Highlights of China tour

Highlights of China tour

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tourhub | Encounters Travel | Highlights of China tour | 239
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15 Days
From

$1555

$1477

Highlights of China tour

15 Days Starting in Hong Kong and ending in Beijing, China

Visiting: Hong Kong, Yangshuo County, Chengdu, xi'an, Xi'An, Shaolin Temple, Beijing

Tour operator:

Encounters Travel

Tour code:

239

Guide Type:

Partially Guided

Group size:

7 - 20

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

18-60

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
From:
$1555
$1477 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78
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Tour Overview

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.

Highlights

  • Bright lights of Hong Kong, active adventure in Yangshuo, and the rural landscapes of Fujian

  • Cute Pandas, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Kung Fu monks of Shaolin

  • Bustling Beijing & the Great Wall of China

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Meet In Hong Kong
Location: Hong Kong
Accommodation: Hostel
Accommodation Name: Yangshuo hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

Our tour starts early morning at 7am at the Yes Inn @ Yau Ma Tei 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.

Day 2 : Yangshuo: Bamboo Raft Cruise
Location: Yangshuo County
Accommodation: Hostel
Accommodation Name: Yangshuo hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Yangshuo County
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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)
Location: Yangshuo County
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Chengdu
Accommodation Name: On board sleeper train
Meals Included: No Meals

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.

Day 6 : Chengdu: Blind Massage Option & Chinese Lesson
Location: Chengdu
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Chengdu
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: xi'an
Accommodation: Hostel, Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals, No Meals

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
Location: Xi'An
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Xi'An
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Shaolin Temple
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Shaolin Temple
Accommodation Name: On board sleeper train
Meals Included: No Meals

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.

Day 13 : Arrive In Beijing: Mandarin Challenge & Great Wall
Location: Beijing
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Great Wall camping
Meals Included: No Meals

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.).

Day 14 : Beijing (Optional Excursions Available): Free Day
Location: Beijing
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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
Location: Beijing
Accommodation: Hostel
Meals Included: No Meals

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.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in basic hostels

  • Additional Services

    Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary; Visa invitation letter; Entry fees to included activities and attractions

  • Transport

    All transport and transfers in trains, buses & public transport

  • Bilingual western and local adventure leaders

What's Not Included

  • Additional Services

    Visa fees; Optional activies; Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.

    g.

    laundry); Tour guide tips

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    Airport arrival & departure transfer service (optional on request)

  • Insurance

    Compulsory

  • International Travel

  • Meals

    All meals

More Info

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.

Mode of Transport

Trains, buses & public transport

Accommodation

Hostels, camping & overnight train. Our Shoestring China tours are based on basic but comfortable and fun hostel accommodation. These are safe and have good showers, internet, washing machines, and real Chinese character. Like hostels around the world, they tend to be most popular with young travellers aged 18 to 35 who are travelling on a small budget and who are keen to meet people and make new friends in the lounge or bar.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Airport transfers are not included in the price of the tour. However, they are available on request if required. Prices are given per vehicle (up to 4 people), and if you would like a bilingual guide to meet you and travel with you from the airport to your destination (or vice-versa) this can also be arranged for an extra fee (generally GBP 20 / US$25) each way. This airport transfer service is available from and to the following airport locations: Guilin, Chengdu, Xian, Beijing, and Shanghai.

  • Joining instructions

    Hong Kong: The joining point is the Yes Inn @ Causeway Bay (hostel). The address is 2nd Floor, Nan Yip Building, 472 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay. The building entrance is nearby the Stanley mini bus station on Tang Lung Street. The meeting time is 7.00 am sharp in the lobby. Please check out at the front desk and have your bags packed and ready to go in the lobby before 7.00 am. If we haven’t seen you or heard from you by 7.00 am, then we do need to leave without you. Please note that we will return to Yes Inn for 10.30 am to pick up anyone who missed the 7.00 am departure time. At 10.30 am, we must leave in order to cross the border with mainland China and board the train to Guilin. This is the last chance to meet your group in Hong Kong – if you miss this, it will be your own responsibility to catch up with the group in mainland China. Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you to the pre-departure briefing so that we can contact your insurance company on your behalf in the event of an accident. If you miss the 7 am meeting time, please immediately contact us by calling us on any of the emergency telephone numbers on your tour confirmation voucher. Beijing: The joining point is the Beijing Heyuan Courtyard International Hostel. The address is 1 Zhiqiang Beiyuan, Wenhuiyuan Road, Hai ian, 100088 Beijing. Tel. +86 10 6227 7138. If you are travelling from the airport by subway, take the airport express to DongZhiMen metro station, then get on the subway line 2 and get off at JiShuiTan metro station. From Jishuitan station A exit, turn right and go to north on XinJieKou WaiDaJie. Cross the street at the first intersection. Continue north on XinJieKouWaiDaJie, then turn left at the large Chinese-style gate, on to WenHuiYuanLu, shortly after passing the China Film Art Research Center, turn right when you see the red sign for ZhiQiangYuanXiaoQu. Our hostel is ahead on your left. If you have spent the previous night in the hostel, please check out at the front desk and have your bags packed and ready to go in the lobby by 10.45am. The meeting time is 11.00am in the lobby. Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you to the pre-departure briefing so that we can contact your insurance company on your behalf in the event of an accident. If you miss the meeting time, please immediately contact us by calling us on any of the emergency telephone numbers on your tour confirmation voucher.

  • Do I need travel insurance?

    Yes. Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event).

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    Accommodation is not included in the standard tour itinerary for the night before Day 1 of your trip or for the night of the last day of your trip. If booking your own accommodation for these pre/post-tour nights we recommend the hostels listed above. If you are booking accommodation in Hong Kong we recommend doing this as far in advance as possible as it can get very expensive if you leave it until close to your check in date. If you require assistance, please contact us for details.

  • Passports & Visas

    Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities. If you renew your passport between the time you book and your final travel date, please let us know as soon as possible. When purchasing your train tickets in China, we must have the details of the passport that you will be carrying while you are on the trip. In general, all nationalities (except Singapore, Brunei & Japan) need to apply for and obtain a China tourist visa before entering Mainland China. Most nationalities are not required to have a visa for travel solely to Hong Kong. If your flight into Hong Kong connects in mainland China (for example, in Beijing or Shanghai), you will need to tell the Immigration officer in the airport NOT to cross out a single-entry visa, as you are only transferring. If the Immigration officer crosses out a single entry visa, you will encounter difficulties when you start your trip with us and need to cross the border from Hong Kong back into mainland China. In order to apply for your China tourist visa to travel on this tour, you will need the following: 2 passport photos an invitation letter (which we will provide) an itinerary (you can download and provide these tour notes for this) photocopy of your passport a completed visa application form a confirmed flight/train ticket with entry and exit dates shown clearly Please send us a scanned / photographed copy of your passport identity pages as soon after booking as possible so that we can start to arrange your invitation letter. We also need a copy of your passport in order to book your accommodation and train tickets in China, so please ensure we get it as quickly as possible. We'll send your visa invitation letter to you together with a detailed itinerary as soon as its ready. You should then apply for your visa within three months of your travel start date.

  • Will passengers from another country be participating in the tour?

    Yes. In addition, this tour is run in conjunction with our friends at The Dragon Trip, so you will be joining travellers booked with them.

  • What is the maximum group size?

    The group size on our budget China tours is min 5, max 20.

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Each trip is accompanied by a mixture of western and local tour leaders who are all bilingual in Mandarin and English. Local tour leaders are often young professionals who work for a couple of seasons after graduating university. They are highly educated and thoroughly trained, but as they are doing it more for personal experience rather than to make money, they are cheaper, helping to keep the tour cost down, and some may argue, are more enthusiastic than the ‘career tour guides’ used by most tour companies in China. Tour leaders tend to be specialists in their own local region and generally do not accompany the group between the main cities of locations on the tour. Instead they will look after you throughout your time in each main hub and then get you settled onto the train to the next location where you'll be met by your next tour leader.

  • What is the tipping policy?

    Tipping in China is not customary and is not necessary. Of course, voluntary tipping is completely up to you, but in places like restaurants, bars or taxis it is extremely rare.

  • Is travel insurance compulsory?

    Yes! Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event).

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    You are always able to change your travel date. However, some charges may apply depending on how long before your departure you make the change. Our flexible booking conditions and reduced charges will apply if you are changing date because of a Covid-19 reason or because your government is advising against travel to your destination. Please check our detailed booking conditions for full details.

  • When is my balance payment due?

    For all tours departing in 2020 and 2021, balance due dates are reduced to 28 days. For 2022 departures onwards they will revert back to our standard conditions (60 days).

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    On most of our group tours, solo travellers may choose to form a temporary 'tour bubble' and share a room with another traveller of the same sex in the group. If a room share is not available then a single room supplement may be payable, with the costs for these kept as low as possible. We have also removed compulsory single supplements from many of our tours, and are reducing the cost by 50% on s

  • How long can I keep my booking as a 'Credit on File'?

    New bookings need to be made within 1 year of your original departure date, with travel started within 2 years of your original departure date.

  • Can I transfer my booking to someone else?

    Yes, if you don't want to, or can't travel, you can transfer your booking and existing payments to other family members or friends. We are waiving our normal fees for doing this for all departures up to the end of 2022. This applies to bookings you may have moved to a Credit on File as well as those setup on a particular date. Note - not all payments may be transferrable.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Marijo Wilson  

Recommended trip

February 2018

Best trip I have ever been on. I have traveled with many tour companies but none compare to the itinerary, information, and professionalism of this company.

Posted on Tripadvisor
David N. Beasley Jr.  

Recommended tour

January 2018

Had a worry free amazing experience from tbr time we booked the trip till we arrived back home. Definitely recommend using them.

Posted on Tripadvisor
Cristina Diniz  

Recommended tour

October 2017

Love them! Very professional and caring service.

Posted on Tripadvisor

Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Sunday

Jun 02, 2024 - Jun 16, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jun 16, 2024 - Jun 30, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jun 30, 2024 - Jul 14, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jul 14, 2024 - Jul 28, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jul 28, 2024 - Aug 11, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Aug 11, 2024 - Aug 25, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Oct 06, 2024 - Oct 20, 2024
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Mar 23, 2025 - Apr 06, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Apr 06, 2025 - Apr 20, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

May 11, 2025 - May 25, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

May 25, 2025 - Jun 08, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jun 08, 2025 - Jun 22, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jun 22, 2025 - Jul 06, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jul 06, 2025 - Jul 20, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Jul 20, 2025 - Aug 03, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Aug 03, 2025 - Aug 17, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Aug 17, 2025 - Aug 31, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Aug 31, 2025 - Sep 14, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Oct 12, 2025 - Oct 26, 2025
$1555 $1477 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$78 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Encounters Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform encounters travel, 60 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Encounters Travel requires a minimum deposit of 150 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of encounters travel charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 35% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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