- Learn how to fight like a ninja and have lunch with a sumo wrestler
- Spend 2 days hiking and hot spring bathing in the Hakone mountains
- Go off-radar in Tokyo, with a visit to Tokyo Whisky Library and a bike ride to a hidden district
- Visit the world's largest fish market and discover how to make your own sushi
- Join a street food safari to the hidden bars and stalls of Osaka, Japan's culinary hot spot
- Sea-kayak around the Great Torii on Miyajima Island
Speed around Beijing in a vintage sidecar motorcycle and master Tai-Chi and Kung-Fu in the serene shadow of the Temple of Heaven. Hike the Jundu Mountains to watch an epic sunrise over The Great Wall of China, get up close with Chéngdū’s famous giant pandas, and tick bustling Silk Street Market, the ancient Terracotta Warriors and Xi’an’s formidable City Walls off your bucket list. Discover the feverish mystique of dynamic Shànghǎi, learn to make spicy Sichuan Hotpot from a local chef, and feast your way around China’s most flavourful regions.
Teleportation is something we’re yet to perfect here at Flashpack HQ, but with this Chinese adventure we’re certainly getting close. An incredibly vast and hugely diverse country, China is many realms in one, and no matter what you’re looking for it doesn’t disappoint. Ancient temples boasting Confucian architecture set against a backdrop of gleaming skyscrapers? Luxury hotels adjacent to historical ruins hidden amongst rolling tree-blanketed mountains? From the frenzy of Beijing to the lush plains of Sichuan and the eclectic mystique of Shànghǎi, China is abundant in both antiquity and modernity, making it an epic experience every time. Our 12-day adventure in the Middle Kingdom features an epic sunrise over a rare secluded section of the Great Wall of China, and a chance to get up close with the famous giant pandas of Chéngdū’s sprawling wildlife reserve. Along the way, we’ll visit the serene Temple of Heaven and learn the ancient arts of Kung-Fu and Tai-Chi from a master in the grounds, before keeping pace with Beijing speeding through the city’s pulsing streets in a vintage sidecar motorcycle. We’ll kick back in a 5* spa hotel with views of The Great Wall snaking through the dense Shuiguan Mountains, haggle our way through the colourful market stalls of Silk Street, and jump on a Soft Sleeper night train to wake up in history-laden Xi’an. This is your chance to start tearing through your bucket list as we tick off the Terracotta Warriors and formidable City Walls, before catching a bullet train to Chéngdū where we’ll take in Lè Shān’s Giant Buddha, Wénshū Temple and get hands-on in a Sichuan kitchen. Shànghǎi is the final stop but the adventure is far from over, as we sip Champagne from a rooftop bar, uncover the vibrant arts scene, learn ping pong secrets from the champions, and get a taste for the city’s famously wild nightlife. Buckle up Flashpackers, this is an eastern journey unlike any other…
The Flash Pack promise
Here at Flash Pack, we’re committed to unique adventures that deliver great value for money. We pack our trips with epic experiences (unlike other companies, all activities are included), hand-pick stylish hotels and match you with like-minded people.
- Learn Kung-Fu and Tai-Chi from a martial arts master in the shadow of The Temple of Heaven
- Keep pace with Beijing seeing the city from the sidecar of vintage CJ750 motorcycle
- Watch an epic sunrise from a private vantage point along The Great Wall of China
- Cycle your way around the ancient city of Xi’an taking in the formidable City Walls
- Get up close with giant pandas at Chéngdū’s famous wildlife reserve
- Tick the Terracotta Army and Lè Shān Giant Buddha off your bucket list
- Test your haggling skills on the expert traders at Silk Street Market
- Discover Shànghǎi’s wild nightlife and catch a spectacular acrobatic show
Day 1: Welcome to China
Touch down in Beijing and take a private transfer to your hotel located in the Capital’s central business district. Relax and soak up your first taste of the city, before joining your guide and fellow Flashpackers for an adventure briefing over a delicious Chinese feast.
Flashpackers, welcome to day one of your escape to China. Touch down at Beijing Capital International Airport in the morning, where a private transfer will be waiting to whisk you to your hotel just 30-minutes into the bustle of Beijing. Today you can settle into your new abode, it’ll be base camp for the next two nights, soak in your first taste of China’s capital city and crane a look at the towering skyscrapers lining your hotel’s Chaoyang District location. Feel free to rest up after your flight, or if you’re feeling energetic make use of the hotel’s gym, before heading to a local restaurant nestled in one of Beijing’s famous hutong courtyards, where you’ll join your guide and full Flashpack crew for an adventure briefing over delicious Chinese food.More +
Day 2: Temples, Kung Fu and Peking Duck
Go beyond the modernity of Beijing’s skyscrapers to explore the city’s rich seam of historical landmarks and ancient architecture. Experience the serenity of the Temple of Heaven and learn Kung-Fu from a master of martial arts, visit The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, enjoy a bird’s eye view from Jingshan Park’s highest peak, then feast on traditional Peking Duck.
Fuel up on an early breakfast, today is all about delving deep into the Capital. First up, we’ll head to Beijing’s Temple of Heaven Park, an oasis of surprising serenity sitting south-east of the frenetic city centre. Visit the temple, built during China’s Ming dynasty, join locals for morning exercises—thought to be an elixir of youth for Beijing’s elders—then dive right into the ancient arts of Kung-Fu and Tai-Chi with a lesson from a master in the temple grounds. After a pit stop for an artisan brew at a nearby coffee hotspot, feel free to explore the city’s plethora of tantalising lunch options. Come afternoon, we’ll regroup and delve deeper into the city’s rich seam of historical landmarks and ancient architecture; we’ll visit the iconic Tiananmen Square and take in the palatial splendour of The Forbidden City, before heading to the imperial Jingshan Park to bask in a panoramic view of the city from Beijing’s highest peak. Later, it’s time to feast with your Flashpack crew and indulge in a true Chinese favourite—Pekin Duck for all.More +
Day 3: Beijing by Motorbike & A Great Wall Hike
Kick off the day by keeping pace with Beijing in a vintage Chang Jian 750 sidecar motorbike, before coaching it to the outskirts of the city for a mountain hike to a secluded beauty spot along China’s most famous landmark, The Great Wall. Check into your 5* hotel to spend the evening relaxing in style.
Don’t skip your green tea this morning, you’ll need plenty of energy for the jam-packed schedule. Kick things off keeping pace with Beijing in a vintage Chang Jian 750 sidecar motorcycle, as we speed around the city for a two-hour discovery mission like no other. After soaking up the buzz at street level, it’s time to say farewell to Beijing’s inner city bustle, and board the Flashpack coach for a two-hour jaunt to city’s outskirts—feel free to kick back and relax, but you might not want to miss the sights along the way as we head towards the Great Wall. Jump off the coach and gather your mojo as we set off to hike our way through the Jundu Mountains (the climb should take between two and three hours), ending at a secluded section of the Great Wall. This is your chance to soak up the idyllic views away from the crowds of Badaling. Later, check in at Commune By The Wall, your five star hotel for the night. After an adrenaline pumping day the evening is yours to rest and unwind; make a beeline for the hotel’s luxury spa complete with views across the mountainous landscape, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, tuck into a tasty dinner at one of the hotel’s three restaurants, or enjoy another look at the Great Wall via the hotel’s private vantage point.More +
Day 4: Silk Street Market & Soft Sleeper to Xi'An
Make the most of your stay at Commune By The Great Wall by watching an epic sunrise atop the hotel’s private section of the Wall, before we head to China’s famous Silk Street Market to test your haggling skills, then jump on a night train to wake up in Xi’an.
Rise early to make the most of our idyllic location by watching a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise over the hotel’s private section of The Great Wall—we might even enjoy a cheeky glass of bubbly to celebrate the sweet life. Lunch is your own to indulge in tasty dishes at either the hotel’s Terrace Lounge, boasting views across the Shuiguan mountains, the Courtyard Restaurant with its menu of regional Chinese delicacies, or the Poolside Cafe. We’d suggest one last dip in the tree-lined swimming pool or an indulgent massage in the spa, before it’s time to pack up and move on.
Next up, put your haggling skills to the ultimate test as we hit China’s famous Silk Street Market of Beijing’s Xiushui East Street. This is your chance to soak up the incredible atmosphere and pick up souvenirs from silks and cashmere to jewellery and local handicrafts, before we say farewell to Beijing and jump aboard a Soft Sleeper night train, where we’ll snooze our way through the 12-hour journey to Xi’an.More +
Day 5: Cycling Xi'An & Craft Beers
Wake up in Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities, and immerse yourself straight into its ancient history with an expert calligraphy lesson. Take a bike ride around the formidable City Walls and discover Xi’an’s delicious local cuisine, before heading to the Muslim Quarter at night. Finish the day toasting craft beers with your fellow Flashpackers.
Wake up in Xi’an and grab some breakfast on the fly, before immersing yourself straight into the city’s rich history with an expert calligraphy lesson. Check into your 4* star hotel where you’ll have a chance to shower and change clothes or rest up for a short while, before we jump on bikes to see the city from a fresh viewpoint. The original home of China’s most ancient ruling dynasties, Xi’an is where you’ll find some of the the country’s most impressive nostalgia, surviving monuments and impressive architecture. We’ll cycle around the top of Xi’an’s formidable City Walls, the largest ancient military defense system in the world, and soak up the magic of this historic city; then you’re free to explore the many dining options and local cuisine. Thanks to a strong Islamic influence, you’ll find a whole host of delicious fusion dishes in Xi’an, from roujiamo, the Xi’anese take on hamburgers, to spiced chuan’er skewers, and yangrou paomo (shredded flatbread served in an aromatic mutton broth—finish with a side of pickled sweet garlic to eat as the locals do). Come evening, we’ll explore the Muslim Quarter, now a hotspot for cool eateries and places to gather, and see the impressive Drum and Bell Towers lit up at night. Finish the evening with a introduction to Xi’an’s small but growing craft beer scene, and share a toast with your fellow Flashpackers.More +
Day 6: Terracotta Army & Bullet to Chéngdū
Kick off the day discovering Xi’an’s Terracotta Army, life sized ancient sculptures all set in battle formation, before jumping on a bullet train travelling across the country to Sichuan at impressive high-speed. Check into your hotel at the heart of the province’s capital, and spend the evening exploring Chéngdū’s flavourful street food scene.
Tuck into breakfast at your hotel before jumping aboard the Flashpacker coach for the 1.5 hours drive to Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, home of Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Terracotta Warriors stand life-sized in battle formation, thought to be ready for action should Emperor Qin Shi Huang come under attack in the afterlife. Afterwards, we’ll board a high-speed Bullet Train, an impressive Chinese experience in itself, and fast-track the 658km journey from Xi’an North station to Chéngdū East, in the Sichuan Province. At top speeds of 155mph, the winding journey will take around four hours, but don’t rest your eyes for too long; we’ll be passing through the crop fields of central Shaanxi Plain, the lush greenery of the Qinling Mountains and the forests of Sichuan Basin. If you’re into a cracking landscape snap, this is Instagram gold. Check into your hotel sat in the Jinniu district at the heart of Chéngdū city centre; the perfect place to sleep off a day of travelling, or a prime location for you to spend the evening exploring the city’s delicious street food scene. Wontons on Táng Sòng Food Street are a must, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try Sichuan favourite tùtóu (not for veggies—it’s rabbit head).More +
Day 7: Giant Buddha By River & Spicy Hotpot
Travel to neighbouring Sichuan City Lè Shān to see the world’s tallest stone Buddha up close, grab a boat and glide along the Min River for a better view (a serious selfie opportunity), then head back to Chéngdū to sample Sichuan’s famous spicy Hotpot.
Today we’ll head to neighbouring Sichuan city Lè Shān, a three hour drive from Chéngdū, home to the world’s tallest stone Buddha. At a whopping 71 meters tall the Lè Shān Giant Buddha is quite the spectacle (fun fact: the fingers of the Giant Buddha are 27 feet long), and is thought to have taken 90 years to complete. Since its incredible size makes the Buddha tricky to commit to pixels, we’ll jump aboard a boat to glide along the Min River, where we’ll pause for a quick photo opp alongside the Giant Buddha in all its glory—bring your best selfie game for this one. We’ll head back to Chéngdū for lunch and tuck into belly-warming Hotpot, Sichuan’s best-known traditional dish—a fragrant, often spicy, broth laden with meats and vegetables. The rest of the day is yours to explore to Chéngdū; head to the Kuanzhai Xiangzi (ancient wide and narrow alleys) to discover Chinese teahouse culture and sip a jasmine brew, visit the Taoist Qīngyáng Temple and sample more of the area’s hot and spicy cuisine.More +
Day 8: Giant Pandas & Sichuan Cook-Off
Rise early to beat the crowds at Chéngdū’s famous panda reserve, where you’ll see baby and giant pandas lolling around dens and sprawling bamboo forests. Learn the art of local cuisine with a hands-on cookery lesson from a local chef, and catch a powerful Sichuan opera.
Rise and shine early birds, this morning’s mission is to beat the crowds at Chéngdū’s panda reserve. Just 18km north of the city, the reserve is your best chance to see China’s most famous residents outside the confines of a zoo. A sprawl of wild bamboo forests, lakes and caves on Futou Mountain, the Panda Base reserve is home to over 80 giant pandas which can all be seen lolling about dens and munching on bamboo. You’ll also get a glimpse of the lesser known red panda, while endangered Chinese wildlife from colourful peacocks to black swans also roam free around the reserve’s quiet grounds. Afterwards, we’ll head back into the centre of Chéngdū to feel the heat of the Sichuan kitchen with a hands-on cookery lesson from a local chef—prepare yourself for the spice of the area’s famous red peppercorns. Bring your best sous-chef skills as you’ll be whipping up your own dinner tonight, before heading out en masse to catch a powerful Sichuan opera.More +
Day 9: Wenshu Temple & Hello Shanghai
Head to Chéngdū’s Tibetan Quarter in the southwest of the city, wander through the Tibetan streets, discover the Wénshū Temple and take part in a traditional tea ceremony in the People’s Park. Hitch a flight to Shànghǎi and experience your first taste of China’s most eclectic city.
This morning we’ll head to Chéngdū’s Tibetan Quarter in the southwest of the city. Take in the Wénshū Temple (also known as Wénshū Monastery), the city’s largest and most impressively-preserved Buddhist temple, before we head to the People’s Park, a lush green space spread across more than 112,600 square meters and packed full of heritage landmarks, to take part in a traditional tea ceremony. Since this is our last day in Chéngdū lunch is yours to either explore the park, browse Tibetan craft shops or hunt out one last Sichuan hotpot. Afterwards, we’ll head to Chéngdū Shuangliu International Airport to hitch a flight to Shànghǎi, the final destination of our Chinese adventure. The flight will take around 3.5 hours, so kick back and relax. Once we land and check in at the hotel, perfectly located in the bustling Huangpu District, you’ll be free to spend your first night in Shànghǎi as you wish—get a taste for the wild nightlife, sample the local cuisine and acquaint yourself with China’s most eclectic city.More +
Day 10: Explore Shanghai
Savour a late start to the day and enjoy breakfast at your hotel’s restaurant with views of the city’s climbing skyscrapers. Head out to explore Shànghǎi and sample lunchtime street food, before walking along the city’s iconic Bund waterfront, visiting the beautiful Yùyuán Gardens, and finishing the day with an acrobatic show like no other.
Savour a late start this morning, or sleep off the effects of last night’s Shànghǎi cocktails, and enjoy breakfast at your hotel’s restaurant with views of the city’s craning skyscrapers. The first part of the day is yours, so head out to explore the Huangpu District surrounding the hotel; hustle along Nanjing Road, the world’s longest and busiest pedestrian shopping street, then when your stomach grumbles walk to Chenghuangmiao Old Street, Huanghe Road or Yunnan South Road, some of the city’s most famed street food areas, to tuck into a lunch of steamed buns, pork balls or spare ribs with rice cakes. If you’re a fan of sweet and sour, you’ll find pleasure in devouring much of Shànghǎi’s traditional Hu cuisine.
We’ll regroup early afternoon to visit the historic Bund, Shànghǎi’s iconic waterfront and former Wall Street equivalent, now home to an especially photogenic medley of architectural influences from lavish art deco buildings to imposing gothic baroque structures. This is also the best spot to get a snapshot of Pǔdōng’s futuristic skyline from across the water. Next stop is the beautifully intricate Yùyuán Gardens, before we stop-off to sample Shànghǎi’s famous Xiao Long Bao dumplings. Later, we’ll head out to catch a performance of Shànghǎi’s spectacular ERA-Intersection Of Time acrobatic show, and share a few beers of course.More +
Day 11: Ping Pong Masters & Rooftop Bubbles
Uncover a slice of Shànghǎi’s impressive arts scene, followed by an exploration of Tiánzǐfáng, a hip new artsy neighbourhood in the French Concession. Learn the secrets of a ping pong champion with an expert lesson, join Flashpackers for bubbles at a rooftop bar, then tuck into a final group meal.
It’s the penultimate day of our Chinese adventure, and another packed schedule exploring the mystique of Shànghǎi. After breakfast at the hotel head to Shànghǎi’s Propaganda Poster Art Centre, a private underground museum bursting with over 6000 pieces of rare propaganda art circulated by Chinese governments between 1940 and 1990. Next stop is Tiánzǐfáng, an arts and crafts enclave in the French Concession and a refreshing departure from Shànghǎi’s glossy high-end boutiques. Feel free to root around the artsy stalls, design studios, galleries and boutiques, or grab lunch in one of the area’s hip bars and cafes.
This afternoon it’s time to pull out your competitive streak for serious ping pong time! The Chinese are experts in the sport, so pay close attention to the masters and soak up all you can from an expert coaching session—It’ll come in handy next time you head down your local. Come nightfall, we’ll head to the Vue Bar, sitting atop a luxury hotel overlooking the Bund, where you can sip Champagne while dipping your well-worn feet into a whirlpool bath. After soaking up the incredible skyline views, join your guide and fellow Flashpackers for one last group meal, and a toast to eleven days packed full of unforgettable experiences.More +
Day 12: Zàijiàn Shànghǎi
Flashpackers, it’s time to say zàijiàn to Shànghǎi and farewell to China. You’ll need to arrange your own transfers to the airport. What an adventure!
Flashpackers, it’s time to bid farewell! It’s over to you to organise your taxi to the airport and depart at your leisure—though give us a heads up if you’d like help organising a transfer to either Pǔdōng International Airport or Hongqiao International Airport. Wherever you’re headed next, you’re likely to be high on life after a journey through China’s most incredible sights. You’ve learned the elixir of youth from the elders of Beijing and mastered Tai-Chi in the Temple of Heaven’s shadow. You’ve sped around the city in a vintage CJ750 sidecar and made the epic hike to the Great Wall of China. You’ve haggled on Silk Street, biked round Xi’an, seen the Terracotta Warriors ready for battle and awed at Lè Shān’s Giant Buddha. You’ve seen pandas up close, learnt to cook like the Sichuanese and tasted the insatiable excess of Shànghǎi’s nightlife. We call that quite the adventure—not to mention a starting point for a whole lot more…More +
Fly into: Beijing
Fly out of: Shanghai
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.
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