Tagged hiking

summer trips – jun-jul 2019

Ready to travel to the China you have been dreaming of? China Tea Leaves is here with countryside jaunts, seaside escapes, hiking adventures and more, all starting from Shenzhen, going on through the summer. All trips are organized and run by me, Greta Bilek, American in Shenzhen for over 6 years. Browse the rest of this site for more information about our trips and approach to travel in China, and a special thanks to our media partner Shenzhen Party for featuring China Tea Leaves trips. 

zhuhai june 7 (dragon boat festival)

Beach or mountain? Zhuhai treats you to both and much more, in a one day jaunt from Shenzhen. We’ll start out by taking the ferry from Shekou to Zhuhai. From there, we’ll use public transportation to tour around some of Zhuhai’s top sights.

We’ll walk along the Lover’s Road, with swaying palms above and the delta’s lapping waters stretching out to the horizon. We’ll visit the symbol of the city, the Fisher Girl, standing stately in the waves of the delta, and her lover the Fisher Boy, who looks on from the top of Jingshan Park, a small mountain park. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we’ll have the option of free time on the beach or heading to a historical curiosity of Zhuhai, the recreated Old Summer Palace of Beijing. (Adult: 405RMB/Child: 245RMB)

macau june 11 (tuesday)

Beyond the glittering lights and tourist-flooded streets, you can discover another side of Macau. Ornate temples wafting with incense, traditional bakeries, craftsman’s studios, and chapels and shrines with curious history can be found if you take the time to explore this tiny city’s winding alleys. 

On this insider tour of Macau, we’ll see a relic of a Christian saint, a secret garden inside a public library, the most beautiful black-and-white mosaic street in Macau, and a temple dedicated to the snake goddess held to be creator of the Chinese universe. In the afternoon we’ll stop by a cozy wine bar for a glass of Portuguese wine. After the end of the tour, you can stay on in Macau to enjoy its nightlife and fine dining. (Adult: 550RMB/Child: 280RMB)


watertown june 15 (saturday)

You don’t have to travel to Suzhou and Shanghai to see the Venice of China, since we have such a quaint village right in our backyard across the Pearl River Delta.

On this day trip, we’ll head by private shuttle bus to the outer villages of Shunde district, part of Foshan city, famous for Cantonese culture and culinary excellence.

We will experience the landscape and lifestyle of two water towns, where shaded streets line the water ways connecting the many rivers of the region. Locals still base their lives around the central clan house and a relaxed game of Chinese chess. Simple dumplings and fisherman’s noodles make up lunch, and in foodie town Shunde, local desserts and sampling the tasty snacks are a must. Round out your day by hiring a boat to paddle you around the canals. (Adult: 330RMB/Child: 235RMB)

dapeng june 18 (tuesday)

Shenzhen has its own share of distinctive destinations, prime of which is its eastern bookend of Dapeng Ancient Fortress. Dapeng is a fortified village that dates back to the Ming dynasty, predating the urbanization of Shenzhen, and was in charge of controlling pirates off the coast of China. Today it still retains many narrow alleys to walk, with people living a quiet life in the village and shops selling traditional foods and gifts.

First we’ll visit a grand Buddhist temple with a history equal to the neighboring fortress, under the misty hills which ancient cartographers first marked this area for. After touring the streets and homes of the generals inside the fortress, we’ll head to the beachside town of Jiaochangwei. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many restaurants, cafes, and hostels in its colorful blocks. There we’ll enjoy lunch and some free time on the beach. (Adult: 200RMB/Child: 150RMB)

guizhou june 22-24 (weekend)

One of the most beautiful villages in China, hiking, rice terraces, minority culture…all on a quick trip from Shenzhen? Yes, and you can come join an easy escape to the smoke ringed mountains of Guizhou province.

We will be whisked away by high speed train to southeast Guizhou province, known as Qiandongnan, an autonomous region of the Miao and Dong minorities. This trip will focus on the area of Congjiang, where we will encounter one of the most beautiful villages in all of China. 

We’ll stroll the charming village, crossing covered bridges and ducking under drum towers rising out of the tangle of the hidden village. The town’s museums will also inform about the local Dong culture, their grand song tradition, and textile arts. On the second day, we will journey up the valley to a neighboring village for a view over the rice terraces, and hike back through the misty fields and other village clusters. With a third day (Monday), we can visit yet another area, a Miao village that has kept its unique customs since the Qing dynasty. It is also possible to attend only day one and two of this trip and return to Shenzhen on Sunday. (Adult: 1680RMB/Child: 980RMB)

kaiping july 6 (saturday)


Come with China Tea Leaves to Kaiping (开平), for a one day getaway to a place with stunning architecture and pleasant villages, not far from Shenzhen. 

Kaiping is part of the five counties known as the hometown of overseas Chinese. It is also the home of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. These architectural wonders combine elements of vernacular buildings with Western designs the overseas Chinese encountered abroad. This building phenomenon put Kaiping on the map as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and makes it a must-see in Guangdong province today. We will visit three of the UNESCO listed sites, all fantastic scenes with villas and castles sprouting out of the rice fields. (Adult: 545RMB/Child: 295RMB)

zhuhai bridge and tai o july 9 (tuesday)

Come experience a modern marvel of China, the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, and see the Pearl River Delta from the cutting edge to the traditional, a snapshot of China in one seaside adventure.

One of the main features of this trip will be to cross the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. This mega structure is 55 kilometers in total length, and is now the longest sea crossing in the world. This is one of the greatest engineering feats of our time, and it is right in our backyard!

We will travel by official bridge shuttle from Zhuhai to Hong Kong. After we arrive in Tung Chung Hong Kong, we will journey on to Tai O, the quintessential fishing village of Hong Kong. Scarcely a kilometer away from the modern marvel of the HZM Bridge lies this quiet port, where life in many corners has not changed for centuries. Wander amongst the fisherman’s houses teetering on stilts over the water. We will also take a short cruise to get a closer look at the stilt houses and venture out into the bay in search of the famous pink dolphins of this side of Hong Kong. Head back to Tung Chung for dinner or stay on for a sunset drink over Tai O’s quiet bay. (Adult: 458RMB/Child: 328RMB)

watertown july 13 (saturday)

You don’t have to travel to Suzhou and Shanghai to see the Venice of China, since we have such a quaint village right in our backyard across the Pearl River Delta.

On this day trip, we’ll head by private shuttle bus to the outer villages of Shunde district, part of Foshan city, famous for Cantonese culture and culinary excellence.

We will experience the landscape and lifestyle of two water towns, where shaded streets line the water ways connecting the many rivers of the region. Locals still base their lives around the central clan house and a relaxed game of Chinese chess. Simple dumplings and fisherman’s noodles make up lunch, and in foodie town Shunde, local desserts and sampling the tasty snacks are a must. Round out your day by hiring a boat to paddle you around the canals. (Adult: 330RMB/Child: 235RMB)

dapeng july 16 (tuesday)

Shenzhen has its own share of distinctive destinations, prime of which is its eastern bookend of Dapeng Ancient Fortress. Dapeng is a fortified village that dates back to the Ming dynasty, predating the urbanization of Shenzhen, and was in charge of controlling pirates off the coast of China. Today it still retains many narrow alleys to walk, with people living a quiet life in the village and shops selling traditional foods and gifts.

First we’ll visit a grand Buddhist temple with a history equal to the neighboring fortress, under the misty hills which ancient cartographers first marked this area for. After touring the streets and homes of the generals inside the fortress, we’ll head to the beachside town of Jiaochangwei. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many restaurants, cafes, and hostels in its colorful blocks. There we’ll enjoy lunch and some free time on the beach. (Adult: 200RMB/Child: 150RMB)

yunnan mushrooms july 24-28

Yunnan in summer is wet with dew and rain, but it is the perfect playground to discover all the wonderful things coming to life in its hills and valleys! This five day tour celebrates the mighty mushroom, and all the many varieties which can be found in Yunnan province. Yunnan is wonderfully biodiverse, with microclimates, forests, and mountains harboring thousands of flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth, including many, many varieties of mushrooms.

We will visit the regions of Shaxi, and Shuhe of the Lijiang area. Both were important trading towns on the ancient Tea Horse Road running between Burma and Tibet through Yunnan province. The town markets in July will be brimming with local fruit, nuts, and of course funghi of all kinds, just brought in from the wild mountainsides. Take a custom mushroom foraging tour, and immerse yourself in Bai style cooking and Naxi courtyards back in the villages. Massive mountains, grand temples, fields of green and gold—Yunnan’s treats will have you coming back for more. (Adult: 3808RMB plus airfare/Child: price on request)

foshan august 3 (saturday)

Come on a day trip to see Foshan, the colorful hometown of Cantonese traditions! Enjoy a day out to learn about kung fu, lion dancing, ancient ceramics and traditional culture.

On this day trip, first we will visit the Nanfeng Ancient Kiln, a ceramics kiln that has been in continuous operation since the Ming dynasty, for over 500 years. From here, we’ll head to lunch in Lingnan Tiandi, a historic district developed with many restaurants and quaint cafes.

After lunch, we will explore the Ancestral Temple, which has been a central part of Foshan people’s religion for centuries. The highlight of the day is the heart-pumping kung fu and lion dance demonstration. And don’t miss the heart of the Ancestral Temple, the ornate halls of Beidi, the northern emperor god, to whom locals pray to watch over Foshan. A day in Foshan is a must when living in Guangdong province! (Adult: 360RMB/Child: 270RMB)

Note: posted prices typically are all inclusive: transportation, meals, guide, tickets. Contact Greta for exact details for each trip and for information about partner discounts.

custom travel planning

Besides joining the set date group trips above, I can also offer custom plans for your group to many destinations throughout China. I draw on my own experience and resources to create a plan tailored to your group, interests, and timeframe, whether you are a couple wanting to get away from the city for a weekend, or a family coming to the Middle Kingdom from abroad for a two week adventure. I am able to coordinate and arrange everything in advance, providing you with maps and illustrated guides so that your experience is as smooth and informative as a guided tour, even if I am not with you. I have arranged for custom travel to Guilin, Yangshuo, Yunnan, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Zhangjiajie, plus even more destinations available – just let me know what you’d like to see in China!

For booking and more information:

Contact Greta on WeChat:

or contact by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

also featured on Shenzhen Party at: http://www.shenzhenparty.com/events/elsewhere-china/summer-travel-china-tea-leaves

dragon clouds so high above – yunnan may 27-31

Lofty mountains and flowing waters, a wildflower for your hair and a mushroom for your umbrella. Yunnan in May has sprung to life, expanses of playful clouds drifting by snow mountains and river valleys. Come along with China Tea Leaves to discover some of our favorite places in colorful Yunnan.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring. This five day tour celebrates two distinctive cultures of Yunnan, that of the Bai people in Shaxi, and the Naxi people of Lijiang and Shuhe.

We will fly from Shenzhen direct to Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m). There we will be picked up by private shuttle to head to Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m), a pristine valley with a well preserved Bai minority village and world class historical sites. The Bai people are a Sino-Tibetan ethnic group, known throughout Yunnan for their intricately carved architecture and fine cooking with local ingredients. Shaxi was an important trading post on the ancient Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan).

Our hotel for two nights will be the Old Theatre Inn (alternative Miss May Hotel), located right inside a temple/theatre that served entertainment for the gods of the Bai people. We will visit the market area, with its temple and theatre complex, recognized by UNESCO for its articulate restoration. On our full day in Shaxi, we will journey into the rolling hills to find a secluded temple and the fascinating sculptural grotto of Shizhongshan.

From Shaxi we will head back to Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m) near Lijiang, another town located on the ancient Tea Horse Road. On the day of our arrival, we will stroll the colorful streets of Shuhe, in the view of the imposing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, sampling the bounty of spring, while locals offer fresh berries, foraged walnuts and more.

On our full day in the Shuhe area, we’ll venture yet closer to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to Baisha (白沙 elev. 8170ft/2490m), the capital of the region’s former Naxi kingdom, and today a small village that still holds its authentic, traditional feeling. We can chat with locals, taste unique street food, and hunt antiques and fabrics in the shops of the old town. We can also take a smooth hike from Baisha up to the Fuguosi temple, an active Tibetan Buddhist monastery, with grand views over the mountains and peaceful valley.

After one more night at our courtyard home at the Lazy Tiger Inn, we will visit one of the most classic sights of the Lijiang area, the Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang, before setting out on our return flight to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and curling dragon clouds, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

Monday, May 27: Morning flight Shenzhen to Lijiang, shuttle to Shaxi
Tuesday, May 28: Hike and temple visit in Shaxi
Wednesday, May 29: Shuttle to Shuhe, visit Shuhe
Thursday, May 30: Visit Baisha, hike to Tibetan Buddhist monastery
Friday, May 31: Visit Lijiang, Afternoon flight Lijiang to Shenzhen

Price: 5280 per person (double occupancy)
Discount of 250 available for SWIC or ABNet members

Price includes: Round trip airfare from Shenzhen, local ground transportation in Yunnan, four nights (double occupancy) at quality courtyard hotels, meals, entrance tickets, travel insurance, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.

(price based on current airfare Shenzhen-Lijiang; if airfare increases total price will be adjusted. so book early with Greta to get the best fares)
Not in Shenzhen? No problem. Contact me to find out the required arrival time in Lijiang airport to join the group.

Payment: by cash, or WeChat, deposit of 2500 at time of booking

Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 6890ft/2100m and higher. Travelers may feel slight effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. This itinerary includes some light hiking, but can be adjusted according to the level of the group. Please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

harmonies from a hidden valley – guizhou nov 17-18

One of the most beautiful villages in China, hiking, rice terraces, minority culture…all on a two day trip from Shenzhen? Yes, and you can come join an easy escape to the smoke ringed mountains of Guizhou province.

We will be whisked away by high speed train to southeast Guizhou province, known as Qiandongnan, an autonomous region of the Miao and Dong minorities. This trip will focus on the area of Zhaoxing Dong Stockaded Village (肇兴侗寨), often mentioned as one of the most beautiful villages in all of China.

The image of a Dong village amid the hills appears as a gateway to another world, with tiered drum towers and ornate covered bridges peeking out from a tangle of wooden houses. The Dong build these elaborate wooden towers as meeting houses and communal singing halls. The “Wind and Rain” bridges are thoughtfully built throughout the town and countryside as places to rest and socialize while journeying from one place to another. Zhaoxing has one of the best collections of both types of these buildings, and the town is a beautiful sight in the misty dawn or glowing into the night.

The Dong are also known for their colorful embroidered dress, and for their grand singing tradition. They have passed down folk songs using layered a cappella harmonies.

You will be amazed at the hidden world we can discover within just a few hours from Shenzhen.

The basic plan:

Saturday

High speed train from Shenzhen North to Guizhou, with a transfer in Guangzhou
Shuttle to Zhaoxing Dong Village
Tour the village, with its many Wind-and-Rain bridges and Drum towers, unique features of Dong villages.
Visit the Dong Minority Culture Center and Weaving and Embroidery Museum
Dinner
Free time

Sunday

Breakfast and Dong Grand Song performance
Shuttle to Tang’an Stockaded Village, another Dong village, surrounded by rice terraces
Hike from Tang’an to Zhaoxing
Return to Shenzhen by high speed train

Price: Adult (double occupancy) 1680RMB
Child (1.2-1.5m, share with 1 or 2 adults) 980RMB

SWIC or ABNet members get 10% off

Dates: November 17-18
Depart from Shenzhen North Saturday 7:38am, return Shenzhen 9:45pm

Group size: 4-10

Includes high speed train tickets, hotel (double occupancy), village entrance and shuttle tickets, meals, travel insurance, and guide.

Note: This trip is being offered at a special price during the low season and as a new trip. Price may go up in the future, so book now to enjoy this price!

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Guizhou in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

october holiday adventure – 5-8 days in yunnan

 

Looking for an adventure for your October holiday? We’re gathering a group of intrepid travelers to venture to one of my favorite places in China, the northwest region of Yunnan province. This is a five-day trip taking place during the golden week in October 2018, extendable to 8 days including an optional hike.

Yunnan is the China of your dreams, with blue skies, colorful clouds, cobblestone villages, and mountain vistas. I’ve designed the trip to get to some lesser known places and skip the most crowded days of the national holiday, so you don’t have to worry about the crowds.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring.

We will fly into Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m) to start our adventuring. First we’ll travel down to the Dali (大理 elev. 6480ft/1975m) region near the famous Erhai Lake. The Bai minority are the most populous in this area, with elegant ladies in colorful headdress working the markets, restaurants featuring local vegetables and even the Bai people’s own kind of cheese, and of course narrow lanes made lively with hand painted entrances and distinctive tie dyed fabrics.

We’ll also visit nearby Xizhou (喜洲), another Bai town, known for its daily market, ornate courtyard homes, and well known embroidery shops.

On our third day we will venture up to the Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m) valley, where green rice paddies and blue hills encircle the special town of Shaxi. The preservation of its central opera stage, temple and other distinctive buildings won an award from UNESCO. We’ll arrive here on Friday in time to catch the action at its market, frequented by villagers who come down from the hills for their weekly supplies.

On the fourth day we’ll head northward ascending to Shuhe and Baisha (束河,白沙 elev. 7900ft/2400m), in the region of Lijiang. Shuhe and Lijiang were stops on the old Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan). This area is the home of the Naxi minority, with their own writing system and religion. We’ll stay in the relatively quiet town of Baisha, which was the former capital of the Naxi kingdom.

If departing on the 5th day (October 7), we’ll visit the Tea Horse Road museum in Shuhe in the morning before your flight, to send you off dreaming of wildflowers, clear running streams and mountain adventures.

If your holiday schedule allows, what better way to finish off your time in Yunnan than with a stunning 2-day hike in the Tiger Leaping Gorge?  (虎跳峡 elev. 6230-8690-6890ft/1900-2650-2100m). This is one of the most renowned hikes in the world, following a deep gorge along the Jinsha River, which becomes the Yangtze River as it flows from here through Sichuan province. Every view is breathtaking, gazing up at snow mountains so close you think you could reach out and touch them.

After one tough day of hiking, we will stay overnight in a guesthouse on the trail, and wake up to silent mountains looking on outside our window. We will continue hiking through farming enclaves, waterfalls and vistas to reach our shuttle back to Lijiang.

Our final night will be spent in Baisha, before we fly back from Lijiang to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and prayer flags, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

Day 1: Fly to Lijiang, travel to Dali, visit Dali old town
Day 2: Visit Xizhou, market and crafts
Day 3: Travel to Shaxi, Sideng market and hiking
Day 4: Travel to Baisha
Day 5: Fly Lijiang to Shenzhen, or visit Shuhe
(optional Day 6: Tiger Leaping Gorge
(optional Day 7: Tiger Leaping Gorge
(optional Day 8: Fly from Lijiang)

Group size: 6-10 people

(Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 7900ft/2400m and higher. Travelers will feel the effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. The Tiger Leaping Gorge hike has some steep inclines and is at high elevation. Hiking at this elevation is tough and incurs a real risk of altitude sickness. There are donkeys available on the trail for those who feel uncomfortable, for an additional fee. The trail is in good condition, and no special prior hiking experience is necessary. But this hike is best suited for those in good physical shape. Please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.)

Announcement: This trip has already been launched in agile mode to accommodate a group early bookers! If you are interested in joining this trip, just contact me and I will do my best to add you to our group! Please note some exclusions in the price due to ongoing registration.

This trip is already confirmed, so registering will remain open until Thursday September 27

Price:

3800RMB per person for 5 days, 4800RMB per person for 8 days.
Contact me for current price

Does not include airfare or meals. Price includes hotels (double occupancy), private shuttle transportation for 5 days, travel insurance, and personal English speaking guide. Price based on hotels available at time of writing; please contact me for current price and inclusions.

Recommended flights: Oct 3: CZ8581 SZX-LJG, Oct 10: CZ8582 LJG-SJX. Approximately 3100RMB. If you need help booking your flight, just contact me. I can book it for you for a small fee.

discounts available for ABNet members or SWIC members

Single supplement: 500RMB for 5 days, 750RMB for 8 days option

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

daytrip – baishuizhai waterfall september 2

 

Looking for a refreshing experience to break up your sweltering Shenzhen summer? Well, look no further than the treasure of northeastern Guangzhou, Baishuizhai waterfall in Zengcheng district.

Baishuizhai (白水寨瀑景区) is the tallest waterfall in mainland China, falling a total of 428.5 meters between two former volcanic peaks. These hills are covered in lush bamboo forests, as well as natural hot springs.

While hiking heroes opt to climb the 9999 steps to the peak of the mountain, kids and casual walkers can climb up the boardwalk skirting the waterfall itself. In several tiers going up, the waterfall is crossed back and forth, at some points close enough to touch and feel its spray. Our goal will be the lookout platform at around 3200 steps.

This is a truly refreshing experience, only 2 hours drive from Shenzhen.

Please pack a simple picnic lunch, that we will enjoy on our hike on the side of the waterfall.

Price: 350RMB for adults, 220 for kids (1.2m and up, through high school). Under 1.2m and can share a seat, free!
320RMB discounted partner price – available for ABNet members, SWIC members, and students of Purple Peony Studio
Includes round trip private shuttle, entrance to the scenic area, and guide

Journey to Zengcheng about 2 hours.

Sunday, September 2
8:30am departure
10:30am arrive at waterfall park
Hike plus lunch along the waterfall
4:00pm depart
6:00pm arrive Shenzhen

Pick up in Shekou, other pick ups available – just contact me.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Waterfall in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

day trip – zengcheng july 7

  

Looking for a refreshing experience to break up your sweltering Shenzhen summer? Well, look no further than the treasure of northeastern Guangzhou, Baishuizhai waterfall in Zengcheng district.

Baishuizhai (白水寨瀑景区) is the tallest waterfall in mainland China, falling a total of 428.5 meters between two former volcanic peaks. These hills are covered in lush bamboo forests, as well as natural hot springs.

While hiking heroes opt to climb the 9999 steps to the peak of the mountain, kids and casual walkers can climb up the boardwalk skirting the waterfall itself. In several tiers going up, the waterfall is crossed back and forth, at some points close enough to touch and feel its spray. Our goal will be the lookout platform at around 3200 steps.

This is a truly refreshing experience, only 2 hours drive from Shenzhen.

Please pack a simple picnic lunch, that we will enjoy on our hike on the side of the waterfall.

Price: 290RMB for adults, 220 for kids
270RMB discounted partner price – available for ABNet members, SWIC members, and students of Purple Peony Studio
Includes round trip private shuttle, entrance to the scenic area, and guide

Journey to Zengcheng about 2 hours.

Saturday, July 7
8:30am departure
10:30am arrive at waterfall park
Hike plus lunch along the waterfall
4:00pm depart
6:00pm arrive Shenzhen

Pick up in Shekou, other pick ups available – just contact me.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Waterfall in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

impressions inscribed by mountain and water

He walked up to peruse the sidewalk menu offerings, an American I guessed by the way he so casually started the conversation. Laoban, the older man said, to the young Indian man manning the restaurant, ni youmeiyou tandoori chicken? The “boss” laughed gently, tall, a little shy, wearing a soft linen shirt patterned with Chinese characters and some pastoral scenes, long hair in waves on the top of his head. Meitian wo mi lu, everyday I get lost, continued the American. He continued on down the street lined with German beer gardens and guesthouses, smiling in his lostness in the winding streets of Yangshuo.

We had spent four days getting lost in the hills of Yangshuo and Guilin, the two hometowns in China of rolling karst mountains, unique landscapes out of an ancient ink-and-wash scroll or some immortal’s daydream. These hills make for scenes you can’t find anywhere else in the world, not even elsewhere in China. The Chinese have a saying 桂林山水甲天下 – Guilin’s “shanshui” mountain-and-water scenes are the best in the world (which would get tagged by Chinese friends on every one of our social media posts about the region). Both Chinese and international travelers love these landscapes and visit in massive numbers every year. The region has built up a sophisticated system for moving tourists around in buses, trains, boats and rafts, and many lament the commercialism. This was one of the first places to be taken over by western backpackers in China, evidenced by the sandal-clad folks in German bars, the ukulele shops, and banana pancakes in all the guesthouses. But you can still find ancient brick villages and dirt paths winding amongst the green knobs of mountains where you can just be a lost man alone with your thoughts.

The first time you see the karst mountains of Yangshuo, it’s like nothing you have laid eyes on this planet before. How to describe them? An impossible shape of stone, sticking up out of the earth, vertical faces covered in vines and trees somehow rooted in rock, sometimes surmounted by a temple or pavilion perched on top. An even more impossibly, the horizon is a tangle of countless more of the same impossible mounds, extending in every direction. Soft peaks of meringue, dollops of whipped cream, a rumpled, hand-wrung hat, a falling-over windmill if you look at it long enough or crooked enough. And if you climb to one of the pavilions on top for a view, the hills spread out around you like a sea of clouds, stone clouds, frozen in place, and you are standing atop one as well, a calcium cumulus beneath your feet. Off into the distance a string of hills lies beyond another and another, an abstraction in shades of blue, just a wash of color giving the impression of distance and form, brushed by some unseen painter. Walking amongst them you are in a land before time, lush green not only covering the earth but rising up in canyon walls to your left and right. And day after day and evening after evening spent looking on these forms in the distance, the hills before you and behind you, reflected in windows and the water of the flowing river and the still rice paddy, inverting and warping their slumping shape. And even as you close your eyes in the afternoon sun, they make their mark in your mind’s eye, so that you cannot think of the land as simply a flat horizon any more but a sinuous curve in a constantly changing hue, from green and blue noon to peachy dusk to inky twilight. To be lost in Yangshuo’s shapes and colors is a happy reverie indeed.

 

       

 

 

   

   

daytrip – shuilian waterfall april 15

 

Announcing an easy day out with your family, to a mountain park covered in waterfalls and fresh green nature!

We’ll be traveling to Shuilian Mountain Park in nearby Dongguan. Dongguan actually has the greatest number of parks of any city in China, even more than Shenzhen. Shuilian is a beautiful park located less than 1.5 hours drive from Shekou, making for a convenient day out with your family!

We’ll have a leisurely departure at 9:00am from Shekou. The main feature of the park is a lake fed by a grand waterfall. After arriving at the park, we’ll take a modest hike part way up the mountain past waterfalls and taking in views of the lake below. Note: This is hiking up steps, first some stone steps and then an uphill boardwalk. However the climb we are doing is not very high (about 150m – half a Nanshan mountain) and not to the top of the mountain, so we can go at an easy pace. At the top of our hike, we’ll sit and eat our picnic lunch next to a pool fed by the waterfall. You may feel as if we’re in a fairy world amongst the streams and shady groves of trees. After lunch we’ll visit the park’s ancient temple, a small stone sanctuary dating back to the Song dynasty. After viewing the temple, we’ll have some free time for exploring more of the mountain or taking a boat out on the lake. There is also a butterfly garden (extra charge) and other paths you can explore on your own. We’ll arrive back in Shekou at 5:30pm.

 

 

Adults: 220RMB
Kids 1.2-1.5m: 180RMB

SWIC or ABNet members receive a discount of 15RMB off each 

includes round trip private shuttle, entrance to the park and ancient temple, and guided tour by Greta. Please bring a packed lunch, water, and any snacks you will want for the bus ride. Boat ride or any other fees not included.

Sunday April 15

Departure: 9:00am
Return: 5:30pm

Private shuttle picks up from Shekou (for other pick ups contact me). Journey to Shuilian about 1.5hours.

Minimum 10, maximum 14

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Shuilian in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

day trip to shuilian – march 18

Announcing an easy day out with your family, to a mountain park covered in waterfalls and fresh green nature!

We’ll be traveling to Shuilian Mountain Park in nearby Dongguan. Dongguan actually has the greatest number of parks of any city in China, even more than Shenzhen. Shuilian is beautiful park located less than 1.5 hours drive from Shekou, making for a convenient day out with your family!

We’ll have a leisurely departure at 9:00am from Shekou. After arriving at the park, we’ll take a modest hike part way up the mountain past waterfalls and taking in views of the lake below. This hike is uphill, but not very steep. We’ll be climbing about 150m at an easy pace and we can take our time enjoying the forest views. At the top of our hike, we’ll sit and eat our picnic lunch next to a pool fed by the waterfall. You may feel as if we’re in a fairy world amongst the streams and shady groves of trees. After lunch we’ll visit the park’s ancient temple, a small stone sanctuary dating back to the Song dynasty. After viewing the temple, we’ll have some free time for exploring more of the mountain or taking a boat out on the lake. We’ll arrive back in Shekou at 5:30pm.

 

 

Adults: 220RMB
Kids 1.2-1.5m: 180RMB

SWIC or ABNet members receive a discount of 15RMB off each 

includes round trip private shuttle, entrance to the park and ancient temple, and guided tour by Greta. Please bring a packed lunch, water, and any snacks you will want for the bus ride. Boat ride or any other fees not included.

Departure: 9:00am
Return: 5:30pm

Private shuttle picks up from Shekou (for other pick ups contact me). Journey to Shuilian about 1.5hours.

Minimum 10, maximum 14

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Guangzhou in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

trip to heaven’s peaks and gates in zhangjiajie

Experience a touch of another world in the wonders of Zhangjiajie – on this trip November 14-19! You may know these otherworldly stone formations as the inspiration for the “Halleluiah mountains” of the planet Pandora in the movie Avatar. After hiking beneath, around and over these columns and bridges you will have a new appreciation for the wonders of nature on our planet Earth.

The Number 5 Valley will be our hotel base for the first part of the trip. This is a secluded resort built in traditional Chinese style as a village overlooking a private valley. Each room is a combination of luxurious comfort and rustic warmth.

At last we’ll find the stairway to heaven at Tianmen (“heaven’s gate”) Mountain Park. This is a unique karst cave located at nearly 1000 meters elevation. It truly looks like it opens up to the heavens. We will also visit the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, which is the site of the famous Glass Bridge. There you can really walk over the clouds while looking safely down into the vast gorge. Nature has been at work sculpting these panoramas for hundreds of millions of years, be sure you see them during your time in China!

Tuesday, November 14:       8:00pm flight from Shenzhen, check into our courtyard hotel
Wednesday, November 15: hiking in the Zhangjiajie National Forest – see the Avatar Mountains, First Bridge under Heaven, hike through stone gardens
Thursday, November 16:     hiking in the Zhangjiajie National Forest – Golden Whip Stream, hike up through the Halleluiah mountains
Friday, November 17:           shuttle to Tianmen Mountain, gate to heaven high up among the clouds, check into town hotel
Saturday, November 18:      shuttle to Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, see the world famous Glass Bridge
Sunday, November 19:         early flight back to Shenzhen

Price: Adult: 7950RMB per person (double occupancy), Kids 1.2m+ 5350RMB

Early Bird Promotion: Book with your deposit by Friday October 13 and get a special rate of 7600RMB

Price includes:

Round trip airfare from Shenzhen
Private shuttle around Zhangjiajie area
3 night (double occupancy) at No. 5 Valley Inn, 2 nights (double occupancy) at city hotel
(flyer price is based on No. 5 Valley’s “Moon Villa Suite” with extra bed. other options are available for upgrade to valley view suite, or smaller room for discount. contact Greta by methods below for more details)
Meals
Entrance tickets, planned cable car tickets, Glass Bridge
Travel insurance
and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.

Payment: cash preferred, deposit of 3500RMB per person to be made by October 31. Balance must be paid in full by November 10.
contact Greta below for other payment options

Minimum 6 people, maximum 12

 

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Zhangjiajie or Avatar Mountains in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)