To truly understand China, you’ve got to get out and meet it on its own terms, which is exactly what this 12-day trip through the country’s northern reaches delivers. Up here, you’ll get to the big stuff (the Great Wall, Xi’an’s Terracotta Army, Beijing) and lesser-known treasures that only the hardiest of travellers ever get to see: village life in Inner Mongolia, the amazing Yungang Buddhist Caves and the nearly 3,000-year-old city of Pingyao, to name just a few. North China: No tourists allowed!
Highlights: Envision ancient times at the Great Wall of China, live like a local in an Inner Mongolian ger, marvel at the Hanging Monastery of Datong, stare down the Terracotta Warriors, learn traditional Chinese painting in Pingyao
Baltics to St Petersburg (EXVS)
Decades after the fall of communism, the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia remain a mystery to most travellers. We’re not complaining, though; more mystery means fewer crowds and an easier time getting to know these fantastic countries. Beginning in charming cobblestoned Vilnius and ending in St Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital, this 2-week trip gets to the very heart of the region. Get an up-close glimpse of Riga’s castles and art district, experience rural life in Estonia, and venture into the fortresses and medieval architecture of Tallinn before crossing into Russia by land. Make the Baltics your special travel secret.
Highlights: Explore the charming and enigmatic Baltic countries, ride a bike around the coastal dunes of Lithuania's Curonian Spit, picnic in beautiful Riga, live like a local on a farm in Estonia, wander through back alleys in St Petersburg