From the Great Wall to Olympic stadiums, ancient civilization fuses with high-tech modernity in today’s China. The time to show students this incredible transformation is now, as China gains prominence on the global stage. Young travelers will come away from this discovery tour with a new appreciation for Chinese history and culture. We go beyond just seeing the sights, as we focus on interactive, immersive activities like rickshaw adventures, acrobatics shows, and bike tours.
Our mission is to provide an authentic experience rooted in “teaching teens to be travelers, not tourists.” Language students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chinese and practice what they have learned in the classroom. Students can order their own food at meals, chitchat with shopkeepers, and haggle with street vendors. Our guides will help students discover that foreign languages are an exciting tool they can use wherever their travels might take them.
TFT’s years of experience bringing students to Asia means that we know exactly how to educate, excite, and inspire. After experiencing everything from the Forbidden City to the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, your students will come away with a new appreciation for Chinese culture. Join us on this one-of-a-kind cultural experience and leave them with memories to last a lifetime!
During this trip, you and your students will…
- Float down the Huangpu River on an evening dinner cruise
- Tour an authentic silk factory in Shanghai and browse for treasures at the emporiums of Nanjing Road
- Watch a performance of traditional Shanghai acrobatics
- Bike along the ancient wall surrounding the city of Xian
- Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, who have stood guard over the tomb of China’s first emperor for over 2,000 years
- Savor authentic Chinese cuisine, including dumplings, Peking duck, and all sorts of exotic street food
- Ride the high-speed bullet train through the Chinese countryside
- Visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and learn about their historical significance
- Discover the world of Beijing’s Hutangs via rickshaw, the perfect way to get to know these maze-like alleyways
- Participate in a traditional tea ceremony
- Walk along the Great Wall of China for some of the best views in the country
DAY 1: Hello, Asia!
Flight from your preferred airport to Shanghai.
DAY 2: Arrive in Shanghai
Upon your arrival in Shanghai, you’ll be greeted at the airport by your Travel For Teens guides, who will accompany you for the duration of your journey. After getting settled into the hotel, we’ll have lunch and head out for a walking tour of downtown Shanghai, also known as the “Pearl of the East.” Enjoy your first dinner of authentic Chinese cuisine on an evening dinner cruise along the Huangpu River.
DAY 3: Ancient Artifacts and Shanghai Acrobatics
We’ll begin the day with a visit to the Shanghai Museum, which features an illustrious collection of ancient Chinese relics. After lunch, tour an authentic silk factory. In the afternoon, students will have the choice of exploring Nanjing Road’s emporiums in search of treasures, or of visiting the Propaganda Poster Art Center to learn more about the Mao years through art. Dinner tonight will be traditional dumplings, followed by an evening performance of Shanghai Acrobatics!
DAY 4: Bullet Trains & Xi'an
Experience one of the modern marvels of Chinese technology as we board our bullet train from Shanghai to Xian and cruise through the Chinese countryside. After arriving in Xian, we’ll get to know the city by biking along its impressive city walls, one of the largest ancient military defense systems in the world. For dinner, try Xian’s regional cuisine, which you’ll find differs from that of Shanghai.
DAY 5: Terracotta Warriors
Today is always a student favorite, as we visit China’s greatest archaeological discovery–the Terracotta Warriors! They have stood guard over the tomb of China’s first emperor for over 2,200 years. After we return to Xian, we’ll explore the Bell and Drum Towers, as well as the Muslim quarter with its historical mosque. Tonight, we’ll enjoy some of the best street food in all of China for dinner.
DAY 6: Head to Beijing
Today we return to the bullet train, this time bound for Beijing! After getting settled in, we’ll start exploring the city at the Temple of Heaven, a historically significant monument of the Ming dynasty. Tonight, spend the evening doing what many locals love: singing karaoke!
Day 7: Visit the Forbidden City
What better way to discover the maze-like alleyways of Beijing’s Hutangs than by rickshaw? This morning, we’ll tour the city by rickshaw and visit a traditional courtyard-style home. Of course, we’ll also visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. This afternoon, participate in a traditional tea ceremony. For dinner, explore the Wang Fu Jing snack street–you never know what treats you might find!
Day 8: The Great Wall of China
We’ve saved the best for last today on our final day in China. Our first stop this morning is the Bird Nest, an exterior portion of the main stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. From there, we’ll continue along through the countryside and mountains to reach the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China! We specifically come to this section to avoid the crowds. Grab a gondola up to the wall and spend the day exploring! This evening, we’ll return to Beijing and celebrate the end of an incredible trip with an upscale dinner downtown.
DAY 9: Goodbye, China!
Your TFT guides will accompany you to the airport and assist you with check-in for your flight. Wave goodbye as you head through security and sit back and relax on your flight home.
The TFT Difference
We Never Combine Groups
Your tour should be special and just for you and your students! We will never combine two or more groups on the same bus or tour. We will lead a trip with as few as six people and a teacher. Your Trip Director travels with you for the duration of your program.
Stress-Free Planning and 24/7 Support
We are there for you every step of the way, and our support begins the moment you decide to do a TFT trip! We will provide you with a team member who will help bring your tour to life, along with everything you need to help get students to sign up for the adventure! On the tour you will have 24/7 dedicated staff with you to ensure everything runs smoothly and because we know travel is full of surprises, solve anything that may pop up along the way.
Photos and Email Updates
Your trip is special and you and your students should have those memories captured forever! Expect frequent personal email updates and hundreds of photos from your TFT staff shared with you and your students’ families so everyone can follow along on the journey. We are the only teen travel program to offer this in-depth trip communication and it truly makes all the difference!
Central Accommodation and Local Meals
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do. We stay at locally owned accommodation in the city center so you don’t waste your valuable time commuting. We dine at charming authentic restaurants to get a real flavor (literally!) for the local culture. The best way to travel is like a local. So ditch the tour bus and have a real traveler’s experience with us!
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do. Eat, stay, and travel like a local.
Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we are consistently winning awards for Top Youth Travel Organization.
"I had been wanting to go to Japan for years prior and getting the chance to go and be fully immersed was amazing! We got to walk through a national forest and see a beautiful waterfall that I wouldn't have even thought to do. We also went to the Studio Ghibli Museum and got to experience city life but also get out of the crowds and go to towns farther out. I got pushed so far out of my comfort zone that I wouldn't have allowed myself to do if I decided to go to Japan by myself on my own terms. I would go back on this trip in a heartbeat. It was so much fun and I got to meet such amazing people. Truly is something that you should do if given the chance."
"This past summer I traveled to Thailand on TFT’s Thailand Elephant Service and the Islands program. This trip was by far my favorite trip that I’ve been on with TFT. The combination of working with elephants, the breadth of activities, as well as the great counselors and campers made it by far one of the most memorable two weeks of my life. One of the highlights of the trip was the service we did with elephants. We volunteered with elephants at sanctuaries learning about proper elephant care, we got to bathe them, prepare food and feed them, cleaned their enclosures, and went on a walk with them. This trip as a whole pushed me out of my comfort zone, it helped me become much more comfortable with trying new things. Each day was filled with new activities which enabled us to experience and learn about the Thai culture. The activities included exploring traditional Thai markets, cooking classes, exploring Thai temples, and much more. Our counselors were amazing, they were always understanding, were easy to come to with any issues, and were just really fun to travel and hang out with. Not only were the counselors great but I met some of the best people on this trip. I’m certain that I will be friends with a few of them for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful to have been able to go on this trip and I wouldn’t trade this trip for the world."
""I've been traveling with TFT since I was 13, and it has been one of the best learning and growth experiences in my life. Through TFT, I've met great friends from all around the world, experienced amazing places, and was pushed out of my comfort zone and grew so much. It even helped me pick my career. In the summer of my 11th year of high school, I went on the Japan Discovery & Service trip. I had recently picked up an interest in digital photography and it just so happened that the trip director for my trip was a professional travel photographer. After traveling with him for only 2 weeks and seeing my photographic growth, I started taking courses in photography at my school and have ended up going to college for Fine Art Photography. Without the experiences TFT allowed me to have, I never would have found one of my biggest passions. The people I've met on the trips are good friends of mine to this day, and the experiences I had with them on the trips I've been on were unforgettable. Karaoke in South Korea with a crew of wacky friends, doing a two hour hike up one of the steepest mountains I've ever seen to take one picture, and other once in a life time experiences like that have made the TFT experience so special to me.""