China tours highly rated by customers! Recommended in every edition of Frommer’s China.
Our all-inclusive China tours feature personalized service, small group size, quality local cuisine, premium accommodations and outstanding guides hand-picked by the owners of Laurus Travel. A China tour with Laurus Travel is an active cultural experience filled with fun and learning, delivered by a team of caring, competent and knowledgeable professionals. Rated A+ by the BBB, we have been recommended in every edition of Frommer’s China. Please take a look at the large number of customers testimonials and consumer reviews on Tripadvisor to see how we measure up against other China tour companies.
China Tours 2020
Explore ancient sites in Beijing and Xian. Admire nature’s beauty in Guilin. Sail through the majestic Three Gorges of the Yangtze. Wander around classical gardens in Suzhou. Marvel at China’s economic boom best showcased in Shanghai. This popular China tour package allows you to do all that and more! Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai
This tour presents a sharp contrast between the old and new, from historic sites in Beijing and Xian to the hustle and bustle of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Trip highlights include the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Museum of Terracotta Warriors, the Giant Panda Research Base, and a day cruise on Li River. Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Shanghai – Wuhan – Guilin – Hong Kong
Travel China by high speed train! This leisurely paced vacation package combines China’s largest metropolises with UNESCO World Heritage sites in locations less known to Western travellers. Highlights include the hometown of Confucius, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli – Qufu – Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Wuhan – Guilin – Hong Kong
One of our most popular China tours packages, this is a perfect choice for the time-pressed looking for a well-rounded introduction to both the old and modern China. The itinerary covers all the highlights in each city. It may appear over-packed but you won’t feel rushed because our tours do not have time-wasting shopping stops. Shanghai – Beijing -Xi’an – Chengdu- Guilin – Hong Kong
This vacation package features China’s top four tourist cities and a three-day cruise on the Yangtze River. Trip highlights include the Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Terracotta Army and Shanghai Museum. From Beijing to Shanghai, the sensual overload is simply overwhelming! Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Wuhan – Shanghai
The masterfully planned itinerary taking in China’s most popular cities has stood the test of time. Conducted by China’s top English-speaking guides, this is a journey of a life-time! From the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong to historic sites in Beijing and Xian, you’ll never have a dull moment. Shanghai – Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Wuhan – Guilin – Hong Kong
Combining China’s most popular cities with exotic Yunnan Province and a luxury Yangtze cruise, the tour package gives you as complete an introduction to China as possible all in 26 days. This meticulously planned itinerary has been one of our top sellers since 2003! Beijing – Xi’an – Kunming – Xianggelila – Lijiang – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai
On this escorted small-group trip you’ll spend 6 days in Tibet and 3 days on the Yangtze cruise. Highlights include the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, Chengdu Giant Panda Research Center, and a day cruise on picturesque Li River. Beijing – Xi’an – Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse – Lhasa – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai
On this grand China tour, you’ll visit a multitude of UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Sites and the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Centre, hike the Great Wall, cruise the mighty Yangtze River, and savour authentic and quality Chinese cuisine. Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli (water town) – Wuhan – Yangtze Cruise – Chengdu – Xi’an – Beijing
As far as popularity goes, the 25-day Classic China by Train, 21-day China Highlights, 20-day China in Depth and 19-day China Odyssey are among the top sellers. If you only have two weeks or less available, we’d recommend the 16-day China Discovery, 16-day Best of China and the 13-day China Delight. If time and budget are not issues and you happen to be more adventurous, you would find the 26-day Imperial China (with Tibet & Yangtze cruise) and 26-day China Panorama most satisfying.
|#||Tour Name||Destinations / Cities|
|1||33-day China Adventure||Beijing – Xi’an – Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse – Lhasa – Xianggelila – Lijiang – Kunming – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai|
|2||26-day Imperial China with Tibet||Beijing – Xi’an – Lhasa – Gyangtse – Shigatse – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai|
|3||26-day China Panorama||Beijing – Xi’an – Kunming – Xianggelila – Lijiang – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai|
|4||25-day China by Bullet Train||Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli – Qufu – Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Hong Kong|
|5||21-day China Highlights||Shanghai – Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Hong Kong|
|6||21-day China In Depth||Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli – Wuhan – Yichang – Yangtze Cruise – Chongqing – Chengdu – Xi’an – Beijing|
|7||19-day China Odyssey||Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Guilin – Shanghai|
|8||19-day China with Zhangjiajie||Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Zhangjiajie – Changsha – Guilin – Shanghai|
|9||19-day Best of China with Tibet||Beijing – Xi’an – Lhasa – Gyangtse – Shigatse – Lhasa – Chengdu – Shanghai|
|10||19-day Best of China with Yunnan||Beijing – Xian – Kunming – Xianggelila – Lijiang – Chengdu – Guilin – Wuhan – Shanghai|
|11||18-day China Hiking Tour||Shanghai – Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) – Qufu – Beijing – Xi’an – Guilin – Hong Kong|
|12||18-day Silk Road Adventure||Beijing – Xi’an – Dunhuang – Turpan – Urumqi – Kashgar – Shanghai|
|13||18-day Treasures of China||Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Shanghai – Wuhan – Guilin – Hong Kong|
|14||16-day China Golden Route||Shanghai – Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Guilin – Hong Kong|
|15||16-day China Discovery||Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Wuhan – Shanghai|
|16||16-day Best of China||Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Guilin – Wuhan – Shanghai|
|17||14-day Essential China||Shanghai – Beijing – Xian – Guilin – Hong Kong|
|18||13-day Yellow Mountain & Fujian||Shanghai – Huangshan (Yellow Mountains) – Wuyishan (Wuyi Mountains) – Yongding – Xiamen – Hong Kong|
|19||13-day China Garden Tour||Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli – Luoyang – Beijing|
|20||13-day China Experience||Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli – Qufu – Beijing|
|21||12-day China Delight||Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Shanghai|
|22||12-day Yangtze Explorer||Beijing – Xian – Chongqing – Yangtze Cruise – Yichang – Shanghai|
|23||11-day Golden Triangle||Beijing – Xi’an – Shanghai|
|24||9-day Shanghai & Beijing||Shanghai – Beijing|
Choosing Your Best China Tour
With so many China tours available, it can be overwhelming for people contemplating their first trip to China. Travellers looking for a well-rounded but quick introduction to China may find our 11-day China Golden Triangle and 16-day Best of China tours ideal. Those wishing to add Yangtze cruise to their China vacation would love our 19-day China Odyssey package. These three China tour packages have been among our top sellers for many years.
Our 26-day China Panorama and 26-day Imperial China with Tibet & Yangtze Cruise became instant hits when we launched them many years ago. While most China tour operators were touting cheap China tours for $999 or $1999, we were convinced that there’s enough demand for these in-depth, higher-quality tours among sophisticated consumers looking for best value, not necessarily lowest price. In 2004, we went one step further by launching a 29-day China tour incorporating Tibet, Silk Road & Southwest China. Even though this itinerary is less popular than China Panorama and Imperial China due to higher cost and physical challenge, the level of satisfaction among the travellers who have taken it is exceedingly high.
As soon as it became logistically possible, the 25-day China by High Speed Train was launched. This itinerary despite its length and high cost has been extremely popular. To celebrate Laurus Travel’s 20th anniversary (1998-2018), a 20-day Anniversary Special was presented to the public; with our signature service and unusual support from our partners this tour has succeeded beyond our expectations!
People planning their first trip to China often ask what China tour is the best for them. The answer mainly depends on one’s budget and time available. No matter which China tour package you choose from our list, your satisfaction is guaranteed. Our trip itineraries have stood the test of time and they are fined tuned every year based on customer feedback and availability of logistics.
Cheap China Tours?
Travellers looking for cheap China tours often ask why our China tour packages cost so much more. This is no different than asking a fine dining restaurant why they charge more than MacDonald’s. Tour companies offering budget China travel packages have their market, so do we. It is never our intention to compete against operators peddling cheap China tours. Viewed by many customers as a gem in the travel industry, we are a boutique operator offering mid-level to luxury tours. We compete on value, not primarily on price.
China Tours by High Speed Train
Our China tour packages featuring high-speed train have become increasingly popular. We have been at the forefront in developing such trips and it took us quite a while to get things right. Designing a great itinerary requires special expertise, never as easy as many perceive. Before we launched our China train travel programs, our product developers and tour leaders travelled almost everywhere the Chinese high-speed rail network went and in all fare classes (second, first, executive). We spent hours and hours talking to railway personnel, inspecting rail cars, train stations and analyzing the government controlled ticket reservation system. We also regularly update our local guides on the latest developments of China’s high-speed train system – an extensive network of 24,000 kilometres and counting. Because of all the hard work, we have gained deep insight into China’s high-speed train system and significant advantages over other China tour companies in arranging China travel by bullet train. For example, when others are complaining about the lack of luggage storage space (isn’t that the same in Japan or Europe?), we know which cars and seats on specific routes for maximum luggage storage space… [read more]
Our tours are marketed as Active Cultural Journeys. By that definition, our trips are designed for active travellers who can handle lots of strenuous walking at a brisk pace. Travellers with mobility difficulty due to obesity or ailments would not be able to keep up with the pace of our group tours, but they are always welcome to book a private tour with us.
Small Group Travel
Small group travel holds special appeal to certain travellers but the definition of small group varies wildly from company to company. Some think 6 to 12 is the right size but to achieve a decent scale of economy we set our maximum group size at 24. We have noticed from consumer complaints that some China tour companies claiming to promote small-group travel frequently have over 30 participants in a group. [read more]
One of the owners of Laurus Travel used to be a tour guide, which is one reason that we attach more importance to the role played by the guides. Most of the local guides we use are hand-picked by the owners of Laurus Travel. Our guides are not only fully respected by the management but also well compensated. According to our customers, these guides are proud to be associated with Laurus Travel [read more].
Our group meals are arranged at quality restaurants catering to local middle class, not fast food joints or restaurants full of tourists. We understand that, for our guests, experiencing authentic and quality local cuisine is a key element of their travel and we are willing to invest our time and money to ensure the guests are satisfied with the food [read more]
Frequently Asked China Travel Questions
How to Obtain Chinese Visa
With our assistance, getting your Chinese visa is easy. [more]
Best Time to Visit China
Climatic patterns in China are extremely diverse, ranging from tropical in the south to sub-Arctic in the north, from some of the wettest spots on Earth to arid deserts. The answer to the question of when is the best of time to visit China really depends on where you want to go. For example, when northern cities are cold and sometimes shrouded in smog in the winter, many areas in the south including the popular tropical island of Hainan attract hordes of vacationers with blissful weather. In July and August, most Chinese cities experience high heat and humidity, but summer actually is the best season to visit Tibet, the Silk Road region, Inner Mongolia and the Northeast (Manchuria).
Most travellers going to China for the first time are primarily interested in Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai. Some may also add Hong Kong and a Yangtze river cruise to their itinerary. For them, the best months to go to China would be April, May, September and October. In the above cities and most other popular destinations in China, high season for tourism begins in mid-March and ends in mid-November.
Our China tours are mostly land packages without international airfares. However, travellers from Canada and the United States can count on us for best airfare deals, especially when it comes to business class. We offer unbeatable air deals from a host of gateway cities across Canada and the United States including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. Guests from many other cities such as Edmonton, Ottawa, Washington, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, Portland, Honolulu can also benefit from our expertise in tracking down the best air deals. Airlines we use the most include Air Canada, Delta, United, American, Japan Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
Public Holidays and Which to Avoid
New Year’s Day is a one-day statutory holiday that holds no special cultural meaning for the Chinese.
The most important holiday in China is the Lunar New Year holiday commonly known as Spring Festival. It’s the Chinese equivalent to Christmas holiday in the West. This is a time almost every Chinese is on the move. Airports and train stations are jam-packed with passengers travelling for family reunion. This holiday is based on Chinese lunar calendar and can fall in January or February on Gregorian calendar. This is a holiday that generally lasts up to two weeks for most Chinese.
The Qingming Festival (tomb sweeping holiday, a time to pay tribute to ancestors) in April is combined with a weekend. Air tickets and train tickets are either very expensive or hard to come by during this time.
May Day holiday used to be a week-long holiday, coinciding with Japan’s Golden Week. But nowadays it’s just a long weekend. That said, major tourist sites do get crowded during this holiday.
Duanwu became a statutory holiday in 2008, although as a traditional holiday it has been around for well over two millennia. Duanwu Festival, which is celebrated according to Chinese lunar calendar, can fall in May or June. Although nowadays the festival is often associated with dragon boat racing, which traces its roots to the commemoration of a Chinese poet and mandarin named Qu Yuan (340BC ? – 278BC ?), the origin of the holiday has nothing to do with him.
The Mid-autumn Festival (usually falling in middle or late September) is another major public holiday. It is similar to Thanksgiving in North America in spirit, but instead of thanking the Almighty the Chinese would sit outdoors at night and enjoy the beautiful full moon (at least, that’s been the tradition) over a nice pot of tea and a serving of seasonal fruits (pomegranate etc) and the all-important moon cake.
The National Day Holiday (October 1-5) is the one to avoid if possible. This is the holiday that causes significant overcrowding almost anywhere you want to go. The holiday is supposed to be week-long but by Oct 6 most tourist attractions would appear deserted as Chinese travellers of working age need to return home early to get ready for work. Very often, overcrowding disappears as early as the afternoon of Oct 4. In other words, if you book a China tour with us departing home on Oct 3 arriving in China the next day, you really have nothing to worry about because your scheduled sightseeing won’t start till Oct 5, when big crowds are already gone.
No public holiday exists between the National Day holiday and New Year’s Day.
Chinese Currency & Exchange
Should you get Chinese money before arrival? That’s a question put to us frequently. Our answer is no unless you arrive ahead of tour schedule and have to get to the hotel by taxi. You can easily get local currency on arrival at competitive rates. There are automate teller machines currency exchange booths located at all the airports. [more]
Health & Vaccination
Travellers from Western countries are not required of any inoculation certificate to enter China. The places our tours take you to are safe from a health point of view. Our top concern is hepatitis A & B. We do not recommend shots for tetanus and rabies. However, you are advised to visit a travel clinic or your family doctor before going … [more]
China Reading List
It seems every tour company recommends popular titles like Wild Swans and River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. But our list is far more comprehensive than the other companies’ because Laurus Travel is staffed by bookworms who happen to be picky readers too. We waste a lot of time of ours to save yours! Once you sign up with us, you’ll receive the reading list as part of your trip preparation.
Unlike most other tour operators, we include tips for the local guides and drivers in our tour prices. The recommended amount for the tour leader is US$10 per day per guest. Tipping housemaids and restaurant staff is not customary in China, although our own staff members do leave a dollar or two on the pillow every morning when we stay at well managed luxury hotels. If you need bell service to move your bag to or from your room, you’d be expected to tip $1 per piece. We recommend that you move your bag yourself to save time and hassle. [more]