Day 1: Beijing
Dragon Bus highly recommends you arrive early and explore Beijing and all its imperial magic, history and culture, not to mention its amazing bars and nightlife. Today your fellow Pass members will arrive throughout the day. There are no planned activities until the group meeting at 5pm, which is generally followed by a group dinner. The Chinese capital, Beijing, is one of the world's most impressive and vibrant cities. Suggested sights are - Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City or the 798 Modern Art District. Arriving early gives you the chance to also visit the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, Yonghegong Tibetan Monastery and some of Beijing's many markets, including those where you'll find all your clothing needs!
Day 2: Beijing & it's 1000 year old Hutongs
Today you may like to spend the morning visiting one of the 15 free museums in Beijing City. For those that wake up early, you may like to visit one of Beijing's numerous parks and practice Tai Qi with the locals. Your Trip Leader will be taking you to lunch at a local restaurant not too far from the hostel. After lunch join your Trip Leader and soak up the real laneways, back alleys and families that make Beijing Hutongs so appealing. Afterwards, head to dinner with the rest of the group and plan your evening with your new found friends!
Day 3: The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall awaits! Boarding the Dragon Bus we head north for the quintessential image of China. On arrival you'll be taken to one of the more "as is" sections of the Wall, where you can hike, climb, sit or just stare! The 2011 schedule means you'll be staying in the shadows of the Wall, in a very well laid out hostel, which can otherwise be quite difficult to find! Staying overnight allows you the chance to spend as long as you like at the Wall. The sunset is not to be missed.
Day 4: Great Wall to Qingdao's Beaches
This morning is at your leisure. Your Trip Leader will be in the hostel to suggest some morning activities for you. We try to arrange early afternoon tickets to Qingdao. Wave goodbye Beijing as we speed through the countryside. On arrival in Qingdao we'll head straight to our hostel where you can take a break in the bar/cafe, before beginning your evening in this seaside city. Qingdao is home to the famous beer carrying the same name and it is here that you can buy it in plastic bags along the street. The food stands that set up along the street are also not to be missed.
Day 5: Qingdao - Beer, beaches and more
No package tour schedule to worry about with Dragon Bus so it's your chance to explore Qingdao the way you want to, and there is much to see and do here! One option is making your way to the famous Laoshan Mountain by public bus with others on the Pass. Water from this beautiful site is used to exclusively make China's most famous beer, Qingdao or Tsingtao. The Mountain is also a sacred Buddhist site, and well worth the visit. You can also wander down to the beach, for a lazy day with a book or hit the German Concession section of Old Qingdao for a glimpse of Qingdao when it was ruled by the Germans.
Day 6: Qingdao - Rise early as there is much to explore
Today gives you a full day to explore Qingdao, which should include the originally 1901 German built brewery, and still a major attraction! Heading to the brewery you can take a tour for around 50 RMB, which includes a fresh beer at the end. The German influence can be further seen in the older section of the city with buildings at would be right at home in Munich! Qingdao is a great place to kick back and relax, but it has much to explore and full of history. The city is quickly regaining its reputation as one of China's top resort cities, and this reputation is supported by some amazing seafood restaurants. You should consider a cozy dinner with Lao Zhao, one of Qingdao's brightest personalities.
Day 7: Classical Chinese City – Qufu
Today we take a coach to the hometown of Confucius. On arrival, kick back in the hostel or waste no time and head out to explore this classical Chinese city. Qufu has various parks and you'll be sure to find great little restaurants for your meals, perhaps even a jug of cheap, ice cold local beer. Consider jumping onto on a 3 wheel rickshaw for the journey around town, which will also only set you back around 15-30 rmb. The city has a good supermarket to stock up your supplies, and Qufu is highly recommended if you're in China looking to capture great black and white photos. The hostel is a good place to kick back and unwind as Qufu is by far the smallest city that you will visit on your Dragon Bus tour.
Day 8: Confucius and a Classical City called Qufu
Being the home town of Confucius; Kong Zi as he is known in China, Qufu is a great place to experience the China of most peoples imagination. No gleaming towers, just plenty of history, friendly locals and buildings that haven't changed for centuries. Today, hit the streets early to ensure you can fully explore both the city along with the Confucius family mansion, temple and the nearby forest housing the tomb of Confucius and his extended family. Although you can hire a horse drawn carriage to see this city, when the weather is nice, it is also great to traverse on foot.
Day 9: Zhengzhou - Gateway to Shaolin
Today we'll travel to the nearby railway station, where we take the train to Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. Zhengzhou was home of the Shang Dynasty and is to many people the cradle of Chinese civilisation. The province is known as the rice bowl of China, accounting for around 30% of China's agricultural output. The city's museum should not be missed, neither should one (or two) of its many amazing restaurants! Those keen to have a late night cap (or just party into the night) are also well catered for in this surprising city.
Day 10: Monks, Kung Fu and Shaolin Village
All aboard the Dragon Bus for the village of Shaolin! Today is Monks, Monasteries & an amazing Mountain! Also the Village for the recent remake of Karate Kid! Today there are many choices. The first could be a half day at a REAL Kung Fu Academy where you would receive instructions from a Kungfu Master in the basics of this ancient martial art (requires min. 4). Alternatively, you can wander around yourself and view a real Kungfu exhibition given by students. Another amazing option is to climb the nearby Shaoshan Mountain (entry 40 RMB) for a bird's eye view of the village below. All this before we head off for Luoyang in the late afternoon, where you will stay for the next two nights.
Day 11: Luoyang & UNESCO listed Grottos
Luoyang is home to the The UNESCO World Heritage listed Long Men Grottos. This morning the Trip Leader will assist with your transfer to the site, where you can easily spend the whole day wandering around. If you're not planning to explore the Grottos there is still plenty to do in Luoyang including various riverside parks and temples. We have also found a couple of great restaurants showcasing the best of this areas cuisine.
Day 12: Luoyang to the home of the Warriors - Xián
This morning you'll leave the Luoyang hostel and transfer to the nearby railway station. The group generally follows the Trip Leader to the shops where everyone buys a few things for the trip to Xian, which takes several hours. Xian, is the start (or end) of the Old Silk Road and is one of China's four ancient capitals. Xian is a city packed full of culture and history, along with great food, beer and friendly locals as well as a huge backpacker crowd. After checking in at the hostel, head straight to its well stocked bar, before moving onto food street for dinner!
Day 13: The Terracotta Warriors of Xián
There are 1000's of currently unearthed Terracotta Warriors, and many more to be uncovered! No trip to Xian is complete without exploring this site, perhaps like being in Beijing & not climbing the Great Wall (Email us about heading onto Beijing at the end of this Pass). In the morning you'll join the Trip Leader on a local bus to the site. This method allows everyone to explore at their own place and will give you more than enough time to appreciate and enjoy this amazing site. In the afternoon we'll return to the hostel. You may like to have us organize tickets to a traditional performance that is put on most evenings. You could also head out to one of the local restaurants or bars. Another option is to just stay in at the hostel where movies are played and its bar is always a good place to catch up with other worldwide travellers.
Day 14: Xián. All good things end
So this day had to come, but if you wish to continue there is much more to see! If you're planning on staying in Xian longer, ensure your bed is pre-booked. Many finishing in Xián travel onward to the amazing region of Sichuan & if considering this make sure you ask us about purchasing train tickets and/or hostels. If you need onward domestic airfares the front page contains a C Trip booking engine widget for domestic flights. This fully integrated booking system is a secure site and accepts all International Credit cards.