- 22 Apr
- 22 Apr
- 16 Sep
- 16 Sep
Half Board (+2)
Explore the unique culture and ancient traditions of China with us on this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. We’ll discover architecture from imperial dynasties, ancient temples and beautiful landscapes, and get under the skin of iconic cities like Beijing, Xi’an and Lhasa. We’ll enjoy a selection of excursions to UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Beijing’s Summer Palace, the Terracotta Army, and Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama. Sightseeing will take on a whole new meaning as we take to the saddle; cycling along the old city walls of Xi’an and through the Tibetan countryside with a local guide. Our tour ends on a high in the vibrant city of Hong Kong, where we’ll enjoy free time to explore the city’s many highlights.
Please note that visas are required for travel on this tour. Please visit our visa information page for more information.
Begin your oriental adventure with an overnight flight to China’s capital city Beijing.
On arrival in Beijing you will be met by your local expert guide and transferred to your hotel, where you will have some time at leisure to settle in to your new surroundings. Beijing is rich in cultural heritage, with its history stretching back over three thousand years. However it is known just as well for its modern architecture as well as its ancient sites.
This evening, join your fellow group members and your guide for a welcome meal at a local restaurant. Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture, so this authentic dining experience serves as the perfect introduction to some of the unique tastes and flavours for your first night in China.
This morning enjoy a guided visit to the Summer Palace, a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces, which served as an imperial garden during the Qing Dynasty. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, the Summer Palace is a must see for any visitor to Beijing. Your guide will give you some free time to have the opportunity to climb up Longevity Hill, which is approximately 60 metres, to enjoy views over the Summer Palace.
This afternoon prepare to fully immerse yourself in ancient Chinese traditions during a visit to the Beijing Kung Fu School. Kung fu is a general term which is used to refer to the martial arts of China. Kung fu originated in the Shaolin Temple, where monks practiced it for health and self-defence during their quest for enlightenment. You will enjoy a guided tour of the school’s campus before partaking in a 40 minute Kung fu lesson. Your Kung fu teacher will train you on some of the basic skills of Kung fu. The Chinese people place great value in the practice of Kung fu because they feel it teaches respect, patience, humility, and morality. Afterwards, you will take a guided transfer from the city to Miyun County, a district in northeast Beijing, which is close to the trekking paths of the Great Wall of China. Enjoy a locally prepared dinner and then settle in to your guest house accommodation for the night.
Today is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. The Great Wall of China dates back to the 7th century BC and was built to protect the first unified Kingdom of China. Stretching for over 20,000 miles, this is a bucket list sight for most people and no trip to China would be complete without it. Embark on a guided trek along a section of the Great Wall of China with your local expert guide. You will explore the ruins of this marvellous man-made structure from the Gubeikou Section to Jinshanling Section, covering a distance of 15kms by foot over the duration of approximately 6 hours. The trek will consist of walking along mostly flat terrain, with a series of ascents and descents up and down the famous steps of the Great Wall. You will receive a packed lunch for this full-day trek and a stop will be made along the way so you can have a picnic on the Great Wall of China. A backpack and strong, sturdy footwear are essential. This activity may not be suitable with those with a fear of heights. (Distance: 15km / Duration: 6 hours / Difficulty: Moderately challenging)
After your adventure on the Great Wall of China, transfer back to Beijing city where you will have the evening free to explore at your leisure. Your local guide will be happy to suggest restaurants and activities to suit your taste.
This morning you will visit one of the largest squares in the world, Tian An Men Square, which has been the site of many historic rallies and protests. The square is also home to many important buildings and monuments such as the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
Afterwards take a thrilling rickshaw tour through Beijing’s Hutongs, a series of old alleys and narrow laneways that have been formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences. You will visit a local Hutong family during your rickshaw tour to learn how to make “jiaozi”, which are a type of traditional Chinese dumplings. Jiaozi are one of the most popular foods that are eaten during the Chinese New Year, and typically consist of a ground meat or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together. Jiaozi are either boiled, steamed or pan fried before eating. The produce from this afternoon’s interactive cooking experience will also be today’s lunch.
After lunch visit Beijing’s Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial Palace during the Ming Dynasty and served as the home of emperors for almost 500 years. It is now under the charge of the Palace Museum and is home to an impressive collection of porcelain, paintings, jewels and sculptures as well as beautiful imperial gardens. The design of the Forbidden City was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles of the Ming Dynasty and to symbolise the majesty of Imperial power. Explore this large palace complex by foot with your local guide before ending the day with a Peking Duck dinner at a nearby restaurant. Peking Duck is one of Beijing’s most famous dishes that has been eaten since the Imperial era.
Enjoy a full morning at leisure in Beijing. This is the perfect opportunity to do some independent sightseeing. We recommend checking out Qianmen Street, which is one of the oldest pedestrian streets in China. This ornate shopping street has a mix of Chinese and Western shops and eateries, the most famous of which is Quanjude Chinese Restaurant, which sells over 2 million of its trademark Peking Roast Duck every year. Please note: Optional Temple of Heaven, the Capital Museum and Xiushui Silk Market Excursion. Depart for a guided visit to the Temple of Heaven, a complex of religious buildings symbolising the relationship between earth and heaven. Afterwards visit the Beijing Capital Museum, where you can learn more about Beijing & it’s fascinating history followed by a traditional Chinese lunch. You will have time to browse and bargain at the famous Xiushui Silk market before returning to your hotel in the mid-afternoon. Transfers and local guide included. (From €75 per person. This excursion is subject to minimum numbers)
No visit to China is complete without experiencing the hustle and bustle of a Chinese railway station. In the afternoon, you will have a guided transfer from your hotel to Beijing Railway Station. From here, you will board your overnight train from Beijing to Xi’an. The overnight train is a soft sleeper, with four sleeping berths per cabin, two upper and two lower. There is a dining car on board where you can purchase dinner, but as options are limited we recommend taking some snacks with you. Overnight trains are not for the faint hearted but are a great way to mingle with the locals for a truly authentic experience. (Estimated journey time by train: 13 hours and 40 minutes)
Arrive in to Xi’an this morning and transfer from the train station. After breakfast at your hostel, you will have the morning at leisure to settle in to your new surroundings. You can simply relax at your hostel accommodation or embark on some independent sightseeing. The choice is all yours. We recommend taking a visit to the Muslim Quarter, which is full of narrow alleys of shops and restaurants. It is the perfect spot to sip a coffee and soak up the atmosphere of Xi’an.
Xi’an is the ancient capital of China, and its city walls represent one of the oldest and best preserved city walls in the country. In the afternoon you will explore Xi’an’s Old City Wall by bicycle. The existing wall was started by the Ming Dynasty in 1370, so it is steeped in history. After a climb of approximately 70 steps you will reach the top of the wall and from here you will begin your bicycle ride. The wall is quite spacious in width, completely flat and is just under 14kms long. Cycling along the old city walls of Xi’an is the perfect way to take in beautiful views of the city while working up a bit of a sweat. After your cycle, you will have the remainder of the afternoon and evening free to continue exploring Xi’an independently. You guide will be happy to suggest activities to suit your interest.
Today you will have a guided visit to the Terracotta Army Museum. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a remarkable collection of life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses, arranged in battle formations. These figures were buried with the emperor Qin Shi Huang in 210–209 BC, to protect him in his afterlife. They remained hidden until 1974 when they were accidentally discovered by local farmers who were digging a well. The Terracotta Army is now considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century and is a must-see attraction for any visitor to China. Your guide will tell you the full history behind the Terracotta Army and you will also have some free time to explore the Museum at your leisure.
You will have the remainder of the evening at leisure to spend as you wish in Xi’an. Your local expert guide is always on hand to suggest local restaurants to suit your taste so make sure you chat to them about places to eat and drink if you are in need of recommendations.
This morning you will take an internal flight from Xi’an to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Tibet, set on the lofty Tibetan Plateau, on the northern side of the Himalayas, is an autonomous region of China. Sharing Mt. Everest with the neighbouring Nepal, Tibet has is often referred to as the “Roof of the World” for its towering peaks.
Upon arrival in Lhasa, continue to your guest house in Lhasa which will be your base for the next 3 nights. You will have some time at leisure to settle in. As Lhasa is situated at 3,656 metres above sea level it is advisable to take things at an easy pace this afternoon so you can adjust to the higher altitude. In the evening you will have a chance to sample some local cuisine. A yak steak dinner will be served at a local restaurant. The yak is a wild ox, which is native to the Himalayan region and is used in Tibet for its milk, meat and hide.
Guest house in Lhasa (3 nights)
This morning depart for Potala, which was constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet. Here you will have a guided visit of Potala Palace museum and World Heritage Site, which was once the winter home of the Dalai Lama. Afterwards you will visit the Jokhang Monastery. This temple is considered to be the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It is the center of Tibetan Buddhism and pilgrims come here daily to worship.
You will have the remainder of the day free to spend on your own as you wish. We suggest talking a walk through the Barkhor area of Lhasa. It is an area filled with narrow streets and bustling market places. It is the ideal place to independently explore if you would like to soak up the atmosphere as locals go about their daily lives.
Explore the Tibetan countryside by bicycle with your local expert guide, cycling from your guesthouse towards the home of a local family, admiring the beautiful scenery along the way. Experience the rural Tibetan lifestyle as you learn the process of how to generate fuel from yak dung and how to make yak butter tea. This is a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the Tibetan way of life, as you will learn these techniques with the local family in their home. Enjoy a cup of homemade butter tea with the family as well as a lunch of curry at a local restaurant before returning by bicycle to your guesthouse. (Total distance covered by bicycle: 20km on mostly flat terrain)
You will have the remainder of the day at leisure. Make sure you speak to your local expert guide if you need any recommendations on places to visit, eat or shop during your free time. Or simply relax at the guest house, the choice is all yours.
This morning it will be time to say goodbye to Tibet as you board an internal flight to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Upon arrival you will transfer to Jinli Old Street, a pedestrianized area full of cafes, tea houses and stalls selling everything from arts and crafts, to confectionary. You will have a guided tour of this charming street as well as some free time for lunch at your leisure.
In the afternoon your guide will take you to People’s Park in Chengdu. Built in 1911, this was the city’s first public park. It is a great spot for people watching and will give you the opportunity to mingle with the locals as they go about their daily lives. Your guide will take you to the section of the park where the Marriage Market takes place. Also often referred to as the “Corner of Looking for a Partner”, this is where Chinese grandparents and parents seek spouses for their unmarried family members. In China marriage is not only a symbolic rite of passage in to independent adulthood, but it is also a social requirement, so if a young Chinese person has trouble meeting the right person, their family will intervene and help them. You will also have the chance to enjoy a cup of tea with some of the locals and learn how to play Mahjong, an ancient tile-based game which was developed in China during the Qing Dynasty, before transferring to your guesthouse in the county area of Dujiangya. A Sichuan Hot Pot will be served for dinner and you will have the remainder of the evening at leisure to settle in to your new surroundings.
Today is sure to be another highlight of your holiday as you spend the day volunteering at the Dujiangyan Panda Reserve. The Giant Panda, a Chinese national treasure, is one of the rarest animals in the world. The total number is estimated to be 1,500, including those living in the wild, 80 percent of which are in Sichuan Province. The Dujiangyan Panda Reserve takes care of sick or injured pandas so they can be rehabilitated back in to the wild. There is also a section that serves as a panda nursing home for elderly or disabled pandas that need special care. After an introduction to the reserve, you will help care for some of the pandas under the guidance of a panda keeper. You will have the chance to assist with the feeding of the pandas as well as gathering fresh bamboos. There are more than 40 pandas living in the reserve and you will have some free time to walk around the different sections at your leisure. Lunch will be included today and will be served in the Reserve Staff Dining Room. (Please note that customers below the age of 12 or over the age of 65 cannot participate in volunteering activities at the Dujiangyan Panda Reserve. This is due to local regulations in China. In these cases, no alternative excursion will be arranged).
You will have the remainder of the evening at leisure in Dujiangyan. Your local guide will be happy to recommend local restaurants, places to enjoy a drink or optional sightseeing to suit your taste.
Today you will visit the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, a UNESCO heritage site which was built in 256 BC as an irrigation and flood control project. This ancient irrigation system still works today and plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province. Constructed on the Minjiang River, it is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world; and a wonder in the development of Chinese science.
In the afternoon you will say goodbye to the Dujiangyan and head towards the city center of Chengdu, making a stop en route at Jiezi Old Town. Located at the foot of Fengqi Mountain, you will have some free time at leisure in Jiezi Old Town before continuing to your hotel in Chengdu. You will have the remainder of the day at leisure in Chengdu to spend as you wish. Chengdu’s history dates back to the 4th century BC so it is rich in cultural heritage. Your local guide will be happy to suggest activities to suit your taste.
This morning you will have a transfer to Chengdu airport for your internal flight to Hong Kong. Located in southeastern China, Hong Kong is a vibrantly buzzing city with a densely populated urban center and a skyscraper-studded skyline.
Upon arrival in Hong Kong you will have a 4 hour orientation tour of the city with your local expert guide. You will visit all the iconic sights such as Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, Man Mo Temple & Hollywood Road before transferring to your hotel. The remainder of your time in Hong Kong will be completely at your leisure so make sure you speak to your guide today for any tips on the best places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee in the city.
Today you will have a full day at leisure for independent exploration in Hong Kong. This is a city full of endless options to keep you entertained. Hong Kong's captivating neighborhoods and islands offer a feast for all the senses. Explore the sights, sounds and tastes of Hong Kong today as you desire.
You will have one final day at leisure to spend as you wish in Hong Kong. This is the perfect time to do any last minute shopping or sightseeing before your evening transfer to Hong Kong airport for your overnight flight home.
Arrive home to Dublin following your once in a lifetime adventure to China.
You will be met on arrival at your destination airport and transferred to your accommodation. You will be accompanied on all included excursions by your guide. Your expert local guide is also available to give you tips and advice on any aspect of your holiday.
Please visit our visa page for information on requirements for each country's entry requirements
We have local representatives in all of our destinations who are available 24/7 as well as an emergency contact number for our offices in Ireland should you ever need it.