China Family Holiday
Take your family on a memorable adventure through China and see the many sides of this colourful, cultural and naturally beautiful nation. The perfect blending of the familiar and the novel, on this 10-day tour you and your family will marvel at the incredible Great Wall of China and Terracotta Warriors, get lost in the quiet beauty of Yangshuo and be dazzled by the colourful markets and nightlife of the big cities. Boasting some of the grandest urban metropolises and most delicious cuisine in the world, China is an ideal destination for the whole family.
Finish: Hong Kong
Ages: 5 - 99
Accommodation: Hotels (10 nights), Guesthouse (1 night)
Destination: Hong Kong
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is a place where ancient history and the modern world collide. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. It’s important that you attend, as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information for each member of your family. If you’re going to be late, please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. After the formalities are out of the way, why not head out to enjoy an optional Peking duck group dinner and get to know each other over the first of many superb Chinese meals.
After breakfast get stuck into the sights with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the largest of its kind in the world and the symbolic centre of Chinese power. Take some time to soak up the immense size of the square and then continue to the maze of buildings that is the Forbidden City. Built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all that time, the courtyards, great halls and dragon and phoenix imagery give an idea of the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power. We then venture out to the most iconic place in China - the Great Wall. Travelling by private minivan we head into the countryside to a section of the Great Wall (approximately 3 hours). You'll spend the night in a family run village guesthouse. It's a great chance to sample local produce and tonight you wil try your hand at dumpling making with the family. Special information: Please note that our guesthouse tonight is relatively basic comparing to the hotels we stay on this trip, though all rooms have private facilities and wifi is available. Despite the basic facilities of the guesthouse, you'll surely enjoy the warm hospitality of our hosts here. In winter months (Nov-Feb) accommodation may be in an alternate guesthouse from warmer months, with better heating.
This morning in the guesthouse you will learn the local craft of paper cutting. Paper-cutting has been a traditional decorative craft since the Chinese invented paper in AD 105, with designs commonly displayed on windows and doors around the country. It's a fun activity for the entire family. Next up spend time exploring, taking photos and learning the history of the mighty Great Wall of China. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements and an iconic destination. You’ll often feel like you have the whole wall to yourself as you take your time strolling along the wall, which snakes through the hills almost endlessly into the distance. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. We then take the three-hour drive back to Beijing by private minivan. This evening, choose whether you would like to join your fellow family travellers for a group dinner. Hungry for more of China’s cultural delights? You may also choose to watch an optional acrobatic performance at the Chaoyang Theatre this evening.
Jump on the bullet train to Xi’an and experience a form of rail travel like no other. While the distance would take around 11 hours to complete on a regular train, you’ll be in Xi’an in just over five hours, with great views of the countryside along the way! Arrive at around 3 pm and head to the hotel to drop off your bags and freshen up before exploring this historic city on a walking tour. Once known as the main eastern terminus of the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an served as the imperial capital of 11 dynasties and holds a wealth of history within its cobbled pavements. The city itself has spread beyond these walls, but the centre still retains the original grid formation, making it easy to navigate. Following your tour, the remainder of the afternoon is free to further explore. When night falls embark on another tour and see a different side of the city. Take in the view of the Bell and Drum Tower lit up against a black sky and sit down to a classic dumpling dinner.
Today you’ll visit the vast, stone-faced army that is the Terracotta Warriors, a militia built to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang over 2000 years ago. Discovered by farmers in 1974, several pits are now open to the public. Make the 1.5-hour drive to the site and spend some time marvelling at the sheer size and detail of this impressive tomb. Head to the attached museum to see some more artefacts and learn a little more about the ambitious, eccentric ruler who remains sealed in his mausoleum surrounded by his soldiers to this day. Qin Shi Huang sought eternal life, and while he may not have achieved it in the literal sense, the fact that his creation remains a source of wonder to visitors from around the world is a kind of immortality.
Wave goodbye to Xi’an and board a bullet train bound for Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Spend about 3.5 hours on the journey, arriving just after midday. Chengdu is most famous for two things – the pandas living in the mountains, and the delicious, spicy food. You'll get to enjoy both while you're here! Spend two-hours on a walking tour with your leader that takes in an Old Town that looks like a film set and the orange Tibetan Quarter, finishing at Tianfu Square, where a giant statue of Chairman Mao stands tall. Then spend a relaxing afternoon in bustling Renmin Park (People's Park), where you can mingle with locals drinking tea, exercising, singing, playing Mahjong or relaxing in bamboo chairs. Don't be surprised if somebody comes up to you with an offer to clean your ears! This evening, head out for a dinner of one of Sichuan’s most beloved dishes – the hot pot! This is the choose your own adventure of cuisine, and the whole family is sure to enjoy selecting which ingredients to add to the simmering broth.
Embrace an early start to spend the morning watching gorgeous giant and red pandas in the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. As pandas are only active for a few hours of the day, it’s important you rise and shine to catch them at their most interesting. China’s national pride, the giant panda is among the world’s most threatened animals, but here you can witness the conservation efforts and see these majestic creatures in a close approximation of their habitat. Spend three hours with these wonderful creatures, watching them play, eat bamboo and climb the trees. If you’re lucky (and visiting between July and September), you might even get to see newborns taking their first steps in the nursery. The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you wish. Maybe head to Wide and Narrow Alley, a popular set of alleyways where you can take a stroll and see craftspeople and food stalls aplenty.
Make sure you’ve got books or games ready for a half-day of travel, beginning with a two-hour flight to Guilin, followed by a two-hour transfer to Yangshuo. Located deep within the karst peaks of Guangxi province, Yangshuo is a haven for many visitors, away from the hustle and bustle of ever-developing China; a place where you can stop slow your pace and relax. Get settled into the hotel, which is located among stunning countryside, then pay a visit to the local farmers' market, where you can get a feel for the regional produce and daily life. Make a short drive to Chaolong, a small village where you can put your new knowledge to use and try your hand at cooking Chinese cuisine. This immersive class will allow the whole family to learn the techniques and skills of Chinese cuisine from experienced chefs, and after an afternoon trying out delicious recipes you can eat what you’ve made for dinner! The recipes selected are relatively simple to replicate, and feature ingredients readily available outside of China, so you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back home with your skills.
Rise and shine for a journey into one of China’s most enchanting landscapes. At 8 am you’ll strap on your provided helmet and jump on a hired bike to pedal out of town and through the surrounding countryside, past emerald-green karst mountains and lush fields. All equipment is provided for the bike ride: all bikes, helmets for both adults and children. The bike ride is from 8am to lunchtime. On the bike ride you will be accompanied with one or two local guides. You will be transferred back to the hotel after lunch to rest your weary legs! NOTE: for those not wishing to ride: your leader can assist you to hire a van or taxi to take you along the route to view the rural setting meeting the group at the lunch stop. This will be at your own expense.
Today you’ll make the epic journey from Yangshuo to Hong Kong (leaving at 8am and arriving around 6pm) so it’s important to have books, games and devices at the ready. Even though there are power sockets on the train, it’s also a good idea to have any devices you wish to use fully charged, as they may be in use by other passengers. First, drive 2 hours by private bus to Guilin North train station, where you’ll take the bullet train to Shenzhen North station. From here, you’ll take another bus approximately 2.5 hours across the border to Mong Kok. After a short metro ride (approx. 10 minutes) you will arrive at your hotel in the vibrant hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. If you have the time (and more importantly, the energy) after arriving and settling in to your hotel, you may wish to end the day with the Symphony of Lights, a spectacular laser show that plays out on the futuristic buildings along Victoria Harbour. The show starts at 8 pm, and it’s free to watch. If a day in transit has you feeling drained however, rest easy knowing you’ve got a full day tomorrow to explore the city.
Dive into Hong Kong after breakfast this morning on a leader-led orientation walk. Under Chinese rule since 1997, Hong Kong is a vibrant and fast paced city only minutes away from quiet islands and beaches. The entire day is yours to spend as you see fit. Hong Kong Island is a great area to explore on foot, with plenty of family friendly hiking trails on offer with varying levels of difficulty. The Peak offers stunning views over the city, and can be reached by several trails or alternatively by tram. Ask your leader for details, but make sure you pack snacks and water if you plan to hike – there are no replenishing stations along the way. A more relaxing way to spend an hour is the Stay Ferry Harbour Tour, which takes you past the city’s landmarks and around the stunning harbour. The Hong Kong Science Museum is perfect for families with young kids, particularly if you’re visiting in rainy season (April to June) and don’t want to risk being caught out. Many of the exhibits are interactive, and entry prices are reasonable. This evening, maybe head out for a final meal with your fellow families and toast to a trip well spent.
It’s time to end this enlightening journey into the heart of China – there are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time following check out.
- Hong Kong - Orientation Walk
Beijing Dongfang Hotel 北京东方饭店
11 Wanming Road 地址：北京市西城区万明路11号
Phone: +86 1063014466
Metropark Hotel Kowloon 九龍維景酒店
No.75 Waterloo Road 地址 :香港九龍窩打老道七十五號
HONG KONG, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF CHINA
Phone: +852 27611711
Fax: +852 27611711
FAMILY TRIP: Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
AGE: Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
DISCOUNT: A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.
PASSPORT DETAILS: Please provide Intrepid or your booking agent with a colour scanned copy of the personal details page from your passport at time of booking.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
BEING CONNECTED IN CHINA. Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites such as Google, Instagram and Facebook as well as some email platforms.
All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
CHINA China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safety concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, electronic devices, mobile phones, purses and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, Beijing International Airport, major international events and conferences and popular bar areas after dark. There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint. Counterfeit bank notes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine bank notes for counterfeits. A common scam when paying a taxi fare with a RMB100 note occurs when the taxi driver swaps the note for a fake note, and returns the fake note to the passenger, refusing to accept it for payment as it’s counterfeit. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so. Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.
Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites. It’s important to let your family and friends know that you might not be able to stay in touch over your usual methods, be it – social media or email. The Chinese Government control and restrict certain websites. Here are some of the most popular websites around the world that are blocked in China: Google, Dropbox, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, WordPress. It may be possible to still access some of these websites using a VPN. If you wish to stay in touch with your friends and family through the above blocked sites, we suggest you research using a VPN on your device prior to travel.
With the modern world you may want to bring along tablets of smartphones for the children to document their adventure - there are a wide variety of apps out there which we suggest downloading before you depart. There will be opportunities to charge ( just make sure you bring the correct adapter) and there will be wi-fi available on your trip, although it will probably not be at the speeds you are used to at home and it won't be available everywhere.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you and your family are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you and your family will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong if you have time there before joining your trip. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for this trip valid for 30 days.
Please make sure if you have a transit anywhere in China before arriving at your destination that you check with your airline to see if the transit will require using your visa.
INFORMATION & DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE VISA APPLICATION:
You will be provided with a Hotel List and Letter of Invitation to assist you in applying for your visa. These are the primary documents you should use to apply for your visa as they are issued by our local office in China.
Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
+86 10 6406 8022
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this, email us with your booking number and trip details.
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided from us together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the consulate or not and will assist with your application.
* Itinerary – print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website www.intrepidtravel.com and include it with your application, marking the dates you will visit each destination if required (exception - Tibet tours)
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photos (up to 4 may be required)
* Check with the consulate for any other specific requirements
* Please note that if you are not applying for Chinese visa from your passport country, you may be required to submit further documents, ie. employment letter, immigration card, etc. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for specific requirements.
You will be given a specific itinerary to use if booking a Tibet trip. While Tibet is not off limits to travellers, you must first obtain a Chinese visa BEFORE we apply for your Tibet permit on your behalf. Do not mention Tibet anywhere on your application form, even if your tour goes here. Including Tibet on your visa application without being booked on a government arranged tour will lead to your visa being rejected.
Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements for Hong Kong.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS:
Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking or at least 30 days prior to travel:
*Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip in case it is also requested.
HONG KONG VISAS
Although Hong Kong is now part of the People’s Republic of China it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. Most nationalities can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa.
If you are travelling to mainland China via Hong Kong you must get a Chinese visa before arrival at the border. If you are entering Hong Kong via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland you will need a double or multiple entry visa for mainland China.
Why we love it
Though not quite visible from space, the Great Wall of China is still massive! Wander this iconic monument and learn about its history
Travel back in time to the era of China’s powerful Emperors in Beijing while you and your family explore the halls and courtyards of the Forbidden City
Experience whizzing through the Chinese landscape on futuristic bullet trains
The kids will enjoy meeting the pandas in Chengdu on a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Watch these adorable creatures at play, get to know the super-cute red ones, and learn about important conservation work
Uncover the secrets of Chinese food in a cooking class in Yangshuo
Wrap up this eye-opening adventure in Hong Kong – a fast-paced explosion for the senses that’s an exciting mix of old and new, East and West
Is this trip right for you
This trip uses a mix of transport for a local experience – bullet trains, the metro, private vehicles and public buses – some of which give a great chance to interact with locals.
The trip also covers a fair amount of ground to maximise experiences and enable you to see much of this vast country, so be prepared for some long journeys and alot of walking!
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip for your family please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess you and your entire families ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please also consider any medication you may require for your children.
As a rule we recommend you and your family don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
It is best to avoid dark coloured clothes such as blue and black while on safari. These colours can attract the biting tsetse fly.
AIR POLLUTION IN CHINA:
Air pollution is a recognized issue for travelers in China, particularly in Beijing where the geographical location of the city exacerbates its effects. We provide travellers with certified PM (particulate matter) face masks as an option to be worn as protection during times of high levels of pollution. On days where the Air Quality Index (AQI) is above 101, some activities may be altered for the health and safety of our travellers and leaders. The US Embassy in Beijing provides a hourly updated AQI reading and explanation of the levels here: http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/aqirecent3.html
The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these type of medical conditions.
You can check the pollution index levels for many cities in China on the following website: http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you and your family experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Please ensure you tell them of any dietary requirements you and your family may have. We know children can be fussy eaters at times so we do recommend you bring any snacks from home to have throughout the trip.
To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you and your family to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao). ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit/debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and look for ATMs with your card logo. You may find that your card does not work in certain ATMs, so we recommend purchasing some CNY in your home country so you have some cash for your first day.
Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt.
Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change left over CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go.
TIPPING IN CHINA:
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.
In China tipping is not compulsory, but has become expected in the travel industry and is considered a way of showing appreciation for great service.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
- Restaurants, markets, and taxi drivers - tipping is not customary and is not expected by the locals.
- Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group.
- Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$2-US$4 per day for drivers.
- Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$4-US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Depending on the type of trip you are doing and the number of local staff involved, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent. The record can then be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
In China specifically, tipping is not compulsory, but is expected in the travel industry and is considered a way of showing appreciation for great service. Restaurants, markets, and taxi drivers - tipping is not customary and is not expected by the locals. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$2-US$4 per day for drivers. Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$4-US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
The official currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).
ATMs and currency exchange facilities are widely available in Hong Kong.
What to take
DRINKING WATER IN CHINA: Tap water is not generally palatable, however in China, clean and safe drinking water is widely available for free in hotels, restaurants, bus and train stations. This is often provided as hot water as Chinese are great tea drinkers. Consider bringing a bottle that you can fill with hot water and allow to cool down. Alternatively, ask your leader for their favourite kind of tea and stay hydrated the local way!
TECHNOLOGY With the modern world you may want to bring along tablets of smartphones for the children to document their adventure - there are a wide variety of apps out there which we suggest downloading before you depart. There will be opportunities to charge ( just make sure you bring the correct adapter) and there will be wi-fi available on your trip, although it will probably not be at the speeds you are used to at home and it won't be available everywhere.
Climate and seasonal
CHINESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS:
Please note that China's national holidays are the peak travel season for Chinese nationals. During this time, literally the whole country is on the move - that's over a billion people. Although these are fascinating and exciting times to travel in China, please be aware your group will almost definitely experience transport delays and massive crowds at tourist attractions and train stations. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train or flight tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic chaotic and changes to the itinerary are often necessary as a result. If clockwork organisation is important to you we advise you book outside of the weeks of the extended Chinese New Year in January/February, in the first week of May and the first week of October. If you decide to travel during this period please come with an open mind and be prepared for changes on the ground.
Here are the major holiday periods in China:
Chinese New Year: Feb 4-10 2019, Jan 24-30 2020
Qingming Festival: Apr 5-7 2019, Apr 4-6 2020
May Day: May 1 2019, May 1-3 2020
Dragon Boat Festival: Jun 7-9 2019, Jun 25-27 2020
Mid Autumn Day: Sep 13-15 2019, falls within National Day holidays 2020
National Day: Oct 1-7 2019, Oct 1-8 2020
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip.
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:
Intrepid’s Local Operator: +861064067328
Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below:
- Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter.
- Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
- Be an animal-friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions.
- Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy.
- Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone.
- Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
- Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
- Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation.
Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.
Intrepid and Playground Ideas.
Playground ideas was started in response for a worldwide need for more playgrounds. Using largely locally found materials means these playgrounds are cheap and can be put together by local people. Children provided with the opportunity for stimulating play in early childhood have improved ability and desire to learn leading to long term outcomes such as higher rates of employment and increased wages. Research has proven play interventions to be powerful, cost effective poverty reduction tools with sustained impact.
We are also proud to have Playground Ideas as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards building playgrounds. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/playground-ideas
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in a handful of places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you and your family travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow families will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too (for both parents and children). We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow families is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you and your family have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow families booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
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