25 Day Hong Kong to Hong Kong - (Dorm)
Our most popular route, the full Dragon Trip China backpacker circuit, encompasses travel through both Eastern and Western China, off-the-beaten-track locations, and all of China's major sites. From backpacking on the Great Wall, getting up close to giant pandas, and experiencing China's buzzing nightlife in Shanghai and Hong Kong - it doesn't get more awesome than this!
Hong Kong - Yangshuo - Chengdu - Xian - Qinling Mountains - Dengfeng - Beijing - Hangzhou – Shanghai - Fujian - Macau
- Climb Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
- Bamboo Raft in Yangshuo
- See pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
- See the Terracotta Army and stay on a mountain farm in Xi'an
- Learn Kung Fu with young Kung Fu trainees at Shaolin
- Hike the Great Wall, Camp overnight on the Wall and watch the sunrise
- See Chairman Mao’s summer villa nestled in a stunning bamboo forest near Hangzhou
- Sip Champagne in a hot tub on the roof of a skyscraper in Shanghai
- Stay a night in the round house of the Hakka minority people in Fujian
- Try the world’s highest Bungy Jump in Macau, if you dare!
- Destinations connected by night trains with flat beds, so no time is wasted travelling
Day 1: Hong Kong
Discover one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world on your first day; observe how Eastern and Western cultures have fused together.
- First Meeting time 7am @ Yes inn @ Yau Ma Tei Hostel (formerly known as Hi Inn @ Nathan Road / Wing Sing Hotel). The address is 2nd Floor, 1B Wing Sing Lane, Yau Ma Tei.
- Travel up to Victoria Peak and enjoy a view of Hong Kong from above. (PLEASE NOTE: From late April to late July 2019, the Peak tram will be suspended. The Peak may not be open for visitors during this period. If it is closed, The Dragon Trip will provide an alternative program.)
- Pre-departure briefing on top of Victoria Peak
- Second meeting time at 10am to Depart from the Yesinn to cross the border and board your train to Guilin. This is the last time and chance to meet your group if you’ve missed the 7 am departure.
- Depart from the Yesinn to cross the border and board your train to Guilin.
- Board your 3-hour bullet train to Guilin
- Arrive in Guilin. You have the choice to have dinner at this point, or enjoy a meal in Yangshuo two hours from now.
- Check-in (time may vary depending on whether the group decides to have dinner in Guilin, or Yangshuo)
Day 2-5: Yangshuo
Towering karst peaks, a carpet of green, fertile fields and a never-ending list of activities; rafting on the Li river, mud baths, cycling, cooking, swimming and more.
- Try your hand at cooking up some traditional Chinese foods at this friendly and practical local cuisine institute
- Group Lunch
- Unmissable Activity: Cruise down the Yulong River on these Chinese style Gondolas – Bamboo Rafts! Bikes included to ride around! (please make sure you wear a helmet at all times when you are riding your bike!)
- Optional: Bike Ride to Moon Hill and a cave complex including mudbaths and hot springs (85RMB entry fee)
- Optional: Try your hand at Rock-Climbing! (180 RMB)
- Optional: Kayaking on the Li River! (160 RMB)
- Optional: Experience Chinese traditional therapies such as Hot Cupping (from 50 RMB)
- Optional: A true treat, experience what life is like on a farm by visiting your Adventure Leader’s home village (100 RMB)
- Board minibus to North Bus Station and then board your bus to Guilin
- Depart Yangshuo on a bullet train to Chengdu, arriving in the evening. Take a metro to your hostel and meet your new Adventure Leader!
Day 6-8: Chengdu
Find yourself in the laid-back heart of Western China, enjoying tea houses, pandas, Buddhist shrines, spicy hot-pot, temples, and as much KTV as you can handle!
- Unmissable Activity: Gather up to go see the Pandas at the world’s main and biggest, Giant Panda Breeding & Research Center.
- Mandarin Lesson 1: Have a Mandarin lesson with your Adventure Leader
- Optional: Watch a traditional Sichuan Opera & Culture Show
- Optional: Leave to Leshan to see the world’s largest stone Buddha.
- Optional: Wander Jinli street and the Tibetan districts independently. (Chengdu is right next to Tibet, or Xizang in Mandarin, so there is a large ethnic community here)
- Optional: Sample the famous Sichuan Hot Pot if you dare! (Legendary Spice!)
- Have a night out in Chengdu
- Optional: Volunteer at an Autism Children Rehabilitation Centre (If you would like to donate money or school materials, please talk to your Adventure Leader.)
- Optional: Visit Wenshu Monastery, Sichuan Province Museum, People’s Park and a traditional Tea House
- Take bus or metro to Chengdu North Railway Station.
- Say goodbye to your Adventure Leader and board your train to Xian
Day 9-10: Xi'an
Experience medieval China in this ancient ‘frontier’ city. Stroll through the Muslim quarter, barter for souvenirs, cycle the huge, old city walls, and try some local delicacies.
- Arrive in Xi’an and meet your next Adventure Leader
- Check-in to your hostel
- Optional: Explore the Bell Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque to learn about the history of the Silk Road, towers, mosque and some local legends.
- Enjoy a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter. Relax after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
- Un-missable Attraction – Terracotta Warriors (Free)
- Optional: Bike Ride on Ming Dynasty City Walls. Please make sure you wear a helmet!
- Optional: Watch the Music & Lights show near the Big Goose Pagoda
Day 11-12: Shaolin
An unforgettable time at the Shaolin temple. Learn Kungfu from a monk and really get to know the locals as you hike and discover this tranquil, ancient place.
- Board a private minivan than take a bus to DengFeng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple
- Arrive in DengFeng
- Optional: Kung Fu Lesson & Show at a local Children’s Home run by the Shaolin Temple, where the monks teach these children to be Kungfu masters. All proceeds go directly to the Children’s Home.
- Dinner in the Guesthouse
- Mandarin lesson: Have your second Mandarin lesson
- Optional: Visit the flagship of Kung Fu, The Shaolin Temple
- Optional: Hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims, and be rewarded by beautiful views of both the shrines/temples in the area and the views of the area
- Optional: Had enough of temples or kung-fu? Visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO world heritage site with over 100,000 carved Buddha’s
- Have a late lunch at the guesthouse then pack and check out
- Depart to Zhengzhou to board your train to Beijing
- Arrive at the train station and have some food before your train leaves
Day 13-16: Beijing
Camp out under the stars on a remote section of the Great Wall. After an unforgettable sunrise, head back to the city for more history, culture and food.
- Arrive Beijing and meet your next Adventure Leader. Transfer by minibus to the hostel. You won’t be staying the night here, so you won’t be able to get into rooms, but can use the shower rooms, and common areas to relax before heading to the Wall in the afternoon
- Mandarin lesson: Have your 3rd Mandarin Lesson
- It’s time for the Mandarin challenge! Use your freshly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways. The winning team earns a prize.
- Mandatory meal at a local farm to obtain permission to access the locals only sections of the unrestored Great Wall
- Unmissable Attraction – Hike on totally unrestored sections of the Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section of the wall to watch the sunset on one of the Wonders of the World (Please note, due to cold weather before end of April and after September, we stay in a guest house near the Wall instead of camping, but still return to the Wall to watch sunrise in the morning)
- Unmissable Attraction – Sunrise on the Wall
- Return to Beijing
- Optional: A stunning Chinese Acrobatics Performance performed by young talents recruited from around China
- Enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, taste Beijing’s signature dish Peking Roast Duck
- Optional: Take a walk through the globally recognized, Tiananmen Square
- Optional: Visit the Forbidden City. The largest palatial complex in the world, the grounds boast 980 buildings and a history of housing 24 different Chinese royalty
- Optional: Go to Jingshan Park for a bird’s eye view of the three palaces: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square.
- Test your bargaining skills in the Fake Goods Market!
- Optional: Go to the Temple of Heaven, the largest complex dedicated to heaven worship in the world and where ancient sacrifices were made to bring bountiful harvests
- Optional: Visit Nanluo district, one of the best-preserved historical areas in Beijing. It is famous for its hutongs and siheyuan courtyards as well as the bars, cafes and handicraft shops
- Enjoy a free day before heading to your next destination
- Optional: Visit the 798 art district, the Summer Palace, or any other highlights of Beijing
- Board night train to Hangzhou
Day 17-18: Hangzhou
A breath of fresh air after the bustling capital city. Explore the ancient waterfront town, hike your way to the top of Jiuyao Mountain and venture into the luscious Misty Forest.
- Head to West Lake for a relaxing boat tour
- Optional: Learn about China’s trade history with visits to the China National Tea Museum or the National Silk Museum
- Hike up Jiuyao Mountain to catch the sunset over West Lake
- Enjoy a delicious group dinner back in the city centre
- Optional: Explore Hangzhou old town
- Have a big breakfast ready for more activities
- Head to Misty Forest for a hike around the Nine Creeks area
- Return to the hostel to freshen up, grab lunch and check out
- Take a private transfer Hangzhou Station for your train to Shanghai
- Arrive in Shanghai and take the metro to the hostel
- Optional: Experience the city’s nightlife with the Shanghai Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl! (Only available on Saturday. If you arrive on a different day, then you can enjoy our alternative activity, a cruise on the Huangpu River by night. Please see Day 19-21 for more details.)
Day 19-21: Shanghai
With a fascinating modern history and sizzling economy, Shanghai dazzles as an epic place for nightlife, Western comforts, getting lost and much, much more.
- Optional: Take the bus to ZhuJiaJiao Water Town, a Chinese equivalent to the Italian Venice
- Take the bus back to Shanghai
- Enjoy the night Chinese-style by going out for some Karaoke at KTV
- Spend your free day as you please! As your Adventure Leader for suggested activities or look in your Little Red Book for inspiration
- Optional: Spend your free day releasing your inner child at Shanghai Disneyland
- Mandarin Lesson 4: Today your lesson is run by professional teachers from Mandarin Garden Chinese Language School!
- Optional: Walk to the Yu Gardens and back a bustling historical site of a former dignitary lavish family quarters
- Optional: See People’s Square, before heading on to the World’s busiest shopping street, Nanjing Road. Afterwards, go for a walk along the bund, a hub of global architecture. To finish off, head to the top floor of a skyscraper to enjoy some champagne whilst sitting in a hot tub.
- Optional: Stroll through the former French Concession to hear a little bit about Shanghai’s international history, visit a secretive propaganda history museum, take in the sights of the ultra-modern Shanghai financial district, take a local ferry cross the famous Huangpu river from east to the west of The Bund and finish off the afternoon by visiting TianZiFang a local artisan’s lane that blends the chic and traditional
- Optional: For the daredevils, head to the top of Jinmao Tower and brave the Skywalk! Or just go up and take in the panoramic views
- Optional: Go to VUE bar to view the city skyline from a rooftop jacuzzi!
- Optional: Take in the bright city lights from the water with a night cruise down the Huangpu River (100 RMB)
Day 22-24 Fujian
Enjoy Chinese agriculture at its most beautiful in an undulating part of Fujian’s tea-growing region. Enjoy a stay with the local people in their traditional roundhouses.
- Take the metro to Hongqiao station.
- Take a bullet train to Nanjing, Fujian.
- Arrive in Nanjing then transfer by minivan deep into the Fujian tea-growing hills and stay overnight in a mud roundhouse, the traditional homes of the Hakka Minority People.
- Arrive at the traditional roundhouse and have dinner
- Un-missable Activity – Walking tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fujian Tulou, exploring the Hakka Minority Roundhouses, picturesque villages, tea fields, traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting.
- Visit the tea plantations. Take some cash if you’d like to purchase some tea.
- Un-missable Activity: Bike tour, visit the biggest roundhouse. (There is a support vehicle at all times if you have had enough of cycling) See the largest Tulou in the world and explore upstairs. Then make a visit to the neighbouring local village.
- Free time
- Arrive at the train station to take your train to Guangzhou.
Day 24-25: Macao day (and optional night) trip
This unique destination combines dazzling nightlife with a rich Chinese-Portuguese heritage. A day trip here is included, but you can opt for the overnight stay too before heading back to HK/elsewhere
- If you travel to Macao for the day trip, you’ll arrive at Guangzhou East and take the bus to the Zhuhai border.
- Go through the border. Try some delicacies offered while passing through. Board casino bus to a hotel on the Kotai strip. Freshen up, and drop bags and then take the bus to Old Town.
- Un-missable Activity: Take a quick tour of the Ruins of St Paul and the Old Fortress in Macao’s Historic Centre.
- Optional: Test your courage with the World’s Highest Bungee Jump.
- After your day trip to Macao, you will:
- Grab your luggage then head to the ferry port to take the hydrofoil back to Hong Kong.
- Arrive in Hong Kong and take the metro back to the Yes Inn @ Yau Ma Tei Hostel at 22:30.
- Say goodbye to your group and finish up your tour with The Dragon Trip. We wish you safe travels!
- A combination of Western and Chinese English-speaking Adventure Leaders.
- Free mandarin tuition for beginners
- Accommodation in hostels which meet The Dragon Trip’s high standards. All hostels have their own unique Chinese charm, and at the same time are safe, clean, and hygienic.
- All train, boat and bus tickets.
- Entry, transport and Adventures Leaders to some of China’s un-missable attractions, such as the Terracotta Warriors, camping on the Great Wall, and bamboo rafting down the Li River (a full list of all un-missable activities is available on individual trip pages).
- All taxes and charges.
What’s not included?
- Flights to and from China
- Aside from the many free un-missable activities The Dragon Trip offers you, we also offer some extra activities which are great value for money, safe and fun.
- Food and Drink – Eating and drinking is incredibly cheap in China, but even so, the Dragon Trip still gives you access to a great range of discounts on food and drinks in the liveliest bars in town.
- Any train/bus tickets for journeys made after the trip- we provide a booking service at a cost of 30 RMB per ticket booked, on top of the price of the ticket.
- Any hostels for after your trip has ended
March - 11th, 18th, 20th, 25th
April -1st Apr, 3rd Apr, 10th, 15th, 22nd
May - 1st, 8th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, 27th
June - 3rd, 5th, 10th, 19th, 26th
July - 1st, 3rd, 8th, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 24th, 31st
August - 5th, 7th, 12th, 14th, 21st, 28th
September - 2nd, 4th, 11th, 16th, 18th, 25th
October - 2nd, 7th, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th