Two weeks to go!

It’s starting to feel a little more real now- having to start saying ‘goodbye’ to family and friends is really hard going, but we both know we are doing this for the right reasons and that it won’t feel as long as it sounds!

Tomorrow we are going to the Manchester Visa Centre to get our documentation for China sorted; it’s a surprisingly lengthy and difficult process, so obviously I have delegated as much of this to Matthew as humanly possible! I’m really hoping and praying that the appointment goes smoothly as we really don’t have time for delays.

I’ve been studying our different itineraries repeatedly over the last few days to ensure that there’s nothing I’ve overlooked. We still have a few things to finalise as we are only booked up to South Africa at the moment, but within the next few days everything for the latter part of the trip should be in stone. Our first trip in China is very much a ‘sightseeing adventure’
: China is a place we have always wanted to get to, me for sentimental reasons as my Granma and I were hoping to go together before she died in 2006. Therefore we are keen to fit in as much as possible in the time that we have, so have opted for ‘The Dragon Trip’- a guided group backpacking tour which loops from Hong Kong and covers lots of ground. The itinerary below should give you some idea of the intensity of the trip- I’m really glad we get a few days of birthday fun at the end with my lovely friend, Verity, to wind down after non-stop adventure for the 25 days of the tour!

London-Mumbai Jet Airways 9W119-9.30-23.10
Mumbai-Hong Kong Jet Airways 9W76 1.20-9.40
24/8 Train to Guilin from HK
25/8 Optional: climbing, Yulong River trip, optional: fishing
26/8 Optional: Moon Hill Caves and mud baths, cooking lesson, optional: Chinese therapies
27/8 Optional: kayaking, home visit
28/8 Train to Chengdu
29/8 Optional: blind massage, mandarin lesson, optional: Sishuan hot pot
30/8 Pandas,optional: buddha visit
31/8 Optional: monastery visit, Mao statue, tea house, train to Xi’an
1/9 Optional: bike ride on city walls, bell towers, Mosques, Silk Road Market
2/9 Terracotta Warriors, Optional: Volunteering in care home or soup kitchen
3/9 Bus to Dengfeng, optional: Kung Fu at children’s home, mandarin lesson
4/9 Optional: Shaolin Temple, hike to Dharma Cave for views, train to Beijing
5/9 Mandarin lesson and challenge, meal with family at local farm, hike the Great Wall and camp the night
6/9  Sunrise on the Great Wall, optional: Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium, acrobatic show, Peking duck meal
7/9 Optional: Tinamen Square, forbidden city, jingshan viewing point, market visit
8/9 Temple of Heaven, train to Hangzhou
9/9 Mogan Mountain, Lagoon Treck
10/9 Optional: hike to Moganshan Peak, snake farm, train to Shanghai
11/9 Optional: water town, bus to Shanghai, Optional: Karaoke
12/9 Optional: Yu gardens, people’s square
13/9 Optional: French concession museums
14/9 Metro to Honqiao, train to Fujian, tea hills- night at a home of a Hakka family
15/9Hakka world heritage site- round houses and tea fields, swimming in the lagoon, tea plantations, dinner and dance with locals
16/9 Bike Tour, train to Guangzhou
17/9 Bus to Zhuhai border, ruins of St Paul, optional: bungee jump, finish Dragon Tour
17/9-20/9 Hong Kong Stay, iclub hotel- Birthday celebrations with Verity!
Hong Kong-Hanoi YY Airline YY123 13.25-14.25