Explore China

12 Days | Explore ancient temples and dazzling cities in the diverse northeast

4.8 out of 5 based on 6 reviews submitted.
ZAR  49,428
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Capture the spirit of China on this 12-day tour from Shanghai to Beijing. From fast-paced modern cities to the well-preserved remnants of a long and storied history, this adventure reveals the many sides of one of the world’s great cradles of civilisation. We think it’s important to contrast the big and the bold with quiet moments and real connections. That’s why our tour of the Terracotta Warriors finishes with lunch at a local family home, and why we spend a few days in the Tibetan Buddhist town of Xiahe before tackling boisterous Beijing. Whether you’re scaling the Great Wall or sharing crispy Beijing (Peking) duck with your fellow travellers, this tour is packed with unforgettable moments.

Trip overview

Map of Explore China 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 12
Trip code
This trip generates 95.2 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
  • Explore the Longmen Grottoes and wonder at the thousands of Buddha statues carved directly from the limestone cliffs, including the 17-metre-high Vairocana.
  • Take a spectacular walk along the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and see towers that date back to the Ming dynasty about 600 years ago.
  • Fall in love with Chinese food during a vegetarian feast at a Buddhist temple, a home-cooked lunch with a family in rural Xi’an, a Beijing (Peking) duck dinner, and more.
  • Check out the mind-blowing Terracotta Army, then head to a local’s house for lunch and some insight into how life has changed since farmers discovered the vast mausoleum.
  • Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture with a two-day stay in Xiahe, an autonomous Tibetan region with a deeply ingrained Buddhist tradition centred around the legendary Labrang Monastery, without having to apply for a permit for Tibet.

Is this trip right for you?
  • The best way to experience a place is by doing as the locals do – and in this case that means using public transport such as trams, buses or metro at some locations. It’s better for the environment and you’ll get an authentic look at daily life, just be aware you may find yourself sharing a busy bus ride with local commuters (for example). 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.
  • This trip travels to altitudes of up to 3100 metres above sea level and as a result, some travellers can feel the effects of altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health.
  • In order to see as much as possible, this tour includes some long journeys. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.
  • You'll need a reasonable level of fitness for the Great Wall walk. 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. You are free to walk as far as you want, and it is possible to reach the section we visit via cable car.


Map of Explore China including China



11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners


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


Hotel (11 nights)

  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer
  • Shanghai - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens
  • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show (entrace fee and transport included, leader-led)
  • Shaolin - Buddhist vegetarian lunch
  • Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes (entrance fee, transport included)
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
  • Xiahe - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Xiahe - Labrang Monastery (entrance fee, local guide)
  • Xiahe - Tibetan family visit & lunch
  • Xiahe - Sangke Grassland (transport included)
  • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Beijing - Leader-led Hutong walking tour
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Beijing duck dinner
Add on activities
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre (entrance fee) - CNY25
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Tower Observation Deck (entrance fee) - CNY180
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Halll (entrance fee) - CNY30
  • Shanghai - Acrobat show - CNY280
  • Shanghai - Huangpu River Night Cruise (ticket) - CNY120
  • Shanghai - Jing'an Temple (entrance fee) - CNY50
  • Luoyang - Luoyang Museum (entrance fee) - CNY40
  • Luoyang - Ancient Tombs Museum (entrace fee) - CNY20
  • Luoyang - White Horse Temple (entrance fee) - CNY35
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven (entrance fee) - CNY40
  • Beijing - Lama Temple (entrance fee) - CNY25
  • Beijing - Summer Palace (entrance fee) - CNY60

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1.A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip 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 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. If you have concerns, discuss this with your doctor before leaving. 
4. While traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites like Google, Facebook, Instagram and others. You can consider getting a VPN for access to these websites before leaving if necessary.
5. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

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


4.8 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.

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Mitesh · Traveled March 2024
The planning of the trip starf to finish excellent as was the food, tour guide Jay and trips. I have to say overall worth it going to places that are hard to venture to alone.
Review submitted 02 Apr 2024

Florian · Traveled July 2023
We had an unforgettable time on our Intrepid trip in China! Alan, our incredible guide, made it exceptional. We visited remarkable places like the Terracotta Army, Chinese Wall, Shaolin Temple, and more hidden gems. His assistance in navigating daily life was invaluable. Hotel accommodation was basic but sufficient, and travel by bullet train, vans, and planes was comfortable. A fantastic adventure!
Review submitted 19 Jul 2023

SABINA · Traveled July 2023
Well organised, a very enthusiastic and always helpful tour guide ( Alan) made a very memorable trip . The 12 days allows you to see the main attractions of China however as itinerary states need extra days of stay in Shanghai and Beijing to see so much more ie Summer palace which should not be missed! I would highly recommend for China as it far exceeded my expectations.
Review submitted 01 Aug 2023

Stelios · Traveled May 2023
This trip provided an excellent opportunity to experience a wide variety of aspects of China ranging from modern development to traditional lifestyles. It also included my favourites such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors. It was well organised and managed by both Intrepid and our local team leader.
Review submitted 09 Jun 2023

Jane · Traveled May 2023
Perfect in every way
Review submitted 11 Jun 2023
Explore China
ZAR  49,428