Take this South China Getaway and explore Shanghai, Yangshuo and Hong Kong

Enter a world of both natural wonder and big city glamour. Discover friendly people, a passionate food culture, historic sites and deep-seated traditions on this all-encompassing southern China expedition. Meet rural people and city folk, chow down on local delicacies and world-class fare and explore the wealth of history and modern developments of this mighty nation.

Shanghai, China
Hong Kong, China
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
539kg pp per trip


  • Jump right into contemporary China in Shanghai
  • Travel across the country by high-speed train
  • Check out the college culture of Xiamen
  • Escape from the big city on colonial Gulangyu Island
  • Stay overnight in a unique Hakka village roundhouse
  • Chill out in the backpacker haven of Yangshuo
  • Trek alongside rice terraces to the villages of Longji
  • End your trip among the neon light of Hong Kong


Kick off the journey in China’s most dynamic city. Visit the Yuyuan Gardens or stop by the Shanghai Museum to better understand China’s intriguing history. Sip on a hot brew and experience China’s tea culture at a traditional teahouse, take a boat ride along the river and marvel at Shanghai’s impressive skyline.
Free time to further explore this bustling city until this afternoon, when we board our first overnight train Shanghai to Guilin.
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 as it's the main form of transport for locals.
This morning our train arrives into Guilin.
We then take a public bus from Guilin Station to our hotel.
Yangshuo has become very popular with international and domestic tourists in recent years and has a 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 and have 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.
Today is a free day to explore Yangshuo.
There are plenty of interesting activities to keep us entertained during our time here! Why not:
Take a bike ride to gain an insight into rural Chinese life. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location.
The spectacular outdoor light show staged by Olympic Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou,director of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceronmony, is a definite highlight and highly recommended.
Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Li River.
Take an early morning tai chi class by the riverside.
Enjoy another day of free time in Yangshuo. Perhaps head just outside of town and explore the spectacular karst countryside, a mecca for climbers but just as beautiful for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground. You may like to hire a bike and cycle along country bumpy roads, hike up to Moon Hill or visit the otherworldly Silver Cave. Or you may prefer to just take it easy, enjoying a quiet drink or two in a cafe or bar.
Today we depart the picturesque Yangshuo and make our way to the the Longji Rice Terrace region of southern China. Today is a long travelling day, we will take 3 public buses before arriving at our destination.
This evening we overnight in the minority village of Dazhai which is home to the Yao minorities.
The Longji region has some of the most extensive rice terraces you'll ever see. These terraces change with the seasons: filled with water from the mountains before planting, becoming green during the growing season and then golden when the rice is ready for harvest.
Take a day hike through the Longji Valley to visit local hilltribe communities and learn about village life. Expect to carry your own day pack and walk for up to five hours as our next accommodation may be in a different village. The hike can be tough going for some, with many uphill stretches and some very slippery paths. However, more experienced hikers will have no problems and there are many more optional walks available, uncovering great photo opportunities around every corner.
We overnight in the village of Ping'an this evening.
This morning travel by private bus from Ping'an to Guilin airport in order for us to board our flight to Xiamen.
We then transfer by private bus from Xiamen to Tulou Vilalge.
This area is home to the Hakka people, who traditionally live in round, walled villages or communal houses ("tulou") with many families and generations of the same clan living together.
Accommodation is very basic in local style. It can get quite cold at night in some months so please ensure you bring warm clothes. Washing facilities may be limited, with communal toilets outside of the rooms. We have the option to try some simple local dishes for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow which may be quite different from what you are used to, but certainly authentic. The area has been developed for domestic tourism recently and sees lots of day trippers, but few people stay overnight so we will have a great local experience while here.
We will take a walk around the villages with a local guide, including a hike to a view point and nearby waterfall and between some of the clusters of Tulou houses. The length and distance we hike will depend on the weather, local conditions and fitness of the group, however most groups will spend a few hours exploring.
Transfer to by private bus to Xiamen for the evening.
Today is a free day to explore Xiamen.
We suggest you jump on a ferry and head over to Gulang Yu, an island crammed full of historic mansions and villas easily navigable on bike or foot.
Visit the Xiamen University campus with is landscaped grounds and surrounding trendy bars and cafes for a chat with some local students.
Or traipse up the steps to Nanputuo Temple, one of the most important and active Buddhist sites in the region.
Pop into the Overseas Chinese Museum - many ethnic Chinese in Singapore and further afield were originally from Fujian province.
Back in the bustle of a big city, jump aboard a ferry to see Hong Kong’s skyline from the water, enjoy the bright spectacle of the nightly light show or escape the busy city centre and wander through Hong Kong Park. Be sure to stop at a bakery to pick up an egg bun, visit a yum cha house for some perfect dumplings or hit up a street vendor for a stick of fish balls – Hong Kong's food is fast, fresh and full of flavour. Then it's time to say farewell to China's south and this enlightening journey.
There are not activities included on this day and you are free to depart at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Bus, Metro, Plane, Private Bus, Public bus, Train
Guesthouse (3 nights), Hostel (1 night), Hotel (6 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Longji - Guided Rice Terraces trek
  • Tulou Village - Guided hike & village tour


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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
2. A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport is required at time of booking in order for us to purchase your train tickets.
3. The flight from Xiamen to Guilin is included in the price of this trip.
4. This trip has itinerary changes for 2015. Please see Trip Notes for details.

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.

View trip notes


Our South China Getaway trips score an average of 4.58 out of 5 based on 26 reviews in the last year.

South China Getaway , January 2016

South China Getaway , November 2015