Hidden China & Inner Mongolia
To truly understand China, you've got to get out and meet it on its own terms, which is exactly what this 12-day trip through the country's northern reaches delivers. Up here, you'll get to the big stuff (the Great Wall, Xi'an's Terracotta Army, Beijing) and lesser-known treasures that only the hardiest of travellers ever get to see: village life in Inner Mongolia, the amazing Yungang Buddha Caves, and the nearly 3,000-year-old city of Pingyao, to name just a few.
Envision ancient times at the Great Wall of China, live like a local in an Inner Mongolian ger, marvel at the Hanging Monastery of Datong, stare down the Terracotta Warriors, learn traditional Chinese painting in Pingyao
Train, private van, public bus, walking
Hotels (8 nts), traditional ger (1 nt, multi-share), sleeper train (2 nts)
Local Living: Ger Homestay, Darhan Muminggan Lianheqi Hands-On: Chinese Painting Lesson, Pingyao. Great Wall excursion and entrance. Inner Mongolia city tour. Traditional Mongolian ger stay. Yungang Grottoes visit (Datong). Hanging Monastery visit. Local family visit with Chinese painting lesson (Pingyao). Terracotta Warriors excursion including local lunch with a farmer's family (Xi'an). Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City tour (Beijing). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Day 1 Beijing
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Beijing/Baotou (1B)
Visit the Great Wall of China and return to Beijing in time for an overnight train to Inner Mongolia.
Day 3 Baotou/Inner Mongolia (1B, 1D)
Arrive in Baotou and continue into the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Spend the night in a traditional ger (yurt) and enjoy an included dinner at the homestay.
Day 4 Inner Mongolia/Datong (1B)
Travel back through the grasslands to the capital of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot. Here, hop a train to Datong.
Day 5 Datong (1B)
Set eyes on the gorgeous Hanging Monastery and visit the Yungang Grottoes to see the thousands of Buddha statues.
Day 6 Datong/Pingyao (1B)
Travel by train and arrive at Pingyao in the evening. Enjoy some down time staring at the beautiful scenery, playing cards, or chatting with your fellow passengers.
Day 7 Pingyao (1B)
Explore this traditional town and enjoy an included visit to a local family home and a traditional Chinese painting lesson.
Day 8 Pingyao/Xi'an (1B)
Take a fast train to Xi'an and spend some time exploring the city.
Day 9 Xi'an (1B, 1L)
Visit the Terracotta Warriors and enjoy an included lunch at a local farmer's house.
Day 10 Xi'an/Beijing (1B)
Enjoy a free day in Xi'an. Opt to visit the Muslim Quarter, ride a bike around the city walls, check out the Big Goose Pagoda, or do some shopping. Take an overnight train to Beijing.
Day 11 Beijing
Arrive in Beijing in the early morning. Enjoy a guided tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. In the evening, choose to take in a Chinese acrobats show, a Kung Fu show, or the Chinese Opera.
Day 12 Beijing (1B)
Depart at any time.