Thinking about your next school trip to China? WildChina is excited to introduce to you some of China’s most sublime mountains that store thousands of years of customs and traditions in every nook and cranny. In case you might not know, WildChina is committed to linking your students’ classroom learning to real-world knowledge in an authentic manner. With each itinerary we design, our academic managers ensure they connect to the concepts of meaningful global citizenship. From trekking in remote valleys and exploring ancient villages to scaling snow-capped peaks and admiring breathtaking views, here are four amazing mountain exploration trips in China that you should consider for your next adventure.
Best Mountain Exploration Trips in China
Pamir Mountains Trek
This 5-day trip will take you through Xinjiang, China’s wild west. To start off, you’ll meet your WildChina program leader in Kashgar and check in to your hotel. As a warm-up to the long hours of trekking through the mountains, you’ll transfer to Karakul Lake and take in the view of the Pamir landscape. From then, we’ll take you on a one to two-hour hike along the lake and spend a night at a village homestay. Depending on your traveling history, it may well be the first time you’ll see a truly starry night void of light pollution.
On your first official day of the trek, we will go on an 8-hour trek to the Kygyz Subash villages, covering 3,700 meters (2.3 miles) along the way. Once there, you’ll have a nomadic-style dinner with local villagers and call an early night.
We’ll trek to another village in the mountains called Qaltumak, which would total 4,100 meters (2.5 miles). From the slopes, you’ll be able to see the Muztagh Ata, also known as the Father of Ice Mountain, and hundreds of marmots playing hide and seek in their natural habitat. While you’re there you’ll also meet local Hayed shepherds and spend the evening either in Kiygyz stone-built houses, the Qoltumak Kyrgyz homestay, or a tent.
Day 3 includes another 2.5-mile hike from Qaltumak to Idare, a nomadic-style dinner with the locals, and an early night. On your last full day, we’ll trek from there to Karakul Lake, which is at an altitude of about 4,000 meters—that’s 13,000 feet! If you’ve ever had an obscure dream of visiting a lake in the clouds, this is it. Karakul Lake is the largest lake in the Pamir region. The body of water lies in a meteor-impact crater, and the meteor is said to have landed there 25 million years ago. After visiting Karakul Lake, you’ll transfer back to Kashgar for a farewell dinner.
Heading over to the central southern part of China, you’ll also get to see beautiful landscapes as well as diverse ethnic cultures. This trip was specifically designed for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which we’ll be discussing more on our blog soon!
Since this trip is also filled with treks, we’ll start with a warm-up day once you arrive in Shangri-la and meet your WildChina Program Leader. Since WildChina is dedicated to your needs, we can arrange activities upon request.
The first day of your trek will take place at the Abujee Mountain trailhead, where you’ll hike to your first campsite. On your way, you’ll pass by the Tibetan and Yi herder camps and see the views that the Abujee Mountains have to offer. If we have time, you’ll get to learn about the history and culture of Tibetan muleteers, how to properly back a mule, and tie some simple knots. That evening, you’ll sleep in a mountain meadow.
Day two is quite mild, acting as a reprieve from your strenuous trek the day before. We’ll take lots of breaks as necessary while we continue trekking along the Abujee Mountain. As an optional activity, you can hike up some granite hilltops to see the view of the valley below. We’ll spend the night at a campsite near the sacred lake Tsonak, also known as the Black Lake.
You’ll continue trekking along the lake on day three and the descent to the valley below, where you’ll stay at another campsite. On day four, we’ll head to Zhongdian via bus so you can relax for the rest of your last day.
Beyond the Wall – The Mountains of Xinglong County
This trip takes us to Beijing, China’s capital city. Once again, this trip is highly physical while bringing you the history and culture of three villages in rural Beijing. On travel day, you’ll meet your program leader and transfer to a guesthouse to have a nice rest before your adventurous journey ahead. Day one will bring you to Dongjiafeng Village. From there, you’ll take the day to hike 15 km, or 9 miles, to Xinchengzi (新城子, xīn chéng zi), enjoying the rural atmosphere along the way.
The next day we’ll transfer to Yangshitang Village, which is another 9 miles, to freshen up at another guesthouse and eat lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll discuss and prepare the main trek, which will cover the next two days. You’ll also engage in some team-building activities in the evening. After a self-cooked breakfast on the first official day of your trek, we will travel from Yangshitang Village to Ximatigou Village (another 9 miles), set up camp, and have a self-cooked dinner.
On your second official trek day, you’ll trek from Ximatigou Village to Sidaohe Village, which is once again the same distance. Once you’re there, you’ll have a leisurely afternoon enjoying the scenery of the old villages. We’ll take a bus back into the city that night to check into a hotel, where you’ll probably have the greatest sleep of your life after all that trekking! On the morning of your return, your students will do some reflections on your trip and some to-be-decided activities.
Mount Tai: Service & Community Connected
This journey brings you to the mountains of Shandong, where your students will experience service learning and outdoor education through a series of unique activities. The activities in this trip address UNSDGs 4 and 11, which are Quality Education and Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Mount Tai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll notice that China harbors many of these sites. The artwork and artifacts found there reflect the sacred mountain’s natural landscapes. Humans first settled there during the Neolithic era, and according to UNESCO, Mount Tai was the “object of an imperial cult for nearly 2,000 years.” Before 219 BCE, Emperor Qin informed the gods of his success in unifying China by performing Fengshan sacrifices. Across the mountain, archaeologists have found 1,800 stone tablets and inscriptions and 22 temples. There have been 12 historically recorded imperial ceremonies that paid homage to Heaven and Earth, making Mount Tai an incredible monument of Chinese culture and history.
On day one, you’ll transfer to Tai’an to meet your WildChina guide for a 4-hour hike to the top of Tai Mountain, after which you’ll take a cable car back down. The next few days are filled with community service activities, fulfilling your learning objectives in an experiential way. We’ll drive to Buying village to spend the day at a local kindergarten doing window replacements, wall painting, and building bookshelves for the kids. Your students will also get to do some local farming activities. On your last full day, your WildChina guide will take you to explore the Tai Temple and do a scavenger hunt activity before transferring home.
Out of these four mountain exploration school trips to China, which one piques your interest the most? There is so much to offer in each trip beyond what we’ve mentioned here. Our academic managers would be happy to help you develop your ideal school trip to China, whatever your goals may be. From service learning to outdoor education to sustainability, WildChina will work hard to integrate it into your school trip. Our programs are fully risk-assessed, sustainable, and learning-focused. As always, we’d love to hear from you through an email or a phone call to discuss your program of choice.
Sources: 4 Mountain Exploration Trips in China