Menu
Trip Search
Loading results
Loading your trip
China Explorer
China - Trip code QCE Discovery
Days 9
Deposit From £140
Was From £1440
Now from £1399
Flights inclusive
i

Why book this trip?

Experience the 'real China' as we travel across the country with locals on public transport. Discover China's greatest sights including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Terracotta Warriors. Staying in traditional village houses, we explore rice terraces, uncover dramatic limestone landscapes and visit welcoming tribal families. We also cruise down the Yangtse River and visit endangered Giant Pandas.

    • Included meals

    • Trip staff

      Explore Tour Leader

      Driver(s)

      Local Guide(s)

    • Transport

      Bus

      Train

    • i

      Accommodation

      6 nights simple hotel

      2 nights simple overnight train

    • i

      Trip pace:

      Full on

    • i

      Group Size:

      8 - 14

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Join tour Beijing

    Arrive in Beijing and check-in to the hotel.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Discover the sights of Beijing; including the Forbidden City

    Beijing is the political and cultural centre of this vast country. Today you will have free time where you can chose to do a number of things. You may wish to wander across Tienanmen Square into the iconic Forbidden City, the one-time home of the Ming and the Manchu (Qing) emperors and the largest and best preserved collection of ancient buildings in the whole of China. Alternatively you could visit the Temple of Heaven or just walk through the Houtongs in the area.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 3 - Walk the Great Wall before catching a sleeper train to Xian

    It's a busy day today as we drive out of the city to Mutianyu to visit the Great Wall. Its construction commenced in the 3rd century BC by Shi Huangdi, thousands of conscripted workers laboured on it and many lie buried in its brick and stone ramparts. Returning to Beijing we are scheduled to leave the city this evening on the sleeper train. The main railway station is a hive of activity.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Overnight Train

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 4 - In Xian; Visit the Old Ming Dynasty City Wall

    We arrive in Xian in time for breakfast. We make the short journey from the train station on foot. Our stay in Xian reveals the extraordinary continuity of Chinese civilisation. Xian (Changan) served 11 dynasties and was the very starting point of the Silk Road between Central Asia and Europe. Its ancient monuments include the Great Mosque, a wonderful 15th century working mosque within the old muslim Hui District. There is also the option to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a 7-storey high structure with a superb overview of the city.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 5 - Explore the Terracotta Army; overnight train to Suzhou

    Today we take the public bus and visit one of the highlights of any visit to China - the magnificent Terracotta Warriors and Horses who guard the Qin Shi Huangdi Tomb. There are literally thousands of lifesize warriors, dating from 200BC. This dramatic find of the 1970s is considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century. We should have time to stop at the on-site factory to see how the warriors are made today. In the early evening we take the overnight sleeper train to Suzhou.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Overnight Train

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 6 - Optional boat ride along Suzhou's canal's

    Suzhou sits astride the Grand Canal which was completed in 610AD and linking the Yellow River with the Yangtse, and Beijing with Hangzhou, the 1,800 km Grand Canal was a magnificent engineering feat. Over the centuries it has transported food north from the fertile lands in the south. Over 2,500 years old, Suzhou is sometimes called the 'Venice of the Orient' with a series of bridges, canals and ancient buildings. But a little of Suzhou's special magic lies in its famous gardens, perhaps the most beautiful in all China. This afternoon we have time to explore this lovely old town with the option to take boat ride on the pretty canals or visit to the large 'Humble Administrator's Garden' which has streams, ponds and beautifully decorated pavilions scattered throughout. Here water reflects land and provides a fresh tableau at every turn.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 7 - Enjoy the beautiful garden in Suzhou; bullet train to Shanghai

    We continue our exploration of the town. There is time to make an optional visit to the 'Lingering Garden' which features a man-made mountain and lake, garden courts and elegant buildings, a real contrast to the garden from yesterday. Early afternoon we catch the train to Shanghai. Shanghai is one of Asia's most vibrant and dynamic cities. It began as a fishing village in the 11th century, but after the end of the first opium war and of the five newly opened treaty ports Shanghai soon became the most cosmopolitan city, with Asian, Russian, European and Jewish influences. Here were cabarets and ballrooms, fine shops and satirical newspapers, and with such style and influence Shanghai was dubbed the \ Paris of the Orient\ . Today its elegant past is still noticeable as you walk down 'the Bund\ .

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 8 - Optional visit to the Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower

    Time in Shanghai is left free for your own exploration. You may wish to visit the 16th century Yu Yuan Gardens or stroll along the Bund.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 9 - Tour ends in Shanghai

    Our tour ends this morning.

    Meals Provided: None

    Trip information

    Country information

    China

    Climate

    China has primarily a temperate climate, with a wide spectrum of extremes due to its huge area. Summer months are hot and rainy though in the south the climate is tropical and we can experience rain at any time of the year, often falling in sharp tropical rain-storms which are heavy but short lived. Winter is colder and drier, temperatures in Beijing can be as low as -12c.

    Time difference to GMT

    +8

    Plugs

    3 Pin Flat

    Religion

    Mainly Buddhist

    Language

    Mandarin

    Budgeting and packing

    Optional activities

    The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


    Beijing Forbidden City - £6 entrance fee
    Hutong Tour £16
    Temple of Heaven £3.50
    Cable car at Mutianyu £10
    Xian Shaanxi National Museum, entrance free of charge, City wall by bike £10, Cultural performance & dumpling banquet £30
    Suzhou Administrators Garden £9, canal boat trip £10-£12
    Shanghai Acrobatic performance £28. Cruise on Huangpi River, £10 Museum £5

    Clothing

    Lightweight raingear is required all year round. For winter departures warm sweaters, gloves, scarf, hat, warm coat, thermal underwear will be required.

    Footwear

    Comfortable shoes and sandals.

    Luggage

    20kg

    Luggage: On tour

    One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.

    Please note that luggage space on the sleeper trains is limited. Bags are stored either under the bottom bunk or in an overhead section at the end of each berth. Soft bags are more suitable for train travel in China. You will need to carry your own luggage at train stations so please bear this in mind when packing.

    Equipment

    You will need a good insect repellent, suncream, sunglasses, sun hat a small torch and a personal water bottle.

    Tipping

    Explore leader
    At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
    Local crew
    Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly you should allow approx. £25 for gratuities for local staff.

    China

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Lunch price
    £5
    Dinner price
    £6.00 - 10.00
    Beer price
    £2
    Water price
    £1.5
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Renminbi/Yuan
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Either EUR, USD or GBP.
    Where To Exchange
    In all towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival. When changing money ask for a receipt so you can change Yuan back into your own currency when leaving China.
    ATM Availability
    All major towns.
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Most major restaurants and stores.
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers cheques can be changed in Hong Kong and at the Bank of China in all major cities but only during bank opening hours. Please note this is very time consuming and is not recommended.
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Bus, Train

    Accommodation notes

    During the tour we spend two nights on overnight sleeper trains. These are a great way of travelling between cities without losing precious time in the day for exploring with the added bonus that we will get to meet locals as we travel.

    We use cabins with six bunk beds, three on either side. There are curtains at the end of the cabin for privacy. There is space in each cabin for bags, under the bottom bunk. We suggest a soft duffle style bag or a rucksack as they offer more flexibility than a suitcase.There are toilets in each train carriage, usually Asian style squat toilets although some trains do now have a western style toilet as well. We are likely to be sharing our cabins with non Explore travellers giving us plenty of time to learn about local life during the journey.

    The majoritiy of hotels in China offer check in from 12noon. On days where we will arrive on a sleeper train the Tour Leader will try and arrange an early check in for the group, however this may not be possible.

    Please be aware that the beds in China are often quite firm and may take a few nights for you to get used to.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information

    China: A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travelling.

    From 1st November 2018, British Passport Holders will be required to present themselves in person at the Chinese Visa Processing Centre in London, Manchester, Edinburgh or Belfast on the day of application, to provide biometric information (fingerprints). Appointments can be booked and forms completed via www.visaforchina.org

    In order to apply for your Chinese visa you will need to submit supporting documents from our local supplier confirming your itinerary and travel arrangements, which we will obtain on your behalf. So that we can provide this for you, and to ensure all local arrangements are in place, we require a copy of your passport no later than 8 weeks before you are due to start your trip. Once we have your passport copy we shall process and pass on the documents you require 6-8 weeks before your trip, please be mindful of this when applying for your visa. If you require the supporting documents earlier than this, please contact Explore so we can arrange this.

    Passengers wishing to extend their stay in China should be aware that current visa regulations only allow foreigners to stay in the country for up to 30 days. Please consider this when planning your trip.

    You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    China

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, infectious hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Travellers may wish to take immunisation against Japanese Encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Additional Information

    Why book this trip

    This short tour is a great insight into China and explores the main highlights. It is ideal for travellers who are interested in culture as well as experiencing the busy cities including Beijing and Shanghai. You have the chance to stay on two overnight trains and really experience the China lifestyle.

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Sat 6 Apr 2019 - Sun 14 Apr 2019
    QCE_2019
    Price from £870
    Save was
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 25 May 2019 - Sun 2 Jun 2019
    QCE_2019
    Price from £870
    Save was
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 14 Sep 2019 - Sun 22 Sep 2019 Guaranteed departure
    QCE_2019
    Price from £870
    Save was
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 2 Nov 2019 - Sun 10 Nov 2019
    QCE_2019
    Price from £870
    Save was
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 5 Apr 2019 - Sun 14 Apr 2019
    QCE_2019
    Price from £1475
    Save £224 was £1699
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 24 May 2019 - Sun 2 Jun 2019
    QCE_2019
    Price from £1399
    Save £41 was £1440
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 13 Sep 2019 - Sun 22 Sep 2019 Guaranteed departure
    QCE_2019
    Price from £1550
    Save £25 was £1575
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 1 Nov 2019 - Sun 10 Nov 2019
    QCE_2019
    Price from £1439
    Save £246 was £1685
    Single room option +£120
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Beijing
    Time and place
    17:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Shanghai
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Award Winning Explore Leaders
    Find out more
    Price Guarantee Promise
    Find out more
    Airport Transfers
    Find out more
    Back to top

    This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

    Got it!