China Trailblazer


Take a journey like no other. This is your chance to see the classical sights, and also explore a different side of this beautiful country – be it from the back of a bicycle; on a hike through serene countryside, or a walk through buzzing city streets.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Beijing (2N) - Gubei (1N) - Beijing (1N) - Xian (2N) - Yangtze River Cruise (4N) - Chengdu (3N) - Guilin (2N) - Yangshuo (2N) - Shanghai (2N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Fly to Beijing, China's historic capital.
Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Day 3: Beijing's Hutongs
his morning visit Yandaixiejie where you’ll have some free time to wander the hutongs; these narrow alleys offer an authentic glimpse of the old Beijing, before the emergence of high-rise buildings and modern commerce. Visit the Temple of Heaven and mingle with the locals as they take part in Tai Chi, dancing and card playing in a flurry of sociable activity you would never see in a park at home. Continue to the Summer Palace and explore the magnificent grounds, before taking a short hike up Longevity Hill to enjoy panoramic views. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Beijing's Hutongs
Day 4: Forbidden City
Stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City. Walking through this ornately designed complex offers an unsurpassed insight into China’s colourful past. Drive to Simatai Great Wall where you will sail up to the apex of the Wall by cable car to see the sunset. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Forbidden City
Day 5: Hike the Great Wall
Travel to the Great Wall at Jinshanling, a section that is much less frequented by tourists than other parts. The stark yet magnificent surroundings allow you to put yourself in the shoes of those who walked this incredible edifice hundreds of years ago. Your trek will last approximately four hours as the wall improbably courses through dramatic landscapes and rugged terrain. Later, head back to Beijing, where you’ll have free time. (B,L)
Day 5: Hike the Great Wall
Day 6: Xian
Fly to Xian, the ancient former capital. Explore the narrow and twisting streets of the Muslim Quarter. The evening is at leisure – Defu Lane offers a vibrant atmosphere at night. (B,L)
Day 6: Xian
Day 7: Terracotta Warriors and Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
The ranks of the Terracotta Army stand sentinel in their subterranean necropolis, constructed to protect China’s first Emperor in the afterlife. Gaze over the ranks of warriors and horses, each one unique, whilst your guide introduces you to these life-like soldiers’ fascinating story. Continue to the ancient city wall for a cycle on the fortifications surrounding the heart of the city. Tonight, dine on Xian’s traditional and delicious dumplings. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Terracotta Warriors and Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
Day 8: Travel to Yichang
Fly to Wuhan and transfer to Yichang. Later board your Yangtze Cruise vessel, home for the next four nights. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Travel to Yichang
Days 9-11: Yangtze Cruise
A man-made marvel, the Three Gorges Dam showcases this massive feat of engineering. A three-day voyage along China’s riverine treasure is a chance to relax and enjoy a slower pace, whilst absorbing one breathtaking panorama after another. (B,L,D)
Days 9-11: Yangtze Cruise
Day 12: Ciqikou Ancient Town
Disembark your cruise vessel and enjoy an early lunch in the charming old town of Ciqikou – there’s time to wander the cobbled alleyways and learn about its colourful history. Take a bullet train to Chengdu. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Ciqikou Ancient Town
Day 13: Pingle Ancient Town
Drive to Pingle Ancient Town. Dating back to the Han Dynasty, Pingle was a stopping point on the Tea Horse Road. Take time to walk through its maze of teahouse-lined streets before seeing the bamboo forest from above on Jinji Suspended Rope Bridge. Return to Chengdu. (B,L,D)
Day 13: Pingle Ancient Town
Day 14: Dujiangyan Panda Base
Visit one of the world’s finest panda conservation centres. The pandas here are kept in conditions very close to their natural habitat. Later, ascend Mt Qingcheng, the most holy Taoist mountain in China, by cable car. It is a truly beautiful spot with numerous peaks covered with lush greenery and secluded temples. Take a stroll among the mystic scenery of Yuecheng Lake. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Dujiangyan Panda Base
Day 15: Sun and Moon Pagodas
Take an early morning flight to Guilin. Enjoy a walk around the picturesque Ronghu Lake and admire the Sun and Moon Pagodas – two towering examples of traditional Chinese-Buddhist architecture. (B,L)
Day 15: Sun and Moon Pagodas
Day 16: Rice Terraces
Wake up to stunning views of the misty, stepped hills of Longji. Today’s full-day hike among the terraces will take you past small hamlets and picture-postcard views of the rice terraces which cover the landscape in intricate patterns. Whether full of water or bursting with rice plants, a walk in Longji provides an unforgettable experience of rural China. Return to Guilin where the evening is at leisure. (B,L)
Day 16: Rice Terraces
Day 17: Li River Cruise
Take a gentle cruise along the Li River to Yangshuo. Lined with the most dramatic, sci-fi style limestone cliffs on the planet, the serenity of life on the riverbanks is a wonderful sight. This evening there is an option to be wowed by the light spectacular ‘Sanjie Liu’ (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Day 18: Tai chi Seesion and Afternoon at Leisure
Start the day with a relaxing yet invigorating session of Tai Chi, taking time with a master to learn this ancient martial art. This afternoon there is the option of riding a bicycle through the countryside or join an optional bamboo rafting trip along the Yulong River (at your own expense) – another chance to really soak up the unspoiled surroundings and explore every corner of this exquisite location. (B,L)
Day 18: Tai chi Seesion and Afternoon at Leisure
Day 19: Shanghai
Drive back to Guilin. Go from the serene to the supercharged as you fly to Shanghai. This evening cruise down the Huangpu River being serenaded by the neon lights of Pudong. (B,L)
Day 19: Shanghai
Day 20: Shanghainese Shanghai
Wake up to the buzz of Shanghai, and take a breakfast walking tour between coruscating skyscrapers and traditional streets. Walk through the city’s most fascinating districts before enjoying breakfast as the locals do – sample pancakes, friedbread sticks and tofu. Visit the classical Yu Garden, the old town and the Silk Museum before taking an evening stroll along the Bund. Enjoy a farewell dinner of authentic Shanghainese cuisine. (B,L,D)
Day 20: Shanghainese Shanghai
Day 21: Depart Shanghai
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Shanghai airport to board your flight to New Zealand, arriving home to same or following day. (B)
Day 21: Depart Shanghai

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:


Single Supplement from $1,400
Land Only (Beijing to Shanghai) 20 days from $6,080 per person
Additional charges: Customary tipping RMB1130 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
13 Apr, 21 Sep & 05 Oct 2019 and 11 Apr, 02 May, 19 Sep &03 Oct departures coincides with Golden Week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.

 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies.

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.


Why Book This Tour?

It's a wonderful mix of classic sights and countryside delights. From the back of a bike or on a hike, discover many favourites of this fascinating country. A good level of fitness is required for this tour, but its well worth it.

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