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Explore China: Shanghai, Luoyang, Xiahe & More

12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,110

MODERATE | SMALL GROUP: Capture the spirit of China on this 12-day group tour from Shanghai to Beijing. Journeying through the country’s north, you’ll admire views of Shanghai’s dazzling skyline, gaze upon ancient Buddhist rock art at the Longmen Grottoes, see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, experience a taste of Tibet, and explore the Great Wall and the Forbidden City in Beijing.

This 12-day Chinese vacation showcases the north and east of China and the cities of Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing. Travelling in a shared tour group, this journey includes moderate accommodations and is perfect for travellers wanting to experience a taste of China. It’s especially fitting for 18 to 30-somethings.

Your trip to China begins in Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial hub. Defined by the glittering skyscrapers of the Pudong district, including Shanghai Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai is China’s city of the future. However, it’s also filled with historical landmarks and remnants of the past. While in Shanghai, you’ll head on a shared walking tour through the historical Bund district to see the art deco buildings and enjoy spectacular views of Pudong from across the water. You’ll continue through the banking district to see the skyscrapers housing China’s financial elite before ending your tour in Yuyuan Gardens, a breathtaking example of classical Chinese gardening. Spend the rest of your time in Shanghai enjoying the bounty of food options and exploring the French Concession area, which transports you to Continental Europe with its French architecture and tree-lined streets.

From Shanghai, ride the bullet train to Luoyang, the ancient capital in Henan province. While mostly an industrial working city, Luoyang is also home to White Horse Temple, founded in the 1st century and one of the first Buddhist temples in the country. You can tour the temple and experience a bit of China’s Buddhist heritage. While in Luoyang, you’ll also connect to the iconic Shaolin Monastery, the home of kung fu. Watch as Shaolin monks put on a kung fu demonstration before wandering along the stunning hillside trails of Pagoda Forest. The next day, head to the Longmen Grottoes, a fascinating complex of caves with thousands of Buddhist carvings dating back almost 1,500 years.

Continue your Chinese vacation to Xi’an, the former imperial capital where you’ll enjoy a dinner in the Muslim Quarter, home to some of the most delectable Chinese cuisine you’ve ever tasted. In Xi’an, you’ll see one of China’s greatest historical treasures: the Terracotta Warriors. Marvel at these ancient statues protecting the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Spend the rest of your time seeing the city’s other historical wonders, including the massive Xi’an City Wall which towers above you in the historical district. Ride the bullet train to Lanzhou and connect to the scenic Tibetan town of Xiahe, where you’ll head on a walking tour and enjoy the high-altitude views of this western town. Connect back to Lanzhou to explore Labrang Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and observe Tibetan monks go about their daily rituals.

The final stop on your journey is Beijing, the Chinese capital and gateway to the Great Wall of China. On your first day in the city, head north to connect to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Stroll along the guard towers built during the Ming Dynasty and enjoy breathtaking views along one of the world’s greatest historical treasures. The next day, explore the Forbidden City, former home to the Chinese emperors, before strolling along massive Tiananmen Square and bidding farewell to your fellow travellers with a feast of Peking duck. Consider staying a few extra days in Beijing to see all of its historical wonders, including the Temple of Heaven, as well as to get a taste of modern China in areas like the 798 Art District. At the end of your journey, head to the airport to connect back home.


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12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,110

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Shanghai

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Settle into your hotel and then get a feel for this vibrant city -- Shanghai's bright lights, fevered trade and frenetic pace provide a glimpse into the dazzling global future of the country. Your evening is free for your first exploration of the city.

Day 2


Today join your leader for a walking tour that will take you to historical Shanghai. At the Bund you can get a taste of 1920s Shanghai; its spectacular array of art deco style buildings, formerly belonging to Western banks, line what was once the most important financial street in Asia. Using the efficient subway, we finish our tour at the Yuyuan Gardens, a classic example of traditional Chinese landscape gardening. This afternoon you might like to explore further afield on foot and wander the narrow winding lanes (nongtangs) of old Shanghai. Take in the European-influenced French Concession, the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today's Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is home to both Xintiandi and Tianzifang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for visitors. The area's tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions still retain an air of the 'Paris of the East'. Join back with your group tonight for an included dinner of Shanghai specialties.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3


Take advantage of free time to delve further into Shanghai's sights and sounds. Perhaps get another taste of the city's eclectic food scene before boarding a westbound bullet train this afternoon. Travel for about 6 hours to Luoyang, arriving in the early evening. Ancient China's prosperous capital for many dynasties, archaeological digs of surrounding countryside have unearthed some fascinating ancient treasures. After settling into your hotel, perhaps venture to the Old Town for dinner with the group.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Shaolin / Luoyang

Today, visit the legendary birthplace of kung fu - the Shaolin Monastery. A private bus journey of around 3 hours will take you to the monastery, which remains the primary source of Shaolin Buddhist training and learning to this day. Learn about the warrior monks of Shaolin and how the martial art has changed over centuries. Watch an athletic kung fu performance and then wander through the Pagoda Forest, where respected monks have been laid to rest in towering tombs since AD791. For lunch enjoy a vegetarian feast at nearby Yongtai Temple where you will sample innovative Buddhist cuisine. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in Luoyang. As night falls, you'll see thousands of colourful lamps light the streets and squares across the city, creating a lovely ambiance.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 5

Longmen / Xi'an

This morning you'll drive to the Longmen Grottoes (approximately 40 mins). These 2100 caves, filled with more than 100,000 statues of Buddha dating back as far as the 4th century, are rare examples of exquisite Buddhist rock carving. Learn more about this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site as you explore some of the masterpieces with a local guide. In the afternoon, take a bullet train from Luoyang to Xi'an (approximately 2 hours), arriving in the early evening. Dine out with the group tonight at the Muslim Quarter for an unexpected spin on Chinese food.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 6


Visit Xi'an's most famous site today, the Terracotta Warriors. You'll travel by bus (approximately 2 hours) to reach the site. Once there, you will hear all about this incredible archaeological find, which happened when farmers were digging a well in 1976. Until then, the site had been buried for thousands of years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on display to the public. Enjoy a local lunch nearby and return to Xi'an for the night.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 7


This morning you'll get another taste of China's efficient bullet trains as you travel about 3 hours west to Lanzhou. From there, transfer to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe (another 3 hours). A place of pilgrimage for many Tibetans, Xiahe is as scenic as it is tranquil. Get acquainted with the town on a short walking tour with your leader. The rest of the day is yours to spend how you please. As Xiahe is located 2800 metres/9185 feet above sea level, it's a good idea to take it easy today so that you can acclimatise to the altitude.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Langzhou / Xiahe

Visit the fascinating Labrang Monastery today where Tibetan monks can be seen going about their daily rituals. Depending on the season, after the monastery we will either head out to Sangke grasslands (June to August), visit the nomadic Tibetans on the grassland and learn about their life over some yak butter tea, or we will visit a Tibetan family in town and enjoy a deliciously home cooked lunch.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 9

Lanzhou to Beijing

Today is largely a travelling day. Travel back to Lanzhou (about 4 hours), from there, catch an afternoon flight to Beijing, arriving in China's capital in the late afternoon. After settling into your hotel, you will have free time to explore - your leader can suggestion optional activities or where to go for a meal.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 10

Beijing / Great Wall

It's time to visit the legendary Great Wall today. Take a private bus to the Mutianyu section (approximately 1.5--2 hours) which features guard towers dating back to the Ming dynasty. You can either walk or catch a cable car up to the wall. On the way back down, you can walk or take a toboggan. The latter is highly recommended.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 11


Today you'll enter the amazing Forbidden City, former home of China's imperial rulers. Discover its many palaces, gardens and courtyards. You will also visit the historic Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest downtown squares. Then head to an area known for its hutongs (narrow streets and alleys) and explore the historic streets. Although Beijing is modernising rapidly (its contemporary culture is a huge source of fascination in itself), there are still some pockets in which to discover the nation's ancient roots. Enjoy a final farewell dinner tonight with the perhaps the most well known of all the capital's dishes - Beijing Duck.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12


Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Staying an extra few days in Beijing is highly recommended, as there is so much to see and do. A trip to the 798 Art District will give you a glimpse of where art is heading in today's China. Another great option is to hire a bike and see the city as so many locals do. Alternatively, the Summer Palace is a simple metro ride away, and this former imperial residence boasts the best-preserved imperial garden in the country.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


2022: Apr 17; May 8, 22; Sep 11. 18; Oct 9, 16


  • Shared arrival airport transfer in Beijing (if arriving on Day 1 or arranging pre-accommodation)
  • 2 nights moderate hotel accommodations in Shanghai
  • 2 nights moderate hotel accommodations in Luoyang
  • 2 nights moderate hotel accommodations in Xian
  • 2 nights moderate hotel accommodations in Xiahe
  • 3 nights moderate hotel accommodations in Beijing
  • Transportation: Plane, private vehicle, high speed train, subway and taxi as per itinerary
  • Activities:
    • Shanghai - Walking tour, Yuyuan Gardens
    • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show, Buddhist vegetarian lunch
    • Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes
    • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors, Home-cooked lunch
    • Xiahe - Labrang Monastery, Tibetan family visit & lunch
    • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall, Hutong Walking Tour, Forbidden City, Beijing duck dinner


  • Meals not mentioned
  • Drinks unless specified
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa fees if required
  • All international and domestic airfares and airfare taxes unless specified


Occasionally these itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and research. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so being flexible is key. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

16 Oct 2022
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