The Dragon Trip Entry 1: Getting prepared!

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How exciting is this! Tomorrow we are off to mainland CHINA! We have booked through our friends The Dragon Trip for their 25 day Hong Kong-Hong Kong loop tour. Even more exciting is that we have been given the opportunity to do some journal entry style blogs while we are on tour! We couldn’t be more excited to be sharing this with you all.

We’re currently in Singapore getting prepared by buying warmer clothes to suit China’s climate, organising our Chinese VISA (so much paperwork) and re-packing our backpacks! We are so fortunate to have been staying with family in Singapore which has made all of this 100x easier (thank you so much again uncle Ian, aunty Amanda and of course we can’t forget Georgie!). In Beijing it is currently 6 degrees Celsius! We have thrown out all of our singlets and shorts that we used so well from Thailand to Cambodia and replaced them with thermals and winter jackets.

With the Chinese VISA, wow, jumping through hoops or what? We attempted to do our VISA here in Singapore the last time we were here in January but, as it turned out, you can only apply 1 month before your estimated arrival date. We also didn’t realise at the time but you also need to make sure you have your departure ticket (flight, train, whatever) booked before you apply. Here’s a quick checklist if ever you wished to go and didn’t know where to start (excludes Hong Kong a VISA is not required here).

Chinese VISA checklist

Invitation letter (we got ours from Dragon Tour)

– Application form printed double sided

– Passport photocopy

– Passport sized colour photo

– Flights in and out (arrival and departure)

– Arrival card photocopied (both sides, if you are applying outside of your own country ONLY. E.g. we needed our Singapore arrival card photocopied.

– Detailed itinerary with at least one address

When we arrived at the VISA centre we gave them our passport along with all of the above paperwork. It took 4 working days to process but you can also pay extra for express processing. In total we paid $180AUD for 2 Chinese VISAs which last us 30 days upon entry to mainland China.
And finally we have begun re-packing our bags so they fit under carry on limits (hopefully). Not that this is necessary but we figure that being on a tour for 25 days will be tricky with loads of baggage so this is more for our own convenience than anything else. 25 days of the wonderful sights, sounds, smells and tastes that China has to offer!
Here is a brief overview of The Dragon Trip’s circuit of China that we will be doing and blogging about! For more details keep your eye out for our next month of blogging!

Dragon Trip Itinerary

Day 1- Hong Kong: Hike up Victoria Peak and meet the tour group and bullet train to Guilin.

HK

Day 2- Guilin: Cruise down the Yulong River on Chinese style Gondolas.

Day 3- Guilin: Cooking up traditional Chinese dishes at local cuisine institute.

Day 4- Choose either kayaking down Li River or visiting a farm at the Adventure leaders home village.

Day 5- Train to Chengdu.

Day 6- Chengdu: Have a Mandarin lesson and sample famous Sichuan spicy hot pot.

Day 7- Chengdu: Visit Giant Panda Breeding and Research centre and night out in Chengdu.

CHENGDU

Day 8- Chengdu: Visit WenShu Monastery, Mao’s statue and traditional tea house. Train to Xian.

Day 9- Xian: Enjoy local street foods at the Muslim quarter and visit to local Silk Road market.

Day 10- Xian: Terracotta warriors visit and volunteer at homeless shelter or Star Sun centre for disabled children and adults.

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Day 11- DengFeng: Minivan to DengFeng and watch a KungFu show at the Shaolin temple. Another mandarin lesson.

Day 12- DengFeng: Either choose to visit The Shaolin Temple or Dharma cave. Train to Beijing.

Day 13- Beijing: Final mandarin lesson and compete in a Mandarin challenge! Meal at local farm to obtain access to the locals only section of the unrestored Great Wall. Hike on The Great Wall.

Day 14- Beijing: Sunrise on the Great Wall! Taste Beijing’s signature Peking Duck dish.

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Day 15- Beijing: Walk through Tiananmen Square and visit the Forbidden city. Bag a bargain at the fake goods market.

Day 16- Beijing: Visit Temple of Heaven and board night train to Hangzhou.

Day 17- Hangzhaou: Visit Mogan Mountain and explore bamboo forests.

Day 18-: Hangzhou/Shanghai: Lagoon trek and swim in the lagoon. Bullet train to Shanghai and go on a pub crawl!

Day 19-Shanghai: Visit ZhuJiaJiao Watertown (the Chinese version of Venice!). Night time Karaoke at KTV.

Day 20- Shanghai: See People’s Square and head to the World’s busiest shopping street, Nanjing Road.

Day 21- Shanghai: Learn about Shanghai’s history and take a stroll through the old French Concession.

Day 22- Fujian: Take bullet train to Nanjing, Fujian. Visit tea growing hills and stay overnight in mud round house, home of the Hakka minority people.

FUJIAN-v2

Day 23- Fujian: Walking tour around UNESCO World Heritage site exploring the Hakka Minority Roundhouses. Experience traditional tea ceremony and tea tasting. Swimming in local lagoon.

Day 24- Fujian: Bike tour to visit the worlds largest round house. Train to Guangzhaou East.

Day 25-Macau/ Hong Kong: Bus to Macau Cotai Strip (much like Las Vegas). Head back to Hong Kong via shuttle bus and hydrofoil.

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Wish us luck for our amazing adventure around China! And to see all the juicy details of this fantastic tour just subscribe!

Sam and Kirsten x

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