China Experience

A month of the Great Wall, sparkling cities and remote villages!

27 days

from £1,599

Trip Highlights

  • A sunrise trek on a deserted section of The Great Wall
  • Board bamboo rafts and float down the Li River in Yangshuo
  • Join one of Asia’s largest bar crawls in cosmopolitan Shanghai
  • Volunteer at a childcare centre near Shaolin for children lost on China’s railways
  • Visit Chairman Mao's Summer House in a bamboo nature reserve
  • See the world’s highest bungee jump in Macau

Trip Summary

This is an incredible circular tour of China which has been designed to show you an unforgettable view of real China. The volume and variety of experiences included in the itinerary make this trip quite unique.

We take you to stunning off-the-beaten-track locations which you couldn’t normally get to without being able to speak Mandarin. We also visit all of China’s unmissable attractions - Giant pandas, The Great Wall and The Terracotta Warriors. You get a chance to give something back, when volunteering at a childcare centre and a soup kitchen for homeless people. All these experiences are interspersed with some great nights out along the way too!

The trip aims to provide you with a safe, interesting, hassle-free and unforgettable experience during your epic 5,458km journey through The Middle Kingdom! 

 

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip Info

Day 1: Meet the group
Once you’ve arrived you’ll head to your accommodation to settle in! Choose to take a self-guided mini tour around the city streets or simply kick back and relax before your fun-filled adventure.

Day 2: Depart from Hong Kong
You’ll meet your group and guide team today and then head to Victoria Peak to enjoy views over Hong Kong. After a briefing and a quick stop at your hostel you’ll board the bullet train to Guilin before transferring to Yangshuo!

Day 3-6: Yangshuo (near Guilin)
You’ll arrive in the backpacker hub of Tangshuo this morning and experience a scenic bamboo rafting cruise down the Li river. Spend your free time hiking, biking and swimming, and enjoying the vibrant bars by night. There are plenty of optional activities on offer, including a Moon Hill Cave visit, kayaking, cookery classes and more! On Day 6 we’ll travel to Chengdu.

Days 7-9: Chengdu
Chengdu is a feast for the senses in the heart of real China! Enjoy a Mandarin lesson and perhaps opt to get a massage or try the delicious Sichuan hot pot! The next morning we’ll experience feeding time at the Panda Breeding Research Centre and round the day off with a night out! On Day 9 there’s plenty of spectacular sightseeing lined up before we head to Xi’an!

Day 10-11: Xi’an
After checking into our hostel you can opt to explore the Ming Dynasty City walls by bike and see the Bell Drum Towers and Great Mosque! Tonight, visit a nearby silk market. On Day 11 we’ll visit the striking Terracotta Warriors and volunteer at a local soup kitchen or home for the disabled.

Day 12: Dengfeng
Rise bright and early today to board the bus to Dengfeng. We’ll pick up some supplies at a local market before heading to a childcare centre, where children are taught Kung Fu! Opt to take an invigorating Kung Fu lesson, or help the children to practice their English before watching their incredible performance!

Day 13: Shaolin Monastery
We’ll rise early to beat the crowds at an optional Shaolin Temple visit today! Take an optional hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist Pilgrims and be rewarded by the beautiful views of both the shrines/temples and views of the area. Later, we’ll board a train to Beijing.


Day 14-17: Beijing
After checking in and taking a Mandarin lesson, we’ll head to the bucket list beauty that is The Great Wall of China! Visit a remote section of the wall and head out on a hike and opt to camp here overnight or stay in a local guest house! In the morning we’ll get up early to watch one of the most incredible sunrises imaginable! During the rest of your time in Beijing, opt to visit the Olympic Birds Nest stadium, enjoy an acrobatics performance, visit the Forbidden City and more! On Day 17 we’ll head to Hangzhou! 

Days 18-19: Hangzhou and Moganshan
From Hangzhou we’ll take a minibus Mogan Mountains! After some picturesque hiking and a good night's rest, we'll trek to a beautiful crystal clear mountain lagoon which will be our swimming spot. After lunch, we'll take the bullet train to Shanghai.

Days 20-22: Shanghai
Cosmopolitan Shanghai comes alive at night, so we’ll be heading out on an optional Drunken Dragon Bar Crawl! Other optional activities include walking tours, a visit to the underground propaganda museum, a tour through People's Square and so much more!  

Days 23-24: Nanjing in Fujian Province
We’ll take a bullet train to Nanjing and then transfer deep into the Fujian tea growing hills to stay overnight in a traditional mud roundhouse, traditional homes of the Haka Minority People. On Day 24, we'll have a tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Site exploring the roundhouses, picturesque villages and the tea fields. 

Day 25: Fujian Tulou
The day is spent with a bike tour and exploring more roundhouses in the area! In the evening take your final night train to Guangzhou before boarding a bus to the Zhuai border.

Day 26: Macau
Arrive in Macau today, dubbed the Vegas of the East. The afternoon is spent seeing The World’s Highest bungee jump and then heading on to explore the colonial old Portuguese side of town, before trying your luck in the Venetian Casino in the evening. Later we’ll take the hydrofoil back to Hong Kong and head to the hostel to relax. 

Day 27: Hong Kong
Today is a free day with no activities planned, you are free to depart at any time, either to continue with your travels independently or make your own way to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodation & Meals

We stay in hostels which have been chosen because of their great atmosphere and location. They are all safe, clean and hygienic.

You will be staying in dorm rooms that sleep 4-12 people and are mixed sex. 

Some nights are spent on night trains, where you have a fully flat bed.

Food is not included on the trip, but our guide will always offer to take you to a local restaurant where they can arrange a great discount for you. You should budget  approximately 30CNY per meal (25 CNY for breakfast). If you want to eat cheaper than that, then your guides can help you order basic and delicious fried noodles/fried rice for 10CNY per dish.

Eligibility & FAQ's

Minimum age 18 years old, maximum dependent on health of participant.

How Big Are The Group Sizes?

Each trip will generally consist of a group of around 5 to 20 people.
 

Will We Have Any Free Time?

The trip has been designed to be flexible, so you can have as much or little free time as you want depending on how many of our optional activities you sign up for.
 

How Much Spending Money Will I Need?

You will need money for food, drinks and optional activities which should total no more than £130 per week.
 

Do I Need A Visa To Visit China?

Yes, once you have sent us a scanned copy of your passport we will issue you with a visa invitation letter to support your visa applicatoin. You should apply for your visa within 90 days of departure.
 

Will We Get To See The Great Wall And The Pandas?

Yes these are both included for free as they are deemed un-missable!
 

How Long Are The Journeys Between Destinations?

The journeys vary from one hour to 24 hours with the majority travelled on China's extensive rail network. To make sure that you make the most of your time in China the longer journeys will be taken as overnight sleeper trains.
 

Do I Need To Take A Sleeping Bag?

No, all bedding is provided
 

Do I Need To Take A Mosquito Net?

No, you don't need to take one with you.
 

Will There Be A Safe/safety Deposit Box Available?

Yes, all of the hostels have lockers in the rooms and a safe at the front desk.

Whats Included

  • All accommodation
  • All the attractions and activities listed above apart from those optional activities with a price listed in brackets
  • All transport for the above itinerary
  • A combination of English-speaking Chinese and Western tour guides throughout
  • 24-hour emergency support
  • Mandarin tuition
  • All tips, taxes and charges

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Food and drinks
  • Optional activities and the transport to them – any activity with a price in brackets
  • Transfers on arrival or departure

Flights

Visa Information

You should ensure that you have a full passport that is valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information provided below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

To enter mainland China

For stays of up to 30 days, citizens of the European Union, the USA, Australia and New Zealand must obtain a Tourist (type L) visa in advance of travel. Visas can be obtained from your local embassy and must be used within 3 months of issue.

As part of your visa application you will need an 'Invitation Letter' which we will provide for you as a document on your Online Account. Please request this letter from us. It contacts all the accommodation details you require to obtain your L visa

You will need to apply for your visa through a Chinese embassy or consulate and you should consult your relevant embassy for detailed instructions.

To enter Hong Kong

Most nationalities do not need a visa, please see the link below to find out the maximum length of time you can stay in Hong Kong without a visa if this applies to your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct information.

Visa requirements

Visa are required for nationals from Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo republic, Congo (DRC), Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Korea (North), Kyrgystan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Senegal, Sierra, Leone, Solomon Islands, Somaloa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. 

Visa courier service

If you prefer to use a specialist visa courier service to apply for your Chinese visa on your behalf, we recommend Travcour who can offer you assistance and advice, making your visa application straight forward.

To investigate costs for this service click here to select the country or countries that you wish to travel to.

Reviews

I've done this trip

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Overall Rating 9/10

(25 Reviews)

Amy Greenwood

How would you rate your overall experience?

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What were the highlights of your trip?

camping on the great wall, bamboo rafting in Yangshou and the pandas!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

An extra day in Chengdu !

Tips for other travellers?

Bring plenty of bug spray, it still gets cold on the great wall in the summer and learn how to use chopsticks !

Any other comments?

do everything !

david wood

How would you rate your overall experience?

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What were the highlights of your trip?

Camping and waking up for sunrise on The Great Wall of China!!! Shanghai! Stunning city and amazing night life! Yangshuo's stunning landscape and the bamboo river rafting and deep water soloing! and for adrenaline junkies the Macau Bungee jump is incredible!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

More time to be able to go out to the Leshan Giant Buddah in Chengdu

Tips for other travellers?

Expect to get ill and take as much medication that you can think of. Everything comes in handy, even cold and flu tablets. Take a few travel games like cards as they come in handy on the numerous night trains you're on. And when people tell you it gets cold on the great wall, even during the summer months, believe them. Take a hoody or light warm clothes for at night!

Amazing trip! Don't hesitate to book! The guides were brilliant, the itinerary was great! get used to long journeys and travelling a lot, it is an intense travel itinerary. But the ups certainly outweigh the cons. You meet so many great people and the experience is incredible!

Any other comments?

Amazing trip! Don't hesitate to book! The guides were brilliant, the itinerary was great! get used to long journeys and travelling a lot, it is an intense travel itinerary. But the ups certainly outweigh the cons. You meet so many great people and the experience is incredible!

Rachel Pitman

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What were the highlights of your trip?

Camping on the Great Wall, shanghai

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

No

Tips for other travellers?

the itinerary does change so be flexible. The night trains are long but can be fun You will get pictures taken a lot but just embrace it

Lauren O

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

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What were the highlights of your trip?

Bamboo rafting in Yangshuo, the pandas in Chengdu, camping on the Great Wall and going out in Shanghai.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

It would have been nice to have an extra day in Shanghai as quite a few people missed a day due to being hungover from the bar crawl!

Tips for other travellers?

1. Be prepared not to get enough sleep for the entire trip! 2. Quite a few activities, including the hike to the Great Wall, are quite physically challenging. Remember to pack proper footwear and be prepared for some exercise. 3. When camping on the Great Wall it gets extremely cold, even in the summer months. Take a warm jacket or hoody, warm trousers and socks!

Svenja Schulmeister

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Please rate the service received from our team before departure

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How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

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What were the highlights of your trip?

Shaolin and the KungFu lesson

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Hiking to a mountain peak

Tips for other travellers?

Don't lose anything Get no connecting flight to Hongkong Don't worry about what could have happen

Carys Ewen

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

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What were the highlights of your trip?

All of the expected highlights were great such as seeing Pandas, the Terracotta Warriors, Great Wall etc but what really made it were some fantastic in-country guides and an amazing group.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Don't think we could have done any more!

Tips for other travellers?

Be prepared for both the rough sides of travelling, e.g. dodgy toilets and slumming it at the farm visit, and donning the glad rags and living the high life in Shanghai and Macau. Catch up on sleep when you can and be prepared to be tired a lot-if you hits the bars as much as my group anyway! And most importantly try to make the most all your time there even when it may look like a negative- for example a 25 hour train ride can actually be a great opportunity to get to know fellow travellers or even locals who want to practice their English...it's often these moments that can lead to a lot of fun and memories!

Any other comments?

No trip is perfect and this is pretty fast paced so be prepared for a lot of tiring travel. However, it's designed so that it's what you make of it and it's up to you how hard you hit it- if you want down time and rest take it, or like our group if you want to drink far too much rice wine and beer, there's definitely the opportunity to do so and you just have to deal with the consequences!

Sophia W

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What were the highlights of your trip?

All of it - there were lots of ups and downs, but it was all part of the experience. The best part was that we got a real impression of China by seeing so many different parts of the country - one day we were in bars in Shanghai, and 3 days later we were in the roundhouses in Fujian. Another amazing part was travelling for a month with the group and making new friends.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

For a first trip to China the places on the itinerary were amazing and provided a lot of diversity. In each place, if we had wanted to see other sites, the guides were flexible and sometimes offered to show us, or we could often find free time to see them ourselves.

Tips for other travellers?

1. The trip is very fast-paced. Sleep as much as possible, and be prepared for challenges. 2. Learn the language where possible, lots of the people we met were really friendly and loved to talk 3. Make your bag as light as possible, but bring lots of light clothes, including clothes to go out in

Any other comments?

The guides were fun and accommodating.

laura bourke

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Bambo rafting in yangshou/vue bar in shanghai/shanghai pub crawl/ muslim quarter xi an/ westlake

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

dont thinkso

Tips for other travellers?

1. Prepare to spend over 24 hours travelling straight 2. Prepare for things to be unorganized and stressful, just go with the flow and enjoy it despite the chaos at time 3. Bring more money than suggested by real gap and be aware that in certain areas your atm will not work

Any other comments?

Very good choice of places in ithenary and good variety of optional activities available. However nothing is included in the price only transport so make the most of each place you vist!

Beth Pearman

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

The countryside places, especially Yangshuo, the bamboo rafting, mud baths, the lodge, the roundhouses, drinking tea, the food.. There's plenty more!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

I would have liked to stay longer in the countryside places as we barely got to stay there for longer than a day and they were beautiful.

Tips for other travellers?

1. Do everything and completely embrace the experiences you have. 2. Bring very light and loose fitting clothes if you come in the summer months or even just wait until you get there and buy it out there because it's so much cheaper and they have much more practical clothing. 3. Takes LOTS of photos and bring multiple memory cards so if you lose one, you still have many photos!

Any other comments?

The organisation of the guides could DEFINITELY be improved.

Scott Thorley

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

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How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Visiting 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Shanghai and Yangshuo

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Extend the length of the trip and then we could visit even more places of interest in China. But China is massive. You could spend years travelling throughout China!

Tips for other travellers?

Pack light, Bring Amodium tablets and definitely go to sallys house.

Any other comments?

By far the best out of the 4 trips I booked through Real Gap.

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China Experience - 27 Days 4th Apr 2017 £1,599 Book Now
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