Welcome to Southern China, home to savory foods, magnificent karst mountains, roundhouse villages, and diverse ethnic peoples
Within this southern region lies the beautiful cities of Guilin and Yangshou, separated by the Li River and surrounded by gorgeous rock formations.
Here you will learn the traditions of ancient peoples - passed down from generation to generation. You will take part in the dying art of fishing with cormorants (birds), take authentic cooking courses, and float down the Li River on a traditional bamboo raft.
You will be taught and guided by talented individuals from the local ethnic villages who are excited to share their culture with you.
Trip Dates: December 2016 - January 2017
Registration Deadline: 60 days prior to departure or until space is filled.
Trip Cost: $3000 per person, based on double occupancy.
This is an all-inclusive package including accommodation for all nights, in-country transport by private bus, train, or flight, lecture and instruction materials from our expert guides, all activities, and meals as listed on the itinerary.
*International Airfare and Visa Fees are not included.
Registration Requirements: Completion of registration form and confirmation of $500 Deposit.
- 7 nights stay, 8 days in Heritage Hotels
- Daily Buffet Breakfast (Both Continental & Chinese Food)
- 5 Dinners (Welcome & Parting Dinners; 1 homestay dinner with local family, & 2 cooking courses)
- Visit to the Zhuang & Mao Minority Villages
- Two hands-on Chinese cooking courses
- All-day excursion down the Li River (participant in riding a traditional bamboo raft)
- Day exploration of the Longji Rice Terraces
- Traditional Cormorant Fishing Experience
- Visits to UNESCO Villages of Guilin & Yangshou
- Opportunity to rid bikes through the beautiful karst formations (Dr. Seuss Mountains)
Boutique Heritage Hotels & Daily Breakfast Buffets: Visit some of the most beautiful villages in China and experience local life as you stay in boutique accommodations such as traditional Chinese Roundhouses. You will be surrounded by beautiful mountains, ethnic villages, and incredible scenery. You will meet local people, try their food, and learn about how they live day to day. You will try a variety of authentic Chinese dishes such as Baozi, or Chinese steamed buns with various fillings. They can be filled with vegetables or meats and are served with a variety of asian sauces such as soy, chili, vinegar, or sesame. The menu will always incorporate local Chinese ingredients and recipes. For those who are less adventurous, western food will also be served.
Visit to the Zhuang & Yao Minority Villages: China has over 55 ethnic minority groups within it's borders, groups that are scattered across the country. Our visit to Zhuang & Yao peoples, will allow us to learn about their culture, cuisine, history, and struggles. Rural villages are a good place to experience authentic China. You will see farmers cultivating rice fields, fisherman in traditional bamboo boats, and women selling ethnic goods in artisan markets.
Ethnic Cooking Class with locals: The food in China is unique, and some of the most savory dishes can be found in the poor villages in the rural areas of China. With several local chefs from a nearby village, you will visit a market, collect the ingredients, and learn how to create delicious Chinese dishes from scratch. The course is hands-on and you will have the opportunity to learn the secrets behind Chinese sauces, create delicious stirfrys, and have a shot at making your own hand-pulled noodles. From the savory flavor of soy, to the spice of Sichuan pepper, and the twang of juiced lime -- your creations won't fail to impress.
Visit to the Longji Rice Terraces: Southeast Asia is considered the Rice Bowl of Asia. The terrace-style plantations that dot the south of the country are mesmerizing. The numerous Zhuang and Yao villages that are scattered amongst the terraces offer a unique opportunity to interact with locals and learn more about their lives. The wooden houses are built in traditional Zhuang and Yao style and the people still wear typical ethnic clothing. Both the beauty of the people & the land attract numerous photographers each year.
Cormorant Fishing Experience: Observe as first the fisherman ties a snare to a bird's throat, and sends it off into the river to catch fish. While the cormorant bird can swallow small fish, the snare prevents them from swallowing the larger fish. After the bird has bad a catch, the fisherman calls it back to the boat and the bird spits out the fish onto the bamboo deck. Traditional fishing in the Southern provinces of China has been done this way for years - but unfortunately the art is dying out. You will have the opportunity to witness this beautiful and rare piece of art.
Boat Cruise on a Traditional Chinese (Bamboo) Raft: The stunning landscape in which the city of Guilin is situated has it's own kind of magic. The unique hills (known as karsts) scattered throughout the area are unlike any other formations in the world. Due to their strange formations, they are often called the Dr. Seuss Mountains. Our boat ride will take us down the Li River from the beautiful city of Guilin to Yangshuo, passing beautiful Karts peaks, rice fields, beautiful birds, traditional fisherman, and dramatic scenery.
Optional Extension to Beijing: Home to the Great Wall of China and location of the famous Forbidden City.
Optional Extension to Chengdu: Home to the famous black and white pandas and spicy sichuan cuisine of China.
Optional Extension to Xiamen & Tulou Village: Location of the Traditional Roundhouses and Ancient Hakka Villages.