China Highlights

China Highlights

1,180 Views
8 Days
From

$1665

$1376

China Highlights

8 Days Starting in Shanghai and ending in Beijing

Visiting: Shanghai, Wuxi/Shanghai, Xi'an, Great Wall, Beijing

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

CBSD

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 16

Physical rating:

Low, Low

Age range:

15-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Small Group

Activities:

Rail Excursion, Walking

From:
$1665
$1376 (USD) Operator discount: $250 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $39 -17%
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Tour Overview

Get a taste of historical China on this culture-stuffed adventure. Travel from Shanghai to Beijing, taking in iconic attractions such as the Great Wall of China (one of the Seven Wonders of the World!) and the Terracotta Warriors along the way. In between the well-known sights, you'll delve beneath the surface, visit the ancient town and traditional garden in Wuxi City, snack through the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an and watch the sun setting on the Great Wall. In just eight days, you’ll have the perfect introduction to the highlights of China.

Highlights

  • This is our most popular trip in China and one of the top trips from the entire Intrepid range. The trip may be quick, but it is packed full of experiences that will give you a great insight into China in a short time.

  • In addition to the main highlights in the big cities of Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, you'll get a glimpse of small-town life in Xitang and a taste of the countryside when we stay near the Great Wall. 

  • Our small group size allows us to explore destinations on foot together, eat in authentic local restaurants, travel by subway and train, and escape the tourist traps - all under the expert guidance of a passionate local leader.

  • Spend the night in a charming, family-run guesthouse near the Great Wall. Learn how to make dumplings for dinner and see this iconic structure without the masses.

  • Stay overnight in Xitang, a water town just outside of Shanghai. Imagine a way of life lost long ago as you explore the narrow alleys and canals after the daytrippers go home. 

  • Like everything it does, China’s ancient history is on an epic scale. No matter how many guide books you have read, nothing truly prepares you for the grandeur and immensity of sights like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Terracotta Army (or thousands of local tourists at the Forbidden City!).

  • Take on one of the most popular trips in China, packed full of experiences that will give you a great insight into China in just a short time.

  • Be dazzled by Shanghai’s neon lights and the stunning night skyline. Then, get a peek into what life was like in ancient times with a visit to the incredibly scenic Huishan Ancient Town and one of the finest examples of traditional Chinese gardens – Jichang Garden.

  • Spend the night in a charming, family-run guesthouse near the Great Wall of China – a great opportunity to experience local life – and take the chance for a short sunset hike over one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

  • Explore Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing with a local leader who knows all the history, tips and tricks for this fascinating and historic area.

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Itinerary

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Day 1: Shanghai
Location: Shanghai
Accommodation: Hotel

Ni Hao! Welcome to China. Your adventure begins in Shanghai with a welcome meeting at 4 pm. If you arrive early, there is much to see and do in this frenetic city. Blending 21st-century architecture with old-world character, Shanghai pulses with the beat of new China. After your meeting this afternoon, you’ll head out for a leader-led walking tour on the bund – the perfect spot to see the nighttime skyline light up when the sun descends. Tonight, why not get a taste of Shanghai’s eclectic food scene, grab your group and ask your leader for the best recommendations for dinner.

Optional Activities:
-Shanghai - Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre (entrance fee)
-Shanghai - Yuyuan Garden (entrance fee)
-Shanghai - Shanghai Museum (entrance fee) - Free

Day 2: Wuxi/Shanghai
Location: Wuxi/Shanghai
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Get ready for your first bullet train experience this morning. A half-hour train ride will take you to Wuxi – once a prominent water town and now a booming city. Follow your leader on a walking tour through the Huishan Ancient Town Scenic Area and explore the cultural relics, historic sites and Xihui scenic area full of gorgeous gardens. Wander through the Huishan historic and cultural streets almost like travelling back in time. Take some epic snaps, learn about the traditional life here and then visit the Jichang Garden – one of the finest examples of traditional Chinese gardens, listed as a protected national heritage site in 1998. Head back to Shanghai in the afternoon. The evening is yours to enjoy at your own pace – why not grab a drink in one of the rooftop bars in Shanghai and look out over the bund.

Included Activities:
-Wuxi - Huishan Ancient Town
-Wuxi - Jichang Garden

Day 3: Xi'an
Location: Xi'an
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Hop on the bullet train to Xi’an this morning – the capital of Shaanxi Province and the largest city in northwest China. Once the imperial centre and start of the Silk Road, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many historical sites and a great place to explore. When you arrive, join your leader on a walking tour, passing the iconic Bell and Drum Towers – according to legend, the Bell Tower was built to restrain the pesky dragons that were causing devastating earthquakes. See the Muslim Quarter and wander past the shops, markets, and the Great Mosque. Sample some street snacks from local carts and see why this area is known for its food! For dinner tonight, maybe try some tantalising local specialties such as pao mo (lamb broth with flat bread), hand-pulled noodles and meat skewers.

Included Activities:
-Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour and Snack Sampling

Optional Activities:
-Xi'an - Great Mosque (entrance fee)
-Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers (entrance fee)
-Xi'an - City Wall bike hire

Day 4: Xi'an
Location: Xi'an
Accommodation: Hotel

Today, you’ll journey outside Xi’an and visit what is undoubtedly one of the man-made wonders of the world – the Terracotta Warriors. Learn about this incredible archaeological find, discovered after being buried for 2000 years, and take your time getting to know the 1000 warriors (each individually sculpted, with a different costume, height and facial expression). These clay statues depicting soldiers, horses and chariots were commissioned by the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi as part of his mausoleum after he ascended to the throne in 264 BC. Later, return to Xi’an and enjoy a free evening at leisure. Why not head to the Tang Paradise walking street near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda – this is an eclectic part of the city, full of light and sound and perfect for some local nightlife.

Included Activities:
-Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour

Optional Activities:
-Xi'an - Tang Dynasty Show
-Xi'an - Big Goose Pagoda (entrance fee)
-Xi'an - Little Wild Goose Pagoda

Day 5: Great Wall
Location: Great Wall
Accommodation: Guest house

Today is a big day of travelling, so grab some snacks and a good book for the journey. You’ll transfer to the railway station, then board the high-speed train to Beijing. Watch the landscape change from farmland and villages to industrialised cities and take the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers along the way. When you arrive in Beijing, board a private vehicle and drive into the countryside, where you’ll spend the night in a family-run guesthouse right inside the scenic area near the Great Wall of China! Tonight it’s highly recommended that you go for a short hike to the Wall for an unforgettable sunset. You’ve made it to one of the Seven Wonders of the World!

Included Activities:
-Great Wall - Sunset

Day 6: Beijing
Location: Beijing
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Today is an exciting day as you’ll visit a section of the Great Wall of China – an ancient wonder of the world and this country’s iconic site. Spend some time exploring, take plenty of photos and learn the history of this mighty landmark. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km west of Beijing. It was initially constructed to protect Chinese empires from invaders from the north. Even though it failed, it's still one of the country's most remarkable achievements and an iconic destination. Hike along the top of the Wall for about 2 hours, along a section less visited by tourists and one of the most original section of the Wall - don't be surprised if you even feel you are the only ones on the Wall. Take in the scenery of the structure snaking through the hills almost endlessly into the distance. After, say goodbye to the epic site and head for Beijing – the capital and last stop of your trip.

Included Activities:
-Great Wall - Jinshanling section

Day 7: Beijing
Location: Beijing
Accommodation: Hotel

Make your way to the centre of Beijing this morning and explore Tiananmen Square – supposedly the largest downtown square in the world and the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Mao's Mausoleum and the Great Hall of the People, it's a place of pilgrimage for Chinese tourists who consider it to be the heart of their nation. It's from here that you'll enter the enormous Forbidden City, which was built more than 500 years ago and has been off-limits to commoners for almost all that time. You’ll explore the halls and courtyards and witness the grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time to explore on your own. Maybe check out the Temple of Heaven before getting together with your fellow travellers for a farewell dinner. There's no better way to celebrate the end of your journey than with a meal of Beijing duck (and maybe a drink or two).

Included Activities:
-Beijing - Forbidden City
-Beijing - Tiananmen Square

Optional Activities:
-Beijing - Temple of Heaven (entrance fee)
-Beijing - Hutong family visit
-Beijing - Lama Temple (entrance fee)
-Beijing - Acrobat show (ticket)

Day 8: Beijing
Location: Beijing

As there are no activities planned today, your China adventure comes to an end. There's so much to see and do in Beijing, so if you’d like to stay an extra few days, just speak to your booking agent.

What's Included

  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square

  • Xitang - Leader-led walking tour

  • Shanghai - Leader-led walking tour

  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour

  • Great Wall - Dumpling making demonstration

  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour (entrace fee, transport, local guide included)

  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch

  • Great Wall - Jinshanling section

  • Beijing - Forbidden City

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (6 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night)

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What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

Transport

  • CHINA TRAIN TRAVEL SECURITY
  • When travelling by train in China you will need to pass through security checkpoints similar to those at airports. Please be aware that items that may be classified as ‘weapons’ might be confiscated (even from your suitcase), as all luggage travels in the compartment with you. We recommend leaving items that fall into this category (eg. pocket knives or scissors) at home. Aerosol spray bottles are not permitted on high-speed trains and can get confiscated at the station.

Accommodation

  • HOTEL ROOMS:
  • Some travellers have reported that hotels/accommodation in this region tend to have harder bed mattresses than those they are used to at home. You may like to request an extra quilt or bedding from the hotels if you find this an issue.
  • SMOKING ROOMS:
  • Smoking is prevalent in China and hotels generally do not offer specific non-smoking rooms. Larger hotels with central air conditioning will sometimes transport the smell of smoke between rooms. While we ask our hotels to ensure our rooms are well cleaned and ventilated well before occupation in some cases this is not possible, and the smell of smoke may linger. Please speak to your leader about the possibility of changing rooms if you encounter this.
  • WIFI:
  • WiFi is often available in hotel reception areas and sometimes in rooms. Your leader will be able to advise on the best places to get connected.
  • GUESTHOUSES
  • In smaller, rural locations in China we may stay in guesthouses, which are mostly small family run establishments. Facilities are basic compared to hotels and towels may not be provided. Please note that on occasion the group may be accommodated in separate guest houses within walking distance of each other.

Included Activities

  • Shanghai - Leader-led walking tour
  • Xitang - Walking tour
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour (Leader-led)
  • Xi'an - Night market
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour (entrace fee, transport, local guide included)
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
  • Great Wall - Dumpling making
  • Great Wall - Jinshanling section
  • Beijing - Forbidden City (entrance fee included)
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square

Important Information

  • 1. Your trip starts at 4pm on Day 1.
  • 2. A single supplement is bookable for this trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
  • 3. A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport needs to be sent to your booking agent no later than 40 days before departure in order for us to purchase our train tickets.
  • 4. Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    No

  • Is this trip right for you

    Be prepared for some long travel days as you’ll need to cover over 2000km to see China's main highlights in this 8-day adventure, without a flight.

    This trip packs a lot in over a short amount of time, so it’s highly recommended you spend some extra time in Shanghai and Beijing before or after your trip to experience more of what these great cities have to offer.

    As a short, city-based trip, there isn't a lot of time to experience China's beautiful natural landscapes or get further off the beaten track. If you have more time to explore, consider China Experience (CBSE), or Beijing to Hong Kong Adventure (CBSJ)

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes, except optional activities

  • Are international flights included in this tour?

    No

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes if aged 15+ and accompanied by an adult

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

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

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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Sunday - Sunday

Mar 03, 2024 - Mar 10, 2024
$1665 $1376 (USD)

Operator discount: $250 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $39 (USD)

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Mar 16, 2024 - Mar 23, 2024
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Operator discount: $254 (USD)

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Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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Operator discount: $260 (USD)

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May 11, 2024 - May 18, 2024
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Operator discount: $260 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $40 (USD)

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Operator discount: $260 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $40 (USD)

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Operator discount: $250 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $39 (USD)

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Operator discount: $250 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $39 (USD)

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Operator discount: $262 (USD)

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Operator discount: $260 (USD)

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Operator discount: $260 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $40 (USD)

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Operator discount: $260 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $40 (USD)

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$1795 $1484 (USD)

Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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$1795 $1484 (USD)

Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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Operator discount: $269 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $42 (USD)

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$1665 $1376 (USD)

Operator discount: $250 (USD)

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Dec 27, 2025 - Jan 03, 2026
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $46 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

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

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

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

  • COVID Protection

    Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
    From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

    However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

    This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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