We spend most nights in locally staffed and run, comfortable hotels and 2 nights on a first class sleeper train, which is environmentally friendly. As well as using local businesses, 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. 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 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 on where the best places to shop are and what should be avoided e.g. traditional medicine made from endangered animals.
A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. Often people can experience quite a culture shock when travelling in China, so our local guides are always keen to act as an ‘experience translator’, to help clients understand local culture better and to connect more genuinely with local communities. The leaders will give a briefing on responsible tourism issues to help you understand how you can help maximise benefit to community and reduce environmental impact e.g. At more original, less restored places on the Great Wall, leaders will ensure with a briefing that clients are not tempted to remove any brickwork from the wall that has become dislodged over time.
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.