The Essence of China vacation

“Join a small group on one of our most popular 3 week overland tours of China with 2nd or 3rd class sleeper trains maximising travel time between Beijing and Hong Kong.”

Highlights

Beijing | Great Wall (Jinshanling) | Xi'an | Emei Shan | Leshan | Chengdu | Yangzi River Cruise | Yichang | Yangshuo | Hong Kong |

Travel Team

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09 Mar 2020
US $3840
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23 Mar 2020
US $3730
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06 Apr 2020
US $3995
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20 Apr 2020
US $3880
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04 May 2020
US $4030
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18 May 2020
US $4110
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08 Jun 2020
US $3880
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13 Jul 2020
US $3730
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27 Jul 2020
US $3955
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03 Aug 2020
US $3730
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17 Aug 2020
US $3730
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24 Aug 2020
US $3730
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03 Sep 2020
US $3880
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07 Sep 2020
US $4030
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10 Sep 2020
US $4030
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14 Sep 2020
US $4030
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08 Oct 2020
US $4030
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12 Oct 2020
US $3880
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19 Oct 2020
US $3880
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26 Oct 2020
US $3880
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02 Nov 2020
US $3730
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09 Nov 2020
US $3730
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08 Mar 2021
US $3730
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22 Mar 2021
US $3730
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05 Apr 2021
US $3730
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19 Apr 2021
US $3730
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26 Apr 2021
US $3730
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03 May 2021
US $3730
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10 May 2021
US $3730
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17 May 2021
US $3730
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24 May 2021
US $3730
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07 Jun 2021
US $3730
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12 Jul 2021
US $3730
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26 Jul 2021
US $3730
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02 Aug 2021
US $3730
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16 Aug 2021
US $3730
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23 Aug 2021
US $3730
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02 Sep 2021
US $3730
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06 Sep 2021
US $3730
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09 Sep 2021
US $3730
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13 Sep 2021
US $3730
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07 Oct 2021
US $3730
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11 Oct 2021
US $3730
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18 Oct 2021
US $3730
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25 Oct 2021
US $3730
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01 Nov 2021
US $3730
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08 Nov 2021
US $3730
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Vacation type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are traveling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travelers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travelers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is a classic style of small group adventure. You'll find your trip combines a good mix of included activities and free time, with some meals included as per your itinerary. We don't want you to feel chaperoned, it's your vacation not ours. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with organising anything you might wish to do in your free time, but how you spend it is up to you. Anything listed as included in your itinerary will be included in trip price; whereas anything listed as optional will be at an additional cost should you wish to take part.

These trips are great value, including things that you would struggle to organise independently, such as a night at a homestay in a remote village, or local guides around a remote place of interest. Transport will be a combination of private vehicle and public transport, whichever is the most appropriate for the route we are traveling; this might include train, plane, camel, tuk tuk, bicycle, boat…

On a majority of these trips you'll stay in 2-3 star accommodation, locally owned and reflective of the region you are traveling through. All solo travelers will be automatically roomed on a twin share basis with another group member of the same sex, unless you opt to pay for your own room at time of booking. There are no compulsory single supplements for solo travelers willing to share. Single rooms aren't available on camping trips, and you will be expected to help out with camp tasks such as setting up and breaking down your camp.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your vacation package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your inquiry.

Responsible tourism

The Essence of China vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Waste and litter is a serious issue in Tibet. We provide all travelers with reusable bags and chopsticks in order to avoid waste. For the train journey, we also encourage our travelers to buy food with less packaging and share more to avoid generating plastic wastes or general waste of food.

We encourage the use of “tea flasks” for drinking water (or tea, like the locals do!) so as not to purchase multiple plastic bottles. Safe drinking water is available in all our accommodation and transport. Any bottles that are purchased are given to the community of waste collectors who rely on this for an income.
You will expect to use a variety of transport on this trip including subway, public buses, overnight trains where we get to ride along just like the locals do and minimize our carbon footprint wherever possible.

Community

All left over food after our group meals is collected, boxed up and left for homeless people. During the trip, our local leader will take the time to give all passengers and understanding of the local culture and about people you will meet along the way.
We will travel by trail and stay in the 2nd or 3rd class to give the maximum opportunity to meet other people, share stories, food, games and the journey with local travelers.
Our tour leaders are all Chinese locals and they have received substantial training on the job to further develop their skills and careers. You are free to join your leader for a walking tour through Old Beijing along the ancient network of alleyways and lanes known as hutong to see how important it is to protect cultural heritage in the face of rapid development. In Beijing, we’ll visit our friends at Beijing Huiling (meaning "wise spirit") - a special project for people with intellectual disabilities and learn about the good work to support this special local community

2 Reviews of The Essence of China vacation

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 21 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Great Wall walk

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack for all eventualities especially weather related. The traveling is tough but the reality is never as bad as expected.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes for the first and no for the second

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 04 Sep 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There are several memorable parts of our vacation including the thrill of seeing the Terracotta soldiers, the interesting landscape around Yangshuo and the boat trip on the Yangzi. We enjoyed the interactions with the local people, and the opportunity to learn the culture and language.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We are Brits, so taking our own tea bags proved to be very beneficial. It is important to be flexible about some of the bathroom arrangements in some of the locations we stayed at. We were disappointed with the Monastery at Baoguo, due to the very poor sanitary arrangements. This unfortunately put a barrier to enjoying the tranquility of the setting. Our main guide spoke good English, some of the local guides need some more training and practice to enhance their skills. We encourage travelers to help the guides develop their language skills.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We tried hard to be friendly and engage with the local people, we believe that our friendship was very well received and the cash contributions helped the incomes of the people. We always try to economise with consumption and the operator’s travel tips such as traveling with trains and to use your own water bottles were good ideas too.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We found our guide Sunny was very helpful and his attitude to helping us was great. The overall vacation was excellent, and the group we travelled with were very nice. We thought that the trip itinerary was well designed and we thank the operator management and staff for the opportunity to have this wonderful experience.

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