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China: The Future of a Global Economy
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12 days

from ₹7,92,800 trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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  • Examine China’s fascinating history and economic future with experts from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal, as well as local scholars, economists, and entrepreneurs.
  • Tap into the infectious energy of Hong Kong, and visit a tech company and a vast electronics market in nearby Shenzhen, known as China’s Silicon Valley.
  • Discover five UNESCO World Heritage sites, from the monumental Great Wall to the legendary terra-cotta army of Xi’an.
  • Settle into an eco-friendly tree house at Twinkle Valley, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World nestled in the lush hills of Sichuan province.

A National Geographic and Wall Street Journal expert will accompany each departure, and local guides join us along the way.


Delve into the past, present, and future of China and explore its evolution into an economic powerhouse on this illuminating journey with National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal. Discover the legacy of an ancient civilization at lavish palaces, fortified cities, and revered temples in Beijing and Xi’an; and experience the country’s dynamic modern culture in the metropolises of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Meet local experts along the way, gaining a deeper understanding of China’s rapid economic development and how this complex country continues to reinvent itself.

Day 1: Hong Kong, China

Arrive in Hong Kong and transfer to our elegant downtown hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure, venturing to the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, or enjoying views of the glittering Victoria Harbour from the hotel lounge.

Day 2: Hong Kong

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Set out on a full-day exploration of Hong Kong, one of the world’s most important financial hubs. Stroll Dried Seafood Street, brimming with traditional cooking and medicinal ingredients, from black moss to dried snakeskins. Ride a vintage tram up to Victoria Peak—the highest point on Hong Kong Island—for breathtaking views of the city’s skyscraper-studded skyline. Tour the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, then board a traditional sampan boat to navigate the colorful Aberdeen fishing village, home to boat-dwelling families. Later, enjoy a lecture on international trade development in Honk Kong by economist Stephen Wong at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Gather for a welcome reception at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, followed by a delicious dinner at the city’s famed Tung Po restaurant.

Day 3: Shenzhen/Hong Kong

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Spend the day in Shenzhen, one of China’s Special Economic Zones, where free market policies were adopted in 1980 to attract entrepreneurs, innovators, and engineers. Since then, Shenzhen has grown from a small fishing village to a thriving industrial metropolis, where some 90% of the world’s electronics are produced. Visit a local technology company and learn how Shenzhen became known as the Silicon Valley of hardware. At the massive Huaqiangbei market—the largest electronics market in China—browse a mind-boggling array of devices, from imitation iPhones to hoverboards. Return to Hong Kong for an evening at leisure.

Day 4: Chengdu

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Fly to Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Stroll the landscaped gardens of People’s Park, and perhaps join in a game of cards or badminton with the locals. Then venture into Kuanzhai Xiangzi, a network of ancient alleys lined with eclectic restaurants, shops, and teahouses. Tonight we’ll enjoy a spicy Sichuan hot pot dinner, accompanied by a performance of bian lian—the fascinating Chinese art of “face-changing”—where the performer switches from one painted mask to another in a series of swift, seamless gestures.

Day 5: Chengdu/Dujiangyan

Begin the day with a visit to Sichuan University and enjoy a talk by a professor on the economy of western China. Drive north to Dujiangyan and settle into Twinkle Valley, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World nestled in a bamboo and cedar forest on the shores of Lake Lotus. Settle into your private tree house, then set out on a tour of Dujiangyan’s engineering marvel: the world’s oldest surviving non-dam irrigation system, originally constructed in the third century B.C. Explore the World Heritage site’s canals and suspension bridges, and learn how this ancient system continues to play a critical role in flood control and provide water to cities across Sichuan.

Day 6: Dujiangyan

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Today, we encounter China’s beloved national animal at the Woolong Panda Reserve (Shenshuping Panda Base). Located in a sprawling, mountainous nature reserve, Woolong is the largest breeding center for giant pandas in the world. Observe these iconic creatures with their cuddly young, and meet with a wildlife expert to learn about the center’s conservation efforts. We’ll also have a chance to feed the pandas their favorite snacks. This afternoon, step back in time in Jiezi Ancient Town to discover the settlement’s millennia-old streets, studded with charming temples and pagodas.

Day 7: Chengdu/Xi’an

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Return to Chengdu this morning and visit the headquarters of a local technology company. Then ride the high-speed train to Xi’an, one of China’s four ancient capitals and the start of the fabled Silk Road. Visit the city’s remarkably preserved Ming-era walls, dating to the 14th century, and walk along the monumental ramparts running some eight miles around the city’s perimeter. Settle into our elegant hotel located within the city walls, and enjoy a lively discussion on Chinese politics with a local scholar over dinner.

Day 8: Xi’an

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Pay a visit to the legendary terra-cotta army, standing guard outside the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Marvel at the unique artistic detail of the life-size sculptures—soldiers, chariots, horses, and more—buried alongside the emperor around 210 B.C. to protect him in the afterlife. Join the curator of the Shaanxi History Museum for an exclusive tour of its Tang Dynasty murals, and learn about the delicate and painstaking work of restoring these ancient treasures. This evening, embark on a culinary exploration of Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter, known for its mouthwatering street food concoctions.

Day 9: Beijing

Fly to Beijing and check in to our hotel. Then visit a local university to hear a talk about China’s controversial “social credit” system—a government-run system that aims to digitally monitor and rank Chinese citizens based on their social and financial activities. Spend the evening at leisure, taking in views of the vast, twinkling metropolis from the hotel’s rooftop terrace, or enjoying a relaxing dip in the indoor pool.

Day 10: Beijing

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Spend the day exploring Beijing, the political heart of modern China. Begin at the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, a four-story urban planning museum featuring a scale model of the entire city. Then walk to Tiananmen Square, where some of the country’s most important political events—including the student-led protests of 1989—have taken place. Venture to the Forbidden City, the former imperial residence of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Enjoy an exclusive tour of Chonghua Gong, or the Palace of Many Splendors—a state ceremony room. Attend a talk on China’s Cultural Revolution with a local scholar, then stroll the elegant Summer Palace, an imperial retreat used by China’s emperors.

Day 11: Beijing

Visit the Temple of Heaven, a sacred complex once used by Ming emperors for prayer ceremonies and now a recreational area where locals practice tai chi and play chess. Later, we make our way to the legendary Great Wall. Built between the 3rd and 17th centuries, this outstanding fortification was constructed by successive Chinese dynasties as a defense against invaders. Trek across the less visited Mutianyu section, taking in far-reaching views of the lush, tranquil countryside. This evening, toast our adventure at a farewell dinner featuring Beijing’s famed Peking duck.

Day 12: Beijing

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

What to Expect

This expedition is rated as light/moderate; travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Travelers should expect full days, many of which require several miles of walking. Much of the touring occurs outside, rain or shine, and offers limited access to shade or benches. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and walking on paths with steep ascents or descents. On Day 11, travelers will walk along the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. On Day 6, travelers may be asked to sweep out panda enclosures, help prepare meals, and replenish bamboo leaves at the Shenshuping Panda Center. Please note that there are some long travel days.


Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels with ample amenities.

1 /7

Kowloon Shangri-La - Hong Kong

At the luxurious Kowloon Shangri-La, situated on Hong Kong’s vibrant Victoria Harbour, guests are greeted with twinkling chandeliers, ethereal blue fountains, and floors of Italian marble—an enchanting mix of east and west. Spacious rooms overlook the Hong Kong skyline, while the Michelin-star Shang Palace serves up Cantonese fare in a sumptuous setting. Guests can enjoy a stroll on the bordering promenade, or delve into the nearby Temple Street Night Market.

2 /7

The Temple House - Chengdu, China

Set within a beautifully restored Qing dynasty courtyard, the Temple House is an oasis of tradition and elegance. Rooms reflect a fresh interpretation of Chinese design, featuring simple, sleek furnishings and high-quality amenities. Guests can take advantage of a variety of health treatments at the day spa, go for a swim in the indoor pool, or sip tea at the atmospheric teahouse. Dining options include a French bistro, a sophisticated Italian restaurant, and a bar.

3 /7

Twinkle Valley - Sichuan Province, China

Nestled in a bamboo and cedar forest on the shores of a pristine lake, this National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World combines reverence for nature with a harmonious, inspired design. The lodge’s one-bedroom tree houses feature private terraces overlooking the forest and ample skylights to reveal the stars at night. Begin the day with a tai chi or yoga session, swing through the surrounding treetops on a zip line, dine on fresh local cuisine at the Twinkle Café noodle bar, and much more.

4 /7

Sofitel Xi’an on Renmin Square - Xi’an, China

Located within Xi’an’s ancient walls, the Sofitel Xi’an incorporates local heritage with French flair. The classic, gold-toned rooms offer expansive views of the city, and the plush common areas provide a relaxed setting for guests to converse or enjoy a game of mahjong. Guests can sample Chinese or Mediterranean in the hotel's chic restaurants or go for a swim in the indoor or outdoor pool, surrounding by lush gardens.

5 /7

New World Beijing Hotel - Beijing, China

This luxurious modern hotel is situated in the heart of Beijing, minutes away from the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. The rooms feature an elegant neutral palette, while delightful splashes of color brighten the minimalistic décor of the common areas. The stylish rooftop bar serves up craft cocktails and a spectacular view of glittering Beijing.

6 /7

New World Beijing Hotel

7 /7

New World Beijing Hotel

Elvira Masson

Elvira Masson, a professor of East Asian cultural history at New Mexico State University, has been working, traveling, and studying in Asia since 1983. She studied Chinese language and modern theater in Beijing, and worked for many years developing and leading academic and cultural programs for students of all ages visiting China. She loves introducing travelers to the sights, sounds, and especially the flavors of China, Korea, and Vietnam.

  • May 13-24, 2020
Jeremy Page

Jeremy Page is the China political and diplomatic editor for The Wall Street Journal, based in Beijing. He joined the Journal in Beijing in 2010 and previously worked for The Times of London as South Asia correspondent, focusing on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and as Moscow correspondent, also covering Central Asia. He first visited China as a student in 1992 and began his career with Reuters in Beijing in 1997.

Jeremy will join the Future of Everything: Exploring Global Innovation by Private Jet expedition in Samarqand. He will join half of the China: The Future of a Global Economy expedition.

  • May 13-24, 2020