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China

Walk backwards in time along the Great Wall and stare down an army of terracotta warriors before leaping into the future of Shanghai's incredible high-rise towers on this fast-paced tour of China’s highlights. With the perfect blend of guided activities and free time to explore on your own, this adventure is perfect for those who want to get a taste of China in a short amount of time.


Itinerary

July 28 : Beijing

Arrive at any time.

July 29 to July 30: Beijing

Included visit to the Great Wall, and tour of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Evening flight to Xi'an.

July 31 : Xi'an

Visit one of China’s greatest archaeological treasures—the Terracotta Warriors. Option to cycle the ancient city walls. Lunch is included on this day of the trip.

August 1 : Suzhou

Visit Suzhou, called the Venice of the East. Take in a Chinese cultural performance at the Master of the Nets, one of China's most exquisite gardens.

August 2 to August 3: Shanghai

Shanghai Bund walking tour. Chinese Acrobat show.

August 4 : Shanghai

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 28 : Beijing

As fellow group members will be arriving throughout the day there are no planed activities until the group meeting in the early evening, followed by dinner. On arrival please check the notice board in the hotel entrance for details of the time and place of the meeting.

July 29 to July 30: Beijing

The Chinese capital, Beijing, is one of the world's most impressive and vibrant cities. Spend a day at the Great Wall (Mutianyu Section), a monumental feat of engineering intended to protect China from the northern barbarians. Visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City as a group.

You have the option to visit, during your free time, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, Yonghegong Tibetan Monastery and some of Beijing’s many markets.

We take an evening flight to Xi'an on Day 3.

July 31 : Xi'an

Our tour leader will take you on an orientation walk through one of Xi’an’s most fascinating areas – the Muslim Quarter. Tour the lovely and unusual Great Mosque (a wonderfully serene place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city), great souvenir stalls and enjoy some of the best street food in China. The remaining city walls are a great place to watch the sunset or join the locals for ballroom dancing or tai chi in the early morning.

This former imperial capital is also homebase for a day trip to the Terracotta Warriors, situated a short drive out of town (approximately 1 hour). The warriors were re-discovered in 1974, having been buried for over 2000 years. All face east in battle formation, complete with horses and chariots to guard the tomb of the emperor Shi Huang Di.

In the evening, we board an overnight sleeper train that will arrive in Suzhou early the following morning. (Approx. 12 hrs)

August 1 : Suzhou

While Shanghai is the modern center of the Yangtse delta, Suzhou was the capital of Wu culture 800 years ago and is one of China's leading historic cities. Developing around the Grand Canal that forged much of China's traditional north-south commerce Suzhou is built around a series of canals inspiring Chinese to consider it the "Venice of the East". Now a modern thriving city Suzhou maintains a traditional core surrounded by a moat and world famous as a UNESCO world heritage site for its traditional Chinese gardens.

In the evening, visit one of China's most exquisite gardens, Master of the Nets, and take in a traditional Chinese performance, complete with ancient costumes, folk singing and dancing, and traditional instruments. The Garden of Master of the Nets includes both a residential quarter and a delicately landscaped garden, both of which are illuminated at night by lanterns.

August 2 to August 3: Shanghai

In the afternoon of day 6 we arrive in Shanghai and you are free to explore the delights this most modern of Chinese cities has to offer. Day 7 is a free day and you could take a stroll along the Bund, the old Colonial waterfront, or shop on the famous Nanjing Road before having a final dinner with your tourmates. On evening of day 6 or day 7 we will go and watch a traditional Chinese acrobat performance.

August 4 : Shanghai

You are free to depart anytime on day 8.

GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our 17-day Russia/Mongolia/China program that that ends in Beijing just before this trip begins. This will allow you to see a large portion of Asia.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.

Overall it is advised to pack light, quick-drying clothes such as linen and synthetics. It is very hot and humid and your sweaty cotton clothes won't dry very quickly.

Suggested Checklist

▪ Windproof / waterproof jacket / umbrella / poncho
▪ Small towel / swimsuit
▪ Day pack for daily personal items
▪ Sun hat / sun block / sunglasses
▪ Wet wipes / Moist towelettes / Hand sanitizing lotion
▪ Alarm Clock
▪ 7 to 8 T-Shirts, synthetic if possible
▪ Shorts
▪ Hiking pants /track pants / long trousers
▪ Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
▪ Ear plugs for light sleepers
▪ Sleeping bag/ sheet
▪ Moisturizer, Lip balm
▪ Toiletries (biodegradable)
▪ Water bottle / Plastic mug / Cutleries
▪ Pocketknife
▪ Flashlight (with extra batteries and bulbs)
▪ Money belt
▪ Insect Repellent
▪ Tampons
▪ Protein bars, chocolate, dried fruits, candies and snack foods.
▪ First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, band aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re hydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Items:
Camera and film, reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks.

Documents:
▪ Passport (with photocopies)
▪ Travel insurance (with photocopies)
▪ Airline tickets (with photocopies)
▪ USD cash
▪ Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
▪ G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
▪ Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com As of November 2010 the exchange rate for CHINA was 1 USD = 6.6 CNY (Chinese Yuan). Cash is the best method of money in China. We recommend bringing Chinese Yuan. There are some ATM machines that accept Visa but these are limited to major cities and should not be relied on as a source of funds. We recommend the use of cash and traveller's cheques in major currencies (USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD). Major credit cards are accepted in a few shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Beijing

▪ Cable car at Great Wall 55CNY each way
▪ Toboggan at Great Wall 45CNY
▪ Summer Palace 60CNY
▪ Lama Temple 25CNY
▪ Beijing Duck 100-150CNY
▪ Acrobat show 120CNY
▪ Kungfu show 150CNY
▪ Hutong Cycle tour 100CNY

Xian

▪ Bell & Drum Tower 50CNY
▪ Xi'an Ming Dynasty Wall 40CNY
▪ Bicycle rental on Xi'an Wall 25CNY
▪ Great Mosque 25CNY

Shanghai

▪ Shanghai Financial Tower 150CNY
▪ Jade Buddha 35CNY
▪ Pearl Tower 70CNY

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$1329 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$75-$150 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $900-$1700 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$35- $200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travellers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $20-$25 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $20 USD to tip local guides and drivers.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow 120-160 USD for meals not included

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets in China

Airport Transfers

You can take a taxi or book an arrival transfer for:

* 2 to 100 passengers - $25.00 USD / passenger
* 1 passenger - $50.00 USD / passenger

Vaccines

(You will need to see your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations)

Visa

$130 USD for US passport holders (It’s only $30 USD for most non-US passport holders)

Souvenirs

$0-????

What's Included

Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour, Entrance to the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors tour, Chinese acrobat performance, visit to Canal Town, Suzhou and Shanghai orientation walk.

G Adventures Tour leader throughout
Train, Local bus, Aircon bus, Boat, Walking, Plane
Hotel (6 nts), Sleeper train (1 nt)

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventuress.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• This trip occurs in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We typically do not have a school visit on this trip due to it being so short in duration.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

Americans need a Tourist visa for travel in China. Please visit this website to get instructions on the process of getting a Tourist Visa (L Visa).

Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other.

In May G Adventures will contact you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.

What is group travel like?

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 across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages 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.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee for this trip of $299 USD.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions:
Night 4, Sleeper train

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We have run China programs in 2010 and 2012. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to China for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Beijing by, which would usually mean departing the USA on the prior day. You can arrive at anytime you choose.

Your trip ends in Shanghai. You should book your return flight from there and can depart anytime you wish on the last day of the trip.

Is there a school visit on this trip? Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

For this trip we don't recommend bringing school supplies. It's only 8 days long and packed with activities and things to see. Typically we find squeezing in a school visit difficult.
Our advice is to bring no supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally if your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

When should I purchase my flights?

You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically we have the minimum amount needed by the end of April. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.

The prices for flights go up and down throughout the year so you never know when you will be able to get the best price, but on aggregate, we believe the best time to purchase a flight is about 60 days before departure. Please read this article to understand why.

If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?

GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our 17-day Russia/Mongolia/China program that that ends in Beijing just before this trip begins. This will allow you to see a large portion of Asia.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $35 card (The individual plus option) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option.

Another option is www.insuremytrip.com. They offer different options from many different companies. You can also get your insurance directly through G Adventures if you wish.

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures Local Representative
9am-5pm CST (GMT +8)
+86 1350 9180 566 - Stephanie (China)

If you are experiencing complications with your Beijing AIRPORT TRANSFER that was booked through G Adventures please call: +86 1391 0388 356 – Ms Chen (Beijing)

After hours emergency numbers:

China Manager Emergency Mobile: +86 1511 691 4874 - Jessica (China)

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office, they have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600.
Calls from UK: 0844 410 1030
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America and the UK: +1 416 260 0999.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Our partner G does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips. The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in Beijing and Shanghai so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later. We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. The price for extra hotel nights for this trip can be found in the costs tab.

In May we will send you a form that allows you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.

Do you have any advice on tipping?

Traditionally in China, tipping is not expected in restaurants, except in the tourism industry where guides and drivers expect tips. Though not compulsory and optional (up to the discretion of the group/guest) - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Giving a tip should be a seen as a formal 'thank you', and the action should in no way be awkward. The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye.
You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1-$2 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group as a whole should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s). Also at the end of each trip if you feel your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Most hotels in China use either Type I plugs or non-grounded Type A plugs, which is the same plug design used in America. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

There are Internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/netbook/tablet computer if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of you valued items.

What is the weather like?

The area of China you will be traveling to is typically hot and humid during the summer months.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. Please note that they are only offered to teachers in a limited number of pre-selected school districts around the country.

Is there a school visit on this trip? Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

For this trip we don't recommend bringing school supplies. It's only 8 days long and packed with activities and things to see. Typically we find squeezing in a school visit difficult.
Our advice is to bring no supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally if your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 500 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What happens if GEEO doesn't reach the minimum number of participants needed for this trip?

Typically we reach the minimum number for our groups in the month of April. If we do not have the minimum number of participants needed we will re-price the trip for the amount of people signed up, adding on a surcharge. It will be up to each individual whether they still wish to travel with the group at the new rate. If they choose to withdraw from the program at that time they will be issued a full refund. If need be we will cancel a trip and issue the entire group a full refund. It is important that you do not book your flights before a group is confirmed! It is pretty rare for us to have to cancel trips.

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Fiction:

To Live: A Novel by Yu Hua
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Non-Fiction:
China: A History by John Keay
Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China by Peter Hessler

For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:

Fiction:
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
The Flowers of War by Geling Yan
Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Non-Fiction:
Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran
Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler
Yin-Yang American Perspectives on Living in China Edited by Alice Renouf and Mary Beth Ryan-Maher

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

"We went and got a foot massage on the last day. It was a great way to end the trip and prepare us for a long plane ride."

"Make sure you are ready for excessive heat, humidity and walking"

"Pack light, quick-drying clothes such as linen and synthetics. It is very hot and humid!"

1329.00 USD

Price is based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • 1 Lunch (Budget an extra $120-$160 for your meals that are not included)

  • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour, Entrance to the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors tour, Chinese acrobat performance, visit to Canal Town, Suzhou and Shanghai orientation walk.

  • G Adventures Tour leader throughout

  • Train, Local bus, Aircon bus, Boat, Walking, Plane

  • Hotel (6 nts), Sleeper train (1 nt)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions