China tailor made vacation

Please feel free to contact the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!

Toll free 1-866-821-6866

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made at any time, year round to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: China tailor made vacation

Environment

On the Tailor Made itinerary you will stay in the Red Wall Garden hotel in the quiet hutongs area of Beijing. This building used to be a local dignitaries personal house which has now been converted into a small hotel. This conversion avoided the need for the building of a new property and as it is built from the framework of a traditional Chinese hutongs home.

From Beijing you will enjoy a night in the (School House) or Brickyard, an eco-retreat at the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall of China. This eco-retreat was converted from an old tile kiln many years ago – when it was discovered the quality and pretty colours of the remaining roof tiles were what inspired the owners to save the property. In converting the kiln, the owners kept all the original structures and re-used building materials as much as possible. The retreat makes use of low-energy LED lighting and solar heating. Energy-saving information pages are provided in each guestroom to try and encourage guests to ‘do their bit’. Energy use in the retreat is strictly monitored on a monthly basis to try and see where savings can be made.

The lodge recycles all plastic and paper products. All in-room toiletries are provided in refillable dispensers to avoid the use of unnecessary plastic. Chopsticks are not disposable or offered in plastic wrappers like most Chinese restaurants. The retreat has introduced an organic composting system for kitchen waste and the fertiliser generated by the waste is used in the on-site gardens.

The village itself is situated within the boundaries of the Mutianyu Great Wall Tourism Zone. The retreat works closely with the park officials to ensure that the staff and guests observe park rules respecting protection of the Great Wall and the natural environment in the area.

In the countryside region of Yangshuo, you will stay in the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. This is a hotel which aims to offer guests a comfortable and authentic experience without compromising the local community. Inclusive in the price of the rooms and food is a 5% green tax that is used to help with various green initiatives.

The Retreat has drilled their own well and set up a cistern to reduce the impact on the water resources in the area and they don't use sprinklers but water all plants by hand. All gray water is contained in an open septic field which was built on construction of the hotel and is covered with water lilies and inhabited by snails and frogs.

The Retreat has been supplementing the water boiler's coal briquettes with agriwaste (sawdust/shredded newspaper/straw) in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint. To do this they have to make the briquettes themselves which is done by means of a screwpress which they also built. Their goal is to completely replace coal. They have also installed solar panels for hot water to try and reduce fuel consumption yet further.

When the Mountain Retreat was built, the land used was previously fallow rice terraces. The Retreat planted over 300 plants and trees including native bougainvillea, orange osmanthus trees, bananas, bamboo, birds of paradise, fig trees, pipa trees, pineapple palms and evergreens. The introduction of this flora has encouraged local wildlife back into the area including frogs, non poisonous snakes, bats and many different insects and birds. Dotted around the hotel there are also bird houses which are inhabited each year.

At Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, they do not use any disposable or single-use products. In the guestrooms you'll find refillable aluminium water bottles and a hot water flask, but no plastic water bottles. Furniture is made from local bamboo and they use groundwater-friendly chemicals for cleaning. The retreat is very careful to preserve not only this property, but to try and ensure guests make a minimal impact on the Yangshuo environment as a whole. As a certified green hotel, the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat is proud to protect the Yangshuo countryside for future generations.

To avoid the use of too many internal flights, where distances are not prohibitive, we book overnight trains between points.

Community

On the Tailor Made itinerary you will stay in the Red Wall Garden hotel in the quiet hutongs area of Beijing. This building used to be a local dignitaries personal house which has now been converted into a small hotel, it remains as an example of a fast disappearing local way of life.

From Beijing you will enjoy a night in the (School House) or Brickyard, an eco-retreat at the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall of China. All food is strictly sourced locally, some is home grown and no food is imported which significantly reduces transportation costs and thus energy expenditure. The retreat is also making a move towards using Fair Trade chocolate, coffee and tea.

The lodge recycles all plastic and paper products and revenue from recycling is used for staff benefit.

The retreat also runs a very good social responsibility programme. The retreats main aim is to provide employment and training to people in the local community, support other local businesses, promote handicrafts and procure food locally or grow it themselves. They utilise staff for outdoor cleaning, gardening and farming purposes from a local company they helped a neighbour to establish. The retreat produces courses for local school children on how to recycle, re-use, compost and conserve and each year the staff take part in a ‘community service day’ where they help to clean the village.

In the countryside region of Yangshuo, you will stay in the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. This is a hotel which aims to offer guests a comfortable and authentic experience without compromising the local community.

The Retreat pays into a government social retirement fund which many private businesses in China do not provide. They also have a health care fund to cover any medical expenses not covered by staff health insurance. Staff have comfortable dormitories on site and many eat 3 meals a day there. Two weeks annual leave is offered after the first year with one additional day for every year that the staff member serves. Also each year that the Retreat meets their financial goals, the management takes all the staff on a special learning vacation.

The Retreat invites cormorant fishermen, local song and dance troupes as well as local artists, chefs and Tai Qi instructors to perform and teach guests. They sell locally made products in the charity shop that include hand woven slippers, food and handicrafts. They also encourage staff to sell their village produce through the shop which includes honey, chili paste and soap.

The Retreat also takes guests on guided tours to explore local villages and towns introducing them to the local culture and encouraging them to spend their money in local communities.

As a certified green hotel, the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat is proud to protect the Yangshuo countryside for future generations, and educate both locals and visitors to Yangshuo on the importance of keeping it beautiful for the future.

Our ground agents only employ local guides and drivers to accompany our clients, which we feel is an important way of keeping money in the country but also in offering our clients a ‘real’ experience of China. All food in the lodges and hotels is sourced locally, helping the local rural communities wherever possible.

Popular similar vacations

China highlights tour, tailor made

China highlights tour, tailor made

Walk along the Great Wall and relax in the stunning LiRiver

From US $2319 - US $2719 11 days including domestic flights only

Shanghai to Hong Kong tour, discover China

Shanghai to Hong Kong tour, discover China

Cities, wildlife, ancient history and rolling rice paddies

From £2138 18 days excluding flights

China vacation and Yangtze river cruise

China vacation and Yangtze river cruise

A comprehensive China itinerary covering its length and breadth

From US $3405 - US $3535 19 days excluding flights

South East China vacation, culture & nature

South East China vacation, culture & nature

Discover ethnic minorities and natural wonders of China

From 1950 10 days excluding flights

Convert currencies