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adventure travel trip to China
Cross the legendary Feng Yu Qiao (Wind and Rain) covered wooden bridge
Dates
  • Oct 13-23, 2014
  • Oct 12-22, 2015
  • Privately on Request
  • Duration 11 days
    Group Size 2-10
    Land Cost $3,950
    Single Supplement $600
    Lodging 1 star-3 stars
    Grade I-II
    Best Time

    Finding Forgotten China

    Yangshaou, Longshen, Zhaoxing, Rongjiang and other remote hamlets

    Day 1      Arrive Guilin

    Arrive at Gulin’s Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) in southern China.  This major airport is served directly by many airlines from throughout Asia.  Depending on your arrival time there may be opportunities to visit sites around the city. Situated on the Li River, the city was founded more than 2300 years ago and the surrounding area now has a population of almost 5 million.

    Meals: Dinner
    Lodging: Centrally-located hotel

    Welcome to picturesque Guilin
    Day 2      Guilin / Yangshuo

    Leaving the big city behind, transfer one hour to a dock on the Li River, and board a boat for a leisurely cruise up the river to Yangshuo. This area is famous for the scenic karst rock formations along the Li River. The iconic landscape adorns the Chinese 20 yuan currency note. You will note fishermen, possibly some using trained cormorants to catch slippery prey. Boatmen ply the river on bamboo rafts, and farmers tend their crops and water buffaloes in fields along the river.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging: Comfortable hotel

    Boat on Li River
    Day 3      Yangshuo

    Relative to other cities in China, Yangshuo is a small town, perfect for exploration by bicycle. With a local guide, spend a few hours pedaling through the spectacular scenery of the surrounding countryside, including Moon Hill, a limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped outcrop. Meet the inhabitants of local villages. (If you don't bike, no worries. there will be alternative modes of transport.)

    Enjoy a home-cooked lunch in the residence of a local family. In the evening watch the incredible Liusanjiie Light Show, designed and directed by Zhang Yimao who directed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging: Comfortable hotel

    Karst formations of Yangshuo
    Day 4      Yangshuo / Longsheng

    Today travel twisty, scenic mountain roads to the spectacular Longji rice terrace country of Longshen. Longji means “dragon-backed mountain,” imagery suggested by the scaly look of the rice terraces when they are flooded.  The steeply and intricately terraced fields remind some people of similar agriculture in the Nepal Himalaya. You will have a chance to walk among the terraces which offer innumerable opportunities for creative photography, especially if local people are tending the fields. Through your guide you may have a chance to discuss local village life with the people that you meet.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging: Comfortable hotel

    Beautiful terraced rice fields are common in China
    Day 5      Longsheng / Sanjiang

    Travel north by private van to the lush green forested mountains in the boundary area of  Guizhou, Guangxi and Hunan Provinces. This is the homeland of the minority Dong people. Spend time in their villages observing local customs and food preparation. Cross the legendary Feng Yu Qiao  (Wind and Rain) covered wooden bridge, the largest in China and perhaps the longest covered bridge in the world. First built in 1591  and also known as the “Luck Bridge” and “Flower Bridge,” it is constructed entirely of wood without any nails. The bridge has been likened to a dragon and it contains both intricate architectural features as well as artistic carvings.  It has been refurbished over the centuries, but retains ties to ancient designs. Visit the nearby palace and pagodas inspired with centuries of tradition and lore. Stop at the  local eco-museum, if time allows.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Local Dong-architecture-style hotel

    Routine local village life
    Day 6      Sanjiang / Zhaoxing

    After an early breakfast, travel four hours through breath-takingly beautiful mountain landscapes of Guizhou Province to isolated Zhaoxing, considered one of the most beautiful of China’s ancient villages. Bridges, drum towers, pagodas, public buildings and local homes are all constructed of wood in traditional architectural style of  the Dong people.  The town is set in a gorgeous valley amidst terraced mountain hill sides. En route to Zhaoxing visit several villages which invite walking in terraced fields. If you feel up for more hiking, finish the trip to Zhaoxing with a two-hour walk from Tang’an via the Dong village of Xia.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Local guesthouse

    Drum Tower
    Day 7      Dong villages of Zhaoxing area

    There are numerous Dong villages around Zhaoxing to explore with your guide in the morning, including Jilun and Jitan. Jitan is a hike uphill to a village with a beautiful drum tower and many old houses in a very peaceful and serene setting.  In the afternoon you may explore more of the area casually on your own schedule and direction.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Local guesthouse

    Local village man
    Day 8      Mountain hamlets en route to Rongjiang

    Today start early in order to reach several remote Dong and Miao minority villages.  These high mountain hamlets are nearly self-sufficient as communities.  While many young people have left in search of better economic opportunities, the people who remain still dress in traditional indigo-dyed clothing and engage in traditional craft and irrigated terrace farming practices. You may have a chance to observe the indigo dyeing process.
    The exit of young people coupled with the policies of the Chinese government to move more people into cities almost certainly means these villages will decline and disappear in the near future.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Best-available guesthouse or hotel

    Miao women
    Day 9      Rongjian / Baibei / Shiqio / Kaili

     Even as it seems you must be as deep into mountainous rural China as possible, today venture still deeper into minority Miao country. Here in the very high mountains you will meet people who have never been to a Chinese city.  They find all they need at the local market which occurs every sixth day. You might be lucky to hit one during the time you are in this general area. Villagers in these areas recognize the interest foreign visitors have in their culture and with the assistance of your guide it may be possible to organize music or dance demonstrations of folkloric arts.  Each village has its own traditions, history and style of cultural expressions making it well worthwhile to include as many villages as possible on your itinerary to maximize the opportunities for spontaneous encounters.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Centrally-located hotel

    Absorb the rhythms of ancient village life
    Day 10      Miao settlements en route to Guiyang

    This last day of exploring minority communities takes you to diverse Miao settlements representing Miao tribes known as “Little Flowers”, “Short Skirts,” “Long Skirts,” and Black Dresses” each with their own traditions. You will also visit Matang village, home of the Geija, a little-known, small-population, ethnic group notable for their batik and lace making as well as ornate flared head dresses.  In the late afternoon drive to Guiyang, where you will overnight before your onward flight.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Centrally-located hotel

    Enjoy the delicious local cuisine
    Day 11      Guiyang Onward

    Transfer to the airport for your homeward or connecting flight. Ask about possible extensions in Yunnan, Beijing, Hong Kong or other regions of China.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Goodbye China


     
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