China Avatar Explorer

  • Detailed Itinerary
  • Dates & Prices
  • Trip Notes

One of the highlights of this trip is Zhangjiajie, the landscape that inspired the floating mountains in the Hollywood movie Avatar, a truly spectacular region which will well reward your visit even if you have never heard of the movie. This is a trip which blends rural and city experiences to encompass the vast diversity that is China today. You will meet people from a number of ethnic minorities as well as marvel at archaeological treasures and hike in some of the most amazing landscapes on Earth.

Day 1: Beijing Arrival
Nihao! Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China. Your tour begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in your hotel lobby. Your guide will go over more details about your trip including meeting up with your guides in each city. After that, you will enjoy an orientation walk, followed by a Beijing Duck dinner.
 
Accommodation:
•Chongwenmen Hotel or similar (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Peking Duck Dinner

Day 2: Beijing – Explore the Forbidden City and Hutongs
There will be a lot of walking today, as well as using the subway to get around some of Beijing’s most famous sights. Starting with Tiananmen Square; one of the world's largest public squares and home to the Monument of the People's Heroes and the Great Hall of the People continue to the Forbidden City (built 1406-1420), the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for more than 500 years. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the most extensive collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
After the Forbidden City, we will enjoy our lunch in a local restaurant, savoring authentic Chinese dumplings. Spend the afternoon strolling through the alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyards known as Hutongs, this is the best way to experience the local life of Beijing.

Accommodation:
• Chongwenmen Hotel or similar (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Beijing Great Wall at Mutianyu, Summer Palace, overnight train to Shanghai
This morning we will make the 2-hour journey out of town to the Great Wall of China, which stretches over 6000km across the mountain ridges. Mutianyu is one of the best-preserved and restored sections so it is easy to climb up and down, but still appreciate the enormity and difficulty of the construction. At midday, enjoy a picnic lunch that is provided by your guide.
Return to Beijing in late afternoon and visit the Summer Palace. Your guide will take you through the political center, living quarters and garden area designed in classic Chinese style. Walk through the longest corridor in the world and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kunming Lake. Evening board a soft sleeper train to Shanghai.

Accommodation:
• Overnight on soft sleeper train Beijing-Shanghai (1 night)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Shanghai city, French Concession, The Bund
We arrive in Shanghai mid-morning. After a short break, take a walking tour through old Shanghai strolling along the narrow winding lanes (longtangs) for a real glimpse into the locals’ daily life. Then we will reach the French Concession; this was a foreign concession area from 1849-1943 and over the century developed its own distinct character, a cultural mix of Chinese and European.
In the evening wander along The Bund. This spectacular array of Art Deco buildings line what was once the most important financial street in Asia.

Accommodation:
• Metropolo Jinjiang Classiq Shanghai Nanjing Road or similar (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Lunch

Day 5: Day trip to Suzhou, Master of Nets Garden, riverside streets, Grand Canal
Make a day trip by train to the nearby water town of Suzhou, renowned for its beautiful and classical gardens. We’ll first visit the Master of Nets Garden, one of four famous gardens in Suzhou. A private garden, it comprises both residence and garden, it is particularly celebrated for its techniques of relative dimension, exquisite architecture, skilled layout and profound cultural connotation.
Then explore the ancient bustling riverside pedestrian street - Shantang Street; enjoy the memorable scenes of small arched bridges, wooden boats adrift, numerous old residences and shops.
After lunch, enjoy a leisurely walk along the Grand Canal to explore the life of Suzhou locals. You'll witness the typical elements of a South China water town: stone bridges, boats and waterside houses, as well as the elegant life pace of Suzhou people. In late afternoon, make 30-minute journey back to Shanghai by fast train.

Accommodation:
• Metropolo Jinjiang Classiq Shanghai Nanjing Road or similar (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Shanghai City God’s temple, flight to Zhangjiajie
Today we will visit the City God’s Temple area, a folk temple neighboring Yuyuan Garden. The City God Temple in Shanghai originated as the Jinshan God Temple, dedicated to the spirit of Jinshan or "Gold Mountain", an island off the coast of Shanghai. It was converted into a City God Temple in 1403, during the Yongle era of the Ming dynasty. Its popularity turns the surroundings into a large pedestrian area that hosts an array of shops, restaurants and teahouses, as well as annual temple fair events.
Later head to the airport for evening flight to Zhangjiajie, a small-town setting amidst the glorious mountains of Hunan Province; a subtropical area of 243 peaks surrounded by over 3000 karst upthrusts.

Accommodation:
• Huatian Choice Hotel Wulingyuan or similar (3 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Zhangjiajie National Forest  
Full day exploration of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. This scenic area is world famous as the mountains here inspired the floating mountains in the Hollywood movie Avatar. We will first take the world’s highest outdoor elevator - the 326m) BaiLong Elevator - to the top of Yuanjiajie. From here take a 2.5-hour hike into the Pillar of Southern Sky, an inspiration for Hallelujah Mountains in the movie. Continue to the Platform of Forgetfulness to admire nearby peak views before walking across the First Bridge Under Heaven.
After a lunch break visit the Golden Whip Stream. Following the well-paved walkway at the bottom of the valley, it is another 2.5 hours hike along the stream, absorbing the wonderful views of Avatar scenery from a totally different angle. You may even be lucky enough to meet the wild monkeys here.

Accommodation:
• Huatian Choice Hotel Wulingyuan or similar (3 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Zhangjiajie National Forest  
Continue your exploration of Zhangjiajie. Start with a 20 minute cable car ride to Tianzi Mountain, then a shuttle bus (5 mins) to the central area. This area is known as 'the Monarch of the Peak Forest', offering views of the full extent of Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
Our first stop is Laowuchang, a place to see the old houses and the paddy fields farmed by local ethnic people. Then visit the Shentangwan Peaks as well as Helong Park before hiking all the way down. En route, we’ll see the famous Imperial Brush Peak, Xihai stone forest and Fairy Lady Presents Flowers. After a continuous descent of 7878 steps reach the Ten-mile Gallery, the essence of this scenic area. The lush trees, fragrant wildflowers and twisted peaks here make a large landscape scroll. The hiking today takes about 5-6 hours.

Accommodation:
• Huatian Choice Hotel Wulingyuan or similar (3 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Zhangjiajie-Fenghuang
Today we will take the private transfer to Fenghuang Ancient Town (c.3.5 hours). With a history of 1,300 years, the town features distinct residential buildings, elegant bridges plus several mysterious towers and pagodas and is a gathering place of Miao and Tujia ethnic minorities. When an early morning mist sets in around the bridges, over the water and amid the stilted houses the area becomes a mirror of a traditional Chinese painting.
Next, we will visit the Diaojiao Lou (traditional Chinese gabled wooden houses built on stilts) on both sides of the river. Then spend some time walking around Tuojiang River and the Hongqiao (Rainbow Bridge). Built in the Ming Dynasty over 600 years ago, the Rainbow Bridge is the best well-known tourist spot in the ancient town.

Accommodation:
•Phoenix International Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Fenghuang - Longji
It is 4.5 hours by bus from Fenghuang to Longji, arriving at lunch time. The Longji region has some of the most extensive rice terraces in China. These terraces change with the seasons: filled with water from the mountains before planting, becoming green during the growing season and then golden when the rice is ready for harvest.
The most eye-catching part of the terrace cluster is the Ping'an Village Rice Terrace, the first discovered by tourists and photographers. After settling into your guesthouse, your guide will take you on an orientation walk.

Accommodation:
• Seven Star Resort ( Ping’an Branch) or similar (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Hike in the Longji Valley
Hike through the Longji Valley and its rice terraces, bamboo trees and chestnut forests. Constructed over 500 years ago, the terraces are named for their resemblance to a dragon’s scales whilst the mountain summit looks like the backbone of a dragon. Despite some challenging hills, much of the hike is spent walking along stone paths, passing waterfalls and fields. The hiking distance is about 20.2km, which takes about 4 - 5 hours.
Lunch is in a farmer’s restaurant in Dazhai, from where we will take the local shuttle bus to Huangluo Yao Zhai, a village of the Yao ethnic people. Stroll among the local wooden houses and discover the unique culture of the Yao women with their long hair. Then take the shuttle bus back to Ping’an Village for the night.

Accommodation:
• Seven Star Resort ( Ping’an Branch) or similar (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Longji-Yangshuo
Enjoy the sunrise over the terraced rice fields if weather permits. Then, after breakfast enjoy the scenery from your private vehicle on the way to Yangshuo (c.3.5 hours). Yangshuo is a small village set amid green karst hills and rice fields which has become a favorite traveler center of southern China.
This afternoon, we will take an orientation walk around and have your guide show you his/her favorite parts of the town. The West Street was built during the Song Dynasty around AD590. The street reflects different atmospheres at different times: peaceful and calm in the daytime, while bustling and trendy in the evening.
Later enjoy a delicious local meal at one of the best restaurants in town where you can taste some of the most famous regional delicacies.
 
Accommodation:
• Floral Hotel Qinghui Villa (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Yangshuo – Bicycle tour through Yangshuo countryside
Yangshuo offers excellent opportunities for biking and hiking. After breakfast we head out of town on bikes to cycle through the surrounding countryside to gain insight into China’s rural life and marvel at the surroundings. Each turn in the road reveals another picture-postcard view. Stop at Moon Hill, one of the most popular attractions in Yangshuo, easily recognizable by its crescent-moon-shaped natural arch. The more active amongst you can ascend to the summit via a steep and rough path, for which you will be rewarded with spectacular vistas.
Stop for lunch at the house of our local friends and savor a tasty meal made from locally grown produce. Then, ride back to town and enjoy an evening at your leisure.

Accommodation:
• Floral Hotel Qinghui Villa (2 nights)
Meals Included:
• Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Yangshuo – Li River Trip - Fast train from Guilin to Hong Kong and end tour
This morning we will enjoy a relaxing Li River Cruise, drifting through the karst landscape and crystal-clear waters.
Later transfer to Guilin train station for a fast train to Hongkong where the tour ends.

Meals Included:
• Breakfast

Tour Code
Start
End
Price(US$)
  • CA-AE200309

    Monday

    2020-03-09

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-03-22

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200316

    Monday

    2020-03-16

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-03-29

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200330

    Monday

    2020-03-30

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-04-12

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200406

    Monday

    2020-04-06

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-04-19

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200504

    Monday

    2020-05-04

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-05-17

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200511

    Monday

    2020-05-11

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-05-24

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200518

    Monday

    2020-05-18

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-05-31

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200525

    Monday

    2020-05-25

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-06-07

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200601

    Monday

    2020-06-01

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-06-14

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200608

    Monday

    2019-06-08

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-06-21

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200615

    Monday

    2020-06-15

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-06-29

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200629

    Monday

    2020-06-29

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-07-12

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200706

    Monday

    2020-07-06

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-07-19

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200713

    Monday

    2020-07-13

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-07-26

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200803

    Monday

    2020-08-03

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-08-16

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200810

    Monday

    2020-08-10

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-08-23

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200817

    Monday

    2020-08-17

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-08-30

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200831

    Monday

    2020-08-31

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-09-13

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE200907

    Monday

    2020-09-07

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-09-20

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE201005

    Monday

    2020-10-05

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-10-18

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE201012

    Monday

    2020-10-12

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-10-25

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE201102

    Monday

    2020-11-02

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-11-15

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE201109

    Monday

    2020-11-09

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-11-22

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE201131

    Monday

    2020-11-31

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-12-13

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

  • CA-AE201207

    Monday

    2020-12-07

    From Beijing

    Sunday

    2020-12-20

    From Yangshuo

    Over

    US$3094.00

    14
    Days

Visas - A visa is required for entry into China for all nationalities except Japan, Singapore and Brunei who are allowed visa free stays under 14 days. Travellers holding APEC cards are allowed entrance visa free if their card has already been approved for China.

Under the current guidelines to get a visa you will need to provide the following:

- Letter of Invitation from a Chinese agency

- Copy of Flight tickets

- Hotel booking confirmation

- Travel Insurance (some embassies ask for this document) 

In some cases, you may be required to provide further information or documentation and if this is the case we will notify you as soon as possible.

Booking a Single Room - On this particular tour we are pleased to be able to offer travellers the option of pre-booking a guaranteed single room. Due to the variety of accommodation used on this tour, single rooms are available for a majority of the nightstops, however it would still mean sharing on any overnight trains. All of our tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation.

Vaccinations and Your Health - We recommend that you contact your primary care physician or a travel doctor for advice on vaccinations and travel health and we advise that you check to see if your tetanus-diphtheria booster is still valid every 10 years. 

Insurance - Travel insurance is compulsory for all our customers. At the start of the trip you must provide us with: the name of your insurance company, your policy number, a 24 hour medical emergency contact number, and the expiry date of the policy. You should ensure that your policy covers you for medical expenses and repatriation. If you are unable to provide all this information at the start of the trip you will not be allowed to join the trip. You can purchase insurance easily online by checking our Travel Insurance page.

Luggage - One main piece of lockable baggage and a shoulder bag. Total allowance: 44lbs/20kgs. Remember, you are expected to carry your own baggage – so don’t overload yourself. It is essential that your baggage is lockable; the airline/train authorities insist on this. Please be aware, before boarding a flight in China that the Chinese authorities will only allow bottles onto aircraft if they have been checked in as main luggage. Any bottles in the hand luggage may be confiscated.

 

What to Expect on Tour

Itinerary Disclaimer – The information in this trip details has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. 

Accommodation -Your accommodation is selected for convenient.



14 Days