Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing has quickly shed its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places that give an insight into the nation's ancient past, as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your tour guide and travel pals. If you arrive early, good for you! Settle into your hotel and then maybe head out to explore the Beijing streets – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises.
Day 2Great Wall (Hiking)
This morning, make tracks for the first section of the Great Wall – Huanghuacheng (approximately 2 hours’ drive). An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km (3730 miles) westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. Originally constructed to protect empires from invaders from the north, it is still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements. Take your first steps along the renowned structure today at Huanghuacheng. This section features a unique part of the Great Wall submerged under water when a dam was built. Spend a couple of hours here hiking along the wall and have lunch in the nearby village before continuing to Gubeikou village tonight. You will stay at a family-run guesthouse for the next two nights. Tonight, learn the art of dumpling making with a demonstration from your hospitable hosts – the best part is tasting the fruits of your own labour!
Day 3Great Wall (Hiking)
Rise and shine early and trek from the Gubeikou to Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. You will walk over some steep, remote terrain for approximately 5-6 hours. Some parts of the wall have not been restored so you'll need to concentrate hard to keep your footing, while in other parts the trail takes you off the wall to walk alongside it through the countryside. You’ll often feel like you have the whole wall to yourself as you take your time, snaking through the hills almost endlessly into the distance. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. In the evening, put your feet up, have a few beers or maybe learn how to play mahjong at your guesthouse – a few of your travel crew will definitely be keen to play.
Day 4Jinshanling Great Wall (Hiking) – Changping
This morning, drive back to your finish point yesterday to continue the trek along the Great Wall. This portion of Jinshanling winds through stark hills and mountain ridges. Steep stretches make parts of today's 3-hour trek challenging, but also largely without any of the tourist hordes. This stage is also known for its unusual Barrier Walls, or walls within the Wall, and inscribed watchtowers. Today will be your last day walking the Great Wall, so make the most of it. Once off the wall, you'll be transferred to Changping county to meet your master Shifu for kung fu tomorrow.
Day 5Changping (Kung Fu) – Beijing
Start the day with a lesson in kung fu. Learn basic principles, common misconceptions and how this ancient practice relates to Zen tradition as an expert instructor guides you through simple moves. Wrap up an enlightening morning with a vegetarian lunch, just like a Shaolin monk, then leave your meditative retreat to return to the vibrance chaos of Beijing later in the afternoon. Tonight is free for you do choose your own adventure. Perhaps you’d like to head to a kung fu show tonight to see if you recognise some of the moves, or why not head to Beijing’s Olympic Park to see it all lit up at night.
Day 6Beijing (Biking)
This morning, get ready for a full day exploration of Beijing on bike. Pick up the bikes and cycle to Temple of Earth Park where you’ll see the local’s morning exercise routine – why not join them to stretch your legs and practise your new kung fu moves? Then, hop back on the bike and cycle through hutongs, along Beijing’s old city moat, stopping at markets and landmarks along the way. You’ll see the National Theatre and a couple of temples, before finishing at the magnificent Forbidden City. Your guides have a rough itinerary in mind, but it has been kept flexible so you can see the best hutongs and most interesting streets and parks along the way. For today’s lunch, you’ll join a local family in one of the hutongs for a traditional meal – it’s a perfect opportunity to learn about the daily life and culture of Beijing residents. After an active day, maybe get out with your new travel friends for an optional dinner to celebrate a great journey together.
Your trip ends after breakfast. There are no planned activities today and you are free to depart at any time before check out, which is usually around 12 pm. Depending on your onward journey, you can store your luggage at the hotel during the day.