Walking Holidays in China - Charms of China - Discover the Highlights of China


Holiday Highlights
  • Combine the city of Beijing, the Great Wall of China and a visit to the mighty Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an with the sub-tropical south of Guilin rich in river & rice terraces
  • Journey along the famous Great Wall and visit the remarkable Ming Tombs
  • Hike over mountains, through bamboo forest and spectacular river terraces


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Combine the city of Beijing, the Great Wall of China, and a visit to the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an with the tranquil sub-tropical south of Guilin rich in rivers and rice terraces for an all-round, wonderful China Experience!


On this holiday, not only do you see and walk amongst some of China’s most visited sites, but you can also enjoy the company of fellow walkers during your stay. 

Guided Trek in Beijing

Beijing, formerly known as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China and constitutes its nation's political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication centre. Located in northern China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, it also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry.


The Great Wall 

The Great Wall of China has origins dating back over 2,000 years to the 7th century BC. From that time on it was added to with many sections being built and rebuilt until Mao Zedong caused further destruction by encouraging locals to use it for building material. Especially famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang.  The Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan by the sea in the east to Lop Lake the west and measures approximately 21,000km in its entirety including all the branch walls and separated sections. Built to protect the Chinese Empire from undesirable warlike people and military groups, the Great Wall also acted as a border control and played an important part in the transportation and trade of goods especially along the Silk Road. The Great Wall is made up of actual ‘wall’, rivers, trenches and other natural defences such as hills and mountains to provide a continuous defence barrier complete with regular watch towers and troop barracks. It is an incomparable feat of ancient engineering.


Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors

Few visitors would wish to miss an opportunity to witness yet another of China’s incredible sights – that of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. A chance discovery by a farmer working on his land in 1974 led to the  most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century which unearthed thousands of terracotta life size soldiers, horses, chariots and other artefacts. Created as a funerary masterpiece upon the death of the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the soldiers were buried with the Emperor in 210–209 BC to protect him in his afterlife. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site it should not to be missed by any visitor to China.


Southern Delights in Guilin

Guìlín means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. Located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China, Guilin is has a sub-tropical climate and is a low rise flower covered city. The stunning landscape in which the city is situated has a kind of magic that is all its own. The strangely shaped hills or karsts, with the verdant vegetation ranging from bamboos to conifers together with crystal clear waters of the Li River and thousands of colourful bamboo rafts make the city such an appealing destination. It is also an important cultural city with a history of more than 2,000 years. The city has been the political, economic and cultural centre of Guangxi since the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). This is one of China's most popular tourist destinations. Ask anyone in China and they say that the Guilin landscape is best!

This is the Group Guided itinerary. If you choose the Independent Guided walking you will have more flexibility on these options, including flying directly from Beijing to Guilin bypassing Xi’an.

B L D = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 1  Depart from the UK or other departure point.

Day 2  Arrive in Beijing – met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day free. D

Day 3  Day in Beijing site seeing ending with Peking Duck dinner*. Overnight Beijing. BLD

Day 4  After breakfast, depart by car with your guide to the spectacular East Qing Tombs – the resting place of the Qing Emperors. After lunch, join the Great Wall at Taiping Zhai and walk 2 hours to your hotel in Huangyaguan. Option to continue further along the Great Wall to Heaven’s Ladder. Overnight and dinner at the hotel. Ascent 145m Descent 355m 2 hours 2.5 miles. BLD

Day 5 In the morning a scenic drive of about 2.5 hours takes you to the next, and our favourite section of the Great Wall – from Gubeikou to Jinshanling. Before the walk commences, enjoy a delicious early lunch in a local restaurant. The walk is along an intact section with several diversions onto mountain trails through cultivated fields and with the outline of the Great Wall dominating the sky-line. Overnight and dinner in Jinshanling. Ascent 330m Descent 260m 4 hours 5 miles. BLD

Day 6  Your walk today from Huanghua to Xishuiyu is the most challenging but worth it! Following restored and intact sections you walk high above the Huanghua reservoir. Here you often have the Great Wall to yourself as you go up and down from tower to tower descending by mountain path to the reservoir. Here you can take a relaxing boat ride to see the Wall underwater before taking a late lunch and drive to the village of Lotus Fort, your overnight stop. Ascent 430m Descent 400m 2.75 hours 2.5 miles. BLD

Day 7  After breakfast, a short drive will take you to the next section Xizhazi and today’s walk takes you to the highest point of this part of the Wall - to Nine Eye Tower. Views are simply incredible! Overnight and dinner in Lotus Fort. Ascent 515m Descent 515m 4 hours 4 miles. BLD

Day 8  Today you walk to Mutianyu – a fully restored section. Option to go via Jiankou Great Section or from Lotus Fort. Either way, once at Mutianyu, you may continue walking with a picnic lunch or go to your hotel and take lunch then have a free afternoon. Overnight and dinner in hotel near Mutianyu. Ascent 395m Descent 330m 2 1/2 hours 2 1/2 miles. BLD

Overnight soft sleeper train to Xi’an departing Beijing Railway Station at approx. 20.00.

Travel by train in soft sleeper class offers comfortable beds in 4 berth shared compartments complete with fresh pillows and quilt, hot water for tea and toilet and washing facilities in each carriage. Services include early morning tea and dining car.    BLD

Day 9  Arrive Xi’an approx. 09.00, met by guide for breakfast in a nearby hotel before transferring to the Museum site 30 minutes’ drive from the city.  Tour of Pits 1, 2 and 3 and the Museum buildings. Lunch included.  Transfer back to Xi’an for overnight.  BLD

Day 10  Take early morning flight to Guilin. Met and transferred to Guilin Hotel for free afternoon, overnight and dinner (dinner not included). B

Day 11  After breakfast transfer to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces at Longji/Ping’an taking lunch en route at a Yao Restaurant. In the afternoon climb to viewpoint 2 for first views of the terraces followed by optional walk to Zhuang Village. Overnight and dinner Ping’an hotel. Ascent 130m Descent 110m 2 hours 3 miles. BLD

Day 12  Hike over the mountains, through Bamboo forest and rice terraces to Tiantouzhai/Dazhai. Rest of day free. Overnight and dinner Tiantouzhai Hotel.  Ascent 525m Descent 340m 4.5 hours 5.75 miles. BLD

Day 13  In the morning, a circular walk leads through the terraces and bamboo forests with the help of a local guide who knows the intricate network of pathways so well! Take lunch at Jin Keng Hotel then rest day free. Overnight and dinner at Tiantouzhai Hotel.  BLD

Day 14  Return to your driver at Dazhai village (1 hour) passing by locals busy in their fields and ladies working at their looms. Transfer to Yangshuo, taking about 3.5 hours with lunch en route. In the afternoon, hike along the pretty Yu Long River to the ancient village of Jiu Xian before arriving at the hotel for overnight and dinner. Ascent 5m Descent 365m 1 hour 2.25 miles and Ascent 35m Descent 45m 2 hours 4 miles. BLD

Day 15  Set off this morning through the jungle and magnificent karst landscapes on a wonderful hike exclusive to New Experience Holidays! A short transfer takes you to the start of the walk in Chengshan Village. This walk takes you through 2 sections of the jungle, firstly over thumb hill, followed by a short road section before you re-join a jungle path to Maojia Village, just north of where you ended your walk yesterday. Enjoy a picnic in this tranquil setting before return to your hotel for a relaxing afternoon or climb 800 steps to the top of Moon Hill for more fabulous views.  Overnight and dinner in your chosen hotel. Ascent 261m Descent 258m 3 hours 4.6 miles (not including the optional walk to the top of Moon Hill). BLD

Day 16  Your delightful stay in southern China ends today with a very memorable walk from Shangnei to Xingping along the Li River.  Wandering this trail along the riverside, you pass through orange groves, small riverside villages and rich, fertile fields abundant with produce. This walk is enhanced even further by a raft crossing at Quanjiazhou Village, as the trail switches between the karst hills from one side of the river to another.  The walk ends at picturesque Xing Ping – a colourful boat and river raft terminus. Your driver meets you here to transfer back to your hotel for dinner and overnight. Ascent 380m Descent 500m 5 hours 9.25 miles. BLD

Day 17  Transfer to the airport for your flight to Hong Kong or other gateway city and onwards home. B

*Optional extras for Independent guided walking.


Group guided walking - Special Departures
This holiday has a fixed itinerary and departure dates and although you may enjoy the company of other walkers, a group holiday does not offer the flexibility and choices of our independent holidays. Extra nights may be added at the beginning and end of the itinerary in the hotel of your choice.
We provide experienced, English speaking hiking guides who accompany you throughout your stay and tend to everything in support of your trip.  With their extensive knowledge of the regions, you will eat in the most authentic local restaurants and have personal guides around key historical sites.

Included Accommodation in homestays (Great Wall) and 3-4 star hotels or equivalent Meals where indicated on itinerary Beijing - City Tour of Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square and more. Beijing - Peking Duck Dinner in Beijing Xi’an – guided day and lunch at Terracotta Warriors Xi’an - Evening tour of Muslim Quarter and Dumpling Dinner

Independent guided walking  Walking in China with New Experience Holidays is different from most companies which only feature group holidays with fixed itineraries.  We provide an experienced, English speaking hiking guide for individual clients with the support of a private driver. They accompany you throughout your stay and tend to everything in support of your trip.  With their extensive knowledge of the regions, you will eat in the most authentic local restaurants, have luggage transferred with you in the car, and have a personal guide around key historical sites. We are able to feature Chinese Homestays and special hotels which generally cater for individuals travellers.  
We feel that China has now developed tourism to the point where it is no longer necessary or as beneficial to be part of a group.  However, due to language difficulties and considerable cultural differences, a guide is still essential to ensure one receives the most out of a journey through China. This does increase the price, but actually not by a great amount and offers the traveller all the following benefits:
Flexibility can be introduced into your itinerary in the walking and places visited. Walks can be modified according to weather or your energy levels! The walking pace will be yours alone – no need to wait for others or speed up. Dining can be in more select restaurants with dishes ordered to your specific tastes. Road transfers (some up to 4 hours) will be by comfortable air conditioned car as opposed to mini bus or coach. Your guide can explain about history, culture, flora and anything of particular interest to you with the opportunity to have personal conversations on his culture. No chance of cancellation of a holiday due to insufficient group numbers.

Optional Extras for Independent guided walking Extra Hotel Nights in Beijing Hotel Upgrade in Beijing City Tour of Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square and more. Tour to the Summer Palace Peking Duck Dinner Xi’an Terracotta Warriers Add-on Upgrade to higher grade hotels in Guilin area Extra nights in Hong Kong, Longji, Yangshuo or Guilin City Tour Guilin Train Travel Guilin to Hong Kong (reduction) 

Walk Grading
Guided - Easy to Moderate (some sections of the Great Wall may be challenging to some)

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Beijing - Grand Hotel Beijing - 5 Star

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This is a superb 5 star hotel often used by diplomats due to its proximity to Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City.

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Beijing - Hotel Jade Garden - 4 Star

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This 4 star hotel is just a short walking distance from the major sights of the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square. The Jade Garden is a comfortable Chinese style hotel.

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Beijing Traditional View Hotel - 3 Star

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For a glimpse into the ‘old Beijing’ The Courtyard is the prefect traditional hotel within the narrow streets of the Hutong area. 

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The Great Wall Trek

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We feature Chinese Hotels and Homestays in close proximity to the Great Wall.  Due to their rural location standards may not be as high as city hotels and some features such as bathrooms may be unusual to us. Although most do, some homestays may not provide towels, soap or toilet paper. A sample of accommodation is as follows with changes as necessary when space is limited. Private bathroom is always provided. We also offer a higher grade option everywhere except in Huangyaguan.

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Xi'an - Bell Tower Hotel - 4 Star

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The Bell Tower is a modern international style hotel with spectacular views over the Bell Tower roundabout – at nighttime it is a beautiful sight.

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Xi'an - The Grand New World Hotel - 3 Star

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Situated in the city centre, this hotel is close to Great Mosque of Xi'an, Drum Tower, and Bell Tower.

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Guilin

Standard Grade

Guilin - Aroma Tea House Hotel (formerly known as Hotel Jingguan Minglou Museum)

With a lakeside setting in a quiet part of Guilin, the small ‘Museum’ hotel offers a very Chinese experience with an air of sophistication. The owners have a great interest in Chinese porcelain and have several rooms of teapots, vases and other artefacts beautifully displayed.

Longji – Ping’an Hotel

Just 20 minute walk from the car-park, the Yao village of Ping’an clings to the hillside and is divided by a small ravine with rushing streams. Red lanterns dangle from every doorway creating a beautiful spectacle after dark. Further up the hillside are viewpoints over the terraces and narrow stone trails lead to other villages in the valley.  Our stay here is at Ping’an Hotel and is a traditional wooden house.  Rooms are furnished in Yao style and are spacious and comfortable with good private shower rooms and balconies.  Their restaurant serves excellent Chinese food as well as a few western dishes and it is possible to eat inside or out on the wooden terrace.

Dazhai/Tiantouzhai – Hotel Jin Keng

This lovely wooden Yao house has fabulous views down the valley and across to the far side of the terraces. 

Yangshuo - Bamboo Leaf Hotel

The Bamboo Leaf Hotel is located a good distance from town for it to be peaceful, but guests may use one of the hotel bicycles or walk into town if they wish. 

All rooms are tastefully decorated, clean and comfortable with a great range of facilities including mini bars, arm-chairs, thermostat controlled AC, double glazed sliding window doors and furnished balconies with great views out over the swimming pool and village.

Higher Grade

Guilin - Hotel Bravo

Hotel Bravo was formerly a Holiday Inn and enjoys a pleasant lakeside location.  The hotel is extremely well run and has an international air about it.

Longji – Ping’an Hotel

Just 20 minutes walk from the car-park, the Yao village of Ping’an clings to the hillside and is divided by a small ravine with rushing streams. Red lanterns dangle from every doorway creating a beautiful spectacle after dark. Further up the hillside are viewpoints over the terraces and narrow stone trails lead to other villages in the valley. Our stay here is at Ping’an Hotel and is a traditional wooden house. Rooms are furnished in Yao style and are spacious and comfortable with good private shower rooms and balconies. Their restaurant serves excellent Chinese food as well as a few western dishes and it is possible to eat inside or out on the wooden terrace.

Dazhai/Tiantouzhai – Panorama Hotel

The hotel is aptly named as the view is simply stunning from this newly built hotel high above the terraces.

Yangshuo - Moondance

Moondance  This is a delightful award-winning escape in a riverside setting surrounded by bamboo and lush vegetation.  The riverside garden is a perfect place to relax with a book after a good days walking.

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Availability Information

Travelling to the north of China is at its very best from mid April to mid June and mid September to mid November.  Up to early April it is still very cold and the land bare of anything green.  As Spring progresses, late April sees blossom trees covering fields and mountainsides as trees begin to leaf. From mid September to early November the landscape changes from green to beautiful autumnal colours and temperatures soften.

Guilin is warm all year round with high temperatures and most rainfall from June to early September. During April and May the vibrant green of the foliage intensifies and is offset by brightly coloured tropical flowers. From May onwards the rice terraces are waterlogged and the shoots sprout bright green creating a stunning spectacle through to the harvest in October.

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit.

When to book your walking holiday in China - Charms of China - Discover the Highlights of China

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