Were you born in 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 or 2006? If so, you’re a dog. No, we’re not being rude – Chinese New Year is upon us and this year people all over the world will be celebrating the Year of the Dog. 2018 is dedicated to the ‘Earth Dog’, signifying efficiency, pro-activeness and loyalty, and will begin with a bang on February 16th with fireworks, firecrackers, family dinners and gifts.
Feeling inspired? Here at Rickshaw we’ve got some rather fetching China trips that are nothing to be sniffed at. From the tranquility of Yunnan to the vibrancy of Hong Kong, we’ve got a whole load of meaningful experiences that’ll get your tail wagging! Read on to find out more…
Take time for a breather in rural Yunnan
Can you hear that? That’s the sound of peace and quiet. Nothing beats it- especially in a country that’s home to 1.4 billion people! Here in rural Yunnan, you’ll notice a distinct lack of crowds; this really is another side to China. In Wumu village, nestled among panoramic views, you can learn all about local life, trek the hillside and breathe in that fresh mountain air. Aaaah…
Marvel at the sights and lights of Hong Kong
Click your heels, Dorothy, because there’s no place like Hong Kong; a city where ‘old’ collides spectacularly with ‘new.’ From mesmerising skylines and tongue-tingling streetfood, to the Brighton-esque streets of Soho. Spend three days weaving between dizzy skyscrapers, exploring traditional fishing villages & soaking up one spectacular light show on an evening cruise. Wow.
‘Wonton’ more than a Terracotta Army tour?
Most travellers in China won’t want to miss a visit to the famous Terracotta Army. But why not add an alternative twist to this classic highlight, to get an even better taste of Xi’an? Opt for an evening gourmet walking tour and you’ll be guided through the lively streets of the Muslim Quarter, sampling tasty cuisine as you go. ‘Wok’ could be better? (Ahem, we’ll get our coats).
Go zen on the grassy plains of Ganjia
We’ve all had days where we’ve thought, “to heck with it! I’m going nomad!” Well, if you happen to be that way inclined, we know just the place to go- without skimping too much on comfort! In the remote valleys of Xiahe & the Ganjia Grasslands you’ll find lofty mountains, peppered with ancient monasteries and vast grassy plains, wandered by the occasional yak-herder. Feeling zen yet?
A chinwag with our China guru, Fiona
“I loved exploring the streets of old Shanghai and was spellbound by the light show from all the buildings on the new side of the city. My most memorable experience was cycling through Beijing in the morning, watching locals practice their dance routines!”
Fiona’s top tip: I’d recommend visiting China in Spring or Autumn for fresher temperatures and better weather. Oh and don’t leave home without your handy Point It Book – that way you’ll always have a way to order what you really want to eat and drink.”
How to ‘travel with meaning’ in China
We’re all about limiting the negative impact that travelling can have on the environment and local communities. So we’re always beavering away behind the scenes to make sure that our trips are as meaningful as possible; whether it’s working with locally-run guesthouses and homestays, supporting projects or offering experiences that provide genuine human interaction. That way, you get a more enriching experience too.
Chinese New Year Traditions
Also known as the Spring Festival, this celebration is a time for families to reunite and spend some quality time together. On the eve of the New Year, shops close, doors are locked and the streets are deserted by midnight. Leena, a member of our local partner team in China, tells us how important the traditions really are…
“Because many people are away from home to work, they make sure they are back to reunite with their families in time for the New Year. The young people bow to the old people (called ‘ketou‘) which means “to touch the ground with the forehead” and wish them a Happy New Year. In return, the old people give children gifts of money in red envelopes. The family then go to sleep and in the morning get dressed in their best clothes. Some people stay at home, and others go out to pay a New Year call. They are very polite and do not use bad words. It’s considered the most important day of the year“.