Though not quite visible from space, the Great Wall of China is still massive! Wander this iconic monument and learn about its history. Travel back in time to the era of China’s powerful Emperors in Beijing while you and your family explore the halls and courtyards of the Forbidden City. Experience whizzing through the Chinese landscape on futuristic bullet trains. The kids will enjoy meeting the pandas in Chengdu on a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Watch these adorable creatures at play, get to know the super-cute red ones, and learn about important conservation work
Take your family on a memorable adventure through China and see the many sides of this colourful, cultural and naturally beautiful nation. The perfect blending of the familiar and the novel, on this 10-day tour you and your family will marvel at the incredible Great Wall of China and Terracotta Warriors, get lost in the quiet beauty of Yangshuo and be dazzled by the colourful markets and nightlife of the big cities. Boasting some of the grandest urban metropolises and most delicious cuisine in the world, China is an ideal destination for the whole family.
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is a place where ancient history and the modern world collide. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. It’s important that you attend, as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information for each member of your family. If you’re going to be late, please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. After the formalities are out of the way, why not head out to enjoy an optional Peking duck group dinner and get to know each other over the first of many superb Chinese meals.
After breakfast get stuck into the sights with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the largest of its kind in the world and the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Take some time to soak up the immense size of the square and then continue to the maze of buildings that is the Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all that time, the courtyards, great halls and dragon and phoenix imagery give an idea of the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power.
We then venture out to the most iconic place in China - the Great Wall. Travelling by private minivan we head into the countryside to a section of the Great Wall (approximately 3 hours). You'll spend the night in a family run village guesthouse. It's a great chance to sample local produce and tonight you wil try your hand at dumpling making with the family.
This morning in the guesthouse you will learn the local craft of paper cutting. Paper-cutting has been a traditional decorative craft since the Chinese invented paper in AD 105, with designs commonly displayed on windows and doors around the country. It's a fun activity for the entire family. Next up spend time exploring, taking photos and learning the history of the mighty Great Wall of China. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements and an iconic destination. You’ll often feel like you have the whole wall to yourself as you take your time strolling along the wall, which snakes through the hills almost endlessly into the distance. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience.
We then take the three-hour drive back to Beijing by private minivan. This evening, choose whether you would like to join your fellow family travellers for a group dinner. Hungry for more of China’s cultural delights? You may also choose to watch an optional acrobatic performance at the Chaoyang Theatre this evening.
Jump on the bullet train to Xi’an and experience a form of rail travel like no other. While the distance would take around 11 hours to complete on a regular train, you’ll be in Xi’an in just over five hours, with great views of the countryside along the way! Arrive at around 3 pm and head to the hotel to drop off your bags and freshen up before exploring this historic city on a walking tour. Once known as the main eastern terminus of the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an served as the imperial capital of 11 dynasties and holds a wealth of history within its cobbled pavements. The city itself has spread beyond these walls, but the centre still retains the original grid formation, making it easy to navigate. Following your tour, the remainder of the afternoon is free to further explore. When night falls embark on another tour and see a different side of the city. Take in the view of the Bell and Drum Tower lit up against a black sky and sit down to a classic dumpling dinner.
Today you’ll visit the vast, stone-faced army that is the Terracotta Warriors, a militia built to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang over 2000 years ago. Discovered by farmers in 1974, several pits are now open to the public. Make the 1.5-hour drive to the site and spend some time marvelling at the sheer size and detail of this impressive tomb. Head to the attached museum to see some more artefacts and learn a little more about the ambitious, eccentric ruler who remains sealed in his mausoleum surrounded by his soldiers to this day. Qin Shi Huang sought eternal life, and while he may not have achieved it in the literal sense, the fact that his creation remains a source of wonder to visitors from around the world is a kind of immortality.
Wave goodbye to Xi’an and board a bullet train bound for Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Spend about 3.5 hours on the journey, arriving just after midday. Chengdu is most famous for two things – the pandas living in the mountains, and the delicious, spicy food. You'll get to enjoy both while you're here! Spend two-hours on a walking tour with your leader that takes in an Old Town that looks like a film set and the orange Tibetan Quarter, finishing at Tianfu Square, where a giant statue of Chairman Mao stands tall. Then spend a relaxing afternoon in bustling Renmin Park (People's Park), where you can mingle with locals drinking tea, exercising, singing, playing Mahjong or relaxing in bamboo chairs. Don't be surprised if somebody comes up to you with an offer to clean your ears! This evening, head out for a dinner of one of Sichuan’s most beloved dishes – the hot pot! This is the choose your own adventure of cuisine, and the whole family is sure to enjoy selecting which ingredients to add to the simmering broth.
Embrace an early start to spend the morning watching gorgeous giant and red pandas in the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. As pandas are only active for a few hours of the day, it’s important you rise and shine to catch them at their most interesting. China’s national pride, the giant panda is among the world’s most threatened animals, but here you can witness the conservation efforts and see these majestic creatures in a close approximation of their habitat. Spend three hours with these wonderful creatures, watching them play, eat bamboo and climb the trees. If you’re lucky (and visiting between July and September), you might even get to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery. The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you wish. Maybe head to Wide and Narrow Alley, a popular set of alleyways where you can take a stroll and see craftspeople and food stalls aplenty.
Make sure you’ve got books or games ready for a half-day of travel, beginning with a two-hour flight to Guilin, followed by a two-hour transfer to Yangshuo. Located deep within the karst peaks of Guangxi province, Yangshuo is a haven for many visitors, away from the hustle and bustle of ever-developing China; a place where you can stop slow your pace and relax. Get settled into the hotel, which is located among stunning countryside, then pay a visit to the local farmers' market, where you can get a feel for the regional produce and daily life. Make a short drive to Chaolong, a small village where you can put your new knowledge to use and try your hand at cooking Chinese cuisine. This immersive class will allow the whole family to learn the techniques and skills of Chinese cuisine from experienced chefs, and after an afternoon trying out delicious recipes you can eat what you’ve made for dinner! The recipes selected are relatively simple to replicate, and feature ingredients readily available outside of China, so you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back home with your skills.
Rise and shine for a journey into one of China’s most enchanting landscapes. At 8 am you’ll strap on your provided helmet and jump on a hired bike to pedal out of town and through the surrounding countryside, past emerald-green karst mountains and lush fields.
All equipment is provided for the bike ride: all bikes, helmets for both adults and children. The bike ride is from 8am to lunchtime. On the bike ride you will be accompanied with one or two local guides.
You will be transferred back to the hotel after lunch to rest your weary legs!
NOTE: for those not wishing to ride: your leader can assist you to hire a van or taxi to take you along the route to view the rural setting meeting the group at the lunch stop. This will be at your own expense.
Today you’ll make the epic journey from Yangshuo to Hong Kong (leaving at 8am and arriving around 6pm) so it’s important to have books, games and devices at the ready. Even though there are power sockets on the train, it’s also a good idea to have any devices you wish to use fully charged, as they may be in use by other passengers. First, drive 2 hours by private bus to Guilin North train station, where you’ll take the bullet train to Shenzhen North station. From here, you’ll take another bus approximately 2.5 hours across the border to Mong Kok. After a short metro ride (approx. 10 minutes) you will arrive at your hotel in the vibrant hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.
If you have the time (and more importantly, the energy) after arriving and settling in to your hotel, you may wish to end the day with the Symphony of Lights, a spectacular laser show that plays out on the futuristic buildings along Victoria Harbour. The show starts at 8 pm, and it’s free to watch. If a day in transit has you feeling drained however, rest easy knowing you’ve got a full day tomorrow to explore the city.
Dive into Hong Kong after breakfast this morning on a leader-led orientation walk. Under Chinese rule since 1997, Hong Kong is a vibrant and fast paced city only minutes away from quiet islands and beaches. The entire day is yours to spend as you see fit. Hong Kong Island is a great area to explore on foot, with plenty of family friendly hiking trails on offer with varying levels of difficulty. The Peak offers stunning views over the city, and can be reached by several trails or alternatively by tram. Ask your leader for details, but make sure you pack snacks and water if you plan to hike – there are no replenishing stations along the way. A more relaxing way to spend an hour is the Stay Ferry Harbour Tour, which takes you past the city’s landmarks and around the stunning harbour. The Hong Kong Science Museum is perfect for families with young kids, particularly if you’re visiting in rainy season (April to June) and don’t want to risk being caught out. Many of the exhibits are interactive, and entry prices are reasonable. This evening, maybe head out for a final meal with your fellow families and toast to a trip well spent.
It’s time to end this enlightening journey into the heart of China – there are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time following check out.