Chengdu and giant pandas
Home to many of China’s natural wonders, wildlife preserves, archaeological sites, and historical buildings.
While China has emerged as a global superpower, it still retains a rich history and distinctive culture all of which you can experience on a tailor-made holiday. From the man-made wonder of the Great Wall to the natural beauty of Yunnan, China is a land of both rare beauty and stark contrasts.
China has over 5,000 years of enthralling history, 48 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, cutting edge cities, a fascinating culture, magical landscapes, minority tribes and delicious cuisine. A world apart from our culture, an expert who knows and loves the country is invaluable when creating a tailor-made holiday to China.
The iconic sites of China are well visited for a reason so shouldn’t be missed on a first-time visit to the country. From the Terracotta Warriors in Xian to the magical karst limestone peaks of Yangshuo and the mighty Yangtze River. Our experts can combine these well-trodden routes with far less visited parts of the country.
Our experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.
Take the time to travel a little further to places such as the Silk Road city of Kashgar, or the exceptionally preserved Ming dynasty walls of Pingyao city, and Datong, home to the Yungang Caves and their carved Buddha’s. China is home to many minority tribes many of which are found in the less visited regions on Guizhou, Qinghai and Yunnan – time spent with these people is a rare glimpse into a fast disappearing China.
Here are a selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to China.
See one of China’s most important sights, the Terracotta Warriors on the outskirts of Xian.
Journey to Shangri La for a glimpse into Tibetan culture.
Glide along hidden Yangtze River tributaries where rural Chinese life, beautiful scenery and 5,000 years of culture remain.
Absorb the sights, sounds and smells of the Sunday market at Kashgar.
Precariously perched on the cliff face, the hanging monastery in Datong is a temple, built some 75 metres above ground.
Cruise the Li River by bamboo raft, as the traditional cormorant fishermen do.
See a traditional Peking Opera in Beijing, followed by a traditional meal of Peking Duck.
Follow in the footsteps of Emperors past amidst the palaces and terraces of Beijing’s Forbidden City.
Observe Sìchuan’s famous residents at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base.
Escape the crowds and trek across a remote section of the Great Wall of China.
Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
Paul is the Conde Nast Traveler chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.
Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.
It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.
Paul put together our trip very quickly, within a month of leaving! He did a great job and we loved the little add ons such as a cookery class and fan making. All of the guides, drivers and vehicles were amazing.
The design and operation of this holiday was excellent and took us to places that we had hardly heard of. A great experience and opportunity to sample " Old China" before it becomes overcrowded. We were very happy with the whole procedure.
Clare's guidance enabled me to achieve my objectives, to photograph giant panda. The three guides were absolutely excellent in every respect - knowledgeable, responsive and always smiling.
You will not be able to access or use social media platforms such as Facebook, Whats app, Twitter and Instagram – these are banned in China. Email is fine.
Luckily nearly everything you will need is available in China. We do advise if you require any kind of medication to bring it with you as it can sometimes be hard to find the right one. Toiletries are also something we suggest, such as sun cream, insect repellents and preferred shampoos and moisturisers.
No, your guide would not travel with you for your train journey. Your local guide will leave you at the station with full instructions and directions for boarding the train and you will then be met from the train at your arrival destination. If travelling with a party of 10 or more it would be more normal for a national guide to accompany the group throughout, including train travel.
Like anywhere where street food is the norm, we always advise eating at places which appear busy with fresh produce. The food on offer in China is like nowhere else, so trying some of the delicacies on offer will be like nowhere else on the planet and provide new culinary experiences.
Mandarin is difficult to speak and understand and although English is becoming widely spoken throughout the country especially within the cities, never presume you will be understood. If spending a day at leisure in a city we would recommend writing down the name of your hotel and any sites you may wish to visit in Mandarin as a taxi driver or local won’t necessarily understand English. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is the official language, with English closely followed. Embracing the local language is all part of the adventure and you will certainly raise a few smiles when you have a go!
Using your mobile is possible if international roaming is provided, but this can be very expensive. If you are looking to use your phone frequently, it is possible to purchase a pre-paid sim card for an unlocked phone, which can be topped up as you go.
Phones are available at most hotels and restaurants. Phoning from any hotel room can be very expensive. Enquire at the reception.
China is eight hours ahead of GMT.
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