Explore China
from $4500
Duration: 12 Days
Capture the spirit of China on this 12-day tour from Shanghai to Beijing. From fast-paced modern cities to the well-preserved remnants of a long and storied history, this adventure reveals the many sides of one of the world’s great cradles of civilisation. We think it’s important to contrast the big and the bold with quiet moments and real connections. That’s why our tour of the Terracotta Warriors finishes with lunch at a local family home, and why we spend a few days in the Tibetan Buddhist town of Xiahe before tackling boisterous Beijing. Whether you’re scaling the Great Wall or sharing crispy Beijing (Peking) duck with your fellow travellers, this tour is packed with unforgettable moments.
  • Explore the Longmen Grottoes and wonder at the thousands of Buddha statues carved directly from the limestone cliffs, including the 17-metre-high Vairocana.
  • Take a spectacular hike along the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and see towers that date back to the Ming dynasty about 600 years ago.
  • Fall in love with Chinese food during a vegetarian feast at a Buddhist temple, a home-cooked lunch with a family in rural Xi’an, a Beijing (Peking) duck dinner, and more.
  • Check out the mind-blowing Terracotta Army, then head to a local’s house for lunch and some insight into how life has changed since farmers discovered the vast mausoleum.
  • Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture with a two-day stay in Xiahe, an autonomous Tibetan region with a deeply ingrained Buddhist tradition centred around the legendary Labrang Monastery, without having to apply for a permit for Tibet.
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Shanghai - Leader-led walking tour
  • Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens
  • Shaolin - Temple, Pagoda Forest & Kung Fu show (entrace fee and transport included, leader-led)
  • Shaolin - Buddhist vegetarian lunch
  • Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes (entrance fee, transport included)
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour (entrace fee, transport, local guide included)
  • Xi'an - Home-cooked lunch
  • Xiahe - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Xiahe - Labrang Monastery (entrance fee, local guide)
  • Xiahe - Tibetan family visit & lunch
  • Xiahe - Sangke Grassland (transport included)
  • Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall (entransce fee, transfer included)
  • Beijing - Leader-led Hutong walking tour
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Beijing duck dinner
  • Day 1 Location: Shanghai
    Nimen Hao! Welcome to Shanghai. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive with time to spare, maybe head to the newest crown jewel of Shanghai skyscrapers - Shanghai Tower, for a birdview of the city, or visit the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center or Shanghai Urban Exhibition Hall (both closed on Monday) for different tastes of the city's past and future. Your evening is free after the welcome meeting but consider heading out with your group afterwards for a dinner on your leader’s recommendation.
    Day 2 Location: Shanghai
    Today join your leader for a walking tour to historical Shanghai. Get a taste of 1920s Shanghai at the Bund, a spectacular array of art-deco style buildings lining what was once the most important financial street in Asia. Using the efficient subway, continue to Yuyuan Gardens, a classic example of traditional Chinese landscape gardening. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your own pace. Maybe hit Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is home to both Xintiandi and Tianzifang, the popular shopping and dining spots for visitors, plus 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 local specialties.
    Day 3 Location: Luoyang
    Take advantage of free time in the morning 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 around midday. Travel for about 6 hours to Luoyang, arriving in the early evening. Ancient China’s prosperous capital for many dynasties, archaeological digs of the surrounding countryside have unearthed some fascinating ancient treasures. After settling into your hotel, perhaps venture to the Old Town for dinner with the group.
    Day 4 Location: Shaolin – Luoyang
    Today, travel to the legendary birthplace of kung fu – the Shaolin Monastery (approximately 3 hours). The monastery remains the primary source of Shaolin Buddhist training to this day. Learn about the warrior monks of Shaolin and how the martial art has changed over the 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. Head back to Luoyang after lunch in the afternoon and enjoy a free 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.
    Day 5 Location: 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 fourth 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. Xi'an, capital for 13 dynasties and kingdoms over the last 2500 years, is not only rich in ancient history but also full of life. Muslim quarter is a local favorite for great food experiences. Join your leader for a sizzling local dinner here in the evening. In your free time, don't miss out on a bike ride on the ancient city wall, or a visit to the Big Wild Goose pagoda
    Day 6 Location: Xi'an
    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 was uncovered by farmers 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 in the afternoon.
    Day 7 Location: Xiahe
    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.
    Day 8 Location: Xiahe
    Visit the fascinating Labrang Monastery today and see Tibetan monks going about their daily rituals. The rest of the day will change depending on the season. From June to August, the group will head to the Sangke grasslands to visit nomadic Tibetans to learn about their life over some yak butter tea. If you’re travelling during the other months of the year, pay a visit to a Tibetan family in town and enjoy a deliciously home-cooked lunch. The evening is free for you to do as you please.
    Day 9 Location: Lanzhou – Beijing
    Today is largely made up of travel. Head back to Lanzhou (about 4 hours), then catch an afternoon flight to Beijing, arriving in China’s capital in the late afternoon. After settling into your hotel, you will have the rest of the day free to explore bustling Beijing. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can choose to visit one of the many historical sites in the city or check out one of the shows that are on in the evening. Your leader is a wealth of suggestions for optional activities and places to eat, to be sure to ask them for advice.
    Day 10 Location: Beijing
    Today, explore the legendary Great Wall. Take a private bus to the Mutianyu section of the wall. (approximately 1.5–2 hours). Spend some time exploring the wall, including guard towers that date back to the Ming dynasty-era. You can either walk to the wall or take a cable car (at your own expense). When returning, you can walk, take a cable car or take a toboggan ride. The latter is highly recommended!
    Day 11 Location: Beijing
    Today visit Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest downtown squares then you’llenter the Forbidden City, former home of China’s imperial rulers. Discover its many palaces, gardens, and courtyards. 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 classic dinner tonight with the perhaps the most well known of all the capital's dishes – Beijing (or Peking) Duck.
    Day 12 Location: Beijing
    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. Check out our Urban Adventure day tours for some ideas at urbanadventures.com/destination/Beijing-tours.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    17APR2022
    Return Date:
    28APR2022
    4500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08MAY2022
    Return Date:
    19MAY2022
    4675NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    22MAY2022
    Return Date:
    02JUN2022
    4500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    11SEP2022
    Return Date:
    22SEP2022
    4500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18SEP2022
    Return Date:
    29SEP2022
    4675NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09OCT2022
    Return Date:
    20OCT2022
    4675NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16OCT2022
    Return Date:
    27OCT2022
    4500NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Explore China

    Trip code

    CBKS

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Capture the spirit of China on this 12-day tour from Shanghai to Beijing. From fast-paced modern cities to the well-preserved remnants of a long and storied history, this adventure reveals the many sides of one of the world’s great cradles of civilisation. We think it’s important to contrast the big and the bold with quiet moments and real connections. That’s why our tour of the Terracotta Warriors finishes with lunch at a local family home, and why we spend a few days in the Tibetan Buddhist town of Xiahe before tackling boisterous Beijing. Whether you’re scaling the Great Wall or sharing crispy Beijing (Peking) duck with your fellow travellers, this tour is packed with unforgettable moments.

    Style

    Comfort

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Plane,Private vehicle,High Speed Train,Subway,Taxi

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including moving about busy public transport hubs, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes. Good general fitness and mobility plays a big part in making your trip more enjoyable. In some locations it may be possible to hire porters at extra expense paid locally. Please ask your trip leader for help to arrange this if possible but be prepared to manage your own luggage.

    Joining point

    Shanghai Kingtown Hotel Plaza 上海广场嘉廷酒店

    No.126 Xinzha Road Huangpu, 200003

    Shanghai

    CHINA

    Phone: +862 161371111

    Joining point description

    Kingtown Hotel Plaza Shanghai is located in Shanghai’s business, entertainment and shopping area. A 2-minute walk from Xinzha Road Subway Station Line 1, it offers free parking and rooms with free internet. Kingtown Hotel Plaza Shanghai is a short 500 m from People’s Square, the Shanghai Museum and Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street. Guestrooms at Kingtown offer a stylish interior with modern furnishings. Each well-appointed room is equipped with a minibar, a work desk and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.

    Joining point instructions

    An arrival transfer from the airport/train station is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight/train arrival details no later than 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer with us, our local operator will have sent a driver to the airport who will be holding a sign with the Intrepid logo and your name on it. If there's any issue with meeting your transfer driver, then you can call Mr. Ma Hong Yu at +86 13806208148 from the information center in the airport. Pudong Airport: If you choose to travel to the joining point by public transport please take the Maglev train which costs approximately CNY50, then take the subway from Long Yang Road station Line 7 to Xin Zha Road station Line 1 (CNY4). The Airport is 45km from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, approx 200CNY by taxi. Hongqiao Airport: If you are landing at Hongqiao international airport, please take the subway from Hong Qiao station Line 10 to Xin Zha Road Line 1. It is 19km from Hongqiao international Airport to hotel, a taxi would cost CNY 90.

    Finish point

    Beijing Dongfang Hotel 北京东方饭店

    11 Wanming Road 地址:北京市西城区万明路11号

    Xuanwu District

    Beijing

    100050

    CHINA

    Phone: +86 1063014466

    Finish point description

    Located in the south to the center of Beijing, Dong fang hotel has a history of almost 100 years with a themed decoration of China in the 1920s. It’s close to the southern city hutong area and is not far from Tian’anmen square and Forbidden City. All rooms are equipped with en-suite bathrooms, TV, A/C, fridge, safety box, and internet cable. For more information, please go to http://www.bjdongfanghotel.com.cn/en/Default.shtml

    Finish point instructions

    Beijing Capital International airport is located north-east of Beijing, 25 km from the city centre. One of the biggest airports in the world, it is relatively easy to navigate and many signs are written in English. Most international flights take off from Terminal 3. For more information about Beijing Capital Airport, please go to http://en.bcia.com.cn/ A departure transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your departure flight details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. If you plan to make your own way to the airport: Your tour leader can advise you when is the best time to leave for your flight depending on local traffic condition. It is suggested to leave from your hotel at least 3 hours before your flight time. Taxi is the easiest way to go to the airport. It should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour to Beijing Capital Airport at about CNY120 under normal condition. Alternatively, you can take metro or taxi to Dongzhimen airport express station, which should cost around CNY30 (taxi). Then take the airport express from Dongzhimen (CNY25, service time: 06:00 – 22:30) to Beijing Capital Airport.

    Important information

    1.A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 2. A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport is required no later than 40 days before departure in order for us to purchase your train and flight tickets. 3. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres (9200 feet) where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude – regardless of your age, gender, and fitness. If you have concerns, discuss this with your doctor before leaving.  4. Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites like google, facebook, instagram etc. You can consider getting a VPN for access to these websites before leaving if necessary. 5. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    CHINA China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safety concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, electronic devices, mobile phones, purses, and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, airports, train stations, major international events and conferences, and popular bar areas after dark. There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint. Counterfeit banknotes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine banknotes for counterfeits. A common scam when paying a taxi fare with an RMB100 note occurs when the taxi driver swaps the note for a fake note, and returns the fake note to the passenger, refusing to accept it for payment as it’s counterfeit. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so. Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop, or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    Communications

    Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites. It’s important to let your family and friends know that you might not be able to stay in touch over your usual methods, be it – social media or email. The Chinese Government restrict certain websites such as Google, Dropbox, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WordPress. It may be possible to still access some of these websites using a VPN. If you wish to stay in touch with your friends and family through the above blocked sites, we suggest you research installing a suitable VPN on your device prior to travel.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. CHINA: Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong if you have time there before joining your trip. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for this trip valid for 30 days. Please make sure if you have a transit anywhere in China before arriving at your destination that you check with your airline to see if the transit will require using your visa. INFORMATION & DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE VISA APPLICATION: You will be provided with a Hotel List and Letter of Invitation to assist you in applying for your visa. These are the primary documents you should use to apply for your visa as they are issued by our local office in China. Name of Host/Inviting Organisation: Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd. 606 InterChina Commercial Building 33 Dengshikou Street Dongcheng District Beijing 100006 +86 10 6406 8022 * Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at the time of booking. If you do not receive this, email us with your booking number and trip details. * Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided from us together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the consulate or not and will assist with your application. * Itinerary – print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website www.intrepidtravel.com and include it with your application, marking the dates you will visit each destination if required (exception - Tibet tours) * Photocopy of your passport * Passport size photos (up to 4 may be required) * Check with the consulate for any other specific requirements * Please note that if you are not applying for a Chinese visa from your passport country, you may be required to submit further documents, ie. employment letter, immigration card, etc. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for specific requirements. TIBET: You will be given a specific itinerary to use if booking a Tibet trip. A permit to enter into Tibet must be applied prior to arrival through authorized agencies in Tibet. Please check out trip specific China visa and Tibet permit processes. Tibetan area outside Tibet visited on trips will not require a permit, but this could change without notice and we'll endeavor to advise and make alternative plans as soon as possible if this changes. HONG KONG: Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements for Hong Kong. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS: Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking or at least 40 days prior to travel: *Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip in case it is also requested.

    Why we love it

    Explore the Longmen Grottoes and wonder at the thousands of Buddha statues carved directly from the limestone cliffs, including the 17-metre-high Vairocana.

    Take a spectacular hike along the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and see towers that date back to the Ming dynasty about 600 years ago.

    Fall in love with Chinese food during a vegetarian feast at a Buddhist temple, a home-cooked lunch with a family in rural Xi’an, a Beijing (Peking) duck dinner, and more.

    Check out the mind-blowing Terracotta Army, then head to a local’s house for lunch and some insight into how life has changed since farmers discovered the vast mausoleum.

    Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture with a two-day stay in Xiahe, an autonomous Tibetan region with a deeply ingrained Buddhist tradition centred around the legendary Labrang Monastery, without having to apply for a permit for Tibet.

    Is this trip right for you

    The best way to experience a place is by doing as the locals do – and in this case that means using public transport such as trams, buses or metro at some locations. It’s better for the environment and you’ll get an authentic look at daily life, just be aware you may find yourself sharing a busy bus ride with local commuters (for example). Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious, but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face-to-face with the country and its people. This trip travels to altitudes of up to 3100 metres above sea level and as a result, some travellers can feel the effects of altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. In order to see as much as possible, this tour includes some long journeys. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates. You'll need a reasonable level of fitness for the Great Wall walk. Shoes with good support and grip are essential. There are many steps and slopes on the way, so be prepared for a tough climb in sections. You are free to walk as far as you want, and it is possible to reach the section we visit via cable car.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 AIR POLLUTION: Air pollution is a recognized issue for travelers in China, particularly in Beijing where the geographical location of the city exacerbates its effects. We provide travellers with certified PM (particulate matter) face masks as an option to be worn as protection during times of high levels of pollution. On days when outdoor activities are not recommended due to high pollution levels, your leader may alter some activities for the health and safety of our travellers and leaders. The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these types of medical conditions. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities in China on the following website: http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/ WARNING - HIGH ALTITUDE TRIPS (sleeping between 3000m - 3500m): This trip includes one or more overnight stays above 3000 metres/9850ft, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. Our itineraries are designed allow most people to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected by AMS. A number of medical conditions or medications can reduce your body's ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking.

    Food and dietary requirements

    FOOD IN CHINA: What IS authentic Chinese food like? Check out these articles to get a taste: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-trip-blog/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-stereotypes/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-guide-to-traditional-chinese-street-food/ VEGETARIANS & VEGANS: Vegetarians in China certainly won't go hungry as there are always plenty of meat-free options on menus including vegetable, tofu, and egg dishes. Your leader can advise on some local favourites. Dairy is uncommon in Chinese cooking, although in some regions like Tibet, Xinjiang, and Yunnan you will find milk products as part of the local cuisine. Vegans should also have few problems finding tasty meals in most locations. Nearly all cities will have vegetarian restaurants, often near to temples or monasteries that specialise in Buddhist cuisine. Check out this blog for a guide to eating vegetarian in Beijing: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-vegetarians-guide-to-beijing/ DIETARY NEEDS: Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets. Please note that some dietary requirements, such as Gluten-Free, will be uncommon in China and you may need to explain to your leader what you can and can't eat as well as research common dishes before you travel. ALLERGIES: For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic and research suitable local foods before travelling.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. CHINA The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao). ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit/debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and look for ATMs with your card logo. You may find that your card does not work in certain ATMs, so we recommend purchasing some CNY in your home country so you have some cash for your first day. Credit cards are mostly acceptable in bigger cities and establishments while in small towns, they may not work. You can check with your leader about access to cash or paying with credit cards when moving onto new destinations to be prepared. Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however, please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt. Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change leftover CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. Essential: - Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites. - Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential. - Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, flight tickets and trip notes. Photocopies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. - small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice. - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt - Sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Recommended: - Refillable water bottle (1.5-litre capacity suggested): The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug - Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and a small towel - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Torch or flashlight esp. for stay at local guesthouses or homestays Optional: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low. - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Earplugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. Other things to consider: - Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

    Climate and seasonal

    CHINESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS: Please note that China's national holidays are the peak travel season for Chinese nationals. During this time, literally the whole country is on the move - that's over a billion people. Although these are fascinating and exciting times to travel in China, please be aware your group will almost definitely experience transport delays and massive crowds at tourist attractions and train stations. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train or flight tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic chaotic and changes to the itinerary are often necessary as a result. If clockwork organisation is important to you we advise you book outside of the weeks of the extended Chinese New Year in January/February, in the first week of May and the first week of October. If you decide to travel during this period please come with an open mind and be prepared for changes on the ground. Here are the major holiday periods in China: Chinese New Year: Feb 11-17 2021, Jan 31- Feb 6 2022 Qingming Festival: Apr 3-5 2021, Apr 3-5 2022 Labour Day Holiday: Apr 30- May 2 2021/2022 Dragon Boat Festival: Jun 12-14 2021, Jun 3-5 2022 Mid-Autumn Day: Sep 19-21 2021, Sep 9-11 2022 National Day: Oct 1-7 2021, Oct 1-8 2022

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid’s Local Operator: +861064067328

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel LOCAL CUSTOMS: It's always a good idea to learn something about local customs before you travel, and visiting China is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences during your trip, but here are some tips to get you started: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-etiquette-guide/ LOCAL DRESS: As with everywhere we travel, we strongly recommend wearing modest clothing in China (ie. covering shoulders and wearing shorts or skirts to the knee) both for your own comfort, and to respect that standards may be more conservative than in your home country, especially outside of major cities.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available. HOTEL ROOMS: Some travellers have reported that hotels/accommodation in this region tend to have harder bed mattresses than those they are used to at home. You may like to request an extra quilt or bedding from the hotels if you find this an issue. SMOKING ROOMS: Smoking is prevalent in China and hotels generally do not offer specific non-smoking rooms. Larger hotels with central air conditioning will sometimes transport the smell of smoke between rooms. While we ask our hotels to ensure our rooms are well cleaned and ventilated well before occupation in some cases this is not possible, and the smell of smoke may linger. Please speak to your leader about the possibility of changing rooms if you encounter this. WIFI: WiFi is often available in hotel reception areas and sometimes in rooms. Your leader will be able to advise on the best places to get connected.

    Transport notes

    CHINA TRAIN TRAVEL SECURITY When travelling by train in China you will need to pass through security checkpoints similar to those at airports. Please be aware that items that may be classified as ‘weapons’ might be confiscated (even from your suitcase), as all luggage travels in the compartment with you. We recommend leaving items that fall into this category (eg. pocket knives or scissors) at home.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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