Boat with Cormorants, Yangshuo, China

Holidays to China

Look closely at China and you will find that innovation and antiquity exist side by side. 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.

Explore the highlights of China

  • Travel on board the Yangzi Explorer , the best boat on the river.
  • Combine a Yangtze Cruise with the highlights of Beijing and Xian.
  • Explore the Buddhist artwork & cave sculptures at Dazu Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Prayer Wheel Tibet
  • Visit minority groups, traditional villages and Tibetan monasteries amidst towering mountain scenery.
  • Trek the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  • Take traditional yak butter tea with a Tibetan family.


  • Soak up the history and architecture of Beijing, from the Forbidden City to the Olympic Birds Nest stadium.
  • Escape the crowds and trek across a remote section of the Great Wall.
  • Explore the old streets hutongs of Beijing.
  • Stay at the Banyan Tree Yangshuo, on the banks of the Li River amidst spectacular karst scenery.
  • Take to the water by river raft as the traditional cormorant fishermen do.
  • Cycle amongst the paddy fields, stopping for a picnic enroute.


What to expect on your luxury China holiday

China has over 5000 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. The fabled Silk Road city of Kashgar, the exceptionally preserved Ming dynasty walls of Pingyao city, and Datong, home to the Yungang caves and their carved Buddha’s.  Luxury accommodation enables visitors to stay in the ultimate comfort or opt for a more traditional experience, staying at lodges such as Norden Tibetan Camp on the Tibetan plateau or the Songtsam lodges in Shangri La. 

Recommended by our China specialists

  • Take a high speed train to the less visited, walled city of Pingyao. Stay in a gorgeous traditional courtyard hotel and explore this charming city.
  • Journey along the Silk Road from Kyrgyzstan to China.
  • Explore the soaring mountains and Tibetan culture of North West Yunnan, from the charming city of Lijiang to the Buddhist Monasteries of Shangri-La.
  • Discover the remote province of Guizhou, home to minority tribes and an age old way of life.
  • Stay at the Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain and see Chinas most iconic wildlife resident, the Giant Panda.
  • Get to know the cities of Beijing and Shanghai in a unique way: Experience a tai chi class with a tai chi Master at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and take a bicycle tour through the hidden alleys of Shanghai.
  • Stopover in the vibrant city of Hong Kong and take a day trip to explore the Portuguese architecture of Macau.
  • Travel from Lhasa to Kathmandu taking in Mount Everest en route.

Our China holiday experts

We have been creating China holidays since 1994. Paul first travelled to China in 1983 and in the intervening years has made over 30 visits to almost every corner. Recent adventures in China include trekking on the Great Wall, travelling the Songtsam Trail in Yunnan & rafting on the Li River. It is their wealth of in-depth knowledge and first-hand experience that will enable them to tailor your holiday to meet your exact requirements and interests.

Advice from our China experts

“The major highlights are well visited for good reason and are a must for a first time visit to China, however, combining these with less visited places makes for a fabulous holiday to China. Ask our advice – we can get you off the beaten track to where few others go. China is a fabulously interesting country that can be visited time and time again”

Paul Craven | Steppes Travel China Specialist

China FAQs

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The language seems hard to grasp, is English spoken over there?
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!
What should I take that I may not be able to find over there?
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.
Is the street food safe to eat?
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.
Will a guide travel with me on my train journey?
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.


China - Ancient Culture and Textiles of Guizhou

expert led group tour

China - Ancient Culture and Textiles of Guizhou

This trip is all about the ethnic people, textiles, architecture and landscapes of Guizhou Provin...

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China - Tibetan Festivals & Litang Horse Fair

expert led group tour

China - Tibetan Festivals & Litang Horse Fair

Discover Amdo and Kham, part of historical Tibet. Here, for centuries Tibetan nomads have grazed ...

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Kyrgyzstan & China - A Journey along the Silk Road

expert led group tour

Kyrgyzstan & China - A Journey along the Silk Road

Journey eastward, by road, rail and air; following the route of the ancient Silk Road. Explore th...

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China - Shangri-La and Beyond

China - Shangri-La and Beyond

This Shangri-La holiday idea is ideal for travellers wishing to explore remote, untouched an...

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China - Highlights of China including Yangtze Cruise

Highlights of China including Yangtze Cruise

This classic holiday encompasses many of the highlights China has to offer, including Beijing &am...

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China - Walled Cities & Buddhist Cave Art

China - Walled Cities & Buddhist Cave Art

This fabulous holiday idea to China showcases China at its best. Visit Beijing, Datong,...

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Russia - Golden Eagle Silk Route by Train

Golden Eagle Silk Route by Train

For centuries the domain of adventurers and merchants trading their wares, the ancient Silk Route...

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China - Luxury Hosted Holiday to China

Luxury Hosted Holiday to China

What makes this holiday suggestion to China different is the inclusion of a China Host. A connois...

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China - Highlights of China including pandas

Highlights of China including Pandas

Explore Beijing, from the ancient Forbidden City to the modern Olympic Bird Nest complexSee the T...

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China - Family China

Family Holiday to China

China is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world and has a fascinating history ...

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Kyrgyzstan to China - Along the Silk Route

Along the Silk Route - Kyrgyzstan to China

This holiday follows the northern Chinese Silk Route journeying eastwards by road, rail and ...

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China - Pure Yunnan from Kunming to Lijiang & Shangri-La

Holiday to the Yunnan Province in China

The province of Yunnan is one of China's most diverse and naturally beautiful provinces with terr...

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China - Highlights of China including Tibet

Highlights of China including Tibet

This holiday combines the iconic sites of China with the mystical kingdom of Tibet.Explore t...

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Typical landscape, Yangshuo, Guilin, China

NEW Bullet train routes

Guilin to Hong Kong: A new high-speed bullet train now links the spectacular scenery of Guilin with the dynamic metropolis of Hong Kong, in just three hours. A cheaper and more convenient option to flying; combine skylines, from karst peaks to soaring skyscrapers. Our highlights of China with Yangtze Cruise holiday suggestion includes this train.

Kunming to Dali: A new bullet train route between Kunming and Dali is now operating and halves the journey time from four to two hours. Travel from Kunming to Dali and onto Lijiang and Shangri La to experience the best of Yunnan and a glimpse into Tibetan culture.

Xian to Chengdu: A new high-speed train is now operating between Xian and Chengdu, taking just two and a half hours. Combine the terracotta warriors in Xian with Chinas most iconic resident, the giant panda. Maybe stay at the Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain for a few days to relax at the end of your holiday to China, well located to relax amidst the mountains and include a day trip to see the pandas. 

Giant Panda eating Bamboo, China

Panda Conservation Get the Green Light in China

The Shaanxi Province Forest Department have been given the green light to develop a national park dedicated to the protection of giant pandas. An area the size of Rwanda will be dedicated to the protection of the species and its habitat.

Client Reviews

Guangdong, China
''Charles Knight was superb.
He gave us all the information we requested, was very patient with the number of queries we had running up to our trip and was extremely helpful throughout from the start thinking about our trip to taking off. Fantastic service.''

Chittoor Rajaraman

Great Wall, China
'' You always surpass my expectations.
Your team know my own tastes better than I do.''

Neil Taylor

Traditional Door Knocker, China
"This trip succeeded because Paul Craven is extremely good at understanding and interpreting his client's wishes and requirements, and has the detailed knowledge to put together and pace the trip in line with these. We cannot praise him too highly"

Paul Zisman

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10 hours from UK

Did you know?

  • If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end due to the rate of reproduction.
  • A new skyscraper is built every five days in China.
  • More people go to church in China on a Sunday than the whole of Europe.
  • The world’s oldest book is the Diamond Sutra. Printed in China in 868AD it is now in the British Museum.

Holiday Ideas in China

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