facebook-pixel-code
NULL
Limited Space Available.

China: Panda Conservation

China: Panda Conservation

China: Panda Conservation

Program Type:Smithsonian Open Enrollment iconOpen Enrollment Learn More

Dates: June 24th - July 8th 2018  |  Tuition: $3,490 Tuition Details

Service Hours: 25 Service hours

Enroll Now Make a Payment

Dear Families – Welcome to the homepage for the China: Panda Conservation program! If this is your first time on this page, please read through the categories under Pre-Enrollment to learn more about this unique travel opportunity, or peruse the other categories as you like. Once you have enrolled, please check out the Post-Enrollment information. Around one month before departure, we will post the remaining information under Program Prep to review on a call with the entire group. We hope you will join us on the adventure of a lifetime in China!

Program Highlights

  • Hand feed Giant Pandas in Dujiangyan
  • Visit the Chengdu Giant Panda Base
  • Homestay in Anlong Village, an organic farm
  • Experience traditional cormorant fishing
View Full Itinerary

Smithsonian Student Adventures was created through a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution and Walking Tree Travel. Although this video is branded as Walking Tree Travel, it encapsulates the mission and spirit that is present in all SSA programming.

Important Program Details

Click on the sections above to learn more

Program Itinerary

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - ChengduToday we'll depart from the U.S.A. and fly across the Pacific to the metropolis of Chengdu in the Sichuan Province of China.In flight
2Chengdu, SichuanAfter crossing the international dateline, we'll arrive in Chengdu in the evening. We'll settle in at the hotel, have our first dinner together, and rest up for our upcoming adventure!Chengdu Dreams Hostel
3Chengdu, SichuanAfter a good night's rest we'll have our orientation and explore Chengdu, checking out the famous Wuhou Temple and eating our fair share of Chengdu's specialty street snacks on Jinli street. We'll also stroll over to the People's Park to “hang” with the locals while they get fit and socialize with ballroom dancing, kite flying, taichi, and more! For dinner, we'll try our hand at expert level DIY Sichuan cuisine, hotpot! Chengdu Dreams Hostel
4Dujiangyan, SichuanEarly this morning, we'll make our way to the Panda Center at Dujiangyan to begin our volunteer programing. Our tasks will include cleaning panda enclosures, preparing bamboo and “Panda Bread” as well as hand-feeding the pandas. We'll also watch a documentary about panda habitat loss, and learn about the breeding and reintroduction work that is currently being done.Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel
5Dujiangyan, SichuanWe will continue volunteering at the Dujiangyan Panda Center and will have free time to explore Dujiangyan in the afternoon/evening.Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel
6Dujiangyan, SichuanToday, we'll visit the Chengdu Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see the public-facing side of panda conservation in China. We'll tour the facilities and see the Giant panda’s smaller cousin, the Red Panda. Another possibility includes heading to Panda Valley, where important reintroduction work is being done. We'll also get the insider's scoop by speaking with scientists working at the center about their research and the future of China's adorable mammal. In the afternoon, we have two options: a relaxing hike in the misty waterfalls of Qingcheng Back Mountain, where we'll enjoy stunning scenery and an escape from the heat; or, we can check out the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, for which the region is known, an impressive feat of urban/structural engineering that has been in use since the 3rd century. Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel
7Anlong, SichuanVisit and tour Anlong Village to learn about the work of Chengdu Urban Rivers Association and pitch in to help with their sustainable agricultural education programming. We'll enjoy tea and mahjong on the shores of the surging river while we enjoy the relaxed pace of life in rural Sichuan. We'll also have the unique opportunity to dine and sleep in local family homes as part of our homestay programing. Homestay in Anlong
8Anlong - Chengdu-GuiyangAfter a final home-style breakfast, we'll board the sleeper train and settle into our bunks for an adventure. We'll pass the time by watching the scenery fly by, playing cards, napping, snacking, and practicing Chinese with our neighboring passengers. All aboard!Train
9Guiyang - Guilin - YangshuoToday is another day of travel. Upon arriving in Guiyang station in the morning, we'll transfer to Guiyang North Station and board the high speed train to Guilin. We'll cruise at speeds of nearly 200km/hour and arrive in Guilin 2.5 hours later. Upon arrival, we'll relax, grab a meal, and then make our way via bus to Yangshuo, famed for its stunning scenery of the Li River s. Upon arrival in Yangshuo, we'll settle into the hotel and explore our home for the next few days on foot, including an evening stroll along the Li river to see Yangshuo's famed karst peaks . When the weather conditions are right, it's like walking into a classic Chinese painting! Faulty Towers or comparable 3 star lodging
10Yangshuo, GuangxiThere's no better way to appreciate the beauty of this part of the country than on bike. Today we'll ride through the countryside to nearby villages, engaging in a scavenger hunt that will ask that you pay close attention to your surroundings, including the crops in the fields and the local flora/fauna. In the afternoon, we'll head to the ancient village of Fuli known for its fan painting. We'll have a lesson and try our hand at this traditional craft. We'll kayak down the Li river in the afternoon, and we'll have a lesson on aquatic ecology and the major threats currently facing China's rivers. through the countryside to nearby villages, engaging in a scavenger hunt that will ask that you pay close attention to your surrounding, including the crops in the fields and the local flora/fauna. In the afternoon, and we'll head to the ancient village of Fuli known for its fan painting. We'll have a lesson and try our hand at this traditional craft. We'll kayak down the Li river in the afternoon, and we'll have a lesson on aquatic ecology and the major threats currently facing China's rivers. Faulty Towers or comparable 3 star lodging
11Yangshuo, GuangxiAside from its unique karst topography, Guangxi and neighboring Guizhou are home to some of the most elaborate cave systems in China. Today, we'll have the chance to explore an immense limestone cave and see stalactites and stalagmites and even a river that runs through it! We'll enjoy a packed lunch inside the cave and spook ourselves with local ghost stories. This evening we'll try our hand at traditional cormorant fishing while riding on bamboo rafts with local fishermen. We'll discuss how this local custom has been passed down through the generations, the implications of overfishing and habitat degradation that comes along with development, and differing perspectives on animal rights. Faulty Towers or comparable 3 star lodging
12Longji, GuangxiEarly this morning, we'll make our way via bus to the sublimely beautiful Longji Rice Terraces and spend the night in a Zhuang or Yao village. Aside from staggering natural beauty and ingenious irrigation dating back as far as 700 years, we'll also learn about and witness the culture and customs of some of China's ethnic minority groups which live in this area. After arriving at the base of Dazhai village, we'll make a 40-minute trek up, up, up the mountain to remote Tiantou village, where we'll be spending the night in a traditional wooden Yao house. Weather permitting, we'll be sure to catch the sunset over the idyllic rolling rice terraced hills surrounding the community. For dinner, we'll enjoy local specialties of rice and chicken baked inside bamboo tubes and fresh, organic veggies from the family plots nearby. Dragon's Den Hostel
13Longji - YangshuoThe next day, we’ll rise before the sun and hike 40 minutes from our accommodations to the No. 2 overlook to view the sunrise. Even if it's cloudy or rainy, watching the mist clear and the clouds roll over the terraced hills is not to be missed! After a bit more exploration, we'll make our way back to Yangshuo for a final evening there including a cooking class and a trip to the local market. Faulty Towers or comparable 3 star lodging
14Yangshuo - Guilin - BeijingWe'll leave Yangshuo for Guilin early this morning and head directly to the airport to catch our plane to Beijing for the return flight home!Longwan International Airport Hotel or comparable
15Beijing - USAToday we are on our international flight back to the US! 再见中国!Airplane

Philosophy Of Travel

Our mission is to inspire the next generation to become global leaders by taking an active interest in the world around them. With a dedication to learning, along with an enduring passion for exploring the world, Smithsonian Student Adventures designs transformative and meaningful travel programs that uncover the authentic culture of each destination and inspire students to take action in their local and global community.

Smithsonian Student Adventures stands for a more open, curious, and compassionate approach to travel. We partner with select schools around the world to provide memorable small-group experiences, and invest in cultivating and maintaining longterm relationships with our partner communities. If you are interested in our organization and philosophy of travel, click here to learn more about us.

Accommodations

SSA partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are clean, safe, centrally located, and provide modern amenities. Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.

Chengdu: www.dreams-travel.com/youthhostel/en/

Dujiangyan: http://hotels.ctrip.com/hotel/2216166.html 

Beijing: www.beijing-drum-tower.hostel.com/

Yangshuo, Guangxi: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g303712-d1143715-Reviews-Fawlty_Towers_Hotel-Yangshuo_County_Guangxi.html

Longji, Guangxi: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1159371-d2690690-Reviews-Dragon_s_Den_Hostel-Longsheng_County_Guangxi.html

Dali, Yunnan: www.jims-tibetan-hotel.com/

Kunming, Yunnan: www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Kunming-Upland-International-Youth-Hostel/Kunming/57778

Xi’an: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g298557-d6395604-Reviews-Xian_Travelling_With_Hostel-Xi_an_Shaanxi.html

Shanghai: www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Le-Tour-Traveler-s-Rest-Youth-Hostel/Shanghai/25664

 

Standards of Behavior

SSA provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with SSA.

Tuition & Fundraising

Tuition Includes:
all accommodations, basic travel insurance, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full time leadership team and taxes and tips.

Tuition Excludes:
 International airfare, baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.

We believe that cost should not prevent enthusiastic students from having the opportunity to join an SSA program. We are pleased to offer opportunities for fundraising and payment plans to help make this goal a reality. Please visit our Tuition and Funding page to find out more about tuition, fundraising, payment options, referral discounts, and more.

Passport & Visa Check

US CITIZENS
Passport must be valid for six months after the final day of your travel program, including one open visa page.
A visa is required of all US visitors to China. In order to obtain your Chinese tourist visa, we recommend that you employ an agency to expedite the process. We’ve had success in the past with Flychina.com. A single-entry tourist visa will cost around $200 and this is a process we suggest you begin immediately. A valid US Passport, which will not expire for at least 6 months after your trip date, is required to obtain the visa.

NON US CITIZENS OR THOSE TRAVELING FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE USA
Non US citizens should check with their country’s embassy abroad to verify vaccination and visa requirements.
US citizens traveling from a country other than the United States should check the State Department website (www.travel.state.gov) for more information regarding additional visa or vaccine requirements.

Please contact us for further information regarding vaccination and visa requirements.

Health and Safety

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. SSA will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

VACCINATIONS
Vaccination information and requirements can change frequently. Because of this, and for more information, we suggest that you consult your local travel clinic and/or family physician for specific details.

Travel Insurance

Our experience has taught us that international travel can sometimes be unpredictable. As such, SSA will purchase basic secondary travel and medical insurance for all SSA travelers via Travel Insured International. This service provides the following coverage at no additional cost to our participants:

PLAN COVERAGES

$500 Return Airfare for Trip Interruption
$750 ($150 per day) Trip Delay of six hours or more
$500 (Three or more hours) Missed Connection
$1500 ($250 per article) Baggage/Personal Effects
$300 Baggage Delay – 24 hours
$25,000 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
$100,000 Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Emergency Assistance Non-insurance Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services Included

Once you have been accepted onto your program, SSA will be in touch regarding this insurance and other additional options (see below).

ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL COVERAGES

The following additional optional coverage upgrades are available upon request for an additional premium charge to the traveler. For further information on the premiums associated with these optional coverage enhancements, please email your inquiry to our travel insurance program administrator, Hayashi Insurance Solutions: travelinsurance@jshinsurance.com

– Trip Cancellation Coverage – Reimburses the traveler up to the trip cost insured up to a maximum of $10,000 per person if the trip must be cancelled for unforeseeable life events including but not limited to; medical/health reasons, bereavement, etc.

– Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) – Reimburses the traveler for 75% of the non-refundable trip cost. Cancellation must be made 48 hours or more prior to scheduled departure. Must be purchased at the same time as initial plan purchase and prior to final trip payment. *This benefit is not available to residents of New York State.

The Plan is administered by Hayashi Insurance Solutions (CA DOI 0F61680) a licensed Insurance Agency authorized to transact this insurance under the express authority of Travel Insured International, Inc. and its representatives, and on behalf of Walking Tree Travel, Inc. The Plan contains insurance benefits underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. Fairmont Specialty and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2015. The Plan also contains non insurance Travel Assistance Services that are provided by an independent organization, OnCall International, and not by United States Fire Insurance Company or Travel Insured International. Review the Plan Document for complete terms, including benefits, conditions, limitations and exclusions that apply. Coverages may vary and not all coverage is available in all jurisdictions.

Global Leadership Curriculum

Walking Tree Travel has developed a curriculum that helps SSA travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame their experience, and prepare them to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future. For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the Walking Tree Travel Global Leadership Curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More

Language Resources

DUOLINGO

Want to learn a new language and be better prepared for your travel program? Duolingo is the easiest, most entertaining way to start learning and using a new language right away! The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to communicate with locals in your host country and help your fellow travelers navigate a foreign environment.

Tap the Duolingo owl to get started, or download the app to your mobile phone.

 

duolingo owl logo

Group Flight Information

In an effort to make the flight booking process as smooth as possible, we have partnered with STA Travel. This partnership provides our participants with discounted fares through STA’s contracts with the top airlines to help our travelers get the best possible rates. To learn more about STA as an organization, please check out their website at www.statravel.com.

STA Travel will help our families and travelers book their round trip travel between their home city and our host countries. We are excited to offer this premium service to our participants so that we can focus on what we do best – providing meaningful adventures around the world.

Open Enrollment participants are responsible for booking and paying for their own international flights. You have two options for making your flight arrangements:

1. (Preferred) Book a seat on the chaperoned international group flight.

Each Open Enrollment program has a suggested, chaperoned, group flight that will depart from a designated departure city in the United States and arrive to the destination country. Participants on these flights will have the support of our on-scene Airport Liaison as well as an accompanying Program Leader, on-flight. The Airport Liaison will help gather, coordinate and direct the arrival and departure of our participants in the airport and the Program Leader will accompany the group to and from the host country while on the flight. The vast majority of our travelers choose this option. 

2. Book your own flight to the host country.

For this option we require travelers to arrive at the same time, or earlier (no more than 3 hours), than the suggested group flight’s planned arrival. We ask participants not to arrive later than the suggested group flight’s time of arrival. If travelers arrive on their own prior to the rest of the group we will arrange to have the second Program Leader or the Country Director meet them as they land in the host country. 

With either option, we strongly encourage you to book your flights through STA, but it is not required.

Please wait to make any flight arrangements until we have sent you our chaperoned group flight information by email, which we will post by April 1, 2018 with instructions on how to proceed. 

A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries.  Notwithstanding, our travelers’ well-being and safety is always our number one priority in all facets of our operations and programming, so please know that in case flight delays or cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will keep family members updated on developments as we are able.

Important note: Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

BAGGAGE POLICY
SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage
or for lost or stolen luggage. We strongly encourage all travelers to pack a carry-on bag if possible, or to at least put all valuables and a change of clothes or two in a carry-on along with all important medications and basic toiletries such as a toothbrush, deodorant, glasses, contacts etc.

UN-ACCOMPANIED MINORS
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm whether this is required on your flight.

Leader Profile

SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Smithsonian Student Adventures staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

  • Jillian Schultz
    Jillian Schultz China Country Director, Program Leader

    Columbia University – B.A. in Art History and Asian Studies
    Columbia University – M.A. Art History

    Jillian hails from Chicago and recently relocated to Los Angeles after five years in Beijing. She studied art history and Asian studies as an undergrad and received her M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. Before relocating to China, she spent five years working in the Asian Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. While in Beijing, she served as the Director of International Programs at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. She has curated and produced exhibitions and educational programing in China, the U.K., Europe, and most recently, Ethiopia. Jillian is an avid yogi and completed a 200 hour intensive teacher training in Bali. Jillian loves seeing live music, biking, being in/near the ocean, and making the people around her laugh. She never feels more alive than when she’s navigating the streets of China, sampling local delicacies and seeking out the best bargains she can find.

    Group Roster

    Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email lacey@SmithsonianSA.com.

     

    Community & Project Details

    This is where your host community information will appear, along with your community project, if applicable to your program.

    Communication & Blog

    The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.

    SSA tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@SmithsonianSA.com. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.

    Here is the link to your blog: -Coming Soon-

    Packing List

    What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

    Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

    China Packing List

    CLOTHES:

    7-10 pairs of underwear
    5 pairs of socks
    1 set pajamas
    3 short-sleeved T-shirts
    2 long-sleeved T-shirts, preferably light-weight
    1 sweater or sweatshirt
    2 pair of shorts
    2 pair of light-weight pants/hiking pants
    1 nice outfit to be worn at community gatherings and final dinner (sundress, skirt, polo, khaki shorts, etc.)
    1 rain jacket
    1 sweatshirt
    1 pair of sneakers (appropriate for hiking/athletic activity)
    1 pair of sports sandals or 1 pair flip flops
    1 hat or visor
    1 swimsuit

    REQUIRED TOILETRIES:

    Basic toiletries
    Sunscreen SPF 30+ (You will use a lot!)
    Bug repellent
    Hand sanitizer
    Tampons/maxi pads (if applicable)
    Any necessary medication (TSA requires that pills be properly labeled and in the original container.)

    RECOMMENDED TOILETRIES

    Band aids and neosporin
    Dental floss

    REQUIRED ADDITIONAL ITEMS

    Bath towel (quick-dry recommended)
    Plastic bag for dirty laundry
    Sunglasses
    Book
    Alarm clock or watch
    $100-200 US dollars in perfect condition (for souvenirs, snacks, optional excursions, etc.)
    Visa/MasterCard ATM card We do NOT recommend traveler’s checks, gift cards or credit cards.
    Durable water bottle

    RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL ITEMS

    Small luggage lock
    Portable charger (for long train ride)
    Journal & writing utensils
    Wet wipes
    Ziplock bags
    Journal and pen
    Camera
    Snacks
    Flashlight or headlamp
    Travel pillow
    Ear plugs
    Chinese/English dictionary
    Cards/games/etc (small and easy to carry)
    Electrical converter and adapter
    **China runs 220V, 50Hz AC electricity. A converter is only necessary if your device does not have 120-220V range.

     

    Tuition Details

    Tuition Includes:
    all accommodations, basic travel insurance, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full time leadership team and taxes and tips.

    Tuition Excludes:
     International airfare, baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.

    No Favorites Has Been Added!