If you have further questions concerning Bare-Bones trips, please get in contact.

BARE-BONES trips are becoming an increasingly popular option both with returning clients who wish to explore further and with those of you who relish the opportunity for independent travel afforded by a well-structured package of support. For the independently minded, a Bare-Bones package provides the substructure for a chartered unguided trip, at 50-80% of the price of a fully guided tour.

In many parts of the region we use local day guides who have a detailed knowledge of the area or a specific aspect of it. Ranging from trekking to opera specialists, they add depth and insight to your experience. Similarly, if you have a particular special interest (e.g. birding, botany, etc.), we can arrange for a specialist guide to accompany you for all or a portion of your trip.

 

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Specialist Guides

Depending slightly on the particulars of your route, it is usually possible to meet you off the plane to get you started on the right foot and provide a day or two's initial orientation.

Additionally (and again dependent upon your route) points can be arranged during your travels where we can meet and check that everything is proceeding smoothly, make adjustments if necessary, etc.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Orientation

Support
We are always at the end of a phone line, to offer assistance and advice should you require it. If problems arise, minor or major, you have the security of knowing that full back-up is on hand. This also enables you to tap into our sources while en route for up-to-date information on conditions up ahead. Where conditions on the ground allow it, we maintain a day-to-day contact with your driver. We also provide mobile phone cards to make this easier.

Maps
We maintain an extensive, up-to-date database of maps of the region. Once the initial package has been agreed upon and a deposit received, we'll provide you with detailed maps of your initial route and the surrounding areas, to assist in a more detailed planning process (see below).

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Support, Maps, Etc.

First Steps
Either taking one of our routes as a basis or using an idea of your own, come to us with a proposal for a trip. Making available to you a whole range of resources and options, together we come up with a broad-strokes package. For what might be included in such a package, read on.

Please note that although not all of our listed trails include a bare-bones option, often it's only one of the legs that preclude it, so please feel free to check all the routes for ideas.

Onward Planning
Again after the initial package has been agreed upon, we work extensively with you to plan out a route that most fits your interests and requirements. This often includes laying out several options within the overall plan, that can be finalised en route. This naturally also includes advice on the areas you wish to visit, accommodation, driving times, etc. Additionally, we are available to answer all and any questions regarding preparation for your trip and what to expect upon arrival.

However, it doesn't end there - we strongly believe that preparing for a trip isn't purely logistical. We therefore make an effort to discuss with you your areas of interest and provide you with/guide you towards relevant reading material and sources of information.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. First Steps Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet.

Although intermittent political problems lead to the occasional closing of areas in SW China, by in large the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai & Gansu are open to travellers. For travel to the TAR, however, permits are usually required. If your proposed route takes you into the TAR we can advise you on which areas are open to permit-holders and arrange for the necessary permits.

 

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Permits

Subject to availability, we can provide tents, stoves, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and water filters. We tend to use Moss® 4-season mountaineering tents and Primus/MSR stoves. They have proven over the years to be the most reliable in adverse conditions. Sleeping bags and mats are of the more generic variety. If you need to include use of equipment in the package, we ask you to provide a deposit against damage, to be returned on completion of the trip.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Camping Equipment

Where you feel the need or interest, short intensive language courses can be arranged. These range from one-day instruction in the basics to a week of intensive learning to give you a solid grounding in beginning Chinese - truly, it's much easier than you might think!

Itineraries, which include full details of the route and places of interest, are in both Chinese and English, to make for easier communication between you and your driver.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Chinese Language

Jeeps
A variety of jeeps/4WDs available - the ever practical Beijing Jeep (our preference) & BJ/Chrysler Cherokee, the Isuzu Trooper and the Toyota Landcruiser. All have pros and cons - get in touch for further details. The important point here is that we only use drivers we know and trust - experience has shown that a driver can make or break a trip, and our choice reflects this.

Drivers
Drivers will also often double as basic guides acting as our man-on-the-ground and helping you in situations where a local Chinese speaker is called for. Additionally the drivers are often local to specific areas, and so can add their local knowledge to your on-the-spot decision-making process.

For trips using two or more jeeps, 2-way radios are also available.

Alternate Transport
For larger groups, trucks are available as are minibuses.

Cyclists have the option of renting mountain bikes and (if necessary) a support vehicle. For trekking we can provide horses/mules for riding or carrying packs.

Additionally, domestic flights and bus/train bookings can be included.

Accommodation
Either prior to embarkation - or if necessary while en route - we can make advance bookings for guesthouses/hotels. In bigger cities, the full range of accommodation is available Once you get to remoter regions, naturally the options become more limited - though often more interesting...

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Transport & Accommodation Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet.

Travel in SW China & Tibet can be extremely demanding - a bare-bones trip is not for the faint hearted or inexperienced! Whereby we will give you the maximum possible support and back-up, this is no substitute for an experienced on-the-spot guide who is able to judge your needs and how best to satisfy them, as well as deal with more major problems such as closed roads. If you have not had either previous experience of travel in China or extensive experience of travel in remote areas with a language barrier, then we suggest that you carefully consider the benefits of a guided trip before making your final decision.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. A Cautionary Note Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet.

If you have a trail in mind but either don't have the numbers or would simply prefer a larger group, then you are welcome to open up a booking list. We'll then put it up on the site and generally promote your trip to see if anyone else is interested. See Booking Lists for examples.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Booking Lists