Back
Essential China
SAVE UP TO 20% on this tour

Encounter the essence of China in all its wonderful diversityclimb the Great Wall and stare down the Terracotta Warriors before heading down south on this 3-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 CEOs, 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
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 100%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 126930
  • Starts: Beijing, China
  • Finishes: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
You will Visit
  • Beijing
  • Hong Kong

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Beijing

Arrive at any time.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

02

Day 2: Beijing

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.

Included Activities:
Great Wall Mutianyu Visit

Transport:
Drive through the city and countryside to reach the Great Wall's Mutianyu section. Take the same transportation back.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))

03

Day 3: Beijing

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.

Included Activities:
Tiananmen Square
Forbidden City Tour

04

Day 4: Beijing/Shanghai

Enjoy a free morning before a bullet train ride to Shanghai. Overnight in Shanghai.

Transport:
Relax an enjoy smooth ride at 300km per hour and scenery along the way.
Bullet train (5.00-6.00 hours)

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.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk of the Bund
Shanghai Museum

06

Day 6: Shanghai/Xi’an

Temples, markets, gardens and colonial enclaves are around every corner. Spend some time exploring the Yuyuan Gardens or the old alleyways.

Transport:
Basic overnight train (beds) (18.00 hour(s))

07

Day 7: Xi’an

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


09

Day 9: Xi’an/Emei Shan

Visit one of China's greatest archaeological treasures—the Terracotta Warriors. Later, board an overnight train to Emei Shan.

Included Activities:
Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour

Transport:
Drive out to the Terracotta Warriors site, located about an hour out of the city.
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
Basic overnight train (beds) (15.00-17.00 hours)

10

Day 10: Emei Shan

Settle in for a stay at the monastery – one of the highlights of the trip! Facilities are basic but the views and the experience will take your breath away.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

11

Day 11: Emei Shan

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

Included Activities:
Emei Shan Hike

12

Day 12: Emei Shan

Visit Giant Budhha in the morning, optional take a tour visiting local tea farm and one of the region's old villages.

Included Activities:
Leshan Giant Buddha Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))

13

Day 13: Emei Shan/Chengdu

Travel by local train to Chengdu. Free exploration in this tea & spice loving city. Enjoy a local Hotpot dinner.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Local train (1.00 hour(s))

14

Day 14: Chengdu/Yangtze River

See the famous giant pandas up close at the Panda Breeding Centre before boarding a fast train to Chongqing. Later, board the Chinese-style boat and settle in before tomorrow's cruise down the mighty Yangtze River and through the Three Gorges.

Included Activities:
Giant Panda Breeding Center

Transport:
Local train (2.00 hour(s))
Chinese-style boat

15

Day 15: Yangtze River

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.

Additional Notes:
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.

Included Activities:
Yangtze River Cruise

Transport:
Chinese-style boat

16

Day 16: Yangtze River

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.

Additional Notes:
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.

Included Activities:
Yangtze River Cruise

Transport:
Chinese-style boat

17

Day 17: Yangtze River/Liuzhou

Disembark in Yichang and board an overnight train to Liuzhou.

Transport:
Basic overnight train (beds) (16.00 hour(s))

18

Day 18: Liuzhou/Yangshuo

Arrive in Liuzhou early in the morning and travel to the small countryside town of Yangshuo, where the Li River winds its way around thousands of limestone karst mountains. Every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard sight.

Here, there are so many activities to choose from— bamboo rafting, rock climbing, hiking, acupuncture and traditional massage, the Light and Sound Show, calligraphy lessons, tai chi, or a countryside cooking class.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s))

19

Day 19: Yangshuo (1L)

Cycle out over the mostly flat fields to get more of a feel for the region. Ride past rice paddies with water buffalo and stare up at towering limestone karsts. En route, enjoy a delicious local lunch with options like the local beer fish, garlic fried water spinach and stuffed aubergine.

Included Activities:
Yangshuo Guided Cycle Tour

20

Day 20: Yangshuo/Hong Kong

Arrive late morning to Shenzhen, 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.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (China - Hong Kong)

Transport:
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s))
Local train (3.50 hour(s))
Metro

21

Day 21: Hong Kong

Depart at any time.

Additional Notes:
We highly recommend you book post-accommodation to fully experience this vibrant city.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Great Wall excursion and entrance (Beijing)
    • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour
    • Shanghai Museum entrance
    • Xi'an orientation walk
    • Terracotta Warriors excursion and tour
    • Emei Shan entrance
    • Tea plantation visit (Emei Shan)
    • Overnight stay in a monastery
    • Leshan Giant Buddha visit
    • Panda Breeding Center excursion (Chengdu)
    • Yangtze River boat trip through the Three Gorges with tributary excursion
    • Yangshuo countryside bike ride with local lunch (full-day)
    • Border crossing
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (10 nts), basic monastery (3 nts), sleeper trains (4 nts), Yangtze boat (3 nts)
    • 1 lunch
    Transport
    • Train, local bus, air-con bus, boat, walking, bicycle, taxi
    Group Leader
    • English-speaking Chinese Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
Why book with us?

Trusted by travellers since 1979

We guarantee to beat any price

Low deposits, Book now. Pay later.

24/7/365 Help on the road



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
  • Bike through Yangshuo's karst landscape


Reviews (30)
Ben T. Posted on: 

Excellent overview of the culture, and a great taste of this fabulous country.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Victoria W. Posted on: 

An excellent itinerary - Essential China - does exactly what it says on the tin! We saw the more western cities and the more remote China..an excellent and balanced mix.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Helen K. Posted on: 

This was a great introduction into an amazing country and its people. I will definitely be returning to discover more of China!

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Dahnalda G. Posted on: 

Incredible! The stressful aspects of travel - taking care of everyday type stuff (where to sleep and how to get from city to city) were taken care of which left so much more time for enjoyable exploration.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Joel L. Posted on: 

Had a great experience in China. Our tour leader was great, fellow tour-mates were a lot of fun. Recommend to anyone.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Roger P. Posted on: 

A very vigorous physical workout, combined with a stimulating intellectual and emotional experience. We were extremely fortunate with the weather and the companionship of our fellow travelers (hope they felt the same about us!!)

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Nicole G. Posted on: 

Overall we were very happy with this trip. It is cool to look back on it now and to see how much we covered in 21 days. The Giant Panda Reserve, Great Wall and the Karst Mountains were truly amazing to see.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Elizabeth L. Posted on: 

The tour was excellent; I felt the itinerary was very varied and encompassing.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Brian M. Posted on: 

We were very happy with the tour guide/s, our accommodation and the transportation too.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Marianne B. Posted on: 

It was a trip of a lifetime, a really great experience, seeing so many of China's famous sites and definitely the best way to see such a complex country. The way the tour was organized meant we had the right amount of freedom to do our own thing (although our group enjoyed spending time out together) whilst not having to worry about which platform the train was leaving from, how to get to the hotel etc.. The hotels were, with one exception, better than I'd expected, we were all pleasantly surprised. The best bit of the trip was cycling in the fields around Yangshuo, stunning. However, it was the guide that made the trip, he was so knowledgeable and gave us great honest advice and insights into the country and he was great fun too! As much as we loved seeing the Great Wall and terracotta warriors etc, it was the small things like eating noodles in a local cafe in Chengdu, being jammed in train opposite a woman eating chicken feet and watching the old people ballroom dancing in the park which gave us a view into "real China".

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Sherry W. Posted on: 

The tour was fantastic! I loved the people in the group and our tour guide, Chris, was amazing! He was a wealth of information and we had a great time at every location.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Cheryl H. Posted on: 

I expected China to be somewhat difficult to travel but G Adventures tour was so exceptionally well organized, and our tour guide such a star, that everything ran smoothly so I could just relax, see the sights and enjoy myself.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Lindsey B. Posted on: 

A non stop amazing race through China. Well organized, perfect tour leader.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Kevin K. Posted on: 

21 days on the Essential China tour and every day was sensational! The tour allowed us time to experience the people, culture and attractions as a group while it also provided a balance of free time to explore. I would recommend this trip to anyone.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Kerry S. Posted on: 

Overall,I enjoyed the tour, it gave a good taste of China. Not a fully comprehensive trip of the country but great if you want to experience the surface.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
David M. Posted on: 

The tour was fantastic - it exceeded our expectations, particularly in regard to the tour leadership, accommodation and overall arrangements. It met our objectives of getting a broad introduction to China and the way its people live.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Kimm B. Posted on: 

TRIP WAS EXCEPTIONAL AND WAS EVERYTHING G Adventures PROMISED AND MORE!

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Fabio B. Posted on: 

A fantastic trip that exceeded expectations, made particularly special by a very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Jeremy S. Posted on: 

An excellent itinerary - "Essential China" does exactly what it says on the tin! We saw the more Western cities and the more remote China..an excellent and balanced mix.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Edward B. Posted on: 

I had a wonderful time, and enjoyed the blend of group activities, suggested activities, and free time.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Kirsten B. Posted on: 

I thought the tour was extremely good with a good mix of different activities and a good group of people.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Joanna G. Posted on: 

Exactly what we were hoping for: the trip we would have planned ourselves minus all the hassles.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Alesha F. Posted on: 

We took this trip because we wanted to "experience China," and this trip exceeded our expectations. We saw amazing sites; had the opportunity to interact with local people and get a sense of what life is like in China; ate excellent food; learned a lot about China, it history, culture and politics from our guide Charles; had a lot of fun and met great people. We can honestly say, it was a trip of a lifetime!

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Anna P. Posted on: 

G Adventures offers the perfect balance between adventure travel and guided tourism. I recommend it to everyone I meet. Both China and Peru stand in my mind as highlights in my lifetime of travel. thank you !!!

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Andrew S. Posted on: 

The essential china trip far exceeded my expectations. To take on a nation as vast and majestic as china, in only 21 days, is no easy task. Fortunatley, with the genius organization skills of our guide and the cooperation of a great group of strangers, brought together with the same sense of adventure, we were able to crack the cultures surface and look back deep into what the rising superpower of china truly is.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Colette H. Posted on: 

A very diverse, culturally interesting tour.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Shayne R. Posted on: 

The tour was amazing. I feel that I really experiences China and saw a lot that the country has to offer.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Kenneth B. Posted on: 

We wanted a broad experience of China close to the people and we got it. It was tiring with so much traveling but very enjoyable.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Helen H. Posted on: 

Extremely comprehensive trip of China for the 21 days.

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating
Kim H. Posted on: 

Thank you G Adventures for organizing such an amazing tour of China. I was impressed by the accommodations, the number of different sights we saw and the internal transportation arrangements. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone and would love to do another G Adventure in the near future. I also enjoyed the small group size. We had a great group of people who all got on well. I have developed international friendships which was an unexpected bonus to the whole experience!

Overall Rating
  •   100%
    Guide
    Rating
  •   100%
    Value
    Rating
  •   100%
    Itinerary
    Rating
  •   100%
    Accommodation
    Rating
  •   100%
    Overall
    Rating