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Great Wall of China Trek for Stars Appeal

China Trek CHALLENGING
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About the Challenge

Challenge yourself and raise funds to help patients in Salisbury District Hospital on the Stars Appeal Trek 2019 to the Great Wall of China!

Stretching 6000km in a dotted line across China, the Great Wall was begun in the 5th Century BC. As it snakes across the mountains it conjures up a sense of history which is difficult to grasp until you have had the opportunity to experience it.

Our trek is very varied, as we pass through woodland and terraced farmland, and follow the contours of the beautiful hills and mountains in remote areas north of Beijing. We follow old sections of the Great Wall, as well as restored sections with smooth flagstones and lots of steps!

This challenge is physically demanding and offers fabulous scenery and a fascinating insight into a rich culture and history.


Great Wall of China Trek for Stars Appeal

10 DAYS
  • After we arrive in Beijing, we transfer (approx. 2-3 hours) to the start of our trek at the small town of Huangyaguan, where we can freshen up and relax! There will be a full trip briefing in the evening. Night mountain hotel.

  • Huangyaguan is a small town situated in a beautiful valley in the heart of the Yanshan Mountains. After a leisurely start, we have our first experience walking on the Great Wall. After some steep step sections, which give us a good inkling of what lies ahead, we walk predominantly downhill until we again reach Huangyaguan for the evening. Here the wall crosses the road that leads back to our accommodation. Night mountain hotel.

    Trek approx. 4 – 5 hours

  • Our day’s walk begins where we left the Wall yesterday, and we head up the steep renovated steps towards what appears to be a sheer cliff face. This is where we encounter ‘Heaven’s Ladder’, a steep climb of over 200 steps leading us up the cliff face. There are fabulous views from the top, and once we have caught our breath the path continues gradually on steep tracks through forest, up to the top of the ridge. Once again we join the old Wall, and follow it along the contours of the mountain until we clamber down into the valley below. We bed down in the houses of a local village, a real cultural experience. Night farmers’ houses.

    Trek approx. 7 hours

  • Waving goodbye to our hospitable hosts, we head up through the farming terraces immediately behind the village. The path is steep, and the terraces soon give way to rocky hillsides scattered with scrub. Eventually we re-join the Wall, which is unrestored and crumbling so we follow a path which takes us alongside it, with fabulous views along the ridgeline to the day’s highest point. We then drop down the hillside and make our way on winding tracks through trees back into the valley, where farmers grow maize, and walnut and fruit trees. Back at the village, we walk along the village road to our waiting transport. Our drive through the mountains to Jinshanlin is very scenic. Night mountain hotel.

    Trek approx. 4 – 5 hours; drive approx. 3-4 hours

  • A quick 20-minute hop in the bus takes us to our start point just outside the village of Gubeiko. We walk through the village and farmland until our path takes us alongside an un-restored yet well-preserved section of the Wall. This part appears to be of almost brick-like construction and dates back to the Qing Dynasty – the last dynasty to rule over this vast land. We follow a track down into the valley in order to skirt a Chinese military post and follow dirt paths through trees and undergrowth before rejoining the Wall. There are some steep sections and we help each other out if need be. Stunning views of the Great Wall snaking along the hilltops keep us going whenever we find it tough! The final stretch to Jinshanlin is on restored Wall with lots of steps. A short walk through the village and small shops takes us to our simple accommodation. Night mountain hotel.

    Trek approx. 7 – 8 hours

  • Starting where we left off yesterday, we head up the carefully restored steps which take us into the mountains one final time. There are a few sections on older bricks and some dirt tracks, but for most of today we walk on good flagstones. The scenery is superb with rolling purple hills fading into the distance, dotted with many watchtowers; classic ‘scales on a dragon’s back’ scenery. After time to soak up this breathtaking panorama, we head down on small paths to meet our waiting transport which takes us to Old Badaling. Night mountain hotel.

    Trek approx. 6 – 7 hours; drive approx. 2 hours

  • Our final day of trekking takes us up onto Shixiaguan (Stone Gorge) Wall, at Ancient Badaling. This is a recently restored stretch of the Great Wall that rewards us with wonderful views of our surroundings and is only occasionally visited by other trekkers, so it makes for a very unique and historic finale to our trek! Once we have absorbed the opportunities to take finish photos and enjoyed looking back over the mountains at our huge achievements, we transfer by bus to Beijing, the nation’s capital and home to over 13 million people! This evening we have a great celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel.  (Dinner not included)

    Trek approx. 3 – 4 hours, drive approx. 1.5 - 2 hours

  • We enjoy time visiting Tianenman Square and the Forbidden City, the must-see sight of Beijing. You are then free to explore or shop. Night hotel.  (Lunch and dinner not included)


Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £2,820 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,410 Airline Taxes - Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All return transport from London to Beijing
    • All meals except where specified, and accommodation
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of over 15 participants; local guides & cooks
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Tour of Forbidden City on free day and entry to any other sites included in itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Three meals as specified in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • China entry visa
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels or camp. Occasionally we may use hostel-style accommodation. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.

  • Accommodation on this trek ranges from good quality international-style hotels in Beijing to more basic mountain hotels or lodges. Expect plenty of variety. There is one night in dorm-style rooms in farmers’ homestays, which provides a real insight into rural Chinese life.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. 

    Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

  • For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • Walking is partly on flagstones of various conditions on the Wall, and partly on paths through woodland or farmland. At times it is rough and rocky underfoot, at other times it can be muddy. There are also many steps. If you are unsteady on your feet you may find trekking poles useful.  You will trek approximately 80km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for!

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check requirements on our website; please ensure you allow plenty of time.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

Extension

Terracotta Warriors

Lying over 1000km from Beijing, Xi’an is the capital city of Shannxi Province in central China, and one of the most famous and ancient cities in China. It was the imperial city for 13 Chinese dynasties, lasting over 1000 years, and the starting point of the famed Silk Road. Its old city walls are some of the best-preserved in the country. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD), Xi’an was one of the greatest cities in the world with a population of over one million, and was a centre of international trade.

The focus of this trip is the incredible Terracotta Warriors, at the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Hung, 25km east of the city. Despite their world renown, the Terracotta Warriors were only discovered in 1974 when local farmers were digging a well. Buried for over 2000 years, the ranks of soldiers that can be seen today are one of the most amazing sights in China, yet were never intended to be seen by the public. Thousands of life-size terracotta figures of warriors, horses and chariots stand in battle formation, designed to follow their emperor into immortality. The figures have different facial expressions and marks of rank, and are incredibly lifelike. Originally they carried real weapons such as bows, swords and crossbows, many of which remain – and were still sharp when first uncovered.

This is a great opportunity to extend your stay after your Great Wall trek and experience what is considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world.

Trek Training Weekend

Snowdon_Training_Trekking

£170 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.

MORE INFORMATION

grade | CHALLENGING (1)

Trip grade 1 web

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

CHALLENGING trips involve full days of activity, and are designed to be challenging for those of good health and fitness, but are achievable for most people with a commitment to training and a can-do attitude.

See Trip Grading Explained.

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