Take a whistle-stop tour of China’s capital city, the launch pad of our Small Group Journeys. See the iconic sites: the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall. Our tours also show you beyond the colossal monuments to everyday life. Ride a rickshaw through the hutongs, lunch with locals, and play Ping-Pong with spritely octogenarians in the grounds of the Temple of Heaven.
The jewel in Xi’an’s crown is of course the Terracotta Warriors, and the knowledge of our local guides sheds light on the mysterious army. But there’s more to the city than its clay soldiers. A great ancient capital for centuries, and the start of the Silk Road where cultures converged. The peaceful Great Mosque and Buddhist pagoda are thriving, and street food is also a highlight.
Datong and Pingyao
Travel by train from Beijing to see the ancient Yungang Caves at Datong. The grottoes are filled with immense sculptures, nearly two thousand years old. In picturesque Pingyao, feel like you’ve stepped back in time onto the streets of ancient China. The Hanging Monastery clings to a cliff-side outside the town, a beautifully preserved example of astounding architecture.
Guilin and Longshen
Feel the harmonious feng-shui of Guilin’s scenery. Immerse yourself in its tranquillity on a cruise to Yangshuo, while your guide recounts local myths about the limestone karst shapes. The remote countryside of Longsheng boasts some of the largest terraced rice paddies in the world, and is one of China’s most ethnically diverse areas.
China’s most cosmopolitan city. See the sharp contrast of colonial Bund architecture with cutting-edge skyscrapers of Pudong. Escape the crowds in the peaceful Yu Gardens, and experience an eye-opening silk workshop. The world-class Shanghai Museum houses ceramics millennia old, among other cultural gems. In the Propaganda Art Centre, glimpse China during the Cultural Revolution, when the country was utterly off limits to foreigners.
Meet the People
Insider Journeys understand that interactions with the locals are usually the most meaningful way to get under the skin of a culture. On one of our tours, you’ll appreciate just how friendly and welcoming the Chinese people are. As well as meals graciously hosted in a traditional Beijing home, spontaneous connections are likely to be made over the Ping-Pong table in a Xi’an park, or in an impromptu tai chi class.
The Cuisine of China
As one of the world’s richest culinary traditions, Chinese food is an integral part of any trip to China. From imperial banquets of Peking duck to bizarre and challenging street food, the variety of culinary experiences on offer is astounding, and hugely enjoyable. Many travellers find the food to be an extremely positive and memorable part of their visit.
The most famous of Chongqing’s millions of residents are its pandas. Watch the adorable creatures at feeding time, before feeding yourself with a fiery hot-pot, the region’s speciality. Before boarding your Yangtze cruise boat, visit the museum, which tells the story of the world-renowned, colossal Three Gorges dam.
Arrive in Yangshuo after a relaxing cruise down the stunning Li River from Guilin. Walk through cobbled streets, take in the café culture, and soak up the scenery of this idyllic spot. To observe China’s rural life up close, cycle through the countryside, past rice paddies and farming villages. Enjoy an interactive cooking class, a tai chi lesson, and a spectacular sound and light show on the river.