upon row of life-size statues stand silent guard over the burial place of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. In the evening you'll have the chance to visit the Star Sun home for people with disabilities and to volunteer. Then it's time for a night out Chinese style!
Day 11, Dengfeng, optional kung fu lesson & show
This morning we board the public bus to DengFeng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple. The rest of the day if free to take an optional kung fu lesson & show at a local children's Home run by the Shaolin Temple. Here the monks teach the children to be kung fu masters. All proceeds go directly to the children's home. We also have a second Mandarin lesson to help brush up on your language skills.
Day 12, Dengfeng (optional excursions available), overnight train to Beijing
The day is free to explore more of Dengfeng and it's surrounding. You can visit the world famous Shaolin Temple and watch the masters of Kung Fu perform their amazing feats set amongst the beautiful temple courtyards. We'll take a hike to Dharma cave, spiritual centre for Buddhist pilgrims, before we board the OVERNIGHT train to Beijing.
On board sleeper train
Day 13, Arrive in Beijing, Mandarin Challenge & Great Wall
Arriving in Beijing, we transfer to our hostel and check in. We start the day with a Mandarin lesson where you'll learn the basics of this intricate language. Next it's time to take the Mandarin Challenge! Use your newly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing's ancient streets and alleyways. It's a great way to explore the city and the winning team earns a prize.
Late afternoon we visit one of the wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China. To obtain permission to access the locals only sections of the unrestored Great Wall, we enjoy a mandatory meal at a local farm. We'll then hike on totally unrestored sections of the Wall where we set up camp on a deserted section of the wall. In the evening we take in sunset in this ancient and dramatic setting (Please note, due to cold weather before the 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. Between April and September monsoon rain may also mean we are unable to camp on the wall.).
Great Wall camping
Day 14 Beijing (optional excursions available), free day
After sunrise on the Wall we return back to Beijing. Back in Beijing the rest of the day is free for you to explore at your own leisure or try one of the many optional tour available (see the Options tab for all available local options). Perhaps you could visit the Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium, or enjoy the incredible Beijing Acrobatics Show. For dinner tonight there is a chance to taste Beijing's signature dish Peking Roast Duck, enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times.
Day 15, Beijing, tour ends
Today the tour ends so this is your last day to see more of Beijing like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. In the evening you could explore the WangFuJing night market where you can push your taste buds to the limit and sample many foods you'll have never tried before, like scorpion, bugs and more.
Extra day in Beijing - post-tour
Touring with Encounters Travel
Encounters Travel specialise in creating imaginative, adventurous small group tours all around the world for the open minded traveller. They are always looking for new ways to add value and excitement to your travel experiences so that you see more than just the usual tourist spots, as well as having great fun at the same time. Their tours are designed to give you the best possible experience in each country, whilst at the same time providing good value for money without making compromises.
You will see and learn about local cultures and historic sites while enjoying some more adventurous activities along the way. They also try very hard to keep the overall style and inclusions/exclusions of their tours as consistent as possible from country to country, while taking into account the different highlights and activities available in each destination. Their escorted group tours are hosted by specially selected experts who bring their knowledge and skills to add an extra dimension to the tour.
Encounters Travel are committed to travelling responsibly, and leaving a positive impression and impact on the countries through which they travel.