China on a Shoestring

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • COVID-19protected
  • Safari
  • Wildlife
  • Countryside and village visits
  • Natural landmarks sightseeing
See Itinerary
  • duration 21 days
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 14+ yrs
  • max group size 17
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Beijing, China
  • Ends Shanghai, China
  • +10
HIGHLIGHTS Download trip notes
  • Beijing Walk along the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Explore Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City
  • Xian Meet the famous Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huangdi
  • Yangtse River cruise Relax for 3 days whilst exploring the stunning Yangtse River landscapes
  • Villages and Rice Terraces Take in rural China as we hike amongst the villages of the Dong, Yao and Zhuan people
The China On A Shoestring tour starts in Beijing and ends in Shanghai. It is a cultural, religious and historic sites tour that takes 21 days taking you through Shanghai, Pingan, Guilin and 9 other destinations in China. China On A Shoestring is a guided small group tour that includes accommodation, transport, meals and others.

Witness China's highlights as we travel across this vast country with locals on public transport. From ancient sites in Beijing and the Great Wall to the lively and modern streets of Shanghai, experiencing the 'real China' in between. Xian & Chengdu - Meet the famous Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huangdi and see pandas at the famous research centre Yangtse River cruise - Relax for 3 days whilst exploring the stunning river landscapes Villages and Rice Terraces - Take in rural China as we hike amongst the villages of the Dong, Yao and Zhuan people
5 - Excellent
Based on 294 reviews
  • James
  • On Feb 24 2020
4 - Very Good
James' review for another Explore tour
“The mix up on tour end date was very weird, but thankfully you handled it well. Will was very gracious and helpful to everyone with the complicated transfers.”
  • Sally
  • On May 02 2020
4 - Very Good
Sally's review for another Explore tour
“It is a real pity Jamaica has a bad reputation - our experience was really good. Tourists should use their common sense but we found locals to be friendly and welcoming. The pace was gentle and good if you go on holiday knackered from work !”
  • Lauren
  • On Dec 09 2019
5 - Excellent
Lauren's review for another Explore tour
Select Tour Version:
  • Day 1 : Join trip in Beijing
  • Day 2 : Discover the sights of Beijing including the Forbidden City
  • Day 3 : Discover the Temple of Heaven, free afternoon in Beijing
  • Day 4 : Walk the Great Wall; overnight train to Xian
  • Day 5 : Free time to explore Xian's Muslim Quarter
  • Day 6 : Discover the Terracotta Army; optional Tea Ceremony
  • Day 7 : Morning train to Yichang; board the Yangtse riverboat
  • Day 8 : Cruise down the Yangtse River
  • Day 9 : Continue down the Yangtse River; passing through the fabulous Three Gorges
  • Day 10 : A chance to visit the Jade Emperor's Shrine and take part in the Captain's farwell dinner
  • Day 11 : Disembark riverboat; bullet train to Chengdu
  • Day 12 : Visit the Panda Research Centre and take the bullet train to Sanjiang before driving to Ma An Zhai Village
  • Day 13 : Drive to Ma An Zhai Village. Evening with local family
  • Day 14 : Meet Yao families in Longji and Dazhai Village
  • Day 15 : Hike from Dazhai to Pingan, passing incredible views
  • Day 16 : Transfer from Pingan to Yangshuo
  • Day 17 : Free day in Yangshuo; optional bike hire and cooking classes
  • Day 18 : Transfer to Guilin; overnight train to Shanghai
  • Day 19 : Free day in Shanghai; stroll along the Shanghai Bund
  • Day 20 : Optional visit to the Pearl TV and Radio Tower
  • Day 21 : Trip ends in Shanghai
  • 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • King Parkview Hotel (3 nights)
  • Overnight Train from Beijing to Xian (1 night)
  • Jie Fang Hotel (2 nights)
  • Yangtse River Boat (4 nights)
  • Chengdu Kuanjing Ruiji Hotel (1 night)
  • Longfeng Guesthouse (2 nights)
  • Dazhai Xin Tian Guesthouse (1 night)
  • Ping An Guesthouse (1 night)
  • New Li Jiang Hotel (2 nights)
  • Overnight Train from Guilin to Shanghai (1 night)
  • Shanghai Yu Hang Hotel (2 nights)
  • Driver(s)
  • Bus
  • Boat
  • Train
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Local Guide(s)
  • Any international flights to Beijing and from Shanghai are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel insurance is not included in this China on a Shoestring tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
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GOOD TO KNOW Download trip notes

No additional cancellation fees apply for this China on a Shoestring tour. You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 59 days of departure.


For any tour departures within 14 August 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 14 August 2021, a deposit of 10% is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 59 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

China on a Shoestring tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this China on a Shoestring tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

For Solo Travelers

A twin share room may not always be available for solo travelers as it depends on the final number of people on the tour. If you have picked twin share room while booking, and that option is not available, we will get back to you after booking. A single room might then be available against an additional fee.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • The average size of this tour is just 12 people.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing has been implemented on this tour. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected. Hygiene safety measures and distancing will furthermore be followed in transportation, accommodation and meal venues.
  • Various COVID-19 distancing measures have been implemented on this trip to ensure the safety of each traveller.
  • This tour has implemented COVID-19 protocols that are guided by the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation), the European Commission and local government regulations. It amongst others take into account personal protection, extensive disinfecting and social distancing measures.
If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
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