China Highlights with Kung Fu Lesson and the Pandas
13 Days / 12 Nights
Beijing - Luoyang - Xian - Chengdu - Guilin - Yangshuo - Shanghai
Visit the most important sights of China flavoured with some exciting experiences such as trekking on the Great Wall,
a Kung Fu lesson in Luoyang, calligraphy lesson in Xian, the Panda Reserve in Chengdu,
and bamboo rafting on the Yulong river.
Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.
Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience China with Seven Senses.
Day 1. Arrive Beijing (-/-/D)
Our guide will meet you at the airport, and escort you to your hotel. A Beijing duck welcome dinner awaits you at an upscale courtyard restaurant where you will savor your first taste of authentic Chinese food.
Day 2. Beijing (B/L/D)
Visit: After breakfast, you will trace the theme of the Forbidden throughout Beijing, a city well known for its rich culture and historical heritage. Our guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and you will start to explore the historical city of Beijing. First stop is Tian’anmen Square, the largest public square in the world. Walk through the square and visit today’s highlight: the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world.
Experience: In the afternoon, Hutong tour by Rickshaw. The Beijing Hutongs (old lanes) have a very special place in the rich history and culture of Beijing. The alleys give a wonderful glimpse into yesterday’s world, the old way of life and traditional Beijing culture, and highlight the dramatic changes the rest of Beijing has undergone.
Night show: Golden Mask.
Day 3. Great Wall Hike (B/L/D)
Experience: We will leave for the Great Wall at 8am, avoiding the crowds at the oft-tourist Badaling and Mutianyu, bound instead for a less visited and more remote section ranging from Simatai West to Jinshanling, a two and a half hour drive from the city. As you traverse this winding route, you will see sections of the wall restored to its initial splendour, and ruins that have crumbled from the original, true to the passage of time. For those of average or better fitness, your six-kilometer trek will start by a 40-minute ascent of modern concrete steps that lead up to the Wall, followed by two hours of walking on the Wall. Be prepared for uneven terrain, as some of the steps are huge and steep; it is the way the Wall tumbles and soars over the crests of the hills that gives it the beauty that will astound you. You can pause to take in the splendor at your own pace, or use an additional 30 minutes to meander a bit further, before enjoying an authentic countryside lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant just 20 minutes off the Wall. You will receive a certificate celebrating your hiking accomplishment of the Great Wall of China. For those who are concerned about finishing the whole hiking route, the driver can take you directly to the restored end at Jinshanling, where you can wander around at leisure.
Day 4. Beijing - Luoyang (B/L/D)
In the morning you are free to explore the city and have lunch on your own before we leave at 13:00 to take the bullet train to Luoyang via China’s world-class high speed train network.
The four and a half hours spent on the train will not only be more convenient and comfortable than flying, but will also allow you to see the landscape through your window. Our local guide will meet you at the train in Luoyang and take you downtown to your hotel. The evening is yours to explore the surrounding area.
Day 5. Kung Fu Lesson (B/L/D)
The Shaolin Temple is the cradle of Chinese Kung fu or martial arts, as well as the seat of Zen Buddhism. Originally the temple was built in 495 AD by Emperor Xiaowei, to welcome the Indian monk Batou. After Batou, another Indian monk Damo (Bodhidharma) came here and meditated for 9 years in a cave, and he wrote the books "Bone Marrow & Muscle Tendon Cleansing". The monks in the Shaolin temple were too weak to perform long hours of meditation, so this book was to help them exercise and keep their body fit for long hours of meditation. The monk Huiko learnt these techniques from Damo. All these exercises of keeping the body fit for meditation, and improving the Qi by practicing Qigong have later been developed into martial arts.
Experience: We will visit the temple firstly and then start a 2-hour Kung fu lesson hosted by a monk from the temple. You will develop your fitness and skills in this short but entertaining class, learn meditation from them afterwards
and try the vegetarian lunch in the temple.
Visit: In the afternoon we will visit Pagoda Forest, the cemetery of monk masters since the temple’s establishment. If you’re still energetic and adventurous, we will climb up the top of the nearby mountain and see the actual cave where Damo meditated for 9 years before coming down the mountain and founding Zen Buddhism. A little further up is a peak with a huge statue of Damo and peaceful lookout without the crowds. It is about an hour and a half's journey up and down. We will drive back to Luoyang.
Day 6. Luoyang - Xian (B/L/D)
Visit: Today we explore the Longmen Grottoes, one of the finest example of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, it is a wonderful religious and artistic creation. Built from 493 AD for more than 400 years, the site has more than 100,000 statues of Buddha in 1,400 caves, ranging from 1 inch (25 mm) to 57 feet (17 m) in height. The series of carved and natural caves to celebrate early Buddhism are inspiring mostly due to the sheer size and the amount of work that went into creating these monuments. The caves are located on both sides of the Yi river though the West Hill is the most outstanding. Don’t miss crossing the bridge and you will be rewarded by a panoramic view of this cultural heritage.
We will catch a speed train heading to Xian after lunch. Our local guide will meet you at the train in Xian and take you to your hotel. The evening is yours to roam the surrounding area.
Evening: Tang Dynasty Show with Dumpling Bouquet.
Day 7. Xian (B/L/D)
Visit: The root of Chinese civilization, Xian, was the nation’s capital city through 13 dynasties, four of which played important roles in Chinese history: the Zhou, the Qin, the Han and the Tang. Xian is home to one of the most renowned 20th-century archaeological discoveries, the Terracotta Warriors. To avoid the crowds, we will leave at 7:30am to take in the battalion of more than 6,000 pottery soldiers. Accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974, there are now three pits opened to the public, while excavation continues in other pits. You will have an opportunity to take photos from your VIP perch above where the first shard of the warriors was unearthed.
Experience: In the afternoon, you will visit the Tang Bo Art Museum where you see come fine examples of Chinese art. Here we will try our hand at Chinese calligraphy, the art of the brush having been widely used in ancient China for over 2000 years. We will learn some basic skills and can even try to write our Chinese name with the brush and ink in this one and a half hour lesson. After leaving the Museum we will walk to the nearby Muslim Quarter, set up by Arabic traders who settled there in the Tang Dynasty. Today there are still over 60,000 practicing Muslims in this quarter. While they have kept their religious beliefs and practices intact, they speak the same dialect as the local Han Chinese, and the Great Mosque combines Arabic and Chinese architecture styles. The Muslim Quarter will be a great place to hunt for
souvenirs, and try the local Muslim snacks and food.
Day 8. Xian - Chengdu (B/L/D)
Visit: Xian features the best-preserved City Wall in China. Originally built during the Ming Dynasty, this 600-year old city defense project is flat and broad (5-8 meters wide). You will have a chance to ride a bike along the top of the wall. The 1.5 hour ride of 13 km along the perimeter will offer a contrasted view along the two sides of the Wall, with a few old houses huddled inside and many modern buildings outside. Afterwards we will fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Located in southwestern China, Sichuan is known for its hot spicy dishes,
considered to be the best regional cuisine.
Experience: In the evening we will take you to Haidilao, the most popular hotpot restaurant in China, a meal that you can customize to your liking by selecting from a smorgasbord of lamb, beef, fish, and vegetables for boiling in a broth of your choice (“plain” or spicy if you’re brave enough). You can practice your chopstick skills as you lift your dinner from the steaming pot, and will also be treated to a noodle-stretching performance.
You will need to prepare by coming hungry and ready for fun.
Day 9. Pandas in Chengdu - Guilin (B/L/D)
Visit: We will visit the Panda Breeding and Research Base situated near the city, home to over 100 pandas. With over 1,000 pandas in Sichuan, the province shelters 70% of the world’s panda population. As one of the world’s endangered species, the giant panda has become an icon for conservation movements everywhere and a national treasure. Though pandas can still be found in the wild, they are very difficult to spot; at this base you will be guaranteed to see China’s iconic animal and could even pose with a panda friend for a photo.
After lunch you will fly to Guilin.
It is a haven for travelers who desire an authentic and refreshing experience of rural China.
Day 10. Li River Cruise (B/L/D)
Visit: The best way to appreciate the beautiful scenery is to take a cruise. The cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is one of the most popular activities in Guilin. Along the river you can see stunning karst hills, bamboo groves, and villages. Highlights along the way include Nine Horse Fresco Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal, 20-Yuan Bill Hill, and Xingping Town. During the cruise there will be crowds on the deck, but your private guide will tell you when to go to the deck to see the best scenery.
Day 11. Bamboo Rafting on the Yulong River (B/L/D)
Experience: In the morning we will bike upstream along the Yulong river, the most beautiful tributary of the Li river, for one and a half hours. Our scenic countryside trail along the riverbank will take us through villages, rice fields and orchards, all framed by the majestic karst mountains. The landscape will compel you to take photos, and in the warmer months, you might even find buffalos wandering into your frame. We will then pair up to drift along the Yulong river on bamboo rafts, offering even more scenic moments. Rafting on the river always proves to be a traveler favorite as you record the beautiful views. After that, you will visit Moon Hill. A 40-minute hike to the top will reward you with a splendid panoramic view of the surrounding area. Keen photographers, take note: this is your spot!
Day 12. Yangshuo - Guilin - Shanghai (B/L/D)
Prepare to tear yourself away from the idyllic charms of Yangshuo, as we will fly to Shanghai after breakfast, a beautifully-bustling cosmopolitan city offering sharp contrasts between the modern and traditional.
Experience: Upon arrival in Shanghai, we will start our day by rising above the city to the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center, the second tallest building in China, where we will take in a panoramic city view from the Sky Walk observatory, a perch 474 meters above ground. The observatory features a glass floor that you can walk along if you’re feeling brave and want to see the city beneath your feet.
Visit: Next we’re going to visit Yuyuan Garden, representative of private gardens in southern China: small but elegant and exquisite, the landscaping featuring water, pavilions and bridges amidst the gardens. The surrounding bazaar, popular for souvenir-hunters, is a beehive of activity. Here you can try your hand at bargaining.
Experience: Later we will explore the surrounding Xintiandi, a typical Shikumen area with modern renovation, where the local residences are modeled in traditional Shanghainese architecture. Unfortunately, most Shikumen disappeared quickly due the city’s rapid economic development, but in the old quarter of the city you can still find the historic structures.The afternoon is yours to adventure and explore or rest and relax, as you prefer.
Evening: Shanghai Acrobatic Show.
Day 13. Departure (B/-/-)
Transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule for your flight back to the UK.
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.
13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS FROM £2,699 per person + international flights
based on 2 people travelling together
The price includes:
Hotel accommodation in standard boutique hotels on a twin-shared basis.
Local economy class flight from Xi’an/Chengdu/Shanghai with tax.
High-speed train ticket form Beijing –Xi’an (2nd class seat)
Quality private air-con vehicles & experienced drivers for all transfers and sightseeing.
Experienced English-speaking local guides throughout the tour.
Entrance fees for all listed attractions.
Meals as stated in the itinerary.
Welcome dinner in Beijing / Hotpot Dinner in Chengdu as mentioned in the itinerary.
The price does not include:
Return flights from the UK to Beijing
Anything not specifically mentioned above
Visa fee for China
Tips to the guide and driver
Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.
Photography charges at monasteries/palaces/sites.
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