Starting in Shanghai, you will have the opportunity to see all of its wonderful sites before heading Yangshuo, backpacker’s heaven amongst stunning karst peaks. Then travelling by night train head 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. Then onto explore the charm of the capital Beijing; stopping en-route to camp on a deserted section of the Great Wall. Next stop is Hangzhou noted as one of China’s most beautiful Cities and then Morganshan to swim in a crystal blue lagoon before heading back to the amazing neon-lit city of Shanghai.
Meet in the roof top bar of Pheonix Hostel, overlooking the stunning skyline, for a short trip briefing before travelling to the railway station to board the night train to Guilin.
Wake up to the unbelievable karst scenery of Yangshuo. This landscape of rivers, rice paddies and limestone peaks is your playground for the next three days. On your first afternoon, participate in the first of many free and un-missable attractions: bamboo rafting down the Li River. Put your feet up and relax as you meander downstream. 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!
There are many optional activities in Yangshuo. Those wanting to keep busy on the Li River can go kayaking (150RMB), deep water soloing (rock climbing above a river with no ropes; 150RMB) and rock climbing (170RMB), or watch a Cormorant fishing demonstration (45RMB).
Once the river has run its course, you can take mud-baths in underground caves (85RMB), attend a Chinese cooking lesson (120RMB), or try cupping (suction cups on the back that help circulation; 35RMB). There’s also a chance to visit 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.
After arriving in Hangzhou we head to the countryside, this time to a bamboo nature reserve called Moganshan, which was a favoured summer time retreat of Chairman Mao! In the afternoon you´ve got the opportunity to hike to the peak of Moganshan Mountain, passing Chairman Mao´s former residence on the way (50RMB).
The next morning, we participate in another un-missable activity: the Lagoon Trek. Here you can jump in the crystal clear mountain lagoon for a refreshing dip once you´ve reached it. Afterwards the group goes back to Hangzhou to catch the bullet train for our next destination: Glamorous Shanghai!
That evening, the team from Drunken Dragon will take you to Shanghai’s best bars on China´s largest bar crawl-The Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl (160RMB). A final farewell with the rest of the group-this is the end of your epic 3,982-mile adventure around China!
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: Dragon Trip: Shanghai to Shanghai
Duration: 18 Days
From Price: £1,228
Supplier Tour ID: SHABUS/167556
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