Take a China holiday jam-packed with activities sure to please everyone in the family, from young explorers to seasoned travellers. Travel through the country by bike, boat, train and even Segway. Explore China’s iconic sites but spend ample time away from the tourist trail, immersed in local culture.
Enjoy interactive cultural courses in cooking, calligraphy, kite flying and more to learn Chinese culture in a fun way.
Ride Segways at Olympic Stadium, fly kites on the Great Wall and come face-to-face with pandas- uniquely Chinese family memories!
Take family-friendly adventures to explore China’s natural landscapes, which are sure to be vastly different from those back home.
China Family Trip - 13 Days / 12 Nights
Begin this China family tour with a warm welcoming into the international airport. The guide will be awaiting to greet the family and provide transport to the hotel.
During the ride into the city, there will be a brief stop made at the “Bird’s Nest”, a modern stadium (designed in part by Ai Weiwei) that was the site for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Complete the day with a refreshing change of decor and ambiance in the Wangfujing neighborhood, the most commercial area of the capital. While exploring the area, there will be ample opportunity to witness how modernised China has become and how its fierce consumerism continues.
Return back to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
Overnight in Beijing
Continue the China family tour on Day 2 with a visit to some of Beijing’s most important sites, alongside interactive language and culture lessons in each destination. A guide/teacher will accompany the family for the day.
8:00 AM: Depart the hotel with teacher and driver for the Jingshan Park.
8:30 AM: Enjoy a short introduction to the history of the park and its role in Chinese history. The artificial Coal hill just behind the Forbidden City, providing spectacular view of the entire site and the layout of the whole of Beijing.
8:45 AM: A two-hour class will be given on the history of Chinese characters. Learn all about the underlying logic of the way in which they are composed, the evolution of calligraphy, tones, and the creation of the ‘pinyin’ system… among other secrets!
10:45 AM: Short break and time for questions
11:00-11:30 AM: An interactive class on water calligraphy, one of the many activities often practiced by Chinese people in the morning. Using giant paint brushes laden with water, write characters on the park’s flagstones, and watch as they evaporate with varying speeds depending on the weather.
Return to the hotel with the teacher/guide at about midday.
Note: We offer these interactive classes for all levels, combining study and tourism. It is possible to adjust each lesson for personal interests (for example: learn how to bargain in Chinese in Beijing flea market, learn vocabulary for daily life in Beijing hutongs and local markets, etc.) Please consult us for further information.
Continue the day onwards to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Learn all about the history of the City, its role throughout the dynasties, as well as why most Chinese buildings face south.
- Access to the Forbidden City is limited to 80,000 pax/day. Passport copies must be provided at least 11 days advance for personal registration (preferably 2 weeks in order to assure a successful booking); it will not be possible later on to modify dates.
- All visitors are required to bring their passport for security check upon their visit to the monument.
- Forbidden City is closed on Mondays, except China National Holidays
Top off the day with an evening performance of a Kung Fu show in the Red theater! The Red Theater is originally known as Chongwen Worker's Cultural Palace Theater. After the renovation, the stage facilities has been dramatically improved and now the theater specializes in traditional Chinese performances, such as “The Legend of Kung Fu”.
Overnight in Beijing
Depart from the hotel in the morning for a visit the Mutianyu section of the Wall (75km, 2 hours). Particularly beautiful in the morning light, there will be ample opportunity to capture some great photos of this global landmark.
Though it’s not visible from space (contrary to popular belief), the Great Wall is still one of the most important symbols of the country and a must visit. The history of the wall reaches back over 2,000 years to the Qin Dynasty, while the Wall that is seen today is associated more with the Ming Dynasty.
At its peak condition, the Wall extended for more than 6,000 kilometers from ancient Manchuria to the edges of the Gobi Desert. Walk around for 45 minutes or so, followed by a picnic on the Great Wall!
While still on the Wall, there will be a chance to practice one of the most famous activities in China kite flying! This typical Chinese game combines sport and contemplation, attracting all generations! Not always a fun-loving sport, kite flying was once used as a weapon to frighten enemies or to cast out demons by cutting the kite’s wires (representing the evil spirit) when it had reached its maximum altitude.
A demonstration will be done by the guide with a chance to try afterwards. (Subject to weather conditions).
After the kite experience atop the Great Wall, enjoy a 5-7 minute toboggan ride back down.
Transfer back to Beijing where a vintage sidecar tour (1 hour) through the Beijing hutongs awaits! These narrow side alleys surrounding Houhai Lake expose some true local living in Beijing, with the sidecar offering great up-close views of the restaurants, bars and shops.
Pass the nearby Gulou, or Drum Tower, where resonating drums once noted the hours of the day, as well as the nearby Zhonglou, or the Bell Tower; an excellent glimpse into ancient Beijing.
Continue the experience with a pick-up game of mahjong, an important social get-together in Beijing, based around Chinese Chess or card games. The guide will be happy to explain the rules during the encounter.
Note: Maximum capacity is 2 passengers / sidecar. Helmets & rain gear are provided.
Top off the evening with the iconic Beijing roast duck! The hot, roast duck will be brought to the table by the chef where he will slice it into hundreds of flakes, each having pieces of crispy skin. Learn how to eat this delicacy with small, thin pancakes, plum sauce, and slices of spring onions.
Overnight in Beijing
Begin the day with a visit to the Summer Palace (25km, 40 min). An otherwise simple Imperial garden, the site was completely renovated by Emperor Qianlong during the 18th century, turning it into one the most important sites of the capital. Harmonious in nature, a variety of traditional Chinese temples, pavilions, lakes and gardens comprise the Palace.
Embark on a tranquil paddle boat (30 minutes) for a short cruise on Kunming Lake.
After the Palace experience, head back to the city for a transfer to the Beijing railway station. From here, board a high-speed train to Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province. The capital of the Empire three times, Xi’an played a decisive role in the history of the country.
Train Station: Beijing – Xi’an
Train number: G87
Estimated departure time: 14:00
Estimated arrival time: 18:25
Second class tickets is included in the fare
Upon arrival to Xi’an, a local guide will provide a welcome and transport to the hotel.
Overnight in Xi’an
Begin the China family tour in Xi’an visit with a trip to the Terracotta Warriors, located about an hour outside of Xi’an.
Discovered by farmers back in 1974, this accidental finding has becoming one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in modern history.
A giant mausoleum filled with infantrymen, archers, and cavalry riders, the terracotta army was built to protect Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi in the Afterlife. Each one of the Terracotta Warriors has a different face from a soldier during the Emperor’s life; historians theorize that the Emperor may have wanted to rule the world from the Afterlife.
The statues are viewable in three pits; begin the visit with pits number 2 (that is still being excavated) and number 3 (sheltering the majority of items). End with pit number 1, the most impressive locale with about 2000 warriors.
There is also a small museum on site that houses two splendid bronze chariots found in 1980 west of the mausoleum.
Head to one of Terracotta Factories in Xian to discover how the statues were made; there is even an opportunity to make terracotta warrior statuettes! This activity is unique and fun, particularly recommended for groups with children.
After the Terracotta visits, continue on to explore some of the culture of this Old Silk Road destination. During the heyday of the Silk Road, Muslim merchants from Central Asia came to China to do business, leaving their influence in Xi’an. As a result, several Muslim minorities (totaling 15 million inhabitants) now live in China. The Hui minority is predominant in Xi’an. Visit the Chinese-style Mosque and the vibrant neighborhood surrounding it, housing a number of butcher shops and different sorts of stores where men wear white skull caps and women wear colorful headscarves. Appreciate the unique ambiance of the night market with a dinner focusing on the neighborhood’s specialties of spiced lamb kebabs, flat bread and mutton soup with noodles.
Overnight in Xi’an
Start the morning with a one-hour bike tour (or, at an additional charge, a cart tour) discovering the city and gliding through Xi’an… without the traffic jams and crowds. For the adventurous sort, test out a tandem bike! During the tour, check out the impressive Xi’an ramparts built during the Ming Dynasty. Today, they stand restored and reconstructed and are a part of the fortifications still visible in China.
Follow this up with a Calligraphy Course, one of the bedrocks of Chinese culture and a truly artistic pursuit inside the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
Transport will be provided from Xi’an to Chengdu
Upon arrival to Chengdu, a guide will be waiting for a welcoming and hotel transfer.
The visit to Chengdu will provide excellent opportunities to try some of the specialties of the region, with a focus on its famous food culture.
In the evening, head to the Sichuan opera for a 90-minute performance featuring dancers, singers, acrobats, fire-eaters, or experts of “face changing”- a very local art!
Note: before the show there will be an opportunity to meet the artists while they put on their makeup.
Option: Kids can have their own faces painted!
Overnight in Chengdu
Continue the China family tour with a visit to the Panda Breeding Center (about 15km from Chengdu city center). Home to around 100 pandas, this centre is largest in the world for Pandas in captivity. The panda (“xiongmao” in Chinese, literally meaning “bear-cat”) is an endangered species that the Chinese Government and specialist NGOs have been consciously protecting since the 1980s.Their efforts have been rewarded and the latest population counts have shown an increase of nearly 50%!
After the panda visit, transfer back to Chengdu (55km, 1h). During the afternoon, pay a visit to the Wenshu Temple (Manjushri Temple), the best preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. Enjoy a warm cup of tea in its House of Tea next door.
Take a stroll in the People’s Park for a good example of what a traditional Chinese park looks like: locals practice Tai-Chi, Kung-fu, sword dance, meditation, dance, gymnastics… all considered essential to their well-being.
Top off the evening with an interactive experience in Sichuan cooking (known for being very spicy!) Dinner will be a delicious Sichuan spicy hotpot, featuring a broth is infused with lots of aromatic spices, fiery chili oil, and the tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorn.
Overnight in Chengdu
Depart Chengdu in the morning for Leshan (200 km/ 3 hours). Home to the largest Buddha statue in the world, this massive Buddha was carved into the side of a cliff more than 1,200 years ago. The Giant Buddha, as it is commonly known, measures in at 71m (231ft) high and 28m (92ft) wide – truly a stone giant!
Optional: Admire the Giant Buddha from the Min River on board a specific viewing boat. Consult us further if interested.
Continue on with a forest walk to the Oriental Buddha Park, dotted with small temples, thousands of tiny statues, and the gargantuan reclining Buddha- over 170m long (558ft)!
Transfer back to Chengdu.
Overnight in Chengdu
Transfer to Chengdu airport for the flight to Guilin.
Note: Morning flights from Chengdu to Guilin operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. However, evening flights operate on daily basis so we can adjust the program accordingly.
Welcome to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region! This region is best known for its numerous minorities and its fantastic countryside of rocky peaks bordering the Li River. This will be the nature portion of the itinerary.
Transfer upon arrival with guide and driver to the village of Yangdi (70km, 1 hour to 90 minutes). Enjoy a bamboo raft cruise on the Li River (90 minutes to 2 hours) overshadowed by picturesque hills. These superb natural formations have inspired poets, painters and photographers, and are considered one of the most captivating visits in the country.
The cruise ends at Xingping, an ancient village with over 1,000 years of history. Xingping is known for its Ming and Qing Dynasty houses and for its lively market held every 3 days. The village is surrounded by “sugar loaf Mountains,” unique karst formations that provide a stunning backdrop.
The driver will provide pick up in Xingping and the day will continue on towards Yangshuo, a small but popular market town along the Li River.
Please Note: There is a max capacity of 4 passengers per bamboo raft, plus the “pilot”. The bamboo raft is equipped with life jackets and covered with a tarpaulin in case of rain. Luggage will stay in the car during the cruise, so it’s suggested to travel light. Sunscreen is strongly recommended.
That night, enjoy the evening show of Impressions Liu Sanjie. In the heart of the karst countryside, hundreds of actors including local fisherman, imitate scenes from rural life by dressing up in traditional costumes of the minorities of the region.
Overnight in Yangshuo
After Todd Skinner set up the first routes in Moon Hill and the Banyan in 1990, Yangshuo became a very popular destination for rock climbing. 70,000 karst-peak towers of tropical limestone are scattered all along the Li River, with 400 different climbing routes of different styles and challenges to choose from.
Transfer with driver and instructor at 8:30am from the hotel (time may vary depending on the location of hotel) to the climbing school to select equipment (size of climbing shoes), continuing on to the site. A beginner’s spot is generally picked, with an approximate three hour climbing session that suits everyone (please consult us for advanced and experienced level)
- Swiss Cheese Wall (beginner)
This choice is equally as accessible to beginners as it is to experienced climbers. It is one of the most popular climbs, perfect for groups or families. It’s comprised of two sections: the right-hand wall for beginners and advanced climbers, and the left-hand vertical wall for more experienced participants. The site is easy to reach and a bamboo grove at the foot of the rock offers some welcome shade in the case of hot weather.
- safety is our top priority and we only use professional instructors.
- helmets, climbing shoes, climbing harnesses, chalk etc. are all provided
- the instructors are English speakers, there is an additional cost for other languages
- it is also possible to arrange half day, full day or multi-day courses for those who want a fuller climbing experience.
Transfer back to the hotel.
After the climbing lesson, the driver (no guide) will provide transport to the cooking school located in the superb Yangshuo countryside.
Classes start at 15:30 and last four hours. This includes a visit to a local market where ingredients are selected, followed by the group class at the school (maximum of 16 people per class). At the end, enjoy the afternoon’s creations!
There are two menus: course 1 is taught on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and Sundays, course 2 is taught on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Each student will be provided a hob, wok, and all the necessary ingredients for making the day’s five dishes.
Beer fish (famous local dish)
Chicken with cashew nuts
Steamed stuffed vegetables
Eggplant with soy and oyster sauce
Green vegetables with garlic
OR Course 2:
Egg wrapped dumplings
Steamed chicken with mushroom
Duck with pickled ginger and chilies
Stir fried pork with vegetables and oyster sauce
Green vegetables with garlic
Return transfer to the hotel.
The lessons are in groups (both EXO Travel customers and those of other companies), and there is an additional cost for private classes.
The teachers speak English, for other languages there is an additional cost for a guide who can translate
From December and February classes start at 10:30am followed by lunch
For those interested in taking a longer class, please consult us accordingly
Overnight in Yangshuo
Begin the day with a guided transport to Guilin (80km, 90 minutes).
In the morning, discover the Reed Flute Cave that gets its name from the numerous reeds growing at the entrance of the cave, which local tradesmen use to craft flutes. Upon entering the cave with provided flashlights, explore some of the stalactites and stalagmites that draw intricate shadows on the cave walls.
Continue with a walk around Shan Lake, known for its two superb Sun and Moon pagodas.
After the outdoor explorations, transfer to Guilin airport to continue the China family tour to Hong Kong. Upon arrival to Hong Kong, a guide will be waiting with a welcome and hotel transfer.
Welcome to Hong Kong! This China family trip reaches its final destination in this cultural and financial centre.
Boasting more than 7 million inhabitants, this ‘melting pot’ environment offers a beautiful port, unique islands, parks, and innumerable boutiques, plus one of the world’s most iconic skylines.
Overnight in Hong Kong
Day 12 will be set aside for a visit to Ocean Park. Opened in 1977, this park is still considered one of the world’s best amusement parks with 870, 000 square meters of playground, suitable for all ages.
Transfer on public transport (metro and then bus) to Ocean Park with the guide, who will be present for the outward and return journeys. (Guests can enjoy the park at their leisure while the guide waits.) Guests will have the entire day to enjoy the different activities described below (all included in the day pass). Lunch (not included) can be taken in one of the park’s many restaurants (particularly noteworthy are Neptune in Aqua City and Tuxedos in Polar Adventure).
-Aqua City: Perhaps the park’s most impressive attraction, Aqua City is a paradise for marine aficionados. The large aquarium houses 5,000 fish and more than 400 species which can be observed from the world’s largest aquarium dome.
-Polar Adventure: travel from the North Pole to the South Pole in no time at all! This is the park’s newest attraction, allowing guests to take a bobsleigh ride or watch the dozens of penguins, arctic foxes, Pacific walruses, snowy owls, and spotted seals.
-Rainforest: guests can board a raft and immerse themselves in the exotic ambiance of a rainforest and its authentic fauna, including capybara (the largest rodent in the world), pygmy marmoset, kinkajou, the green aracari (the smallest of the toucan family).
-Amazing Asian Animals: For those who didn’t have time to visit a conservation centre or national reserve, this is a great second chance to see beautiful pandas and wildlife; home to the giant panda, red panda, giant salamander, and even the Chinese alligator.
-Old Hong Kong: this rebuilt version of old Hong Kong allows guests to experience the city of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, including a replica tramway, rickshaw drivers, and policemen in former uniforms.
-Thrill Mountain: adrenaline junkies will find exactly what they’re looking for on the “Hair Raiser” roller coaster, upside down “Flash”, the “Aviator” flight simulator, or on the tracks of “Rev Booster”
Note: This list is not a complete list. The park is filled with many other activities, which guests are at liberty to explore. Additionally, Ocean Park puts on special events for certain holidays such as “Halloween Bash” and “Summer Splash”.
Overnight in Hong Kong
Begin the morning with a guided visit to Tsim Sha Tsui. We will take a walk down to the famous Tsim Sha Tsui promenade for a spectacular view of Victoria Harbour passing the iconic Kowloon railway clock tower.
Continue on foot to the neighbouring pier for a crossing on the Star Ferry (Hong Kong Island to Kowloon). From the boat, soak in some unbeatable views of what is considered one of the world’s most beautiful skylines. Visit the small Tramway Museum, an important piece of the city’s colonial heritage, before ascending Victoria Peak.
The ascent takes around 5 minutes in the Peak tram, which climbs at a gradient of up to 27 degrees! The peak is the highest point in Hong Kong (552m/1811ft) and is truly a great place to come to escape the summer heat. Soak in some amazing 360 degree panoramas from the Sky Terrace 428, which, when the weather is good, displays both the tip of Kowloon and the neighbouring islands of Lantau and Lamma.
Wrap up this China family tour with a transport to Hong Kong airport for the departing flight.
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