Accommodation and Meals:
On this trip we spend 12 nights in hotels, 3 nights on a cruise boat and 3 nights on a first class sleeper train. All of the hotels and the cruise company we use are locally owned and locally staffed, which is way of boosting employment levels in the areas we visit. We also try to select accommodation for environmental awareness, which is still in its infancy in China. For example, the hotel in Beijing encourages clients switch off lights with signs, has optional daily linen changing and air-con is only turned on when temperatures hit 26 degrees outside. Where meals are not supplied, tour leaders will take clients to locally owned restaurants where food is authentic and either locally grown or sourced.
Often people can experience quite a culture shock when traveling in China, so our local guides are always keen to help clients understand the culture better and to connect more genuinely with local communities. Part of this cultural exchange and support of community is made by visiting small businesses throughout the trip. There are several occasions where guests are encouraged to do this- for example, in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, there are bazaars and food markets where it is possible to support local producers and even see crafts and food made (dumplings, pancakes, fruit drinks etc.).
Local Craft and Culture:
There is so much on offer in terms of culture on this trip. Just to name a few activities, we see the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Mosque and Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and the Leshan Buddha. We even offer optional activities where you can see the opera, an acrobat show or take a kung fu lesson! Crafts are available throughout the trip and there are some wonderful, traditionally made souvenirs available- especially in Yangshuo. Leaders will be able to advise where the best places to shop are and what should be avoided e.g. traditional medicine made from endangered animals.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.