Chinese meal

China Food Adventure

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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
ACW
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

A culinary adventure through China

China has an unmistakable love of food; even the standard greeting “Chi fan le mei you” literally translates as “have you eaten (rice) yet?” Each region brilliantly showcases its own unique flavours and ingredients, from the quintessential Peking duck with its plum sauce to the Muslim-influenced Shaanxi cuisine of Xi’an, and from the deliciously fresh seafood of Xiamen to the tantalising spices of Chengdu, this itinerary follows our tastebuds. We sample from the smorgasbord of Chinese regional cuisine whilst visiting some of the country’s most iconic sights such as the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and Gulangyu Island. We try our hand at cooking some of the most popular dishes, learn about the history of Chinese cuisine and really get under the skin of the country by taking in the incredible sights, sounds, smells and, of course flavours of the incredible street food on offer. Our journey ends in Hong Kong, a cultural and culinary melting pot and a destination guaranteed to make the mouth water!

Highlights

  • A food journey through China
  • Peking duck, Dim Sum and other specialities
  • Street food and local markets
  • Visit the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors 
  • Opportunity to hone your Chinese culinary skills
  • In depth food crawl in Hong Kong (except Aug/Oct departures)

Key information

  • 12 days land only/ 13 flight inclusive
  • Travel by train, private minibus, public bus and 1 internal flight
  • 10 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night overnight train
  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 8 dinners included
  • Optional single supplement, available on request
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 8 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) (excludes sleeper train)
  • Chinese Visa - GBP201 with Travcour or GBP151 plus GBP18 special delivery direct with embassy
  • Vaccinations
Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Meat skewers on a market stall

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Beijing
to
Hong Kong
  • Day 1

    Arrive Beijing

    There will be a welcome briefing this evening followed by an arrival dinner. Tonight we will experience arguably one of China's most famous exports by tasting the delicious Beijing duck. We will visit a restaurant that specialises in this dish; theatrics should be expected as the servers expertly carve the mouth-wateringly tender duck in front of us before it is served with pancakes, spring onions and a hoisin sauce.
    Dongfang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Full day at the Great Wall; food walk in Beijing

    We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, an approx. 2.5 hour journey to the north of the city. We go to one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall at Mutianyu which is an impressive sight, snaking across mountains and valleys into the distance. This section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. The wall here is up to 8.5 metres high and 5 metres wide, and has 22 watchtowers on its 2,250-metre-long stretch. There are some steep steps to navigate and clients who suffer from vertigo may find it difficult, (there is an optional cable car).
    Lunch will be taken at a restaurant on the way back to Beijing; we should expect some traditional northern Chinese cuisine involving vegetables (aubergine, lotus roots, mushrooms etc.), tofu, chicken and pork - and much more! During most meals a variety of dishes will be served for the group to share (frequently utilising the ingenious 'Lazy Susan' rotating table-piece) and our leader will help us select dishes depending on the groups' preferences.

    Late in the afternoon we will embark upon a Beijing food adventure to remember as we wander round the busy streets of the capital to gain some real insight into local life whilst sampling the tasty street food on offer. We will have the chance to taste some delicious snacks and explore the stories behind dishes such as 'Queen's dessert', mini hotpots and spring onion pancakes. Along the way we'll meet local culinary masters, and there'll be an opportunity to practice some of our newly-learnt Chinese words and phrases as we go shopping in the market. 

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Sightseeing in Beijing, visiting Tian'anmen Square, Hutongs and the Forbidden City; evening sleeper train to Xi'an

    This morning we visit Tian'anmen square, the largest square in the world and able to hold over a million people. Then we make a trip to the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples.We take a walking tour of the city's hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. Here we will be able to enjoy some local delicacies as we visit one of the hutong restaurants for lunch.

    In the evening we board an overnight train to the ancient city of Xi'an. It is recommended to buy food before the train as there is a limited selection provided on board. The train itself is of a good standard, although all facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers. Sleepers are four berth (bunks) and bedding is provided.

    Overnight train

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Arrive Xi'an; visit local markets, Grand Mosque and Muslim area

    Xi'an is one of China's former capitals, and one of the few cities in China to have retained its city walls, probably because they are so massive that no revolutionary was willing to tackle the huge task of removing them. Today we will visit the city with the Bell and Drum Plaza at its heart, along with the Great Mosque.
    The Muslim quarter is a fascinating place to visit, especially in the evening as it comes alive with the bustle of the bazaars and food stalls. For dinner we will follow a food trail to experience some of the very best cuisine that Xi'an has to offer; from the delicious 'roujiamou' (a shredded, braised meat burger) served with' liangpi' (cold noodles), hot and sour dumplings, flatbread in mutton soup (yangrou paomo) to some of the many 'chuan'er' (meat skewers) on offer. The food here is a delicious combination of flavours resulting from a fusion of Han Chinese and Muslim culture in Xi'an, and these bustling food markets have become food heaven for locals and tourists alike.


    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Morning visit Terracotta Warriors; afternoon 'farmers' style' lunch

    Today we visit the famous mausoleum of Emperor Qin with its staggering display of Terracotta Warriors. Originally four armies were planned, at each point of the compass, life-size and lifelike. Three have been found and it is assumed the Emperor's successors decided enough was enough before the fourth was begun. The first pit excavated had an estimated 6,000 figures in its one army. The third pit has now been opened to the public, which contains the 'command post' for the entire operation. This is one of China's great tourist attractions, and some people may find the sheer numbers of visitors rather overpowering.
    After our visit we will take our lunch at a local farmer's restaurant nearby with the opportunity to taste some fresh seasonal produce, home-made noodles and bread. The rest of the afternoon and evening is left free to relax. It is possible to hire bikes (optional) and cycle along the city walls to appreciate the sheer scale of these constructions.


    Skytel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Morning bullet train to Chengdu; afternoon trip to local spice market and hot pot dinner

    This morning we will take the bullet train to Chengdu; the capital of Sichuan Province. In China, Chengdu is synonymous with the country's beloved mascot, the Giant panda, which we will have the opportunity to see tomorrow. Sichuan is also well-known for being one of the biggest tea-producing regions in China; this has led to an abundance of different teahouses in the city which seem to define daily life for its inhabitants.

    Sichuan is also recognised throughout China as 'the Spicy Province', and it certainly lives up to its name! Major flavour combinations include garlic, star anise, chili peppers, and the ever-present Sichuanese peppercorn (hua jiao) which is used in many recipes. This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of Chengdu Spice Market which is a delight to the senses! We will learn about the variety of peppers and spices that make Sichuanese cuisine so unique. After this it is time to experience one of the region's most iconic dishes; Sichuanese Hot Pot. Restaurants serving this hugely popular dish can be found on almost every street in Chengdu and we will see groups of friends and families gathering to socialise and eat together. Eating hot pot is quite interactive and everyone turns into a chef, as we each cook our own ingredients in a a steaming pot of hot broth placed at the centre of the table. The soup comes in both spicy and non-spicy forms and the extensive ingredients list includes a variety of meat, eggs, vegetables and tofu so there really is something for everyone!


    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Panda breeding centre; afternoon cooking class

    With an early start today we will visit the Giant panda Breeding Research Base. Hopefully these intriguing and rare animals will be feeding, as this is when they're most active; otherwise we will have the opportunity to watch the Pandas indulge in their most common form of entertainment, sleeping!

    In the afternoon cooking class we will  visit the 'Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Museum' for a chance to try our hand at creating some of the area's most popular dishes such as Gong Bao Chicken and Mapo Doufu (bean curd with pork). For those who do not like spice there will be plenty of delicious alternatives guaranteed to make the mouth water! The entire cooking experience will not only give us the opportunity to try the recipes for ourselves, we will also learn a great deal about the history of Sichuanese cuisine and the ingredients available.

    After our class we will attend the excellent Sichuan Opera, which dates back over 250 years. Expect slapstick comedy, glass-shattering songs, extravagant costumes, gymnastics and even fire breathing!

    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    To Xiamen; evening trip to seafood market with dinner

    We will take a flight to Xiamen this morning on the South East coast of China. Known for its sunny climate and picturesque seaside scenery, Xiamen is a popular holiday destination for both domestic and international tourists. Highlights include the vehicle-free Gulangyu Island which boasts classical and romantic European-style architecture and South Putuo Buddhist Temple which covers 30,000 square metres.

    This afternoon we will visit one of Xiamen's bustling seafood markets where hundreds of vendors offer the freshest of produce including crab, lobster and many types of fish. Our leader will help us choose from dishes such as BBQ squid skewers, king crab, Xiamen spring rolls and fried oyster omelette, all of which are freshly prepared using the days' catch.


    Xiamen Huaqiao Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Morning visit to Gulangyu Island; free afternoon

    This morning we will take a 10 minute boat ride to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Gulangyu island. Gulangyu was once the home of a large foreign community group and the architecture is quite different to the mainland's, with charming colonial buildings and many interesting museums. The whole island is pedestrianised and so the beauty of the city is best appreciated on foot, as we meander through the small alleyways and pretty courtyards, and perhaps sip a cup of coffee and watch the world go by from one of the many popular cafes.

    This afternoon is free to relax back in Xiamen. Optional activities include a trip to the beautiful university grounds, a visit to Huli Shan Fortress, or a boat ride along the coast.


    Xiamen Huaqiao Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Train to Shenzhen; transfer to Hong Kong; city tour and Dim Sum dinner

    This morning we will take the train from Xiamen to Shenzhen (approx. 4 hours), before boarding an intercity bus to reach Hong Kong. The former British colony is now an autonomous territory, and has much more of an international feel to it compared to mainland China.  We approach the show-stopping skyline to reach the city; full of colour and contrasting styles. Hong Kong is considered to be one of the world's top culinary destinations and its passion for food is immediately obvious. From the thousands of street vendors offering cheap eats such as egg waffles, curry fish balls, roasted chestnuts or pineapple buns, to the multitude of top-end restaurants; the cuisine is an incredible adventure!

    When we have settled into our Kowloon hotel there will be time for a short orientation walk around the city, followed by a Dim Sum dinner at an excellent nearby restaurant.

    Metropark Hotel Kowloon or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 11

    Morning walking tour of Hong Kong; afternoon in depth ‘food crawl’

    This morning we take a walk down to the famous Tsim Sha Tsui promenade for a spectacular view of Victoria Harbour passing the iconic Kowloon railway clock tower before boarding the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island. Here we take a walk through the colonial architecture of Hong Kong island. We will pass the former supreme court and St John’s Cathedral. Hong Kong is mix of old and new and you will also see the Bank of China Tower, once the tallest building in the world outside the US. Finally we take an historic tram ride to Victoria peak famous for its stunning views.  

    This afternoon we will embark on arguably one of the top interactive experiences in Hong Kong, as we take a food –tasting adventure through the Central and Sheung Wan neighbourhoods discovering six hidden gems. This is a fantastic way to sample some local cuisine and learn more about the culture and family-run businesses in this neighbourhood. With full stomachs we may choose to have farewell drinks before our departure the following day.

    Please note: the food tour is not available in August and October departures. On these, our leader will guide us on a short food walk around the immediate area. Please also be aware that maximum numbers for the food walk are capped at 12. If our group exceeds this we will be split equally into 2 groups.

    Metropark Hotel Kowloon or similar 

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    End Hong Kong

    The trip ends today after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

China

Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter China, which must be obtained prior to departure. The Chinese authorities now require a letter from Exodus, confirming all your accommodation details. Along with this, you need to supply a copy of your flight details, which are on your invoice if you have booked directly through Exodus. For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/China.pdf
It is also essential that we have a clear copy of the details page of your passport. This is required to book certain ground services in China and we cannot confirm your details with our local partners until it has been received. This must be emailed as an electronic scan to [email protected] a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your trip.

Vaccinations

China

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Eating and Drinking

11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 8 dinners included.

One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine, which can often be in sharp contrast with Western expectations. This trip is designed so you can experience the many flavours and tastes that the country has to offer.  Meals generally consist of shared dishes, which is the best way to experience many different ingredients and try things you may not ordinarily choose. There will be traditional dishes such as Beijing duck served with Hoisin sauce and pancakes, Dim Sum in Hong Kong and popular meals such as Ma Po Tofu (tofu with beef, chillies and onion) and Gong Bao chicken (chicken with chilli and peanuts). There will also be many opportunities to try some more unusual cuisine such as the interactive Sichuanese Hot Pot, and the delicious fusion of Chinese food with its Islamic influence in Xi'an. On the coast in Xiamen there is an abundance of fresh seafood and this can be cooked to order in the markets, with mouthwatering dishes such as king crab, oyster omelette and BBQ squid skewers. The trip will culminate with an extensive food tour in Hong Kong; visiting 6 different eateries which really demonstrate the city's excellent cuisine. (Please note that on departures in August and October, due to local holidays the Hong Kong food tour will not operate and instead will be replaced by a short food walk led by our trip leader).

On this trip there will be many different dishes to try and the leader will always try and accommodate tastes, but if you do tire of Chinese food there are usually opportunities to eat Western-style dishes in the cities you visit. For vegetarians or those with dietary requirements, many of the traditional dishes can be amended to omit the meat products. Please ensure you inform us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

 

 

Weather

Beijing & Xi'an: The north of China has warm (25º+C), quite humid summers, and cold dry winters. If you travel between June and August, it will be hot practically everywhere, except in the mountains. Some rain must be expected, possibly heavy. If you travel in September/October, you will probably get less rain and the temperatures will be fairly warm (around 20º+C) everywhere. Hong Kong: The south of China is sub-tropical with hot (30ºC), wet summers (May to September), and warm, relatively dry (November to March) winters, though rain is possible at almost any time of year. The winter months in China are cold (3º+C), so if travelling in November to March/April be prepared for temperatures to drop to below freezing at night in the north, but with almost guaranteed dry sightseeing. The weather is milder in the south.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

This holiday is designed so you can experience the culinary highlights of China at a comfortable pace. There is a lot to see and do in the time you are there, but everything is scheduled so that it doesn't feel too rushed. You should come ready for an experience; China can be hard work, and the heat and bustle of some of the cities can be a little overwhelming. That said, there are places where you can find peace and quiet. Although the temperatures in the summer can frequently top 30 degrees Celsius there are many places that offer air conditioning (hotels, transportation and restaurants/shops) so you will find many places to cool down.

Please note that there are several occasions where you will need to carry your own luggage, mainly when journeying to and from the train stations and along the long platforms; sometimes there will only be stairs for access. Trolleys and porters are often available but these should not be relied upon as some stations do not offer these facilities. Many passengers find it useful to bring luggage with wheels.

This food trip will offer you a taste of many different types of Chinese cuisine. The leader will generally order food that famous to the local area, whilst taking note of the preferences of the group.  Please see the food section for more information on what to expect for meals.

Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotels & Sleeper Train

This trip spends 10 nights in comfortable hotels with en suite facilities and 1 night on a first class sleeper train with soft bed berths. In the cities, we stay in good, tourist class hotels with twin rooms and private facilities. Nearly all the hotels are locally rated as at least 3 star and where possible are centrally located. The overnight trains are in the 'soft sleeper' cabins, which are 4 berth (bunk beds) private cabins. The train itself is of a good standard, although please note that facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers and the cleanliness can never be guaranteed. Bedding is provided but we do recommend you consider taking a thin sleep sheet. Whilst we make every attempt to place passengers together in cabins, sometimes this is impossible, however we will never place a solo traveller in a cabin by themselves (they will always be either with another passenger on the trip or with the leader).

Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Call us on 1 800 267 3347