All foreigners will need a passport valid for at least six months from date of departure and a tourist visa to enter China. You can apply for a visa at the Chinese Ambassy/Consulate in your country.
No health certificates are currently required to enter China. Please check with your Doctor if you need special veccines. (at least 4 – 6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect)
Biting insects are not numerous, although mosquitoes are present in small numbers at a number of sites. We may encounter a ver few small terrestrial leeches on some forest trails; they are not harmful, and can be deterred with insect repellent sprayed on your boots.
Tap water is not safe to drink; bottled water and soft drinks are readily available, and all of our accommodations offer boiled water for coffee or tea.
In Kunming it will be hot and fairly humid. In the Baihualong Nature Reserve it will be similarly hot but significantly more humid. Temperatures in these areas will typically reach 77 to 90°F by midday. It will be much cooler and less humid higher in the mountains, where some of the early mornings can even be (very) cold. This will be especially true when we are near Baima Snow Mountains. We anticipate making several early starts in these areas, and the temperatures at that time might be below freezing (perhaps dropping as low as 25°F if skies are clear), and there will probably still be some snow on the highest peaks. Rain is common in Yunnan throughout the year.
We’ll spend considerable time above 3000 m. Our highest elevation will be Baima Snow Mountains.
When at high altitudes we will attempt to limit our activities, avoid excessive uphill walking, and move at a slow pace so as to avoid headaches and breathlessness. Most altitudinal problems can be overcome by sitting quietly in or near the vehicle and drinking plenty of fluids.
Participants should note that this tour is more strenuous than most of our tours.
Pace of the tour
There is a reasonable amount of traveling and some of the days can be long and tiring. Most of the places we visit, are in the mountains and are strenuous places to visit. Some of the trails can be steep, and while we’ll walk slowly, we are still at altitude and it is easy to become tired. A reasonable degree of fitness is essential. Due to early morning bird activity, we’ll be out in the field early each day. This will often mean being out before 5:00 am and having a picnic breakfast in the field.
We’ll compile a checklist of the birds we’ve seen just before or just after dinner every day and aim to retire early to bed (especially when we are making an early start next day).
We try to make as many of our birding excursions as possible optional, so that if you find the pace too tiring it is possible to take some time off and relax.
Essentially we intend to have a stop for lunch with some rest for those who want it and give opportunities if possible to opt out for those who wish to pursue other interests or simply relax.
All hotels are of a good international standard with private bathrooms, proper restaurants, and the other facilities you would normally expect. An exception can be the guesthouses in Baihualing Nature Reserve and Tina's Guesthouse in Tiger Leap Gorge, although we were told that both places are clean and do have private bathrooms
All accommodation is the best that is available and acceptable: In some cases, showers and toilets may occasionally not work properly, but we will do everything we can to have repairs done in a resonable time
Chinese cuisine is well-known and widely appreciated. The Chinese way of eating differs from that in the west in that a selection of different dishes are shared by those sitting at the table. Food is almost always plentiful. Few of the restaurants we visit provide knives and forks—chopsticks, often disposable wooden ones, are used instead. If you are not used to eating with chopsticks, we suggest you start practicing right away or bring your own cutlery.
Transportation is by minibus.