22.3964° N, 114.1095° E – More commonly known as Hong Kong is where my adventure begins.
Having being educated at an international school all my life I have always been friends with people from all over the world, most notably from Hong Kong and China. Having heard so much about the different cultures, languages and geographic features, it inspired me to visit. During my time at school however, I never managed to learn much Chinese past the basics of ‘hello’ Nǐ hǎo and “how are you’ Nǐ hǎo ma and to ease myself into the world of Solo Travel I decided to book onto a tour.
I chose the G Adventures tour “Ultimate China on a Shoestring”. This is a 28 day tour starting and ending in Hong Kong, via much of mainland China! See the link at the bottom of this post for more details.
Meeting in Hong Kong we have a night to settle in and get to know the group – being shown around the city and getting the cable car up to the iconic Victoria Peak to see the panoramic views of the city. Our first location across the border into mainland China is Yangshuo. The dramatic karst mountain ranges can be likened to the Avatar world of Pandora. The scenery is like no other as it is shaped by the wind and rain of typhoons rather than tectonic plate movements.
Although on the map the distance between locations doesn’t seem that bad, the reality of the 24/26 hour train journeys will test even the most sane human. Secondly, we’re heading to Chengdu to see the giant pandas – I REPEAT GIANT PANDAS! This may be one of the highlights of China. Also nearby is the Giant Buddha which is said to be one of the largest in the world! – Chengdu really does have a lot to offer!
With so much to see and not much time we move onto the next mountain village of Luoyang and Shaolin to visit Mount Song- the scene of many Kung Fu films. Locations like these need few descriptions as their beauty really does speak for themselves.
Next up – Beijing the historic capital of China home to the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Great Wall of China. My friend from Hong Kong told me once that there is a Chinese saying that goes “you cannot be a great man until you have visited the Great Wall” – So I guess I’m going to become a great wo(man)!
A whistle stop tour of Xi’an and Suzhou (the Venice of the East) takes us away from the bustling city before throwing us back into the hectic world of Shanghai. The unbelievably skylines that rise above the iconic Bund river makes this city seem very Western. But unlike anything you get in England I’ve been told that there is a club in Shanghai that has a large shark tank in the centre!
The next three stops, Wuyishan, Xiamen and Yongding take us back to more traditional China- bamboo rafting in the Wuyishan nature reserve and staying in a Tulou roundhouse in Hongkeng Village. We end our Chinese trip with by getting the Bullet train to Shenzhen before crossing back into Hong Kong. As I write this and do further research into the locations I’m visiting I cannot control my excitement!