|1||USA - Beijing||Today we'll depart the US and fly to Beijing||In flight
|2||Beijing||After crossing the international dateline, we'll arrive at Beijing International Airport in the evening. We'll settle into our accommodations in one of Beijing's oldest hutong alleyway neighborhoods dating back to the Ming dynasty. We'll have our first dinner together and rest up for our upcoming adventure!||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn
|3||Beijing||We'll begin our morning bright and early with a hutong scavenger hunt, exploring our neighborhood and soaking up Beijing's unique culture. We'll make our way to the Drum and Bell Tower Square for a demonstration of how time was kept in ancient times by beating drums. We'll then hop on the subway heading towards Qianmen, the old front gate of the city wall. We'll walk through Tiananmen Square, and reflect on the significance of the events that took place here. Then we’ll make our way to the Forbidden City, the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. Time allowing, we'll check out the emperor's impressive collection of elaborate mechanized clocks from all over the world at the Hall of Clocks. After a busy day, we'll spend the late afternoon in Jingshan park to enjoy the sweeping views of the Forbidden City from above. ||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn
|4||Beijing||Today we'll take a private bus to visit the art districts in the northeast corner of the city. We'll learn about contemporary art, the role of artists in society, and make studio visits to see where many of China's premiere practicing artists live and work. We'll engage in our own art education activity at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. We'll also experience life in Caochangdi, a thriving urban village that is home to many world-renowned artists and galleries. On the way back into the city, we'll drive by the nearby Olympic Park, constructed for the 2008 Olympic games, to see the unique architecture of the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube lit up at night. In the evening, we'll take a cooking class and try our hand at crafting the Chinese cuisine we've been enjoying (option of making dumplings or handmade noodles)||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn
|5||Xiangshuihu||Today we'll make our way out to a rural village at the foot of the Great Wall of China. We'll hike through chestnut orchards, walk past the Wild Wall (unrestored section) and enjoy exploring this quiet, peaceful community. We'll be staying with the Hu family and have the opportunity to practice our Chinese with them and enjoy home-cooked meals as part of our homestay programing.||Hu Family Homestay
|6||Beijing||Today we'll start the day bright and early by testing our bargaining skills at the famed Pan Jia Yuan flea market. Later, we'll visit Beijing’s university district and further explore imperial culture at the Summer Palace. We'll wrap up our last full day in Beijing with the quintessential Peking duck dinner.||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn
|7||Beijing - Transit||We'll say farewell to Beijing with a morning visit to the Yonghegong Lama Temple, Beijing's largest and most active buddhist temple. Later in the day, we'll board our overnight sleeper train to our next destination, Xi'an. We'll enjoy the ride and pass the time by napping, journaling, playing cards, snacking, or practicing Chinese with our fellow passengers. ||Train
|8||Xi'an||Upon arrival in Xi'an, we'll discover the Terracotta Army of Qin Shihuang , the first emperor of China. Dating from 209 BCE, the full army and surrounding mausoleum are a must see! Later we'll visit another UNESCO world heritage site, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda dating to the Tang Dynasty. We'll also explore Xi’an’s distinctive gastronomical culture, sampling their world famous hand-pulled noodles and roujiamo (often dubbed the Chinese equivalent of a hamburger).||Xi'an Hotel
|9||Xi'an||Today we'll further delve into Xi’an’s history by walking the Ancient City Wall , visiting the Shaanxi History Museum , and experiencing the Great Mosque . We'll sample the delicious street snacks of China’s Hui Muslim ethnic minority group.||Xi'an Hotel
|10||Shanghai||After enjoying a final morning in Xi'an, we'll make our way to the airport for our flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, we'll get settled into our accommodations and begin exploring our neighborhood and sampling Shanghai's cuisine. We'll walk the Huangpu River on the Bund, appreciating the 20th century architecture of the former International Settlement in contrast to the hyper-futuristic skyline of Pudong just across the water. ||Train
|11||Shanghai||We'll stroll, shop, and people-watch while taking a walking tour of the French Concession. Later, we'll visit the Yuyuan Gardens and Market to hone our bargaining skills. We'll be sure to sample Shanghai's famous xiaolongbao or soup dumplings!||Shanghai Hotel
|12||Shanghai||Today we'll explore the pedestrian eating and entertainment district of Xintiandi and the Shikumen museum to learn about the Shanghai equivalent of Beijing’s hutong. Next, we'll enjoy Shanghai’s take on the arts by exploring Moganshan Lu district. ||Shanghai Hotel
|13||Shanghai - Suzhou||We'll get an early start this morning and catch one of the first bullet trains to nearby Suzhou. Known as the "Venice of the East", this picturesque ancient city has a network of canals and rivers that run through the city. It is home to some of the most beautiful gardens in all of China. We'll take a trip back in time as we explore the gardens and learn about the aspects of traditional scholar-official society, which led to their creation and cultivation. ||Shanghai Hotel
|14||Shanghai||Today we’ll get a broader view of China’s breakneck development at the Urban Planning Museum. We'll also visit the nearby Shanghai Museum, considered to be one of the country’s best and check out the People's Park along the way. We'll wander through the Tianzifang shopping area before saying farewell to China with a karaoke party! ||Shanghai Hotel
|15||Shanghai - USA||Today we'll travel at over 250mph on the Maglev train to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Fly home! 再见中国！||Airplane
Philosophy Of Travel
Our mission is to inspire the next generation to become global leaders by taking an active interest in the world around them. With a dedication to learning, along with an enduring passion for exploring the world, Walking Tree Travel designs transformative and meaningful travel programs that uncover the authentic culture of each destination and inspire students to take action in their local and global community.
Walking Tree Travel stands for a more open, curious, and compassionate approach to travel. We partner with select schools around the world to provide memorable small-group experiences, and invest in cultivating and maintaining longterm relationships with our partner communities. If you are interested in our organization and philosophy of travel, click here to learn more about us.
In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for our students, teachers, and staff, Program Leaders and Country Directors follow strict guidelines when deciding on lodging, making reservations, and assigning program participants to rooms.
Students will always be grouped in rooms and/or sleeping areas by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with Walking Tree. Group Organizers and Program Leaders will be roomed separately from each other and from other students. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled.
Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.
Yangshuo, Guangxi: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g303712-d1143715-Reviews-Fawlty_Towers_Hotel-Yangshuo_County_Guangxi.html
Longji, Guangxi: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1159371-d2690690-Reviews-Dragon_s_Den_Hostel-Longsheng_County_Guangxi.html
Dali, Yunnan: www.jims-tibetan-hotel.com/
Kunming, Yunnan: www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Kunming-Upland-International-Youth-Hostel/Kunming/57778
Tuition & Fundraising
Baggages fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed in the itinerary.
Tuition is an estimate until dates and itinerary are finalized.
We believe that cost should not prevent enthusiastic students from having the opportunity to join an WTT program. We are pleased to offer opportunities for fundraising and payment plans to help make this goal a reality. Please visit our Tuition and Funding page to find out more about tuition, fundraising, payment options, referral discounts, and more.
Visit Tuition & Funding
Standards of Behavior
WTT provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Getting a piercing or tattoo
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
- Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
- Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
- Breaking group rules
These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with WTT.
Passport & Visa Check
Passport must be valid for six months after the final day of your travel program, including one open visa page.
A visa is required of all US visitors to China. In order to obtain your Chinese tourist visa, we recommend that you employ an agency to expedite the process. We’ve had success in the past with Flychina.com. A single-entry tourist visa will cost around $200 and this is a process we suggest you begin immediately. A valid US Passport, which will not expire for at least 6 months after your trip date, is required to obtain the visa.
NON US CITIZENS OR THOSE TRAVELING FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE USA
Non US citizens should check with their country’s embassy abroad to verify vaccination and visa requirements.
US citizens traveling from a country other than the United States should check the State Department website (www.travel.state.gov) for more information regarding additional visa or vaccine requirements.
Please contact us for further information regarding vaccination and visa requirements.
Health and Safety
Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
Vaccination information and requirements can change frequently. Because of this, and for more information, we suggest that you consult your local travel clinic and/or family physician for specific details.
Our experience has taught us that international travel can sometimes be unpredictable. As such, WTT will purchase basic secondary travel and medical insurance for all WTT travelers via Travel Insured International. This service provides the following coverage at no additional cost to our participants:
$500 Return Airfare for Trip Interruption
$750 ($150 per day) Trip Delay of six hours or more
$500 (Three or more hours) Missed Connection
$1500 ($250 per article) Baggage/Personal Effects
$300 Baggage Delay – 24 hours
$25,000 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
$100,000 Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Emergency Assistance Non-insurance Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services Included
ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL COVERAGES
The following additional optional coverage upgrades are available upon request for an additional premium charge to the traveler. For further information on the premiums associated with these optional coverage enhancements, please email your inquiry to our travel insurance program administrator, Hayashi Insurance Solutions: email@example.com
– Trip Cancellation Coverage – Reimburses the traveler up to the trip cost insured up to a maximum of $10,000 per person if the trip must be cancelled for unforeseeable life events including but not limited to; medical/health reasons, bereavement, etc.
– Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) – Reimburses the traveler for 75% of the non-refundable trip cost. Cancellation must be made 48 hours or more prior to scheduled departure. Must be purchased at the same time as initial plan purchase and prior to final trip payment. *This benefit is not available to residents of New York State.
The Plan is administered by Hayashi Insurance Solutions (CA DOI 0F61680) a licensed Insurance Agency authorized to transact this insurance under the express authority of Travel Insured International, Inc. and its representatives, and on behalf of Walking Tree Travel, Inc. The Plan contains insurance benefits underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. Fairmont Specialty and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2015. The Plan also contains non insurance Travel Assistance Services that are provided by an independent organization, OnCall International, and not by United States Fire Insurance Company or Travel Insured International. Review the Plan Document for complete terms, including benefits, conditions, limitations and exclusions that apply. Coverages may vary and not all coverage is available in all jurisdictions.
Global Leadership Curriculum
WTT has developed a curriculum that helps each of our travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame their experience, and prepare them to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future. For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.
Want to learn a new language and be better prepared for your travel program? Duolingo is the easiest, most entertaining way to start learning and using a new language right away! The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to communicate with locals in your host country and help your fellow travelers navigate a foreign environment.
Tap the Duolingo owl to get started, or download the app to your mobile phone.
Travel Day Details
Program participants will meet the group organizer at the below airline check-in counter three hours before the departure flight. If you have trouble locating the group, please notify your group organizer or contact WTT.
DEPARTURE FROM USA
RETURN TO USA
A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event WTT is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.
WTT is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please also make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.
WTT will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Please read below to see who will be part of the support team on your program. Below you’ll find a list of the Walking Tree staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
China Country Director, Program Leader
Columbia University – B.A. in Art History and Asian Studies
Columbia University – M.A. Art History
Jillian hails from Chicago and recently relocated to Los Angeles after five years in Beijing. She studied art history and Asian studies as an undergrad and received her M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. Before relocating to China, she spent five years working in the Asian Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. While in Beijing, she served as the Director of International Programs at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. She has curated and produced exhibitions and educational programing in China, the U.K., Europe, and most recently, Ethiopia. Jillian is an avid yogi and completed a 200 hour intensive teacher training in Bali. Jillian loves seeing live music, biking, being in/near the ocean, and making the people around her laugh. She never feels more alive than when she’s navigating the streets of China, sampling local delicacies and seeking out the best bargains she can find.
Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community & Project Details
This is where your host community information will appear, along with your community project, if applicable to your program.
Communication & Blog
The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.
WTT tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@WalkingTree.org. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.
Here is the link to your blog:
What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.
China Packing List
7-10 pairs of underwear
5 pairs of socks
1 set pajamas
3 short-sleeved T-shirts
2 long-sleeved T-shirts, preferably light-weight
1 sweater or sweatshirt
2 pair of shorts
2 pair of light-weight pants/hiking pants
1 nice outfit to be worn at community gatherings and final dinner (sundress, skirt, polo, khaki shorts, etc.)
1 rain jacket
1 pair of sneakers (appropriate for hiking/athletic activity)
1 pair of sports sandals or 1 pair flip flops
1 hat or visor
Sunscreen SPF 30+ (You will use a lot!)
Tampons/maxi pads (if applicable)
Any necessary medication (TSA requires that pills be properly labeled and in the original container.)
Band aids and neosporin
REQUIRED ADDITIONAL ITEMS
Bath towel (quick-dry recommended)
Plastic bag for dirty laundry
Alarm clock or watch
$100-200 US dollars in perfect condition (for souvenirs, snacks, optional excursions, etc.)
Visa/MasterCard ATM card We do NOT recommend traveler’s checks, gift cards or credit cards.
Durable water bottle
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL ITEMS
Small luggage lock
Portable charger (for long train ride)
Journal & writing utensils
Journal and pen
Flashlight or headlamp
Cards/games/etc (small and easy to carry)
Electrical converter and adapter
**China runs 220V, 50Hz AC electricity. A converter is only necessary if your device does not have 120-220V range.