South China, See
Start the shenanigans in Shanghai, finish ‘em in Hong Kong. Admire the Fujian countryside and drop past a Tulou Village. Have your gob smacked by Yangshuo’s incredible landscape, then stuff it with delicious yum-yums during a Chinese cooking class. Hang out with hilltribes in the Longji Rice Terraces.
Chicken without a sex life, spiced salt blows up pig hand, hot temptation of frog, palace spicy chicken explosion... they sound like strange animal diseases but in fact, they're all items we've spotted on Chinglish menus.
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2015:Some of the destinations visited on this tour are very popular with Chinese domestic tourists including the Xiamen & Tulou Village and as such can be extremely crowded on weekends. Based on feedback from our travellers and in order to avoid the crowds and have a much more enjoyable experience of these fantastic places, we have changed the start day of our South China, See trips from Tuesday to Sunday.
Day 1 - ShanghaiNimen Hao! Welcome to China.Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.Please note that as we leave Shanghai in the morning of day 2 you will need to arrive a few days earlier if you would like to experience some of Shanghai's sights and activities.
Day 2 - Tulou VillageTravel on a high speed train from Shanghai to the picturesque Fujian countryside to a Tulou Village. This area is home to the Hakka people, who traditionally live in round, walled villages or communal houses ("tulou") with many families and generations of the same clan living together. Shanghai to Yongding (approx 10hrs travelling time, followed by a 1 hour transfer to Tulou village)Accommodation is very basic in local style. It can get quite cold at night in some months so please ensure you bring warm clothes. Washing facilities may be limited, with communal toilets outside of the rooms. We have the option to try some simple local dishes for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow which may be quite different from what you are used to, but certainly authentic. The area has been developed for domestic tourism recently and sees lots of day trippers, but few people stay overnight so we will have a true local experience while here.
Day 3-4 - XiamenBefore we leave the Tulou Village , we will hike with a local guide to viewing points where we can see the structures of the walled villages from above, hear a bit about their history and the unique Hakka culture!In the afternoon of Day 3 we travel to the coastal city of Xiamen which lies just across the strait from Taiwan for a total journey of over 1000km. Formerly known as Amoy, Xiamen is the capital of Fujian province and has a rich colonial history evident in the city's buildings and gardens. It's also home to some of China's best universities and has a vibrant student culture.You will have Day 4 as a free day, we suggest you jump on a ferry and head over to Gulang Yu, an island crammed full of historic mansions and villas easily navigable on bike or foot. Visit the Xiamen University campus with is landscaped grounds and surrounding trendy bars and cafes for a chat with some local students.Or traipse up the steps to Nanputuo Temple, one of the most important and active Buddhist sites in the region. Pop into the Overseas Chinese Museum - many ethnic Chinese in Singapore and further afield were originally from Fujian province.Included ActivitiesTulou Village - Guided hike & village tour
Day 5-7 - YangshuoAn early start today as we travel to Xiamen Airport and catch a flight to Guilin (approx 90 min) and from there transfer to Yangshuo (approx 90 mins).Yangshuo has become very popular with international and domestic tourists in recent years and has a great cafe and bar culture. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions and have plenty of fun at the same time.The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings - picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape and towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River.There are plenty of interesting activities to keep us entertained during our time here! Why not:Take a bike ride to gain an insight into rural Chinese life. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location.The spectacular outdoor light show staged by Olympic Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou,director of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceronmony, is a definite highlight and highly recommended.Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Li River.Take an early morning tai chi class by the riverside.Get a feel for local produce with a visit to the market, then learn to cook some Chinese dishes at the Yangshuo Cooking School. The recipes are easy to make and the ingredients readily available outside of China so you'll be able to recreate them once you get back home.Optional ActivitiesBike hire - CNY20Li River cruise - CNY100Cooking School & Market Tour - CNY150Zhang Yimou's Impressions Show - CNY198Yangshuo - Tai Chi class - CNY50
Day 8-10 - Longji Rice TerracesTravel by public bus to the Longji region via Guilin and Longsheng (approx 4.5 hrs). Pack an overnight bag for our two night stay here as we leave our main luggage at the train station to pick up again on our return.The Longji region has some of the most extensive rice terraces you'll ever see. These terraces change with the seasons: filled with water from the mountains before planting, becoming green during the growing season and then golden when the rice is ready for harvest.Take a day hike through the Longji Valley to visit local hilltribe communities and learn about village life. Expect to carry your own day pack and walk for up to five hours as our next accommodation may be in a different village. The hike can be tough going for some, with many uphill stretches and some very slippery paths. However, more experienced hikers will have no problems and there are many more optional walks available, uncovering great photo opportunities around every corner.In Longji, we stay in local guesthouses.Bus back to Guilin (approx 3 hrs), where you may have some free time to explore.Take an overnight hard sleeper train to Shenzhen - gateway to Hong Kong (approx 13 hrs).Included ActivitiesLongji - Guided Rice Terraces trek
Day 11-12 - Hong KongThe China-Hong Kong border is busy, so there can often be a bit of a wait to get through and a lot of patience required. On average, it takes around 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. Your bags will be with you during this time.First you need to walk the short distance from the train station to the border, go through procedures to exit China, then to enter Hong Kong. Once all that's done, travel on the KCR train to central Hong Kong.It was as a British colony that Hong Kong made itself known to the world - now back under Chinese rule since the 1997 handover, the city is still a unique and fascinating place to explore and see where the East really does meet the West. Hong Kong's cityscape is spectacular and its modern fast-paced life is only minutes from picturesque islands and beaches. The locals are very proud of their Cantonese culture and history, so step out of the shopping malls and off the main streets to discover another side of the city.As our tour finishes on day 12 and we only have limited time in Hong Kong, we highly recommend staying a few extra days to enjoy all this incredible city has to offer:Take a scenic journey around the islands of Hong Kong on the famous passenger ferry service, the Star Ferry.Venture up to the top of Victoria Peak for a bird's eye view.Watch the harbour's spectacular light show - a stunning spectacle of coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights synchronised to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong.Ride the Peak Tram - the only way to truly experience the beauty of Hong Kong's natural wonders. Tens of millions of people from every corner of the globe have taken the ride, which affords a uniquely spectacular perspective of the city.There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.Optional ActivitiesStar Ferry - HKD15Hong Kong - Victoria Peak & Tram - HKD40Peak Tram - HKD30Nightly Light Show - Free
What to Know
- • Gecko’s expert English-speaking Chinese tour guide throughout the tour and local guides at some sites.• Visit the coastal city of Xiamen.• Stay in a traditional Tulou Hakka roundhouse.• Explore the mystical countryside around Yangshuo.• Hike through the rice terraces of Longji.• Fly from Xiamen to Guilin.• Overnight train from Guilin to Shenzhen and high speed train from Shanghai to Xiamen.
- International flights, departure taxes, visas, insurance, meals unless indicated, drinks, optional additional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
South China, See
Shirlee - Australia, 5 May, 2012
Absolutely loved this trip! Jacky and Bruce were both great, very informative and went above and beyond their duties! The Silk Caravan was the perfect trip, probably a bit off the beaten path compared to the other China trips offered as we saw very few foreigners once we left Xi'An. I think this was a great route to take and I absolutely loved Dunhuang and Kasghar. Will definitely be heading back to China with Gecko in the near future!