day trip – watertown october 27

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.

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, October 27
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)

outing – fairy lake october 26

Let’s get out for a half day exploration of Shenzhen’s botanical treasures and a special temple!

On Saturday October 26 we will go together to the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden (仙湖植物园). The lush settings of the large park are the green lungs and heart of Shenzhen, sitting at the foot of Wutong Mountain, Shenzhen’s tallest peak.

The Botanical Garden features 1,349 acres of wild and landscaped tropical vegetation, all around the namesake Fairy Lake, or Lake of the Immortals. Stately trees line the winding roads wrapping the lake, over which looks the grand Hongfa Temple. 

The Hongfa Temple was founded and began construction in 1983 by abbot Ben Huan. This Buddhist temple was the first new temple to be built in China after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Its courtyards ascend the hill in a series of bright tile roofs. Visitors light incense and bow before the grand Mahavira Hall. A new phase of the temple has recently been opened to the west side, with an elegant pagoda rising up in the mist surrounding Wutong Mountain. 

After visiting the temple, we will explore some of the best botanical areas of the garden. Hundreds of miniature bougainvillea and evergreens make up the bonsai garden, a hothouse is filled with diverse cacti and succulents, and a pine garden evokes feelings of Japan with an arcing red bridge punctuating the framed view.

A half day out allows you to enjoy the greatness of nature in the subtropics of Shenzhen. 

Saturday October 26
9:30 Meet Huangbeiling metro
Bus to Fairy Lake Botanical Garden
10:30-11:00 Visit Hongfa Temple
11:00-13:00 Visit Botanical areas
13:00 Finish, continue to visit the gardens or lunch on your own

Price: 58RMB per person, includes garden entrance ticket, shuttle bus inside the park, bus from Huangbeiling, and a bottle of water

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – dapeng october 24

The clear October sun is still shining, so let’s get ourselves to the seaside, for some history and a bit of fun.

Shenzhen is bookended in history, with Dapeng Ancient Fortress holding down the eastern extremity. Dapeng Ancient Fortress 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.

We’ll start the day with a tour of the grand Dongshan Temple, a renovated Buddhist temple near the Dapeng Fortress. Wander the ornate courtyards, discovering the halls of Guanyin, the eighteen arhats, and perhaps even the place where the legendary mythical bird or Roc, or “Peng,” landed to give Dapeng its name.

Jiaochangwei is another former military village, still situated directly on the seaside. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many colorful hostels and restaurants for a weekend beach getaway. Western food is available for lunch in the cafes of Jiaochangwei.

Delve into local history while enjoying the sea air in Dapeng and Jiaochangwei.

Thursday October 24
Adults: 200RMB
Kids 1.2-1.5m: 150RMB

includes round trip private shuttle, guide of temple, fortress, and beachside walk by Greta. Lunch additional.

SWIC or ABNet members receive a discount of 20RMB off each

Departure: 8:00am
Return: 5:00pm
will be confirmed based on guest needs

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

Minimum 6

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – huizhou october 19

Quayside lanes too hot 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 fine 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, October 19
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 – dapeng october 12

The clear October sun is still shining, so let’s get ourselves to the seaside, for some history and a bit of fun.

Shenzhen is bookended in history, with Dapeng Ancient Fortress holding down the eastern extremity. Dapeng Ancient Fortress 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.

We’ll start the day with a tour of the grand Dongshan Temple, a renovated Buddhist temple near the Dapeng Fortress. Wander the ornate courtyards, discovering the halls of Guanyin, the eighteen arhats, and perhaps even the place where the legendary mythical bird or Roc, or “Peng,” landed to give Dapeng its name.

Jiaochangwei is another former military village, still situated directly on the seaside. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many colorful hostels and restaurants for a weekend beach getaway. Western food is available for lunch in the cafes of Jiaochangwei.

Delve into local history while enjoying the sea air in Dapeng and Jiaochangwei.

Saturday October 12
Adults: 200RMB
Kids 1.2-1.5m: 150RMB

SWIC or ABNet members receive a discount of 20RMB off each

includes round trip private shuttle, guide of temple, fortress, and beachside walk by Greta. Lunch additional.

Departure: 8:00am
Return: 5:00pm
will be confirmed based on guest needs

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

Minimum 6

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – foshan october 5

Let’s go out to discover Foshan, the colorful hometown of Cantonese traditions! Time spent in Foshan’s storied neighborhoods always makes for a great day out to learn about kung fu, lion dancing, ancient ceramics and traditional culture.

Foshan city is part of the Pearl River Delta and the third largest city in Guangdong, with distinctive Cantonese cultural traditions and rich history. Its name means “Buddha mountain.”

On this day trip, first we will visit the Nanfeng Ancient Kiln. Here you can see a ceramics kiln that has been in continuous operation since the Ming dynasty, for over 500 years. There are also many charming sculptural alleyways and shops to find a wonderful ceramic souvenir.

From here, we’ll head to lunch in Lingnan Tiandi, a historic district developed with many restaurants and quaint cafes. Cost of lunch is on your own. I will recommend a few restaurants to choose from, and provide a suggested menu to order from. I will recommend that groups of 3-5 dine together, rather than our entire group together for efficiency at the restaurants.

After lunch, we will explore the Ancestral Temple (祖庙 zu miao), which has been a central part of Foshan people’s religion for centuries. In this well preserved temple, you can also learn about Ip Man and Wang Fei Hong, two major kung fu masters from Foshan. The elements of Cantonese opera are demonstrated at the temple’s own traditional stage. 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.

We will catch a lively performance of the temple’s students demonstrating the Foshan styles of kung fu and lion dance. The thrilling colors and traditions of Foshan will add to your best memories of your time in China.

Price: 360RMB per adult, 270RMB for kids between 1.2-1.5m (25RMB off for Shenzhen ABNet or SWIC member), kids under 1.2m get an additional discount – contact me.

Saturday October 5
Depart 7:30AM, return Shenzhen approximately 6:00PM

2 Pick ups by private bus will be arranged around Shenzhen, to be convenient to public transportation, for example Chegongmiao metro and Sea World metro.

includes round trip private shuttle, entrance tickets, including kung fu and lion dance show, and tour

Minimum 7 to keep this price. If fewer, extra charge may apply. Ask me for details.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – macau october 7

Our neighbor across the Pearl River Delta, Macau, has an outsized reputation as the “Las Vegas of the East,” and a quick European mini-holiday. But beyond the glittering lights and tourist-flooded streets, you will 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 the 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.

Price: 625RMB for adults, 520 for kids age 6 and up
includes round trip round trip ferry to Macau, transportation in Macau, tour, and glass of wine for adults
Ferry to Macau about 1 hour.

Minimum group size 5 to keep this price

I will guide the group to restaurants in Macau, cost of lunch on your own.

Monday, October 7
8:00am Ferry from Shekou Ferry Terminal
9:00am Arrive Macau
Walking tour, lunch, wine bar stop
18:30 Ferry from Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal
19:30 Return to Shekou

Please let me know if you would like to board a later ferry and I will check availability for you.

Note: You will need original passport for this trip, and enough entries on your visa to come back into China.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

day trip – dapeng october 3

It’s the biggest travel holiday in China, so let’s get ourselves to the seaside, for some history and a bit of fun.

Shenzhen is bookended in history, with Dapeng Ancient Fortress holding down the eastern extremity. Dapeng Ancient Fortress 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.

We’ll start the day with a tour of the grand Dongshan Temple, a renovated Buddhist temple near the Dapeng Fortress. Wander the ornate courtyards, discovering the halls of Guanyin, the eighteen arhats, and perhaps even the place where the legendary mythical bird or Roc, or “Peng,” landed to give Dapeng its name.

Jiaochangwei is another former military village, still situated directly on the seaside. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many colorful hostels and restaurants for a weekend beach getaway. Western food is available for lunch in the cafes of Jiaochangwei.

Delve into local history while enjoying the sea air in Dapeng and Jiaochangwei.

Thursday October 3
Adults: 200RMB
Kids 1.2-1.5m: 150RMB

SWIC or ABNet members receive a discount of 20RMB off each

includes round trip private shuttle, guide of temple, fortress, and beachside walk by Greta. Lunch additional.

Departure: 8:30am
Return: 4:30pm
will be confirmed based on guest needs

Private shuttle picks up from Shekou (for other pick ups contact me). Journey to Dapeng about 1.5 hours.
Return back into town may take longer as it is the Golden Week. We can discuss as a group the return time; either try to return as normal by around 4:30/5:00pm, or stay later in Dapeng area and come back after dinner. Staying later may affect price. Discuss with Greta for more details.

Minimum 6

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

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

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

yunnan paradise – october holiday 2019

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 Baisha, outside of Lijiang; Shangri-La; and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

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 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.

On our last day in Shaxi we’ll be able to catch the action at the Sideng market, frequented by villagers who come down from the hills for their weekly supplies.

From Shaxi we will head back 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.

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.

After unwinding in Shuhe, 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.

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 Shuhe, before your departure flight 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.

October 2: Arrive Lijiang, transfer to Shaxi
October 3: Shaxi Shibaoshan temple and hiking, stay Shaxi
October 4: Transfer to Shuhe, stay Shuhe
October 5: Visit Baisha, Tibetan temple hike
October 6: Transfer to Shangri-La, visit old town and monastery, stay Shangri-La
October 7: End, arrange your flight out from Lijiang or Shangri-La

Optional:
October 8: Transfer to Tiger Leaping Gorge, day one of hiking, stay TLG
October 9: Day two of Tiger Leaping Gorge, return to Shuhe
October 10: Flight out from Lijiang

Golden Week only October 2-7: 4680RMB
Extended with Tiger Leaping Gorge October 2-10: 5890RMB
Hotels (double occupancy), Private Ground Transportation, Entrance Tickets, Meals, Travel Insurance, and guide by Greta

(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 – zhuhai september 13

Beach or mountain? Zhuhai treats you to both and much more, in a one day jaunt from Shenzhen.

Here’s a day out across the sea, in our Pearl River Delta neighbor Zhuhai. Like Shenzhen, it is a modern city and special economic zone, but with only 1.5 million people and miles of sea coast, it truly feels like a seaside respite from daily life.

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. (covered in tour price)

We’ll walk along the Lover’s Road, with swaying palms above and the delta’s lapping waters stretching out to the horizon. In Zhuhai, a visit to the Fisher Girl is a must. A lovely symbol of the city, she stands strong amongst the tide-worn rocks holding aloft a great pearl. Legend holds that she came to Zhuhai as the immortal Dragon Girl and fell in love with the lushness of Zhuhai, as well as one of its mortal inhabitants.

From the coast we’ll head up the nearby Jinghsan mountain, for views over the islands of central Zhuhai, and may come upon the Fisher Boy, who calls down to his paramour within sight below. A temple dedicated to Guanyin is at the base of the mountain, sheltered in a sacred cave. There is a small lake with mini-boats for rent, and many places for young tots to play.

In Zhuhai, there are many great dining options, from Indian to Thai to seafood restaurants along the promenade overlooking the sea. I will describe options when you book.

After lunch, you can choose to either stay near the coast or head to a historical curiosity of Zhuhai, the recreated Old Summer Palace of Beijing. (both options included in tour price) The original was the imperial summer retreat of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties until it was sacked by British and French forces as part of the conflict between those nations and China which was the Opium Wars. Today, the grounds in Beijing still lay in ruins, but since 1997 this theme park allows one to experience the allures of the once grand palace. A highlight is the “western” style courtyard with its baroque facades and bronze zodiac animal fountains.

We’ll return to our side of the delta with the sun sinking into the pearly waters behind us.

Friday, September 13: approximately 7:50 am to 6:30 pm

Price: Adult: 405RMB, 385RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
Child 1.2-1.5m: 245RMB, 225RMB SWIC or ABNet member.

Price includes: Round trip ferry ticket to Zhuhai, public transportation around Zhuhai, entrance tickets, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.
Does not include lunch. I will choose restaurant/s based on group feedback before the trip.

Minimum 8 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 Zhuhai in your introduction.

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