The futuristic city of Shanghai is complemented by iconic images of China such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Terracotta Warriors of ancient Xi'an. This is the perfect introductory tour for first time visitors to China.

• Shanghai: 2 nights

• Xi’an: 2 nights

• Beijing: 3 nights

8nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE

This small group tour is the perfect introduction for first-time visitors to China. Discover the futuristic city of Shanghai, where towering skyscrapers blend effortlessly with a historic waterfront, and see the ancient Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, a city famous for its delicious Chinese dumplings. Continue to Beijing to see ancient palaces and the world-famous Great Wall.

• Shanghai: 2 nights

• Xi’an: 2 nights

• Beijing: 2 nights

• Mutianyu/ The Great Wall: 1 night

8nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Shanghai Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai Transfer to your hotel where a guaranteed early check-in means you’ll be able to head to your room as soon as you arrive. Freshen up and spend the rest of the day relaxing or sightseeing at your own pace. This evening, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the rest of your group and tour leader at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). D

Day 3: Shanghai Your Shanghai sightseeing begins this morning with a guided tour around the city. You’ll begin in the Old Town, which sits inside the ancient city walls, before continuing to the beautiful 16th Century Yu Garden, and the leafy tree-lined streets of the French Concession – an area of Shanghai once administered by the French government. This afternoon take a stroll along the Bund, the famous waterfront on the west bank of the Huangpu River, before embarking on a private cruise along the river. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Shanghai to Xi’an Following a relaxed breakfast, spend your morning at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight to China’s ancient capital city of Xi’an. On arrival, spend some time exploring the busy Muslim Quarter, a historic neighbourhood and foodie heaven famed for its market stalls, buzzing local atmosphere, and unusual culinary treasures like deep fried octopus and flatbread in mutton soup. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 5: Xi’an An entire day of sightseeing awaits, beginning with an early morning visit to the iconic Terracotta Warriors (approx. 1½ hours from the city). You’ll arrive just as the doors open, thus avoiding the crowds that can overwhelm the site later in the day. In the mid-1970s a clay warrior was found buried under farmland on the outskirts of Xi’an and through further excavations thousands more warriors were discovered, all lined up in a battle formation. You can see these incredible pottery figures at the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in a handful of excavated pits. If an archaeologist is in residence during your visit, then a meet and greet will be scheduled for you to chat about the work they’re doing.

This afternoon, you’ll visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a landmark temple set in beautiful gardens, before you get creative with a traditional dumpling making class. In the evening, you’ll have the opportunity to catch a Tang Dynasty Show – a dramatic performance of Changan music and dance which originated in China’s Tang Dynasty. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 6: Xi’an to Beijing This morning enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before you transfer to the station for your high-speed train journey to Beijing. Travelling in first class, this is a great opportunity for you to catch your breath, and to take some time to enjoy the beautiful Chinese countryside. On arrival in Beijing, you’ll transfer to the hotel where you’ll be able to refresh before you head out for a classic Peking duck dinner. Approx. journey time: 6 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Beijing Your tour of the capital begins with an early morning visit to Tian’anmen Square, followed by a wander around the Forbidden City. After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, the tour will continue at the classical Summer Palace, which is home to a vast number of lakes, gardens and palaces. A boat ride on one of the lakes is included here (subject to weather conditions). The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L.

Day 8: Beijing Today begins with an early morning visit to the beautiful Temple of Heaven; you’ll arrive at the temple just as the gates are opening, thus avoiding the crowds that head here later in the day. Though an early start, it will be a relaxing morning, finishing with the opportunity to take part in a t’ai chi lesson. Following lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have the chance to visit the iconic Great Wall (approx. 1¾ hours from Beijing). Visiting in the afternoon means that you'll arrive at the wall after the busy morning crowds have left. You'll take the cable car up onto the Mutianyu section, a quieter area visited by fewer tourists that is noted for its meandering chain of Ming Dynasty guard towers. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Beijing After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

These are some of the most popular extensions for our Essential China tour.

Chengdu 2 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Chengdu

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Chengdu. On arrival, a local guide will accompany you to the hotel. This afternoon, explore the Wenshu Monastery and take a walk down the city's historic Jinli Street. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 2: Chengdu

This morning, take a tour of the famous Chengdu Panda Base, a research centre that specialises in the breeding and conservation of baby pandas. The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 3: Chengdu

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Tibet 4 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Lhasa

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Lhasa. On arrival, a local guide will transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B.

Day 2: Lhasa

After breakfast, spend the morning at the Sera Monastery; one of three famous university monasteries in Tibet. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before spending the afternoon with a local family where you'll learn all about life in Tibet. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Lhasa

Start the day with a visit to the famous Potala Palace, the magnificent winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Following lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the Jokhang Monastery – the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism – and take a stroll along historic Bakhor Street. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Lhasa to Beijing

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return flight to Beijing. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Beijing at your own pace. Approx. journey time: 4 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B.

Day 5: Beijing

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Day 1: UK to Shanghai Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai
Transfer to your hotel where a guaranteed early check-in means you’ll be able to head to your room as soon as you arrive. Freshen up and spend the rest of the day relaxing or sightseeing at your own pace. This evening, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the rest of your group and tour leader at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). D.

Day 3: Shanghai
This morning, head out into the city for a guided tour. You’ll start in the Old Town, which sits inside the ancient city walls, before continuing to the beautiful 16th-Century Yu Garden and the leafy tree-lined streets of the French Concession – an area of Shanghai once administered by the French government. This afternoon take a stroll along the Bund, the famous waterfront on the west bank of the Huangpu River, before embarking on a private cruise along the river. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Shanghai to Xi’an
After a relaxed breakfast, spend the morning at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight to China’s ancient capital city of Xi’an. Spend some time exploring the busy Muslim Quarter; this historic neighbourhood is a foodie heaven that’s famed for its market stalls, buzzing local atmosphere, and unusual culinary treasures like deep fried octopus and flatbread in mutton soup. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local restaurant. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 5: Xi’an
An entire day of sightseeing awaits, starting with an early morning visit to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors (approx. 1½ hours from the city). You’ll arrive just as the doors open to avoid the crowds that head here later in the day. In the mid-1970s a clay warrior was found buried under farmland on the outskirts of Xi’an and through further excavations thousands more warriors were discovered, all lined up in a battle formation. You can see these incredible pottery figures at the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in a handful of excavated pits. If an archaeologist is in residence during your visit, a meet and greet session will give you the chance to chat about their current work. This afternoon, visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda – a landmark temple set in beautiful gardens – and join a cooking class where you’ll learn how to make traditional Chinese dumplings. This evening, you’ll have the opportunity to catch a Tang Dynasty Show; a dramatic performance of Changan music and dance which originated in China’s Tang Dynasty. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 6: Xi’an to Beijing
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the station for your high-speed rail journey to Beijing. Travelling in first class, this is a great opportunity for you to relax and catch your breath while enjoying the beautiful Chinese countryside passing by. On arrival in Beijing, transfer to the hotel where you’ll be able to refresh before you head out for a classic Peking duck dinner. Approx. journey time: 6 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Beijing
Your tour of the capital starts with an early morning visit to Tian’anmen Square, followed by a leisurely stroll around the Forbidden City. After lunch at a local restaurant, the tour will continue at the classical Summer Palace, which is home to a huge number of lakes, gardens and palaces. A boat ride on one of the lakes is included here (subject to weather conditions). The rest of the day is free for you to spend at leisure. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L.

Day 8: Beijing to Mutianyu
Begin your final day with an early morning visit to the beautiful Temple of Heaven; arriving just as the gates open means that you’ll avoid the large crowds that head here later in the day. While an early start, it’s a relaxing morning, finishing with the chance for you to join a guided t’ai chi lesson. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll continue to the iconic Great Wall of China (approx. 1¾ hours from Beijing). Visiting in the afternoon means that you’ll arrive at the wall after the busy morning crowds have left. Take the cable car up onto the Mutianyu section, a quieter and lesser-visited area that’s noted for its meandering chain of Ming Dynasty guard towers. This evening you’ll stay at the stylish Brickyard Retreat in Mutianyu Village; a boutique converted tile factory where each room overlooks fantastic views of the Great Wall. Tonight you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Stay: Brickyard Retreat (or similar). B, D.

Day 9: Mutianyu
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

These are some of the most popular extensions for our Essential China tour.

Chengdu 2 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Chengdu

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Chengdu. On arrival, a local guide will accompany you to the hotel. This afternoon, explore the Wenshu Monastery and take a walk down the city's historic Jinli Street. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 2: Chengdu

This morning, take a tour of the famous Chengdu Panda Base, a research centre that specialises in the breeding and conservation of baby pandas. The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 3: Chengdu

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Tibet 4 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Lhasa

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Lhasa. On arrival, a local guide will transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B.

Day 2: Lhasa

After breakfast, spend the morning at the Sera Monastery; one of three famous university monasteries in Tibet. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before spending the afternoon with a local family where you'll learn all about life in Tibet. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Lhasa

Start the day with a visit to the famous Potala Palace, the magnificent winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Following lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the Jokhang Monastery – the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism – and take a stroll along historic Bakhor Street. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Lhasa to Beijing

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return flight to Beijing. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Beijing at your own pace. Approx. journey time: 4 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B.

Day 5: Beijing

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

Not only the perfect introduction tour to China, but also the ideal length if you’re keen to explore more of the region afterwards.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Special diets, including vegetarianism, cannot be adequately provided for in China

• Many stairs and steep slopes at the Great Wall of China

• A busy itinerary packed full of experiences allowing you to see a lot in a short space of time. There are also a few early mornings and late evenings

• Crowds at the main sights

• 20kg baggage allowance on internal flights.

Accommodation on tour

We have selected quality city hotels that are perfectly located for local and independent sightseeing, as well as offering a comfortable base for post-excursion relaxation. In Shanghai, the Central Hotel Shanghai is located in a great position, just a 10-minute drive from the famous Bund waterfront; while in Beijing, the Park Plaza Wangfujing sits within walking distance of the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £370

Is this for you?

Perfect for first-timers wanting an introduction to China, and the ideal length if you’re keen to explore more of Asia afterwards.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey, where the minimum age is 10)

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests

• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions

• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag.

What to expect

• Special diets, including vegetarianism and gluten free, are not widely understood and cannot be adequately provided for in China

• With many stairs and steep slopes at monuments and the Great Wall, the tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties

• There are early mornings and late evenings throughout to help maximise your sightseeing opportunities and experiences

• Expect crowds at the main sights

• Baggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg; excess luggage fees will apply locally.

Accommodation on tour

We have selected quality city hotels that are well located for local and independent sightseeing. You’ll spend your final night at the Brickyard Retreat; a converted tile factory where all rooms look out to views of the Great Wall. At this stylish hotel, service is friendly with a large proportion of the staff local to the area, and the dining experiences use lots of fresh produce sourced locally or straight from the hotel’s kitchen garden.

Single travellers

Sole-use room from £3208

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2019 Mar 21; Apr 04, 25; May 02, 09; Sep 12, 19, 26; Oct 09, 24

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice at a supplement from £1065 per person.

Tour dates

2020 Mar 28; Apr 04, 25; May 09, 23; Jun 06; Sep 12; Oct 10, 24

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £3705 per person.

Essential China

Kuoni highlights

This is a great introductory tour to China, which can be easily combined with other regional tours like Japan and South Korea. We’ve included lots of exclusive experiences, like first class train travel and the possibility of an archaeologist meet and greet at the Terracotta Warriors. Other highlights include our private Huangpu River Cruise experience, and our traditional dumpling making class in Xi’an.

Kuoni highlights

This is a great introduction to China, packed full of experiences like the private cruise along the Huangpu River and a meet and greet session with an archaeologist at the Terracotta Warriors. Foodies will experience some delicious local dishes, from a Peking duck dinner to mastering the art behind a traditional Chinese dumpling. You’ll also spend the night in a converted tile factory that overlooks the iconic Great Wall of China.