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China Explorer

  • Duration
    15 days
  • Tour Type
    Group Tour
  • Tour Style
    Go Beyond
  • Price From
    £3,940pp
  • Read Reviews
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Pairing the classical sights with a Yangtze cruise, visits to the atmospheric ancient towns and a hike on the Great Wall as it weaves on undulating alien landscapes; this itinerary will bring you closer to the authentic charm of China.

  • Included Meals
    Breakfasts: 12 , Lunches: 11 , Dinners: 8
  • Flights
    International flights and current taxes
  • Accommodation
    13 nights in 4 star accommodation
  • Visa Included
    Visa fees for UK passport holders
  • Cruise
    Yangtze River Cruise, Huangpu River Cruise
  • Group Tour
    Max Group Size: 18
  • Physical Rating 3Learn More
    X A good level of fitness is required as you need to be comfortable walking for 2-3 hours and covering longer distances. Other activities such as cycling will be at a gentle pace and will involve straightforward terrain. Download the detailed tour dossier for details of your chosen tour. Learn More
    Longer walking and gentle paced physical activities.
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Tour Highlights

Our China Explorer tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.

Tour Experiences

Tour Itinerary

This tour is designed for those who wish to further immerse themselves in the authentic charm of China and take part in more cultural and active experiences. This tour is also suitable for those who wish to take a Yangtze River Cruise.

  • Days 1-2
    Fly overnight to Beijing
    Days 1-2: Fly overnight to Beijing

    Fly overnight to Beijing, China's historic capital. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.

  • Day 3
    Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
    Day 3: Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

    Begin today in Beijing's symbolic heart with a stroll across Tiananmen Square into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City. Entering through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, you will find a complex full of imperial treasures which offers an unsurpassed insight into China's colourful past. Spend the afternoon strolling through the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace and admire the Chinese architecture, followed by a walk up Longevity Hill to enjoy the panoramic views. Stop for a photo at the Olympic Stadium.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
  • Day 4
    Temple of Heaven and Beijing's Hutongs
    Day 4: Temple of Heaven and Beijing's Hutongs

    Arrive early and soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape. Here, mingle with the locals and watch or participate as they start their day practising Tai Chi, dancing and playing cards. Next, visit Yandaixiejie, where you will have some free time to wander around the hutongs. These narrow alleys offer an authentic glimpse of the old Beijing before the emergence of high-rise buildings and modern commerce. Enjoy lunch at the hutongs before driving to the Simatai section of the Great Wall, staying overnight in Gubei Watertown. Ride up to the apex of the Wall by cable car to see the sunset.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Day 5
    Hike the Great Wall
    Day 5: Hike the Great Wall

    Travel to the Great Wall at Jinshanling, a section that is much less frequented by tourists than other parts. The stark yet magnificent surroundings allow you to put yourself in the shoes of those who walked this incredible structure hundreds of years ago. Your trek will last approximately four hours as the wall courses through dramatic landscapes and rugged terrain. Later, head back to Beijing and enjoy the evening at leisure.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
  • Day 6
    Explore Xi'an
    Day 6: Explore Xi'an

    Fly to Xian, the former ancient capital and enjoy a walking tour of the narrow and winding streets of the Muslim Quarter. Sample the delicious, freshly cooked snacks and gain an insight into the city’s fascinating culture and significance as the start of the Silk Road. Enjoy the evening at leisure or watch an optional fountain and light show and be dazzled by the city at night.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Day 7
    Terracotta Warriors
    Day 7: Terracotta Warriors

    Housed in three immense hangars, the ranks of the Terracotta Army stand sentinel in their subterranean necropolis, constructed to protect China's first emperor in the afterlife. Spend the morning gazing over the ranks of warriors and horses, each one unique, whilst your guide introduces you to these life-like soldiers' fascinating story. Also visit the workshop of the craftsmen who recreate the Terracotta Warriors in the style of their ancient counterparts. Later, enjoy a gentle cycle ride on the beautifully preserved 14th-century city walls that enclose Xian's old town, then enjoy the evening at leisure.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
  • Day 8
    Pingle Ancient Town
    Day 8: Pingle Ancient Town

    Jump on the bullet train to Chengdu and drive to Pingle Ancient Town. Dating back to the Han Dynasty, Pingle was a stopping point on the Tea Horse Road. Walk through its maze of teahouse-lined streets before walking through Jinji's dense bamboo forest, then see the forest and gorge from above by crossing Jinji Suspended Rope Bridge.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Day 9
    Dujiangyan Panda Base
    Day 9: Dujiangyan Panda Base

    Drive to Dujiangyan and visit one of the world's finest panda conservation centres. Here, the pandas are kept in conditions very close to their natural habitat. Later, ascend Mount Qingcheng, the most sacred Taoist mountain in China, by cable car. It is a truly beautiful area with numerous lush, green peaks and secluded temples. Take a stroll among the mystic scenery of Yuecheng Lake then return to Chengdu.

    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Day 10
    Ancient Ciqikou
    Day 10: Ancient Ciqikou

    Drive to Chongqing and visit the charming old town of Ciqikou – there's time to wander the cobbled alleyways and learn about its colourful history. Later, board your Yangtze Cruise vessel.

    • Breakfast
    • Dinner
  • Days 11-12
    Yangtze River Cruise
    Days 11-12: Yangtze River Cruise

    As you cruise downstream, nature takes over, revealing some of the world’s most dramatic scenery including the Three Gorges themselves. Over the next two days, prepare for one breathtaking panorama after another. Enjoy various shore excursions as well as a side trip to Goddess or Shennong Stream. This is a chance to get a glimpse of life on the river banks.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Day 13
    Three Gorges Dam
    Day 13: Three Gorges Dam

    Disembark your cruise vessel and visit the Three Gorges Dam. Next, travel to Yichang then fly to the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, also known as the 'Paris of the East'.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
  • Day 14
    Shangainese Shanghai
    Day 14: Shangainese Shanghai

    Wake up to the buzz of Shanghai and take a breakfast walking tour through the city's most fascinating districts, marvelling at monuments and rickety buildings before enjoying breakfast as the locals do – sample pancakes, fried bread sticks and tofu. Visit Yu Garden, the old town and a silk factory before taking a stroll along the Bund and enjoying a farewell dinner of authentic Shanghainese cuisine. In the evening, enjoy a cruise along the Huangpu River, serenaded by the neon lights of Pudong.

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Day 15
    Fly Shanghai to UK
    Day 15: Fly Shanghai to UK

    Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day.

    • Breakfast

We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.

  • Nights 2
    Mercure Beijing Downtown
    Mercure Beijing Downtown
    The 4-star Mercure Beijing Downtown is very well connected across the city, with easy access to the city centre and multiple transport links. The elegant and spacious guest rooms offer free internet access and satellite TV. Along with room service, other in room amenities such as a refrigerator and tea and coffee making facilities are provided.
  • Night 1
    Gubei Water Town Hotel
    Simatai Village, Miyun District, Beijing, China
    Gubei Water Town Hotel
    A short walk from the scenic spot and Gubei Water Town entrance, the 4-star Watertown Hotel offers an exceptional welcome with views of the Great Wall. The spa, along with an indoor and outdoor pool make for the perfect place to unwind, while the modern rooms are well- appointed with large windows, air-conditioning and Wi-Fi.
  • Night 1
    Mercure Beijing Downtown
    Mercure Beijing Downtown
    The 4-star Mercure Beijing Downtown is very well connected across the city, with easy access to the city centre and multiple transport links. The elegant and spacious guest rooms offer free internet access and satellite TV. Along with room service, other in room amenities such as a refrigerator and tea and coffee making facilities are provided.
  • Nights 2
    Dajing Castle Hotel
    12 Xi Duan, Huan Cheng South Road, Xian 710068, Shaanxi, P.R. China
    Dajing Castle Hotel
    Formerly known as Grand Park, the Dajing Castle hotel is a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Xi'an's Beilin district. Blending traditional and contemporary elements, the guestrooms boast comfortable interiors that exude style and elegance. Each room is equipped with modern amenities, including a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a minibar, and a safety deposit box. The ensuite bathroom is well-appointed with bathrobes and slippers for added convenience. The hotel features Wi-Fi, a fitness center, sauna, massage service, buffet breakfast and atrium bar.
    • Wi-Fi
    • Bar
  • Night 1
    Pingle Shunheyuan Guesthouse
    No. 11th Daqiao Street, Pingle Town, Qionglai City, Sichuan Province
    Pingle Shunheyuan Guesthouse
    Located on the outskirts of Pingle Ancient Town which is just a short stroll away, the cosy Shunheyuan Inn offers peaceful and traditional accommodation. The quirky and authentic style adds to the charm, with the courtyard offering a tranquil spot to relax. Each room has Wi-Fi, electric blankets and private bathroom for comfort and convenience.
  • Night 1
    Xinliang Hotel
    Xinliang Hotel
    The 4-star Xinliang Hotel is located in the heart of Chengdu, just a short distance from some of the cities key attractions. The hotel's interior was inspired by Bashu culture and blended with a modern charm. Enjoy the recreational facilities available to you, including a sauna and steamroom designed for escapism and relaxation.
  • Nights 3
    Victoria Yangtze River Cruise
    Victoria Yangtze River Cruise
    Sail along the Yangtze River in comfort, aboard one of the wonderful 4-star vessels of the Victoria Cruise fleet. Relax in your Superior Cabin situated on the Main Deck, equipped with Wi-Fi access, an ensuite bathroom, and a private balcony - a tranquil retreat for you to relax and take in the scenic beauty around you. Onboard entertainment may include informative lectures, painting demonstrations, Tai Chi, lessons in the Mandarin language and more! Amenity package upgrades are available upon enquiry with our Reservations team.
  • Nights 2
    Hongqiao Jinjiang Hotel
    No.5 Zunyi South Road, Changning District, Shanghai 200336 China
    Hongqiao Jinjiang Hotel
    Formerly known as the Sheraton Shanghai Hongqiao Hotel, the 4-star Hongqiao Jinjiang Hotel is located in the heart of Shanghai and welcomes visitors to a luxurious and relaxing retreat from the city. Guests will have easy access to the major metropolitan area as well as the Shanghai Public Library and Honggiao Golf Club.

The best times to visit China are in spring (April to May) and autumn, (September to October) when temperatures are warm and humidity low.

City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • -3°c
  • 3mm
  • Chengdu
  • 6°c
  • 8mm
  • Shanghai
  • 5°c
  • 74mm
  • Xian
  • 0°c
  • 7mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 0°c
  • 5mm
  • Chengdu
  • 8°c
  • 12mm
  • Shanghai
  • 7°c
  • 59mm
  • Xian
  • 4°c
  • 10mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 6°c
  • 8mm
  • Chengdu
  • 12°c
  • 20mm
  • Shanghai
  • 10°c
  • 94mm
  • Xian
  • 9°c
  • 29mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 14°c
  • 21mm
  • Chengdu
  • 17°c
  • 44mm
  • Shanghai
  • 16°c
  • 74mm
  • Xian
  • 15°c
  • 43mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 20°c
  • 34mm
  • Chengdu
  • 22°c
  • 78mm
  • Shanghai
  • 21°c
  • 84mm
  • Xian
  • 20°c
  • 60mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 24°c
  • 78mm
  • Chengdu
  • 24°c
  • 107mm
  • Shanghai
  • 25°c
  • 182mm
  • Xian
  • 25°c
  • 54mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 26°c
  • 185mm
  • Chengdu
  • 26°c
  • 224mm
  • Shanghai
  • 29°c
  • 146mm
  • Xian
  • 27°c
  • 99mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 25°c
  • 160mm
  • Chengdu
  • 26°c
  • 201mm
  • Shanghai
  • 29°c
  • 214mm
  • Xian
  • 26°c
  • 71mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 20°c
  • 46mm
  • Chengdu
  • 22°c
  • 119mm
  • Shanghai
  • 25°c
  • 87mm
  • Xian
  • 21°c
  • 92mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 14°c
  • 22mm
  • Chengdu
  • 18°c
  • 35mm
  • Shanghai
  • 20°c
  • 56mm
  • Xian
  • 15°c
  • 60mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • 5°c
  • 7mm
  • Chengdu
  • 13°c
  • 16mm
  • Shanghai
  • 14°c
  • 52mm
  • Xian
  • 8°c
  • 24mm
City Average Temperate Monthly Rainfall
  • Beijing
  • -1°c
  • 3mm
  • Chengdu
  • 8°c
  • 5mm
  • Shanghai
  • 8°c
  • 44mm
  • Xian
  • 2°c
  • 6mm
+ -
China Explorer map

Places Visited: UK - Beijing (3N) - Gubei Watertown (1N) - Xi'an (2N) - Chengdu (1N) - Pingle (1N) - Yangtze River Cruise (3N) - Shanghai (2N) - UK

Download Detailed Itinerary

Tour Dates & Prices

All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.

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Depart UK
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Booking Options

Departures for Solo travellers only are available for this tour on selected dates.
In addition to being for solos only these departures feature smaller group sizes, free airport lounge access and complimentary cocktails on arrival.

Depart UK
Return Date
Price
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Booking Options

There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.

Group Tour includes

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