China

China feels like a hundred different moods, landscapes and countries rolled into one. Neon cities, remote villages, deserts, smoky markets and ancient artefacts - there are new adventures around every corner. Even after a lifetime in China, there would still be more to see, taste, admire and experience.

China Tours & Travel

Top deals in China

Departing Days Price AUD
10 Oct 2014 North China Getaway 12 $1279
13 Oct 2014 Hong Kong to Shanghai 14 $3135
21 Oct 2014 South China Getaway 12 $1368
24 Oct 2014 North China Getaway 12 $1354
26 Oct 2014 Explore China 14 $2175

All our China trips

china beijing forbidden city temple gold lake

China Experience

21 days from

Travel to China and tour Beijing, visit the Great Wall of China, see the Terracotta Warriors, travel from Xi'an to...

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Trans Mongolian Railway

Trans-Mongolian Experience

21 days from
USD $4,500.00
CAD $4,278.75
AUD $3,948.75
EUR €3,150.00
GBP £2,617.50
NZD $5,055.00
ZAR R34,263.75
CHF FR3,873.75

Travel on the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railways from Russia to China. This epic transcontinental adventure...

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Fisherman, Burma. Photograph by David Lazar.

China, Burma & Thailand

28 days from
USD $3,810.00*
CAD $3,938.36*
AUD $4,020.18*
EUR €2,875.57*
GBP £2,403.50*
NZD $4,664.18*
ZAR R36,981.69*
CHF FR3,397.55*

Experience contrasts, chaotic metropolises, serene landscapes and enchanting locals on this Asian adventure. Explore...

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china shanghai city cityscape buildings skyscraper

China Highlights

9 days from
USD $1,385.00
CAD $1,405.00
AUD $1,455.00
EUR €1,030.00
GBP £870.00
NZD $1,710.00
ZAR R13,230.00
CHF FR1,275.00

Get a taste of China on a short but sweet tour. China Highlights travels between Shanghai and Beijing, visiting the...

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Forbidden City, Beijing

Trans-Siberian & Mongolia

16 days from
USD $3,323.50
CAD $3,366.00
AUD $3,387.25
EUR €2,435.25
GBP £2,091.00
NZD $4,016.25
ZAR R31,836.75
CHF FR3,000.50

Travel to China, Mongolia and Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow. Visit China, tour Mongolia...

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china tibet plateau landscape mountains snow fields

Tibet Unplugged

15 days from
USD $2,256.75
CAD $2,286.50
AUD $2,375.75
EUR €1,653.25
GBP £1,423.75
NZD $2,800.75
ZAR R21,624.00
CHF FR2,035.75

Enjoy an adventure travel experience on a round trip from Kathmandu. Tour across the world's highest mountain range,...

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Shanghai, China

South China Getaway

12 days from
USD $1,275.00
CAD $1,305.00
AUD $1,360.00
EUR €935.00
GBP £815.00
NZD $1,610.00
ZAR R12,345.00
CHF FR1,165.00

Travel through Shanghai, Xiamen, Yangshuo, the Longji rice terraces and Hong Kong on a remarkable city to country...

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Street food, China

Bite-size Break - Shanghai

3 days from
USD $995.00
CAD $1,020.00
AUD $1,060.00
EUR €740.00
GBP £635.00
NZD $1,260.00
ZAR R9,650.00
CHF FR895.00

Travel to China and eat, drink and cook your way through Shanghai. Meet local cooks, sample delicious food and...

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Street food in Beijing, China

Bite-size Break - Beijing

3 days from
USD $855.00
CAD $870.00
AUD $895.00
EUR €625.00
GBP £540.00
NZD $1,070.00
ZAR R8,195.00
CHF FR775.00

Discover Beijing’s exciting food scene. Join in a traditional Hutong cooking class, enjoy authentic dishes, journey to...

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Amir Timur Square, Tashkent

Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan

18 days from
USD $3,795.00
CAD $3,845.00
AUD $3,995.00
EUR €2,780.00
GBP £2,390.00
NZD $4,735.00
ZAR R36,365.00
CHF FR3,425.00

Travel along the Silk Road from Uzbekistan to Russia via Kazakhstan. Visit the trading towns of yesteryear, including...

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china tiger leaping gorge tour mountain view cliff trek hike

Tiger Leaping Gorge

13 days from
USD $1,165.00
CAD $1,180.00
AUD $1,225.00
EUR €850.00
GBP £735.00
NZD $1,450.00
ZAR R11,150.00
CHF FR1,050.00

Travel to China and visit the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. Starting from Kunming, visit Dali, Shaxi, Shangri-La and...

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Ger camp, Mongolia

Beijing to St Petersburg

22 days from
USD $4,980.00
CAD $5,035.00
AUD $5,245.00
EUR €3,475.00
GBP £3,140.00
NZD $6,215.00
ZAR R47,740.00
CHF FR4,285.00

Explore China, Mongolia and Russia on a journey from Beijing to St Petersburg via Ulaanbaatar, Lake Baikal and Moscow....

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china shanghai shopping shoes market lady

North China Getaway

12 days from
USD $1,147.50
CAD $1,165.50
AUD $1,210.50
EUR €841.50
GBP £724.50
NZD $1,435.50
ZAR R11,002.50
CHF FR1,039.50

Travel to China on a getaway from Beijing to Shanghai. Visit Xi'an and Huangshan, see the Great Wall and witness China'...

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Happy monks

Mountains & Monasteries

18 days from
USD $3,975.00
CAD $4,025.00
AUD $4,185.00
EUR €2,770.00
GBP £2,505.00
NZD $4,960.00
ZAR R38,090.00
CHF FR3,420.00

Take a scenic and spiritual tour of China and Tibet. Travel across the top of the world from Beijing to Lhasa, visit...

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Forbidden palace, Beijing

Explore China

14 days from
USD $1,899.75
CAD $1,921.00
AUD $2,001.75
EUR €1,394.00
GBP £1,194.25
NZD $2,358.75
ZAR R18,211.25
CHF FR1,717.00

Visit China and explore the best of China's attractions from Shanghai to Beijing. Visit the Great Wall of China, tour...

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Forbidden palace, Beijing

Explore China

13 days from
USD $2,270.00
CAD $2,340.00
AUD $2,295.00
EUR €1,580.00
GBP £1,325.00
NZD $2,555.00
ZAR R22,970.00
CHF FR1,910.00

Travel on lightning-fast trains to bustling cities and tranquil towns. See the sights of Shanghai, feel the zen in...

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china beijing maos tomb ancient gold

Silk Road - China & Kyrgyzstan

18 days from
USD $3,160.00
CAD $3,365.00
AUD $3,495.00
EUR €2,430.00
GBP £2,090.00
NZD $4,145.00
ZAR R31,810.00
CHF FR2,995.00

Tour Asia and the famous Silk Road, from China through Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan. Explore from Beijing to Tashkent via...

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The Great Wall, China

China In Depth

27 days from
USD $4,602.75
CAD $4,666.50
AUD $4,849.25
EUR €3,374.50
GBP £2,902.75
NZD $5,750.25
ZAR R44,123.50
CHF FR4,156.50

Tour through the sights of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing. Explore beautiful Fenghuang, Hangzhou and the Three...

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Breakfast dumplings in Xian

Real Food Adventure - China

10 days from
USD $2,395.00
CAD $2,450.00
AUD $2,545.00
EUR €1,770.00
GBP £1,525.00
NZD $2,995.00
ZAR R23,165.00
CHF FR2,185.00

Discover China and the tantalising sights, culture and food of Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu and Shanghai – from climbing the...

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china hong kong mong kok cityscape neon lights shanghai

Hong Kong to Shanghai

14 days from
USD $2,822.00
CAD $2,856.00
AUD $2,970.75
EUR €2,061.25
GBP £1,776.50
NZD $3,510.50
ZAR R27,021.50
CHF FR2,545.75

Travel to China and discover why it's one of the world's favourite holiday destinations. From Hong Kong to Shanghai...

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china hong kong mong kok cityscape neon lights shanghai

Hong Kong to Shanghai

14 days from
USD $2,465.00
CAD $2,545.00
AUD $2,495.00
EUR €1,715.00
GBP £1,440.00
NZD $2,780.00
ZAR R24,975.00
CHF FR2,080.00

Travel from the bright city lights of Hong Kong to sensational Shanghai. See dazzling cityscapes, ancient towns, lush...

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City square, Beijing

Beijing to Xi'an

17 days from
USD $1,900.00*
CAD $1,965.51*
AUD $1,891.47*
EUR €1,449.51*
GBP £1,207.38*
NZD $2,395.62*
ZAR R18,354.06*
CHF FR1,727.27*

The real China waits to be discovered on this epic holiday adventure. Travel from Beijing city along the Great Wall to...

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Architecture in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Silk Road - Beijing to Moscow

35 days from
USD $6,695.00
CAD $6,795.00
AUD $7,060.00
EUR €4,895.00
GBP £4,225.00
NZD $8,370.00
ZAR R64,275.00
CHF FR6,055.00

Travel the Silk Road from China to Russia. Visit important cities along this ancient trading route including Xi’an,...

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Panda, China

Classic China

14 days from
USD $3,295.00
CAD $3,340.00
AUD $3,470.00
EUR €2,395.00
GBP £2,075.00
NZD $4,095.00
ZAR R31,565.00
CHF FR2,975.00

Travel to Hong Kong and visit the very best sights of China, including Beijing, Xi'an, the Great Wall and Shanghai.

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turkey istanbul blue mosque temple village city

Beijing to Istanbul

96 days from
USD $11,665.00*
CAD $12,118.46*
AUD $11,502.37*
EUR €8,781.57*
GBP £7,402.75*
NZD $14,236.64*
ZAR R114,461.89*
CHF FR10,395.66*

Travel to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. See the Great Wall of China and Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. Discover Baku and...

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china camels sand dunes safari tourists trek

Xi'an to Kashgar

22 days from
USD $2,680.00*
CAD $2,763.58*
AUD $2,678.30*
EUR €2,046.44*
GBP £1,692.50*
NZD $3,356.30*
ZAR R25,742.20*
CHF FR2,423.82*

Travel to China and embark on a journey from Xi'an to Kashgar, touring through the Taklamakan Desert, Dunhuang, the...

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Terracotta Warriors, Xian

Xi'an to Beijing

17 days from
USD $1,865.00*
CAD $1,935.51*
AUD $1,861.47*
EUR €1,424.51*
GBP £1,187.38*
NZD $2,355.62*
ZAR R18,049.06*
CHF FR1,702.27*

The real China waits to be discovered on this epic holiday adventure. Travel from Xi'an, along the Great Wall and...

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laos luang prabang two girls holding baskets waving locals kids

Luang Prabang to Kunming

9 days from
USD $962.00*
CAD $992.17*
AUD $927.94*
EUR €728.27*
GBP £604.63*
NZD $1,177.13*
ZAR R9,291.75*
CHF FR854.44*

A fascinating trip through Laos and China that explores the beautiful landscapes between Luang Prabang and Xi'an, and...

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China Xian Terracotta Warriors in Museum

Xi'an to Kunming

21 days from
USD $2,370.00*
CAD $2,466.70*
AUD $2,518.07*
EUR €1,780.95*
GBP £1,505.25*
NZD $2,890.51*
ZAR R23,309.01*
CHF FR2,109.85*

Discover hidden China on this adventure beyond the tourist trail. Journey through the Yunnan and Sichuan regions and...

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Great Wall path, China

Beijing to Hong Kong

23 days from
USD $2,970.00
CAD $3,010.00
AUD $3,130.00
EUR €2,115.00
GBP £1,875.00
NZD $3,700.00
ZAR R28,500.00
CHF FR2,595.00

Adventure through Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Hong Kong to experience the Great Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors and...

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Giant Panda Breeding Research Base

Yangzi & Beyond

14 days from
USD $3,395.00
CAD $3,460.00
AUD $3,595.00
EUR €2,495.00
GBP £2,150.00
NZD $4,260.00
ZAR R32,725.00
CHF FR3,085.00

Embark on an incredible adventure from Shanghai to Beijing. Visit the warriors of Xi'an, the pandas of Chengdu and...

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china great wall climb path trek

Walking the Great Wall

8 days from
USD $1,359.00
CAD $1,377.00
AUD $1,426.50
EUR €990.00
GBP £855.00
NZD $1,692.00
ZAR R12,996.00
CHF FR1,224.00

Discover the Great Wall on a small group adventure. Visit the Mutianyu, Huangyaguan and Gubeikou sections of the Great...

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Terracotta Warriors

Xi'an to Bishkek

27 days from
USD $3,275.00*
CAD $3,376.94*
AUD $3,457.02*
EUR €2,496.42*
GBP £2,068.63*
NZD $4,101.67*
ZAR R31,455.26*
CHF FR2,962.07*

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China trip reviews

Our China trips score an average of 4.72 out of 5 based on 115 reviews in the last year.

Silk Road - China & Kyrgyzstan, May 2014

North China Getaway, June 2014

Video

Articles on China

6 Asian hotels you really have to see to believe

6 Asian hotels you really have to see to believe

Posted on Mon, 22 Sep 2014 by Intrepid Travel

What is it about Asia that throws up strange and unusual places to rest your head?

Read more
11 things to wear on your head in Central Asia

11 things to wear on your head in Central Asia

Posted on Sun, 8 Jun 2014 by Tara Kennaway

If I was to give you one tip about travelling in Central Asia, it would be expect the unexpected. Everything about the region is surprising; the extraordinary landscapes, fascinating history, [...]

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A photo journey through Central Asia

A photo journey through Central Asia

Posted on Wed, 14 May 2014 by Sue Elliot

The Silk Road originally extended over 6,000 km through ancient China, India, Persia, Europe and Arabia, linking the mighty civilisations of the East and the West. It’s an intrepid traveller’s [...]

Read more
5 places to stay that aren’t your usual hotels

5 places to stay that aren’t your usual hotels

Posted on Mon, 12 May 2014 by Sue Elliot

How can you find out more about local life without imposing on people? Here are 5 of the most wonderful homestays for fantastic real life experiences.

Read more

Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in China, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in China you may find yourself staying in a:

About China

At a glance

Trips Available: 33
Capital city: Beijing (population 13 million)
Population: 1.3 billion
Language: Mandarin, Cantonese and many dialects
Currency: CNY
Time zone: (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type C (European 2-pin) Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)
Dialing code: +86

Best time to visit China

Due to China's large size, there are great variations in the climate - depending on what area you're travelling in, expect different temperatures and conditions. Autumn and spring are generally the better seasons to visit as temperatures are less extreme than in summer and winter. Be aware that travelling through China during Chinese New Year presents some challenges, with many businesses closing and public transport (especially rail) much busier due to locals moving around the country to visit their families.

Bejing weather chart Hong Kong weather chart

Culture and customs

Permormers at a festival in Beijing
As one of the world's oldest cultures, China has a fascinating array of cultural treasures to observe, taste, admire and learn about. Ancient mythology and spirituality is infused throughout the traditional dance, art, music and literature of China, with many contemporary customs being directly attributed to century-old traditions. While modern China is changing at a rapid pace, with technological advances and infrastructure cropping up at a speedy rate, much of China still clings to age-old traditions and ways of life. This culture clash is particularly evident when visiting large cities like Beijing that are home to ancient hutongs, modern skyscrapers, time-worn temples and glorious UNESCO World Heritage sites, which can all be found near each other. Culturally, China has given the world everything from martial arts to mah jong, with the greater world enjoying China's rich cuisine, delicate art, evocative dance and enlightening philosophy. Although the language may be impenetrable for new comers and some of the customs and foods a little strange to western tastes, China's culture remains one of the world's most fascinating.

Eating and drinking

Peking duck

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways of experiencing a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

China can lay claim to rich culinary traditions and some of the world's most celebrated cuisine.

Things to try in China

1. Sichuan Hot Pot

Taste a bit of Chinese history by dipping into a fiery Sichuan hot pot filled with meat, vegetables, noodles and chilli. While each region in China has different varieties, the hot pots in Sichuan are among the fieriest.

2. Dim Sum (Yum Cha)

Sitting down to a dim sum banquet is one of Hong Kong's great culinary experiences. Bamboo baskets of salty dumplings and pots of cleansing tea change hands in this traditional feast that will leave you feeling very full.

3. Green Tea

China is home to one of the world's largest tea drinking cultures, with most locals sipping a few cups of tea daily. In western societies, green tea has risen in popularity of late, but has been used as a medicine in China for thousands of years.

4. Peking Duck

This famous roast duck dish from Beijing dates back to Imperial China. Succulent slices of duck served between delicate pancakes with green onions and hoisin sauce is simply one of the best flavour combinations in the world.

Geography and environment

Rice paddy fields
As one of the world's largest countries, China's vast land mass spreads across a large part of northern Asia and includes a diverse range of terrain and people. With fertile rice terraces, inhospitable desert, towering mountain ranges, earthy steppes and life-giving rivers and channels, China is a revolving door of natural environments. The diversity of topography is also matched by the different ways of living that have evolved over the years. Contemporary China is a mixture of sleepy villages, busy port cities, burgeoning industrial centres and thriving metropolises.

History and government

Forbidden city, Beijing Boy waving flags at Tiananmen square, Beijing

Early History

As one of the world's oldest civilisations, China has an intriguing history that spans thousands of years. The Yellow River is known as the Cradle of Chinese Civilisation as it is thought that Chinese civilisation originated on the banks of the river. China's early history is dominated by periods of dynastic rule, fragmentation and imperialistic expansion, with each dynasty contributing something different to the annals of history. Construction of the Great Wall of China was thought to have started during the Qin Dynasty, with the Ming Dynasty enhancing the wall at a later stage. The Tang Dynasty is known as a time of prosperity and artistic expression, the Song Dynasty is famed for being a time of scientific and technological discovery, and Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty saw an overall population decline that has been attributed to everything from an administration error to the arrival of the Bubonic Plague. With the Yuan Dynasty being overthrown by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, population numbers began to increase again and urbanisation grew quite rapidly. During this time, private enterprise flourished, with small-scale paper, silk and cotton trading providing trade income to the masses. The following period of rule known as the Qing Dynasty stretched from 1644 to 1911. This is generally seen as a time of rebellion and upheaval with the Taiping Rebellion, Nien Rebellion, Panthay Rebellion and Boxer Rebellion all testing the Qing's ability to rule. Thankfully, remnants of most of these periods of history can be found in China today.

Recent History

The Republic of China was formed in Nanjing in 1912 after a military uprising. During the following years, leadership changed hands many times until the People's Liberation Army succeeded in ousting the US backed Chiang Kai-Shek after a long and bloody battle. Mao Zedong became Chairman (leader) of the People's Republic of China, which was declared in 1949, and China's society was systematically converted to communism, with land reforms and collectivisation of agriculture changing the structure of society and daily life dramatically. Mao's death in 1976 triggered leadership changes and economic reforms which had impacts that have rippled out into the future. More recently, China has seen Hong Kong and Macau returned from foreign rule, has enjoyed a period of increased economic growth and basked in the international spotlight as the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Top Picks

Terracotta Warriors, Xian Giant Panda, China Forbidden Place, China

Top 10 Must-See Icons of China

1. The Great Wall

At 6,000 km long, the Wall is like an old friend that keeps popping its head up on your travels. You're likely to glimpse it from train windows, but the best way to experience it is with a walk. It's steep, but with every step you're rewarded with an amazing sense of history.

2. Terracotta Warriors

These 8,000 soldiers and their horses have stood guard for 2,000 years over the First Emperor of China. Beautifully preserved and standing in full battle regalia, they are a highlight of any trip to China.

3. Longji Terraces

Nicknamed the dragon's backbone with good reason, the rice terraces soar into the sky like ribs from a mythical beast and bring different colours and moods with every season. Hike through them to small villages where life has remained unchanged for centuries.

4. Shanghai

This bustling metropolis is modern China at its best. Take in the futuristic skyline of the Bund, get a taste of Europe at the French Concession or grab a bargain at bustling Yuyuan Bazaar.

5. Giant Pandas

These gorgeous, black and white fur-balls originate from China but are loved by the world. Visit the breeding program in Chengdu that is helping to save this rare species and see for yourself why pandas have captivated the world.

6. Yangzi River

Take a cruise down the world's third largest river for front row seats to rural China. Explore tributaries, see the phenomenal Three Gorges Dam and take time out on deck to learn mah jong or brush up on your Mandarin.

7. Emei Shan

Take a cable car to the peak of this holy mountain. Then the active can choose to join pilgrims for the six hour hike back down, past cool streams and rainforests. Spend the night in a simple monastery and wake to the sound of monks chanting.

8. Shaolin Temple

Watch kung fu students practise their moves at the legendary Shaolin Temple. For those feeling game, there is the opportunity to attend a class and soak up some of the wisdom.

9. Tiananmen Square

Beijing's huge city square has seen many important historical events take place over the years. Surrounded by monuments and flags, this is an icon of China not to be missed.

10. The Forbidden City

This UNESCO World Heritage site located in the middle of Beijing has historical and political importance. As an imperial palace, the Forbidden City housed emperors - now this place is recognised as being the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Don't miss it!

Shopping

Chinese Calligraphy Art

China is a shopper's wonderland with a multitude of different shopping experiences: from the massive malls of Beijing to the fashion boutiques of Shanghai and the small village markets that are dotted around the country.

It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in China

1. Silk

As the home of silk, Chinese silk is legendary. Greatly admired by the world for centuries, don’t leave China without picking up some silk fabric, clothing or scarves.

2. Chinese Calligraphy Art

This beautiful art form has been practised in China for centuries. Buy an antique art work or get a customised piece featuring your name made on the spot.

3. Paper Cut Art

This traditional art is a painstaking process that ultimately creates an intricately beautiful result. Associated with Chinese New Year, you will be able to find paper art souvenirs all year round, with flowers, animals and people being the most common.

4. Chinese Knots

These traditional, decorative handicrafts are seen as a symbol of health and prosperity, and make brilliant gifts for friends back home.

Festivals and Events in China

Chinese New Year

This traditional holiday is considered the most important in China, where it is known as the Spring Festival. Even though the Lunar New Year falls on a specific day, satellite celebrations can be observed for 14 days around the time of Lunar New Year. Fireworks, feasts, lively parades, offerings and fairs are all geared towards clearing out the old, and welcoming in a new year of happiness, health and prosperity.

Dragon Boat Festival

This major holiday originally began as a time of warding off evil spirits and disease, and to this day people in China still see this festival as a time to cleanse, renew and cultivate peace.

Xi'an Ancient Culture and Art Festival

This annual celebration of ancient culture and art features performers from more than 30 countries. Stilt walking, dragon dance, traditional drumming, fire works, historical re enactments and folk art demonstrations celebrate and promote the ancient culture of China during this vibrant festival.

FAQs on China

Generally, tipping is not expected on mainland China, although leaving spare change at restaurants and giving a small amount to porters or bar staff is becoming more commonplace (although not mandatory). Some large hotels and restaurants may already include a 10%-15% surcharge within the bill. The culture of tipping is different in Hong Kong, where taxi drivers and restaurants will usually round up the bill, and service staff like porters will generally expect a tip.
Travellers can access the internet via internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots in China's cities. Internet access is less available in rural and remote areas. Please note that some web sites are censored in China.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in China's cities, but less so in remote and rural areas. Ensure global roaming is activated before leaving home if you want to use your phone.
Most of China's toilets are squat toilets, although flushable toilets can sometimes be found in modern hotels and restaurants. Be sure to carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap, as these are rarely provided.
Metro ride = 3 RMB
Can of soft drink = 3-5 RMB
Bottle of beer = 7-10 RMB
Basic lunch = 15 RMB
Basic rice or noodle dinner 25 RMB
Three-course dinner = 80 RMB
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in China. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Credit cards are accepted by China's large stores, hotels and restaurants, but less so by smaller vendors and market stalls where cash is usually the only payment option. Carry both modes of payment to be sure.
Travellers will be able to access ATMs in China's large cities and regional centres. Rural and remote areas will have less ATM access so ensure you have other payment modes before venturing out of the city.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Feb 10 Spring Festival/Chinese New Year
Apr 4 Qing Ming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 10 Dragon Boat Festival
Sep 19 Mid-Autumn Festival
Oct 1 National Day

Please note these dates are for 2012. Further holidays may be celebrated in regional parts of China. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/china/public-holidays
Citizens from Singapore, Brunei and Japan are allowed up to 15 days stay without a visa. All other nationalities require a visa. When filling out the visa application form, please list the hotel in China specified in the start, continuing or finishing point listed in the Trip Notes as the "company or person to visit in China". You require a single entry visa to complete this trip.

If submitting your visa form in person with your local consulate, please check beforehand whether you need to make an appointment. CHINA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

MAINLAND CHINA & HONG KONG:
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 here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days. 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.

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 use your Chinese Visa. You need to make sure your China visa will cover you for any transits made.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Itinerary:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Kashgar, Turpan or Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.

Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100006
+86 10 6406 8022

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that your trip visits
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not
* Itinerary – please 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
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking, at least 30 days prior to travel:

*Clear, colour 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 as well. HONG KONG:
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: No - Not required
Switzerland: No - Not required
United Kingdom: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required

Please note that Hong Kong isn't considered part of China for visa purposes. CHINA - TIBET:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

CHINA & HONG KONG:
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. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong If you have time here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days. 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. Tibet is is a province of mainland China.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Itinerary:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Kashgar, Turpan or Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.

Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100006
+86 10 6406 8022

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that the provided itinerary indicates your trip visits
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not
* Itinerary - this forms part of the Hotel List document from our office in China. Please note that this itinerary may not reflect your actual journey, but is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel in China
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TIBET PERMIT & TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
Tibet permits are be arranged en-route with the help of our local partners. If you are travelling on an itinerary that visits Tibet you will need to email the following documents to us as soon as possible after booking and no later than 30 days before departure:
* Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport
* Clear, colour scanned copy of your Chinese visa

Please make sure that this copy is of 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 as well. This may also cause significant delays in obtaining your Tibet permit so please plan ahead. If we do not receive these documents from you in time, your name and passport details will not be listed on the group permit and you will not be able to board the train to travel to Lhasa with the group.

WARNING – TRAVEL TO TIBET
Please be aware that this is a politically sensitive area of China which has in the past been closed to foreign travellers without warning. A change in the political situation can also lead to unforeseen delays in issuing visas and permits. We aim to keep our travellers as up to date as possible with any changes, however these are often made without any official announcement by authorities and as such are out of our control. As your China visa won't specify the areas which you'll be visiting in country it's sufficient to list Beijing as your destination in China on your application form. Your Chinese visa needs to be valid until at least Day 16 of the tour. IMPORTANT - TIBET PERMIT:
Once you have obtained your Chinese visa you must provide a clear colour copy of your passport page and Chinese visa to your booking agent. This should be in JPEG format and Intrepid must receive this at least 30 days prior to travel in order to apply for your group's Tibet permit. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport please bring your old passport with you as well. If we do not receive these documents from you by this time your name and passport details will not be listed on the group permit and you will not be able to board the train to travel to Lhasa with the group.

Due to the political sensitivity of this region it is important to understand that there are sometimes unexpected difficulties in obtaining Tibetan permits which are out of Intrepid's control. Three times during 2011 and 2012, and without official announcement by the government authorities controlling permit issue, the region of Tibet has been closed to visitors, or permits denied. It is impossible to predict when or if these sudden changes will occur again in the future. Of course Intrepid and our local ground teams will do everything we can to obtain permits or warn our travellers if they will be affected by last minute closures. CHINA - SILK ROAD:
Most nationalities require a visa for China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival or en-route. You will need a Single Entry Tourist Visa valid for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the duration of your trip.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Itinerary:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form.

Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100006
+86 10 6406 8022

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that the provided itinerary indicates your trip visits
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not
* Itinerary - please print out a copy of your itinerary from our website to include with your application
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements

WARNING – TRAVEL TO XINJIANG:
Please be aware that this is a politically sensitive area of China which have in the past been closed to foreign travellers without warning. A change in the political situation can also lead to unforeseen delays in issuing visas and permits. We aim to keep our travellers as up to date as possible with any changes, however these are often made without any official announcement by authorities and as such are out of our control. IMPORTANT:
If you wish to return to mainland China after to your trip, either on another Intrepid tour or independently you must either arrive in China with a double entry Chinese visa or obtain another single entry Chinese visa while in Hong Kong before you will be able to travel to China. CHINA (DRAGOMAN OVERLAND):

Most nationalities require a visa for China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival or en-route. You will need a Single Entry Tourist Visa valid for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the duration of your trip.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Itinerary:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Kashgar, Turpan, Urumqi or Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.

Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Jason Tours
Sichuan China YTS, 2nd Floor
19 Dongchenggeng Street
Chengdu 610031
+86 28 8907 5414

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Most embassies request a Hotel List be submitted with your application. A few nationalities may require a Letter of Invitation (LOI). These can be requested from Dragoman by emailing centralasiavisas@dragoman.co.uk
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET AND ACCOMMODATION BOOKINGS
Dragoman requires you send the following at the time of booking, at least 45 days prior to travel:
*Clear, colour 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 as well. STAYING IN CHINA LONGER THAN 30 DAYS:
1. Get a double or multi entry visa but will have to leave china

2. May be possible to special request and extended Chinese tourist visa direct with embassy with itinerary proof of exact trip details (which Beijijng can do) Never include Tibet

3. If it is just an extra day - eg 31 days total then some border crossings/exits may be lenient with the payment of a fine - however we don't recommend as rules can change any time CHINA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

When filling out the visa application form you will be asked to complete a section "company or person to visit in China" or "Residence(s) and phone number(s) during your stay in China" (in a time sequence). It's only necessary to enter one hotel in China, and use the hotel details specified in the start, continuing or finishing point hotel information listed in the Trip Notes. You require a single entry visa to complete this trip.

You will be required provide a copy of the trip notes and flight itinerary. Some consulates may ask for a hotel booking confirmations, please contact us if this is required. Should you be asked to provide a personal statement of your daily itinerary you will need to use the hotel booking confirmation document that we can provide for you.

If submitting your visa form in person with your local consulate, please check beforehand whether you need to make an appointment. CHINA - DRAGOMAN 2014/15

Please apply in advance for your visa. The visa is valid for 3 - 6 months from the date of issue and has a validity of 30, 60 or 90 days. All nationalities should check with the respective embassies for more information and costs.

You require a single entry tourist visa for either 30, 60 or 90 days depending on your trip.

It is advised that you do not mention Kashgar, Urumqi, Turpan or Tibet anywhere on your Chinese visa application form as this may lead to your application being rejected.

Please note Dragoman will require a clear photocopy of your passport as soon as possible after booking.

HOW TO OBTAIN A VISA SUPPORT LETTER:
Dragoman will apply for the letter of invitation / Visa support letter on your behalf. In order to do this we need you to complete the Visa support form found here:
http://dragoman.thevisamachine.com/visa-support.

Once you have completed this form we will need you to email the supporting documents to visasupport@thevisamachine.com with your name in the subject of the email followed by 'Dragoman LOI'.

Please complete the Visa Support form as soon as possible after booking. Any delays in returning this form, along with the associated documents, will have a knock on effect to the amount of time you have in applying for the actual visa.

Once a letter of support / Letter of Invitation has been authorised a copy will be sent to you. You can then begin the process of applying for your visa.

*Please note that if you decide to obtain your visa in a different location, a new letter of invitation will be required which
will delay you obtaining your visa therefore it is vital that you are clear on where you will obtain your visa. *

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

China Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for China

1. Be considerate of China’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In China, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

Braille Without Borders

This organisation aims to facilitate the integration and acceptance of the blind in Tibetan society by providing rehabilitation and education for blind children. In Lhasa, they have a preparatory school, medical massage training and a Braille printing press. At the vocational training centre and farm in Shigatse they teach skills including animal husbandry, market gardening, agriculture, cheese production, bread baking and kitchen management.

Beijing Huiling

This proactive not-for-profit organisation helps the disadvantaged local community to live more independent lives. Art and craft workshops teach skills and foster employment options while public education projects enlighten the community about the ways in which people with disabilities can contribute to society.

Image supplied by Kim Bowden and Jane Crouch.

Xi'an Huiling

Providing skills, training, employment services and housing assistance, this organisation works to better the lives of disabled people in Xi'an by increasing the amount of opportunities available to this marginalised section of the population.

Image supplied by Xi'an Huiling.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Last Chinese ChefNicole Mones
River TownPeter Hessler
The Painted VeilSomerset Maugham
Wild SwansJung Chang
The Last Days of Old BeijingMichael Meyer
Mao's Last DancerLi Cunxin
Leaving Mother LakeYang Erche Namu