Tagged villages

day trip – watertown february 2

小桥流水人家 To make your home by a small bridge and flowing water.

These words describe the idyllic scenery of Chinese villages, which people come from across continents to see, often seeking out the tourist canal towns around Shanghai. But we have such a quaint village right in our backyard around the Pearl River Delta. The irrigated towns and paddies of Guangzhou and Foshan are a prime but overlooked place to find a classic scene of Chinese life.

On this day trip, we’ll head to the outer villages of Shunde district, part of Foshan just to the west of Guangzhou.

In the water town of Fengjian, you can wander the shaded streets of this village, catching glimpses of the local people’s relaxed life. Fishermen repair a net, two neighbors play chess along the river banks.

Shunde is also home to some of the most famous dishes of Cantonese cuisine, especially the popular desserts double skinned milk and ginger milk. We can taste these plus other snacks and sweets while lounging near the flowing river.

You can also take your family for a paddle in a traditional wooden boat in a loop around the canals. (Price not included in tour: small boat 150 per boat/up to 5 people, large boat 250 per boat/up to 10 people, pay directly to boatmen on the day)

This is the original Watertown group tour from Shenzhen. Come with China Tea Leaves to see some things that you can only see with us, and enjoy our relaxed, small group experience.

On this trip, you will experience:
– A guided tour of the village, with information about the history of the watertown and the families that lived there
– Lunch with introduction to some Shunde dishes
– Free time for shopping and riding the traditional boats
– Experience a second, non-touristy village

Price: 330RMB per adult, 235RMB for kids between 1.2-1.5m (20RMB off for Shenzhen ABNet or SWIC member), kids under 1.2m get an additional discount – contact me.

Sunday, February 2
Depart 8:00AM, return Shenzhen 6:00PM

Default pickup in Shekou. Contact me if you are outside of Shekou for other pickup options.

includes round trip private shuttle, access to two water towns, lunch and Cantonese dessert, and tour

Minimum 8

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Watertown in your introduction.
加我微信的时候,请备注Trips或Watertown;如果没有,我可能不加你。

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

yunnan january 2020

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.

We’ll be visiting the Shaxi valley; Shuhe and Lijiang; and Shangri-La.

We will fly from Shenzhen direct to Kunming. 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).

In Shaxi we will stay 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 the next 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 up to Shuhe (束河 elev. 7900ft/2400m) 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. 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.

The following morning we will take in the stellar view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from the famous Black Dragon Pool. Early in the morning in the week of the new year, the park will be filled with people singing, dancing, and celebrating the new spirit of the Year of the Mouse.

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.

Our final night will be spent in Shuhe, before departing back to Shenzhen. Package includes train from Lijiang to Kunming, for your flight return Kunming 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.

January 26: Arrive Kunming, transfer to Shaxi
January 27: Shaxi Shibaoshan temple, transfer to Shuhe
January 28: Visit Lijiang, transfer to Shangri-La
January 29: Visit Songzanlin Monastery, return Shuhe
January 30: Return from Lijiang, by train + flight or direct flight

Price: 4380RMB per adult. Ask for kids’ price.
Hotels (double occupancy), Private Ground Transportation, Entrance Tickets, Meals, Travel Insurance, and guide by Greta

Does not include airfare to/from Kunming. Contact Greta via below WeChat or email for suggested flight schedule.

(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.)

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)

day trip – kaiping january 11

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 top hometown of overseas Chinese. One in ten people with Chinese heritage living overseas have roots from this region.

It is also the hometown of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Whereas palace and courtyard architecture throughout China expands out as it grows, the diaolou goes up. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. Those that emigrated sent back money they earned abroad, and sometimes brought back Western designs and furnishings adding to the distinction of their diaolou. 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.


This is a special offer to see these UNESCO recognized sites in just a one day trip from Shenzhen. Our private shuttle will take us from Shenzhen to Kaiping, taking about three hours.

First we’ll visit the Zili village (自力村). Several diaolou are set amongst the rice paddies, including two maintaining their original furnishings. Go inside and climb to the top for classic views of your surroundings. From Zili village, we will head to Li Garden (立园). Along the way we’ll see village life, women farming the rice paddies, and other diaolou dotting the greenway. Li Yuan is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty design, but it also incorporates western and middle eastern elements into its myriad gardens.

After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue through the rice fields, which with all the watchtowers and arcades might be starting to look like someplace between King’s Landing and Winterfell. Finally we’ll visit Jinjiangli (锦江里) village and its fine diaolou cluster. Their turrets, arches and colorful frescoes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to medieval Italy. On our way out of town we’ll make a stop by Chikan (赤坎) town, whose many western buildings have been used as movie sets for historic Chinese films. The town is preparing for a massive renovation but we can take our chances to see backstage before the refurbishing starts. We will drive back in the evening after an enchanting day in the castles of Kaiping.

Without traveling far from Shenzhen, you can see a world of architecture and revive yourself in the slower-paced villages of Guangdong province.

Saturday, January 11:
Approximately 7:00 am to 8:30 pm

Price: Adult: 545RMB, 515RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
Child 1.2-1.5m: 295RMB, 275RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
(At time of booking, please note any kids under 1.2m or folks over age 60 for further discounts.)

Price includes: Private shuttle from Shenzhen and around Kaiping, entrance tickets, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.
Does not include lunch. Dining options are very limited around the villages, so please pack a picnic lunch.

Minimum 7 people, 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 Kaiping in your introduction.

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

day trip – gankeng dec 19

Discover something different in Shenzhen when we visit the Gankeng Hakka Village, one of the original ten villages predating modern Shenzhen. The Hakka people migrated over the centuries from central China into Guangdong and Fujian provinces and play an important part in the culture of coastal Guangdong. This village was founded in the early Qing dynasty.

On our visit we can see the old village and sample Hakka rice wine and street snacks. Lanterns and red wish ribbons stream the streets around the old well, a central part of the original village. A new museum complex has rotating exhibits of classical Chinese artwork and artifacts. In recent years the area is being developed by OCT as a rural village experience with architecture from other provinces in China like Guizhou, Anhui, and Guangxi. A must in Gankeng village is a hearty Hakka lunch with dishes like squirrel fish, Hakka niang tofu, and clay baked chicken. Not many know that such a traditional place like this exists within our modern city.

Thursday, December 19
Approx. 8:30-15:00

Price: Adult: 225RMB, Child: 130RMB
Includes Private transportation, Lunch, entrance ticket to Phoenix Valley museum, and tour by Greta

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – kaiping dec 16

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 top hometown of overseas Chinese. One in ten people with Chinese heritage living overseas have roots from this region.

It is also the hometown of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Whereas palace and courtyard architecture throughout China expands out as it grows, the diaolou goes up. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. Those that emigrated sent back money they earned abroad, and sometimes brought back Western designs and furnishings adding to the distinction of their diaolou. 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.


This is a special offer to see these UNESCO recognized sites in just a one day trip from Shenzhen. Our private shuttle will take us from Shenzhen to Kaiping, taking about three hours.

First we’ll visit the Zili village (自力村). Several diaolou are set amongst the rice paddies, including two maintaining their original furnishings. Go inside and climb to the top for classic views of your surroundings. From Zili village, we will head to Li Garden (立园). Along the way we’ll see village life, women farming the rice paddies, and other diaolou dotting the greenway. Li Yuan is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty design, but it also incorporates western and middle eastern elements into its myriad gardens.

After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue through the rice fields, which with all the watchtowers and arcades might be starting to look like someplace between King’s Landing and Winterfell. Finally we’ll visit Jinjiangli (锦江里) village and its fine diaolou cluster. Their turrets, arches and colorful frescoes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to medieval Italy. On our way out of town we’ll make a stop by Chikan (赤坎) town, whose many western buildings have been used as movie sets for historic Chinese films. The town is preparing for a massive renovation but we can take our chances to see backstage before the refurbishing starts. We will drive back in the evening after an enchanting day in the castles of Kaiping.

Without traveling far from Shenzhen, you can see a world of architecture and revive yourself in the slower-paced villages of Guangdong province.

Monday, December 16:
Approximately 7:00 am to 8:30 pm

Price: Adult: 545RMB, 515RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
Child 1.2-1.5m: 295RMB, 275RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
(At time of booking, please note any kids under 1.2m or folks over age 60 for further discounts.)

Price includes: Private shuttle from Shenzhen and around Kaiping, entrance tickets, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.
Does not include lunch. Dining options are very limited around the villages, so please pack a picnic lunch.

Minimum 7 people, 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 Kaiping in your introduction.

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

day trip – watertown dec 14

小桥流水人家 To make your home by a small bridge and flowing water.

These words describe the idyllic scenery of Chinese villages, which people come from across continents to see, often seeking out the tourist canal towns around Shanghai. But we have such a quaint village right in our backyard around the Pearl River Delta. The irrigated towns and paddies of Guangzhou and Foshan are a prime but overlooked place to find a classic scene of Chinese life.

On this day trip, we’ll head to the outer villages of Shunde district, part of Foshan just to the west of Guangzhou.

In the water town of Fengjian, you can wander the shaded streets of this village, catching glimpses of the local people’s relaxed life. Fishermen repair a net, two neighbors play chess along the river banks.

Shunde is also home to some of the most famous dishes of Cantonese cuisine, especially the popular desserts double skinned milk and ginger milk. We can taste these plus other snacks and sweets while lounging near the flowing river.

You can also take your family for a paddle in a traditional wooden boat in a loop around the canals. (Price not included in tour: small boat 150 per boat/up to 5 people, large boat 250 per boat/up to 10 people, pay directly to boatmen on the day)

This is the original Watertown group tour from Shenzhen. Come with China Tea Leaves to see some things that you can only see with us, and enjoy our relaxed, small group experience.

On this trip, you will experience:
– A guided tour of the village, with information about the history of the watertown and the families that lived there
– Lunch with introduction to some Shunde dishes
– Free time for shopping and riding the traditional boats
– Experience a second, non-touristy village

Price: 330RMB per adult, 235RMB for kids between 1.2-1.5m (20RMB off for Shenzhen ABNet or SWIC member), kids under 1.2m get an additional discount – contact me.

Saturday, December 14
Depart 8:00AM, return Shenzhen 6:00PM

Default pickup in Shekou. Contact me if you are outside of Shekou for other pickup options.

includes round trip private shuttle, access to two water towns, lunch and Cantonese dessert, and tour

Minimum 8

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Watertown in your introduction.
加我微信的时候,请备注Trips或Watertown;如果没有,我可能不加你。

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

day trip – huizhou beach december 7

Quayside lanes lazing in the noonday sun, the only sounds are a sizzling wok behind a speckless doorway. On this new trip from China Tea Leaves, we’ll skip town to find brilliant-colored villages and an easy-going beach town in our neighbor Huizhou.

To the east of Shenzhen, a taste of Minnan culture seeps in the the local culture from nearby Fujian province. Here temples celebrate stories unique to this region, under sweeping cornices decorated in the distinctive multi-colored mosaic tiles you find in Xiamen and Fuzhou. Lanes are further spotted with clan houses and temples in crimson and turquoise green; everyone’s door is swept neat as a pin and festooned in orange and red couplets.

After our village exploration, we’ll head to one of Huizhou’s best coasts on Xunliao Bay, with powdery sand, then enjoy some local Hakka and barbecue dishes.

This may become your go-to escape for a holiday in the sun.

Price: 390RMB per adult, 240 per kid 1.2-1.5m, 190 under 1.2m and needs a seat.
includes private transportation, bbq dinner and guide.
Please pack lunch and snacks for lunch.
Ask about discounted partner price – available for ABNet members or SWIC members

Group: 8-14 max

Saturday, December 7
8:00 Depart Shenzhen
10:00 Arrive Huizhou
Walking tour, exploration, Picnic lunch in villages (please pack lunch yourself)
Shuttle to beach, short walking tour in town, then free time on the beach
Food court barbecue dinner (included)
19:00 Depart Huizhou
~21:30 Arrive Shenzhen

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – huizhou beach town nov 2

Quayside lanes lazing in the noonday sun, the only sounds are a sizzling wok behind a speckless doorway. On this new trip from China Tea Leaves, we’ll skip town to find brilliant-colored villages and an easy-going beach town in our neighbor Huizhou.

To the east of Shenzhen, a taste of Minnan culture seeps in the the local culture from nearby Fujian province. Here temples celebrate stories unique to this region, under sweeping cornices decorated in the distinctive multi-colored mosaic tiles you find in Xiamen and Fuzhou. Lanes are further spotted with clan houses and temples in crimson and turquoise green; everyone’s door is swept neat as a pin and festooned in orange and red couplets.

After our village exploration, we’ll head to one of Huizhou’s best coasts on Xunliao Bay, with powdery sand, then enjoy some local Hakka and barbecue dishes.

This may become your go-to escape for a holiday in the sun.

Price: 390RMB per adult, 240 per kid 1.2-1.5m, 190 under 1.2m and needs a seat.
includes private transportation, bbq dinner and guide.
Please pack lunch and snacks for lunch.
Ask about discounted partner price – available for ABNet members or SWIC members

Group: 8-14 max

Saturday, November 2
8:00 Depart Shenzhen
10:00 Arrive Huizhou
Walking tour, exploration, Picnic lunch in villages (please pack lunch yourself)
Shuttle to beach, short walking tour in town, then free time on the beach
Food court barbecue dinner (included)
19:00 Depart Huizhou
~21:30 Arrive Shenzhen

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

weekend – guizhou november 23-24

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 with transfer in Guangzhou

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 23-24
Depart from Shenzhen North Saturday 7:05am, return Shenzhen 20:58pm

Group size: 4-10

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

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)

day trip – kaiping november 9 and 18

This trip will be offered both Saturday November 9th and Monday November 18th.

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 top hometown of overseas Chinese. One in ten people with Chinese heritage living overseas have roots from this region.

It is also the hometown of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Whereas palace and courtyard architecture throughout China expands out as it grows, the diaolou goes up. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. Those that emigrated sent back money they earned abroad, and sometimes brought back Western designs and furnishings adding to the distinction of their diaolou. 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.

This is a special offer to see these UNESCO recognized sites in just a one day trip from Shenzhen. Our private shuttle will take us from Shenzhen to Kaiping, taking about three hours.

First we’ll visit the Zili village (自力村). Several diaolou are set amongst the rice paddies, including two maintaining their original furnishings. Go inside and climb to the top for classic views of your surroundings. From Zili village, we will head to Li Garden (立园). Along the way we’ll see village life, women farming the rice paddies, and other diaolou dotting the greenway. Li Yuan is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty design, but it also incorporates western and middle eastern elements into its myriad gardens.

After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue through the rice fields, which with all the watchtowers and arcades might be starting to look like someplace between King’s Landing and Winterfell. Finally we’ll visit Jinjiangli (锦江里) village and its fine diaolou cluster. Their turrets, arches and colorful frescoes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to medieval Italy. On our way out of town we’ll make a stop by Chikan (赤坎) town, whose many western buildings have been used as movie sets for historic Chinese films. The town is preparing for a massive renovation but we can take our chances to see backstage before the refurbishing starts. We will drive back in the evening after an enchanting day in the castles of Kaiping.

Without traveling far from Shenzhen, you can see a world of architecture and revive yourself in the slower-paced villages of Guangdong province.

Saturday, November 9, or Monday, November 18:
Approximately 7:00 am to 8:30 pm

Price: Adult: 545RMB, 515RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
Child 1.2-1.5m: 295RMB, 275RMB SWIC or ABNet member.

Price includes: Private shuttle from Shenzhen and around Kaiping, entrance tickets, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.
Does not include lunch. Dining options are very limited around the villages, so please pack a picnic lunch.

Minimum 7 people, 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 Kaiping in your introduction.

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