Journey from Shanghai to China’s vibrant capital

Capture the spirit of China on this 12-day tour from Shanghai to Beijing. Stroll along the narrow lanes of Shanghai’s nongtang, be entranced by ancient Buddhist art at the Longmen Grottoes, see the incredible Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, get a sense of Tibetan life in the town of Xiahe and walk on the Great Wall of China. This is a journey abounding with bustling cities, natural beauty, incredible culture and history stretching through the ages.


Start
Shanghai, China
Finish
Beijing, China
Destination
China
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
CBKS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • See the best known sights in Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an, as well as visiting towns that may not be quite as iconic but perhaps even more intriguing because of it

  • The Longmen Grottoes are the most stunning remnants of Northern Wei and Tang-era Buddhist art in existence, and you'll have plenty of insight into their history with a local guide

  • Visit Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Kung Fu

  • Zip through vast territories on the fast and efficient bullet train network in China, a manifestation of the rapid development of China's economy over only 40 years.

  • Experience the enchanting ambience and mountain scenery of Xiahe. This Tibetan pilgrimage town and its Labrang Monastery is the stuff of legend

  • Perhaps no trip to China is complete without seeing the iconic Great Wall. Take an invigorating hike along the Mutianyu section

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip travels to altitudes of up to 2,900 metres above sea level, and as a result some travellers can feel affects of altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health.

  • We use a mix of transport on this itinerary: plane, high speed trains, private and public buses, and the subway. The trip covers a fair amount of ground, so be prepared for some long journeys.

  • Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious, but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face-to-face with the country and its people. It's the main form of transport for locals, so take the chance to interact.

  • You'll need a reasonable level of fitness for the Great Wall walk. Walking shoes with good support and grip are essential. There are many steps and slopes on the way, so be prepared for a tough climb in sections. The views and overall experience are a real highlight for many travellers. This isn't a trek as such, so you are free to walk as far (or not!) as you wish. The section that we visit also has the options of a cable car or chair lift up and down from the wall.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2018 itinerary
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. 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. Settle into your hotel and then get a feel for this vibrant city – Shanghai’s bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into the dazzling global future of the country. Your evening is free for your first exploration of the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Today join your leader for a walking tour that will take you to historical Shanghai. At the Bund you can get a taste of 1920s Shanghai; its spectacular array of art deco style buildings, formerly belonging to Western banks, line what was once the most important financial street in Asia. Using the efficient subway, we finish our tour at the Yuyuan Gardens, a classic example of traditional Chinese landscape gardening. This afternoon you might like to explore further afield on foot and wander the narrow winding lanes (nongtangs) of old Shanghai. Take in the European-influenced French Concession, the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today's Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is home to both Xintiandi and Tianzifang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for visitors. The area's tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions still retain an air of the 'Paris of the East'. Join back with your group tonight for an included dinner of Shanghai specialties.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shanghai - Walking tour
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Take advantage of free time to delve further into Shanghai's sights and sounds. Perhaps get another taste of the city's eclectic food scene before boarding a westbound bullet train this afternoon. Travel for about 6 hours to Luoyang, arriving in the early evening. Ancient China's prosperous capital for many dynasties, archaeological digs of surrounding countryside have unearthed some fascinating ancient treasures. After settling into your hotel, perhaps venture to the Old Town for dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, visit the legendary birthplace of kung fu - the Shaolin Monastery. A private bus journey of around 3 hours will take you to the monastery, which remains the primary source of Shaolin Buddhist training and learning to this day. Learn about the warrior monks of Shaolin and how the martial art has changed over centuries. Watch an athletic kung fu performance and then wander through the Pagoda Forest, where respected monks have been laid to rest in towering tombs since AD791. For lunch enjoy a vegetarian feast at nearby Yongtai Temple where you will sample innovative Buddhist cuisine. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in Luoyang. As night falls, you’ll see thousands of colourful lamps light the streets and squares across the city, creating a lovely ambiance.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show
  • Shaolin - Buddhist vegetarian lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning you'll drive to the Longmen Grottoes (approximately 40 mins). These 2100 caves, filled with more than 100,000 statues of Buddha dating back as far as the 4th century, are rare examples of exquisite Buddhist rock carving. Learn more about this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site as you explore some of the masterpieces with a local guide. In the afternoon, take a bullet train from Luoyang to Xi'an (approximately 2 hours), arriving in the early evening. Dine out with the group tonight at the Muslim Quarter for an unexpected spin on Chinese food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Visit Xi'an's most famous site today, the Terracotta Warriors. You'll travel by bus (approximately 2 hours) to reach the site. Once there, you will hear all about this incredible archaeological find, which happened when farmers were digging a well in 1976. Until then, the site had been buried for thousands of years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on display to the public. Enjoy a local lunch nearby and return to Xi'an for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning you'll get another taste of China's efficient bullet trains as you travel about 3 hours west to Lanzhou. From there, transfer to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe (another 3 hours). A place of pilgrimage for many Tibetans, Xiahe is as scenic as it is tranquil. Get acquainted with the town on a short walking tour with your leader. The rest of the day is yours to spend how you please. As Xiahe is located 2800 metres/9185 feet above sea level, it's a good idea to take it easy today so that you can acclimatise to the altitude.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Xiahe sits at an altitude of 2,800–2,900 metres above sea level. Some travellers can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms before your travels.
Visit the fascinating Labrang Monastery today where Tibetan monks can be seen going about their daily rituals. Depending on the season, after the monastery we will either head out to Sangke grasslands (June to August), visit the nomadic Tibetans on the grassland and learn about their life over some yak butter tea, or we will visit a Tibetan family in town and enjoy a deliciously home cooked lunch.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xiahe - Labrang Monastery
  • Xiahe - Tibetan family visit & lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today is largely a travelling day. Travel back to Lanzhou (about 4 hours), from there, catch an afternoon flight to Beijing, arriving in China's capital in the late afternoon. After settling into your hotel, you will have free time to explore - your leader can suggestion optional activities or where to go for a meal.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
It's time to visit the legendary Great Wall today. Take a private bus to the Mutianyu section (approximately 1.5–2 hours) which features guard towers dating back to the Ming dynasty. You can either walk or catch a cable car up to the wall. On the way back down, you can walk or take a toboggan. The latter is highly recommended!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Acrobat show - CNY250
  • Beijing - Kungfu Show - CNY180
  • Beijing - Lama Temple - CNY25
  • Beijing - Summer Palace - CNY40
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven - CNY40
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today you'll enter the amazing Forbidden City, former home of China's imperial rulers. Discover its many palaces, gardens and courtyards. You will also visit the historic Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest downtown squares. Then head to an area known for its hutongs (narrow streets and alleys) and explore the historic streets. Although Beijing is modernising rapidly (its contemporary culture is a huge source of fascination in itself), there are still some pockets in which to discover the nation's ancient roots. Enjoy a final farewell dinner tonight with the perhaps the most well known of all the capital's dishes - Beijing Duck.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Hutong Walking Tour
  • Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Beijing duck dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Staying an extra few days in Beijing is highly recommended, as there is so much to see and do. A trip to the 798 Art District will give you a glimpse of where art is heading in today's China. Another great option is to hire a bike and see the city as so many locals do. Alternatively, the Summer Palace is a simple metro ride away, and this former imperial residence boasts the best-preserved imperial garden in the country.
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private vehicle, High Speed Train, Subway, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights)

Included activities

  • Shanghai - Walking tour
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens
  • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show
  • Shaolin - Buddhist vegetarian lunch
  • Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
  • Xiahe - Labrang Monastery
  • Xiahe - Tibetan family visit & lunch
  • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Beijing - Hutong Walking Tour
  • Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Beijing duck dinner

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available to book on this trip, including all nights.
2. A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport is required no later than 40 days before departure in order for us to purchase your train and flight tickets.
3. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor or for medication that'll aid the acclimitization.
4. Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites.

Essential trip information

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