China small group tour: Land of Dragons and Emperors

“A well balanced 16 day small group tour of China, including big ticket sights but also rural life, mountain hikes and off the beaten track towns.”


Beijing | Great Wall at Panlongshan | Xi'an | Cycle city walls | Terracotta Warriors | Tunxi | Cable car to Huangshan | Hiking | Chengkan | Hongcun | Longjing tea fields | Hangzhou | West Lake | Suzhou | Shanghai

Description of China small group tour: Land of Dragons and Emperors

Discover China’s beautiful landscapes and historic gems on this small group tour to the Land of Dragons and Emperors. This 16 day journey explores the country’s 2,500 year history and its rich culture, discovering treasures that are the legacy of the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. Visit eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites as you travel from Beijing to Shanghai, hike through mountains, cycle round city walls, visit tiny villages and enjoy some of the country’s most famous highlights, too, including the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors.

The tour starts in Beijing, China’s capital city, where you can explore on a grand and small scale, taking in vast Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and then wandering through the city’s network of narrow alleys, known as hutongs. Stride out along the Great Wall, too, before travelling to Xi’an where the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors are a magical must-see. Then travel to rural Anhui province where the gorgeous Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) and the ancient village of Hongcun wait to be explored on foot.

Learn a little about tea culture in Hangzhou and enjoy the classical gardens, pretty canals and silk weaving traditions of Suzhou. This exceptional journey comes to an end in busy, stylish Shanghai, where you can stroll along the waterfront and spend time in its superb museums, before flying home.

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10 May 2019
including domestic flights only
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 10 May 2019 departure
11 Oct 2019
including domestic flights only
Click here to enquire about or book the 11 Oct 2019 departure

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: China small group tour: Land of Dragons and Emperors


We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to each one of our trips, and as a responsible tour operator, it is something we are careful and steadfast about promoting. Each one of our guides are trained to uphold, promote and put into practice such responsible behaviour, especially in wilderness areas or whilst traveling to UNESCO heritage sites, which this China trip does do.

We attempt to reduce plastic bottle use wherever possible by promoting use of reusable bottles and we have partnered with Water-To-Go to have our very own bottles which we provide to customers at a discounted price. For the remainder of 2018 we will continue to include and supply water on all of our group tours, however to further demonstrate our commitment to reducing the plastic we have taken the decision to stop this practice from 2019. Water will still be easily available on tours, however it will be an additional cost. Rather like charging for plastic bags at the supermarket, we hope this new policy will help encourage more travellers to bring their own reusable bottle.

By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites and ecosystems we visit.
On this particular trip, we travel by train. China has an excellent railway system and promoting the use of more environmentally friendly means of transport not only contributes to the upkeep of such transport but also reduces greenhouse emissions to the country we are visiting. We will embark on a train journey from Beijing to Xi’an (Day 4) and Hangzhou to Suzhou (Day 12), in addition to private minibuses. Using local transport systems also contributes to the economy of China.

We are promoting the natural beauty and ancient heritage of China through visiting many UNESCO World Heritage Sites including The Great Wall of China, Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Huangshan, Hongcun and Suzhou. UNESCO Sites are chosen by the UNESCO committee and must "bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to civilisation", "an important interchange of human values" or be outstanding examples of major stages of Earth's history or ecological and biological processes in evolution. Visiting such sites helps sustain the ancient traditions and natural ecosystems of China.

When you take one of our tours, me make a contribution to ‘Carbon Clear’ – an organisation devoted to ‘offsetting’ or ‘neutralising’ harmful greenhouse gas emissions caused by your flights. This is done by funding projects across the world that will reduce greenhouse gases on our behalf through sustainable energy or rain forestation.


Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that we have been committed to since our conception. It is part of our core sets of beliefs that these words are not simply scattered nonchalantly into our literature and on our website but moreover that they are central to each and every trip. Our adventures are therefore carefully curated celebrating all that is local from the people, to the culture.

We believe that a successful trip delivers a unique and authentic journey for our clients, but furthermore benefits the people whose land we have the privilege of encountering.

On each Group tour we use local ground handlers. This means that all operational costs go directly into the local economy and help improve employment opportunities in remote regions.

Such support can also be seen in our incorporation of homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of local guides and drivers into our itineraries, which ensures that the money you spend with us goes directly into the local economy and local community.

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