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China Highlights

9 Days | A short but sweet adventure from Shanghai to Beijing

5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews submitted.
AUD $1,484
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Get a taste of historical China on this culture-stuffed adventure. Travel from Shanghai to Beijing, taking in iconic attractions such as the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors along the way. In between the well-known sights, you'll delve beneath the surface, making dumplings with a family who lives near the Great Wall and exploring the quiet canals in the ancient water town of Xitang.

Trip overview

Map of China Highlights including China
Shanghai, China
Beijing, China
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
This trip generates 49.84 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • This is our most popular trip in China and one of the top trips from the entire Intrepid range. The trip may be quick, but it is packed full of experiences that will give you a great insight into China in a short time.
  • In addition to the main highlights in the big cities of Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, you'll get a glimpse of small-town life in Xitang and a taste of the countryside when we stay near the Great Wall. 
  • Our small group size allows us to explore destinations on foot together, eat in authentic local restaurants, travel by subway and train, and escape the tourist traps - all under the expert guidance of a passionate local leader.
  • Spend the night in a charming, family-run guesthouse near the Great Wall. Learn how to make dumplings for dinner and see this iconic structure without the masses.
  • Stay overnight in Xitang, a water town just outside of Shanghai. Imagine a way of life lost long ago as you explore the narrow alleys and canals after the daytrippers go home. 
  • Like everything it does, China’s ancient history is on an epic scale. No matter how many guide books you have read, nothing truly prepares you for the grandeur and immensity of sights like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Terracotta Army (or thousands of local tourists at the Forbidden City!).

Is this trip right for you?
  • The overnight train travel included on this trip is in “hard sleeper” class – carriages sectioned off into 3 tier/6 berth compartments. It’s not luxury, but it’s efficient and a great local experience. If you would prefer a trip without overnight train travel, check out our Explore China (CBKS) or Beijing to Hong Kong Adventure (CBSJ).
  • Be prepared for some long travel days as we need to cover plenty of ground in order to see China's main highlights and include a good variety of experiences.
  • We pack a lot in over a short amount of time, so we highly recommend extra time in Shanghai and Beijing before or after your trip to experience more of what these great cities have to offer.
  • As a short, city-based trip there isn't a lot of time to experience China's beautiful natural landscapes or get further off the beaten track. If you have more time to explore, consider our North China Getaway (CBRF), China Experience (CBSE), or China's Silk Road (CBSZ) trips.


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2023 to 31 December 2023.

View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2024 - 31 December 2024

Map of China Highlights including China



1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner


Overnight Sleeper Train, Private Vehicle, Public Bus, High Speed Train, Subway


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

  • Shanghai - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Xitang - Leader-led walking tour
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
  • Great Wall - Dumpling making demonstration
  • Great Wall - Jinshanling section
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
Add on activities
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre (entrance fee) - CNY25
  • Xitang - Gondola ride - CNY120
  • Xi'an - Little Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Great Mosque (entrance fee) - CNY25
  • Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers (entrance fee) - CNY50
  • Xi'an - City Wall bike hire - CNY45
  • Xi'an - Big Goose Pagoda (entrance fee) - CNY80
  • Xi'an - Tang Dynasty Show - CNY290
  • Beijing - Kungfu Show (ticket) - CNY280
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven (entrance fee) - CNY40
  • Beijing - Hutong family visit - CNY100
  • Beijing - Lama Temple (entrance fee) - CNY25
  • Beijing - Beijing Opera show (ticket) - CNY300
  • Beijing - Acrobat show (ticket) - CNY290
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
  • Beijing - Beijing Wine, Beer & BBQ Urban Adventure - CNY530

Dates and availability

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Important notes

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

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Read Essential Trip Information


5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

Filter by rating

Paul · Traveled October 2023
The trip was amazing, our guide was exceptional, and I felt we certainly saw the highlights of China and more! The pre-trip admin getting a visa is a bit of a faff but it's well worth the effort. I was expecting this to be great trip and on the whole it exceeded my expectations.
Review submitted 31 Oct 2023

Jacob · Traveled August 2023
This tour was my first solo travel experience and I would love to come back. I never understood how beautiful China was until I experienced it first hand, I’ll never forget the culture, art and nature I saw. My tour guide Long Ma was a true professional but also felt like travelling with a good friend!
Review submitted 07 Sep 2023

Farrokh · Traveled June 2023
Short but sweet
Review submitted 18 Jul 2023

Carly · Traveled June 2023
Jay our tour leader for our China tour was phenomenal, and made our first trip to China one to remember! I’d love to return to China again thanks to Jays insights !
Review submitted 13 Jul 2023

Christine · Traveled June 2023
One of the best trips I have been on. Our guide, Jay, went out of his way to accommodate our needs and was available at all times. He navigated us through the busy Forbidden City and Terracotta Warriors. He has since sent us groups photos taken at every major location. To my surprise the hard sleeper turned into one of the highlights as we interacted with locals. I am now keen to see more of China.
Review submitted 08 Jul 2023
China Highlights
AUD $1,484