From cosmopolitan cities to ancient capitals and surreal rural scenery, China’s stunning diversity offers adventurous visitors to the Middle Kingdom a chance to explore both its modern allure and ancient past. A rapidly changing country, now is the time to discover its cultural and historical diversity — and do it with a bit of style on this comfort class trip! Our experienced tour leader will lead the way and eliminate the hassle so you're free to explore China's urban and rural highlights and discover something special.
June 28 : Beijing (1D)
Arrive at any time before 6 PM. An arrival transfer and Peking Duck welcome dinner are included.
June 29 to July 1: Beijing (3B)
Explore the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and some of Beijing's traditional hutongs. On day 4, overnight train to Xi'an.
July 2 to July 3: Xi'an (2B)
Stare down the Terracotta Warriors. Explore Xi'an and the market areas surrounding the tranquil mosque.
July 4 to July 5: Guilin and Yangshuo (2B,1L)
Sunset cruise on the Li River, take a cooking class in a rural village and cycle through rice paddy fields and villages set amidst spectacular limestone karst mountains.
July 6 : Longsheng (1B,1D)
Discover the vibrant villages and the scenic Dragon's Backbone rice terraces.
July 7 to July 8: Shanghai (2B)
Orientation walk along the Bund area. Option to visit the Shanghai Museum.
July 9 : Shanghai (1B)
Depart at any time.
June 28 : Beijing (1D)
Arrive at any time. An arrival transfer is included. As group members will arrive at different times there are no arranged activities on Day 1 until our group meeting at 6 pm. Please see the notice board in the hotel foyer for details of this meeting. The meeting will be followed by an included group dinner featuring the local specialty Peking Duck.
June 29 to July 1: Beijing (3B)
On the morning of Day 2 a private bus will take you to a section of the Great Wall of China located about 2 hours from Beijing.
One of the greatest structures ever built by humans, the Great Wall was constructed in stages over 2000 years and stretches 6000 kilometres westwards from the sea to western China. The section we visit is called Mutianyu and is one of the best preserved Ming Dynasty sections reachable from Beijing. Arriving at the Wall we'll be able to walk up and explore a stretch by foot while taking in views as it winds along the mountain ridges.
On the Day 3 and 4 we'll discover Tiananmen Square and explore inside the walls of the Emperor's Palace - the Forbidden City. We'll also explore the unique Temple of Heaven with its exciting parks surroundings and find opportunity for a walking tour featuring some of Beijing's traditional streetscapes known as hutongs.
Late Day 4 we travel by overnight train to Xi'an (approx 12hrs) in soft sleeper compartments - 4 beds to a compartment with closing doors.
July 2 to July 3: Xi'an (2B)
On arrival in the ancient Chinese capital and traditional silk road terminus Xi'an, we have a full day to visit the city's many attractions including the Great Mosque, a wonderfully serene place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and fantastic evening food markets.
The center of Xi'an is enclosed by an enormous city wall - the top is a great place to ride a bike during a day or to view the setting sun in the evening. At night, head out to the Muslim Quarter for some of the best street food in China – the spicy beef and lamb kebabs are always a favorite.
On day 6 we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors, built over 2000 years ago to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, located approximately 1 hour from town. Over 6000 life-size warriors have been discovered. Spend half a day exploring this archaeological wonder.
July 4 to July 5: Guilin and Yangshuo (2B,1L)
On Day 7 we fly from Xi'an to China's lush southwest to experience the rural culture, lush and unique limestone karst scenery of the Yangshuo area.
Arriving from Guilin airport into Yangshuo town there will be opportunity to wander the shop and cafe lined streets or relax with a drink before enjoying an evening sunset cruise on the world famous Li River.
Day 8 we embark on a day of cycle-based rural discovery venturing from Yangshuo out to the Dragon River area to take in the montage of rural scenes, stunning topographical backdrop and try our hands at preparing local cuisine at a cooking school built in a local village.
Returning to Yangshuo with an evening free you may choose to relax, experience some of Yangshuo's vibrant nightlife or witness Impressions Liu San Jie, an evening performance by Oscar winning Zhang Yi Mou (of Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony fame) with a truly remarkable setting and cast of 500!
July 6 : Longsheng (1B,1D)
On Day 9 we'll drive from Yangshuo up to Longsheng county. Though only a few hours away, Longsheng is very distinct from Yangshuo for its rolling forested mountain slopes lined with centuries old rice terraces. Home of the Yao and Zhuang people, villages cling to the hillsides comprised largely of traditional wooden structures.
While the village of Pingan now boasts a few accommodation options, this is our most remote spot in the tour and spending the night offers an opportunity to experience a very rural and traditional area of China. While still comfortable this is our most basic accommodation and does require a walk up the hillside to reach (though porters can carry your bags). Sedan chair service is available at a small cost for anyone concerned about the physical walk up to the hotel.
Once in Longsheng the experience is all about getting to know the local culture and walking around to enjoy the different views of the terraces and rural life.
On Day 10 we depart by private bus to Guilin for a flight to our final destination, Shanghai.
July 7 to July 8: Shanghai (2B)
In a great day of contrasts we awake overlooking the timeless panorama of rice terraces in Longsheng and finish the day in the heart of China's bustling metropolis, Shanghai.
Cosmopolitan Shanghai is a mesmerizing array of old and new from the 19th century Asian infused Victorian and early 20th century Art Deco to the bold 21st century futuresque skyline additions.
Day 11 we will discover some of the rich diversity of the city core through a walking orientation including the one-time international settlement area, old Shanghai and French Concession with opportunity to take in the view of modern Pudong from the Bund - Shanghai's waterfront strip. Free time will be available for individual exploration such as a visit into Yuyuan Gardens or Shanghai Museum.
July 9 : Shanghai (1B)
Depart Shanghai at any time.
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.
This is a comfort class trip, with upgraded hotels and transportation. Please keep in mind there is one overnight train where you will share a bunk-bed compartment with three other people. If you would like a shorter, more basic, less expensive program, please take a look at our 8-day China program.
All the adventure with a softer landing
Upgraded transportation (private vehicles, trains and planes)
More inclusions (transfers, more meals and activities are generally included)
Hand-picked accommodations with additional amenities and services
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.
As we use (sometimes crowded) local transport please note backpacks are much more suitable than suitcases for this style of trip. There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this tour. Each passenger is allowed to carry one checked bag with a maximum weight of 20 kg (33lbs). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers
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.
▪ 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
▪ Hiking pants /track pants / long trousers
▪ Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
▪ Ear plugs for light sleepers
▪ Moisturizer, Lip balm
▪ Toiletries (biodegradable)
▪ Water bottle / Plastic mug / Cutleries
▪ Flashlight (with extra batteries and bulbs)
▪ Money belt
▪ Insect Repellent
▪ 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)
▪ 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 facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
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.
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.
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 Nov 2011 the exchange rate for China was 1 USD = 6.3 CNY (Chinese Yuan).
Cash (Chinese Yuan) is the best method of money in China. There are some ATM machines at international airports and major cities that accept Visa and debit cards but these should not be relied on as a source of funds. We recommend the use of cash and traveller's cheques in major currencies (USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD) as a backup. Major credit cards are accepted in a few shops (except for AMEX and Diner's) but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.
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.
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.
▪ 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
▪ Bell & Drum Tower 50CNY
▪ Xi'an Ming Dynasty Wall 40CNY
▪ Bicycle rental on Xi'an Wall 25CNY
▪ Great Mosque 25CNY
▪ Shanghai Financial Tower 150CNY
▪ Jade Buddha 35CNY
▪ Pearl Tower 70CNY
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
$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)
$100-$250 USD, See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.
International Airfare from USA
Roughly $900-$1700 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.
$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 $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.
We recommend $60 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $30 USD to tip local guides and drivers.
Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary
Allow $240-$360 USD for meals not included.
Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.
(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)
Airport and Departure Taxes
Normally this included in the cost of your flight
(You will need to see your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations)
$130 USD for US passport holders (It’s only $30 USD for most non-US passport holders)
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 adventurous.
• While we use comfort class accommodation on this trip, they may still be different to what you are used to. Please come with an open mind.
• 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.
• Many of our programs occur 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 try to set up either a school visit or a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is not possible due to time constraints, summer vacations, etc. Please understand this is not a guaranteed part of the program.
• China has emerged as a great tourist destination in the last ten years and is an intriguing and rewarding destination to visit. Developing at a fast rate, travel is becoming easier for foreigners but please be aware that English is still not widely spoken outside the large cities and that accommodation, toilet facilities and some transportation is not yet at the same level as you would expect in developed countries. If you are able to bring with you a lot of patience, a great sense of humor and a willingness to try and interact with the local people, your travel experience will be greatly enhanced.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each participant in our programs is permitted to bring one friend or family members who is not a teacher. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.
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!
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 contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your tour leader will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other program participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day. The only activity planned for Day 1 is the first group meeting where you will be able to meet your tour leader and fellow participants. Please plan to arrive at the hotel by mid-to-late afternoon on Day 1 as the first group meeting usually takes place at around 6 or 7 pm.
An arrival transfer is included with all Comfort tours when you arrive at the airport on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior to the tour, and provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through G Adventures in our joining hotel.
If you have an arrival transfer our driver will be waiting for you with a G Adventures sign with your name on it. He/She will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. There most likely will be many signs, so please check carefully for your name.
If you choose not to take the airport transfer, when arriving to Beijing International Airport, you have a few choices on how to get to your starting point hotel.
A. Taxi: Follow the signs to the taxi ranks once you have come out of the baggage hall. The ranks are clearly defined, and traffic guards will systematically put you into a taxi. Print out the name of your hotel in Chinese. A taxi ride will take between 34-45 minutes depending on traffic, and should cost between 95-120 Yuan (plus an extra 10 for the tollway).
DO NOT GO WITH ANYONE WHO APPROACHES YOU OFFERING A METERED TAXI WHICH IS PARKED IN THE LOT. THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF.
B. Airport Express Train: Once you have come out of the luggage hall, follow the signs to the underground Airport Express Line. This line takes you to the center of Beijing, to DONGZHIMEN, where you can transfer to Subway line 2, or take a taxi from here to your hotel. The Airport Express ticket costs 25 yuan. It takes about 16 minutes from Terminal 3 of the Airport to Dongzhimen. Train hours are from 6:30am to 10:30pm.
Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?
Other than the first hotel (Typically we use Beijing Dong Fang Hotel), our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.
The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures 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.
What are the hotels like?
On comfort class programs most of your hotels with be 4 star type properties. Please keep in mind that this is China so they may still be different to what you are used to. Please come with an open mind.
What is the overnight train like?
You will be taking an overnight train from Beijing to Xian. This is a fun part of your adventure and we use Soft Sleeper Class compartments to make it as comfortable as possible. Soft Sleepers are more comfortable than hard sleepers as there is more room to move around and the bunks tend to be, albeit not always, softer in firmness.
Soft Sleepers have 4 bunks. The bunks come with a lower sheet, 2 pillows and a covered duvet. The compartment has a door that is lockable although the carriage attendant has a key to open it. A large thermos of hot water, slippers and a rubbish bin are typically provided.
Each soft sleeper carriage has two bathrooms. Please note there are no private bathrooms in each compartment and you will be sharing the bathrooms with the other people in your carriage.
Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?
You may want to stay longer in Beijing at the start of the trip or Shanghai at the end, 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.
In May G Adventures will contact you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.
Do you recommend spending any extra days?
Answer from GEEO Executive Director:
"Beijing and Shanghai are both amazing cities. With our itinerary you will have enough time to be able to see the major sites in each city. Because there is so much to see and do, if it were me I would want to spend an extra day or two in each city."
If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?
GEEO is running a 12-day comfort class Thailand program that starts soon after this program concludes.
GEEO also has a 16-day India/Nepal program that runs before this China program. This would allow you to see the most populous countries in the world on one trip overseas.
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.
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.
What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?
Your trip begins in Beijing and ends in Shanghai. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Beijing by. You can arrive at anytime of the day you choose. You can depart Shanghai anytime on the final day of the trip.
Where can I purchase flights?
We recommend using www.kayak.com to see the largest range of flights available online. 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 one of their flight specialists. 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.
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:
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.
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.
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 fine to eat. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible illness.
What is the weather like?
The areas of China you will be traveling to are typically hot and humid during the summer months.
Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?
There are Internet cafes in most of the places we visit and most of the hotels also have computers that can be used as well as free wifi. 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 if you experience any damage or theft of your valuable items.
Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is in Western countries. 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, Hindu and Muslim 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.
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.
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."
Do you have advice on tipping?
Traditionally in China tipping is not expected and thus there is no need to tip in restaurants and your general interaction with locals. However, tipping is customary - though not compulsory - in the tourism industry and not only shows an expression of satisfaction. It may also be of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader may offer to collect the money and tip as a group.
Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from 1 to 3 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 felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $5 USD per person per day can be used.
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.
What should I expect in terms of school visits?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 12 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 there any safety advice we should know about?
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.
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 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 that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office,
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Operator (China) - China Adventures
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +86 1380 8871 709 - Helena (China)
G Adventures East Asia Manager: Ann Zhenyi
Emergency contact number: +86 13552169357 (Beijing, China)
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +66 2 252 6642
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), 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: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
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 Adventures 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.
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. This is a new China itinerary we will be running for the first time in 2013. 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.
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.
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.
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.
*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included
This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.
Arrival transfer, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour, wander the Temple of Heaven and some of Beijing's traditional Hutongs, Entrance to the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors tour, Li River sunset cruise, Bicycle and cooking tour in Yangshuo, Longsheng Rice Terraces, Shanghai walking tour.
G Adventures Tour Leader, local guides.
11 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners. (Allow USD240-360 for meals not included.)
Private bus, plane, boat, soft sleeper train
Comfort hotels (9 nts), guesthouse (1 nt), soft sleeper train (1 nt).
What's Not Included
Tips or gratuities
Meals not mentioned above
Optional Tours or optional admissions