China-exp

Beijing to Hong Kong 21 days.

  • Route: Beijing to Hong Kong
  • Length: 21 days
  • Transport: Bicycle, Boat, Bus, Metro, Private Bus, Public bus, Train
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse (3 nts), Hotel (10 nts), Overnight boat (3 nts), Overnight sleeper train (4 nts)
  • Meals: 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

This in-depth tour has proven to be one of the most popular we offer in China. Travel in the Middle Kingdom is a unique and eye-opening experience - take in the major attractions of this giant country and visit some of its lesser-known sites. From the majestic splendour of Beijing in the north to the electric vibe of Hong Kong in the south, with plenty of adventure in between, we explore the true essence of China.

trip-grade

 

Standard

For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience.

Active

Explore the world on two feet - or two wheels! Our active trips range from classic treks & trips where walking forms an integral part of the itinerary to cycling tours offering a totally new perspective on a destination. All our active trips are fully supported.

countries-visited

China

Tiananmen Square Beijing China

As one of the world's largest countries and the most populous there is so much to discover in China.

Understanding the history of China is key to understanding modern China. The people are proud of it's past, and keen to share it's heritage with the world. In a country that defies superlatives the words 'vast', 'astonishing' and 'variation' don't really seem to cover it - China really does have it all. Jungle in the south, mountains in the west, desert in the north and 21st century cities.. well... almost everywhere.

Beijiing is the hub of political and international focus. With the 2008 Olympic games providing funds to modernise huge ares of the city, it is a truly modern city. However most visitors are most struck by it's old elements from celebrated site such as the Forbidden Palace to simple, traditional hutongs.

There's a lot of China to see and most of it is changing rapidly, so what are you waiting for? Get out there are discover it for yourself.

daily-itin

Days 1-4 Beijing/Great Wall

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

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.

Visit our friends at Beijing Huiling (meaning 'wise spirit') - a special supported project for people with intellectual disabilities.

Take a private bus to a lesser-known section of the Great Wall (approx 3 hrs). 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.Walk over some steep, remote terrain (approx 8 km or 5 hrs walking depending on fitness). Some parts of the wall are unrestored so you'll need to concentrate hard to keep your footing and in other parts the trail takes us off the wall to walk alongside it through the countryside. A great idea is to bring a picnic lunch with your from Beijing to enjoy atop the wall during one of our rest breaks. 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.

Due to the excessive heat in the summer months (Jun-Aug), the Great Wall excursion may be altered to provide a shorter, less strenuous trek. Your leader will advise you of any changes at the group meeting.

Catch an overnight hard sleeper train to Xi'an (approx 12 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 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.

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.

Some of the many things to do in Beijing in your free time include:

Catch a performance of the world renown Beijing Acrobats.

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.

A metro ride can take you to the Summer Palace, once an imperial residence and the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China.

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.

Included Activities

  • Informal Chinese language lesson
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Beijing - Huiling Foundation visit
  • Great Wall - Jinshanling to Gubeikou trek

Optional Activities

  • Temple of Heaven, Beijing - CNY40.00
  • Summer Palace, Beijing - CNY40.00
  • Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure, Beijing - CNY480.00
  • Beijing - Acrobat show, Beijing - CNY250.00
  • Kung Fu show, Beijing - CNY180.00
  • Beijing Art & Architecture Urban Adventure, Beijing - CNY590.00
  • Lama Temple, Beijing - CNY30.00

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Days 5-7 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.

Please note that as check-in time is 12 noon and as our train arrives very early we may not be able to check-in until later in the day.

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 therel 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.

Board an overnight hard sleeper train for the capital of Sichuan Province, Chengdu (approx 17 hrs).

There are loads of other great things to see and do in Xi'an, including:

Xi'an is still surrounded by city walls along which you can climb and walk or cycle around for a unique way to experience the city.

For a different view of the city, climb to the top of the Bell or Drum Towers. The Bell Tower is in the centre of downtown Xi'an where the city's four main roads - Bei, Nan, Dong and Xi Dajie (North, South, East and West Avenues) - converge. Originally built in 1582 and restored in 1739, the tower was used to announce the time of day and serve as a watchtower. The previous Bell Tower, dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), stood two blocks to the west.The Drum Tower marks the entrance to the Muslim Quarter. It no longer contains the giant drum once used to signal the closing of the city gates, though it does retain some good views, including one of the Great Mosque.

Located about 2 km south of the city wall, the famous Small Wild Goose Pagoda can be found in a scenic area along with the Xian Museum and the ancient Jianfu Temple - built in 684 during the Tang Dynasty.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is another picturesque Buddhist pagoda built in 652 AD during the Tang Dynasty within easy reach of the city centre.

One of the oldest mosques in China, the Great Mosque in Xi'an features an unusual blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture. Still in use today, the mosque serves as a place of worship for Xi'an's large muslim population, made up predominantly of the Hui minority. Although non-Muslims are not allowed within the main hall itself, a visit during one of the five daily prayer times adds another dimension of spirituality, no matter what your religion.

Included Activities

  • Xi'an - Walking tour
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors

Optional Activities

  • Cycling on City Wall, Xi'an - CNY80.00
  • Bell & Drum Towers, Xi'an - CNY50.00
  • Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an - CNY50.00
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an - CNY80.00
  • Great Mosque, Xi'an - CNY25.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Days 8-9 Chengdu/Leshan

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 Research Base where you're able 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 we may even be lucky enough to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery.

Some other interesting things to experience while here could include:

Spend some time in People's Park watching locals practice tai chi.

Take in a performance of traditional Sichuan Opera, which is characterized by its unique solo singing, refined acting, rich percussion and irresistibly funny comedians.

Visit the Wenshu Temple - famous for its teahouse and restaurant where you can sample a vegetarian meal made from recipes the monks have followed for thousands of years.

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.

Explore the city by bike. Many local vendors in Chengdu rent out bikes that are in good condition - rental fees go by the hour or the day and a is deposit required.

We travel by private bus to the town of Leshan (approx 2.5 hrs).

See the world's largest outdoor seated Buddha. 'Da Fo' - the Buddha - is carved into a cliff face and is 71 m tall!

Continue on to the Baoguo Monastery - the base for our time on Emei Shan, one of the most famous Buddhist sites in China.

Included Activities

  • Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
  • Chengdu - Walking tour
  • Leshan - Da Fo
  • Emei Shan - Baoguo Monastery

Optional Activities

  • People's Park, Chengdu - Free
  • Cooking class, Chengdu - CNY120.00
  • Bike hire, Chengdu - CNY20.00
  • Wenshu Monastery, Chengdu - CNY5.00
  • Sichuan Opera, Chengdu - CNY200.00

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt), Guesthouse (1 nt)

Days 10-11 Emei Shan

Emei Shan is one of the holiest places in China. At just over 3000 m high, this mountain has been a centre of pilgrimage for over 1800 years.

Pack an overnight bag for our trip up Emei Shan as we'll leave our main luggage at our guesthouse at Baoguo Monastery.

The views from the 3,099 m peak at Emei Shan are truly spectacular on a clear day. Travel by local bus and cable car to best experience the immense landscape (total travel time approx 3 hrs). The more energetic can join the procession of pilgrims winding their way down the mountain steps and paths on foot (approx 6 hrs), weather permitting, although this can be very tough going so you'll need to have excellent fitness and be prepared to take this trek without your leader accompanying you. As an alternative, we can take the public bus back down the mountain and then a 2 hour walk to our accommodation at one of the mountain's monastery guesthouses. Whichever route you choose, expect plenty of steps and steep paths so make sure you dress appropriately, wear sturdy footwear and be ready for a physical but rewarding day on the mountain.

Our accommodation on Emei Shan is basic but atmospheric with simple rooms and shared bathroom facilities but the setting keeps our travellers raving! Nights are incredibly peaceful and waking up to the sound of monks chanting is truly unforgettable. Please note that during religious festivals or peak travel periods, we may stay at a guesthouse in Emei town as an alternative to the monasteries here.

If you are travelling in the months of October-April, while we still visit Emei Shan and the surrounding areas there may be some changes to the activities and accommodation available depending on the weather conditions. We advise you to bring very warm clothes (waterproof shoes, windproof coat, hat, scarf, gloves) as there can be snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Explore the beautiful countryside at the base of the mountain, which provides ample opportunity for leisurely paced walks. It may be possible to visit some local hot springs to relax and revive from our hike or take a tour of some nearby villages.

Visit the Crouching Tiger Monastery. Hidden deep in the forest, its seven-metre copper pagoda is inscribed with Buddhist images and texts.

Included Activities

  • Emei Mountain - Scenic Area
  • Emei Shan - Cable car

Optional Activities

  • Countryside guided tour, Emei Shan - CNY100.00
  • Hot springs, Emei Shan - CNY128.00
  • Crouching Tiger Monastery, Emei Shan - CNY150.00

Accommodation

Guesthouse (2 nts)

Days 12-16 Yangzi River

Catch a local bus to the industrial city of Chongqing (approx 6 hrs), the gateway to the Yangzi River.

Chongqing is the biggest city in China with a population of over 20 million in the city centre and suburbs sprawling along the river and up the steep hills behind. It's a unique place for China as you'll rarely see anyone on a bicycle here - the streets are simply too steep.Apart from the unique look of the city you'll no doubt notice the sharp smells of the spicy Sichuan cuisine drifting enticingly from local restaurants and sidewalk cafes. Dare your tastebuds to try the chilli-laced hot pot, the city's favourite dish. Not all food here is spicy, but if you like it hot, you'll be in spicy heaven!

Spend two full days on board a basic tourist class boat, cruising through the Three Gorges en route to Yichang. 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 Chongqing 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 Imaginative Traveller 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 Imaginative Traveller 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.

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.

You can checkout a local produce market, visit a park, have a traditional reflexology foot massage or a great value manicure or pedicure, get your hair washed the local way at a neighbourhood barber (with a head massage included) or play table tennis at an outdoor court.

Test your lungs at karaoke.

See the latest Mandarin language blockbuster at the cinema.

Take a basic overnight train to Liuzhou (approx 15 hrs). As Yichang is not a major railway hub there's only one train heading south passing through here. To make the long journey as comfortable as we can, we travel soft sleeper (4 people per compartment with a lockable door) on this leg of our trip. It's important to get a good night's sleep as we'll have to disembark the train very early tomorrow morning. As Yichang is not a terminal station the bedding on this train is not always fresh. You may wish to bring your own sleeping bag.

Included Activities

  • Yangzi River - Three Gorges Dam guided tour

Optional Activities

  • Manicure/Pedicure, Yichang - CNY50.00
  • Fengdu Temple, Yangzi River - CNY40.00
  • Fengdu Temple cable car, Yangzi River - CNY20.00
  • Cinema, Yichang - CNY30.00
  • Karaoke, Yichang - CNY30.00

Accommodation

Overnight boat (3 nts), Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Days 17-19 Yangshuo

Arrive in Liuzhou very early in the morning (approx 4.30am) and travel by private transfer direct to our next destination, Yangshuo (approx 3.5 hrs).

Yangshuo has become very popular with international and domestic tourists in recent years and has a great cafe and bar culture. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions and have plenty of fun at the same time.The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings - picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape and towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River.

We experience the landscape on a bike ride to gain an insight into rural Chinese life, stopping for lunch at the house of our local friends for a tasty meal made from locally grown and farmed produce. This is an absolutely stunning region to explore, as every turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location.

In your free time here you could:

Try your hand at Chinese calligraphy.

Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Li River.

Get a feel for local produce with a visit to the market, then learn to cook some Chinese dishes at the Yangshuo Cooking School. The recipes are easy to make and the ingredients readily available outside of China so you'll be able to recreate them once you get back home.

The spectacular outdoor light show staged by Olympic Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou,director of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceronmony, is a definite highlight and highly recommended.

Travel to Guilin by public bus (approx 2 hrs).

Take an overnight hard sleeper train to Shenzhen - gateway to Hong Kong (approx 13 hrs).

Included Activities

  • Yangshuo - Countryside cycling guided tour

Optional Activities

  • Li River cruise, Yangshuo - CNY100.00
  • Calligraphy lesson, Yangshuo - CNY50.00
  • Cooking School & Market Tour, Yangshuo - CNY150.00
  • Zhang Yimou's Impressions Show, Yangshuo - CNY198.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Days 20-21 Hong Kong

The China-Hong Kong border is busy, so there can often be a bit of a wait to get through and a lot of patience required. On average, it takes around 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. You'll need to carry your bags with you during this time.First you need to walk the short distance from the train station to the border, go through procedures to exit China, then to enter Hong Kong. Once all that's done, travel on the KCR train to central Hong Kong.

It was as a British colony that Hong Kong made itself known to the world - now back under Chinese rule since the 1997 handover, the city is still a unique and fascinating place to explore and see where the East really does meet the West. Hong Kong's cityscape is spectacular and its modern fast-paced life is only minutes from picturesque islands and beaches. The locals are very proud of their Cantonese culture and history, so step out of the shopping malls and off the main streets to discover another side of the city.

Hong Kong offers a multitude of great experiences including:

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.

Enjoy a final farewell dinner at a restaurant of your leader's choice to sample some of the best Cantonese dishes.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.

Optional Activities

  • Hong Kong - Victoria Peak & Tram, Hong Kong - HKD30.00
  • Peak Tram, Hong Kong - HKD30.00
  • Star Ferry, Hong Kong - HKD15.00
  • Nightly Light Show, Hong Kong - Free

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

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.

  • Single Supplement
  • Soft Sleeper Train Upgrade

other-important-information

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.

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.

fitness

 

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

 

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-extras

 

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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Imaginative Traveller. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.

money

 

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.

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.

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 Imaginative Traveller 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 leader. We suggest US$2-3 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$1-2 per day for drivers.Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 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$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.At your group meeting on day 1 your tour guide 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.

other-important-information

 

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-trav

 

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.

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 room (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 refer to your booking agent for further information. Please note that the Single Supplement will not include the following:
- Overnight rain journeys on days 4, 7, 16 & 19
- Yangzi River boat on days 12-14

Accommodation

 

Hotel (10 nts), Overnight sleeper train (4 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts), Overnight boat (3 nts)

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION

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.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS

Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Imaginative Traveller trips than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME

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.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION

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.

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

 

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, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Budget for meals not included:

USD 300.00

On the Yangzi River cruise, the variety of menu options may be limited and out of our control.

transport

 

Train, Bus, Taxi, Boat, Bicycle, Overnight sleeper train, Private Bus, Public bus, Metro

group-leader

 

All Imaginative Traveller 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. Imaginative Traveller 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 Imaginative Traveller 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

 


KaiChuang Golden Street Business Hotel 北京凯创金街商务酒店

32 Baishu Lane

Dongcheng District

Beijing

CHINA

Join-point-desc

 

Centrally located in downtown Beijing's Wangfujing District, the Kaichuang Golden Street Business Hotel is close to many historical and cultural landmarks, including the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The hotel is also within easy reach of the CBD and Financial Street and a few minutes walk to the nearest subway stations. The hotel offers comfortable rooms including ensuite, 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.
http://baike.baidu.com/view/2599144.htm#3

Join-point-instruct

 

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 arrive at Terminal 3.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 Imaginative Traveller.If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer, our local operator, Ms Qi (Ms Chee), will have sent a driver to the airport who will be holding a sign with the Intrepid logo and your name on it. If you arrive at Terminal 2, please meet your driver at the entrance/exit #7 after you go through the baggage claim area. Please note that Beijing Airport is very crowded so please be patient. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk at door #7 and ask them to call Ms Qi on her mobile. If you arrive at Terminal 3, please meet your driver in front of the white jade screen wall with the dragon pattern, after you walk through Exit B. Exit B is the only international arrival gate in Terminal 3. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk on the right side of Exit B and ask them to call Ms Qi on her mobile (+86) 13671299816.If making your own way to the hotel:By bus, take airport bus route 2 (CNY16) to Dongzhimen or route 3 to Beijing Railway Station, then it's a short taxi ride to our joining point hotel (CNY 15, approx 10 minutes.By subway, Take the Airport Express to Dong Zhi Men Station. Change to Line 2 at this station, then to Line 5 at Lama Temple. From Lama Temple station, take the train to the direction of Songjiazhuang, and get off at Dengshikou Station. Turn left from Exit A, and take the first left at Baishu Hutong, which is a narrow lane. Walk down this lane for about 200m, you'll see the Kaichuang Golden Street Business Hotel on your left (Hotel name is on the top of the building in Yellow )Metered taxis are available outside the airport terminal building. The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotels takes about 45 minutes and should cost around CNY80-100 (plus CNY10 for the airport expressway toll). Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown below. **PLEASE AVOID TAXI TOURS THAT TELL YOU THEY HAVE A METERED TAXI PARKED OUTSIDE THE AIRPORT**Check-in time is 2pm.Please note local language address for Kaichuang Golden Street Business Hotel below which is useful to show to a taxi driver or to ask for directions:北京凯创金街商务酒店

北京市东城区柏树胡同32号

Arriv-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.If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.

finishing-point

 


West Hotel 伟晴轩

39 Wai Ching Street, Jordan Road, Yaumatei

Kowloon

Hong Kong

CHINA

Phone: +852 27707718

Finishing-P-Desc

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

Finish-point-instruc

 

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.The easiest way to get to Hong Kong International Airport is to take the Airport Express train (operates from 6:15am until 1:00am). Take a short taxi ride from our hotel to Kowloon MTR/Airport Express station and then hop on the Airport Express train (HKD90, discounts are available for groups, 25 minutes) to the airport.Alternatively, you could take the MTR to Hong Kong station and board the Airport Express from there (HKD100). At both Kowloon and Hong Kong Airport Express stations you can check into your flight and check your luggage in (Please note: not all airlines and flights are available for station check-in).From the West hotel you can also take the Airport City Flyer bus - No.A22 from Jordan Rd/Shanghai St (HKD39) to Hong Kong International airport.A taxi from our hotel to Hong Kong International airport will cost you approx. HKD350A prebooked departure transfer from our hotel to the airport may be available depending on date of travel and if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged during the trip. Please advise your flight details at least 14 days prior to your trips start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Imaginative Traveller.Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.

 

emergency

Emergency Contact

We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked. Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

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.

visa-information

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.

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 requirementsDOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS

Imaginative Traveller 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 passportPlease 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.

HONG KONG:
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: No - Not required
Switzerland: No - Not required
United Kingdom: No - Not required
USA: No - Not requiredPlease note that Hong Kong isn't considered part of China for visa purposes.

Issues

 

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.

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 Imaginative Traveller 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.

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.

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.

fitness

 

Health

All Imaginative Traveller 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, Imaginative Traveller 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.

BIRD FLU:

There have recently been a number of isolated cases of Bird Flu in Asia. While the risk to travellers is very low, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of local authorities and the World Health Organisation. WHO recommends basic hygiene practices to limit the risk of infection:• Avoid visiting live animal markets and poultry farms

  • Avoid contact with surfaces contaminated with animal faeces
  • Do not eat or handle undercooked or raw poultry, egg or duck dishes
  • Do not attempt to bring any poultry products back 
  • Do not pick up or touch dead or dying birds
  • Exercise good personal hygiene with frequent hand washing.

For further information please visit: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/avian_influenza/en/index.html

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 Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller 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.

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.

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!

Pay attention on all roads, even small streets and alleyways. Vehicles find their ways into impossibly small passages leaving no room for both you and the traffic. Traffic can be very noisy and horns are used to signal turning, overtaking and to announce going through intersections.

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.

LIFE JACKETS: 

Imaginative Traveller will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.

BIKE HELMETS:

Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.

Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.

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. 

responsible-travel

 

At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.

Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.

Our Aims

  • It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
  • We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
  • Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.

Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.

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.

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 Imaginative Traveller travellers. Imaginative Traveller'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.

Carbon

 

Carbon Offset C02-e 1666.00 kgs per pax.

give-us-your-feedback

Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Imaginative Traveller. Just go to http://on.fb.me/16wYISa for our easy to fill out form. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

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