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Sabbatical & Experiential Travel to China

Holidays & Sabbaticals to China – In a Nutshell

China is one of the most fascinating countries in the world; full of rich history and culture, where vibrant metropolises from Shanghai to Hong Kong are contrasted with breath-taking natural scenery such as the Yellow Mountains and incredible historical sites such as The Great Wall of China. Your trip can include hiking the mighty Tiger Leaping Gorge to close-up encounters with a Giant panda. Immersive, off the beaten track experiences abound, from fan making to fishing with a Yangshou master. Indulge in some Peking duck in Beijing, or a steaming bowl of Lanzhou noodles at Silk Street washed down with a bowl of rice wine.

How to Get to China

Direct flights from the UK to China usually involve disembarking in Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong, with regional departure points available. In under 12 hours you can be in either one of these three cities. Most nationalities will need to obtain a visa before entering mainland China.

When & Weather – China

China’s immense size means there are no true limitations to travel, however the best time to visit is during spring (March-May) for blossoming flowers and autumn (Sep-Oct) for the Autumn hues; weather tends to be warm and dry; temps average between 10-23 °C. Summers tend to be hot and wet with temps climbing to an average of 25-33 °C. However, this is a great time of year for mountain hiking as the rains can enhance the views with mountain mists in areas of the Li River and the Yellow Mountains. The winter months (Nov-early Mar) are classed as low season; expect cold temps but great for escaping the crowds! Beijing and Pingyao look beautiful under a blanket of snow. For warmer temps, head to Southern China.

Who will China Appeal To?

The stunning natural landscapes offer an enormous range of varied and unique experiences. In particular, it’s suited to:

  • Trekkers
  • Foodies
  • Keen photographers
  • Horticulturists and keen gardeners
  • Culture Lovers
  • Solo travellers
  • Wildlife lovers
  • Families


China has a diverse range of accommodation options from family-friendly resorts and luxurious boutique hotels to charming mountain lodges and eco-conscious glamping. While hotels in the major cities compete with the most luxurious hotels in the world, in more rural areas the accommodation standards are likely to be different from what you are accustomed to. Please be aware that any trip that visits both major cities and China’s remote provinces may reveal vast differences in accommodation quality.

Off The Beaten Path

  • Try a night hike along the Great Wall for an alternative perspective
  • Brave the dramatic Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge for a prime vantage point over Zhangjiajie, spanning two mountains. Not for the faint-hearted!
  • Take a private calligraphy class to learn about the artistic practices and brush stroke techniques
  • Cycle around the ancient city of Ping Yao
  • Photograph the mesmerising rainbow-coloured mountains of Danxia
  • Source ingredients from a bustling local market before learning how to transform them into mouth-watering seasonal dishes
  • Take a cable car up Tianzi (‘Son of Heaven’) Mountain for a stunning birds-eye view of Wulingyuan, the inspiration behind Avatar
  • Venture inside a ‘tulou’; an earthen, round (usually) fort-like structure used by the Hakka people
  • Hike the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terrace, home to lush valleys and a variety of ethnic minorities
  • Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River


  • Revel in a close-up sighting of a Giant panda in Chengdu
  • Keep eyes peeled for a view of the rare and endangered snub-nosed monkey in the mountainous forests of northern Yunnan
  • Get hands on pulling fish from the inky waters below, with the help of a Yangshuo master and their feathered friends
  • Sichuan is one of the few Chinese provinces that offers reliable sightings for many of the country’s rare, unique mammals including red pandas, Pallas’s cat, white giant flying squirrel and Tibetan fox

China Experiences you shouldn’t miss:

  • Walk along the longest wall in the world; the legendary Great Wall of China or save the legs and enjoy a gondola up and a toboggan down for a view of one of the most preserved segments
  • Marvel at the philosophy and practice of Chinese garden design at the UNESCO Summer Palace, used as a summer retreat by the Chinese royal family
  • Come face to face with the terracotta warriors in Xi’an
  • Survey the Forbidden City; an architectural masterpiece and the world’s largest Imperial Palace with over 8,728 rooms!
  • Explore the historical architecture along Shanghai’s waterfront promenade, known as ‘The Bund’, followed by some Tai Chi at People’s Park
  • Witness a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist carvings at the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas
  • Hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge for a glimpse into the indigenous Naxi culture, whilst accompanied by stunning mountainous scenery
  • Experience the true meaning of fast-paced travel on a high-speed bullet train
  • Take a private boat across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong for a sunset cruise accompanied by towering skyscrapers of this financial metropolis

Giving back

From watching artisans hand make shoes in Yunnan, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm in Fujian, our trips are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.

Start Planning

Our experienced team will guide you through a number of ideas based on how you would like to experience China.

Combine with Nepal for a jaw dropping overland journey through sacred peaks and lush green valleys, exploring the best of the Himalayas.

For some beach time, why not tag on some nights at Yalong Bay, known as ‘The Original Hawaii’, with its sparkling blue sea and powder white sands.

Browse our gallery for inspiration and read the sample itinerary below to whet your appetite.

This itinerary showcases slow travel through China covering highlights and off-the-beaten-path regions.

From glamping experiences in the Tibetan mountains to foodie tours, palaces and jaw dropping vistas, there is plenty to absorb and enjoy.

No matter how long you wish to travel, we’ll guide you through the planning process to ensure a trip is carefully pieced together to suit your interests, pace of travel and budget.

Contact us to start planning a holiday or sabbatical to China.