If you're looking to combine China's highlights with some of the country's hidden gems and don't have much time to spare, Xi'an to Beijing is the perfect way to do it. Journey through Inner Mongolia for an authentic glimpse of life in provincial China, revisit the country's Imperial past in Chengde and stroll along the Great Wall. From the moment you arrive in bustling Beijing, China will amaze and surprise you with the magic of old-world wonder and modern mischief.
Days 1-2 Beijing
Ni hao and welcome to China where a grand adventure awaits! Begin by joining the buzzing hive that is Beijing - a place where discovery and intrigue lie around every corner. Visit the Forbidden City to admire imperial architecture or the sprawling Summer Palace on the banks of Kunming Lake.
Day 3 Qing Dongling
Journey into the valley of the Changrui Mountains, where emperors and their concubines lay entombed at Qing Dongling.
Day 4 Huairou
Take a walk along the monumental Great Wall as it snakes its way through rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Imagine the exhaustive effort of farmers and labourers who toiled for many generations to construct the Wall.
Days 5-6 Chengde
Stroll through the lush Shanzhuang gardens in the footsteps of past Emperors who holidayed here. Take in the rich heritage of Chengde by bicycle or admire the Mongolian and Tibetan influences in local temples and monasteries.
Days 7-8 Datong
Marvel at the Hanging Monastery, delicately perched on a steep cliff face in Golden Dragon Gorge, and explore the World Heritage listed Yungang Grottoes, home to a staggering collection of over 50,000 statues and fascinating ancient rock art.
Days 9-10 Hohhot
Travel to the cultural centre of Hohhot at the gateway to Inner Mongolia. This busy ancient city gives off a laidback vibe making it the perfect place for to reload before embarking on a Mongolian homestay. Yak butter tea, anyone?
Day 11 Yinchuan
After a pit stop at the grand temples of Zhongwei Gao Miao, enjoy fraternising with locals in the friendly city of Yinchuan, amid the ebb and flow of daily life in provincial China.
Day 12 Shapotou
The reward for a morning of travel is letting off steam in Shapotou, where daredevils will delight in the dune sliding madness of this sandy wonderland. And if the stars align, embark on an overnight camel safari on the fringes of the stunning Tengger Desert.
Days 13-14 Gansu Province/Mount Kongtong
Admire the view from atop the temple-studded Kongtong Mountain and enjoy the spoils of Gansu Province, which has a rich and colourful history as one of the important links on the ancient Silk Road.
Days 15-17 Xi'an
Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors and explore significant cultural sites and museums both in and around Xi'an. Enjoy a plate of hand-pulled noodles as you watch the locals dance, eat and practice martial arts in South Park.