China vacation, discover imperial China

“Delve into China’s imperial past on this small group tour, taking in tranquil landscapes, historic monuments, and dynamic cities, both ancient and modern”


Beijing | Great Wall | Xi'an | Terracotta Warriors | Yangshuo | Karst Mountains | Moon Hill |Hangzhou | Shanghai

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Accommodation and Meals:
On this trip we spend 11 nights in hotels, 3 nights on a cruise boat with and 1 night on a first class sleeper train. All of the hotels we use are locally owned and locally staffed, which is way of boosting employment levels in the areas we visit. We also try to select accommodation for environmental awareness, which is still in its infancy in China. For example, the hotel in Beijing encourages clients switch off lights with signs, has optional daily linen changing and air-con is only turned on when temperatures hit 26 degrees outside. Where meals are not supplied, tour leaders will take clients to locally owned restaurants where food is authentic and either locally grown or sourced.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

The Impacts of this Trip

Often people can experience quite a culture shock when traveling in China, so our local guides are always keen help clients understand local culture better and to connect more genuinely with local communities. Part of this cultural exchange and support of community is made by visiting small businesses throughout the trip. There are several occasions where guests are encouraged to do this- for example, in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, there are bazaars and food markets where it is possible to support local producers and even see crafts and food made (dumplings, pancakes, fruit drinks etc.).

Local Craft and Culture:
There is so much on offer in terms of culture on this trip. Just to name a few activities, we see the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Mosque and Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and the Leshan Buddha. We even offer optional activities where you can see the opera, an acrobat show or take a kung fu or cooking lesson! Crafts are available throughout the trip and there are some wonderful, traditionally made souvenirs available- especially in Yangshuo. Leaders will be able to advise where the best places to shop are and what should be avoided e.g. traditional medicine made from endangered animals.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.


1 Reviews of China vacation, discover imperial China

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 29 May 2014 by

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

Visiting the Panda Breading center and watching a panda mum and baby 'playing' together. Then watching the baby slipping off the platform and mum rolling over to join her baby on the ground. So special.

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

Be prepared to carry your luggage, particularly at the train stations. The coach is often not able to park close to the station, so you have to carry your luggage across busy streets and negotiate steps and escalators that aren't working!!!
Be prepared for very unsanitary toilets on the overnight trains.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, to the detriment of my enjoyment.

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

Although I enjoyed the vacation and it was a great experience, I found it very challenging and not at all relaxing. I felt I was always on the move and there was not enough time to really enjoy the experiences. Often mealtimes were rushed and the train journeys were a test of endurance. I understand they were to reduce environmental impact by avoiding flights, but...were they really necessary? One arrived 5 hours late, which impacted on the rest of our days itinerary.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Penelope
Firstly thank you for taking the time to review your recent vacation with us, we of course value all feedback and input from our clients. I am sorry that you felt that this particular itinerary and style of travel was not suitable and in fact was detrimental to your enjoyment of the trip. We have received fantastic feedback on this trip which we have been operating for over a decade and in fact have altered the itinerary to make it less rushed in recent years.

The very nature of China means it is very difficult to travel and reduce ones impact without flying but we have tried to go down this path. Whilst train travel and all the associated changes can I agree be stressful many clients seem to enjoy it. I am pleased that some aspects of the trip you really enjoyed like the Panda center which is very special and that whilst not being the relaxing experience you envisioned you have fond memories of your trip .

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