China & Tibet Cultural Journey
- Trip Style
- Service Level
- Physical Grading
- Important Notes
- About Accommodation
- My Own Room
- Group Size Notes
- Local Flights
- Meals Included
- Group Leader Description
- Joining Hotel
- Joining Instructions
- Arrival Complications
- Finishing Point Hotel
- What to Take
- Emergency Contact
- Money Exchange
- Emergency Fund
- Optional Activities
- Trip Specific Safety
- Local Dress
China & Tibet Cultural Journey - ACCTD
15 days: China
Arrival transfer - Welcome gift - Visit to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall with lunch - Introductory language lesson - Tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven - Guided walk of Xian city wall and tour of Big Goose Pagoda - Demonstration of Chinese calligraphy with a local expert - Walking tour of Muslim Quarter and street markets - Tour of the Terracotta Warriors - Tang Dynasty Dinner show - Tour of Jokhang Temple and Barkhor walk - Tour of Potala Palace and Sera Monastery - Sichuan Opera show - Tour of Panda Breeding Center - Yangtze River excursions including Fengdu Temple, and the Lesser Three Gorges or Shennon Stream (depending on the season) - Orientation walk along the Shanghai Bund - Shanghai Acrobats show
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and G Adventures. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Validity: Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2013 - December 31st, 2013
Discovery Adventures: Say hello to your world.
Engage the extraordinary cultures, wildlife and landscapes through exhilarating, educational and immersive activities while achieving a greater appreciation for our planet. These trips are as much about doing as seeing — all with a comfortable feel.
- All the adventure you want, with a softer landing
- Handpicked, character-rich accommodations with upgraded amenities services
- Upgraded and private transport, including flights to maximize time
- More included meals, activities and transfers
2: There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Day 1 Beijing (D)
Day 2 Beijing (B,L)
Day 3 Beijing (B,L)
Day 4 Xian (L)
In the Tang dynasty, when Xi’an was flourishing, Chinese calligraphy and painting were perfected, we will have a class in these ancient techniques with a local expert.
In the evening, we explore the Muslim Quarter, with its Great Mosque, multi-cultural feel, shopping lanes, and street-side food stalls selling nan, kebobs, and a fine array of sweets.
Day 5 Xian (B,D)
Day 6 Lhasa (B)
*Please note that Lhasa is at an altitude of over 12,140 ft (3,700 m). You may experience headaches, nausea, lethargy on arrival in Lhasa. It is important to be aware of the affects of altitude on one's tolerance. We recommend that you consult your doctor at home for any altitude sickness medication.
Day 7-8 Lhasa (2B,L)
We visit the awe-inspiring inner rooms of the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lamas would meditate, handle affairs of state, and eventually where their burial stupas remain. From the golden statues, three dimensional mandalas, ancient cloth bound scriptures, to the devoted pilgrims who circle the palace day and night, this is truly a remarkable place to behold.
We also visit the Sera Monastery, where we witness the monks very actively debating, a philosophical practice they have held for hundreds of years.
Day 8 is at our leisure for optional activities. There is time to take optional hikes around the monasteries outside of Lhasa, to visit more monasteries within the city, to shop for beautiful Tibetan artwork, jewelery, and handicrafts, or to sit at a rooftop café and sip tea while taking in the unbelievable setting.
Day 9 Chengdu (B,D)
Day 10 Chongqing (B)
After this we set off to Chongqing, where our Yangtze River cruise boat is docked. We have a brief visit to the city of Chongqing and then board our vessel and settle in for the upcoming cruise.
Day 11-12 Yangtze River Boat (2B,2L,2D)
While on the boat there are several activities planned,or we may just want to laze the days away, writing in our journal or taking photos. Shore excursions are included over the next few days, to various temples and walled cities which we pass along the way. Local guides give us a bit of flavor for the areas we float past.
Daily shore excursions can include: Fengdu or Shibaozhai or Wanzhou, sail through Qutang Gorge/Wu Gorge, Daning River Small Gorges or Shennong Stream, Sail through Three Gorges dam shiplocks and optional excursion to White Emperor City (all depending on the season and river conditions).
Onboard activities feature lectures on Chinese history and culture, Tai Chi lessons, and calligraphy demonstrations as well as shows and entertainment by the talented staff.
Meal times will vary depending on the schedule of excursions and activities and times will be posted daily. Meals are served in a single-seating Dynasty Dining Room. Sumptuous western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. An elegant Captain’s Farewell Banquet is served on the final night of the cruise. There is also a tea time in the afternoon and happy hour.
Day 13 -14 Shanghai (2B, 1D)
Day 15 Depart Shanghai (B)
Discovery Adventures is operated in conjunction with G Adventures, the world leader in sustainable adventure travel. An award winning company with over 800 employees and 17 operational offices worldwide, G Adventures has 20 years experience in creating culturally interactive travel experiences. G Adventures advocates a triple bottom line business philosophy where equal attention is given to the environmental, social and economic impact of tourism to achieve long-term environmentally responsible growth whilst protecting destinations & cultural heritage for future generations.
Comfort hotels (10 nts), soft-sleeper overnight train (1 nt), Yangtze riverboat (3 nts).
The accommodation level for most Discovery Adventure tours are comfortable, in mid-range hotels, motels, lodges, guest houses, etc. You'll often enjoy air-conditioned rooms, complete with en suite bathrooms and some amenities. Accommodation and amenities can vary by Country and region and please remember that standards can be different from what you are used to in your home country, which is part of the appeal of adventure travel. Some trips may include camping, permanent tented camps or more rustic lodges, depending on the remoteness of where you are visiting. Please see your trip details for more information, specific to your tour. Porterage is not included, but can be arranged directly at most hotels.
Yangtze River Cruise
For our River cruise we use Victoria Cruise lines. Onboard facilities include a single-seating dining room, atrium lobby, two lounges, three bars, a gym, lecture room, library, beauty salon, massage room, and gift shop. All cabins are outside and have private balconies and bathrooms with bathtub and shower. All ships are fully air conditioned and have the latest satellite communications, HBO, CNN, and internet access.
Any bar purchases, items of a personal nature such as gifts, laundry, internet, telephone, medical services, spa and beauty services are not included and are payable by the passenger. There is no cash flow aboard, you will simply sign for purchases made and your final bill may be settled during your last night or last day on board, in any major currency, major credit card, or travelers checks.
Do not drink the tap water onboard. One bottle of spring water is provided per person per day in your cabin. You may also request boiled water. All water and ice in the Yangtze Club and Dining Room is safe to drink. The water is boiled, treated and filtered. voltage on board is 220 volts (110 volts in the bathroom).
Casual attire is recommended on board and ashore. For the captain's cocktail party and farewell banquet, we suggest bringing a dressier outfit.
NOTE: The cruise company is subject to change at any time and without notice.
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Night 3, Sleeper Train
Train, minibus, cruise boat, small canal boat, ferry, plane, walking.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, Avg 10
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
13 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
Travelling with Discovery Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful foods and flavors that are available in the world. Some meals are included in the trip price in more remote regions or as a highlight where we can share a local specialty or cultural experience. In many places where there is a choice of eating options, we like to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each others company, but there is no obligation to do this. Your CEO will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Group Leader Description
All Discovery Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our expert group tour leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Group leaders are experts in their region with a broad, general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local expert guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
Beijing Dong Fang Hotel 北京东方饭店
Add：#11 Wanmingli Road 北京宣武区万明路11号
Xuanwu District, Beijing
Fax : +86-10 - 63044801
We recommend printing out this address with chinese characters to simplify the arrival process; as English is not widely spoken or understood in China.
An arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour and our driver will be waiting for you with a Discovery Adventures Sign with your name on it.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
**Please note, the arrival transfer included occurs on Day 1 of the tour. If you plan to arrive prior to Day 1, you will be required to arrange pre-tour accommodation through G Adventures to be eligible for the transport from the airport. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, please see our Emergency contact details below.
As a last resort we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Taxi Instructions below. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
A. Taxi: Follow the signs to the taxi ranks once you have come out of the baggage hall. The ranks are clearly defined, and traffic guards will systematically put you into a taxi. Print out the name of your hotel in Chinese. A taxi ride will take between 34-45 minutes depending on traffic, and should cost between 95-120 Yuan (plus an extra 10 for the tollway).
DO NOT GO WITH ANYONE WHO APPROACHES YOU OFFERING A METERED TAXI WHICH IS PARKED IN THE LOT.
Finishing Point Hotel
Metropole hotel Shanghai 上海新城饭店
ADD :# 180Jiangxi center Road.Shanghai 上海市江西中路180号
What to Take
What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for Discovery Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones. If your trip involves overnights in homestays, villages or camping then you usually have the opportunity to rent sleeping bags if need be instead of bringing them with you.
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•Discovery Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
•Day pack for daily personal items
•Watch or Alarm clock
•Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
•Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
•Water bottle and Plastic mug for train journeys
•Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers
•Small towel and swim wear
•Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
•hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
•Shorts for summer months (June – September)
•Hiking pants/track pants
•Dressier outfit for special dinners and Captain's dinner on the cruise
•Warm clothes for Nov-April.
•Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
•Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers
•Camera and extra memory card/film
•Extra batteries (recommended)
•Electricity Plug Adapter
•First-aid kit (should contain Lip balm with sunscreen, Aspirin, Ibuprofin, malaria pills, band aids/plasters, tape, anti-histamine, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Optional Items: reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks, Maps, guidebooks
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel
If your call is specifically concerning Beijing Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at: +86 1391 0388 356 –Ms Xiaofeng Chen (Beijing)
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (China): Annie Liu
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +86 028 8556 9729; +86 138 8079 9290 (China)
G Adventures Asia Manager: Julie Fitzgerald
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574
After hours emergency number (SE Asia Manager)
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Please note that visas for China are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for your trip vary, depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your government's foreign ministry website or with you travel agent. Rules do change and it is important that you check for yourself.
For most travelers there is probably a Chinese embassy or consulate in the country where you live.
As Tibet is still a sensitive area for travel we suggest you refrain from listing Tibet as one of the places you are going to visit as your application for a visa will be denied. We suggest you list the areas of Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai when filling in your application.
For entry to Tibet, Discovery Adventures will arrange for a Tibet Permit for the group as a whole. These permits are issued from the Chinese government and it is at their discretion as to who is eligible for a permit. Discovery Adventures can not guarantee that you will be granted a permit to enter Tibet.
As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
As of May 2011 the exchange rate for China was 1 USD = 6.5 CNY (Chinese Yuan).
Cash (Chinese Yuan) is the best method of money in China. There are some ATM machines at international airports and major cities that accept Visa and debit cards but these should not be relied on as a source of funds. We recommend the use of cash and traveller's cheques in major currencies (USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD) as a backup. Major credit cards are accepted in a few shops (except for AMEX and Diner's) but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Traditionally in China tipping is not expected and thus there is no need to tip in restaurants and your general interaction with locals; however, tipping is customary - though not compulsory - in the tourism industry and not only shows an expression of satisfaction it may also be of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO may offer to collect the money and tip as a group.
Recommendations for tipping is 3 USD per person per day and depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group as a whole should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).
Tipping for service staff on the River cruise is included in the price of your trip. This however, does not include a gratuity to the river guide or cruise director, which may be given at passengers’ discretion based on their satisfaction with services received, as can gratuities for additional special services requested by passengers to individual service staff.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your Discovery Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $5 USD per person, per day can be used.
Optional activity prices are subject to change and can fluctuate in relation to the high/low season and the number of people on a specific excursion. Not all excursions listed here may be available, due to season, or weather conditions. As generally not a lot of time is spent in start/end cities, you may want to arrange to arrive early, or stay longer after the trip in order to allow sufficient time to participate in optional activities there.
All prices are per person in Chinese Yuen (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
Summer Palace CNY 50
Beijing Opera CNY 150
Bicycle Hutong Tour CNY 100
Acrobats Performance CNY 100
Lama Temple CNY 30
Underground City CNY 25
Drum or Bell Tower CNY 25 each or CNY 40 for both
Great Mosque CNY 20
Bicycle Rental on city wall CNY 15/ 90 Minutes
Museums CNY 10-50
Small Goose Pagoda CNY 25
Yuyuan Gardens CNY 40
Oriental Pearl Tower Viewing Deck CNY 100
Cruise on Huangpu River CNY 45-100
Maglev train round trip CNY 100
Massage CNY 15-60 per hour
Cooking Class CNY 100
Wenshu Monastery CNY 5
Drepung Monastery CNY 60
Ramoche CNY 40
Day trip to Ganden Monastery CNY 90
Norbulinka (Summer Palace) CNY 60
Please note that Lhasa is at an altitude of over 12,140 ft (3,700 m). You may experience headaches, nausea, lethargy on arrival in Lhasa. It is important to be aware of the affects of altitude on one's tolerance. We recommend that you consult your doctor at home for any altitude sickness medication.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical information pertaining to the country you are traveling to well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as a full supply of any personal medical requirements. In Asia, you will not find the same drugs as you get at home. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. Also note that for legal reasons our Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. For travellers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. Discovery Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if, in the reasonable opinion of the CEO, they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Shorts should be knee-length.
In Tibet, often times you should cover your arms and legs, especially when entering a monastery. Please keep this in mind.