Experience the breadth of cultures, flavours and landscapes that make up the vast Middle Kingdom on one our most popular tours through China. Marvel at iconic attractions like the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, then find a quieter side of the country with a cruise along the Yangzi River and a stay in a Buddhist monastery tucked into the mountains of Emei Shan. Discover a land of epic history, vibrant cultures and dramatic vistas on this 19-day China Experience.
Tour At a Glance
- This is one of our most comprehensive trips in China, taking in key destinations from north to south with plenty of variety in experiences and sights along the way
- Travel by overnight train to get a sense of the vastness of this country, as well as zip between cities on this high-speed rail network
- Take through the iconic scenery of the Yangzi River as you meander through the dramatic Three Gorges on a three-day cruise
- No matter how many guide books you have read, nothing truly prepares you for the grandeur and immensity of historic sights like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Leshan Big Buddha and the Terracotta Army. However, the country's modern man-made sights refuse to be outdone, and you can see the modern equivalence of those ancient feats in the skyline of Hong Kong and the Yangzi River's Three Gorges Hydroelectric dam
- Get up close to giant pandas in Chengdu and learn about their struggle for survival
- Beyond adorable, endangered giant pandas, Chengdu is one of our favourite cities in China. Find out why our travellers end up falling in love with this emerging travel hotspot here: intrepidtravel.com/adventures/chengdu-china-travel-guide
- Escape the cities to discover China's natural beauty. Trek up the misty forests of Emei Shan for a stay in a monastery, waking to the sound of drums and prayers in the morning Buddhist ritual.
- Cycle through the Chinese countryside with backdrops that resemble paintings – the picturesque limestone karsts of Yangshuo, for example, grace the walls of conference rooms and Chinese embassy's around the world
- Tour code: CBSE
- Group Adventure
Ni Hao! Welcome to Beijing, capital Ni Hao! Welcome to Beijing, capital of the most populous country on earth. With plenty of places that give an insight into the China's ancient history, as well as newer sights that showcase contemporary culture. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We will collect/check your passport, insurance and next of kin information at the group meeting, please have these on hand. After the meeting maybe head out to explore the Beijing streets – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises. Perhaps kick off your China adventure with a taste of an iconic dish – Peking duck.
Hotel ( Night)
Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360Beijing - Beijing Wine, Beer & BBQ Urban Adventure - CNY530Beijing - Beijing Taiji Lesson and Local Breakfast Urban Adventure - CNY450
Today you’ll explore two of the mos Today you’ll explore two of the most popular sights in Beijing on foot amd using public transport. While this can be crowded, it's the best way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Make your way to the centre of the city – Tiananmen Square, the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its Mao portrait, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, and with elaborate flag raising and lowering ceremonies at dawn and dusk, it's a place of pilgrimage for the Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation. From here you will enter the enormous Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all that time, the Forbidden City looks much like it always has. As you explore the great halls and courtyards you’ll be able appreciate the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power in the Ming and Qing dynasties. This evening is free to explore the Beijing street food scene; the quiet hutongs (historic narrow streets and alleys) come to life with lights and noise in the evening full of eateries to try the local treats.
Hotel ( Night)
Beijing - Forbidden CityBeijing - Tiananmen Square
Beijing - Temple of Heaven (entrance fee) - CNY40Beijing - Summer Palace (entrance fee) - CNY60Beijing - Kungfu Show (ticket) - CNY280Beijing - Lama Temple (entrance fee) - CNY25Beijing - Hutong family visit - CNY100Beijing - Acrobat show (ticket) - CNY290Beijing - Beijing Opera show (ticket) - CNY300
3 Great Wall - Beijing
This morning you’ll take a private This morning you’ll take a private bus to visit Mutianyu Great Wall (around 2 hours) and spend some time exploring, taking photos and learning the history of this mighty site. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km west from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from nomadic northern tribes, and even though it failed in this purpose it's still one of the country's most remarkable achievements and an iconic destination. The walk is generally on the restored section of the wall, but this still means walking on steep, uneven terrain with multiple steps, so reasonable fitness and comfortable shoes are needed. The walk is approximately 5 kilometres and will take 2 to 3 hours depending on your level of fitness. You can choose how you access the wall, with options including cable car, chairlift or even toboggan to come down (at your own expense). It's a good idea to pack a picnic lunch with you to enjoy atop the wall during a rest break. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. Return to Beijing by private bus, and then enjoy a free evening to either relax or explore further.
Hotel ( Night)
Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall (entransce fee, transfer included)
Today you'll travel to Xi'an by hig Today you'll travel to Xi'an by high-speed train (around 5.5 hours). The capital of Shaanxi Province, Xi’an is the largest city in northwest China. Once the imperial centre of China for nearly 2000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites and is a great place to explore. Join your leader on a short walking tour to uncover what was once the start of the ancient trading route of the Silk Road. The city has a wonderful Muslim Quarter, and you’ll wander the narrow streets past shops, lively markets, and groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes. In your free time, maybe visit the ancient City Wall, the most complete in China, running over 13 kilometres (8 miles) around the city (and cycling on top of it is a great option). Or visit the Bell and Drum Towers, the former built (according to legend) to restrain the dragons that were causing earthquakes, the latter is (unsurprisingly) full of drums, once used to mark time and warn in emergencies. Xi’an’s Silk Road history means it has an exciting mixture of cultures, exemplified by its food options. So in the evening, perhaps visit the night markets and try many of the tantalising local specialties such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand pulled noodles, hot pot and barbecue.
Hotel ( Night)
Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour
Xi'an - City Wall bike hire - CNY45Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers (entrance fee) - CNY50Xi'an - Little Wild Goose Pagoda (entrance fee) - CNY50Xi'an - Big Goose Pagoda (entrance fee) - CNY80Xi'an - Great Mosque (entrance fee) - CNY25
Today we will travel by public tran Today we will travel by public transport (around 2 hours) to visit what is undoubtedly one of the man-made wonders of the world – the Terracotta Warriors. You’ll learn all about this incredible archaeological find, rediscovered in 1976 by farmers digging a well after being buried for 2000 years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots (originally all painted) were commissioned by the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi as part of his mausoleum after he ascended to the throne in 264 BC. Three main pits are open for you to view, where just under 2000 of the warriors – each individually sculpted from clay and with a different costume, height, and even facial expressions – stand in battle formation. The scale is incredibly impressive. Return to Xi’an for you final evening in the city.
Hotel ( Night)
Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour (entrace fee, transport, local guide included)
Xi'an - Tang Dynasty Show & Dumpling Tasting - CNY290
Take a 3.5-hour high speed train ri Take a 3.5-hour high speed train ride to Chengdu. The capital of Sichuan Province, Chengdu is most famous for two things – the pandas living in the mountains, and the food. Chengdu's signature spicy cuisine is largely regarded as the best within China. In such a food-focused country, this is no mean feat. Maybe sample a Sichuan hotpot this evening. Go on a walking tour with your leader and check out Tianfu Square and People's Park, arguably the most lively park in China, full of locals singing, dancing, doing tai chi or even modelling! It might be one of China's biggest cities, but Chengdu has preserved plenty of its traditional flavour, and you'll get a taste of it during this tour and your free time. Don't miss out on the teahouses – pull up a stool and sample the local's favourite green and jasmine tea. Don't be surprised if someone offers to give you a head massage or clean your ears while you sip!
Hotel ( Night)
Chengdu - Leader-led walking tourChengdu - People's Park & Tianfu Square
Chengdu - Wenshu Monastery (entrance fee) - CNY5Chengdu - Sichuan Opera (ticket) - CNY280Chengdu - Cooking class - CNY120Chengdu - Bike hire - CNY20
Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Rese Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base today, where you're able to witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endearing species. There are only around 1000 pandas left in the world and 80% of them are found in the mountains in Sichuan. The facility was set up 30 years ago to help protect this animal, and there are more than 80 giant and red pandas living at the base. The pandas have over 600 acres of parkland to live in, and today you'll have the honour of getting up close to these gorgeous creatures. Watch them play, eat bamboo and climb the trees. If you’re lucky enough (and travelling between July and September) you might get to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery. Afterwards, return to downtown Chengdu for some free time. Perhaps take in a performance of traditional Sichuan Opera, visit the Wenshu Temple, or take a cooking class. Ask your leader for details.
Hotel ( Night)
Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (entrance fee & transport included)
8 Leshan - Emei Shan
Travel by private bus to the sacred Travel by private bus to the sacred mountains of Emei Shan. Along the way, stop in the town of Leshan to visit the World Heritage-listed Leshan Giant Buddha. Facing the river, the 71-metre-tall Buddha was carved out of a cliff face and took almost a 100 years to finish about 1300 years ago, in order to subdue the violent flood that the Leshan town had to suffer in ancient times. Depending on the volume of visitors, you may either choose either to climb up and down Leshan Mountain or take the river boat to experience the Giant Buddha, although the river boat is the best option if you want see the statue's entirety and wow at its magnificence. Then continue to Emei Shan (approx. 40 min) where you'll spend the next three nights.
Monastery/Guesthouse ( Night)
Leshan - Giant Buddha (boat ticket & transport included)
9 Emei Shan
Today will be spent exploring the l Today will be spent exploring the landscape surrounding Emei Shan, one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains. In the morning, travel by the park bus and then cable car (about 3 hours total), to the Golden Summit. The views from the 3099-metre/10,170-feet peak at Emei Shan are truly spectacular, especially on clear days. Take a public bus down the mountain, where you’ll start your 3-hour trek with a local guide to your accommodation at a monastery. Expect plenty of steps and steep paths, and dress accordingly. Sturdy footwear will help you to enjoy this challenging but rewarding day on the mountain.
Monastery/Guesthouse ( Night)
Emei Shan - Scenic Area HikingEmei Shan - Cable car & Golden Summit visit
10 Emei Shan
Today continue to explore the beaut Today continue to explore the beautiful countryside at the base of the mountain, which provides ample opportunity for leisurely walks. It may be possible to visit some local hot springs to relax and revive from your hike, or take a tour of some nearby villages. You can also visit the Crouching Tiger Monastery, hidden deep in the forest, and see its seven-metre copper pagoda inscribed with Buddhist images and texts.
Monastery/Guesthouse ( Night)
Emei Shan - Crouching Tiger Monastery - CNY6Emei Shan - Hot Springs - CNY128
11 Chongqing - Yangzi River
Travel by public bus to Chongqing, Travel by public bus to Chongqing, gateway to the Yangzi River. Chongqing is the biggest city in China with a population of over 20 million in the city centre and suburbs that spraw along the river and up the steep hills behind it. Board your river boat, your home for the next few nights, and begin the cruise down one of the world’s greatest rivers. The gorges are spectacular and most travellers enjoy their time on the Yangzi boats but some words of warning are necessary. The Yangzi River region is one of the most industrialised and rapidly developing areas in China. We travel on Chinese tourist boats rather than luxury tourist vessels. We like to call it a river trip, rather than a traditional cruise. Cabins are twin-share with private bathroom facilities. While all meals are included during your time on the boat, the buffet-style Chinese cuisine can be quite plain, but there's a chance to visit the supermarket in Chongqing before boarding in order to stock up on some favourite snacks, drinks or fruit for your journey.
Overnight Boat ( Night)
12-13 Yangzi River
Continue your cruise along the Yang Continue your cruise along the Yangzi River. The Yangzi has inspired numerous poets, writers and travellers over the centuries. You will travel along one of the most picturesque sections, through the renowned Three Gorges. The dramatic 'Sanxia', as they are known in Chinese, stretch for 200 kilometres and vary from 100 metres to 300 metres in width. As well as relaxing and taking in the sights (now much changed since the implementation of the Three Gorges dam), you may have opportunities to visit some riverside attractions and towns on optional group excursions, including leaving the river boat to take a side trip down a tributary of the Yangzi River. If you prefer to stay on-board, perhaps take the chance to learn some Mandarin words or how to write characters from your leader, how to play mahjong, sing some Chinese songs, catch up on your travel diary or just relax and chat with your group members and local travellers.
Overnight Boat ( Night)
14 Yichang - Overnight train
Your Yangzi boat trip will end in t Your Yangzi boat trip will end in the small city (by Chinese standards!) of Yichan, which offers a great chance to see typical Chinese life in the provinces. Here you’ll enjoy a tour of the incredible feat of engineering that is the Three Gorges Dam. The world’s largest hydroelectric project, the dam generates power and prevents the major flooding that had long threatened the people of the area (though the impact on displaced people and archaeological sites should not be ignored). From here you’ll take a private bus to the train station and board your only overnight train journey on this trip to Liuzhou (approximately 15 hours). As Yichang is not a major railway hub there's only one train heading south passing through here. To make the long journey as comfortable as possible, you will travel by soft sleeper (4 people per compartment with a lockable door) on this leg of our trip. It's important to try to get a good night's sleep as you’ll have to disembark the train very early tomorrow morning.
Overnight train ( Night)
Yichang - Guided Three Gorges Dam Project tour
Arrive in Liuzhou very early in the Arrive in Liuzhou very early in the morning (approximately 4.30 am) and travel by private transfer direct to your next destination, Yangshuo (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive, take the day to rest and soak up the charm of this little town, popular with the Chinese and Western travellers alike, who come for the beautiful landscape and stay for the great cafe and bar culture. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions, while having plenty of fun at the same time. The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings – picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape and towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River, all celebrated on every 20 yuan note.
Hotel ( Night)
Today you’ll shake out your train l Today you’ll shake out your train legs and experience the dramatic limestone karst landscape during a bike ride, where you’ll gain a real insight into rural Chinese life. Stop for lunch at the house of our local friends for a tasty meal made from locally grown produce. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another postcard-worthy location. You’ll have a local guide during the ride, and helmets and bike rental are included in the trip price. The evening is free for you to explore Yangshuo's lively cafe and bar scene. Maybe grab a bowl of pork stuffed tofu or beer fish (simmered fresh water fish).
Hotel ( Night)
Yangshuo - Cycling tour (local guide & bike hire included)
Yangshuo - Moon Hill (entrance fee) - CNY15
Today is as clear as a Yanghsuo spr Today is as clear as a Yanghsuo spring day, but there are plenty of optional activities to choose from. You could begin the day by focusing your body and mind with a morning tai chi class or kung-fu lesson. Perhaps try your hand at Chinese calligraphy, or simply sit back and relax as you enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Li or Yulong River. Maybe visit the market to shop with the locals and get a feel for the regional produce. You can then put this new knowledge to use in a cooking class at the Yangshuo Cooking School. Learn to cook Chinese dishes with recipes that are easy to make and ingredients readily available outside of China, so that you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back at home. Or take a tour to the much loved viewpoint at Xiangongshan for a birdview of Yangshuo's amazing landscape and visit a local tea farm to learn about tea picking and brewing. In the evening, perhaps watch an outdoor light show staged by 2008 Beijing Olympics’ Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou.
Hotel ( Night)
Yangshuo - Xianggongshan & Tea Farm Visit (Minimum 6, transport and entrance fee) - CNY300Yangshuo - Impressions Liu Sanjie light show (minimum 4 people) - CNY298Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class - CNY100Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour - CNY230Yangshuo - Li River Cruise - CNY200Yangshuo - Massage/Hot cupping - CNY100
18 Hong Kong
Take a private bus from your Yangsh Take a private bus from your Yangshuo Hotel to Guilin North Station, and then board a bullet train to Shenzhen North Station (approximately 3.5 hours). Then it’s a short metro train from Shenzhen to the Hong Kong border. The China-Hong Kong border is busy, so there can often be a bit of a wait to get through and a lot of patience is required. It could take up to 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. Your bags will be with you during this time. Then you’ll walk the short distance from the train station to the border, go through procedures to exit China, and finally enter Hong Kong. Once all that's done, you’ll travel on the KCR train to central Hong Kong. Hong Kong's cityscape is spectacular and its modern fast-paced life is only minutes from picturesque islands and beaches. The locals are very proud of their Cantonese culture and history, so step out of the shopping malls and off the main streets to discover another side of the city. This evening, enjoy an optional final farewell dinner to sample some of the best Cantonese dishes.
Hotel ( Night)
Hong Kong - Victoria Peak & Tram - HKD90Hong Kong - Star Ferry - HKD15
19 Hong Kong
There are no activities planned for There are no activities planned for the today and the trip ends this morning. Check out time is 12 pm but you'll be able to leave your luggage at the hotel reception if you can't find a flight until the evening. However, we highly recommend you to spend a couple of extra days here so that you can make the most of Hong Kong. If you're interested, we can help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability). Please consult your booking agent if you are interested.
Hong Kong - Old vs New Hong Kong Urban Adventure - USD49Hong Kong - Around Kowloon in 8 Markets Urban Adventure - USD49Hong Kong - The Story of Hong Kong Urban Adventure - USD49
Dates & Prices
Is this trip right for you.
- The overnight train travel included on this trip is in “soft sleeper” class – carriages sectioned off into 2 tier/4 berth compartments with lockable doors. If you would prefer a trip without overnight train travel, check out our trips Explore China, China: Great Wall Hike, Bike & Kung Fu (CBXGC) or Beijing to Hong Kong Adventure (CBSJ).
- This trip is a true journey in the sense that we are covering huge distances and visiting many destinations along the way. Be prepared for long days of travel in between days packed with sightseeing.
- With walks on the Great Wall and up Emei Shan (both which have many steps!), you'll need a good level of fitness to get the most out of these activities. Don't worry, you'll have plenty of more relaxing days too, such as on the Yangzi River cruise or in the picturesque town of Yangshuo.
- There is a variety of accommodation on this trip including hotels, guesthouses, monasteries, riverboats and overnight trains. They might not always be as comfortable as home, but each accommodation site will give you a different perspective on China.
- While we finish in Hong Kong, due to our late afternoon arrival we do not include much free time or activities here. We highly recommend staying a few extra days post trip to make the most of this exciting city. Here's some tips to get you started: intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-do-in-hong-kong
- Hotel (11 nights)
- Guesthouse/Monastery (3 nights)
- Overnight Riverboat (3 nights)
- Overnight Soft Sleeper Train (1 night)
Joining point description
King Parkview Hotel is centrally located in Beijing, close to many historical and cultural landmarks, including Jinshan Park, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and the National Art Museum, and the hutong areaThe hotel offers comfortable rooms including en-suite bathroom, TV & AC. Hotel rooms may include a vanity pack which are not complimentary. You will be charged at checkout if you open or use the vanity pack.
Joining point instructions
Beijing Capital International airport is located north-east of Beijing, 25 km from the city centre. One of the biggest airports in the world, it is relatively easy to navigate and many signs are written in English. Most international flights arrive at Terminal 3. For more information about Beijing Capital Airport, please go to
An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through your booking agent.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer with us, our local operator, Ms Qi (Ms Chee), will have sent a driver to the airport who will be holding a sign with our company logo on it and your name.
If you arrive at Terminal 2, please meet your driver at the entrance/exit #7 after you go through the baggage claim area. I
f you arrive at Terminal 3, please meet your driver in front of the white jade screen wall with the dragon pattern, after you walk through Exit B. Exit B is the only international arrival gate in Terminal 3. Please note that Beijing Airport is very crowded so please be patient. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk near your exit and ask them to call Ms Qi at (+86) 13671299816.
In any case, please take a printed copy of your hotel name and address in Chinese as shown in the joining point hotel section with you.
If you are making your own way to the joining hotel:
By taxi (the easiest option): Metered taxis are available outside the airport terminal building. You can follow the airport signs to reach to the official taxi stand. The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotels takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour and should cost around CNY120 (include CNY10 for the airport expressway toll). Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown below. **PLEASE AVOID TAXI DRIVERS WHO DON'T WAIT IN THE TAXI LINE FOR CLIENTS AND APPROACH YOU IN THE QUEUE CLAIMING THEY USE METER**
By airport express and taxi:
You can follow the airport signs to reach to the airport express station. Take the airport express (CNY25, service time: 06:20 to 22:50) to Dongzhimen station. It is suggested to hail a passing by taxi to go to your hotel. It will cost around CNY30 from Dongzhimen Station to your hotel. Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown in the Joining Point Section. **THERE IS NO TAXI LINE AT THIS STATION. AVOID USING TAXIS THAT ARE WAITING JUST OUTSIDE THE STATION EXITS. THEY DON'T USE METER AND TEND TO OVERCHARGE. **
Finish point description
Located off Jordan Road (near Nathan Road) in one of Hong Kong's main shopping precincts, Kowloon. The surrounding area is fantastic and taking a stroll around the area is highly recommended. The Temple Street night market is situated just a few blocks away. The hotel features 24hr reception, 110 rooms, all with AC, en-suite, TV, internet access (extra charge applies), phone, refrigerator, kettle and hair dryer. Short term bag storage is available free of charge. www.westhotel.com.hk
Finish point instructions
- Hong Kong International Airport (or Chek Lap Kok Airport) is situated on Lantau Island, 36km from the centre of Kowloon Peninsula. Even though it is one of the world's busiest airports, it is very easy to navigate and there are several different and convenient ways to get in to the city. All signs and directions are written in English.
- A departure transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your departure flight details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through your booking agent.
- Your tour leader can advise you when is the best time to leave for your flight depending on local traffic condition. It is suggested to leave from your hotel at least 3 hours before your flight time. By taxi, it’ll take about 45minutes to go to the airport at a cost around HKD300.
- By airport express, you can take a taxi to Kowloon airport express station (about HKD60), then take airport express to the airport (90HKD).
- By airport shuttle bus, you can take the A22 City Flyer bus from Shanghai Street stop (HKD39$, service time: 05:30 – 22:30). Your tour leader can tell you where the bus stop is.
- Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.
- China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safety concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, electronic devices, mobile phones, purses, and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, airports, train stations, major international events and conferences, and popular bar areas after dark. There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint. Counterfeit banknotes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine banknotes for counterfeits. A common scam when paying a taxi fare with an RMB100 note occurs when the taxi driver swaps the note for a fake note, and returns the fake note to the passenger, refusing to accept it for payment as it’s counterfeit. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so. Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop, or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.
- SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
- FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
Medical and health information
- All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
- You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling.
- The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here
- If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader.
- All travellers on Intrepid trips (outside Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands) are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. From 1 December 2021, all travellers on Intrepid trips, including in Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands, are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
- This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit
- Air pollution is a recognized issue for travelers in China, particularly in Beijing where the geographical location of the city exacerbates its effects. We provide travellers with certified PM (particulate matter) face masks as an option to be worn as protection during times of high levels of pollution. On days when outdoor activities are not recommended due to high pollution levels, your leader may alter some activities for the health and safety of our travellers and leaders.
- The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these types of medical conditions.
- You can check the pollution index levels for many cities in China on the following website
MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY
Food and dietary requirements
- What IS authentic Chinese food like? Check out these articles to get a taste
- Vegetarians in China certainly won't go hungry as there are always plenty of meat-free options on menus including vegetable, tofu, and egg dishes. Your leader can advise on some local favourites. Dairy is uncommon in Chinese cooking, although in some regions like Tibet, Xinjiang, and Yunnan you will find milk products as part of the local cuisine. Vegans should also have few problems finding tasty meals in most locations. Nearly all cities will have vegetarian restaurants, often near to temples or monasteries that specialise in Buddhist cuisine. Check out this blog for a guide to eating vegetarian in Beijing
- Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets. Please note that some dietary requirements, such as Gluten-Free, will be uncommon in China and you may need to explain to your leader what you can and can't eat as well as research common dishes before you travel.
- For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic and research suitable local foods before travelling.
FOOD IN CHINA
VEGETARIANS & VEGANS
- What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.
- Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles.
- If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks.
- A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.
- You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
- Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Clothing a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites.
- Shoes sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential.
- Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, flight tickets and trip notes. Photocopies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
- small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice.
- Money cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt
- Sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
- Refillable water bottle (1.5-litre capacity suggested) The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug
- Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and a small towel
- Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
- Torch or flashlight esp. for stay at local guesthouses or homestays
- Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec Feb when temperatures are low.
- Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.
- Earplugs to guard against street noise and snorers.
- A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives.
- Other things to consider
- Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing
- Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash
Passport and visas
You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the passport details you provide are accurate. Any errors provided may result in extra fees for making corrections in bookings. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip.
COVID-19 ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS
Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, you must monitor your government's foreign travel advice for the most up-to-date border measures and entry requirements as they may change without notice. See Intrepid Travel Alert page for some commonly used government travel advice websites:
Entry requirements may include but not limited to the presentation of a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test, health declaration form, passenger locator form, or proof of hotel or tour booking. Lack of any required documents may result in denial of entry.
Airline boarding requirements may differ, or be in addition to, a destination’s entry requirements. Monitor your airline’s requirements regularly in the lead up to travel. Being allowed to board a flight doesn’t guarantee entry to a destination.
Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that extends to cover COVID-19 related expenses.
Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour.
We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested.
Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong if you have time there before joining your trip. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for this trip valid for 30 days.
Please make sure if you have a transit anywhere in China before arriving at your destination that you check with your airline to see if the transit will require using your visa.
INFORMATION & DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE VISA APPLICATION:
You will be provided with a Hotel List and Letter of Invitation to assist you in applying for your visa. These are the primary documents you should use to apply for your visa as they are issued by our local office in China.
Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
+86 10 6406 8022
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at the time of booking. If you do not receive this, email us with your booking number and trip details.
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided from us together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the consulate or not and will assist with your application.
* Itinerary – print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website www.intrepidtravel.com and include it with your application, marking the dates you will visit each destination if required (exception - Tibet tours)
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photos (up to 4 may be required)
* Check with the consulate for any other specific requirements
* Please note that if you are not applying for a Chinese visa from your passport country, you may be required to submit further documents, ie. employment letter, immigration card, etc. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for specific requirements.
You will be given a specific itinerary to use if booking a Tibet trip. A permit to enter into Tibet must be applied prior to arrival through authorized agencies in Tibet. Please check out trip specific China visa and Tibet permit processes. Tibetan area outside Tibet visited on trips will not require a permit, but this could change without notice and we'll endeavor to advise and make alternative plans as soon as possible if this changes.
Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements for Hong Kong.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS:
Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking or at least 40 days prior to travel:
*Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip in case it is also requested.
HONG KONG VISAS
Although Hong Kong is now part of the People’s Republic of China it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. Most nationalities can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa.
If you are travelling to mainland China via Hong Kong you must get a Chinese visa before arrival at the border. If you are entering Hong Kong via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland you will need a double or multiple entry visa for mainland China.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting.
For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below:
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
It's always a good idea to learn something about local customs before you travel, and visiting China is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences during your trip, but here are some tips to get you started:
As with everywhere we travel, we strongly recommend wearing modest clothing in China (ie. covering shoulders and wearing shorts or skirts to the knee) both for your own comfort, and to respect that standards may be more conservative than in your home country, especially outside of major cities.
Climate and seasonal
CHINESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS:
Please note that China's national holidays are the peak travel season for Chinese nationals. During this time, literally the whole country is on the move - that's over a billion people. Although these are fascinating and exciting times to travel in China, please be aware your group will almost definitely experience transport delays and massive crowds at tourist attractions and train stations. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train or flight tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic chaotic and changes to the itinerary are often necessary as a result. If clockwork organisation is important to you we advise you book outside of the weeks of the extended Chinese New Year in January/February, in the first week of May and the first week of October. If you decide to travel during this period please come with an open mind and be prepared for changes on the ground.
Here are the major holiday periods in China:
Chinese New Year: Feb 11-17 2021, Jan 31- Feb 6 2022
Qingming Festival: Apr 3-5 2021, Apr 3-5 2022
Labour Day Holiday: Apr 30- May 2 2021/2022
Dragon Boat Festival: Jun 12-14 2021, Jun 3-5 2022
Mid-Autumn Day: Sep 19-21 2021, Sep 9-11 2022
National Day: Oct 1-7 2021, Oct 1-8 2022
Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at:
Why our customers love us?
Presenting the most dependable travel solutions from London to the world over since 1984, we are trusted widely by people. Our customers can completely depend on us for end to end travel solutions, while all they need to do is pack your bags and arrive in style!
Why book with Southall Travel?
- Price Match Guarantee*
- No fee on credit & debit card transactions
- Exclusive deals for hundreds of destinations
- 24/7 assistance by Travel Experts
- ATOL Protected
- Low deposits
24/7 Customer Support
From our Travel Experts
With a Travel Expert
Request a call back
We will get back to you
Subscribe for latest deals
Sign up now and get the best holiday and flight deals straight in your inbox!