Travel to China on a family trip from Beijing to Hong Kong

Take the family on a memorable adventure through China to see all sides of this colourful, cultural and naturally beautiful nation. The perfect blending of the familiar and the novel, marvel at the incredible Great Wall of China and Terracotta Warriors, get lost in the quiet beauty of Leshan and Yangshuo and be dazzled by the colourful markets and nightlife of the big cities. Boasting some of the grandest urban metropolises, friendliest people and most delicious cuisine in the world, China is an ideal destination for the whole family.

Start
Beijing, China
Finish
Hong Kong, China
Countries
China
Themes
Family
Code
CBFA
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 2 Max 20
Carbon offset
768kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Though not quite visible from space, the Great Wall of China is still massive! Climb up this iconic sight and learn about its history
  • Travel back in time to the era of China’s powerful Emperors in Beijing. Explore the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, see history, and people-watch modern China
  • Get the unique experience of whizzing through the Chinese landscape on an overnight train. Meet the locals, understand the culture, and have a fun sleepover too!
  • Meet pandas in Chengdu on a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Watch these adorable creatures at play, get to know the super-cute red ones, and learn about important conservation work
  • Uncover the secrets of Chinese food in a cooking class in Yangshuo, then show off your new skills back home
  • Wrap up this eye-opening adventure in Hong Kong – a fast-paced explosion for the senses that’s an exciting mix of old and new, East and West

Itinerary

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is a place where ancient history and the modern world combine. Although the original terminus of the Silk Route was Xi'an, the infamous Mongolian warlord Kublai Khan made Beijing his capital and extended the route to it. During the Ming dynasty two of the city's great monuments were built – The Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven – which you'll visit later in the trip. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. After arriving in Beijing, there will be plenty of time for relaxing, meeting the other members of your group, and exploring explore the Beijing Streets – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises. Perhaps head out with the group to enjoy the first of many superb Chinese meals.
Pull on some comfy shoes and head to perhaps China’s best-known attraction, the Great Wall (approximately 2 hours). As historically significant as it is visually striking, this experience is often said to be one of the most memorable of the trip. Stretching over 5,000 kilometres from the coast in the east, the wall was built as a defence against invasion from the horsemen of the far north. Surrounded by woodland and countryside and around 90 kilometres from Beijing, the 1,500 year old Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is considered one of the best preserved and restored parts of the wall. Renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers (there are 22 of them over this 2,250 metre-long stretch) and built mainly of granite, the wall is an impressive sight at over 7 metres high and more than 4 metres wide. You’ll walk along a section of the wall, taking in the surrounding scenery and getting a feel for the sheer size of this amazing construction. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for lots of steps! For those wanting a more relaxing way to get to the top of the wall there is the option of taking a cable car. Return to Beijing by private bus for a free evening. Maybe explore the Beijing street food scene; there are many night markets to visit and hutong (historic narrow streets and alleys) eateries in which to try local delicacies.
This morning after breakfast, head out to discover the Chinese capital. Travel by public transport to Tiananmen Square, which is the largest town square in the world and big enough to hold one million people! Just next to the Square is the Forbidden City, once home to the Emperor and his family. The maze of buildings within the City became the symbolic and literal heart of the capital and the kingdom. Symbolism abounds here; dragon and phoenix represent emperor and empress, and construction followed the principles of Yin and Yang – the balance of negative and positive forces. After lunch, drop by the Temple of Heaven Park, a masterpiece of Chinese architecture, set in beautiful surroundings where people of tai chi, fan dancing, diablo, kite flying, water calligraphy and more. Later you’ll enjoy an amazing acrobatic troupe performance – just don't try this at home! In the afternoon stop at a local hotel (1 room per family provided), where there’s the chance to freshen up before transferring to the train station (approximately 3 hours) and boarding an overnight sleeper train to Xi'an (approximately 12 hours).

Notes: Train travel in China is a great way to mix with local people. On soft sleeper trains compartments are closed with two tier bunk beds, four to a cabin. Sheets, pillows and blanket are provided, with luggage is stored in the cabin. There are basic bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage with a toilet and washbasin. It's a good idea to bring your own toilet roll and some wet wipes. Please keep in mind that standards of cleanliness will not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is provided for making tea, coffee or instant meals. You will need to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork to prepare your own meals. Most trains have a dining carriage and limited snacks can be purchased en route. Please be prepared that you may have to share a carriage with persons outside of the group. Why not use your free time on the train for an informal language lesson from your leader or a local and learn a few simple words to use in your travels?
Arrive in the imperial city of Xi'an. Human activity in this area dates back 6,000 years, but the Zhou dynasty established Xi'an as its capital, and the Tang dynasty built a magnificent city. As the terminus of the Silk Road, Xi'an was the world’s largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city and the capital of a powerful kingdom. Xi'an is one of the few cities in China to have preserved its city walls virtually intact. The city itself has spread beyond these walls, but the centre still retains the original grid formation, making it easy to navigate. When you arrive you’ll take a walk around the city centre with your leader, including spending some time wandering through the back streets of the Muslim quarter, which is home to narrow streets of quaint shops, lively markets, groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes, and one of the largest mosques in China. In free time you might like to visit the Big or Small Wild Goose Pagodas (built to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India), climb to the top of the Drum or Bell Towers (made to restrain the dragons that were causing earthquakes), ride a bike around the city walls, or shop for souvenirs at the night markets.
Today you’ll travel into the countryside surrounding Xi’an (approximately 1 hour) and 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, discovered in 1976 by farmers digging a well, after being buried for 2,000 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 rose to power in 264 BC. Three main pits are open for you to view, where over 6,000 warriors – each individually sculpted from clay, each with a different costume, height, and even facial expressions – stand in battle formation. The sheer size of the assembled terracotta army and the excellent displays really feed the imagination. There is also an interesting museum housing a collection of artefacts from the original digs. Return to Xi’an for you final evening in the city. Xi’an’s Silk Road history means it has an exciting mixture of cultures, an you can taste it in the different types of food, from delicious Muslim fare to great little dumplings in Chinese restaurants. Perhaps visit the night markets and try many of the tantalising local specialties.
Wave goodbye to Xi’an and transfer (approximately 1 hour) to the airport, where you’ll catch a 1.5-hour flight to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Chengdu is most famous for two things – the pandas living in the mountains, and the food. Its hot, spicy dishes are considered by the Chinese to be the best food in China. In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat! Spend the day exploring the Old Town and Tibetan quarters of this quaint provincial area. Maybe visit Tianfu Square, where a giant statue of Chairman Mao stands tall. Relax in one of the most popular parks in Chengdu, Renmin Park (People's Park), where you can experience the amazing Chengdu tea culture, an essential part of people's daily life. This is a relaxing spot to spend a few hours – catch up on gossip in the tea-houses and watch locals exercising, singing, playing Mahjong or relaxing in their bamboo chairs drinking tea. Don't be surprised if somebody comes up to you with an offer to clean your ears! Be sure to tempt your taste buds and test your tongue with some spicy food tonight. Maybe try an authentic hot pot – a big pot of spiced broth where everyone can have fun selecting and cooking their own ingredients.
Today you’ll get to meet the world’s biggest Buddha as you take a day trip to Leshan (approximately 1.5 hours). The amazing sight of Da Fo is over 71 metres tall and is carved right into the cliff side. This World Heritage site is a very stout monk with a broad smile on his face, sitting solemnly right on the river. He has 8.3-meter-long fingers, and took 90 years to carve. There are two ways of visiting this Buddha – either by walking around the mountain or taking the boat for a complete view. Your leader will advise you of the best way to visit, depending on the time and the season of your visit. If you walk, then you’ll climb stone steps through walls of bamboo, passing temples and people praying and burning joss sticks. You can climb steep stairs down, from being level with his head to standing at his feet, where you can really appreciate the huge size. You’ll then return to Chengdu for the night. Maybe try to beat your spice level from last night!
Globally, Chengdu is famous for the panda research centre, which you’ll visit this morning. China’s national pride, the giant panda is a rare and increasingly threatened creature, but here you can witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endearing endangered species. The research centre is home to both giant and red pandas, and you can marvel at these incredible creatures in a close approximation of their habitat. It’s an early start as pandas are only active for a few hours of the day to eat and exercise, but the opportunity to get close to these remarkable animals is an experience not to be missed. Watch them play, eat bamboo and climb the trees. If you’re lucky enough you might even get to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery (July-September). After the pandas, in the early or mid evening, depending on flight availability, take a flight to Guilin (approximately 1.5 hours). From here, you’ll head into the picturesque countryside to Yangshuo (approximately 2 hours). 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 of which is celebrated on every 20 Yuan note.

Notes: There will be a very late arrival into Yangshuo due to limited flight options from Chengdu, but there is the opportunity to have a late morning start the next day if you’d like.
Located deep within the karst peaks of Guangxi province, Yangshuo is a haven for many visitors, away from the hustle and bustle of ever-developing China; a place where you can stop and slow down – but not completely. Start this more chilled portion of the trip at an easy pace – the same as the locals. Take a short walking tour with your leader to familiarise yourself with this laid-back town, then test out your moves with a local Kung Fu or Tai Chi teacher. Focus your body and mind, and pick up a few tricks or two. In the afternoon, visit a local farmers' market, where you can get a feel for the regional produce and daily life. Then make a short drive to Chalong, where you can put this new knowledge to use and learn the art of Chinese cooking. This class will allow the whole family to learn the techniques and skills of Chinese cuisine from experienced chefs, and after an afternoon trying out delicious recipes, you can eat what you’ve made for dinner! With recipes that are easy to make and ingredients readily available outside of China, you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back at home.
Continue your Yangshuo adventure today, beginning with a chance to explore some more of one of China’s most epic landscapes. Head out of town on bikes to cycle through the surrounding countryside, and gain an insight into Chinese rural life on a ride where each turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location. Take farm tracks, meander through paddy fields, and enjoy spectacular limestone karst scenery on all sides. You might pause for a cold drink beside one of the most beautiful of the Li River tributaries, and then continue on to a local village nestled at the base of Moon Hill. Look up to see the almost perfect semi-circle hole in a hilltop limestone arch. Here you can sample local farmers’ cooking (drinks and lunch at your own expense), before cycling back to Yangshuo. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and the surrounding area. There are many activities available here – perhaps try your hand at Chinese calligraphy, simply sit back and relax on a relaxing cruise down the Li or Yulong River, or browse the local shops and cafes.
This morning around 9am, head to the train station and board the Bullet train towards Hong Kong. Experience the rush of speeding 300 km/h on the bullet train from Guilin to Shenzhen, before continuing on to Hong Kong. The train journey takes 4-5 hours, and then you’ll take the intercity bus from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. 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. On average, it takes around 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. Your bags will be with you during this time. It was as a British colony that Hong Kong made itself known to the world and, since the 1997 handover, the city is still a unique and fascinating place to explore and see where the East really does meet the West. Arrive in the city around 5-6pm and take an orientation walk to get you settled in a city full of surprises just waiting to be uncovered. If there’s the time (and energy), end the day with the Symphony of Lights laser show in Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong's cityscape is spectacular and its modern fast-paced life is only minutes away from quiet islands and beaches. This vibrant and fast paced city is full of things to do. Perhaps catch the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak for incredible views of the Hong Kong skyline, or get the kids on the longest outdoor escalator in the world in Sheung Wang and its mix of ancient temples and cool cafes. Hop aboard a ferry to the city's secluded islands and beaches, ride the cable car to the Big Buddha, or hit the local markets to pick up some bargains. Travel on the double decker buses and trams, take a day trip to Macau, or catch the nightly light show on the Harbour. Then spend the final few hours of this family holiday wandering among the other impressive sights around town or searching out the best yum cha for a final night of sumptuous dining.
It’s time to end this enlightening journey into the heart of China – there are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities. Perhaps stay longer and uncover the wealth of treasures scattered around Hong Kong.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
12 breakfasts, 1 dinner
Transport
Bus, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private Bus, Taxi
Accommodation
Hotel (11 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Great Wall - Mutianyu Section
  • Beijing - Acrobat show
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven Park
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors & Guide
  • Leshan - Giant Buddha
  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class

Dates

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Important notes

1. Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
2. Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.

3.A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children under 15 years of age at time of travel.

4. Please provide Intrepid or your booking agent with a colour scanned copy of the personal details page from your passport at time of booking.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our China Family Holiday trips score an average of 4.56 out of 5 based on 18 reviews in the last year.

China Family Holiday , July 2016

China Family Holiday , July 2016