Field Study Trip: The Tea Horse Road as a Hiking Trail 

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7 Days
Spring 2024 (exact dates listed below)
Beijing
Shanghai
Min Age : 16+
Max People: 10
About this Journey

Join Mei Zhang as she embarks on the field study portion of her PhD, pursuing turning the ancient Tea Horse Road into “an interactive outdoor space, where hikers from around the world will finally have a long trail to follow in China, similar to El Camino trail in Spain or Appalachian trail in the US.” 

“To do this well, I intend to widen my lens as much as possible, and build my field of study from sociological, historical, economic, cultural angles and more. Whether you’re a scholar, a hiker, a volunteer, or a grant giver, I would love for you to join me. This project is not for one person or one government alone, it’s for us all.” 

Mei’s full research proposal can be found on the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management page here.

What to expect on the field study:
  • A true off-the-beaten path experience
  • Local guesthouse accommodation
  • Locally prepared meals and on-trail picnics
  • Intimate conversations amidst a group of like-minded trekkers and conservation enthusiasts
  • Hiking 10-25 kilometers per day
What to expect in the lead up to the trip:
  • Zoom event(s) hosted by Mei to answer questions and give updates on the research progress
  • Reading/watching recommendation lists on the Tea Horse Road to prepare/get excited for the trip
  • China travel updates as international rules/restrictions change
Map
Itinerary

Day 1Arrive Beijing

  • Airport pick up, transfer to Rosewood 
  • Relax for the rest of the evening at your own leisure 

Rosewood Beijing 

Day 2Beijing

  • Free day at leisure (option to add in a WildChina guide and itinerary if interested) 

Rosewood Beijing 

Day 3Beijing to Xishuangbanna/Dali

  • Transfer to Beijing airport for flight to Yunnan 
  • Upon arrival in Yunnan, airport pick up 
  • Transfer to meet with Mei 

Local Guesthouse  

Day 4Hiking in Yunnan

  • Hiking with Mei 

Local Guesthouse  

Day 5Hiking in Yunnan

  • Hiking with Mei 

Local Guesthouse  

Day 6Hiking in Yunnan

  • Hiking with Mei 

Local Guesthouse  

Day 7Hiking in Yunnan

  • Hiking with Mei 

Local Guesthouse  

Day 8Hiking in Yunnan

  • Hiking with Mei 

Local Guesthouse  

Day 10Xishuangbanna/Dai to Shanghai

  • Transfer you to the airport in Yunnan for flight to Shanghai 
  • Upon arrival in Shanghai, airport pick up 
  • Transfer to the hotel  

The Middle House Shanghai 

Day 10Shanghai

  • Free day at leisure (option to add in a WildChina guide and itinerary if interested) 

The Middle House Shanghai 

Day 11Depart Shanghai

Transfer to the airport for departure flight 

Hotels

Rosewood Beijing
Luxury 


With its residential-style suites and spacious bathrooms, Rosewood Beijing is a homelike escape from the bustle of the city. From night wanderers to history lovers, this hotel offers a range of activities that will make your time in Beijing unforgettable. After a long day exploring, return to the hotel for a beverage at the lounge while admiring the hotel’s collection of traditional Chinese art or tuck into a variety of local and western favorites at on of the signature restaurants. Then, relax with a swim, yoga class, or restorative spa treatment before resting up for another day of wandering Beijing’s busy streets.

The Middle House
Luxury Boutique


The Middle House blends Italian vision with modern aesthetics, topping it all with a uniquely Shanghainese twist. Designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni to radiate urban sophistication, The Middle House’s decor skillfully combines old and new, texture, color, and line to create a thoroughly modern luxury accommodation experience – an oasis of calm set against the dynamic backdrop of a city 25 million people strong. Indulge in international, Italian, or Chinese favorites at one of the hotel’s signature restaurants, escape from it all at the day spa, and rest easy with The Middle House’s 24/7 bespoke service.

Photos
Details

Field Study Leader

Mei Zhang is the founder and CEO of WildChina. Under her leadership, WildChina flourished from a small Hutong operation into an award-winning business. Mei’s own expertise has led her to win a number of personal awards, including Travel and Leisure’s A-List of Top Travel Advisors, Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialist, and Wendy Perrin’s #WOW List of Travel Experts.

Mei is an Aspen Institute China Fellow and currently serves as a member of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Board.

Departure Dates

  • March 15th to March 25th, 2024
  • March 22nd to April 1st, 2024
  • March 29th to April 8th, 2024
    (Chinese Language Departure)
  • April 5th to April 15th, 2024
  • April 12th to April 22nd, 2024
  • April 19th to April 29th, 2024

Booking Information

  • Open to individual and multi-person/group bookings

  • If you’re interested in sponsoring one of the six departures (hosting/inviting your own group of 10 pax), please get in touch. Availability is still open.

  • 50% of trip cost is a donation to the feasibility study scholarship supporting Mei’s research

What’s Included

  • All on-ground transfers with in-transport refreshments
  • Services of a WildChina English-speaking guide and expert Ms. Mei Zhang
  • All accommodation costs, based on double-occupancy, with daily breakfasts, taxes and service fees included, as noted in the itinerary
  • All admission fees and expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals, as noted in the itinerary, and drinking water
  • Airport transfers to/from international flights at the start and end of your trip, as listed in the itinerary
  • Domestic flights, economy class seats

What’s Excluded

  • International flights, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers

Trip Cost

USD $10,000 per person 

 
What to expect

Trip Difficulty: Adventurous

This journey is classified as adventurous. For the Yunnan portion of this trip, expect full days hiking (10-25 kilometers per day)

Your Guides

Your guide will arrange the logistics of your trip, including meals, hotel reservations, sites, and activities, as well as providing you with information about the local region. Your WildChina guide is specific to each local region and will be confirmed during booking.

Health and Safety

WildChina puts the safety and comfort of our guests, guides, and drivers at the top of our priority list. We’ve spent the last few months reviewing our safety protocols, and in light of this pandemic, we’ve instituted a number of new procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all members of a WildChina journey. View our Health and Safety procedures.

 

Meals and Water

Meals are included, as listed in your itinerary. We strive to arrange meals that highlight authentic local cuisine in clean, local establishments.

It is safe to drink bottled mineral water, but tap water, even in 5-star hotels, is not safe for drinking. We will provide bottled water, tea, and snacks throughout your journey.

We request guests with severe allergies to consult their physicians prior to traveling and to bring all necessary medicines with them. Inform us ahead of time of specific allergies, such as peanuts or shellfish, or sensitivities to MSG, so that we can do our best to ensure these items are not used in your meals.

Next Steps

How do I secure my spot on this tour?

A 50% deposit (USD$5000 per person) is required to secure your spot on this trip. This deposit will go towards the total trip cost and will be taken off your final balance amount.

What is the payment schedule?

1. Deposit:
A deposit is required to secure your reservation. Once your deposit has been received, we will send your confirmation along with a detailed itinerary and all the information you’ll need to prepare for your journey.

2. Full payment:
Full trip payment should be made 60 days prior to departure. 

Payments can be made via credit card, bank transfer, WeChat or Alipay

Is this trip guaranteed to run?

Each departure will be scheduled to run once we receive bookings from ten (10) passengers. Should the journey be cancelled due to lack of sign-ups or government restrictions, WildChina will work to reschedule the trip accordingly.

Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic

We are hopeful that China will open to tourist visa holders by 2024 and will keep trip registrants abreast of news and updates as they happen.

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