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Essential China
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Encounter the essence of China in all its wonderful diversity — climb the Great Wall and stare down the Terracotta Warriors before heading down south on this three-week tour of China's cultural and natural highlights. Rest your gaze on the giant Buddha of Leshan and explore ancient mountainside monasteries at Emei Shan, then float down the world-famous Three Gorges of the Yangtze River before stepping out to experience the vibrant rural life and stunning scenery of Yangshuo. With your accommodation and transport arranged by our expert Chief Experience Officers, this adventure offers up a great combination of must-see highlights and free time to explore on your own.

  • Duration: 21 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Supplier Tour ID: ACEC/126930
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Beijing, China
  • Finishes: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Age requirement: 12 +
You will Visit
  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Xi'an
  • Chengdu
  • Emei Shan
  • Yangtze River
  • Liujiang
  • Yangshuo
  • Hong Kong

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Beijing

Arrive at any time.

02

Day 2: Beijing

Head out to discover the wonders of the Great Wall of China.
Travel north to the Great Wall. One of the most iconic sights in all of China, spend the better part of the day exploring and taking photos, soaking in the atmopshere.

03

Day 3: Beijing

Explore bustling Beijing including the famous Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.
Explore the vast expanses of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Use free time to shop in the various markets scattered throughout the city, take a tour of the ancient hutongs (alleyways) in Beijing's old city or visit the Tibetan Monastery.

Opt to pre-book the Beijing Kung Fu Show on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.

04

Day 4: Beijing/Shanghai

Enjoy a free morning before catching a bullet train to vibrant Shanghai.

05

Day 5: Shanghai

Take an orientation walk down one of the city's most famous streets, Nanjing Road, ending at the Shanghai Museum, one of the best in the country.
Opt to see a show, pre-book the Shanghai Acrobatic Performance on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.

06

Day 6: Shanghai/Xi'an

Enjoy free time before boarding an overnight train to Xi'an.
Temples, markets, gardens and colonial enclaves are around every corner. Spend some time exploring the Yuyuan Gardens or the old alleyways.

07

Day 7: Xi'an

Arrive early and opt to cycle along the ancient city walls, visit the Great Mosque or walk through the bustling Muslim Quarter.
Arrive in Xi'an in the morning and, after checking into the hotel, opt to visit one of Xi'an's most fascinating areas – the Muslim Quarter. Tour the lovely and unusual Great Mosque, a wonderfully serene place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, bargain at souvenir stalls and enjoy some of the best street food in China. The remaining city walls are a great place to watch the sunset or join the locals for ballroom dancing or tai chi in the early morning.

08

Day 8: Xi'an

Visit one of China's greatest archaeological treasures—the Terracotta Warriors. This evening, opt for dumpling banquet.


09

Day 9: Xi'an/Chengdu

Enjoy a free morning to explore in and around Xi'an. Later, board an bullet train to Chengdu and enjoy a Hotpot dinner this evening.
Hotpot is a very local way to have a meal. We sit around a table with a pot built in the middle – the pot is divided into 2 halves (spicy vs. non-spicy usually). The restaurants flavoured soup is added and brought to a boil, then we can start adding our food in the pot to cook ( including vegetable, meat or fish). The table also offers various sorts of herbs, spices, oil etc so you can make your own soup to taste.

10

Day 10: Chengdu

See the famous giant pandas up close at the Panda Breeding Centre. Enjoy a free afternoon then opt to catch a performance at the Sichuan Opera.
Want to immerse yourself fully into the culture of Chengdu or feeling hungry for some local delicacies? Pre-book both the Chengdu City Culture tour and/or Evening Foodie tour by Tuk-Tuk on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.

11

Day 11: Chengdu/Emei Shan

Enjoy the morning free before catching the train to Emei Shan. Continue to the monastery, home for the next 2 nights.

12

Day 12: Emei Shan

Spend a full day exploring the monasteries, and hiking around the stunning sites of Mt Emei – one of China's sacred Buddhist peaks.

13

Day 13: Emei Shan/Yangtze River

Visit the Giant Buddha in the morning. Take the bullet train from Leshan to Chongqing. In the evening embark on the Chinese-style boat to cruise down the mighty Yangtze River through the Three Gorges.

14

Day 14: Yangtze River

Enjoy the views from the deck and embark on riverside excursions up stunning tributaries and to historic sites.
Spend two days on board a basic boat traversing through the Three Gorges en route to Yichang. Along the way take the opportunity to visit some of the many attractions and towns.

There is the opportunity to leave the boat to take an early morning trip down a tributary of the Yangtze River.

15

Day 15: Yangtze River

Enjoy the views from the deck and embark on riverside excursions up stunning tributaries and to historic sites.
Spend two days on board a basic boat traversing through the Three Gorges en route to Yichang. Along the way take the opportunity to visit some of the many attractions and towns.

There is the opportunity to leave the boat to take an early morning trip down a tributary of the Yangtze River.

16

Day 16: Yangtze River/Liujiang

Disembark in the morning and transfer to Yichang Train Station for an overnight train to Liujiang.

17

Day 17: Liujiang/Yangshuo

Arrive in Liujiang and transfer to Yangshuo.

18

Day 18: Yangshuo

Navigate the stunning Li River on a bamboo raft. After, enjoy a traditional lunch at a G Adventures supported restaurant where rural women are working to create new opportunities for their families.
Try your hand at cooking local fare at a boutique cooking school and pre-book the Central Chinese Cooking Class by adding it to your checkout page, or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.

19

Day 19: Yangshuo

Enjoy free time for more activities and to explore this beautiful area.

20

Day 20: Yangshuo/Hong Kong

Travel to Guilin for the fast train to West Kowloon, then cross the border into Hong Kong. Enjoy some free time to explore the city.
Arrive by train to West Kowloon, cross the border and catch the metro into the heart of Hong Kong, arriving late afternoon.

Prepare for the change of pace as you enjoy your last night's dinner in the most dynamic city in Asia. Explore Stanley Market, shop, eat, go to the top of Victoria Peak or take a harbour cruise.

21

Day 21: Hong Kong

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Your G for Good Moment: Jia Community Restaurant, Yangshuo Your Discover Moment: Shanghai Your Discover Moment: Yangshuo
    • Great Wall excursion
    • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour
    • Shanghai Museum entrance
    • Xi'an orientation walk
    • Terracotta Warriors tour
    • Emei Shan entrance
    • Leshan Giant Buddha visit
    • Visit the Panda Breeding Centre
    • Yangtze River boat trip through the Three Gorges with tributary excursion
    • Li River bamboo raft ride
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (13 nts), Basic Monastery (2 nts), Sleeper Train (2 nts), Yangtze boat (3 nts)
    • 1 lunch, 1 dinner
    Transport
    • Train, local bus, air-conditioned bus, boat, walking, bicycle, taxi
    Group Leader
    • English-speaking Chinese Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Bargain in bustling markets
  • Walk the Great Wall and explore the Forbidden City
  • Stand face-to-face with Terracotta Warriors
  • Visit a panda sanctuary
  • Cruise the Yangtze
  • Ride a bamboo raft through Yangshuo's karst landscape