China Expedition - Great Wall Marathon
China Expedition - Great Wall Marathon

Other Departures : Manchester £1969,  Birmingham £1939, Glasgow £1989, Edinburgh £1989, Bristol £ 2049, Newcastle £2039

Day 1: Beijing
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Beijing has quickly shed its historical face in favour of a more
modern look. Still, there are plenty of places that offer a great insight into the nation's ancient
past, alongside its contemporary culture. If you arrive early, stretch your legs with a walk around
the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Panjiayuan Market, Houhai Lake, Nanluoguxiang Street
or the night food market – anyone up for protein-rich scorpion on a stick or fried cicadas (perfect
snacks for your upcoming marathon!)? Your expedition begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm
this evening. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place.
Afterwards, settle into your hotel and get a feel for this vibrant city.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 2: Great Wall
This morning we will explore the hutong areas in Beijing on a walking tour with our leader. These
narrow winding streets in the heart of the city form the Chinese capital's ancient heart and while
they are rapidly disappearing, still offer a great insight into traditional life. Then travel by private
transport from Beijing to a village near the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall. Spend the night in
a family-run guesthouse, where you’ll experience local hospitality and some time in the fresh
country air. Sample some delicious regional produce with a home-cooked dinner at the
guesthouse (not included), before heading to bed for a good nights sleep.
Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Rise and shine, it’s marathon day! We’ve got an early start today, as we travel to the starting line
at the Jinshanling section to begin the race. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches
6,000 kilometres westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing (fortunately you won’t be
running the whole way!). Originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians'
of the north, it's, without doubt, one of the country's most remarkable achievements and an iconic
destination. Choose to run the 10km, half or full marathon for a truly unforgettable, but
challenging, experience. There are three types of track on the marathon route: tarmac roads, 10
kilometres on the Great Wall itself, and rocky, narrow paths alongside the wall and through the
surrounding countryside. Parts of the wall are unrestored so you'll need to concentrate in order to
keep your footing, while the mountain paths can be slippery with gravel and very steep in places.
There are many steps and slopes along the way, so be prepared for some tough terrain. There
are also a number of snack stops dotted along the trail, providing energy-boosting bananas,
sports drinks, chocolate bars and local snacks. First aid teams are also available on site - they'll
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be positioned in the trickier parts of the trail. Some runners recommend bringing trekking poles to
make the journey a bit easier. After the run, celebrate your achievements and return to the hotel
in Beijing for the night.
Included Activities
Great Wall - Jinshanling
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 4: Beijing
Some sightseeing is on the agenda for today. Journey by metro and local bus to Tian'anmen
Square, long regarded as the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly
Peace, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, and with elaborate
flag raising and lowering ceremonies at dawn and dusk, it's a place of pilgrimage for many. From
here, enter the enormous Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago (and off limits to
commoners for almost all that time), it’s a truly amazing place. Despite Beijing’s continuing
transformation towards modernity, the Forbidden City, thankfully, looks pretty much the way it
always has. As you explore the great halls and courtyards, gain a deeper appreciation of the
Imperial Chinese court’s might and grandeur during the height of its power during the Ming and
Qing dynasties. OK, that’s enough walking; stop for a reflexology foot massage, which will be
much needed after yesterday’s epic run!
Included Activities
Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City
Beijing - Reflexology foot massage
Beijing - Hutong walking tour
Optional Activities
Beijing - Temple of Heaven - CNY40
Beijing - Kungfu Show - CNY180
Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
Beijing - Lama Temple - CNY25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 5: Xi'an
All aboard the bullet train (approx 6 hours) for Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and the
largest city in northwest China. Once the imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a
vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites. Join your leader on a walking
tour to uncover what was once the start of the ancient Silk Road trading route. Visit the Bell and
Drum Tower square; legend says that the former was built to restrain earthquake-causing
dragons, while the latter is (unsurprisingly) full of drums, once used to mark time and warn of
impending emergencies. Wander the narrow streets of the city’s Muslim Quarter, made up of
quaint shops, lively markets, groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea, and the
Great Mosque (which is optional). With an exciting mixture of cultures – thanks to its Silk Road
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history – Xi’an is home to some incredible food, ranging from delicious Muslim fare to moreish
little dumplings. Perhaps visit the night markets and try some tantalising local specialties such as pao mo (lamb broth and flat bread), hand-pulled noodles, hot pots and barbecue. After all that
running, you’ve earned it.
Included Activities
Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour
Optional Activities
Xi'an - Small Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
Xi'an - Great Mosque - CNY25
Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers - CNY50
Xi'an - Big Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 6: Xi'an
Take a private bus (approx 2 hours) to visit what is undoubtedly one of the greatest man-made
wonders of the world: the Terracotta Warriors. Learn about this incredible archaeological find,
discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976, after being buried for 2,000 years. Emperor Qin Shi
Huangdi commissioned the clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots after he ascended to the
throne in 264 BC. Three main pits are open to view, where over 6,000 warriors – individually
sculpted and with different costumes, heights and facial expressions – stand in battle formation.
Return to Xi’an for the evening.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 7: Xi'an - Overnight Train
Let’s roll. Today we’ll take a leisurely cycle on the Xi'an city wall, an ancient fortification in the
heart of Xi'an, built in 1378 AD. If you’d prefer not to cycle the 13-kilometre wall, you can walk just
part of the way instead. The rest of the day is free time to explore Xi'an. This evening, board our
overnight sleeper train to Shanghai (approximately 15 hours).
Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious but it's one of the best ways to come face to
face with the country and its people, as it's the main form of transport for locals. We use hard
sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These aren’t as rough as they sound
– compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment).
Wherever possible, we will group our travellers together, but this depends on group size and
ticket availability. Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided, but some travellers prefer to bring
their own sleeping sheet. Food is available to purchase, but we suggest stocking up on snacks for
the trip. Safe, hot drinking water is always available. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife
and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (these are not provided in
cabins). Basic bathroom facilities with toilets and washbasins are situated at the end of each
carriage. Toilet paper isn't always available, so bring an emergency supply. Keep in mind general
train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. An optional upgrade
from a hard sleeper to a soft sleeper berth (4 travellers per compartment with a lockable door)
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may be available for some overnight train journeys on this trip. Please contact us for booking and
more details.
Overnight Hard Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
Xi'an - City Wall cycling
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 8: Shanghai
Arrive in Shanghai this morning and after settling into our hotel and grabbng some breakfast,
head out to explore. Join your leader for a walking tour through historical Shanghai. At the Bund,
get a taste of 1920s Shanghai; a spectacular array of art deco-style buildings, formerly belonging
to Western banks, line what was once the most important financial street in Asia. Wander the
narrow winding lanes (nongtangs), where you can get a real glimpse into what daily life is like for
the locals. Walk onwards to the picturesque Yuyuan Gardens where we finish and you are free to
continue exploring at your own pace. Perhaps choose to explore the European-influenced French
Concession, an area once designated for the French, consisting of the Luwan and Xuhui Districts.
Luwan's busy Huaihai Road is home to popular shopping and eating spots, Xintiandi and Tian Zi
Fang. The area's tree-lined avenues and Tudor mansions still retain an air of the 'Paris of the
East'. Tonight enjoy an optional final group dinner to celebrate the end of your journey with your
newfound marathon mates.
Included Activities
Shanghai - Walking tour
Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens
Optional Activities
Shanghai - Shanghai Museum - Free
Shanghai - Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
Shanghai - Oriental Pearl Tower Viewing Deck - CNY150
Shanghai - Propaganda Museum - CNY20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Day 9: Shanghai
Your Great Wall Marathon trip comes to an end today. No activities are planned and you are free
to leave the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Offer Includes

  • Flights from London with China Southern Airlines
  • Airport taxes
  • 8 nights accommodation at chosen hotels as per itinerary

Meal Plans

  • Room Only