Camping in China
Camping Experience in Yingde, China
Yingde is on the Beijiang River, a tributary of the Pearl River. The history of human activity in Yingde dates back 100,000 years from the stones found in ancient riverbed grain layers .
Ying De Black Tea is one of the few black teas to come from the Guangdong province of China.
The weather is mild sub- tropical. The scenery is spectacular. The area is suitable for tourism year-round.
Camping and hiking is easy and fun in this area! Most local travel bureaus in Guangzhou can arrange for a camping excursion for small groups. We used Advanced Community for our trip and had 21 people in the group ranging in age from 3 years to 72 years.
This can be a wonderful experience for families with young children who are curious about camping, and for couples who just want to get away from the city for a weekend. The cost for this weekend was approximately $120.00 per person including meals, transportation, camping equipment, and tours.
From Guangzhou to Yingde
The charter bus met us at a central location in Guangzhou (at the Liede Metro Station). The drive to Yingde takes approximately 2 ½ hours through lovely, lush countryside. We arrived in time to unload and walk a short distance to the local outdoor restaurant for a delicious lunch.
The tour company provided tents and air mattresses which we set up after lunch. The children were entertained by archery sets, hammocks, and woodworking projects.
Meals at Yingde Campsite
Meals were prepared with many local vegetables including sweet potatoes, carrots, lettuce, steamed greens, and lotus. Protein was in the form of fried tofu squares, and of course there was the ubiquitous “maifan” (white rice). The custom in this area is to wash all dishes and utensils at the table with hot tea which is then dumped in a waste bucket. More tea is provided for one to drink.
In the evening we went back to the restaurant (perhaps ½ mile walk) for another meal of much the same food, plus scrambled eggs with scallions.
The restaurant was simple, with plastic stools for chairs and a few four legged as well as two legged visitors underfoot! But the service was great and the food was delicious.
Restaurant Kitchen in Yingde
Bonfire and 'Smores!
Back at the campsite we built a bonfire, found appropriate sticks for improvised ‘smores which were a big hit with all! Friends who had never tried 'smores were impressed with the ingenuity of those who brought the alternative ingredients and they loved the goey yumminess of it all!
Drone Video of Our Yingde Camping Trip
The Drone saves the Day!
One of the members of our camping trip, Marc, had a drone with him. He sent it up on various occasions to get views of the area. At first I thought we had walked into a swarm of bees because the drone makes that noise! But it was wonderful that he was able to capture these shots. He also made a video to share with our group. An unexpected added feature of having the drone with us was that some of the group strayed off. The drone actually located them and made it so much easier to reunite!
Hiking in the Morning
In the morning, after breakfast we boarded the bus which would take us to the nearby black tea farm. Black tea has been present in Europe for centuries. In 1662 when princess Catherine from Portuguese married King Charles, she brought several crates of Chinese black tea as a dowry. That introduced black tea to the British palace, and since that time it has been an indispensable part of the life of British royalty.
On the far side of the terrace tea fields we came across ancient buildings along a primitive road. Our guide advised us that the structures were at least 800 years old!
We did not finish the entire trek as it was a bit much for some of the group. The proposed trek was 10 kilometers and we completed close to 8 kilometers which was enough for the youngest and oldest amongst us. I am afraid that the athletic German couple in the group may have been disappointed that we cut the hike short!
Path through the Black Tea Farm
One last event before heading back to the city was the visit to the beautiful caves in the area! A short walk from the campsite we found the cave. A tour boat transits through the caves with fascinating stalactites illuminated by colorful lighting throughout. The narration is in Chinese but there is often someone in the boat who can translate some of the information, More importantly, the experience of floating through these marvelous caves is awesome!
Marvelous Yingde Caves
Much more to See in Guangzhou
As much fun as it is to experience camping, there is much more to explore right in Guangzhou. Zhujiang New Town (Pearl River) is Guangzhou's Central Business District , with scores of high-rise buildings, apartment complexes and shopping malls. In terms of rent, it is one of the most expensive places in Guangzhou for both offices and apartments, but you are paying for both recognition (in terms of your office address!) and convenience in terms of living. There are several metro stops within Zhujiang New Town making travel to/from here a breeze. In terms of things to see and do, Hua Cheng Park is located in this district, where you can take in views of the Canton Tower and also marvel at the lofty West and East Towers that tower above each side of the park. There are loads of restaurants with something for absolutely everyone.
Zhujiang New Town has absolutely everything you could possibly need, from banks to dentists, or hospitals to schools, gyms or kindergartens.