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  • China
  • In Pursuit of Pandas

In Pursuit of Pandas

9 Day Escorted Tour

China, East Asia
Intermediate Pace

Facing extinction in the 1980s as large sections of its habitat were destroyed, the giant panda population of China has grown in leaps and bounds due to sustained efforts to save this lovable creature.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy two memorable encounters with the giant pandas of Chengdu
  • Experience the grandeur of the Great Wall of China
  • Marvel at over 8,0000 ancient Terracotta Warriors, buried beneath the city of Xi'an
  • Sample China's fragrant teas on a visit to a traditional tea house
  • Visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden Palace and the Temple of Heaven on a full day city tour of Beijing
Number of nights


Day 1
UK to Chengdu

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Chengdu, via Shanghai.

Day 2

On arrival in Chengdu, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Chengdu's giant pandas on one of the highlights of this tour - a trip to the Panda Conservation Centre, where you'll be rewarded with a close-up viewing of baby and adult pandas lounging in enclosures built to imitate their natural habitat. Enjoy a morning to observe them at play before continuing on to the Shu Brocade Museum where you can marvel at this intricate method of embroidery. See parents playing Cupid at Matchmaker's Corner in the People's Park then sample fragrant, local teas at a traditional tea house before returning to your hotel.

Day 4

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Your second memorable panda experience takes you to the Dujiangyan Panda Base. Watch these lovable animals playing, napping and eating as you stroll around multiple enclosures. Look out for the 'overseas returnees' - all pandas born abroad have to be returned to China by the age of 2. Next, take in centuries-old pagodas and buildings on a visit to picturesque Jiezi Ancient Town. Return to Chengdu for a flavourful Sichuan dinner.

Day 5
Chengdu to Xi'an

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Experience China's high-speed rail network as a bullet train carries you to Xi'an. After check-in and lunch at your hotel, delve into the sights of Xi'an as you stroll along the ancient city walls, built as fortifications in the 14th century. This evening, enjoy a taste of tradition as you feast on traditional Shui jiao dumplings and watch a riveting Tang Dynasty dance performance.

Day 6
Xi'an to Beijing

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, uncover the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Terracotta Warriors, an 8,000-strong army created so that no two warriors look alike. Explore these cavernous underground vaults then witness how replicas of these figures are skilfully crafted at the Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition Centre. This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Beijing, with the remainder of the day to relax after checking into your hotel.

Day 7

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Marvel at one of mankind's greatest feats as you stroll the Great Wall of China, taking in a mere portion of this formidable structure which took over 1,800 years to construct. Access the wall at the Juyongguan Pass, which also boasts beautiful waterside temples and towers. After lunch, explore the intricate pieces on display at the Jade Museum then take in the ancient royal residence of the Summer Palace. This evening, an entertaining Chinese acrobatic show rounds off the day.

Day 8

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Discover Beijing's long, imperial history on today's full day city tour. Explore Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square, under the watchful eye of Chairman Mao's large, central portrait. From here, enter the vast Forbidden Palace and wander its 9,999 rooms and chambers before travelling onward to the tranquil Temple of Heaven. Later this evening, dine on fragrant Peking duck and enjoy an outdoor dance performance. Optional excursion (payable locally) - Visit the Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Museum with a tour of the museum. See how the food is made and finally, you get a chance to enjoy the food as well.

Day 9
Beijing to the UK


After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, via Shanghai, or continue on to your chosen extension.

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Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
February 2023
from £1,789
1 Date
8th Feb - 16th Feb
March 2023
from £1,799
1 Date
1st Mar - 9th Mar
May 2023
from £1,899
1 Date
10th May - 18th May
June 2023
from £2,099
1 Date
7th Jun - 15th Jun
August 2023
from £2,199
1 Date
9th Aug - 17th Aug
September 2023
from £2,199
1 Date
6th Sep - 14th Sep
October 2023
from £2,099
1 Date
4th Oct - 12th Oct
November 2023
from £1,599
1 Date
8th Nov - 16th Nov
December 2023
from £1,749
1 Date
6th Dec - 14th Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Holiday Inn Express
3 nights
Shanghai, China
More details
Jianguo Hotel
1 nights
Xi'an, China
More details
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Tour Reviews

Jaye Sinclair

14 Jan 20

All hotels had a great breakfast selection and were all clean with well mannered staff.

P Mace

05 Dec 19

Fabulous holiday from start to finish! Flights very good and guide Emma in Chengdu so helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. Anna the guide in Xian also very knowledgeable and friendly. Hotels, meals all excellent and the excursions were fantastic along with plenty of time allowed in all locations. Small group of nine was a bonus as ended up good friends. Couldn't find a fault with anything! Thank you.

C Mcateer

02 Oct 19

We particularly liked the two visits to Panda facilities.

H Surman

12 Feb 19

Your national/ local reps in China are a real find Ann and Maple. The food was excellent many Chinese dishes were tried at various locations, the quantity was a bit too much after Hotel Western style breakfast. Did not spend too much money, only two excursions and gifts for family back home. Porterage was excellent, to have bags taken from outside Chengdu station and then delivered to the hotel in Xian, Marvelous! The Hotels were excellent especially Xian.

Kimberley Evans

02 Feb 19

All hotels were clean and comfortable, particularly the Jianguo Hotel in Xi'an.

Lynda Reavell

01 Feb 19

Hotels were all of a good standard. With excellent breakfast choices.

Sue Donnelly

01 Feb 19

all excellent hotels - much better than I would have expected for the price.

Howard Surman

01 Feb 19

Hotels surpassed expectations.

Amanda Cunningham

16 Dec 18

All very good, clean, friendly staff, efficient and comfortable rooms and good choice of food. Loved the trip and our two guides in China were excellent.

Wendy Stephenson

03 Dec 18

All hotels were of a good standard. The middle Hotel is amazing and a real treat, this was an upgraded hotel. The hotel room in Hong Kong was quite basic compared with the rooms on the main trip, however it was clean, comfortable and central and so not a problem. I am a vegetarian, this was very well accommodated on the main trip.

Diane Wood

26 Oct 18

All the hotels used were excellent.

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Extend Your Tour

In Pursuit of Pandas with Hong Kong City Stay

4 Day Extension



Important Information

A visa is required for entry into China. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. All applicants who wish to apply for a China Tourist Visa must do so in person at the Chinese Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester, Belfast or Edinburgh where fingerprint information will be collected. Fingerprints are not required for children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 70. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are valid for unlimited trips to China for 2 years from the date of issue. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Your flight is to Pudong International Airport in Shanghai with China Eastern (MU) departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus one item of hand luggage providing the exterior dimensions (height length width) do not exceed 115cm and 5kg in weight. Weight restrictions will be finalised on your final documentation. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that check-in should be three hours before your flight departure time. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. A printed E-ticket is no longer required at check-in, all you need to do is present your passport to the staff at the desk and your boarding pass will be given to you. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and able mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in China is the Renminbi, known as RMB or CNY. It is often referred to as the yuan. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. US Dollars are widely accepted in China should you want alternative currency.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approx. £500 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. There are some optional tours available to purchase locally and these generally need to be paid in cash. Therefore, please allow an additional £100 if you wish to book any of these. It is customary to tip your national guide, local guide and driver. Please allow approximately £45 per person for the duration of your tour. For your convenience, this will be collected by your National Guide on the first day of your tour in Shanghai. Tips are collected in Chinese Yuan.