Essence of China

A journey through China's galactic diversity

  • Explore Beijing's iconic sites, including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City
  • Get to know Chinese Buddhist art through the stone carvings at Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Immerse yourself with special-access visits, excursions by bike and raft, and time with local families and rice farmers
GeoEx travel to China
Trip Type: Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 14 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour, Day Hiking, Biking, Food and Wine
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

In just two weeks, Essence of China captures much of what endlessly excites us about this huge, galactically diverse country. In addition to the iconic places you'll see—Beijing, Pingyao, Xian, Guilin, Yangshuo, Longsheng, and Shanghai—our China celebrants have arranged a number of rare visits and performances, lined up meals at brilliant restaurants (simple local spots and urban sophisticates), and chosen a number of the country’s most intelligently conceived hotels.

After good looks at the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and other Beijing wonders, you’re off to Pingyao and this extraordinarily well-preserved town that catapults you back in time. Next are Xian’s Terracotta Warriors, who look ready to rush out the door any minute. You'll delight in special access to the Tang Dynasty frescoes and stop at the oft-forgotten Hanyanling Museum and the Great Mosque. While rafting the Li River, you'll crane your neck at Guilin’s lyric limestone karsts before diving into the authentic fishing village of Xinping. Later you'll bike the lanes behind Yangshuo, experiencing quieter daily life, and drive to Longsheng to explore the remarkably intricate designs of the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, which took 400 years and immeasurable effort to shape. Your journey ends in Shanghai, where we’ll happily arrange extra time for you.

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Beijing
  • Days 2 & 3: explore Beijing and environs
  • Day 4: fly to Taiyuan, drive to Pingyao
  • Day 5: Pingyao, Shaolin Temple
  • Day 6: drive to Taiyuan, fly to Xian
  • Day 7: Terracotta Warriors, Tang Dynasty frescoes
  • Day 8: bullet train to Longmen Grottoes
  • Day 9: fly to Guilin
  • Day 10: Li River cruise, bamboo rafting
  • Days 11 & 12: drive to Longsheng, Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces hiking
  • Day 13: drive to Guilin, fly to Shanghai
  • Day 14: depart Shanghai.