BACK ROADS OF CHINA
Back Roads of China is a travel company that our friends Liss and Bergs put us onto – one of the best organised and passionate people I’ve come across. I normally avoid travel companies and prefer to do it alone though. Since they were highly recommended and it’s a bit different traveling with kids in a new country where your language ability stops at ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘twins’ and numbers, we decided to go with them and had a personalised 2 week tour prepared for us through Yunnan province. The things we did, the experiences we had and the people we got to meet – well there is no way we would have even had a snippet of that on our own. If you are ever coming to China and want to do more than just see the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors or go shopping in Hong Kong – get in contact with them and also not expensive either. They even organised all our China train tickets, flight from Lijiang – Xian tickets – everything was looked after so well.
We had a mix of beautiful guest houses, home-stays and camping. Our guides were Alex (who runs Back Roads of China with his Aussie wife Tania) in Kunming for a day (that was one of the kids’ favourite days when we went to the Stone Forest) then for the rest of the time we had Yeshi for about 2 weeks. We really bonded well with Yeshi – he was patient, adaptable as things didn’t always run to schedule with the kids eg- walking up 2300+ steps took a tad longer than the usual 2 hours, he always picked yummy food for us and was so knowledgeable. He spoke great English cause he studied in India as a young refugee before returning to China as a young adult. We really miss him.
There were so many highlights from that trip which the kids have written lots about (and there’s more to come that they’re writing) but I think most I enjoyed the homestays and the physical feats of hiking that we achieved with the kids.
The Tiger Leaping gorge was incredible – what an amazing view to be able to see 3000m difference from the Yangtze in the gorge below and the towering snow covered peaks above. Truly amazing!
Often on the walks I would hear the kids talking about all the things they were going to do when we arrive home. The way they were going to re-arrange their rooms, build horse stables etc. and I would think, just soak this in guys. I remembered when I was a young traveler and how I would often dream about all the things I wanted to do when I got home – some which were achieved, other dreams changed and I thought – well that is all part of travelling! To dream of things to come while enjoying the present – it sometimes helps you to put things into context.
One thing they have been dreaming of though is my mother’s cooking!
Tania, Alex & Yeshi definitely introduced us to a China that was way beyond what we expected and that we thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you so much.