Start off with scenic bike ride through Kaiping, revealing the hidden history and clan culture of its many abandoned diaolou (fortified tower houses).. Spend time hiking the rice terrace-carved landscape of Longji and visiting communities that call this pocket of China home.. Cycle amongst the dramatic karst-dotted countryside of Yangshuo that has been immortalised in countless traditional Chinese paintings.. Gain an insight into an important element of Chinese culture with a visit to a local tea farm in Yangshuo. Learn a few things about tea picking and perhaps sample a cuppa.
Enter a world of both natural wonder and big city glamour. Admire the majestic beauty of Longji rice terraces, appreciate limestone karsts dotted around rice paddies in Yangshuo, discover the abandoned towers of Kaiping, indulge in a passionate food culture, and hit the water in Hong Kong.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included:
Arrive in Guangzhou, a sprawling port city on the banks of the Pearl River. Your adventure kicks off with a 6 pm welcome meeting where you’ll meet your tour guide and fellow travellers. If you arrive earlier in the day, why not head out and explore the city’s modern architecture. Don’t miss the spectacular Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid. The Guangzhou Circle ("Copper Coin Building"), Guangzhou Library and Guangzhou (Canton) Tower are also all worth a gander. As the capital of Guangdong (Canton) province, Guangzhou is THE place to taste authentic Cantonese cuisine. After your important evening meeting, delve into the food scene with an optional welcome dinner, or head out in search of the best dim sum on your own.
Kaiping cycling - Guangzhou
In the morning, drive about 2 hours south-west to the region of Kaiping for a day of sightseeing. The landcape here is particularly unique - dotted with more than 1800 diaolou, multistorey fortified watchtowers. Build by individual clans largely with money from emigres to South East Asia, Australia and North America in the late 19th and 20th centuries, they are now largely abandoned but still fascinating to explore. The best way of course, is by bike. We spend around 4 hours exploring some of the most picturesque villages and best known diaolou clusters. Return to Guangzhou in the late afternoon for a free evening.
Longji Rice Terraces
This morning, you will zip inland on a bullet train to Guilin (about 3 hours). From there, transfer to a private bus for the 3-hour journey to the rice terraces of Longji. This part of the country has some of the most extensive rice terraces around, which change dramatically with the season. This evening, you’ll spend the night in the village of Ping’an, home to the Zhuang community. Get a glimpse into Zhuang culture and traditions at your guesthouse this evening.
Longji Rice Terrace hiking - Yangshuo
Today you’ll hike through the Longji Valley and its rice terraces. Constructed over 500 years ago, this region is commonly called the Dragon’s Backbone because the rice terraces are said to resemble a dragon's scales, while the mountain looks like the backbone of the dragon. Walk through stunning scenery, alongside bamboo trees and chestnut forests. Despite some challenging hills, much of the hike is spent walking around over the stones, passing waterfalls and fields. On your way, you might chance upon locals from Yao minorities. The Yao still preserve some of their traditional lifestyle and unique customs. You'll notice women only cut their hair at 16 years old, symbolising their entrance into adulthood. The hair isn’t thrown away, but is kept by the grandmother. When the woman marries, the hair is made into an ornamental headdress and brought to the husband's home as a souvenir. In the afternoon, drive about 4 hours to Yangshuo.
Soak up the charm of this little town, popular with the Chinese and Western travellers alike, who come for the beautiful landscape and stay for the great cafes and bars. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions while having plenty of fun at the same time. The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings – picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape, towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River. Gain an insight into rural Chinese life on a bike tour through the picture-perfect surrounds. Climb moon hill before indulging in a delicious local lunch. Use free time this afternoon to further explore this beautiful region. Perhaps take a scenic boat cruise along the Li River. Alternatively, choose to find your inner Zen with a tai chi class.
Drive out to the countryside to gain an insight into an important element of Chinese culture; learn how tea leaves are grown and picked with a visit to a local tea farm. Follow this up with a short walk up the Xianggong Hill for a stunning view of the Li River winding through rice paddies and limestone hills. Perhaps cap off this scenic excursion with a lovely cup of tea before returning to Yangshuo. If you have free time today, a cooking class of local specialties is a perfect choice.
A bullet train speeds things up, but prepare for a long day of travel today. Hop an eastbound train, arriving in Hong Kong around 5 pm. The China-Hong Kong border is busy, so there can often be a bit of a wait to get through and a lot of patience is required. On average, it takes around 2 hours to clear immigration and customs on both sides. Your bags will be with you during this time. Then you’ll walk the short distance from the train station to the border, go through procedures to exit China, and enter Hong Kong. Once all that's done, you’ll travel on the KCR train to central Hong Kong. After settling into your hotel, why not delve into the city’s renowned food scene for dinner. You tour leader offer suggestions on where to eat if you’re feeling overwhelmed by choice.
Hong Kong kayaking
While Hong Kong is largely known for its neon lights, towering skyscrapers and relentless energy, this destination is also ripe with lush green space, quaint fishing villages and unspoiled marshes – if you know where to look. Today we head to Sai Kung for a day of kayaking through some of Hong Kong’s more tranquil parts. Paddle through dramatic caves, uninhabited islands and untouched beaches on a 3-hour adventure. Return to Kowloon tonight for an optional final night dinner with your group.
Your active adventure comes to an end today. There are no planned activities and you are free to depart at any time.