New China Xplorer 18 Day China Backpacking Tour

Discover China on a shoestring!

This jam-packed tour takes you camping on the Great Wall, bamboo rafting in Yangshuo, and biking on Xi’an’s ancient city walls. Also, visit adorable pandas in Chengdu, see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, and learn some awesome Kungfu moves from Shaolin  monastery! Foodies will get to enjoy mouthwatering Sichuan hotpot, farm-fresh meals, and even scorpions and snakes!

New China Xplorer 18 Day China Backpacking Tour: Trip Highlights


  • Visit Shanghai, the biggest city in the world, with a population larger than that of Australia
  • Experience the largest bar crawl in China – the Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl
  • Explore beautiful karst scenery in Yangshuo
  • Visit Amazing sights like Tianfu Square to see the colossal statue of Chairman Mao, and visit the world’s largest statue of Buddha
  • Take an exhilarating bike ride atop the ancient city walls
  • Bamboo Rafting the Li River
  • See pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
  • See the Terracotta Army and stay on a mountain farm in Xi’an
  • Watch Kung Fu at its highest level at the Shaolin Temple
  • Hike the Great Wall then Camp on the Wall, watch the sunrise the next morning
  • Destinations connected by night train with fully flat beds, so no time is wasted travelling

New China Xplorer 18 Day China Backpacking Tour Photos


Day 1: Welcome to Shangai!

Start your backpacking tour with a meeting on the rooftop bar of your hostel. Then board the night train to your first destination: Yangshuo!


Please note that although our Shanghai 18 days trip starts and finishes in Shanghai, Xtreme Gappers who book for this do not not stay in Shanghai, unless pre and post accommodation are booked.

Day 2-5: Yangshuo

Arrive and take to the water on your first afternoon in Yangshuo with kayaking as an optional activity. Wake up to the unbelievable karst scenery Yangshuo has to offer. This landscape of rivers, rice paddies and limestone peaks is your playground for the next three days.
Spend the day participating in the first of many free and un-missable attractions: bamboo rafting
down the Li River. Put your feet up and relax as you meander downstream.

Once the river has run its course, there are lots of optional activities to be enjoying in Yangshuo. Take
mud-baths in underground caves, or try cupping (suction cups on the back that help circulation).
There’s also a chance to visit your adventure leader’s home village.
At the beginning of day 5 board your bus to Guilin, followed by a 7-hour bullet train to arrive in Chengdu in the evening.

Day 6-8: Chengdu

Xtreme Gap Year China Xplorer (6)Arrive in Chengdu and meet your new adventure leader – a fun-loving Sichuanese local. Ease out the strains of your overnight journey with a massage from a blind physical therapist. In the afternoon learn your first Chinese words in a free mandarin lesson!
Afterwards try a traditional Sichuan Hotpot for dinner – a meal where you cook meats and veggies by dipping them into a boiling pot of spicy broth.
The next morning you will visit the Panda Breeding Research Centre, arriving just in time to watch these national treasures dig into breakfast (bamboo shoots, of course). In the afternoon you’ve got time to visit the world ́s largest stone Buddha (it’s 70m
tall!) in Leshan or you can walk through Chengdu’s Tibetan quarter with its Tibetan shops and cafes (yak dumplings anyone?).
Next morning is your last in Chengdu. You could either visit an Autism Children Rehabilitation Center or visit The Wenshu Monastery, Mao ́s Statue and a
traditional Chinese tea house then board the bullet train to your next destination: Xi ́an.

Day 9-10: Xian

Today, after a beautiful free morning, you can join the group for an optional bike tour around the ancient city walls of the former dynastic capital. A great way to get your bearings. In the late afternoon you can explore Xi’an’s fascinating Muslim Quarter, where
you’ll see unique Chinese mosques and sample the delights of Hui Muslim street food carts. The lamb
skewers are a must! Afterwards you ́ve got the opportunity to visit the Silk Road market nearby. Next morning we visit the jewel in Xi’an’s crown: the Terracotta Warriors, a full-sized stone army designed to protect Emperor Qin in the afterlife. In the evening have a Chinese-style night of fun with a visit to the famous Big Goose Pagoda to watch the music & light show.

Day 11-12: Shaolin

In the morning, take a private minivan and afterwards a 6-hour bus to Deng-Feng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple. After your arrival, you’ll have the chance to put your strength and flexibility to the test in a Kung Fu lesson and then watch a show at a local children ́s home run by the  shaolin temple. In the evening your second mandarin lesson starts – good luck/Yiqiè shùnlì!
Rise early if you wish to visit the flagship of Kung Fu – the Shaolin Temple! In the beautiful temple
courtyards you’ll see masterful displays and physically impossible feats from these Kung Fu masters. Had enough of temples or kung-fu? Visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO world heritage site with over 100,000 carved Buddha’s. Afterwards the group hikes together to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims. You will be rewarded
with beautiful views of both the shrines and the surrounding landscapes. In the evening you depart to Zhengzhou to board your night train to Beijing.

Day 13-16: Beijing

In the morning, we head off to our next unmissable attraction, The Great Wall of China! We go to a
deserted section of the Wall, where we will have the place to ourselves! Hike along this wonder of the world as the sun sets, before pitching up your tent for a night camping. Wake up the next morning for what will be one of the
most memorable sunrises of your life. Afterwards return to Beijing where you can visit the Temple of
Heaven, fake goods market, or enjoy in the afternoon the incredible Beijing Acrobatics & Circus Show. For dinner you’ve got the opportunity to taste one of Beijing ́s signature dishes: famous Peking Roast Duck.
After a morning spent relaxing in the hostel in Beijing and our third Mandarin lesson, it’s off to see the
Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and a night market where you can try snake, scorpion and a host of other “mouth-watering delicacies”. In the late afternoon, take a wander around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways and visit Nanluo district (one of the best preserved areas in Beijing) before saying goodbye to your Adventure Leader.

Day 17-18: Hangzhou $ Moganshan

After arriving in Hangzhou we head to West Lake for a relaxing boat tour. In the afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about China’s trade history,
with visits to the China National Tea Museum or the National Silk Museum. As the day comes to a close, embark on a hike up Jiuyao Mountain to catch the beautiful sunset over West Lake and the rest of the city. Finish the night with a delicious group dinner in the city centre. The next morning, why not explore Hangzhou old town, known for its street artists, boutiques and traditional teahouses. Afterwards, head to Misty Forest for a hike around the Nine Creeks area.
After a morning full of exercise, make your way back to the hostel to freshen up and grab some lunch.
Check out of your accommodation and transfer to Hangzhou Station as you prepare to catch the bullet
train back to Shanghai.
If you arrive on a Saturday, spend your final night on the Drunken Dragon bar crawl and make the most of the city’s night life. If not, there is the optional activity to take a night time cruise down the Huangpu River.


All accommodation is included on the trip on a shared basis. Some nights are spent on sleeper trains.

We usually use hostels based on shared rooms. There is the option to upgrade your own room at a cost of about £25 per night. Please give us a couple of weeks notice if that is your intention.

We regularly do check hostels that they are clean and secure.

The idea of accommodation in China can send a shiver down your spine, but each hostel has modern showers washing facilities and Internet access.

Some of this trip is spent camping on the Great Wall of China, you do not need to bring camping equipment it is all included for you. We spend one night on a traditional organic farm and you will also get the opportunity to sleep in a roundhouse as well.

We sleep on sleeper trains during some sections, this is a great way to travel because you wake up somewhere new without spending  your days on the move. Sleeper trains all have flat beds, and there are a lot of fun. If you wish you can upgrade to first class sleeper cabin on some routes.


18 Days - 

USD 1609

What's Included?

  • All transport
  • Detailed predeparture pack
  • Services of English-speaking local coordinators  &    guides
  • All accommodation
  • Fully guided group tour
  • bamboo rafting the Li River
  • Overnight trains
  • Wallow in Chinese mud baths
  • Entry to the Panda breeding research centre
  • Entry to the terracotta Warriors
  • A visit to the Shaolin Temple
  • Camping out on the great Wall of China
  • Tiananmen Square and  the forbidden city

What's Excluded?

  • Transfers to and from the airport (although this is very easy)
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Spending money
  • Optional activities
  • Meals

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Please note this trip does not include food. So you will need to budget approximately £10 per day to cover your meals. The guide will always suggest good places to eat, usually most people eat together. An average meal will cost around 30RMB (approx £3) per person.

    If you want to go exceptionally cheap, you can always grab a bowl of noodles or fried rice for as little as 10RMB (approx £1).

    You can also get Western food and most of the hostels where you stay and this will cost about three pounds, but hey you are in China take full advantage.

  • You will need a VISA for this trip. A tourist VISA can be obtained at the Chinese embassy relatively easily. You will need a letter of invitation, which we will send you after you have paid your final balance so we advise you to book early so you can arrange your VISA  in good time.

  • We usually run groups between 10 and 18 people,the minimum group size is 5. On the first day there may be a smaller group size.

  • Most of the time but not the same one. We use different guides in different cities. So sometimes you will be put on a train by one guide and picked up at the destination by another.

  • This trip is most popular with people between 18-25 but we get all ages travelling with us.

  • The group meets up at 4.30pm at the accommodation on the start day. You can arrive anytime before this. If you would like to arrive a day early we can help you book your extra nights accommodation.
    The trip finishes at 10pm on the last day and most people spend an extra night before flying home. You will be in Beijing for the last two days so it is possible to fly out earlier but you will miss out on some activities.

New China Xplorer 18 Day China Backpacking Tour Trip Dates

Departing Shanghai – Finishing Shanghai

2020 Start Dates
Departure Finish

March 09/03/2020 – 26/03/2020
March 11/03/2020 – 28/03/2020
March 18/03/2020 – 04/04/2020
March 25/03/2020 – 11/04/2020

April 01/04/2020 – 18/04/2020
April 06/04/2020 – 23/04/2020
April 08/04/2020 – 25/04/2020
April 15/04/2020 – 02/05/2020
April 22/04/2020 – 06/05/2020
April 29/04/2020 – 16/05/2020

May 06/05/2020 – 23/05/2020
May 11/05/2020 – 28/05/2020
May 13/05/2020 – 30/05/2020
May 20/05/2020 – 06/06/2020
May 25/05/2020 – 11/06/2020
May 27/05/2020 – 13/06/2020

June 03/06/2020 – 20/06/2020
June 08/06/2020 – 25/06/2020
June 10/06/2020 – 27/06/2020
June 17/06/2020 – 04/07/2020
June 24/06/2020 – 11/07/2020

July 01/07/2020 – 18/07/2020
July 06/07/2020 – 23/07/2020
July 08/07/2020 – 25/07/2020
July 15/07/2020 – 01/08/2020
July 22/07/2020 – 08/08/2020
July 27/07/2020 – 13/08/2020
July 29/07/2020 – 15/08/2020

August 05/08/2020 – 22/08/2020
August 10/08/2020 – 27/08/2020
August 12/08/2020 – 29/08/2020
August 19/08/2020 – 05/09/2020
August 26/08/2020 – 12/09/2020

September 02/09/2020 – 19/09/2020
September 07/09/2020 – 24/09/2020
September 14/09/2020 – 01/10/2020
September 16/09/2020 – 03/10/2020
September 23/09/2020 – 10/10/2020
September 30/09/2020 – 17/10/2020

October 07/10/2020 – 24/10/2020
October 14/10/2020 – 31/10/2020
October 19/10/2020 – 05/11/2020
October 21/10/2020 – 07/11/2020
October 28/10/2020 – 14/11/2020

November 04/11/2020 – 21/11/2020

2021 Start Dates:

Departure Finish

March 10/03/2021 27/03/2021
March 17/03/2021 03/04/2021
March 24/03/2021 10/04/2021

April 05/04/2021 22/04/2021
April 07/04/2021 24/04/2021
April 14/04/2021 01/05/2021
April 26/04/2021 13/05/2021

May 05/05/2021 22/05/2021
May 12/05/2021 29/05/2021
May 19/05/2021 05/06/2021
May 24/05/2021 10/06/2021

June 02/06/2021 19/06/2021
June 09/06/2021 26/06/2021
June 16/06/2021 03/07/2021
June 23/06/2021 10/07/2021
June 30/06/2021 17/07/2021

July 05/07/2021 22/07/2021
July 14/07/2021 31/07/2021
July 21/07/2021 07/08/2021
July 28/07/2021 14/08/2021

August 04/08/2021 21/08/2021
August 11/08/2021 28/08/2021
August 18/08/2021 04/09/2021
August 25/08/2021 11/09/2021

September 01/09/2021 18/09/2021
September 06/09/2021 23/09/2021
September 15/09/2021 02/10/2021
September 22/09/2021 09/10/2021

October 06/10/2021 23/10/2021
October 13/10/2021 30/10/2021
October 27/10/2021 13/11/2021

November 03/11/2021 20/11/2021

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New China Xplorer 18 Day China Backpacking Tour
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