From Beijing to Xi'an, Chengdu, Yangshuo and Hong Kong: this is China at its most epic

This is pretty much the China highlights tour: you’ve got the Great Wall just outside of Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, epic outdoorsyness in Yangshuo and the neon lights in Hong Kong, oh, and who could say no to pandas! Just remember, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and that giant panda all descend from China and were all awesome at kung fu. So take this trip, pay close attention and you could be too. Maybe.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.


Start
Beijing, China
Finish
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Destinations
China, Hong Kong
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
CBYC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Walk the walk on the Great Wall of China. There's even the option of taking a toboggan back down!

  • Travel how the locals do: make some friends on an overnight train, as well as go high-tech courtesy of China's high-speed rail network.

  • See the historic Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an - a must do sight for any visitor to China.

  • Spice up your life in delicious Chengdu, then watch pandas doing their cute ol' thing at the Panda Breeding Centre.

  • Contrast cycling among farms and karsts in Yangshuo’s picturesque countryside before a jaunt through Hong Kong’s famous neon lights and sensory overload.

  • Eat your way through China from Beijing duck to Cantonese yum cha, and challenge yourself with real local delicacies, what will you dare eat? Silk worm, spicy rabbit head, or beer fish, anyone?

Is this trip right for you?

  • As this is a Basix trip our days aren’t packed full of inclusions and compulsory sightseeing. Instead, your leader will take you on city walks in each destination and give you plenty of options and ideas of how to spend the rest of your free time.

  • We pack a lot in, in a short amount of time, so if you have some time to spare we highly recommend extra time in Beijing and Hong Kong before and after your trip as these cities have so much to see and do.

  • This trip is for 18-29 year olds. If you are looking for an similar itinerary for all ages and in Original style, see our China Experience (CBSE) trip.

  • 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 more comfort, upgrades to “soft sleeper” (2 tier/4 berth compartments with lockable doors) can be requested, subject to availability, through your booking agent.

Itinerary

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If arriving early there is loads to do in this amazing city. Get acquainted with Beijing on your own before joining your group and leader for the welcome meeting, then head out for an optional first night dinner. Go nuts and order your Peking duck for your first meal in the country. First the skin is carved and served in pancakes, next the carcass is chopped and cooked up into a soup. Don't forget to grab your doggy bag (ducky bag?) of leftovers.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head out to the Great Wall at Mutianyu (approximately 2 hours) – one of the best-preserved and easily accessed sections from Beijing. Take in the surrounding amazing views (provided that it is a clear day!). A truly epic piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from invaders the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most amazing achievements. 
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend the morning exploring Tiananmen Square. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore as you wish, maybe visiting the Forbidden City, the 798 Art District, jumping on a bike and riding through the hutongs, hanging out in the Temple of Heaven park or visiting the Lama Temple. This evening we board the first overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an in a six-berth, air-conditioned cabins (hard sleeper class).

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. We use hard sleeper-class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan and clean with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins) Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins. As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available three times a day, and there are often snacks available on the train along the way. You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train.
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing - Hutong walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Lama Temple - CNY25
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven - CNY40
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning arrive in Xi'an. The imperial centre of China for 2000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with loads of interesting historical sites. A monument pays homage to the fact that this was the start of the famous ancient trading route of the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by city walls. In your free time today we highly recommend visiting the Muslim Quarter with its great market and peaceful Great Mosque, climbing the Bell or Drum Towers or feasting on tasty street food.
Optional Activities
  • Xi'an - Small Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Great Mosque - CNY25
  • Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Cycling on City Wall - CNY80
  • Xi'an - Karaoke - CNY100
  • Xi'an - Big Wild Pagoda Fountain Light Show - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
See our guide to Xi'an here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/xian-china-guide/
Visit Xi'an's most famous site, the Terracotta Warriors, with a local guide. Travel by public bus (approximately 2 hours) to reach the site, and spend a few hours exploring. Hear all about this incredible archaeological find (it was discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being 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 view to the public. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free time. Maybe check out the night markets and try some of the many tantalising local specialities such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand-pulled noodles, hot pot or barbecued meat skewers.
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Hop on the efficient high-speed train from Xi'an to Chengdu (approximately. 3 hours). Chengdu has a very casual vibe. Here is where locals value life more than work (that's how it should be, right?), so mahjong and tea are two of the most crucial elements in their life. Go on a walking tour with your leader to downtown Tianfu Square where a giant statue of Chairman Mao overlooks his people. Continue to the lively People's Park and sit down in a tea house for a sip of tea, taking advantage of the other services on offer like ear cleaning and massages. Chengdu was listed in 2010 as a gourmet capital by UNESCO, so why not give the local delicacies a go? Spicy rabbit head, anyone?
Included Activities
  • Chengdu - Walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
See our Chengdu guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/chengdu-china-travel-guide/.
Prepare for the fuzzies this morning as you get up close with the adorable pandas at the Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu. Learn about the conservation efforts being made to repopulate this ancient species. And of course you'll see them being fed, playing, sleeping or just being plain cute in their playgrounds. Enjoy some more downtime in the afternoon, maybe checking out the hip Kuanzhai Lane or searhcing for some spicy Chengdu snacks on Jinli Street.
Included Activities
  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Embrace a full day of travelling from Chengdu to Yangshuo today. You'll hop on the bullet train from Chengdu to Guilin (approx. 7hrs), then transfer to the hotel in Yangshuo. Surrounded by limestone karsts, Yangshuo is super popular with both international and domestic tourists, which isn't a bad thing if you're into your cafes and bars. It's one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions while having plenty of fun at the same time. Take a walk through the town with your leader on arrival and head down to the Li River to get a feel for a landscape immortalised in plenty of Chinese paintings.
Included Activities
  • Yangshuo - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Yangshuo - Li River Cruise - CNY100
  • Yangshuo - Bike hire - CNY20
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class - CNY50
  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour - CNY150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The next two days in Yangshuo are free time for you to explore. This is an absolutely stunning region, and every turn in the road brings you to another postcard-perfect spot. The spectacular outdoor light show staged by Zhang Yimou, director of Beijing's Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, is a definite highlight and highly recommended. There are plenty of things to do: hire a bike and pedal through the countryside, enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Li River, take an early morning tai chi class or just eat and drink your way around town tasting beer fish, the local speciality. Alternatively, why not get a feel for the local produce with a visit to the market, then learn to cook some Chinese dishes at the Yangshuo Cooking School. The recipes are easy to make and the ingredients are readily available outside of China, so you'll be able to recreate them like a pro once you're back home.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Yangshuo and continue your journey to the final stop, Hong Kong. You'll be transferred to Guilin and then hop on the high-speed train (approximately three hours) to Shenzhen. From there, cross the border into Hong Kong and head to your centrally located hotel. Go on a walking tour with your leader, then maybe check out the Temple Street night market or the light show at Victoria Harbour. Take the chance to celebrate your final night with the group in this awesome city.
Included Activities
  • Hong Kong - Walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
See our guide to Hong Kong here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-do-in-hong-kong/
Your adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Overnight Hard Sleeper Train, Public bus, Private vehicle, High-speed Train, Subway, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Overnight Hard Sleeper Train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing - Hutong walking tour
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Chengdu - Walking tour
  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
  • Yangshuo - Walking tour
  • Hong Kong - Walking tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, with the exception of the overnight train, subject to availability.
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. The overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an on this tour is in 6-berth 'hard-sleeper' class. Bedding is provided and wash basins and toilets (squat/western) are available in each carriage, but there are no shower facilities.
4. 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.

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