Highlights of China

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ends on 26 Sep 2018
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Highlights of China - Exodus Travels
Highlights of China - Exodus Travels
41 reviews


  • Taste the famous Beijing duck
  • Visit the Tearracotta Warriors
  • Take a cooking class in Yangshuo
  • Cycle through rice terraces
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Max Group Size
Travel style
Start in Beijing and end in Shanghai! With the discovery tour Highlights of China, you have a 11 day tour package taking you from Beijing to Shanghai and through Beijing, China and 6 other destinations in China. Highlights of China includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

41 Reviews

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  • Highlights of China reviewer 1
    Written on June 5, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This trip certainly does cover the highlights from sights to the experiences encountered.  The sights include the Great wall, terracotta army, gardens and buildings.  the experiences include the journeys by public transport, sleeper train, bullet train and bamboo rafts! Unforgettable moments, astounding sights and fantastic memories!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The abiding memory is of the enormous variety and scope of history evident in China.  This is seen not just in the buildings across the dynasties and the modern architecture but in the attitudes and behaviour os the local people.  To see octagenarians in the parks exercising, meditating whilst balancing pieces of wood on their heads or singing to each other is an inspiration for how we can connect within communities.What did you think of your group leader?Fantastic; Anson Qiu (Qiu Huanan) was an incredible guide that exercised due regard for the needs of the group as well as displaying a enormous pride in his country.  He was keen to pack into the trip all the experiences that gave a real flavour of China - food and sights.  He was extremely adept at organising and keeping the group moving and experiencing, whilst allowing individual members the time and space to experience the surroundings, this was despite being poorly for the first few days.  I would have no hesitation in recommending him as a guide to anyone and feel that he should be fully recognised - in fact I would regard him as one of the highlights!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Do not overpack.  There are opportunities to catch up with washing and no where is too formal.  Importantly go with the recommendations of teh guide and experience all that is on offer as it is important to experience both what you feel you want to as well as what they as a local want to show you.Is there anything else you would like to add?This is a trip that is an experience that has to be undertaken in your life.  The culture, the sights, the food, the variety, the people are incomparable and so refreshingly surprising - each day just brought new memories and new wonder.

  • Highlights of China reviewer 2
    Written on April 30, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    An energetic and fantastic trip which used every second of the time available and included a great variety of scenery, methods of travel and interesting diversions. As good a real taste of China as possible in two weeks.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Too many to choose one - the 'big attractions' are amazing, particularly the Great Wall. I loved Xian and biking around the city walls - and the Muslim market was huge fun for shopping and eating! It was also great to go down to Yangshou and see the Karst scenery, paddy fields and have a day biking in the countryside. Shanghai is just amazing! Altogether the word for China is Huge! in all respects.What did you think of your group leader?He was fantastic! this is my second trip and I was nervous that I had been so lucky with the leader last time and so wondered if I could be again. I should not have worried. He was bright, fun, open to all discussions on any subject, very careful not to loose 'his flock' and keen to accommodate any individual requests made by any of us. A great strength of Exodus trips it seems.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I think the Trip Notes were very good including all essentials (loo paper!). If read carefully they show you how much is fitted into some of the days and the idea is to see as much as possible in the time and enjoy everything from cooking lessons to Tai Chi lessons and biking, rafting, boating, hiking etc. Well rated as 'Leisurely/Moderate'. It is much cleaner and less challenging in many ways than India, although I loved the latter, and the roads are incomparably better! The overnight train was good fun too and everywhere is spotless.Is there anything else you would like to add?GO! The joy is it is so different from Europe in every way and so interesting! I do suggest you do some preparatory reading, especially about the Terracotta Army and the very different culture (and learn to use chopsticks before you go!)

  • Highlights of China reviewer 3
    Written on January 16, 2013
    3.0 - Average

    Trip content was perfect.   Could not be faulted.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Hutongs.Yangshuo water showCookery lesson What did you think of your group leader?Unfortunately, our original group leader fell ill and had to be replaced, this was no problem as we had not become accustomed to the first leader.Group leaders should be made aware that their time must be spent equally with all clients. This was not the case and too often the leader would be off in conversation with the same one or two people and not available to answer important questions from the rest of the group.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Pay attention to timings and be prompt or the rest of the group suffer.Obtain the cell phone number of the leader at the earliest opportunity and report all incidents.Is there anything else you would like to add?The trip was let down by the severe lack of correct transport facility.At one point, on a long trip, the luggage was loaded on to the forward passenger seats of a bus that was only adequate to seat the group without luggage. My husband and I were compelled to sit in the only two seats available at the back of the bus which were only designed for children. My husband refused to travel on the bus again unless extra transport was made available for the luggage.Whilst in these seats, the person immediately in front of my husband, forced the seat back and damaged the little finger on my husbands left hand. He is still attending the doctor.

  • Highlights of China reviewer 4
    Written on January 2, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    There were many brilliant moments on this holiday and we very much enjoyed all of it. The trip was well balanced with a good range of different activities and places to visit. Wonderful food and nice beer at great prices was a further bonusWhat did you think of your group leader?Wendy was an outstanding group leader. She was quite clearly passionate about China and showing and explaining to the group. She was knowledgable and good at delivering information to the group. She made every effort to make sure that every individual had a great time.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?A small piece of advice and a lesson learnt. The mini buses dont always have working seat belts. On one occasion I was forced (since there were no other seats left) to sit at the back in the middle. The driver did an emergency stop and I was thrown down onto the floor and was lucky not to be very seriously injured. Choose your seat carefully.Is there anything else you would like to add?Definitely recommend

  • Highlights of China reviewer 5
    Written on June 13, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    A very well organised trip. We packed a lot into the 2 weeks, saw all the major sights and did lots of the extras as well. The traffic in the cities was horrendous, crossing roads was a nightmare! But I did manage to learn to eat with chopsticks-just about!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I really enjoyed the days in Yangshuo. The Liu Sanjie show was spectacular, the kayak trip was great, we finally got away from the crowds, and the tandem ride was fun, but a bit scary too in the traffic. I was really impressed with my cooking skills too! Also the Shanghai acrobatic show was amazing.What did you think of your group leader?Emma was very good and friendly and managed to keep smiling whatever she had to organise. She went the extra mile to give us a real flavour of the country, helping through all the trips on public transport, choosing lots of different dishes to reflect local specialities when we ate together and recommending extras that we could do.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be ready for very hard beds in most of the hotels! Apparently the Chinese like them, I needed to sleep on top of a duvet apart from in Shanghai. The Great Wall walk is hard work, be ready to bargain with your farmer "helpers", although I was glad of my lady's helping hand on the rocky parts. Beware of mosquitoes in Tongli and Shanghai!Is there anything else you would like to add?The night boat trip around Guilin was a bit too much like Disney for my taste, but the other extras were worth it. A Chinese massage is also an experience, just what I needed after the Great Wall walk.

  • Highlights of China reviewer 6
    Written on June 12, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    Doing the Highlights of China with Exiodus was a great way of seeing as much of China as possible in two weeks.At first I thought paying over two grand for this trip was an awful lot of money, but now I have to say it was worth every penny.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I really enjoyed seeing the great wall of China and also the terracotta warriors as these are some of the top tourist attractions in China. Exodus really do make sure that these days are something special for you and will give you English speaking tour guide's who know everything there is to know about the great wall and the terracotta warriors. Just ask them any question you like!!Also the open air Light Show in Yangshuo is a must see! with a cast of 600 people! I had never seen anything like it in my life!Also alot of people who worked in the markets in China spoke excellent English which did surprize me! So if you are thinking of going on this holiday, do not worry! where ever you go there always be English speaking people around and about.What did you think of your group leader?My group leader Emma was very good. She was always on time and never late. Every day she would give the group a breifing about what was happening the following day on our bus journeys or would come round and speak to me and the others in the hotel. Emma was very laid back and everything always went to plan. She had a great sense of humor and was more like a friend to us then a tour leader!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?This is a great was of seeing China in two weeks, but the days can be fast moving and your tour guide will fit in as much as possible every day. Chill out time is mainly when you are on the bus traverling for a couple of hours from place to place, However when you are in Yangshuo and Shanghai you do get a free days in both these places to have a more restful day, Which is much needed!!!Is there anything else you would like to add?Very good trip and a once in a life time oppotunity. It is alot of money, but is money well spent and a holiday you will remeber for the rest of your life! GO FOR IT :-)

  • Highlights of China reviewer 7
    Written on June 3, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    A great way to see a lot of the country in a short period, but be prepared to need another holiday by the end!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I really enjoyed the cooking class in Yangshuo, which is surprising considering that I normally hate cooking!  The class was incredibly well organised and the scenery to look out over while eating was stunning.  I also liked Shanghai more than I thought I would - it is quite cosmopolitan with a cafe culture feel and was nice for chilling out at the end of the trip.  There were also some great cocktail bars at the top of skyscrapers.What did you think of your group leader?Unfortunately our original leader, Vivian, became ill after the first couple of days and had to be replaced by her colleague William.  He did a great job considering that he had never even been to a couple of the places before!  He was also very keen on trying to encourage us to drink the local spirit, White Lightning.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?As suggested by others, a small pillow would be useful for when travelling as you'll want to catch a nap whenever you can!  We had no trouble getting money from ATMs (we're with HSBC).  We took sterling as well just in case but didn't need to change it.  There was an ATM in the lobby of the first hotel.  Let the guide know if you have any food you can't eat as the banquet style of dining most days (ie lots of dishes in middle of table) means they can always order at least a few dishes that you can eat (I can't eat chillies).Is there anything else you would like to add?You'll be getting up between 6 and 7 am most days, apart from a couple of free days and I was pretty exhausted by the end as you're on the go a lot.  The minibuses we used were quite cramped, but this may be due to the fact we were a smaller group than normal (12 people).  Luckily there weren't many long road journeys - the longest was about 2 hours.  The sleeper train was comfortable and I probably got my bst night's sleep on it!  Be prepared to sleep on very hard mattresses - they were in all of the hotels apart from the ones in Shanghai.  There was a good mix of free time 

  • Highlights of China reviewer 8
    Written on May 22, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    This was a great way to see China in a short time..this holiday blasts all the five senses. We were fortunate to travel with a lovely group of interesting friendly travellers.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I loved finally seeing the Great Wall and enjoyed the lengthy time we spent walking along it. There were very few people on the wall despite being a busy Chinese holiday. We took a cable car up walked up to Tower 21 and back down to Tower 6..where we took the toboggan down to lunch!  I loved the bamboo rafting esp when we went over the mini waterfalls!! The first raft ride involved noisy outboard motors which although took us along a scenic route the quieter pole pushed bamboo ride the next day was much more as I had expected. I enjoyed the cycle rides along the city wall in Xian and through the rice field to Moon Hill.   The cooking class was I know why my sitr frys never tasted as good as they smelt!! Spending time with my husband and holding hands whilst we cycled the wall in X'ian.What did you think of your group leader?William was lively funny and always tried his best to accomodate all our needs. He took on the role of group leader at the last minute when Vivien became ill. He was very organised and we were never late for anything. He was always smiling and full of energy teaching us Majong at 07.30 in the morning! I was a bit picky with my food but William always ordered something to eat that I liked. William might not always have understood the request first time but once he understood how important it was to us he went the extra mile to get it sorted. This included  finding a pack of cards on the overnight train ride, finding a restaurent we wanted to go to.  William made sure we tasted some ' local flavours' including dumplings, bull frog and white lightening!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Check the weather forcast before you go and take clothers accordingly..pack light!!!Take a bag with wheels on it..we did need to carry our bags a fair way but there was always plenty of time and plenty of rests.Practice squatting before you go!!!  Yes there were a few dire toilets but at least you don't have to sit down!!! Nearly all touristy areas had a western toilet. Do read up about China before you go esp the history of the Wall and T. Army.Respect the culture!Is there anything else you would like to add?Do the bamboo river ride with poles not the out board motor.Do the sight seeing on/ off bus in Shanghi..the info via the headphones is great.Do the river cruise in Shanghi at night...breathtakingDo the night market in Beijing to try deep fried scorpions (no I didn't but you could!!)Cocktalls at sunset in the Grand Hyatt (ok it was a bit foggy but great to see the night lights coming on over Shanghi)Do take a river boat ride in Tongli.We sadly missed the chance to see the terrace fields which was not mentioned or offered as a day trip in Yangshoo, early start at 07 30, great 'rice' experience according to some other travellers who took it. Hotel in Tongli was beautiful but needs to be reviewed from house keeping point of view big time!!Exodus could review the bus/transport used ok for me with little legs but very uncomfortable for most esp with luggage crammed on. This has been mentioned previously so would have expected it to be sorted out by now.Everyone we met was friendly and a polite repeated no, smile and no eye contact seemed to put off hawkers etc. I did not find them a problem.Go with an open mind,  learn hello, thank you, and ice cold beer please, add an extra 100 pounds to the  optional extras and have a fabulous holiday!!Well done Exodus!

  • Highlights of China reviewer 9
    Written on May 19, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was an absolutely incredible trip.  It was brilliantly organised so we were able to fit a huge amount into two weeks.  Lots of travel involved and all went very smoothly.  Visited some absolutely amazing sights.  I have returned refreshed and eager to go back to China!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Impossible to pick one moment, but for me the main highlights were the cookery lesson in idyllic Yangshuo, the cycle ride through exquisite scenery to Moon Hill, walking on the Great Wall first thing in the morning before the crowds arrived, coming face-to-face with the Terracotta Army, and T'ai Chi at the Temple of Heaven.  Finishing in stylish Shanghai (go for cocktails at the top of the Grand Hyatt!) was fabulous.What did you think of your group leader?William was a huge personality - loads of fun, full of ideas, boundless energy and very well organised.  He took us on at the last minute when our original guide caught a bad cold, and he did the job brilliantly.  His attempts to teach us Chinese had limited success, although we did all manage "cold beer" by the end of the holiday!  He was wonderful at mealtimes - ordered loads of dishes for us to share and so saved a lot of confusion and decision-making.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take your own toilet roll as you won't find it in public toilets!  I regretted not bringing cycle shorts for the bike ride.  Make sure you have a small overnight bag for the sleeper train (that's lots of fun and much more comfortable than I'd expected).  Other than that, just relax and soak up the Chinese culture - try everything and have fun.Is there anything else you would like to add?I couldn't recommend Exodus, and this trip in particular, more highly.

  • Highlights of China reviewer 10
    Written on January 19, 2012
    3.0 - Average

    It was an incredible trip in that I saw so many amazing sights and experienced a culture removed from our own. However, the number of people at some of the sites was a bit over powering, as was the amount of smog around the cities. I had not really been prepared for either.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I really enjoyed the day of cycling and caving, the sun and relative peace and space and the incredible scenery was inspiring.What did you think of your group leader?She was excellent. This was her first trip to Hong Kong and her first tour of this kind and yet she looked after us extraordinarily well and ensured we got good service and were safe at all times.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared for the fact you will not know what the weather is like in Beijing and Xian, such is the smog. Take a pocket dictionary to point at words in restaurants. Take a trip up the tower of the Chinese bank in Hong Kong to see the view for free, but remember to carry identification to get in. Worth it!Is there anything else you would like to add?The contrast between main land China and Hong Kong was marked and I loved having a free day to explore in Hong Kong.


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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Arrive Beijing.
  2. Day 2: Great Wall
  3. Day 3: Sightseeing in Beijing; to Xi'an.
  4. Day 4: Morning walking tour of the Muslim area; free afternoon or optional cycle ride.
  5. Day 5: Full day in Xi'an; visit the Terracotta Warriors
  6. Day 6: Flight to Guilin; transfer to Yangshuo and evening orientation walk
  7. Day 7: Cycle to Moon Hill past rice terraces; free afternoon with optional cooking class
  8. Day 8: Transfer to Guilin; fly to Hangzhou and lakeside dinner
  9. Day 9: Morning tour of Hangzhou; afternoon bullet train to Shanghai with an evening walk along the Bund
  10. Day 10: Full day in Shanghai 
  11. Day 11: End Shanghai

What's included

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  • Accommodation

  • Guide

  • Meals

  • Transport

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

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Questions & Answers

Here we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions about this tour.

    • Do you arrange roommates for solo travelers?

      You can pay extra for your own room otherwise we will room you with another person of the same gender

    • When booking my flight from the USA should I arrive one day in advance ?

      The trip will start in Beijing with a welcome meeting in the evening The trip includes 3 days in the city. If you want to spend extra time we can arrange pre accommodation for you.

    • Where does the tour start?

      The trip will start in Beijing with a welcome meeting in the evening.

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    About the countries

    Useful things to know before you go


    Yuan Renminbi

    Plugs & Adapters



    Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.


    These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
    Recommended for China. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
    Hepatitis A
    Recommended for China. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
    Recommended for China. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
    Recommended for China. Ideally 3 months before travel.
    Hepatitis B
    Recommended for China. Ideally 2 months before travel.
    Recommended for China. Ideally 1 month before travel.
    Yellow fever
    Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for China. Ideally 10 days before travel.
    Japanese B encephalitis
    Recommended for China. Ideally 1 month before travel.
    Tick-borne encephalitis
    Recommended for China. Ideally 6 months before travel.


    Beijing is the starting point and Shanghai is the endpoint.
    Hold my space
    TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
    TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 22 November 2018 the full payment of $2,280 is necessary.
    Cancellation policy
    No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $2280 for Highlights of China, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
    Credit Cards
    The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express


    Covering a total distance of approx 3,602 km.
    • Beijing (China)
    • 61 km
    • Great Wall (China)
    • 61 km
    • Beijing (China)
    • 912 km
    • Xian (China)
    • 1,007 km
    • Guilin (China)
    • 59 km
    • Yangshuo (China)
    • 59 km
    • Guilin (China)
    • 1,280 km
    • Shanghai (China)
    • 81 km
    • Suzhou (China)
    • 81 km
    • Shanghai (China)

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