China: Cafés & Karst Mountains

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Now's the time to explore China on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Ancient villages or bustling metropolises? This 24-day tour of China includes both — and then some. Monumental sights like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and an army of Terracotta Warriors can make China seem intimidating — but with an expert CEO (Chief Experience Officer) leading the way, we’ll wipe away those worries and leave you free to enjoy the ride. And between the panda breeding centre, bamboo rafting, beaches, historic sites, tai chi, and lively nightlife, it’s not a ride you’ll want to miss.


Day 1: Hong Kong

Arrive at any time.

For your first night out, head down to Kowloon and experience the spectacular light show at Victoria Harbour. Get to know your fellow travellers and snap that iconic photo with the neon city backdrop. Afterward, opt for a traditional Cantonese dinner in a local restaurant and share stories over some Dim Sum.

Day 2: Hong Kong/Yangshuo

Board a bullet train and enjoy the scenic ride to Guilin, then transfer to the nearby village of Yangshuo. The Li River and limestone karst mountains interspersed with picturesque riverside villages and markets make this area perhaps the best known scenic attraction in the region. A backpacker haven for activities, cultural immersion, and relaxing at cafés.

Day 3: Yangshuo

Wake up early in this luscious wonderland to catch the sun rising over the bounding karst mountains and morning mist flowing through the valley for a sight you won't want to miss. Spend the rest of the day immersing yourself in the community, learning tai chi, or cycling through the countryside. Be sure to grab a local meal at the Jia Community Restaurant run by women, and check out the Yangshuo nightlife at some of the fun riverside bars.

Day 4: Yangshuo

Yangshuo is too beautiful for only one day, so enjoy another to explore the way you want. If you're feeling active, climb Moon Hill for a breathtaking view of the region or take a kung fu lesson. If you're craving a more relaxing day, try your hand at a Chinese cooking class or stroll through the countryside. Tonight, check out the Impression Liu Sanjie Culture Show which lights up the Li River.

Day 5: Yangshuo/Chengdu

Get cozy on a bullet train and take in the scenery on the ride to Chengdu, known for its Giant Panda Conservation Centre and spicy food, UNESCO's first ever "City of Gastronomy." On arrival, settle into your accommodation and enjoy a relaxing evening.

Day 6: Chengdu

Chengdu is your oyster today, so see where this unique city takes you. Follow your heart to Leshan's giant Buddha or Wenshu Monastery. Or follow your nose on a foodie tour via tuk-tuk or to a drink at He Ming Teahouse.

Feeling hungry? Pre-book the Evening Foodie tour by Tuk-Tuk on the checkout page to include this yummy activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.

Day 7: Chengdu/Xi'an

Choose to rise early and say hello to the giant pandas at the conservation centre before taking a high-speed train to Xi'an, the eastern end of the Silk Road and perfect balance between modernity and ancient traditions.

Day 8: Xi'an

Embark on an orientation walk through the Muslim Quarter, then opt to visit the Terracotta Warriors, cycle the ancient city walls, or practice tai chi with the local people. For your big night out, head to a karaoke bar with your new friends and sing your heart out!

Day 9: Xi'an/Luoyang

Catch the morning train to the ancient city of Luoyang, thought to be where Chinese civilization originated. Arrive in the afternoon, and opt to visit the UNESCO site of Longmen Grottoes where giant Buddhist statues are intricately chiseled in limestone cliffs stretching over 1 kilometre.

Day 10: Luoyang/Song Shan

Catch the public bus with an overnight pack to Song Shan, a holy mountain area best known for Shaolin Temple and the birthplace of kung-fu. One of the five sacred Daoist Mountains of China, Dengfeng Shan, or Mount Song, is a unique rock mountain containing many valleys, caves, pools, waterfalls, and steep cliffs. Hike the surrounding countryside and get a glimpse into this scared natural area.

Day 11: Song Shan/Beijing

In the morning, explore Shaolin Temple - birth place of China Zen Buddhism and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in 495 AD, martial arts have been practiced here for 1500 years as a way to practice Zen Buddhism. After getting your zen kung fu on, pick up your bags from Luoyang and take a bullet train to Beijing.

Day 12: Beijing

Welcome to Beijing, China's bustling capital, and one of the world's most impressive and vibrant cities. Spend the day exploring on your own terms with limitless options. Visit the Forbidden City, the core of Beijing and the world's largest imperial palace. People watch in Tiananmen Square or check out the unique art galleries at Factory 798. Later, wander through Beijing's lively streets and see where the night takes you. Dance club anyone?

Day 13: Beijing

Enjoy another day in Beijing to experience a different side of the city. Choose to step back in time with a visit to the Great Wall, a monumental feat of engineering intended to protect China from northern barbarians. Climb the rolling hills, take in the scenery, and explore the wall capturing iconic photos from the watch towers.

Day 14: Beijing

Make your last day in Beijing count. Spend the day exploring the peaceful gardens, lakes, and temples at Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or get off the beaten path and venture to hip Wudaoying Hutong filled with unique boutiques, restaurants, and live music, located across from the intricate Lama Temple. In the evening, opt to catch an acrobatics performance with your new buds and immerse yourself in the booming nightlife.

Day 15: Beijing/Shanghai

Hop on a bullet train and speed down the coast to Shanghai, the most modern of Chinese cities. Spend the evening exploring with your fellow travellers. Opt to explore the famous Bund with its stunning nighttime light show and many bars. The night is young and so are you!

Day 16: Shanghai

The day is yours to get to know this unique coastal city. Go shopping on the famous Nanjing Road, visit the Shanghai Museum, or enjoy a picnic in Yuyuan Gardens.

Day 17: Shanghai/Wuyishan

Spend the morning and early afternoon getting to know more of Shanghai. Visit the Bund for a daytime perspective of the many historical buildings and city view. Wander through picturesque Old Town or visit the lush scenery of People's Park. Later, board a bullet train to Wuyishan in the Fujian providence.

Day 18: Wuyishan

Wake up and take in the breathtaking serenity of the UNESCO Wuyishan Biosphere Reserve. Hike up towering peaks into the clouds for an encompassing valley view through the fog and mist, then climb down into the valley for an incredible view upward. After, opt for a bamboo raft ride down the Nine Bend Stream.

Day 19: Wuyishan/Xiamen

Catch a bullet train to the coastal colonial city of Xiamen. Embark on an orientation walk through the modern architecture, then opt to take a ferry to Gulangyu Island, a pedestrian-only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb Sunlight Rock for a 360-degree view or relax in Shuzhuang Garden.

Xiamen is a modern university city with a little something for everyone, from night markets to laid-back cafés and beautiful sculptures lit-up at night to peaceful parks.

Day 20: Xiamen/Hongkeng Village

Jump on a local bus — always an adventure in itself — and enjoy the ride to Hongkeng Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yongding County. Take in the mountainous views and stroll down to Hongchuan Creek. Spend the night in an authentic Hakka tulou, a massive, multi-story fortified roundhouse built for communal living. This will definitely be an experience you'll never forget.

Day 21: Hongkeng Village

Discover Hongkeng on a village walk, then experience rural day-to-day life by immersing yourself in the community. Learn of this unique regions history and traditional Chinese culture by mingling with the Hakka people.

Day 22: Hongkeng Village/Xiamen

Say farewell to the beautiful Hongkeng Village, catch the bus back to Xiamen, and get ready for your big night out. Venture to Zhongshan Road, indulge in local delicacies, and immerse yourself in the lively nightlife. Grab a drink on our tab and cheers to the life-changing adventures you've just shared with newfound friends!

Day 23: Xiamen/Hong Kong

Hop on a bullet train and cross the border into famous Hong Kong. Spend the evening exploring this bustling and towering metropolis on the sea. Stroll along Pearl River and capture the neon city at night.

Day 24: Hong Kong

Today is departure day, but don't fret! There is no such thing as goodbye, only until next time. Share last laughs and exchange social medias with your newfound friends before heading on your way. Depart at any time.

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