It's becoming real.
In just a couple of weeks I'm going to China solo – in a group.
I'm taking a tour organized by Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) which will make for a soft landing for my first trip to China.
China, I feel, is a bit of a challenge. I expect that it would require a lot of advance research and planning to do it well. Given that I don't have the time for planning I was thrilled when OAT invited me on their Imperial China, Tibet & the Yangtze River trip. (This trip, and many by OAT, has no single supplement.)
I'm very excited.
Over the 22 days, we'll spend time in seven locations plus we'll enjoy three days on a ship on the Yangtze River. There are 16 people on this trip which is the maximum number OAT takes on any tour. We'll be traveling by mini-bus, a small river ship and even an overnight train. The focus is on local cuisine and our accommodation is “simple, clean and comfortable”. I'll report on all of this in future posts.
The trip takes us to:
- Yangtze River Cruise
- Hong Kong
There are a few things I need to pack for China that I don't take on most other trips.
- Padlock: In China it's important to have a lock for your luggage because some airports require luggage to be locked.
- Walking stick: I'm not a wimp but I do love using a walking stick on hikes. I'm bringing one.
- Hand towel: The trip includes a home stay on a farm – how fantastic is that! For this I'm told I need to bring a towel.
- Small gift: It's traditional to bring a small gift for my home stay hosts. It's probably sensible to bring a few. One never knows.
- Small children's gifts: We'll be going to the Grand Circle Foundation school in Xi'an City so I'll need some gifts for the kids there.
- US Money: while US dollars are not usually accepted in China it's helpful to have some one dollar bills for tipping.
- ‘DIMOX' for altitude sickness. If all goes well, we’ll be going to Tibet. Lhasa, its capital, is 12,000 feet high so I’ll need something for altitude sickness.
As you can imagine, being connected to the Internet is important for me. It seems that most of our hotels will have access via a network cable in our rooms and WiFi in the lobby. The cost will vary from 40-100 Yuan/hour. (One Yuan equals approximately 15 cents.) This certainly is enough for most people but I need more. I have Doug of iHelp Innovate working on this for me now. He's going to write a guest post for us on this and future posts on other aspects of communications from the road.
Other than the above, the only other quirk is that I had to get a visa and, as you can imagine, the application process was a little more involved than for most countries. However, OAT takes care of this for American citizens. As a Canadian, they provided the information I needed to make the process easy.
Watch for my stories on this trip starting in April.