CHINA BIRD WATCHING

Wintering Cranes, Waterfowl, Pheasants, Wildlife and Culture

“When we hear his call we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution. He is the symbol of our untamable past, of that incredible sweep of millennia which underlies and conditions the daily affairs of birds and men.”
Aldo Leopold, “Marshland Elegy,” 1937

EcoQuest Travel is proud to offer a fantastic bird watching journey to the extraordinary country of China. From the sheer magnitude of the Great Wall and the ancient splendor of the Forbidden City to the shimmering marshes of Poyang Lake and the bamboo forests of Emeifeng, China offers a plethora of cultural and natural wonders. China is most often visited for its cultural riches, but the wildlife, especially the birdlife, is diverse and unique. We have chosen to travel in February to take advantage of the abundance and diversity of cranes, waterfowl and pheasants in particular. After a brief stint in Beijing we will begin our explorations in southeast China searching for some of the rarest and most enigmatic birds in the world. This area is home to the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper wintering along the coast and a host of fantastic pheasants including Cabot’s Tragopan and Silver, Koklass and Elliott’s Pheasants. From the southeast will travel to east-central China and the massive complex of lakes and marshes around Poyang Hu. Poyang Hu is an incredibly important wintering ground for thousands of birds including most of the world’s Siberian Cranes. Surrounding the great white Siberian Cranes are Hooded, Eurasian and White-naped cranes making Poyang Lake one of the world’s largest gatherings of these breathtakingly beautiful birds. No less spectacular is the huge gatherings of Swan, Bean and Lesser White-fronted Geese. From Poyang we journey west to the shadow of Tibet in the foothills of the Himalayas and extensive wetlands of Cao Hai Reserve. The marshes of Cao Hai are famous for supporting one of the world’s largest flocks of wintering Black-necked Cranes. Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelducks, Baer’s Pochard and Falcated Ducks also grace the waterways of Cao Hai.

We will also offer an optional extension to explore the mountain forests of Shaanxi and Sichuan Provinces. This snow-draped landscape is home to a dizzying array of birds and mammals including some of the most sought after species in the world. Our first stop is the city of Chengdu and its famous Giant Panda breeding Center. From Chengdu we will travel to the mountain forests of Tangjiahe which shelter Golden Pheasants, Temminck’s Tragopan and some incredible mammals including Takin, Reeve’s Muntjac, Chinese Serow, Tibetan Macaque, Leopard Cat and even the phantom of the bamboo – the Giant Panda. Leaving Tangjiahe we will visit Yangxian Reserve which is home to one of the rarest birds in the world, the Crested Ibis, and we should great views of this elusive bird. From Yangxian we will explore Foping Nature Reserve. Foping is tucked away in the mountains of Shaanxi and, like Tangjiahe, its slopes and forested valleys hide similar treasures. It is easier to see Golden Snub-nosed Monkey at Foping and we will concentrate our efforts on finding this charismatic primate. Finally we will end up in the city of Xian to see the famous terracotta warriors. We invite you to join us as we explore the fantastic birdlife, natural wonders, cultural sites and magic that is China.

19 – DAY ITINERARY WITH OPTIONAL 7 – DAY EXTENSION

Days 1 & 2 – Wednesday and Thursday, February 17 & 18: Home Cities to Our US Gateway City and on to Beijing, China

We will depart from the US the morning of February 17th and fly from our gateway cities to Beijing, China. Please plan to arrive at your departure gate for Beijing no later than two hours prior to your scheduled departure time. The flight from the US to Beijing is a long one and we will likely arrive in China in the afternoon or evening of February 18th. After clearing customs and immigration we will transfer to the comfort of our hotel for a night of much needed rest. Our hotel is located outside Beijing near the Summer Palace and will be a welcome retreat while we explore Beijing.

Day 3 – Friday, February 19: Beijing – The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and birding the Summer Palace

This morning after breakfast we will recover from our long flights by visiting the immense park surrounding the Summer Palace. Although the grounds of the Summer Palace contain many temples, pavilions and corridors our primary focus will be on birding the lakes and gardens. Despite the cold we could see ducks such as Falcated Duck, Mandarin Duck and Eastern Spot-billed Duck. We could also see Red-billed Blue and Azure-winged Magpies, Daurian Jackdaw, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Grey-capped Greenfinch, Palla’s Rosefinch, Japanese Waxwing, Snowy-browed Nuthatch and a host of buntings. After a morning of birding we will eat lunch before traveling into Beijing to visit two of China’s most famous cultural sites. Tiananmen Square is the world’s largest public square and is home to the Great Hall of the People, the National Grand Theatre, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Mao’s Mausoleum, China’s National Museum and other monuments. Tiananmen is stoic and imposing, but a must see. In stark contrast to the Maoist feel of Tiananmen is the gigantic and beautiful complex of the Forbidden City. So named because it was off limits for 500 years, the Forbidden City is the best preserved group of ancient buildings in China. Home to the emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City is a wondrous feast for the senses and provides superb photographic opportunities. If enough time permits, we will also visit the visually spectacular Temple of Heaven before transferring to our hotel in Beijing. After a full day we will eat dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 4) Day 4 – Saturday, February 20: Beijing – The Great Wall and Wild Duck Lake

Today we begin by traveling to Yeyahu or Wild Duck Lake. Wild Duck Lake has become one of the premier birding spots near Beijing. The diversity of waterfowl can be incredible and might include Falcated Duck and Eastern Spot-billed Duck. The reed beds could hold Chinese Penduline-Tit, Common Reed Bunting and Bearded Reedling. Ring-necked Pheasants could emerge from cover and Eastern Marsh Harriers often hunt the grasslands. After birding the lake we will journey outside Beijing and have lunch before visiting the incredible Great Wall. Begun over 2,000 years ago, the Great Wall, or its remnants, stretch 4,000 miles from Liaoning Province along the Yellow Sea in the east to Jiayuguan and the Gobi Desert in the west. This remarkable achievement, which took hundreds of years to complete, was meant to prevent invasion from marauding hordes. Today much of the wall has crumbled and is in a state of disrepair, but certain sections have been preserved or rebuilt. We will visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is known for its Ming Dynasty guard towers and fantastic views. It is also a less touristy section of the wall and we should also be able to bird. We could see Rock Buntings, Daurian Redstarts, Long-tailed Rosefinches and Siberian Accentors near the wall. We will return to Beijing in time for dinner and we will overnight once again at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Sunday, February 21: Beijing to Fuzhou and Fuzhou Forest Park

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our flight south to the city of Fuzhou in Fujian Province. Once we arrive we will travel to the Fuzhou Forest Park for an afternoon of exploring and birding, This park is home to a great variety of birds and we will make a special effort to locate the endemic White-necklaced Partridge and the widespread Chinese Bamboo Partridge. In addition to the partridges we will be on the lookout for Hwamei, both Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Grey-chinned Minivet, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Steak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Spotted Wren-Babbler, Grey Treepie, Eyebrowed Thrush, Collared Finchbill, Chestnut Bulbul, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Tristram’s Bunting, Fork-tailed Sunbird and Fire-breasted Flowerpecker. After birding the forest we will drive east to the estuary of the Minjiang River. At low tide the exposed mud flats are a haven for wintering shorebirds including one of the rarest birds in the world – the incredible Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Shinyutan Island in the Minjiang Estuary is the best place in China, and perhaps most accessible site in the world, to try and see this critically endangered species. We have timed our visit for the peak low tide that will occur tomorrow morning. Once we arrive in the city of Changle, near the estuary, we will settle into our hotel and have dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Monday, February 22: Minjiang Estuary and Fuzhou Forest Park

This morning we will concentrate our efforts on finding the diminutive and distinctive Spoon-billed Sandpipers. Finding this rare shorebird may take some searching! The Minjiang Estuary also attracts a huge diversity of other birds and we will be on the lookout for other rarities including Black-faced Spoonbill, Dalmatian Pelican, and Saunder’s Gull. After a full morning we will lose the tide and will transfer back to Fuzhou Forest Park to try and find species that we missed yesterday. Tonight we will stay at a hotel near the forest park. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Tuesday, February 23: Fuzhou Forest Park and on to Emeifeng Nature Reserve

Today, depending on our luck at the Fuzhou Forest Park, we may return for another attempt at species we may have missed. After that we will depart on the long (five hours) drive northwest to the Wuyishan Mountain Range that straddles the border between Fujian and Jiangxi Provinces. Once we reach Taining County, the gateway to Emeifeng Nature Reserve, we will have dinner and settle into our accommodations for the night. Emeifeng Nature Reserve contains some of the most pristine tracts of forest left in southern China. (B,L,D)

Days 8 & 9 – Wednesday & Thursday, February 24 & 25: Emeifeng Nature Reserve

We will be up and out early each day in order to maximize our birding opportunities in this incredible reserve. We are targeting two rare and special pheasants over the next two days – Elliot’s Pheasant and the incredible Cabot’s Tragopan. We will concentrate our efforts along a road that winds upwards from park headquarters to the forested mountaintops. Careful scanning and some luck will be involved if we are to find the two special pheasant species, but we could also see Koklass and Silver Pheasants as well. Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper and Little Forktail may be spotted along the rivers and streams. The forested hills support a variety of species including Red-billed Blue Magpie, Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Collared Finchbill, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Yellow-bellied Tit and Crested Bunting. Higher up the mountain the bamboo forests could produce Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Rufous-faced Warbler, Chestnut Bulbul and groups of Vinous-throated Parrotbills. Near the summit the habitat changes again and some of the species here include Rosy Pipit, Streak-throated Fulvetta, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Grey Treepie, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler and Great Barbet. Mammals are also present in Emeifeng and with luck we could see Stump-tailed Macaques and Tufted Deer. After each of our full days we will return to our accommodations. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Friday, February 26: Emeifeng to Wuyuan

After an early breakfast we will continue our journey west to Wuyuan, a picturesque town in the northeast corner of Jiangxi Province. Along the way we will stop at Xaioqi which is a reliable site for the diminutive Pied Falconet as well Mandarin Duck, Masked Laughingthrush, Red-billed Starlings and Short-tailed Parrotbill. If enough time permits we will continue to the Le An River near Kengkou to search for Scaly-sided Merganser. This rare duck is normally difficult to find, but up to sixty birds have wintered in this area for many years and we should be able to find them. We will also scan this stretch of river for Long-billed Plover, Crested Kingfisher, White-crowned Forktail and Brown Crake. If we run out of time we will search for the mergansers first thing tomorrow morning. After a full day of travel and birding we will check into our hotel in Wuyuan and have dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Saturday, February 27: Birding Wuyuan

We will have a full day to explore the area in and around Wuyuan. This area is rich in birds and home to some special species including another chance to look for Elliot’s Pheasant if we haven’t seen it already. We will spend the early morning searching an area near the town of Zhongyun for this elusive pheasant and other species. After Zhongyun we will travel to a forestry farm near the village of Zhong Ping to look for Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Grey-chinned Minivet, Chestnut Bulbul, Collared Finchbill, Hwamei, Grey-sided Scimitar-Babbler and Black-throated Tit. Other birds we hope to find in this area include Greater Necklaced and White-browed Laughingthrushes, Fork-tailed Sunbird, Crested Serpent Eagle, Red-billed Leiothrix, Black-collared Starling, Yellow-billed Grosbeak and perhaps a flock of Japanese Waxwings. After a full day we will return to Wuyuan for dinner and we will overnight once again at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Sunday, February 28: Wuyuan and on to Wu Cheng

This morning we will depart early for Wu Cheng County which is the gateway to the wetlands surrounding Poyang Lake. It will take a couple of hours to reach Wu Cheng and once we arrive we will have lunch and check into our rooms at the Wu Cheng Visitor Center. The Visitor Center at Wu Cheng has hostel style accommodations with comfortable double rooms each with private bath. This afternoon we will begin our explorations of the Poyang area and perhaps see our first cranes. In the evening a local bird expert will give us a presentation on the migratory birds found in this area. We will have dinner at the Center prior to turning in. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – Monday, February 29: The Wintering Cranes and Waterfowl of Poyang Lake

This morning we will continue our explorations of Poyang Lake and the vast marshes that surround this critical wintering site. In good years this area is home to nearly a half million wintering birds including as many as five species of cranes. The star of the show is the critically endangered Siberian Crane and we hope to glimpse this elusive giant white bird among the White-naped, Eurasian, and Hooded Cranes that also winter here. In addition to the cranes these wetlands are home to a wide variety of waterbirds including: Swan, Bean, Graylag and Lesser White-fronted Geese; Baikal Teal; Oriental Stork; Black-faced Spoonbill and many species of wintering shorebirds. Imperial Eagle, and passerines like Marsh Grassbird and Ochre-rumped and Pallas’ Buntings are also found near the lake. We will take a break for lunch before continuing our birding efforts throughout the afternoon. After a full day we will have dinner and overnight at the Wu Cheng Visitor Center. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Tuesday, March 1: Poyang Lake

to locate all the species we are looking for. During the summer months this area is flooded – in fact over 4,600 square kilometers of land is flooded by wet season rains. By mid-winter the water recedes by as much as 10 meters leaving a wilderness of shallow lagoons, mudflats, marshes and wet grasslands that support the huge influx of birdlife. Despite the critical importance of this area to birds less than 10% is protected and our visitation will provide an economic incentive to conserve this vital habitat. It will also serve as a reminder to officials of how important preserving this fragile ecosystem is. We will explore Poyang by boat today through a series of canals. This will hopefully get us close to the mixed flocks and perhaps some unique and special mammals as well like the Finless Porpoise and the bizarre Chinese Water Deer with its fang-like tusks. After yet another full day we will once again eat dinner and overnight at the Wu Cheng Visitor Center. (B,L,D)

Day 15 – Wednesday, March 2: Nanchang to Guiyang and on to Weining

Today is a long travel day that begins after breakfast when we transfer to the airport in Nanchang. We will fly west/southwest to Guiyang in remote Guizhou Province. Once in Guiyang we will eat lunch at a local restaurant before the five hour drive northwest to Weining. Weining is the gateway to Cao Hai Nature Reserve and is an interesting town in its own right with Uighur music blaring from Muslim kebab stands and donkey drawn chariots. We will overnight at the Black Neck Crane Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 17 – Friday, March 4: Cao Hai NR and Weining to Guiyang

Early this morning we will explore the forests near the villages of Xiaoshanpo and Dashanpo. These forests are within the Cao Hai Nature Reserve and we hope to see Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, White-tailed Eagle, Upland Buzzard, Daurian Jackdaw, Brown-breasted Bulbul, White-browed Laughingthrush, White-collared Yuhina, Black-backed Wagtail and both Grey-capped and Black-headed Greenfinches. We will return to our hotel for breakfast before departing for Guiyang. Along the way we will stop near Huangguoshu village to look for birds, particularly Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Spotted Forktail and Yellow-breasted Greenfinch. We will also stop along the way to eat lunch at a local restaurant. After a day of traveling and birding we will arrive in Guiyang and will check into our rooms at the Guiyang Sheraton Hotel and have dinner before turning in for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 18 – Saturday, March 5: Departure for Beijing or the Tangjiahe/Xian Extension

We will depart this morning for either our flight back to Beijing or on to the extension to Xian and the nature reserves of Tangjiahe, Yangxian and Foping. For those that are flying to Beijing you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remaining portion of the day is free to explore, shop or pack in preparation for the long journey home. Those that are participating on the extension to Xian please see the itinerary below. (B,L,D)

Day 19 – Sunday, March 6: Departure for the US

You will have breakfast at the hotel this morning before transferring to Beijing’s International Airport for your flight back to the US. Due to the magic of crossing the International Dateline you will arrive at your US gateway city earlier than you departed on the same day you left. Once in your gateway city, after clearing immigration and customs, you will transfer to your individual flights home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.

OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO THE LAND OF THE PANDA AND PHEASANT

Day 18 – Saturday, March 5: Fly to Chengdu

Today we will transfer to the airport in Guiyang for our flight to Chengdu in Sichuan Province. If enough time permits we may go bird watching in one of Chengdu’s city parks before a dinner featuring Sichuan’s famous cuisine and overnight at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 19 – Sunday, March 6: Panda Breeding Center and on to Tangjiahe

This morning we will visit Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Center. This center provides a home to some of the pandas that had to be moved from Wolong National Park after the earthquake. It also breeds both Giant and Red Pandas with the hope of eventual release back into the wild. With the slim chance of actually seeing a panda in the wild our visit may be the only opportunity we get to see this icon of China. After our visit to the Panda Center we will travel to northern Sichuan Province and Tangjiahe Panda Reserve. The first part of our journey passes through a patchwork of agricultural lands, but once we pass the town of Jinzishan we abruptly leave the plains and enter a spectacular landscape of towering cliffs, deep crags and temperate forests. Once we arrive we will settle into our accommodations at the Tangjiahe Mountain Villa. After dinner tonight we will have our first of several night drives to look for nocturnal mammals. (B,L,D)

Days 1, 2 & 3 – Monday – Wednesday, March 7, 8 & 9: Tangjiahe Nature Reserve

Beneath the shadow of Tibet, Tangjiahe Panda Reserve is a magical place tucked into the bamboo-forested mountains of Sichuan Province. This 400 square kilometer reserve offers some excellent roadside birding and mammaling along a valley located 4500 feet above sea level and surrounded by peaks that soar to over 16,000 feet. This rugged and beautiful landscape is home to countless rare mammal species including one of the largest populations of Giant Pandas left in the wild. At this time of year the cold and snow pushes animals from the higher slopes into the valley and we could see Chinese Goral, Chinese Serow, Golden Takin, Reeve’s Muntjac and Tibetan Macaque. Leopard Cat and Hog Badger are seen frequently on night drives. Other large mammals like Asiatic Black Bear and both Giant and Red Panda will require some real luck to see. In addition to the mammals, Tangjiahe is also home to a remarkable diversity of birds including three spectacular pheasants – Golden Pheasant, Chinese Monal and Temminck’s Tragopan. Chestnut-throated Partridge is also found here as well as White-backed Woodpecker, Golden Bush Robin, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Rufous-capped Babbler, White-collared Yuhina, both Spectacled and Rusty-throated Parrotbills, Fire-capped Tit, Sichuan Treecreeper and Slaty Bunting. With three full days in the park we should see a great diversity of wildlife. The first full day in the park will see us hike up into the mountains to a better area of the reserve for the rarer wildlife. This will be a fairly strenuous hike, but we will have porters along to carry our gear. It will take a few hours to reach the ranger station that will serve as our base for the night. Staying overnight at the station will allow us to have the following morning and early afternoon to explore a more remote area of the park. This area is better for wildlife and with luck we hope to see some of the more elusive birds and mammals. On our second day we will eventually hike back down. Our third day will be easier and will mostly consist of game drives within the park. Our first night will be spent at the remote ranger cabin, but the next two nights will be spent at the fairly plush Tangjiahe Mountain Villa. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Friday, March 11: Foping Nature Reserve, Golden Monkeys and on to Xian

We will start early this morning to explore the incredible forests and gorges of Foping Nature Reserve. This reserve is home to some of China’s rarest and most charismatic mammals, including the enigmatic Giant Panda. While we are unlikely to see a Giant Panda we will be looking for troops of Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys. Adorned in woolly coats of vivid orange these incredible monkeys really stand out against a backdrop of snow. While searching for and, hopefully, observing the monkeys we could see a few bird species as well. The forests are home to Elliot’s Laughingthrush, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Spotted Nutcracker, Chinese Babax, Rufous-capped Babbler, Grey-headed Bullfinch, Goldcrest and Yellow-throated Bunting. The unique Ibisbill winters near the rivers as do Mandarin Ducks, Brown Dippers, Plumbeous Water Redstarts, Little Forktails and Crested Kingfishers. After a full morning and lunch we will travel to the city of Xian. Once in Xian we will have dinner before settling into our hotel for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Saturday, March 12: Xian’s Terracotta Warriors and on to Beijing

This morning we will explore two of Xian’s cultural wonders – the Big Goose Pagoda followed by the Qin Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses. The latter is one of China’s most famous archeological discoveries and the 8000 terracotta soldiers and horses that guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang are an incredible sight! After exploring these amazing cultural wonders we will have lunch before transferring to the airport for our flight to Beijing. Once in Beijing we will transfer to our hotel near the airport and have a chance to pack and freshen up prior to our farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Sunday, March 13: Departure for the US

We will have breakfast at the hotel this morning before transferring to Beijing’s International Airport for our flight back to the US. Due to the magic of crossing the International Dateline we will arrive in our US gateway city around the same time we departed on the same day we left. Once in our US gateway city, after clearing immigration and customs, we will transfer to our individual flights home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.

Cost:

$5,883.00/person all-inclusive tour package
$ 785.00/person estimated airfare within China (see airline ticketing information below)
$6,668.00/person all-inclusive*

The cost for the Post Trip Extension to Tangjiahe and Xian is:

$3,179.00/person all-inclusive tour package
$ 85.00/person additional airfare within China (see airline ticketing information below)
$3,264.00/person all-inclusive*

Airline Ticketing:

International airline tickets are not included in the above costs. EcoQuest Travel is a full service tour operator and we will gladly assist you with your international flights for this tour. We do not charge a service fee for this assistance to clients who book a tour with us. We are aware, however, that clients often prefer to use frequent flyer miles, or points, to purchase tickets or to shop online. Regardless of which method you choose EcoQuest Travel will be happy to help you with ticket prices, scheduling and ticket purchase. If you decide to obtain airline tickets on your own please make sure to check with EcoQuest Travel prior to purchasing your ticket to make sure the flights you have chosen will work with the tour itinerary and that the tour has sufficient participation to operate. Please be aware that once purchased, most airline tickets are non-refundable and carry a financial penalty for any changes. Also, it is essential that we receive a copy of your flight itinerary so that we may track you in case of missed connections, flight delays or other mishaps that might impact your arrival.
Note: Domestic airline tickets within China are included in the tour cost, but due to the volatile nature of the airline industry, we are only able to provide an estimated airfare at this time. The actual date of ticketing will determine the price. Typically, we are accurate in our estimates, but please note that there may be a difference in pricing at the time of ticketing. If ticket prices at the time of booking are lower than our estimates the savings will be passed on to you. Likewise if ticket prices exceed our estimates at the time of booking you will be invoiced the difference. The above description is also valid for the extension to Tangjiahe and Xian where we have one additional flight from Guiyang to Chengdu.

What’s Included:

  • All ground and boat transportation within China
  • Domestic Airline Tickets within China – see above paragraph (there will be three domestic flights on the main trip and a fourth domestic flight if participating on the extension)
  • All accommodations – based upon double occupancy (single supplement is available at an additional cost of $600.00 for the main trip, and $235.00 for the extension to Tangjiahe and Xian)
  • All tours within the scheduled itinerary
  • Meals are included throughout the trip except while in transit (please see the itinerary for details)
  • Permits, entrance fees and guides
  • The leadership services of EcoQuest Travel professionals

What’s Not Included:

  • International Airfare from the US to Beijing, China (please see the paragraph above)
  • Gifts and items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities (for our local guides)
  • Fees associated with obtaining a passport and visa
  • Travel insurance (please see the Travel Insurance Section below)
  • Costs associated with pre-trip medical planning
  • Travel Documents:

A passport valid for at least 6 months after our arrival is required for travel in China. A tourist visa, issued from either the Chinese Embassy or one of the Chinese Consulates depending on which state you reside in, is also required. The tourist visa is called an “L” visa and is good for either single or multiple entries – single entry is all that is required for our trip. Currently the visa application fee is $140.00 and you either have to present the application materials in person or you have an agent do it for you. For full details on how to apply, including application forms, please see the Chinese Embassy’s website at: www.china-embassy.org/eng

Group Size:

The trip cost is based on a minimum number of participants – 10 people. Although at least 10 people are required in order to make this trip a reality; we are able to accommodate up to a maximum of 14 people. The cost for the optional post-trip extension to Tangjiahe and Xian is also based on a minimum of five people. Although five participants are required in order to make the extension a reality; we are also able to accommodate up to a maximum of 14 people. If we have more than six participants on the extension the price will likely drop and the savings will be passed along to you.

Health Requirements:

The Chinese Government does not require any vaccinations for entry into the country and none are necessary for our visit. If you require prescription medication it is prudent to bring an adequate supply with you as it may not be available in China.
We highly recommend discussing all medical issues related to travel with your doctor well in advance of the proposed travel date (at least 6 months prior to departure).

Payments and Reservations:

A deposit of $1,000.00 per person, along with your reservation form, is required to reserve space on this trip. This will help insure airline seating space and necessary early deposits during this busy time of year. The reservation form is available on our website: www.ecoquesttravel.net and can be filled out online and submitted via email, or downloaded and mailed. We encourage you to send the deposit well in advance of the date the first payment is due, as paying the deposit is the only way to secure your spot. Personal checks, money orders and credit cards are accepted. If paying by personal check it should be made payable to EcoQuest Travel, Inc. and on the memo line please indicate: For China Trip 2016. If paying by credit card please phone your credit card information in to EcoQuest Travel at: (919) 963-3038. EcoQuest Travel accepts Visa, MasterCard and most bank debit cards. After your initial deposit the remaining balance will be invoiced in two payments according to the schedule below.
If you are participating in the main trip only:
A payment of at least $2,834.00 is required no later than August 21, 2015
The remainder of the trip expense ($2,834.00) will be due on or before November 20, 2015
If you are also participating on the post-trip extension to Bali and Komodo:
A payment of at least $4,363.00 is required no later than August 21, 2015
The remainder of the trip expense ($4,363.00) will be due on or before November 20, 2015

Cancellation:

The initial deposit, as well as subsequent payments, will be used to purchase airline tickets and pay deposits for accommodations, travel arrangements, etc. in China. Therefore, if you must withdraw from the trip, irrespective of reason, a refund will not be possible. We strongly suggest that you protect yourself with the purchase of trip cancellation insurance. We will try to retain a wait list for this trip and it is possible that if you end up not being able to participate we will attempt to find a replacement for you; however, it is your responsibility to find a replacement or to have insurance.
Please note that in the event EcoQuest Travel, Inc. does not have enough participants for this trip a refund of the initial deposit of $1,000.00, and any subsequent payments, will be issued.

Travel Insurance

EcoQuest Travel, Inc. partners with Allianz Global Assistance (formerly – Access America) to provide the best possible travel insurance for our clients. They offer trip cancellation and worldwide emergency services (such as emergency evacuation and emergency medical services) as well as a host of other benefits. You can find more information on Allianz’s website (www.allianzassistance.com) including how to get quotes and sign up. You do not have to use Allianz Global Assistance and may choose to use another company. In either case, EcoQuest Travel, Inc. strongly suggests the purchase of trip cancellation/medical insurance. If you do decide to purchase travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance please give them the following EcoQuest Travel vendor (or ACCAM) number: F031120. This number identifies that you are working with an Allianz Global Assistance partner.
Note: Pre-existing conditions will be waived by Allianz Global Assistance if you purchase travel insurance within 14 calendar days of your initial trip deposit. For more information please see their website.

General Information

Upon receiving your deposit and reservation form you will be sent an information packet containing flight information, baggage requirements, hints on what to bring and other useful information. The climate will vary between pleasant along the coast to cold inland and in the mountains. We are traveling to China during the winter and a variety of weather including rain, snow and wind should be prepared for. You will want to bring a camera and binoculars. Again, a more exhaustive list will be provided after you are registered for the trip.

Trip Leaders:

David Davenport: Zoologist and President – EcoQuest Travel, Inc.
Walter Sturgeon: Crane Expert and Operation Migration Team Member