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Essential China

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.

Board Basis: Mixed Meal Plan, Departure Date: Low Season, Departs: London Manchester
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20nts from £2149

Tour Highlights

  • 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
  • Visit the Panda Breeding Centre & Much More

Our Opinion

Itinerary in Brief

  • Beijing – 3 Nights
  • Beijing – Shanghai – 1 Night
  • Shanghai – 1 Night
  • Shanghai – Xi’an 1 Night
  • Xi’an – 2 Nights
  • Xian – Chengdu 1 Night
  • Chengdu – 1 Night
  • Chengdu – Emei Shan 1 Night
  • Emei Shan – 1 Night
  • Emei Shan – Yangtze River – 1 Night
  • Yangtze River – 2 Nights
  • Yangtze – Liujiang – 1 Nights
  • Liujiang – Yangshuo – 1 Night
  • Yangshuo – 2 Nights
  • Yangshuo – Hong Kong – 1 Night
  • Hong Kong – 1 Night

Itinerary in Full

Day 1: 

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting 
Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards.

Accommodation
Below is an example of the hotel we may use in this city. For the actual hotel your specific departure will be using, please check your voucher or the G Adventures App

Chonpines Hotel – Beijing Caoqiao Metro Station (or similar)

 

 

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.

Private Vehicle Beijing
Drive through the city and countryside to reach the Great Wall’s Mutianyu section. Take the same transportation back.

Great Wall Mutianyu Visit Mutianyu – Beijing3h
Climb the rolling hills of Huairou County at Mutianyu, one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall. Enjoy scenic views as the wall winds along mountain ridges, and take brag-worthy photos of the wall from any of the 22 towers.

 

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.

Tiananmen Square Beijing
Explore one of the world’s largest public squares, home to the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Great Hall of the People.

Forbidden City Tour Beijing2h
Our CEO will steer around crowds and help make the most of a visit to the Forbidden City.

Free Time Beijing Afternoon
Set out and explore this capital city.

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Optional Activities – Day 3
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Beijing Kung Fu ShowBeijing
Follow the tale of a young boy on his journey to becoming a kung fu master through six gripping scenes told through traditional Chinese art and live modern dance. (Don’t worry; there are subtitles above the stage). Developed by some of China’s top stage directors and designers, the performance showcases the skills of its talented cast, most of whom are just 17 years old.

Accommodation
Chonpines Hotel – Beijing Caoqiao Metro Station (or similar)

 

Day 4:

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

Bullet train Beijing – Shanghai5h-6h
Relax an enjoy smooth ride at 300km per hour and scenery along the way.

Accommodation
Shanghai Holland Hotel (or similar)

 

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.

Orientation Walk of the Bund Shanghai1h
Take a stroll along the Bund, a main road that follows the Huangpu River, with our CEO. This is a great opportunity to get a layout of the city and figure out what you want to explore next.

Shanghai Museum Shanghai1h30m
Visit Shanghai Museum, home to a world-class collection of ancient Chinese art. Tour individual galleries devoted to such items as sculpture, bronze, ceramics, jade, coins, Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture, paintings, and calligraphy. Stop at the gift shop on your way out.

Free Time Shanghai
Enjoy free time in this bustling city.

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Optional Activities – Day 5
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Accommodation
Shanghai Holland Hotel (or similar)

 

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.

Free Time Shanghai Full Day
With so much to see and do, make the most of your time in this city.

Basic overnight train (beds) Shanghai – Xi’an18h
Experience overnight travel like a local. Sit back and get some well-earned (and likely much-needed) rest en route to your next stop.

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Optional Activities – Day 6
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Yuyuan GardensShanghai 45CNY per person
Explore this tranquil, 400-year-old, five-acre garden. Climb to the top of the Rockery to see the greenery from above. Check out the Jade Rock and watch the swarms of goldfish swim around in the ponds. With multiple pavilions and halls there’s plenty to see. Depending on when you visit there may be flower shows or tea ceremonies in the area. Opt to visit the bustling bazaar located outside the gardens and hone your bargaining skills.

 

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.

Free Time Xi’an
Explore all the city as to offer.

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Optional Activities – Day 7
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Accommodation
Guanzhong Hotel (or similar)

 

Day 8: 

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

Private Vehicle Xi’an
Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Free Time Xi’an Evening
Explore all this city has to offer.

Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour Xi’an4h
Take a guided tour of the Terracotta Warriors where more than 8,000 clay soldiers and hundreds of replica horses and chariots stand in three pits. Learn why the Emperor Qin Shihuang commissioned the statues to serve as his army in the afterlife and how they were discovered. Spend a half-day exploring this archaeological wonder.

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Optional Activities – Day 8
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Defachang Dumpling BanquetXi’an 105CNY per person
Dumpling banquets are a great way to experience the traditional Northern Chinese cuisine. Have a delicious meal trying all the different dumpling flavours.

Accommodation
Guanzhong Hotel (or similar)

 

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.

Bullet train Xi’an – Chengdu3h30m-4h
Catch a high speed train to our next stop.

Accommodation
James Joyce Coffetel (or similar)

 

Day 10:

Chengdu
Take advantage of a full free day in Chengdu, opt to catch a performance at the Sichuan Opera or go on a foodie tour.

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.

Free Time Chengdu Full Day
Enjoy a day of exploring the laid-back vibe of Chengdu. Relax at a teahouse, or eat some tasty food – Chengdu and the Sichuan province are well known for lots of heat in their dishes.

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Optional Activities – Day 10
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Accommodation
James Joyce Coffetel (or similar)

 

Day 11:

Chengdu/Emei Shan
Enjoy a morning visit to see the Pandas before catching the train to Emei Shan. Continue to the monastery, home for the next 2 nights.

Giant Panda Breeding Center Chengdu3h
Visit the popular pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, created to provide an ideal breeding environment for these endangered creatures. Learn about their life cycle and habitat and take memorable photographs of these iconic national treasures. See a number of other rare species, including the little-known red panda. Arrive in the fall for a chance to see tiny newborn pandas.

Local train Chengdu – Emei Shan1h-1h30m
Catch the train to our next stop.

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Optional Activities – Day 11
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Wenshu MonasteryChengdu 5CNY per person
Wenshu Monastery definitely worth a visit during your stay in Chengdu. The monastery was first built in Tang dynasty (618-907).

More than 500 pieces of painting and calligraphy by celebrities are stored in this monastery. The exquisite garden and solemn halls are other highlights of this place.

Accommodation
Baoguosi Monastery (or similar)

 

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.

Emei Shan Hike Emei Shan6h-10h
Lace up your hiking boots for treks around Emei Shan. Continue to explore Mt Emei and the Giant Buddha and learn more about the region.

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Optional Activities – Day 12
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Tea Plantation Visit – Emei Shan4h-6h 185CNY per person
Visit a family owned tea plantation near Emei mountain and gain a better understanding of China’s tea culture and the locals’ traditional way of life.

Accommodation
Baoguosi Monastery (or similar)

 

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.

Private Vehicle Emei Shan – Leshan45m
Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Leshan Giant Buddha Visit Leshan – Chengdu3h
See centuries-old Dafo, the largest Buddha in the world, from a number of viewpoints. Opt to board a boat and head out into the Mingjiang River to get an overall view of the statue from afar, and then visit a beautiful forested park. Explore numerous carvings and temples before climbing down the path that travels from the statue’s head to its enormous toes. Be sure to take a break with a cup of tea in one of the teahouses in the park.

Bullet train Leshan – Chongqing2h30m
Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.

Chinese-style boat Chongqing – Yangtze River
Float to your next destination in traditional style.

Accommodation
Yangtze Riverboat – M.S. Yangtze 1 (or similar)

 

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.

The cabins are clean, twin-share with private toilet and shower facilities, but not luxurious. There is basic Chinese food available in the restaurant on board.

Chinese-style boat Yangtze River
Float to your next destination in traditional style.

Yangtze River Cruise Yangtze River48h
Spend two full days floating down the Yangtze River. The cruise is what you make of it — meet your fellow passengers, spend time reading and relaxing, and take in the spectacular scenery. Opt to take excursions along the way.

Accommodation
Yangtze Riverboat – M.S. Yangtze 1 (or similar)

 

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.

The cabins are clean, twin-share with private toilet and shower facilities, but not luxurious. There is basic Chinese food available in the restaurant on board.

Chinese-style boat Yangtze River
Float to your next destination in traditional style.

Yangtze River Cruise Yangtze River48h
Spend two full days floating down the Yangtze River. The cruise is what you make of it — meet your fellow passengers, spend time reading and relaxing, and take in the spectacular scenery. Opt to take excursions along the way.

Accommodation
Yangtze Riverboat – M.S. Yangtze 1 (or similar)

 

Day 16:

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

Chinese-style boat Yangtze River – Yichang
Float to your next destination in traditional style.

Overnight train (beds) Yichang – Liujiang15h-16h
Stretch out and get some well-earned rest en route to the next stop.

 

Day 17: 

Liujiang/Yangshuo
Arrive in Liujiang and transfer to Yangshuo.

Private Vehicle Liujiang – Yangshuo
Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation
Xinfuan Hotel (West Street) (or similar)

 

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.

Orientation Walk Yangshuo1h
This backpacker town is full of things to do and see. An orientation walk will get you situated and help you make the most of your time in this idyllic location.

Xing Ping Li River Bamboo Raft Yangshuo1h30m
Get on a local boat (called a bamboo raft) and enjoy the gentle ride along the Xingping section, known as the most beautiful portion of the Li River.

Your G for Good Moment: Jia Community Restaurant
Enjoy a traditional Chinese meal served by rural women working to create new opportunities for their families. Since the migration of men to urban centres is common in rural regions, women and children now have a safe place to gather and learn together at Community Corners, created by the Rural Women’s Development Foundation. In Liandaowan Village, you’ll enjoy a meal and support women developing new work skills to become self-reliant. This initiative helps to create meaningful employment alternatives to agriculture as a source of income.

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Optional Activities – Day 18
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Accommodation
Xinfuan Hotel (West Street) (or similar)Hotel
Meals included: Lunch

 

Day 19:

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

Your Discover MomentYangshuo Full Day
There’s plenty to see and do in Yangshuo, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like taking a tai chi lesson, indulging in a traditional massage, and checking out the Li River Light Show. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

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Optional Activities – Day 19
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Accommodation
Xinfuan Hotel (West Street) (or similar)

 

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.

Private Vehicle Yangshuo – Guilin1h30m-2h
Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Bullet train Guilin – West Kowloon
Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.

Border Crossing (China – Hong Kong) Futian – Hong Kong
Ready for a little more ink in your passport? Grab your bags and get ready to check another country off your bucket list.

Metro Hong Kong1h-1h30m
Get around underground via public transit.

Accommodation
Harbour Plaza North Point (or similar)

 

Day 21:

Hong Kong
Depart at any time.

 

 

For more information or to book, please contact the reservations team.

Call 01928 246 243

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