Welcome to China—ancient, intriguing, beautiful, and mind-boggling in its cultural and natural diversity. Get ready for a kaleidoscopic array of experiences: tai chi at dawn in downtown Shanghai; rafting a remote river past villages on stilts; and walking around a mountain peak on a glass skywalk. Trek through a wild landscape of karst pinnacles, and explore the Great Wall. Visit a museum dedicated to a giant amphibian, and delve into the market with a local chef. With pride rooted in its glorious history and an unparalleled vision of the future, China offers a memorable family adventure for every generation.
Hike the enchanted karst landscapes that inspired scenery in Avatar and take in views from a glass walkway 4,000 feet in the sky.
Go on a white-water rafting adventure past stilt villages in Wulingyuan.
Climb watchtowers on a less-visited part of the Great Wall and have lunch on the observation deck of Shanghai’s iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower.
Join local masters to learn Chinese cooking or tai chi, kung fu, or traditional kite-making.
Itinerary - 10 Days
Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Shanghai, China
Cross the international date line and arrive in Shanghai on Day 2. The next day, delve into Shanghai’s old town. Explore the zigzagging paths of Yu Yuan Garden and the bustling market. After a dim sum lunch, learn the secrets of Chinese cuisine with a local chef or join a tai chi master for a lesson. Gather for a fun welcome dinner. Equatorial Shanghai Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Shanghai/Zhangjiajie
Surround yourself with ancient treasures on a private tour of the Shanghai Museum. Ride up to the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower for panoramic views of the city and have lunch on the observation deck. Then fly south to Zhangjiajie in mountainous Hunan Province.
Pullman Zhangjiajie Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 5 & 6 — Zhangjiajie/Wulingyuan
Venture into a peculiar landscape of towering, tree-topped karst pinnacles at the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Go hiking in the misty Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and along the beautiful Golden Whip Street, and ascend Tianzi Mountain for an incredible view of these “floating mountains” that inspired scenery for the film Avatar. On a white-water-rafting adventure, float down the Mengdong River past villages on stilts and soaring limestone cliffs. Pullman Zhangjiajie Hotel (B,L,D daily)
Day 7 — Zhangjiajie/Beijing
Join the curator for a fascinating tour of the interactive Giant Salamander Biological Science and Technology Museum. At the Junsheng Sandstone Painting Institute, watch an artist create images with sand, bark, and bamboo. Tiptoe around one of the area's tallest peaks on a glass skywalk 4,000 feet above the valley, and photograph an otherwordly landscape. After dinner, fly to Beijing and settle into our hotel. Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 8, 9, & 10 — Beijing/U.S.
Encounter the legendary Great Wall, exploring the watchtowers and undulating walkways of the less-crowded Mutianyu section, and swoop back to ground level in a cable car. Then take a lesson in the martial art of Changquan or learn to make a traditional Chinese kite. Visit Tiananmen Square, said to be so vast it can hold a million people, and step back into an era of emperors at the walled Forbidden City, whose many palaces hold nearly 9,000 rooms. Wander the narrow hutongs, or lanes, of Beijing’s traditional neighborhoods, where we'll meet up with our pen pals and their families in a beautiful courtyard. Celebrate our adventures together at a farewell dinner. Depart Beijing the next day for your overnight flight home. Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel (B,L,D daily)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single
room, add $1,500. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Economy airfare from New York to Shanghai and return from Beijing begins at $1,220 and flights within China are $550 (subject to change).
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid-to-Kid Connection, which links every young traveler with a pen pal of similar age in China. In the courtyard of a family home in Beijing's historic hutongs, enjoy an afternoon with your pen pals. Teach each other how to write your names in English and Chinese, share a typical American game with your new friends, and learn a few phrases in Chinese.
Our dynamic Expedition Leaders enrich each experience with their insights, knowledge, and energy, and a Young Explorer Leader joins every group to facilitate fun activities that help kids get the most out of the places we go. As we travel, we’ll also meet up with fascinating people doing meaningful work in the field.