The Dragon Trip (previously known as Dragon Experience) is the only independent travel network in China. They take all the hassle out of your transport and accommodation arrangements, so you can focus on seeing all the major sites and have plenty of time to see and experience off and on China’s beaten tracks. In a nutshell, this is an incredible circular route from/to Beijing incorporating the very best cities and countryside China has to offer. Start in Beijing, before heading to one of the World`s most cosmopolitan cities, Shanghai. Hop back on the train out West to Yangshuo, nestled amongst stunning karst peaks, before moving on to the home of the panda in Chengdu. Next stop is Xian, the location of the Terracotta Warriors and a mountain farm we visit surrounded by waterfalls, before heading to Shaolin, the birthplace of Kung Fu. Finally it`s back up to Beijing, stopping en-route to camp on a deserted section of the Great Wall.
At 4:30 pm meet the group in the bar of Beijing´s Leo Hostel for a pre-departure briefing, before heading to Beijing´s Railway Station to board the night train to Shanghai.
Shanghai is the world’s biggest city by population, and does not disappoint in what it has to offer. Learn about China’s modern history on a walk around the Former French Concession, which includes a visit to the Propaganda History Museum (20RMB entry), the only one of its kind! Discover TianZiFang (free), a local artisan’s lane set in an old-style residential area in the heart of Shanghai.
Explore the more futuristic side of the city when you embark on a walking tour down Nanjing Road (the world’s busiest shopping street) and take a walking tour down the Bund (your un-missable activity!), where you will get the best view of Shanghai’s stunning skyline.
In the evenings, take advantage of Shanghai’s hedonistic bar scene when you experience the largest bar crawl in China - the Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl (160 RMB). Or, spend your evening in a more sophisticated manner, sipping champagne in a hot tub on the rooftop or a skyscraper, overlooking Shanghai’s dazzling nightlife (100RMB).
Wake up to the unbelievable karst scenery of Yangshuo. In the afternoon, participate in the first of many free and un-missable attractions: bamboo rafting down the Li River. At night, kick back at Monkey Jane’s hostel where you can sit quietly atop the rooftop bar with a cool beer; or unleash your competitive side and challenge Monkey Jane herself to a game of beer pong. Winner gets a free crate of beer!
Optional activities in Yangshuo include deep water soloing (rock climbing above a river with no ropes; 150RMB) or rock climbing (170RMB), watching a Cormorant fishing demonstration (45RMB), taking mud-baths in underground caves (85RMB), attending
a Chinese cooking lesson (120RMB), trying cupping (suction cups on the back; 35RMB), Kayaking (150RMB), and a visit to your adventure leader´s home village (80RMB). At the beginning of day 5 board your bus to Guilin and afterwards take the night train to Chengdu.
Arrive in Chengdu and meet your new adventure leader - a fun-loving Sichuanese local. Ease out the strains of your overnight journey with a massage from a blind physical therapist (40 RMB). In the afternoon learn your first Chinese words in a free mandarin lesson! Afterwards try a traditional Sichuan Hotpot for dinner - a meal where you cook meats and veggies by dipping them into a boiling pot of spicy broth (around 80 RMB).
The next morning you will visit the Panda Breeding Research Centre, arriving just in time to watch these national treasures dig into breakfast (bamboo shoots, of course). In the afternoon you’ve got time to visit the world´s largest stone Buddha (it’s 70m tall!) in Leshan (transportation + 90 RMB entrance fee) or you can walk through Chengdu’s Tibetan quarter with its Tibetan shops and cafes (yak dumplings anyone?).
Next morning is your last in Chengdu. Visit WenShu Monastery, Mao´s Statue and a traditional Chinese tea house then board the night train to your next destination: Xi´an.
Today, you can join the group for an optional bike tour around the ancient city walls of the former dynastic capital (100RMB). A great way to get your bearings. In the late afternoon you can explore Xi’an’s fascinating Muslim Quarter, where you’ll see unique Chinese mosques and sample the delights of Hui Muslim street food carts. The lamb skewers are a must!
Afterwards you´ve got the opportunity to visit the Silk Road market nearby. Next morning we visit the jewel in Xi’an’s crown: the Terracotta Warriors (free entry), a full-sized stone army designed to protect Emperor Qin in the afterlife. In the evening, you´ll have the chance to help out at a soup kitchen for Xi´an´s homeless people. Then it’s time for a change of gear with a Chinese-style night of fun, which needless to say involves drinking and singing your heart out at Karaoke, or KTV as it is known here. (around 35RMB).
In the morning, take a private minivan and afterwards a bus to Deng-Feng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple. After your arrival, you’ll have the chance to put your strength and flexibility to the test in a Kung Fu lesson and then watch a show at a local children´s home run by the Shaolin temple (150RMB - all proceeds go directly to the orphanage). In the evening your second mandarin lesson starts - good luck/Yiqiè shùnlì!
Rise early if you wish to visit the flagship of Kung Fu - the Shaolin Temple (100RMB)! In the beautiful temple courtyards you’ll see masterful displays and physically impossible feats from these Kung Fu masters. Afterwards the group hikes together to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims. You will be rewarded with beautiful views of both the shrines and the surrounding landscapes. In the evening you depart to Zhengzhou to board your night train to Beijing.
After a morning spent relaxing in the hostel in Beijing and our third Mandarin lesson, it’s off to do the Hutong Challenge! You will need your freshly learned Mandarin to complete challenges all around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways. In the afternoon we head off to our next unmissable attraction, The Great Wall of China! We go to a deserted section of the Wall, where we will have the place to ourselves! Hike along thist wonder of the world as the sun sets, before pitching up your tent for a night camping.
Wake up the next morning for what will be one of the most memorable sunrises of your life. Afterwards return to Beijing where you can visit the Olympic Bird´s Nest Stadium (80RMB) or enjoy in the afternoon the incredible Beijing Acrobatics Show (140RMB). For dinner you’ve got the opportunity to taste one of Beijing´s signature dishes: famous Peking Roast Duck (around 65RMB). The next two days in Beijing are spent seeing the Tiananmen Square (free), the Forbidden City (60RMB), the Temple of Heaven (35RMB) and a night market where you can try dog, snake, cat, scorpion and a host of other “mouth-watering delicacies”. In the late afternoon of day 16 you board your night train to Hangzhou, famed as China’s most beautiful city.
Accommodation is provided at hostel standard. You can choose between dormitory style rooms with a shared bathroom or single, double and twin rooms with private ensuite facilities.
You will be staying with other people on your tour so the accommodation provides a good opportunity to socialise
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Trip Name: Beijing to Beijing
Duration: 18 Days
From Price: £1,288
Supplier Tour ID: BJSBUS/158821
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