China Odyssey

9 Days
from AUD$ 6,179

Highlights

  • Explore the traditional Charm of Beijing’s Hutongs
  • Marvel at the Magnificent Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an
  • Visit the Huanghuacheng (underwater and unrestored) section of the Great Wall of China
  • Picnic on the Great Wall of China
  • Savour Shaanxi’s culinary treasures
  • Cycle or stroll along the historic path of Xian’s ancient city walls
  • Explore Shanghai’s Iconic Landmarks and hidden gems
  • Discover China’s quirky Marriage Market

Welcome to an unforgettable journey through China, where ancient wonders meet modern marvels. Join us on a captivating tour that will take you to some of the most iconic and enchanting destinations in this fascinating country.

Our adventure begins in Beijing, the vibrant capital city, where we’ll immerse ourselves in the rich history and culture of China. Explore the narrow alleyways of Beijing’s traditional hutongs, where ancient customs and traditions still thrive amidst the bustling city life. Of course, no trip to China is complete without a visit to its greatest icon, the Great Wall. You’ll escape the crowded city and explore the Huanghuacheng section of the Wall, the only part of the Great Wall that is submerged in water. The country roads are littered with colourful orchards and humble rural villages, all with the symbolic Great Wall as a backdrop. Journey to Xi’an, home to the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors. Marvel at the thousands of intricately crafted statues, each with its own unique expression, silently guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

No visit to China would be complete without indulging in its exquisite cuisine! Your adventure concludes in Shanghai, a city where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern innovation. Explore the bustling streets, towering skyscrapers, and vibrant markets of this dynamic metropolis, and discover why Shanghai is known as the “Paris of the East.”

Journey map

Fitness level

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Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to China! Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. If your rooms are not yet available, drop off your bags before setting off to explore the Hutongs with your guide and uncover the secrets of the city.

Beijing Hutongs

Beijing’s hutongs are the labyrinthine alleys that weave through the heart of the city. These ancient passageways hold a wealth of history, providing a window into Beijing’s vibrant cultural heritage. Despite their narrow and maze-like layout, hutongs are home to bustling communities, with families living in tightly packed courtyards. This cherished way of life has been passed down through generations, forming an integral part of Beijing’s identity. Discover the quiet courtyards once favoured by the last empress of the Qing dynasty in her later years. Follow the lively calls of vendors to busy food stalls, where you can taste the wide array of Beijing cuisine. Beyond the delicious food, the hutongs showcase the real life of locals, giving you a glimpse into their daily routines. Explore the hidden gems of the hutongs and immerse yourself in the genuine allure of old Beijing.

Meals

N/A

Accommodation

Beijing Unified Courtyard Hotel or similar

Services

Airport Transfer

Day 2 – Beijing

Begin your day by embracing the early morning energy of the neighbourhood as locals engage in Tai Chi exercises, setting the tone for your day of exploration in Beijing.

Tian’anmen Square

Visit Tian’anmen Square, a destination steeped in historical and cultural significance. Here, beneath the watchful gaze of Mao Zedong’s portrait, you’ll absorb the weight of China’s past, as this expansive square has witnessed pivotal moments in the nation’s history.

Forbidden City

Continue to the Forbidden City (closed on Mondays), an architectural marvel that once housed emperors, concubines, and eunuchs during the Ming and Qing dynasties. With over 800 buildings and 9,000 chambers, this immaculately preserved palace complex offers a window into China’s imperial past, where only the highest echelons of society roamed.

Temple of Heaven

After lunch, visit the Temple of Heaven, a sacred site where emperors of old sought divine favour for bountiful harvests. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests stands as an emblem of Beijing’s cultural heritage and beckons travellers to immerse themselves in its grandeur.

Afterwards, return to your hotel and the rest of the day is yours at leisure.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Beijing Unified Courtyard Hotel or similar

Services

English Speaking guide

 

Day 3 – Beijing

After breakfast, head to the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall. The Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall, often called the “Yellow Flower Great Wall”, is a captivating and lesser-known segment of this historic monument. Its name is derived from the yellow wildflowers that bloom along the wall during specific seasons, enhancing the landscape with vibrant colours. Notably, a portion of this section is submerged underwater, adding a unique dimension to its allure. Embark on a hike along this remarkable stretch of the wall, where you’ll encounter both meticulously restored portions and gracefully weathered ruins. Here, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the historical significance of the Great Wall and the passage of time it represents.

In the afternoon, indulge in a picnic lunch paired with a glass of sparkling wine whilst on the wall, as you soak in the breathtaking vistas.

Afterwards, return to your hotel for a refreshing rest before preparing for a delicious Peking duck dinner, a culinary highlight of your Beijing experience.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation

Beijing Unified Courtyard Hotel or similar

Services

English Speaking guide

Day 4 – Xi’an

After breakfast, visit the Summer Palace, once a royal summer retreat during the final dynasty of Chinese history. Spend a leisurely morning immersing yourself in the regal atmosphere, wandering amidst pagodas and strolling through gardens that bloom intermittently around the tranquil Kunming Lake.

The Summer Palace’s beauty revolves mainly around Kunming Lake, a vast artificial body of water crafted by over 10,000 workers. While the scenery may seem natural, the Summer Palace is, in fact, a remarkable testament to human craftsmanship, with its impressive architecture and meticulously landscaped grounds. Enjoy a cup of coffee at the coffee shop (own expense) in the Garden of Harmonious Interests, modelled after the Jichangyuan Garden in Wuxi—a southern Chinese masterpiece that captured the admiration of the emperor’s past.

After lunch, you’ll head to the train station to take a high-speed train bound for Xi’an. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Dumpling Dinner

Indulge in a dumpling dinner and prepare to be amazed by the array of colours, shapes, and sizes on offer. Shaanxi province is renowned for its noodles, dumplings, and an assortment of buns. Taste the local dumplings and see if you can discern any difference from the ones you’re accustomed to at home. After your culinary adventure, return to your hotel.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation

Hotel Xi’an Eastern House Boutique Hotel or similar

Services

English Speaking guide

Day 5 – Xi’an

Terracotta Warriors

After breakfast, begin your adventure with a visit to the UNESCO-protected site of the Terracotta Warriors These awe-inspiring creations were crafted to protect the monumental mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang. Unearthed in the suburbs of Xi’an, the army of the Terracotta Warriors stands as one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all time. This army consists of 8,000 life-size soldiers, 100 chariots, and 600 horses, with each figure being entirely unique. Crafted to guard the remains of Emperor Qin Shihuang, housed within a vast mausoleum complex, the Terracotta Warriors are a testament to the grandeur and ingenuity of ancient China.

Biang Biang noodles for Lunch

Afterwards, enjoy Biang Biang noodles and other local delicacies for lunch today. These thick, broad, hand-pulled noodles are served with chilli, garlic, and Sichuan pepper, creating a flavourful and aromatic dish. Notably, the Chinese character “Biang” is known for its complexity, challenging even many Chinese people to read it.

Xingshan Temple

Later in the afternoon, visit Xingshan Temple. Unlike other temples primarily catering to visitors, this temple is an active Buddhist site where locals come to worship. Here, you can listen to the monks’ chanting, immersing yourself in the serene atmosphere and experiencing a genuine spiritual connection.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Hotel Xi’an Eastern House Boutique Hotel or similar

Services

English Speaking guide

 

 

Day 6 – Xi’an to Shanghai

Ancient City Wall

Following breakfast, explore the heart of Xi’an as you stroll along the Ancient City Wall enclosing the historical centre. Enjoy a leisurely walk or pedal your bike along this impressive structure (bike hire payable locally), which is not only the most complete city wall surviving in China but also one of the largest ancient military defensive systems globally.

Great Mosque

Next, head to the Great Mosque, the religious focal point of China’s Muslim populace. It’s one of the earliest Islamic mosques built in the world and marks the beginning of Islam in the Far East. The overwhelmingly Chinese architectural influence in the construction of the mosque and the pagoda style of construction makes it unique among other early mosques.

Muslim Quarter

Explore the food stalls of the Muslim Quarter, a bustling neighbourhood located in the heart of Xi’an. The air is thick with the aroma of sizzling lamb skewers and fragrant spices that waft from the myriad food stalls lining the alleys, beckoning you from one stall to another. The comforting scent of pita bread soaked in mutton soup may lure you in one direction, while the enticing aroma of other delicacies pulls you elsewhere. Engage with the friendly locals, witness their skilled craftsmanship, and feel the pulse of daily life that has animated these alleys for centuries. The Muslim quarter is not only a destination but also a place where flavours dance on your taste buds and the stories of generations echo in every corner.

Afterwards, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, you will be met and greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Urbn Hotel or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English Speaking guide

 

 

Day 7 – Shanghai

Bund

After breakfast, visit the Bund, Shanghai’s iconic waterfront area. Stroll along the Bund and marvel at the dramatic skyline of modern Shanghai. Visit Yu Garden, a beautifully restored Suzhou-style Garden dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Explore the intricate pathways, tranquil ponds, and exquisite pavilions of Yu Garden, often claimed to be the most magnificent rockery of the Ming dynasty. Experience a sense of peace and comfort amidst the bustling energy of Shanghai.

French Concession

Afterwards, explore the architecture of the former French Concession, a captivating blend of cultures and histories that stands as a testament to Shanghai’s cosmopolitan past. Stroll through its tree-lined streets and elegant buildings, where a harmonious fusion of Chinese and Western influences creates an atmosphere brimming with charm and allure. In this enchanting enclave, remnants of a bygone era harmonise with modern vibrancy, offering a distinctive insight into Shanghai’s rich and diverse heritage.

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre

From here, continue to the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre, a hidden gem of a museum that, although small, offers an absorbing insight into China’s recent history. Located in the basement of a residential complex, this museum houses a vast private collection of over 5,000 propaganda posters from the Mao era, showcasing communist revolutionary artworks that chart post-war Chinese history. Many of these posters were rescued from recycling centres and rubbish bins and span the 1940s through the late 1970s.

Marriage Market

Continue to the marriage market, which is best visited during weekends. Across numerous Chinese cities, marriage markets have gained significant popularity. In a culture where many are labelled as “996 employees” — working from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week — socialising opportunities are scarce. This predicament has led concerned parents to initiate marriage markets, where they gather in hopes of finding suitable matches for their children. These markets provide insights into the cultural values surrounding marriage and the challenges faced by young adults in modern Chinese society.

Lujiazui

If time permits, take a stroll in Lujiazui. The iconic skyline of Lujiazui is a must-see for first-time visitors to Shanghai. It boasts futuristic, avant-garde buildings such as the Shanghai Tower (623 metres), Shanghai World Financial Center (492 metres), Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower (470 metres), and Jinmao Building (421 metres). Lujiazui is home to over 500 domestic and overseas financial and insurance corporations, making it a bustling centre of commerce and finance.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Hotel Urbn Hotel or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English Speaking guide

Day 8 – Shanghai - Xichang Water Town

After breakfast, visit Xichang Water Town, a serene oasis distinct from the bustling water towns near Shanghai. Despite its peaceful ambience, it features all the hallmarks of a traditional water town: picturesque canals, quaint old houses, and charming bridges. Follow the lead of an elderly gentleman who has called this place home for generations and uncover the untold stories and family legacies hidden behind closed doors. Experience the timeless atmosphere of this enchanting destination with your local host.

Later, return to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Hotel Urbn Hotel or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English Speaking guide

Day 9 – Departure

This morning is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals

Breakfast

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What’s included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 8 nights’ accommodation including breakfast daily
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • All transfers, sightseeing and excursions by air-conditioned private vehicle
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Professional-speaking local guide
  • Flight ticket from Xi’an to Shanghai in economy Class with one piece of 20kg luggage per person per flight.
  • Beijing-Xi’an high-speed train (second class, take your luggage to board the train)
Exclusions
  • International & domestic flights not mentioned above
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, and meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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Price
Start Date
11th Nov 2024
End Date
19th Nov 2024
Duration
9 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$6,179 AUD
Start Date
15th Dec 2024
End Date
23rd Dec 2024
Duration
9 Days
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Available
Price
$6,179 AUD
Start Date
15th Feb 2025
End Date
23rd Feb 2025
Duration
9 Days
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$6,179 AUD
Start Date
09th Apr 2025
End Date
17th Apr 2025
Duration
9 Days
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$6,179 AUD
Start Date
25th Jun 2025
End Date
03rd Jul 2025
Duration
9 Days
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Available
Price
$6,179 AUD
Start Date
18th Sep 2025
End Date
26th Sep 2025
Duration
9 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$6,179 AUD
Start Date
11th Nov 2025
End Date
19th Nov 2025
Duration
9 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$6,179 AUD
Start Date
15th Dec 2025
End Date
23rd Dec 2025
Duration
9 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$6,179 AUD