China tour highlights
China is a vast and brilliant country which promises to enthral all who visit. From its wide grasslands to sinuous rivers, skyscraper-studded cities to chilly mountains, our trips take it all in.
Explore's tours to China take you from the dizzying neon-lit cities of Beijing and Shanghai to the rolling countryside of Jinshanling that borders the majestic Great Wall of China, or the wide barren steppes and rice terraces that blanket the nation.
Great Wall of China
Running across the breadth of China for some 21,200 kilometres, the Great Wall of China was built to protect the northern empire from enemy attack and is the longest man-made structure ever built. As walking trips go, hiking along part of China’s most recognisable sight has to be one of the finest trails you’ll ever follow, snaking through stretches of spectacular countryside to view the amazing contrasts of this fabulous country. Our Walk the Great Wall holiday offers plenty of opportunities to view, and even walk along, this world wonder. Beginning at the Dragon’s Head where the wall meets the sea, the trip takes in some of the best sections along the wall to the impressive beacon-topped hills of Jinshanling, even sailing Panjiakou Lake where it crosses the water.
The mighty Yangtse River is flanked by some of the country’s most breathtaking vistas. It’s the longest river in Asia, flowing from the northern Tibetan Plateau for over 6,300km into the East China Sea. One of the best ways to explore this wide ribbon of water is on a leisurely river cruise: drifting with the powerful current as you gaze up at the towering cliffs and keep an eye out for a wide array of wildlife, including river dolphins. Our China on a Shoestring tour spends four days on board a riverboat, gliding down a particularly mystical part of the Yangtze that’s steeped in legend, offering a source of inspiration for traditional Chinese artists through the ages. You’ll also get the chance to see the Xiling Gorge and the impressive Three Gorges Dam.
Situated in the Shaanxi province, just outside the city of Xian, a forested mound conceals one of China’s greatest treasures. The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, was buried with a vast terracotta army, made up of soldiers, chariots and horses, entertainers and leaders of war. Many of our small group holidays to China include a visit to the Terracotta Warriors; on our Treasures of China tour you’ll get to discover the thousands of life-size warriors, visit the workshop to see how they are made today, and explore Xian’s Muslim Quarter, Silk Road relics and ancient monuments like the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Festivals in China
China has a lively and welcoming population which often celebrates through high-spirited festivals – generally a great display of creativity, sporting prowess or ancient traditions. Some of our China tours are timed to take in some of China’s best festivals: on our Tribes and Festivals of Southern China trip we stay with a Chinese family, attend the Tiaohuacha Festival of the Longhorn Miao people, and even take part in the Fire Dragon Dance Festival of Leishan. Other popular tours include the Buffalo God Festival of the colourful Miao people.
Solo travel in China
Solo travellers don’t have to travel alone – on one of our group holidays to China, you can explore the sights with fellow passionate travellers, with expert guidance to illuminate each of the mesmerising sights and experiences. If you’re looking to visit China as a solo traveller, our selection of tours are a great place to start, with almost half of our customers joining solo. A new destination, a group of potential new friends, plus all the arrangements taken care of: a winning formula.