Headed for China and need advice!


Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea

Headed for China and need advice!

Postby mcrdotcom » Jan 16th, '14, 00:12

Hey guys!

So I'm heading to China in May for a 16 day trip with some travel company with my parents (I'm surprised they still let me tag along!), it is one of those itinerary for the whole trip jobs with plenty of tourist gimmicky in the travel guides stuff. I am however a big fan of taking in the real way of life in a distant land, and with my ever growing love for tea, I feel that one day I want to even live in China for a year or so and grasp the culture and language etc...

However, as I am only there for 13 days really (with 3 days worth of travel, sneaky company calling it a 16 day trip :P) and 3 of those days is a yangtze river cruise which looks horrendously boring, I will not have much time to just roam the streets in search of local tea vendors or tea houses or markets etc...

So I was wondering if people could give me any advice with regard to the following regions, more specifically tea related, but all advice on soaking in some real life Chinese culture will be greatly appreciated! I do know that all of these places are northernish and so, the relationship with tea is probably not as strong as the southern parts of the country (as is my understanding), so perhaps there isn't any tea related culture to advise me on! :P

Places:

*Shanghai
*Suzhou
*Yangtze cruise (taking in some gorges over 3 days ....)
*Chengdu
*Xian
*Beijing

From what I can tell, there is absolutely nothing tea related in the itinerary which in my opinion, for a tour of CHINA is a total sin! When you think of China, you think of tea, surely a local tea tasting should be in there, but I digress.

Anyways, any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! :)

P.s. I will most definitely report back after the trip!
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Re: Headed for China and need advice!

Postby wyardley » Jan 16th, '14, 23:26

Don't drink the water and don't breathe the air?

Shanghai and Beijing have big tea markets, which are worth visiting, and where you could spend many days (lots of information about those on here). So you may just want to ditch the tour group and explore on your own there.

Hangzhou is nearby to Shanghai and Suzhou, and is famous for Longjing (Dragon Well) tea. From what I've heard, it's hard (and expensive) to get good Longjing there, but it is supposed to be very beautiful anyway.
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Re: Headed for China and need advice!

Postby debunix » Jan 16th, '14, 23:39

How tightly is the itinerary controlled? How much flexibility will you have to change your own daily schedule?
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Re: Headed for China and need advice!

Postby greenteaguide » Jan 18th, '14, 00:53

I highly recommend Hangzhou, especially if you're into tea. I lived there for a year and went to all the tea farms. It is absolutely beautiful!

There is a famous lake called West Lake. I'm really surprised a tour of China wouldn't include it. Anyway, you can rent bicycles and ride into the mountains where there are tea farms everywhere. You can stop anywhere along the way, pull up a seat, and drink freshly roasted green tea. It's truly a cultural experience.
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Re: Headed for China and need advice!

Postby chrl42 » Jan 20th, '14, 06:08

greenteaguide wrote:I highly recommend Hangzhou, especially if you're into tea. I lived there for a year and went to all the tea farms. It is absolutely beautiful!

There is a famous lake called West Lake. I'm really surprised a tour of China wouldn't include it. Anyway, you can rent bicycles and ride into the mountains where there are tea farms everywhere. You can stop anywhere along the way, pull up a seat, and drink freshly roasted green tea. It's truly a cultural experience.

+1

to know the atmosphere China's 'Kangnam' (river-south) area, Hangzhou is a must. City of Longjing, poetic Xi-hu, Song-cheng etc

I dunno what's great about Shanghai, there aren't like historical monuments remained as Beijing or Xian, the skyscraper won't beat those of Manhattan or HK... :)

BTW, you can come to Beijing Maliandao as a tour, for a day or two, you won't find many 'teas' there (over 1000 shops :lol: )
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Re: Headed for China and need advice!

Postby mcrdotcom » Jan 22nd, '14, 19:37

debunix wrote:How tightly is the itinerary controlled? How much flexibility will you have to change your own daily schedule?


Not overly sure, but I think if we want to miss something one day or evening we just have to tell them, we did pay for it after all! :)
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