Tagged tea

chinese new year – custom trip in blossoming hangzhou

Travel with China Tea Leaves for a classic Chinese New Year in 🌸🍃🍵 Hangzhou!

Hangzhou has always been one of our favorite places in China for its graceful beauty, and was one of the first inspirations for the concept of China Tea Leaves travel. On this trip, you can seek out the plum blossoms in the bamboo forest, taste the best green tea in China, see heaven on earth around the fringes of West Lake, and take a day trip to Wuzhen, a classic water town known as the Venice of the East.

This trip is arranged a little differently, to give you the most enjoyment with your family and the best value at a peak travel season. I am offering this trip as a featured private custom plan – not a guided group tour. This means that I can make all arrangements totally custom for what you and your family prefer, with special low planning and booking fees. I have suggested dates and activities below, but just let me know if you’d like to change something. I create the plan for you and make all the bookings, and provide you a very detailed itinerary document which acts as your guide, even though I am not actually there in person to guide you. You will also be provided an ebook – China Tea Leaves 杭州 Hangzhou, with photos, local food, and interactive maps to help you get around in Hangzhou.

(These dates are for example; trip may be arranged custom for your preferred schedule.)

February 5 Flight from Shenzhen to Hangzhou
Transfer from Hangzhou Airport to hotel

February 6 Visit West Lake – the inspiration for gardens throughout China and Japan

February 7 Taste green tea in the best region in all of China – Longjing village

February 8 Optional – Day trip to Wuzhen, Venice of the East

February 9 Transfer from hotel to Hangzhou Airport
Check out of the hotel and depart by flight Hangzhou to Shenzhen

Price: Will be quoted fully customized for you and your group

For example: (prices below are approximate. Contact me for current prices.)

2 adults

Round trip flights for 2 Shenzhen to Hangzhou: 2600RMB
Boutique hotel near West Lake (4 nights): 2980RMB (other options available)
Private airport transfers: 700RMB
Private car for Wuzhen daytrip: 700RMB
Planning and Booking fee: 700-800RMB

Total for 2: 7,680RMB

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

tour – spring festival in blossoming hangzhou

Come with China Tea Leaves for a classic Chinese New Year in 🌸🍃🍵 Hangzhou!

Hangzhou has always been one of our favorite places in China for its graceful beauty, and was one of the first inspirations for the concept of China Tea Leaves travel. On this trip, you can seek out the plum blossoms in the bamboo forest, taste the best green tea in China, see heaven on earth around the fringes of  West Lake, and take a day trip to Wuzhen, a classic water town known as the Venice of the East.

This trip is set in the middle of the Spring Festival vacation. Our tour takes place on February 17-20, the 3rd to 6th days of the national vacation, already past the biggest rush, and you can relax and follow my expertise for beating the crowds. Does your company or school have a longer vacation? Arrive early or stay longer in Hangzhou, or nearby Shanghai, Suzhou, etc. This tour is designed to be flexible and fit into your own personal plan.

Prices listed do not include airfare or trains (there are many of both available from Shenzhen and other major cities). Book your own, or ask me to help book for a fee. Coming from a different city? No problem! Just talk to me.

Note about Spring Festival: Trains on February 16 will start publicly booking from January 18. And millions of people across China will starting booking on this date. Be ready to book your own tickets as soon as possible, or contact me for help booking – before January 16 please for best results. Also, hotels will be booking fast, so make sure you contact me as soon as possible to reserve your preferred hotel.

February 16 Arrive by flight or train in the evening, check into your hotel

February 17 Personal tour of the quiet parts of West Lake

February 18 Taste green tea in the best region in all of China – Longjing village

February 19 Day trip to Wuzhen, Venice of the East

February 20 Stroll amongst the plum blossoms in Hangzhou Botanical Gardens
(you could choose to depart in the evening on Feb 20)

February 21 Check out of the hotel and depart by flight or train in the morning

Price: Adult: 4980RMB (double occupancy), Kids 1.2m+ 2800RMB

Upgrade to West Lake Shangri-La (5 stars): Add 1000RMB
Depart on February 20: ask me about deduction

ABNet or SWIC member: Take 300RMB off! (150 off kids price)

Price includes:
Local transportation around Hangzhou and Wuzhen
5 night (double occupancy) at Hangzhou Tea Boutique Hotel West Lake (5 stars) in Qingzhiwu, a trendy cafe and loft street
Meals
Entrance tickets
Travel insurance
and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.

Payment: Cash, WeChat, or Alipay. Deposit of 2000RMB per person to be made by January 26. Balance must be paid in full by February 13.
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 Hangzhou in your introduction.

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

 

yunnan paradise – china tea leaves tour of lijiang and shangri-la

China Tea Leaves First Guided Tour – Yunnan 9-Days 

Shuhe, Baisha, Lugu Lake, Shangri-La and Tiger Leaping Gorge

April 22-30, 2017

Personal Tour with Greta Bilek

Are you dreaming of a land of blue skies, colorful clouds, people living a quiet traditional life? A place where you can stretch your legs, climb green mountains, wade amongst wildflowers, and discover temples, new friends and always a bit of adventure? Sounds like a fairy tale, some kind of Shangri-La, you say?

You would be right. And you can find your own paradise in the northwest corner of Yunnan province.

Come with Greta Bilek, author of China Tea Leaves travel guides and explorer of China, on your dream trip to Yunnan province.

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.

I’m Greta Bilek, and I’ve lived in Shenzhen for nearly five years. During my time here, I’ve often traveled to Yunnan province, among other places, writing and discovering the hidden treasures of China. I’ll be your personal guide, taking you to my favorite places and sharing stories that open up the symbols, history and culture we will encounter. This is a small group tour (6-10 people), so we can relax into the pace of Yunnan life and discover places off the beaten track.

We’ll be visiting Shuhe and Baisha, outside of Lijiang; Lugu Lake; Shangri-La; and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

We will fly into Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m), a major stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road in western China. Our home base will be the old town of Shuhe, a village 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).

Once we check into our courtyard hotel in Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m), all the knots of your hectic modern life will start to melt away, as we sip tea, listen to the ancient guqin played by Liping, and fall into a slow rhythm of life.

We’ll visit 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 local street food, and hunt antiques and fabrics in the shops of the old town.

Then we’ll hit the road to head to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖 elev. 9095ft/2770m), a clear lake in the mountains on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. This is the home of the Mosuo people, also known as the “kingdom of women” due to their specific matrilineal customs still practiced today. The clear blue waters dancing under your wooden boat and the Tibetan religion of the area will also leave their impression on you.

After going back through Baisha, we will head north towards to Shangri-La (香格里拉 elev. 10,370ft/3160m), the center of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province. You will really feel like we’re in Tibetan country, even though we won’t have crossed the border. Ladies in traditional pink headwear do their shopping and older folks grasp their prayer beads throughout the streets. We will visit a lively market, the old town of Dukezong, the largest prayer wheel in the world, and the Songzanlin monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.

From Shangri-La, we will head back south to start our two-day hike of 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, a deep gorge along the Jinsha River, which becomes the Yangtze River as it flows 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 Shuhe, 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: Evening flight Shenzhen – Lijiang, stay Shuhe

Day 2: Visit Shuhe and Baisha, stay Shuhe

Day 3: Shuhe to Lugu Lake, stay Lugu Lake

Day 4: Lugu Lake visit, Lugu Lake to Baisha, stay Baisha

Day 5: Baisha to Shangri-La, Old Town visit, stay Shangri-La

Day 6: Visit Songzanlin Monastery, stay Shangri-La

Day 7: Shangri-La to Tiger Leaping Gorge, hike, stay TLG

Day 8: Finish hike TLG, return to stay in Shuhe

Day 9: Afternoon flight Lijiang – Shenzhen

All-Inclusive: Round trip Airfare (direct flight on Shenzhen Airlines), Ground Transportation, Hotels 8 nights (double occupancy), Entrance Tickets, Meals

7128RMB

(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. But this hike is best suited for those in good physical shape. The trail is in good condition, and no special prior hiking experience is necessary.)

yunnan delights in old beijing

 

yunnan mapMap of Yunnan province

At the end of a twisting Beijing alleyway in the shadow of the thirteenth century bell tower, there is a place that will transport you to the wide open blue skies and country courtyards of Yunnan province in southwestern China. Hani Gejiu (哈尼个旧) is a new restaurant in the hutongs of Beijing, serving Yunnan cuisine inspired by the Hani minority and the area around Gejiu city. Partners Sue Zhou, Chinese-Dutch chef, and Wen Juan, of Hani heritage, work together to create a space and menu that specifically focuses on the southern part of Yunnan province.

sue and juanSue Zhou and Wen Juan in front of their restaurant

Authentic dishes feature the signature goat cheese and aged ham of Yunnan, as well as noodle soups and tofu skin salads. You can also enjoy the many wonderful mushrooms of Yunnan province, from deep fried oyster mushrooms, to a flavorful appetizer of mushrooms cooked in the region’s butter. Sue often tries out new, delicious dishes, such as peanut encrusted crispy fish. Choose between one of Yunnan’s most famous products pu-er tea, which is an aged and heavily fermented tea, or the lighter, lesser known Hani mountain tea.

IMG_6787Yunnan ham and peppers accompanied by lightly pan-fried goat cheese

Seek out this quiet, cozy corner of Beijing for a true taste of Yunnan cuisine. Contact information can be found here; also read more about Sue Zhou and her cooking classes at the Hutong Kitchen here.