Trekking along the Great Wall of China must rank among one of the greatest experiences on this planet. Imagine a trek along a remote section of this marvellous wall, a structure hundreds of years old which starts in eastern China and arches its way into the arid wastes of the Gobi Desert. On this journey we combine two fabulous days on the Great Wall in Hebei Province with a remote 4.5 days trekking in Inner Mongolia that concludes at the Yellow River. Let us take you to the Middle Kingdom's national icon, at the junction of the inner and outer Great Wall, following the Great Wall to China's mother river. Supported on all sections by your Local guide, a Chinese crew and a mule team, you carry only a daypack. On all sections of this trip you will visit villages and meet people who have rarely, if ever, seen westerners. These are ancient ways: mule carts, threshing of crops with stone rollers, hand-winnowing-agricultural techniques long lost in the 20th Century. You will be amazed at the history as we trace a link of 1000 years or more-in 9th Century burial grounds, 14th Century forts, 600-year-old walled towns and the massive, omnipresent Great Wall of China. We also take in the country's most impressive national monuments such as the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, Xian Terracotta Warriors, Chengdu panda Sanctuary , Yu Garden and Shanghai Museum. With time also spent working on a community project and indulging in the culinary delight that Chinese cuisine is so famous for, this is a true expedition to China.
THIS IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY - IT CAN BE TAILORED FOR YOUR SCHOOL.
On arrival in Beijing you will be met by your guide and transferred to the group hotel. Depending on the time you arrive , the afternoon is free time for sightseeing in the central city district. Perhaps barter for a bargain in the colorful silk
markets or do as the locals do and hire a bike for a spin through the bustling back roads of this vibrant city. This evening you will meet in the hotel lobby for your group meeting before you head out to enjoy your first meal together.
Today you have a full day in Beijing to explore some of the most majestic and historically significant sites of this immense city. You start with Tiananmen Square and the “Forbidden City” so called as it was off limits to the general public for over 500 years. Its ancient buildings served as the imperial palace for two dynasties, the Ming and Qing. You take a full tour of this marvelous enclave, inspecting the massive courtyards.
This morning you will transfer by private vehicle to a section of the Great Wall at Gubeikoua, which is on the border of the Hebei Province. The Great Wall is one of mankind’s most extensive structures and in total length, including early walls, it totals over 5000km from the Bohai Gulf in eastern China to Gansu Province. You will have a walk to the guest house where you will stay tonight and can enjoy a picturesque sunset and wonderful views across the Wall. You will have a trip briefing to discuss the trek ahead.
Today you set off early to trek through cornfields and farm land for a true taste of rural China, before exploring this classic section of the wall. Here you are well off the beaten track, experiencing every day village life as you pass along the way. With broad sweeping views, it is easy to see how the wall resembles a dragon’s back weaving its way across this beautiful golden land. You will return back to the guesthouse for dinner.
This morning you are up early for another great trek on the wall. The trek today to Simatai is approx 5 hours. You will meet your vehicle here and transfer back to Beijing where you will be dropped at the station for your train to Datong. The journey is a about 6 hours and you will be able to see the changing landscape as you leave the hustle and bustle of Beijing behind. Upon arrival in Datong you will be met and transferred to the hotel.
Following breakfast you will meet your driver and guide and transfer by bus to the border of Inner Mongolia and the intriguing town of Pianguan , where you will stay overnight at a guest house. There is time in the afternoon to unwind after the train and bus trip and explore Pianguan, a frontier-style regional centre fascinating for its markets and old residential areas. Few westerners visit this area.
You will leave Pianguan early for Inner Mongolia and a valley near the hamlet of Beibu, where nearby you will start your climb to the Great Wall. Over the next two days you will walk to the old walled town of Shuiquan. Along the way you will follow ridges where the remains of ancient forts and the Great Wall stretch to the western horizon. Shuiquan contains examples of partially-underground houses.
Over the two days you will trek approx 25 kms with an ascent of 1100 meters.
This morning you will depart Shuiquan and continue with your trek into Inner Mongolia. Today is a long day but you should be comfortable with walking by now. You will notice the change in scenery as you get further into your walk and you should start to see goat herders or the odd potato farmer. You begin with a walk up a valley system passing several villages. You will stop for lunch at a village before ascending to a ridgeline where you enter the Shanxi Province. The overnight camp is at a small remote village not far from here. Today will be moderate walking through agricultural terrain in Inner Mongolia, a route that provides superb views of the Great Wall and the dissected terrain of Inner Mongolia. You will cover approx 25 kms with an ascent of 800 meters.
You continue your walk along the Great Wall before descending into a valley. Today's trek is a lot easier than previous days and shorter and you will arrive into camp in the early afternoon, allowing for some downtime to appreciate the achievement and experience you have had so far.
This morning you will leave the camp for your final day of trekking. You start by trekking from the camp to the Great Wall and then descending into a spectacular gorge system to an abandoned Qinq Dynasty temple. From the gorge you continue trekking along flanking slopes to a pass where you will descend to the ancient village of Lou Niu Wang at the Yellow River where you will find your final nights camp.
You have an early departure from Lou Niu Wang by boat to Wanjiazhai This journey downstream is in a gorge system and there are superb views. At Wanjiazhai you board your bus to take you first for Pianguan for lunch before continuing on to Datong. Here you will check into your hotels for a well deserved hot shower and rest. Tonight you will have dinner in Datong to celebrate completing the trek.
This morning you will have a guided city tour of Datong where you will visit the impressive Hanging Temple and Yun Gang Grottoes. In the afternoon you will board your sleeper train to Xian.
Welcome to Xian, the traditional starting point of the Silk Road. This old walled city, the capital of Shaanxi Province, is a vivid example of old and new China as the modernised new city bustles around the quaint, winding lanes of the Old Quarter. You will be met at the train station and taken to your hotel. You will not be able to check in but you will be able to leave your bags while you have breakfast. You will then drive out to the site where in 1974 local farmers discovered the tomb of Qin Shihuang with its army of warriors. Excavation of the area continues and we will be able to see this amazing sight in the many stages of pain staking reconstruction work of archaeologists. Each warrior stands over 6 feet tall and has different features and characteristics. Some stand in a vanguard with crossbow and longbow bearers; others hold spears, daggers and axes at the ready. They are accompanied by dozens of horse-drawn carriages and enormous terracotta horses. The sight of the warriors arising from their muddy grave, some intact, others still submerged in the ground, is an extraordinary one. After dinner you will explore the Muslim quarter of Xian, which provides a different feel to the city with its elaborate markets and the Great Mosque.
This morning you will meet your guide and undertake a city tour of Xian. This includes the Wild Goose Pagoda, which is a classic example of Chinese temple architecture built back in 652 AD and the Shaanxi History Museum, built in huge classical-Chinese style. This houses a collection of chronologically arranged items
and includes material previously housed in the Provincial Museum, with many objects that have never been on permanent display. The late afternoon you will transfer to the trai station for your overnight train to Chengdu.
You will be met at the train station and will transfer a short distance out of town to the Panda Sanctuary. Pandas are at their most active in the morning so you should be able to see them in the large open enclosures of the sanctuary. A nursery is also on sight (maybe you will be lucky to view new borns!) as well as an educational center and museum. The Sanctuary is also home to Red Pandas. You will have the
whole morning to wander the grounds before you are transferred to the village of Bifengxia. You will meet the project manager who will discuss the next 3 days of community work that you will have.
You have an exciting opportunity to volunteer and make a difference at a Panda Sanctuary in Bifengxia. You will have detailed training and coaching by sanctuary instructors before you can undertake the activities. These activities include cleaning pens, feeding and taking notes and observing the pandas behavior. Normally you will be busy in the morning and quieter in the afternoon when the pandas are sleeping. This is when you will join the local farmers and assist them with collecting and transporting the bamboo trees that fall in the surrounding hills and take them to the sanctuary.
You will have your last morning of community work and then say farewell to the Panda's and your instructors. You will transfer to the airport for your afternoon flight to Shanghai. On arrival you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel.
This morning after a leisurely breakfast you will embark on a full day walking tour of this cosmopolitan vibrant city. You will visit the Shanghai museum as well as the famous and spectacular Yu Garden. You also have the opportunity to wander through the old French quarter to view some of the wonderful architecture including the old art-deco apartments and the neo-classical mansions. Tonight you will celebrate your last night in China.
We will transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
Per Person, Twin Share