Contrasts of China. Skyscrapers and secret mountain monasteries

Price
$2384
+ flight to Hong Kong and back home
Duration
20 days

What you get

China
Megacities, mountains and villages
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader - traveler
Tickets
To all attractions
Accommodation
19 nights
Physical grade
Level 2 (easy) out of 5

Contrasts of China. Skyscrapers and secret mountain monasteries

Yes, we will see all the iconic sights of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou - the megacities of China. But you will be equally impressed with the charming Chinese countryside.

  • Walk between the famous skyscrapers of Hong Kong. 
  • See the main casinos of Macau. One of them boasts a recreation of Venice!
  • Ride bamboo boats along the picturesque Li river. These landscapes are officially considered the most beautiful in all of China. 
  • Trek along the Tiger Leaping Gorge, where the Yangtze River begins its journey. 
  • Spend a day with the monks in a remote mountain monastery. No electricity. No tourists. 

Trip code
CHIG

Departures

Day 1

Hong Kong Chungking Mansion Victoria harbour Light show

We arrive in Hong Kong, and check into Chungking Mansion on the main street. We found ourselves in the very center of a huge metropolis, on the street of expensive boutiques and street cafes, where glamorous people stand in line for meat on skewers. The place where we will live is a landmark in itself. Remember the movie "Chungking Express" by Wong Karwai? It was filmed here! Previously, it was the house of communal apartments, now almost all of them have been turned into small family hotels. On the first floors, people of all colors, shades and nationalities work - Pakistani tailors, African currency exchangers, Thai cafes. Anthill!

We walk to the Victoria harbour and for the first time see the very forest of skyscrapers, familiar from photographs and films. All of them are located on the opposite shore, and serve as an excellent backdrop for the famous local light show. We observe sakura flowers bloom on skyscrapers, how they burn with lights and shine with all colors. Impressive! The first evening we will spend in the thick of nightlife - on Temple Street. Choose a place for our first dinner. The best sushi in the world? Or juicy frogs?

Day 2

Tai O fishing village Big Buddha Ngong Ping 360 cable car The best dim sum in the city

In the morning we take a ferry and a bus to the island of Lantau and seem to move in time. We ended up in the fishing village of Tai O. The all of Hong Kong looked like this only a few decades ago - wooden houses on stilts, deserted beaches and wild jungles around. We will ride boats in this village, observing the traditional way of life of the locals. Life here is completely different than in the center. In the narrow pedestrian streets locals sell fresh grilled seafood, snails in soy sauce and a cold drink of hibiscus flowers. Delicious! 

We take a bus to the symbol of Hong Kong - the statue of the Big Buddha. Take 268 steps - and we stand by a statue 34 meters high, sitting on a huge lotus flower. This statue holds pieces of sharira - the cremated remains of Buddha, a sacred treasure in Buddhism. 

We descend down by the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, enjoying the views of skyscrapers, the sea, and watching the jungles and rocks under our feet. For dinner we go to the famous dim sum restaurant. This place boasts a prestigious international quality mark - Michelin star. We'll have to stand in line a bit, but the impressions are worth the wait.

Day 3

Financial center Viktoria Peak Wong Tai Sin temple Chi Lin nunnery and park

In the morning we take a ferry to Hong Kong Island - the very skyscrapers we saw across the strait on the first evening. This is a business district, the financial heart of the world! We walk between endless skyscrapers to the funicular, which has been working here for more than 120 years. It will take us to iconic place - Victoria Peak. Those photos with the spiers of skyscrapers below, literally under your feet - are made here! We walk literally at the top of the city, and then on the double-decker bus we go down, passing the richest district. No, Hong Kong is not only about tall buildings. Huge villas with gardens and pools are here! 

We walk on the colorful market of antiques on Cat street, and return to the continent. We head to the Wong Tai Sin temple. There are always a lot of parishioners who bring offerings, incense, and try to learn about their future. Yes, fortune telling is an indispensable part of almost any Chinese temple. For the particularly curious, there is a whole street of future tellers nearby. They use different methods and speak several languages. 

In the evening we take a walk in the park around Chi Lin nunnery. Ponds with fish, bridges and neatly trimmed bushes and trees. This is a very cozy place for a walk!

Day 4

Macau Facade of Cathedral of St. Paul Venetian casino

In the morning we take a high-speed ferry to Macau (approximately 1 hour on the way) and check into a hotel. This looks nothing like Hong Kong - Macau was a Portuguese colony. We walk in the historical part of the city, and see the symbol of the city - the facade of the Cathedral of St. Paul. It was almost completely destroyed during a fire in 1835. They did not begin to rebuild the cathedral, but left the surviving facade in place. 

We move to the modern sights and visit the Venetian casino - an entire city of Venice has been recreated here! We ride gondolas through the canals, watch Venetian houses, and enjoy live concert. Want to try your luck in the casino? Who knows?... 

It is impossible to talk about Macau and not to mention a word about egg tarts! These portuguese desserts are melting in your mouth. Locals stand outside bakeries waiting for the freshest ones to be ready. 

Day 5 - 6

Guangzhou Canton Tower The biggest tea market in the world Shamian island

In the morning we leave for Guangzhou by train (approximately 2 hours on the way). We check into a hotel in the center and go for a walk through the slums. These are not cardboard boxes with people. In China, slums are areas where skyscrapers stand so tightly that they literally obscure the sky. We squeeze through such small streets between houses - and suddenly we find ourselves on a wide street with chic boutiques and Lamborghini salons. Contrasts are incredible! 

We take an elevator to the observation deck of Canton Tower 600 meters tall. This is the second tallest tower in the world. But even from here we will not be able to see the boundaries of this huge city! We walk along the Pearl River and head to the largest tea market in the world. Where else can you see thousands of shops where you can try hundreds of different kinds of tea? How about an oolong which is a hundred years old? Tastes interesting.

In the evening we go for a walk in the island of Shamian - the European district. In the 19th century, the Chinese leased it to France and the UK. That's where these houses came from with cozy cafes, public gardens, and British bridges. What a cozy place!

Day 7 - 10

Villages of Yangshuo, Xingping and Fuli The most picturesque places in China Riding boats on the Li river Longsheng rice terraces

In the morning we leave for Yangshuo by train (2 hours on the way), and then we head to the nearby village of Xingping. In China, these places are officially considered the most beautiful in the country. They are even depicted on the back of a 20 yuan bank note. We will ride bamboo boats on the Li river. Walk in the narrow streets of villages. Wander through the rice fields, where locals catch fish in the backwaters. We will visit the bright bazaar of the village of Fuli, where people of the most vivid national minorities of southern China gather from remote villages.  

In the morning we go to Longsheng by bus (about 3 hours on the way) and check into a hotel. This is the famous rice terraces, furnished by the Yao tribe 650 years ago. People here live in unusual wooden houses. They add sunflower oil and spices to tea. Bake rice with vegetables and tofu in bamboo. Yao women never cut their hair and tie it in a knot at the top of their heads. Very unusual life! 

We take a bus to Guilin (1 hour on the way), then a high-speed train to Kunming (4 hours on the way), where we check into a hotel.

Day 11

Shilin Stone Forest Traditional tea ceremony Famous soups and noodles

In the morning we go to the Shilin Stone Forest. Thousands of sharp stone rocks, resembling trees, occupy a vast territory of 500 square kilometers! The bravest can climb some such trees. The passages between the other rocks are so narrow that a person can hardly fit there. 

We return to Kunming and head to the colorful tea market. There is tea for every taste, however, you didn’t guess the existence of most types of this tea. Tea lovers will be delighted with the abundance of pots, cups and tea tables of all styles, shapes and colors. We will also enjoy the traditional tea ceremony. 

Do not forget about the local cuisine! After all, Kunming is the capital of famous soups and noodles China. The most popular local dish is a soup made from several types of meat, cabbage, sprouts and rice noodles. It is cooked in just a few minutes. Delicious! Full and satisfied, in the evening we take the night bus and go to Lijiang.

Day 12 - 13

The town of Lijiang Baixa village of Nakhi people Cable car to the top of the Jade Dragon mount

We come to Lijiang and check into a hotel in the historic district. Just 800 years ago this city was a major stop on the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Locals specialized in transporting tea from southern China to Tibet and to Myanmar on horseback. We walk along the narrow cobbled streets, drink tea in colorful teahouses with locals, try yak meat and biscuits stuffed with roses. 

Heading to the nearby village of Baixa where Nakhi people live. They are known as excellent musicians and dancers. But above all, they are known as modern matriarchists. For example, they do not divide work into the traditionally female and male, and children inherit property and surname only from the side of the mother. 

Next morning we go to the national park at the foot of the Jade Dragon Mount. We take a cable car to the 4506 meters above sea level. Then we walk to the observation deck 4680 meters above sea level. Enjoy beautiful views of the Jade Dragon Mountain, and crystal clear air. What a place! In the evening we return to our hotel.

Day 14 - 16

Trek in the Tiger Leaping Gorge Town of Shangri-La Songzanlin monastery

In the morning we take a bus to the Tiger Leaping Gorge (approximately 4 hours on the way). We leave our luggage in the village of Qiaotou and start a two-day trek. We will walk 24 km, and spend the night in simple houses along the way. We will visit the places where the longest river in Asia - Yangtze River - begins its journey. Incredible mountain views, the sound of the river, clean air and a feeling of complete freedom and unity with nature. There are so many reasons why we love this trek!

We finish our trip and take a bus to Shangri-La (about 4 hours on the way), where we check into a guesthouse. This is a small town at the foot of Southern Tibet, where Tibetans live. More recently, this city was called differently, but the Chinese gave it a name from the book of the famous science fiction writer James Hilton. In his book, Shangri-La was a place of eternal youth, a real paradise on earth. 

We will visit local bazaar and visit the Songzanlin monastery - one of the largest Tibetan monasteries outside of Tibet. Now more than 700 monks live here! Next day we take a bus to Shaxi (4 hours on the way), and check into a hotel.

Day 17 - 18

Shibaoshan monastery The town of Dali 9th century Three pagodas

In the morning we visit Shibaoshan monastery on the mountain. This is a complex of ancient caves where a Buddhist monastery was located as early as the 9th century. We explore the caves and grottoes, admire ancient statues of Buddha and his disciples, unique wall paintings, we visit small temples. The place is very atmospheric!

We take a bus to Dali, the former capital of the ancient state of Nanzhao and the Kingdom of Dali of 10-13 centuries (2-3 hours on the way). We check into a hotel, walk in the old town, visit the Three pagodas of the 9th century and get acquainted with the life of the Bai people. Their name means "white people." But it's not about skin color, but about traditional clothes. Bai women and men wear white. We might be lucky and take part in the traditional local tea ceremony. It differs from traditional Chinese in that, with each brew, sugar, nuts, pepper with honey and ginger are added to the tea. Very unusual taste!

Day 19 - 20

Wu Wei monastery in the mountains Kung fu lesson Buddhist ceremonies Dinner with monks and tea ceremonies

In the morning we drive to the Buddhist monastery Wu Wei in the mountains. This is a very small temple, rarely visited by foreigners (or Chinese, for that matter). We will meet the head of the monastery - a real master of kung fu. Watch the fung fu lesson that he teaches monks and disciples every day. Participate in the Buddhist ceremony. Dine with the monks. Enjoying a traditional tea ceremony. This is a real monastic life - austere (there is not even electricity in the monastery!). But it is very peaceful and beautiful.

So much can be learned from just one day spent in such an incredible place. Be warned - you might want to stay here! In the evening we return to the city. The next day is free. Those interested can return for one more day to the monastery, or take a walk through the ancient streets of Dali. 

Next day we take a train to Kunming (2 hours on the way) and fly to Hong Kong. There we transfer to a flight home.

Tour leader

Olga WuWei
tour leader

Подходит ли вам это путешествие?

This trip is of average level of physical activity. It includes long walks in the cities and in nature. We will also do a two days trek, walking 24 kilometers. We will travel by buses and trains and ride two cable cars (to an altitude of 2380 meters above sea level and 4506 meters above sea level). Accommodation in double/twin rooms of tourist class hotels and guesthouses. All will have their own bathroom with hot water and wi fi internet. One night during the trek we will spend in simple houses.

Стоимость путешествия включает:

  1. Flight from Kunming to Hong Kong;
  2. Transportation during the entire trip;
  3. Accommodation in double/twin rooms during the entire trip;
  4. Entry tickes to all attractions during the entire trip;
  5. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Hong Kong and back home. (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals).
  2. Insurance (mandatory);
  3. Visa to China;
  4. Food ($25-15 per person per day).

Visa

Citizens of almost all countries need a visa to visit China.

The visa is issued before the trip in the Chinese embassy in your country of residence.

We provide free visa advice for clients.

Additional options

3g mobile internet in China
Price: + $30
Prepaid local sim card (no international calls) with 2GB internet package

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