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You could travel for a lifetime in China and there would still be more to explore, taste and experience… but this 12-day tour does a pretty good job of narrowing it down to the essentials. That means big hitters like the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors and baby pandas. But it also means sipping tea in People's Park, tasting street food in Xi'an and chilling in the misty countryside of Yangshuo. Ni hao baby!
BeijingNimen Hao! Welcome to China. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. If arriving early there is loads to do in this amazing city. Get acquainted with Beijing on your own before joining your group and leader for the welcome meeting, then head out for an optional first night dinner. Go nuts and order your Peking duck for your first meal in the country. First the skin is carved and served in pancakes, next the carcass is chopped and cooked up into a soup. Don't forget to grab your doggy bag (ducky bag?) of leftovers.
Great Wall / BeijingHead out to the Great Wall at Mutianyu on public transport (approximately 2 hours) – one of the best-preserved and easily accessed sections from Beijing. Take in the surrounding amazing views (provided that it is a clear day!). A truly epic piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from invaders in the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most amazing achievements. There’s an opportunity to take a thrilling toboggan ride to the base of the Great Wall (at your own expense), which is a unique way to rest your legs after all the ups and downs on the Wall.
Beijing / Overnight TrainSpend the morning exploring Tiananmen Square and follow your leader through the zigzag lanes that's called hutong locally. Hutong area is one of the most special areas in Beijing because these lanes and courtyard houses are the root of old Beijing city and is now a special area to peek into real local life.In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore as you wish, maybe visiting the Forbidden City, the 798 Art District, jumping on a bike and riding through the hutongs, hanging out in the Temple of Heaven park or visiting the Lama Temple. This evening we board the first overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an in six-berth, air-conditioned cabins (hard sleeper class).Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face-to-face with the country and its people as it's the main form of transport for locals. We use hard sleeper-class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan and clean with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins). Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins. As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available three times a day, and there are often snacks available on the train along the way. You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train.
Xi'anIn the morning arrive in Xi'an. The imperial centre of China for 2000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with loads of interesting historical sites. A monument pays homage to the fact that this was the start of the famous ancient trading route of the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by city walls. Begin with a walking tour of the Muslim Quarter, a neighbourhood that is almost 1300 years old. The Muslim Quarter is famous for its food, and along the walk your leader will buy some dishes for you to sample. Some local specialties include persimmon cake, lamb skewers and sticky rice cakes, though exactly what you eat will depend on the season. Enjoy a free afternoon, perhaps paying for bike hire and riding to the top of Xi'an City Wall, the only intact ancient city wall in China. In the evening, your leader will take you to the lively square near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Seeing the 600-year-old temple ablaze with lights is pretty amazing and it’s a great place to mingle with locals in the square.
Xi'anVisit Xi'an's most famous site, the Terracotta Warriors, with a local guide. Travel by public bus (approximately 2 hours) to reach the site, and spend a few hours exploring. Hear all about this incredible archaeological find (it was discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being buried for thousands of years). These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on view to the public. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free time. Dont miss out on some of the many tantalising local specialities such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand-pulled noodles, hot pot or barbecued meat skewers.
Xi'an / ChengduHop on the efficient high-speed train from Xi'an to Chengdu (approximately 3 hours). Chengdu has a very casual vibe, and the locals tend to value pleasure more than work, so mahjong and tea are two of the most crucial parts of living. Go on a walking tour with your leader to downtown Tianfu Square, where a giant statue of Chairman Mao stands. Continue to the lively People's Park and sit down in a tea house to sip a brew and take advantage of the other services on offer like ear cleaning and massages. Make the most of your time here and immerse yourself in local life by joining a group dance or martial arts practice. Feeling a little foolish is all part of the fun, and we can almost guarantee you’ll get lots of encouragement from the locals.
ChengduPrepare for the fuzzies this morning as you get up close with the adorable pandas at the Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu. Learn about the conservation efforts being made to repopulate this ancient species. And of course you'll see them being fed, playing, sleeping or just being plain cute in their playgrounds. Enjoy some more downtime in the afternoon, maybe checking out the hip Kuanzhai Lane or searching for some spicy Chengdu snacks on Jinli Street.
YangshuoEmbrace a full day of travelling from Chengdu to Yangshuo today. You'll hop on the bullet train from Chengdu to Guilin (approx. 7hrs), then transfer to the hotel in Yangshuo. Surrounded by limestone karsts, Yangshuo is super popular with both international and domestic tourists, which isn't a bad thing if you're into your cafes and bars. It's one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions while having plenty of fun at the same time. Take a walk through the town with your leader on arrival and head down to the Li River to get a feel for a landscape immortalised in plenty of Chinese paintings.
YangshuoHop on a bike and follow your leader on a cycling tour through the picturesque countryside of Yangshuo. Cycle past karst hills that rise from rice paddies and tiny villages, watching locals working the fields with water buffalo for company. Visiting this stunning region is a trip highlight for lots of travellers, and every turn in the road brings you to another postcard-perfect spot. Ride to Moon Hill and take a short hike on the famous archway for panoramic views of the area. Return to Yangshuo for a free afternoon and evening.
Hong KongLeave Yangshuo and continue your journey to the final stop, Hong Kong. You'll be transferred to Guilin and then hop on the high-speed train (approximately three hours) to Shenzhen. From there, cross the border into Hong Kong and head to your centrally located hotel. Go on a walking tour with your leader, then check out the Temple Street night market or the light show at Victoria Harbour. Take the chance to celebrate your final night with the group in this awesome city.
Hong KongYour adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned.
- Beijing - Mutianyu Great Wall
- Beijing - Tiananmen Square
- Beijing - Leader-led Hutong Walking Tour
- Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour and Snack Sampling
- Xi'an - Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square Walking Tour
- Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors Tour (entrance fee, transport, guide)
- Chengdu - Walking Tour (Tianfu Square, People's Park and Kuanzhai Lane)
- Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (entrance fee & transport included)
- Yangshuo - Walking Tour
- Yangshuo - Bike Tour with Lunch & Moon Hill Visit
- Hong Kong - Leader-led Walking Tour
- Hong Kong – Temple Street Night Market Walking Tour
1 Lunch(es) Included
Health and Safety Protocols for Intrepid Tours
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced protocols in hygiene and sanitation. We will put in place additional measures, in line with government health advice and with global health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
Handwashing is one of the most important safety measures to prevent the spread of disease. Intrepid will actively reinforce its importance by:
- Implementing a handwashing policy that dictates when, how often and for how long all staff, leaders and crew must wash their hands on-trip.
- Promote the importance of hand hygiene to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Contract suppliers that have hand hygiene protocols in place
- Contract suppliers that provide hand sanitizer in public places (where applicable)
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of hand hygiene via training.
Practicing good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of disease by reducing the number of droplets in the air when you sneeze or cough. Intrepid will:
- Actively reinforce its importance to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of respiratory hygiene via training.
- Contract suppliers who have respiratory hygiene protocols in place.
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them. Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks should only be used as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy and that the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene must also form part of the strategy.
On our trips, regardless of destination, the following people must wear medical/surgical masks:
- Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they have been tested yet.
- People caring for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases (outside of hospitals/clinics).
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them.
- People over 60
- People with underlying health conditions
- Provide medical/surgical masks as part of the First Aid Kits carried by leaders.
- Educate leaders, crew, staff and customers on the correct method to wear, handle and dispose of a mask.
- Require all customers, leaders and staff to comply with any local regulations or requirements that require the use of a mask in public or in certain places
Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it is not necessary for the public to wear fabric masks generally.
However in certain circumstances, in places where community transmission of COVID-19 is high and/or physical distancing is not possible (e.g. on public transport, in shops or in other confined environments) then a fabric mask can be a useful barrier to prevent the spread of virus.
Fabric masks be purchased commercially or handmade, and are generally not standardised like medical masks. Fabric masks should:
- Cover the nose, mouth, and chin
- Be secured with elastic loops or ties
- Include multiple layers
- Be washable and reusable.
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced sanitation processes. Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their cleaning and sanitation protocols
- Audit/monitor all suppliers on their cleanliness and sanitation.
- All cleaning and disinfecting products must be approved by health authorities (e.g. WHO).
- All rooms must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be available in public areas.
- There must be a process in place for customers to escalate any concerns regarding hygiene or sanitation.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- All tents must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use.
- If staying at a campground, ensure all bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels. If the area is remote, with limited facilities and/or minimal staffing, then customers should be informed to bring their own hygiene equipment.
- All mini buses, transfers, charters, overland trucks must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be made available
- Close top bins with bin liners should be available on board and disposed of at every stop
- Must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day
- Tables and chairs must be disinfected after each guest use
- Avoid buffets where possible. If buffets are used, prevent customers from handling food and operating machines (e.g. self-serve coffee stations)
- Either disinfect shared use objects (e.g. table salt) between guest use. Where possible, Intrepid will try to source safe alternatives to single serve packaging.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- Preferred: Provide hand sanitizer to guests at the door before entry
- All equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guest us
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
Limiting the number of surfaces touched by large numbers of people helps prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, it is important to proactively move towards contactless or low touch solutions for travel. Intrepid will:
- Prioritise contactless/low touch as a key feature when sourcing new tech or solutions.
- Remove any paperwork required on the ground (e.g. signing forms, feedback cards)
- If details must be entered using a shared device (e.g. insurance details), then it must be disinfected between each customer. Preference is to move entirely to digital solutions.
- Accommodation should provide online check in (no paperwork)
- Contactless keys (e.g. QR codes)
- Contactless tech (e.g. lights)
- Online ticketing for attractions and transport
- Online payment
Physical distancing is important in the preventing the spread of COVID-19 as it can be transmitted via droplets sprayed when coughing, sneezing, singing, yelling etc…
Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their physical distancing protocols
- Follow local regulation and advice on the need for physical distancing.
We will continue to offer this as an option. Single supplements are available for single travellers who do not wish to share a room. We will work closely with accommodation suppliers to ensure increased availability of single rooms.
- Consider whether it is appropriate to offer single tents for solo travellers as customers will be much closer together then in a traditional room.
- Consider whether staggering meal times may reduce the number of people sharing a dining tent.
Intrepid will consider the following factors when designing or amending transport options on trips.
- Local laws or requirements regarding physical distancing on transport
- Hygiene protocols of the transport provider
- Level of active community transmission in the destination
- Using designated seating on transport. Customers have assigned seats throughout the trip.
- If trip is longer than 15 minutes and air conditioning is available, it must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.
- Designing or amending itineraries to reduce the duration of travel.
- Increasing the size of the vehicle, using multiple vehicles.
- Educate all leaders, crew, staff and customers to maintain a 1.5m distance wherever practical in public (e.g. queueing at a museum).
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds by visiting attractions at off-peak times.
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds on public transport or at airports where practical.
- Follow local regulations on table spacing and guest seating in restaurants. Wherever possible, try to ensure groups are sitting at their own table without strangers in restaurants.
- Proactively design product that focuses on experiences that assist with physical distancing (e.g. picnics over crowded marketplaces) if relevant for that destination.
Screening for COVID-19 helps isolate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and stops the spread of disease. It is likely to become more common for future travellers.
Pre-Departure (Brand Material)
Customers should be informed as part of ‘Essential Trip Information (ETIs) or other similar trip notes if their trip is likely to include any of the following:
- Testing for COVID-19 before being able to pass through immigration and/or board planes.
- Negative test results to be uploaded for visa purposes.
- Thermal temperature checks in airports, train or bus stations, major hotels or attractions.
Pre-departure, all customers are required to fill out an online questionnaire (“self- declaration/assessment” form) to identify any high-risk customers before travel.
Extra qualifiers will be included to address customers with symptoms that can be contributed to pre-existing conditions (e.g. breathlessness to asthma).
Customers answering YES to any question should be removed from the departure and appropriate arrangements made.
Intrepid will not require a negative COVID-19 test as proof of health from customers or leaders at this stage unless it is required by local law or regulations.
This is partially due to the lack of availability of testing for people with no symptoms in many parts of the world and may change in due course.
- Ask customers, leaders, crew and staff to monitor their own health
- Display appropriate signage on COVID-19 symptoms
- Educate leaders, crew and staff on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms
- Describe COVID-19 symptoms in group meetings
If customers, leaders or crew show symptoms of COVID-19 and are either unable to or unwilling to be tested, Intrepid reserves the right to remove them from our trips to prevent any risk to others.
Flexible Booking Conditions
Customers will be supported by flexible booking conditions to stay home if unwell or displaying symptoms
Flexible Work Conditions
Intrepid will support leaders and crew to stay home rather than lead a trip if they are unwell or displaying symptoms. Schedules will need to be created with back up availability of leaders/crew.
Data Collection & Health Tracking
Intrepid will assist government health departments in tracking and tracing any customers, staff, leaders, crew or suppliers at risk of contracting COVID-19 via exposure to a known case and/or outbreak by providing relevant details in line with privacy laws and regulations.
COVID Tracking apps
Intrepid strongly recommends that customers and staff download COVID tracking apps (e.g. COVIDSafe in Australia, StayHomeSafe in Hong Kong) to assist in reducing the spread of disease within their communities.
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Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.
The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.