Backpacking tour of China
China – one of the largest countries in the world – is not only huge, but also diverse. Join our 25-day tour and travel an epic 3,392 miles, taking in the very best that China has to offer. Short on time? Opt for our shorter 16-day tour instead. This affordable and jam-packed tour will take you through spectacular countryside and into the busiest cities in the world.
Are you looking for an oriental adventure? Join either our 16-day or longer 25-day tour and explore China – a country famous for its delicious cuisine, incredibly cute pandas and the longest wall in the world! Perfect for solo travellers and groups, this tour combines history and culture, exciting activities and iconic sites.
Here is the itinerary in brief. You can also refer to our more detailed tour description at any time.
Day one – Hong Kong
- Start your adventure at the hostel
- Head up Victoria Peak for panoramic views across Hong Kong
- Receive a full briefing from the tour leader
- Board a famous Chinese bullet train to cross the border into mainland China
Day two to five – Yangshuo
- Marvel at the endless rice paddies and take part in bamboo rafting down Li River
- Stay in Monkey Jane’s Hostel – which has a rooftop bar!
- Optional activities: Kayaking, deep water soloing, watch a Cormorant fishing demonstration, soak in mud baths located In underground caves, take part in a Chinese cookery class, try cupping (believed to improve circulation), dinner at the leader’s home village
- On Day 5, travel on a bus and night train to Chengdu
Day six to eight – Chengdu
- Meet your new adventure leader (a Sichuanese local)
- Spend the afternoon learning some helpful Mandarin phrases at a free lesson
- On day 7, visit the lovable pandas at the Panda Breeding and Research Centre as they eat their bamboo shoots for breakfast
- On day 8, visit the Wenshu Monastery, the Sichuan Province Museum and a traditional Chinese tea-house
- Board the night train to Xi’an
- Optional activity: massage with a blind physical therapist, Sichuan opera performance, trip to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha or walk through the Tibetan quarter
Day nine to ten – Xi’an
- Explore the Muslim quarter and try the array of street foods
- Head to the Silk Road Market – perfect for shopping
- Volunteer at the Star Sun Home
- In the morning, behold the unmissable Terracotta Warriors
- Cycle around the ancient city’s walls
- Experience a Chinese night out – karaoke is not compulsory but highly recommended!
- Optional activity: Cycle around the ancient city’s walls on an incredible bike tour
Day eleven to twelve – Shaolin
- Board a minivan to Deng-Feng to take part in a Kung Fu lesson and then watch a show performed by a local, temple-run children’s home. All proceeds go to the home
- Learn more Mandarin in your second free class
- Hike to Dharma Caves- a spiritual place, surrounded by outstanding views
- Board a night train to Beijing
- Optional activity: Show performed by children’s home, visit the Shaolin Temple and see live performances by Kung Fu masters
Day thirteen to sixteen – Beijing
- Relax in the hostel and take part in your third Mandarin lesson
- Take to the streets to use your language skills in a Mandarin challenge
- The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the Great Wall of China
- Between May and September, camp alongside the longest wall in the world and wake up to a sunrise to remember!
- Choose to visit The Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium or enjoy an Acrobat Show
- Tour Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven
- Taste some interesting local delicacies, if your feeling brave, at a night market
- Optional activity: Chinese Acrobat Show, try Peking Roast Duck – Beijing’s signature dish,
For travellers on the 16-day tour, you will leave on the 16th day to travel back to Hong Kong on the train. If you would prefer to stay in Beijing, please let us know.
For those continuing, board the night train to Hangzhou
Day seventeen to eighteen – Moganshan
- After leaving Beijing, the tour will head to a bamboo nature reserve
- Cycle through local village and soak up the scenery on a Bicycle Trek
- Hike to the peak of Mogan Mountain
- Catch the efficient bullet train to Shanghai
Day nineteen to twenty one – Shanghai
- Explore the most populated city in the world – head to the Propaganda History Museum
- Board a ferry to cross the Huangpu River
- Head to the futuristic part of the city along Nanjing Road and take part in a walking tour to the Bund for spectacular views
- Enjoy the bar scene or head to the rooftop of a skyscraper to enjoy view from a hot tub
- Optional activity: Discover Tianzifang, the Drunken Dragon pub-crawl, rooftop hot tub with incredible views
Day twenty two to twenty four – Fujian
- Speed across the country on a bullet train to Nanjing
- Spend the night in a Tulou (a traditional roundhouse) and learn about the Hakka minority people
- Take part in a walking tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Sip oolong tea samples at a plantation
- Take the night train to Guangzhou
- Optional activity: cycle to rivers and mountains in a nearby village
Day twenty five – Macao
- Visit the historic centre and explore the ruins of St Paul’s and the Old Fortress
- Spend time at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel – with canals and gondolas!
- Travel on a high-speed ferry back to Hong Kong
- Time to say goodbye at the hostel that you started at
Read our more detailed tour description.
Accommodation and food
All accommodation is included for the duration of the tour. You will be staying in hostels, while on the tour, with the rest of your group. If you would like to have your own room, you can pay a supplement for this. There will be some overnight journeys on night trains. On day thirteen, if you are travelling between May and September, you will be camping beside the Great Wall of China. For those travelling between October and April, you will stay at a guesthouse instead.
- Travel with a fantastic group
- Explore the highlights of China and travel vast distances
- Meet the Giant Panda – China’s national animal
- Indulge in delicious Chinese cuisine
- Visit world famous sites, including the incredible Great Wall of China
Whyshould I do this?
China is one of the largest countries in the world and it offers a huge variety of landscapes, culture and cuisine. You could return to China multiple times and unearth something new each visit.
You will travel this phenomenal country by public transport to experience ‘real’ China. Transport in China is fast, modern and efficient. The English-speaking trip leaders on the ground are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing their country with you.
This 25-day round trip tour covers a vast distance and includes incredible activities – combing the must-see sites with unique experiences. Short on time? No problem – simply leave the group on day 16 instead.
You will meet up with your group and leader at 7am on the arrival day. Full details regarding where to meet will be provided in good time prior to your departure.
What is provided
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the tour and manage your booking
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst in China
- Billingual speaking adventure leaders
- Free Mandarin tuition suitable for complete beginners
- All accommodation – hostels, guest houses and/or camping
- Internal travel – train, boat and bus tickets
- All included activities
- All taxes and charges
- Full financial protection through our ATOL (if we book flights) or IPP (if you book your own)
What do I need
- International flights
- All optional activities – highly recommended!
- Food and drink
- Any additional travel, food or accommodation organised before or after the tour