From the beautiful mountain lakes of Tibet to the vast arid deserts of Inner Mongolia, from the fairy-tale islands surrounding Hong Kong to ancient forests, a trip to China always brings you closer to nature at its mesmerizing best. While its language barrier, undulating energy, humongous population and apparent lack of space, a journey to ...
Like everything it does, China’s ancient history is on an epic scale – see it when face-to-face with thousands of Terracotta Warriors, walking the Great Wall (or encountering thousands of local tourists at the Forbidden City!).
Find peace in one of the holiest places in China as you trek around Emei Shan and stay in a monastery, waking to the sound of drums and morning prayers.
Learn about the endangered (and adorable) giant pandas’ struggle for survival, and get up close to these unique creatures in Chengdu.
Visit not only Bifengxia Panda Base, but also a sanctuary and rescue centre outside Chengdu to learn the plight of China’s endangered moon bears (Asian black bears)..
Wander through Huanglong, then spend a full day exploring the stunning landscapes of Jiuzhaigou National Park, where layered waterfalls and vivid blue lakes abound..
Break up the scenic journey to Jiuzhaigou by visiting Qiang and Tibetan minorities in mountain villages, and learn more about the impact of the 2008 earthquake on these communities and their traditional cultures..
“This was our first group holiday having previously travelled around various Asian countries on our own. The holiday exceeded our expectations and we really enjoyed the experience of modern China. The organisation was good with a great balance of varied experiences. The food was excellent too.”
“The whole trip from start to finish was an experience well worth taking. Of course there were a few things which perhaps in hindsight could have been improved upon, particularly the overnight sleeper train journeys. We would have much preferred to have paid a little extra to have used the bullet train or even an extra flight wherever possible in order to have had more time to carry out sightseeing and avoid the arduous journeys. However, apart from that the holiday which was well organised by Exodus and superbly led by our tour guide, Alan Liu, (Hongbin Liu), who was absolutely brilliant. When you are on holiday, no matter who you go with, the face of the company is represented by the Tour Leader and in our instance this was Alan Liu. If we were to go back to China we would go on the understanding that the tour would again be led by Alan. He was extremely informative, funny, very well organised and knew his subject matter well. He ensured that we were at a particular venue or place at the right time so as to avoid the crowds and get the best views and this was particularly the case when we visited the Panda sanctuary at Chengdu where he timed it to perfection and we saw the Pandas at their liveliest and just before the main crowds arrived. Exodus would be so much poorer without the services of that man.”
“This was the first group trip and first time using Exodus. Apprehensive about the busy itinerary and group dynamic. However all anxieties were quickly dispersed. Whilst the trip was busy it provided a great introduction to China.”
“A great trip in regards to where we went and what we saw, however the group was far too big, 17, which had an impact on pace we could go and at times it felt like we were like any other tour group being herded around which is not why I chose to go with Exodus.”
From the beautiful mountain lakes of Tibet to the vast arid deserts of Inner Mongolia, from the fairy-tale islands surrounding Hong Kong to ancient forests, a trip to China always brings you closer to nature at its mesmerizing best. While its language barrier, undulating energy, humongous population and apparent lack of space, a journey to China often ends up feeling tiring and stressful, the simplest way to ensure that you enjoy this fascinating country for all of its beauty and millennia-old culture is to focus on specific areas and don’t try to add too many things into your itinerary. You will still have to jostle with millions of domestic and international tourists, but you will also be able to enjoy an intriguing and uplifting experience.
Wander the Summer Palace in Beijing
Explore incredible Buddhist art in the Mogao Caves
Cross part of the Great Wall of China
Walk through Beijing’s Forbidden City
Visit Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army in Lintong District
Don’t go looking for the ‘Chinese’ food you’re accustomed to eating at home. Proper Chinese cuisine is mostly simple meat and cooked vegetables, and is very different from what you’ll find in Westernised Chinese restaurants.
The only currency you can use in China is the yuan (or RMB). Business will not accept Hong Kong dollars or US dollars. If you can’t exchange currencies before you travel, many large banks allow you to exchange money using their ATMs at a reasonable exchange rate.
Receive a compliment? Don’t say thank you - it’s a sign of vanity. Refuse them - it’s polite.
Many websites are blocked in China, including Google (Gmail) and Facebook. If you desperately need these tools to contact friends and family back home, seek advice from the locals. We Chat is one of the most popular messaging app.
Purchasing a Chinese sim card for your mobile phone is simple and cheap. Carriers even offer a service where you can call to request directions and they text you the address in Mandarin for easy communication with taxi drivers.
China has seasonal weather so please do check up on the best time to visit China before planning your tour. And if you’re still hunting for more things to do and places to explore in China, do check out our China Travel Guide for more information.