China Experience

from £1,599

Great wall of China tours

Discover the best of Chinese culture, history, and extraordinary beauty.

27 Reviews

Discover the best of Chinese culture, history, and extraordinary beauty.

Pandas in Chengdu
+35
Great Wall of China

Trip Highlights

  • Bike trek and bamboo rafting on the Yulong River
  • Visit the mischievous pandas at the Chengdu Breeding Research Centre
  • Set up camp and watch the sun setting over the Great Wall
  • Spend a night in a traditional Fujian mud roundhouse
  • Take a tour of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Take part in a traditional tea ceremony and visit the tea plantations

Trip Summary

Spend an exceptional month travelling the 5,500km around China’s Middle Kingdom and experience all aspects of Chinese life and culture. Starting in Hong Kong and travelling north, you’ll get a taste for the highlife in some of China’s most cosmopolitan cities, then in stark contrast stay in the humblest of dwellings in a quiet, but beautiful village surrounded by tea plantations. From heady mountain treks, beautiful bike tours, and fascinating city walks, you’ll see the best of this amazing country from every angle, and get to visit some of China’s most iconic landmarks, including the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Shaolin Temple.

 

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

Trip Info

Day 1: Arrival Day – Welcome to Hong Kong!

Once you arrive in Hong Kong, you’ll get settled in to your accommodation and, if you want to get a feel for the city, take yourself out to explore the vibrant, heaving streets. With an endless stream of things to see and do, make sure you allow for a little R&R before your adventure begins – but definitely take time to sample some of the city’s outstanding food – Hong Kong is one of the world’s culinary capitals after all.

Day 2: Depart from Hong Kong

Meeting your guide and the rest of the group today, you’ll all head to Victoria Peak where, at over 550 metres high, you’ll get to enjoy incredible views of Hong Kong. You’ll have a briefing to give you a good idea of what to expect over the next few weeks, and then board the bullet train to Guilin, where you and the group might fancy stopping off for dinner before the second leg of the journey to Yangshuo.

Day 3-6: Yangshuo

On your first morning in Yangshuo you’ll have the opportunity to take part in an optional traditional Chinese cookery class, before heading out to the Yulong River for a bike ride in the afternoon, followed by an utterly unmissable bamboo raft river cruise. Over the next couple of days, you’ll have the chance to try out optional activities including: Chinese cupping therapies, deep water soloing, rock climbing, mud baths and hot springs, cormorant fishing, and kayaking. On day 6 the group will head to Guilin railway station to board the night train to Chengdu.

Day 7-9: Chengdu

Arriving in Chengdu in the afternoon, we’ll get you settled in to your accommodation before getting together for your first Mandarin lesson. You’ll get to learn the basics in this class and later in the programme have two more lessons before trying out what you’ve learnt on the locals! While you’re in Chengdu, you’ll also visit the mischievous giant pandas at the Panda Breeding Research Centre, and enjoy a night out on the tiles. Optional activities include: getting a massage, a trip to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha, watching the Sichuan opera, visiting the Wenshu Monastery, Mao’s Statue, People’s Park, or a trip to a traditional tea house. On day 9 you’ll catch a night train to Xi’an.

Day 10-11: Xi’an

After checking in to your accommodation, you’ll have the chance to explore Xi’an properly – take an optional look around the Bell-drum Towers, the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, then this evening enjoy some delicious street food before looking around the local silk market. You’ll also have the chance to help out at a local charitable programme in the evening, if you like. On day 11 we’ll visit the world-renowned Terracotta Warriors before chilling out in the afternoon. 

Day 12: Dengfeng

In the morning we’ll make the journey to DengFeng. Picking up supplies at the market we’ll make our way to a local children’s home run by the Shaolin Temple, where you’ll be able to take an optional Kung Fu lesson and watch an inspiring performance by the children. After dinner you’ll have your second Mandarin lesson.  

Day 13: Shaolin Monastery

Time for a bit of spiritual discovery today if you fancy the optional trip to the Shaolin Temple. With this trip you’ll also hike to Dharma Cave – a spiritual place for Buddhist pilgrims, and witness the stunning views of the shrine and temples in the area. After a late lunch we’ll head to the train station to travel overnight to Beijing. 

Day 14-17: Beijing and Great Wall

Arriving nice and early in Beijing, you’ll get to freshen up at a local hostel before taking your third and final Mandarin lesson. Then, if you’re brave enough to try out your newfound skills, we’ll get into teams and test out our spoken Mandarin on the locals – the winning team will get a prize, so hopefully you’ve been paying attention! Later on we’ll make our way to a farm to eat with the locals and hike to an incredible un-restored section of the Great Wall. We’ll set up camp and watch the sunset before bedding down for the night (during the colder months we’ll stay at a guesthouse near the wall instead, as the temperatures will be too low to set up camp). The next day we’ll start with spectacular sunrise views from the Great Wall before returning to Beijing. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from over the next couple of days: visit the Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium, watch a Chinese acrobatic performance, walk through Tiananmen Square, or visit the Forbidden City, plus a whole list of other things to do and see. On day 17 we’ll board the night train to Hangzhou. 

Day 18-19: Hangzhou & Moganshan

After breakfast in Hangzhou, we’ll drive to the foot of Moganshan Mountain and enjoy the views as we cycle through the quiet villages and bamboo forests. If you fancy more of a challenge, you can join the hike to the peak of the mountain where you’ll be rewarded with far-reaching views of the entire region. On day 19 we’ll travel to Shanghai, and you’ll have the opportunity to party with the group on our Shanghai pub crawl.

Day 20-22: Shanghai

Once you’ve recovered from your night out, there’s a lot to see and do in China’s biggest city. Why not take a trip to Zhujiajiao Water Town, walk through the historical and picturesque Yu Gardens, take time to visit the bustling streets around People’s Square, partake in a little karaoke, or sip cocktails from the top of a skyscraper? There’s plenty of culture and history to soak up while you’re in Shanghai – it’s worth making time to visit the fascinating propaganda museum and French concession amid shopping and sightseeing.

Day 23-24: Nanjing in Fujian Province

Back on the bullet train, we’ll arrive in Nanjing in the afternoon and make our way deep into the Fujian tea hills. Stopping for dinner on the way, we’ll arrive at our accommodation for the evening – traditional mud roundhouses, and home to the Hakka community. This is a rare opportunity to experience the bare bones of Chinese culture, and during your stay you’ll have a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site, getting to explore the round houses, villages and tea fields in the area. You’ll take part in a traditional tea ceremony and get to visit the plantations, eat dinner with the locals and learn a traditional dance!    

Day 25: Fujian Tulou

In the morning we’ll take a bike tour to visit the biggest roundhouse in the region, and you’ll get to have a proper look around both levels. You’ll have free time in the afternoon to chill out and relax before our onward journey, via night train, to Guangzhou and bus ride to the Zhuhai border.

Day 26: Macau

Today we’ll tour the 17th-century ruins of St Paul’s and the old military fortress in the historic centre of Macau. Later, we’ll visit the site of one of the world’s highest bungee jumps at Macau Tower before heading to Cotai Strip – the Las Vegas of China, to try your hand at the Venetian casino, and then take the hydrofoil back to Hong Kong to relax for the evening. 

Day 27: Hong Kong

Today you’re free to make your own plans – whether you want to head home or continue your travels elsewhere. If you have a few hours before having to depart, you’ll be able to make the most of being in Hong Kong with a spot of shopping, last-minute sightseeing, or filling up on delicious food before making tracks. 

Please note activities and itineraries are subject to change.

More Trip Info

Whats Included

  • All accommodation
  • All transport (excluding airport transfers)
  • Experienced and knowledgeable tour guides
  • Victoria Peak visit
  • Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River
  • Bike ride around the Yulong River
  • Mandarin lessons
  • Visit to the Panda Breeding Research Centre
  • Terracotta Warriors tour
  • Great Wall of China Hike and camp
  • Great Wall sunrise and sunset
  • WangFuJing night market
  • Bike trek in Hangzhou
  • Shanghai culture and history trip
  • Ferry ride across the Huangpu River
  • TianZiFang visit
  • Overnight stay in a Fujian mud roundhouse
  • Walking tour of a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting
  • Tea plantation visit
  • Fijian bike tour
  • St Paul ruins and Old Fortress tour in Macau  
  • Taxes and charges
  • 24/7 emergency support

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Food and drinks
  • Optional activities

More Whats Included

Reviews

I've done this trip

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Overall Rating 9/10

(27 Reviews)

Victoria Keith

How would you rate your overall experience?

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Camping on the Great Wall of China was the best thing I've ever done!

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

More time in Macau! It's a fun city and would be good to spend a night there!

Tips for other travellers?

Just book it! The best way of seeing the Real China.

Any other comments?

Amazing trip & service, thank you thank you thank you. 10/10 amazing!

George Finch

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

"Chengdu hot pot dinner Relaxing in Shaolin and Moganshan Beijing (Great Wall, Tienanmen square, Peking duck dinner) Shanghai as a whole Experiencing China as a whole (the good and bad parts)"

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

Zhangjiajie national forest park

Tips for other travellers?

-Pack light but bring lots of underwear -Try to learn to use chopsticks before going. The first few days are a struggle -Prepare for long as hell journeys. 27 hour train. 7 hour coach. Bring enough entertainment for them. -Be smart with what and more importantly where you eat. If you get a vibe from it, trust the vibe. -You may see some pretty shocking things so prepare yourself mentally.

Amy Greenwood

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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 !

Lauren O

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Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

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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!

Rachel Pitman

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Please rate the service received from our team before departure

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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

david wood

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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!

Svenja Schulmeister

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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!

More Reviews

Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation will mainly consist of mixed sex dorm rooms that sleep 4-12 people in clean, safe hostels in good locations. One night will be spent camping on the Great Wall of China between May and September (we recommend you bring something warm to wear for this) and one night will be spent in a traditional mud roundhouse. On a few occasions we will travel to our next destination by night train, where you will have a fully flat bed.

Food and drinks aren’t included on this trip, but your guide will always be able to recommend the best places to eat locally and will arrange, where possible, a discount for you. You’ll need to budget roughly 30RMB/£3.50 per meal (25RMB/£3 for breakfast).

More Accommodation & Meals

Flights

You should arrange flights to arrive in Hong Kong (HKG) for the first day of your itinerary. We will be ending our trip in Hong Kong on day 27, so if you are flying home straight afterwards you can simply book return flights.

To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.

More Flights Info

Eligibility & FAQ's

Minimum age for this programme is 18. A reasonable level of fitness is required to participate in all activities.

For visits up to 30 days, citizens of the EU, USA, Australia, and New Zealand must obtain a tourist visa (type L) for China before travelling. Visas can be obtained from your local Chinese embassy and must be used within three months of issue. Please ensure you have a full passport that is valid for six months beyond your intended length of stay.

How Many People Will Be In My Group?

Usually there will be a maximum of 20 people travelling in your group.

Will I Be With The Same Group Of People Throughout My Trip?

This trip is made up of a number of sectors, so you may find that you are joined with different people at diffferent stages of your trip, this is a great opportunity to meet lots of different travellers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.

Will I Have Any Free Time?

This trip is very flexible and you’ll have as much free time as you like outside of any optional activities you sign up for.

How Much Spending Money Will I Need?

You’ll need to budget for food, drinks and optional activities, which shouldn’t cost 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 application. You should allow 90 days to apply for your visa prior to flying to China.

How Long Will I Be Travelling Between Destinations?

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

Do I Need To Bring A Sleeping Bag Or Mosquito Net?

No need for either – you won’t need a mosquito net and all bedding will be provided.

More Eligibility & FAQ's

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