China Encompassed Trip Notes

    • 22
    • CBSMC
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $3,960
      CAD $3,760
      AUD $3,640
      EUR €2,780
      GBP £2,320
      NZD $4,655
      ZAR R30,195
      CHF FR3,415
      *
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    • Explorer
    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2014
China Encompassed
Trip code: CBSMC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Bright lights and big cities, rural retreats and water towns, bike riding and boat cruising, the Great Wall and giant pandas - this trip has all bases covered. From the sights of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing to the simple beauty of Fenghuang and the Three Gorges, discover the history and culture of China. Meet the local people, dine on delicious cuisine and delve into a country just waiting to be explored.
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2014:
Due to our traveller's feed back this trip is changing for all departures from 1 January 2014. We have removed the overnight sleeper train from Xi'an to Beijing and replaced it with a high speed day train. We will also stay one night outside of Beijing in order to experience more of rural China and spend more time exploring the Great Wall.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency contact
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency funds
MapYour fellow travellersVisas
ItinerarySingle travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseAccommodationWhat to take
We also recommendMeals introductionHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Physical preparationJoining point A couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsResponsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsCarbon offset
Spending moneyFinish point Feedback
TippingFinish point description
Departure taxFinish point instructions
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map

Itinerary
Days 1-2 Hong Kong
Nimen Hao! Welcome to Hong Kong.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
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.
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 there's not much time to explore Hong Kong on this itinerary we strongly recommend that you spend a few extra days here to take full advantage of all there is to see and do.
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.
Board the efficient KCR/MTR train to the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. After crossing the border, we catch the Chinese bullet train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou, where where we board our first overnight train journey. Please note that it'll be a travelling day today which may require you to change trains carry your luggage so packing compact and light will definitely help you with your journey.
Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face-to-face with the country and its people as it's the main form of transport for locals. We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound – compartments are open-plan and clean, with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Safe, hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins). Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins. As toilet paper isn't always available, it's advised to carry some of your own; keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standard you are accustomed to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available before the journey to supplement food available on the train.
Included Activities
  • Informal Chinese language lesson
Optional Activities
  • Star Ferry - HKD15
  • Hong Kong - Victoria Peak & Tram - HKD40
  • Nightly Light Show - Free
  • The Story of Hong Kong Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Old vs New Hong Kong Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Around Kowloon in 8 Markets Urban Adventure - USD49
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Zhangjiajie
An amazing UNESCO listed National Park which truly reveals the master piece of art work from nature. It covers an area of 11,900 acres which is filled with unique sky rocketing pillars and twisting rivers and streams. Rumour has it that these quartz-sandstone pillars inspired the creation of Hallelujah Mountain in the film Avatar.
We arrive in Zhangjiajie around mid morning and transfer to our hotel. Please note we may not be able to check into the hotel if we arrive before midday. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk and the rest of the day is free to explore Zhangjiajie city. Stay overnight in the city tonight.
The following day we will experience one of our highlights of our trip - the spectacular Zhangjiajie National Park, with its soaring peaks, mist topped karst mountains and breathtaking views. Pack an overnight bag as we will stay at a guesthouse within the park tonight.
Trek with a local guide along the twists and turns of Gold Whip Brook as you hike to scenic heights (approx. 3.5hrs). After stopping for lunch we continue our trek in the Yuanjiajie section of the park (approx. 2.5 hours) and return to our guest house for the night with plenty of majestic memories.
Included Activities
  • Zhangjiajie - National Park day trek
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Fenghuang
Travel by public bus to Fenghuang (approx 5 hours)
With green waters, ancient walls, stilted houses, and lantern-lit streets, Fenghuang (Phoenix Town) is a beautifully preserved ancient town guaranteed to enchant.
Learn about the customs and culture of Fenghuang's Tujia and Miao minorities. Stroll the atmospheric streets and wander down winding back alleys where stilted wooden houses project over the water on a walking tour of this riverside town, stopping at local diners, silver shops and historical residences. Cross the Tuo Jiang River, the focal point for local people, over ancient bridges and stepping stones.
In your free time here you may like to take a day trip to one of the beautiful Miao minority villages nearby, visit the remnants of the Southern Great Wall or check out Qingliang Cave where local bandits hid from the authorities during the Qing dynasty.
Cruise down the river, which is especially atmospheric at night.
Included Activities
  • Fenghuang - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Huangsi Bridge - CNY30
  • Southern Great Wall - CNY45
  • Boat trip - CNY30
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 7-10 Yangzi River
After a very early start, transfer to Jishou and board a day train (the only one available) to the Yangzi River city of Yichang (approx 8.5 hrs). Take some food to share with your fellow travellers or choose to eat at the dining car.
Although we are travelling during the day, we'll travel in hard sleeper class. It's a long journey, but a great chance to catch up on sleep. Watch the landscape change as we head to one of the most industrialized regions of China, practice your Mandarin with your travelling companions or learn some local card games. Very few foreigners travel this route, so don't be surprised if our group is the centre of attention and locals are excited to try out their English with you.
We arrive in Yichang, a relatively small city by Chinese standards that offers a great chance to see typical everyday Chinese life and to really get inside the urban culture.
This is the site of the massive and controversial Three Gorges hydroelectric project and you'll have the chance to visit this incredible feat of engineering - by far the largest hydroelectric power station in the world.
Spend four nights on board a basic tourist class boat, cruising through the Three Gorges en route to Chongqing. Our cabins are simple and clean twin-share with private bathroom facilities. Full board buffet style, including local style breakfast is provided while on the boat with typical but often quite plain Chinese cuisine. There's a chance to visit the supermarket in Yichang before boarding in order to stock up on some favourite snacks, drinks or fruit for our journey or buy what you need if you have specific dietary requirements.
Please note that depending on the composition of the group you may be required to share a cabin with your leader or a traveller from outside of your Intrepid group on a same gender basis as tour groups are not permitted to book single rooms on the Yangzi boats.
Take the chance to learn some Chinese words or how to write characters from your leader, how to play mahjong, sing some Chinese songs, catch up on your travel diary or just relax and chat with your group members and local travellers.
The gorges are spectacular and most travellers enjoy their time on the Yangzi boats but some words of warning are necessary. The Yangzi River region is one of the most industrialised and rapidly developing areas in China. We travel on Chinese tourist boats rather than luxury tourist vessels. We like to call it a river trip, rather than a traditional cruise. The Chinese authorities oversee the travel of all boats on the Yangzi, and we've found that quality and stability of service (including that of the food served on board) isn't high on their list of priorities. We do everything we can to ensure standards are maintained for our river trip but some things are outside our control. We use a range of different boats, depending on availability and the date of our departure. All boats are of a standard which complies with our required safety standards, although the size and age of boat varies from trip to trip. As the departure times of the boats are subject to frequent change this can mean that we need to make some changes to our itinerary and at times we've been unable to see all three gorges due to the boat schedule or poor visibility. Any changes made will be done with the aim of giving you the best possible Yangzi experience but we'd like to forewarn you of the possibility. Your leader will update you of any changes at your group meeting.
As well as relaxing and taking in the sights, now much changed since the implementation of the Three Gorges Dam, we may have opportunities to visit some riverside attractions and towns on optional group excursions, including leaving our river boat to take a side trip down a tributary of the Yangzi River. Please note that these tours are operated by the local tourism authorities and Intrepid has very little control over the quality of the service provided. Your leader should be able to give you some feedback on which tours their previous passengers have enjoyed.
Included Activities
  • Yangzi River - Three Gorges Dam guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Fengdu Temple - CNY40
  • Fengdu Temple cable car - CNY20
Accommodation
Overnight boat (4 nts)
Days 11-12 Chengdu
Our Yangzi cruise ends with our arrival in the port city of Chongqing.
Catch a local train to Chengdu (approx 2.5 hrs).
It might be one of China's biggest cities but Chengdu has preserved plenty of its traditional flavour and visitors can still find famous tea houses, numerous markets and some of the most interesting food in China. If you like it hot then this is the place to be as Sichuan food is known the world over for its spicy flavours. Must tries are huoguo (hot pot) and mapo doufu (spicy tofu).
Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Chengdu Research Base to witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endearing endangered species. There are about 50 giant and red pandas at the base, some of which can be viewed by the public, and you may even be lucky enough to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery.
Some activities to get involved in during your free time are:
Visit the Wenshu Temple - famous for its nearby teahouses and restaurants where you can sample a vegetarian meal made from recipes the monks have followed for thousands of years.
Spend some time in People's Park or Tianfu Square. Say hello to the giant Chairman Mao statue and watch locals singing, dancing, playing sports, doing tai chi. Stop in a tea house for a drink, massage or for the brave - a traditional ear cleaning.
Take a cooking class. Not just a demonstration of recipes - the why, how, and timing of each step is explained, along with a detailed description of each ingredient.
Take in a performance of traditional Sichuan Opera, which is characterized by its unique solo singing, refined acting, rich percussion and irresistibly funny comedians.
Included Activities
  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
Optional Activities
  • Wenshu Monastery - CNY5
  • People's Park - Free
  • Cooking class - CNY120
  • Bike hire - CNY20
  • Sichuan Opera - CNY200
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 13-14 Shanghai
Board a flight to Shanghai (Approx 2.5 hours)
Blending 21st-century architecture with old-world character, Shanghai is the vibrant pulse of new China.
Join your leader for a walking tour of historical Shanghai including the Bund with its spectacular array of art deco style buildings, the narrow winding lanes of the Nongtang or the European-influenced French Concession.
The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today's Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan's Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists. The area's tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions still retain an air of the 'Paris of the East'.
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2014:
Due to our traveller's feedback, this trip is changing for all departures from 1st January 2014. It is now a 14 day itinerary with 1 day less in Shanghai.
Other great things to do here include:
Go across the river to take in the sights of Pudong - the modern financial centre - with its amazing skyscrapers such as the iconic Pearl Tower and the world's highest observation deck on the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
Visit the Propaganda Museum for a fascinating look at China's revolutionary past.
The impressive Shanghai Museum houses one of the best collections of Chinese bronze and artwork - you could easily spend the whole day here discovering the various exhibitions.
Catch a performance by the famous Shanghai Acrobats.
Wander the Yuyuan Gardens. These famous classical gardens were completed in 1577 by Pan Yunduan, a government official of the Ming Dynasty.
Ride the Shanghai Maglev Train to a top speed of 430 km/h and travel 30km in under 8 minutes.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Shanghai - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Propaganda Museum - CNY20
  • Acrobat show - CNY180
  • Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
  • Maglev high speed train (round trip) - CNY100
  • Shanghai - Shanghai Museum - Free
  • Shanghai for Food Lovers Urban Adventure - CNY300
  • Old Shanghai Urban Adventure - CNY350
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 15 Itinerary
Included Activities
  • Shanghai - Walking tour
  • Shanghai - Acrobat show
Optional Activities
  • Yuyuan Gardens - CNY40
  • Oriental Pearl Tower viewing deck - CNY150
  • Propaganda Museum - CNY20
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 16 Xitang
Enjoy a trip to Xitang, one of Shanghai's nearby water towns by private transport (approx 2 hrs).
Xitang is a welcome escape from the bustle of Shanghai, especially in the evening when the day trippers have left. Wander or boat along the canals criss-crossing the town, chill out by the waterside and sip tea at a teahouse or visit one of the local history museums.
Take a gondola ride along the canals.
Board an overnight hard sleeper train bound for Xi'an (approx 15 hrs).
Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face to face with the country and its people as it's the main form of transport for locals. We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins) Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals are available three times a day, and there are often snacks available on the train along the way. You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train.
An optional upgrade from a hard sleeper to a soft sleeper berth (4 travellers per compartment with a lockable door) may be available for some overnight train journeys on this trip. Please contact us for booking and more details.
Included Activities
  • Xitang - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Gondola ride - CNY120
Accommodation
Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
Days 17-18 Xi'an
The imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites. A monument pays homage to the fact that this was the start of the famous ancient trading route of the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by city walls.
Your leader will take you on a short walking tour of the city centre, showing you some of the highlights such as the Bell & Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter, the City Walls and Gates.
Visit Xi'an's most famous site - the Terracotta Warriors. Travel by bus for around 2 hours to reach the site. Once there hear all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being buried for thousands of years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on view to the public.
Visit our friends at Xi'an Huiling (meaning 'wise spirit') - a special Intrepid-supported project for young people with intellectual and learning disabilities, where we enjoy a performance of singing and dancing by the students (don't be surprised if you're asked to join in) and have a chance to see their artwork and handicrafts.
At the night markets we can try many of the tantalising local specialities such as pao mo (lamb broth that you break flat bread into), hand pulled noodles, hot pot and barbeque
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Walking tour
  • Xi'an - Local-style lunch
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
  • Xi'an - Huiling visit
Optional Activities
  • Small Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
  • Cycling on City Wall - CNY80
  • Great Mosque - CNY25
  • Bell & Drum Towers - CNY50
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY80
  • Active Xi'an Urban Adventure - CNY300
  • Real Xi'an Gourmet Urban Adventure - CNY320
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 19 Great Wall
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2014:
Due to our traveller's feedback this trip is changing for all departures from 1 January 2014. We have removed the overnight sleeper train from Xi'an to Beijing and replaced it with a high speed day train. We will also stay one night outside of Beijing in order to experience more of rural China and spend more time exploring the Great Wall.
Today is a big day of travelling so grab some snacks for the journey.
Transfer to the railway station and then board the high speed train (approx 6 hours) to Xi'an. Watch the landscape change from industrialised cities and urban sprawl to farmland and villages on the way.
On arrival in Beijing meet our private vehicle to take us out into the countryside to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall where we will spend the night in a family run village guesthouse.
The facilities are basic (expect simple shared showers and squat toilets outside of the rooms) but we can be assured of great local hospitality and a welcome night sleeping out in the fresh countryside air!
Dinner is included here and a great chance to sample local produce and delicious home style cooking.
The next morning we transfer to the Great Wall for our trek, which depending on fitness, takes around 3 hours.
An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements, and an iconic destination.
Some parts of the wall are unrestored so you'll need to concentrate hard to keep your footing and in other parts the trail might take us off the wall to walk alongside it through the countryside. You'll need reasonable fitness and walking shoes with good support and grip for this activity. There are many steps and slopes on the way so be prepared for a tough climb in sections. The views and experience though are a real highlight for all our travellers.
Included Activities
  • Great Wall - Gubeikou section
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 20-22 Beijing
Transfer to Beijing (approx 3 hours) - our last stop on our journey.
The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's ancient past as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture.
Explore Tiananmen Square - apparently the largest down town square in the world. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its Mao portrait, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum it's a place of pilgrimage for Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation.
Enter the imposing Forbidden City, former home to China's imperial rulers and filled with palaces, gardens and seemingly never-ending grand courtyards.
There's so much to see and do in Beijing we highly recommend staying an extra few days. Some activities for your free time might be:
A trip to the 798 Art District on a Beijing Art and Architecture tour will give you a taste of where art is heading in today's China as you wander the multitude of galleries housed in this old factory complex.
Pick up a bike for the day. You'll need comfortable clothes for cycling. Helmets may not be available for hire - if you wish to have a helmet you'll need to supply your own.
The Temple of Heaven Park is one of the most popular in Beijing and at any time of the day is full of people of all ages taking part in traditional pastimes such as tai chi, fan dancing, diablo, kite flying, water calligraphy and more.
The fantastic "The Legend of Kung Fu" is said to be a must-see production in Beijing for Kung Fu lovers.
Visit beautiful Yonghegong, or Lama Temple, which was built in 1694 and is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan style monastery building in Beijing.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
Optional Activities
  • Temple of Heaven - CNY40
  • Kung Fu show - CNY180
  • Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY510
  • Lama Temple - CNY30
  • Beijing Art & Architecture Urban Adventure - CNY590
  • Real Beijing Gourmet Urban Adventure - CNY360
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • CBSMC - Soft Sleeper Train Upgrade (CBSMC)
  • CBSMC China Encompassed - Single Supplement (CBSMC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Beijing to Hong Kong (CBRKC)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Physical preparation
You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including moving about busy public transport hubs, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes. Good general fitness and mobility plays a big part in making your trip more enjoyable In some locations it may be possible to hire porters. Please ask your trip leader for help to arrange this if possible but be prepared to manage your own luggage.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).
The exchange rate is pegged to the USD at 7.8:1. ATMs, currency exchange and facilities to change travellers' cheques are widely available in Hong Kong.
The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao).
We strongly advise against bringing travellers cheques as in China they can be extremely difficult or impossible to change.
ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart. Some banks will allow a cash advance against a major credit card which will incur a service charge of 5% or more.
Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. In any case, some money should be taken as cash in case of emergencies - we recommend around US$400 per person. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt.
Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change left over CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
CHINESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS:
Please note that China's national holidays are the peak travel season for Chinese nationals. During this time, literally the whole country is on the move - that's over a billion people. Although these are fascinating and exciting times to travel in China, please be aware your group will almost definitely experience transport delays and massive crowds at tourist attractions and train stations. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train or flight tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic chaotic and changes to the itinerary are often necessary as a result. If clockwork organisation is important to you we advise you book outside of the weeks of the extended Chinese New Year in January/February, in the first week of May and the first week of October. If you decide to travel during this period please come with an open mind and be prepared for changes on the ground.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information
The price of the Single Supplement does not include the following nights where single rooms may not be available
Accommodation
Hotel (9 nts), Guesthouse (5 nts), Overnight boat (4 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
BEDS AND ROOMS:
Some travellers have reported that hotels/accommodation in this region tend to have harder bed mattresses than those they are used to at home. Passengers that require a soft bed should consider bringing an inflatable camping mattress or sleeping mat.
Smoking is prevalent in China and hotels generally do not offer specific non smoking rooms. Larger hotels with central air conditioning will sometimes transport the smell of smoke between rooms. While we ask our hotels to ensure our rooms are ventilated well before occupation in some cases this is not possible.
WIFI, in room, or in public areas of accommodation is not as common as travellers may be used to in other regions.
YANGZI RIVER BOAT:
This trip spends time on the Yangzi. The boats and cabin arrangements on the Yangzi are controlled by the Chinese Authorities which means on occasion you may be required to share a cabin with passengers from outside your Intrepid group or with your group leader. All cabins are twin share. For those who have booked a single supplement, it's not available on the Yangzi river boat and you'll be required to share for this section of the trip.
HARD SLEEPER TRAINS CHINA:
We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded berths (6 to a compartment), sheets, a blanket and hot water available. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals or snacks are available. While we always try to have our groups staying together there may be times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages. While railway services are rapidly being modernised in China, some train journeys in particular between less visited destinations may use older rolling stock and the carriages of a more basic standard.
SOFT SLEEPER UPGRADE:
An optional upgrade from a hard sleeper to a soft sleeper berth (4 travellers per compartment with a lockable door) may be available for some overnight train journeys on this trip for those who are after a little more comfort. Travellers who are interested in purchasing this upgrade should be aware of the following:
- Soft sleeper carriages are often at the other end of the train from hard sleeper class where those travellers who have not booked the upgrade, along with the group leader, will be staying. If you've purchased the upgrade it's likely that you'll be away from the other members of the group and without the services of your group leader while on the train.
- At many railway stations in China, soft sleeper passengers board the train separately from those in other carriage classes. If you have purchased the upgrade it's likely that you'll need to board the train on your own. Your group leader will give you instructions but may not be able to assist you in boarding and alighting the train.
- Soft sleeper compartments have 4 berths. If you've purchased the upgrade you'll be sharing a compartment with locals or other travellers. Compartments are not segregated by gender so please be aware you could be sharing with members of the opposite sex.
- While we aim to book tickets for all travellers who have purchased the upgrade in the same carriages and compartments, please note that we aren't able to guarantee this due to high demand for tickets on some routes and at peak times.
- We are unable to offer the upgrade during the busy times for train travel in China including New Years, May National holidays, Summer holidays and October national holidays.
- This service is only available for travellers who have purchased the upgrade prior to joining the trip. On rare occasions it may be possible to upgrade to a different carriage class once on the train itself for an additional cost paid to the train conductor but this can't be guaranteed and and shouldn't be relied on as an option. If you would like to ensure you travel soft sleeper class on all train journeys you will need to purchase the upgrade at time of booking your trip.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Meals
3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
USD 400.00
On the Yangzi River cruise, the variety of menu options may be limited and out of our control.
Transport
Overnight sleeper train, Bus, Boat, Private Bus, Plane, Metro, Public bus
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group 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. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader 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. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
West Hotel 偉晴軒
No.39 Wai Ching Street,Kowloon 地址 : 香港九龍佐敦偉晴街39至47
Kowloon
Hong Kong
CHINA
Phone: +852 27707718
Fax: 85227707718
Joining point description
Located off Jordan Road (near Nathan Road) in one of Hong Kong's main shopping precincts, Kowloon. The surrounding area is fantastic and taking a stroll around the area is highly recommended. The Temple Street night market is situated just a few blocks away. The hotel features 24hr reception, 110 rooms, all with AC, en-suite, TV, internet access (extra charge applies), phone, refrigerator, kettle and hair dryer. Short term bag storage is available free of charge.
www.westhotel.com.hk
Joining point instructions
Hong Kong International Airport (or Chek Lap Kok Airport) is situated on Lantau Island, 36km from the centre of Kowloon Peninsula. Even though it is one of the world's busiest airports, it is very easy to navigate and there are several different and convenient ways to get in to the city. All signs and directions are written in English.
http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/index.html
An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid/Pregrine/Geckos.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer with us, Our local representative will be holding a sign with your name at the arrival hall A or B (depending on the location of baggage carousel) just outside the restricted area. If for any reason you cannot locate the person, please go to our supplier Vigor Airport Shuttle Desk at Counter B04 at arrival hall. Their airport service counter telephone no. is +852 2186 6883, service hours 05:30 – 23:59 daily
In any case, please take a printed copy of your hotel name and address in Chinese as shown in the joining point hotel section with you.
If you make your own way to the hotel:
By taxi:
Follow the airport signs to the taxi stand. A taxi from Hong Kong International airport into town is easily available and should take you about 40min to get to your hotel at around 300 HKD.
By airport express:
Take the Airport Express Train (operating from 05:50 to 01:15) to Kowloon Station (HKD90). Then take a short taxi ride to our hotel (approx. HKD60, not inc. luggage fee) by showing the taxi driver the hotel address in Chinese.
By airport bus:
Get off at the Jordan Road / Battery Street stop when taking City flyer bus A22 from the Airport to West Hotel. Then turn right and walk for about 8 minutes. Turn right when you reach Wai Ching Street. Another 30 second walk will reach West Hotel.
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
King Parkview Hotel (Huayu Hotel) 北京华育宾馆
55 Shatan Hou Street 地址:北京东城区沙滩后街 55号 (近五四 大街,在景山公园东门对面的胡同里)
Dong Cheng District
Beijing
100009
CHINA
Phone: +86 (010)58757888
Finish point description
King Parkview Hotel is centrally located in Beijing, close to many historical and cultural landmarks, including Jinshan Park, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and the National Art Museum, and the hutong areaThe hotel offers comfortable rooms including en-suite bathroom, TV & AC. Hotel rooms may include a vanity pack which are not complimentary. You will be charged at checkout if you open or use the vanity pack.
For more information, please go to http://pephotel.com/en
Finish point instructions
Beijing Capital International airport is located north-east of Beijing, 25 km from the city centre. One of the biggest airports in the world, it is relatively easy to navigate and many signs are written in English. Most international flights take off from Terminal 3.
For more information about Beijing Capital Airport, please go to http://en.bcia.com.cn/
A departure transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your departure flight details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid/Peregrine/Geckos.
If you plan to make your own way to the airport:
Your tour leader can advise you when is the best time to leave for your flight depending on local traffic condition. It is suggested to leave from your hotel at least 3 hours before your flight time. Taxi is the easiest way to go to the airport. It should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour to Beijing Capital Airport at about CNY120 under normal condition.
Alternatively, you can take metro or taxi to Dongzhimen airport express station, which should cost around CNY30 (taxi). Then take the airport express from Dongzhimen (CNY25, service time: 06:00 – 22:30) to Beijing Capital Airport.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Beijing Office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
CHINA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
MAINLAND CHINA & HONG KONG:
Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong If you have time here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days. Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements.
Please make sure if you have a transit anywhere in China before arriving at your destination that you check with your Airline to see if the transit will use your Chinese Visa. You need to make sure your China visa will cover you for any transits made.
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Itinerary:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Kashgar, Turpan or Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.
Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100006
+86 10 6406 8022
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that your trip visits
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not
* Itinerary – please print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website www.intrepidtravel.com and include it with your application, marking the dates you will visit each destination if required
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking, at least 30 days prior to travel:
*Clear, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport
Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip as well.
BORDER CROSSINGS:
Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before and date of exit a few days after your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. The following are the international/administrative border crossings for this trip:
Day 2 - Exit Hong Kong at Lo Wu and enter China at Shenzhen
To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very useful - http://www.timeanddate.com
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
IMAGES FROM HOME:
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
In China, clean and safe drinking water is widely available for free in hotels, restaurants and bus and train stations.
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
BIKE HELMETS:
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
SCAMS IN CHINA
While China is generally very safe to travel around, there are a couple of scams to avoid, especially in major tourist cities. If any young people (usually in couples) around tourist sites claim to be Art Students and want to take you to their "special exhibition", they may end up aggressively selling overpriced prints in their 'showroom'. Also, if you find you are approached by young people who say they want to practice their English, be wary if they suggest going to a Chinese tea ceremony or go for a drink, where a few small cups of tea/coffee/beer may end up costing you several hundred US$. Always ask the prices before agreeing to any service. And if you are to refuse, just say no gently and firmly, avoid eye contact and walk away.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
LOCAL DRESS:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees for men and women.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in China include:
* Beijing Huiling offers innovative services to youths and adults with learning disabilities and teaches people to respect what those with disabilities can do, rather than what they can't. Their activities and training facilitate independence and improve daily living and employability skills in a family-like group home environment.
* Xi'an Huiling provides adults with learning disabilities opportunities to develop their personal abilities and life skills, enabling them to achieve independence as a fully integrated member of the community.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 2090.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.