Empty Vessel & Mystical Abode

China Tour 2020

May 3rd through 22nd, 2020

  Home Itinerary Trip Itinerary
See the details regarding where we're going and when.
Tour Leaders Jessica & Ray Kolbe
Get more information about your trip leaders.
Register Blog Trip Blog
More information as it becomes available.
Have a question? Look here to see if it's already been asked and answered.

Master Zhou Bu Ju


  Register Generl
Registration page.
Visa China Travel Visa
This is important and must be completely accomplished not later than one month before the trip.
Terms and Conditions Terms & Conditions
These must be agreed upon with your registration.
What to Bring  



Click here for printable copy

Carry Copies of Everything!

Before your departure, make photocopies of your passport page that documents your personal identification and passport number. Also copy your visa page. You may also take photos of these pages with your smart phone. Leave one copy at home, so that a family member or friend can access it in case you loose your passport while out of the country. Take one copy with you, keeping it in a safe place separate from your passport.
Health Insurance documents.
Emergency Information and Emergency Contact Information.
Hotel and Contact Information (we will supply you with a copy of this).

Airline tickets

Your tickets are electronic so you just need to bring your id (passport with China visa).

Insurance -- for travel protection and assistance

Travel insurance is required. It covers reimbursement of expenses that may be incurred during the course of your trip (e.g. baggage loss, trip interruption, certain medical expenses, etc.) Travel insurance is available from our travel agent, your travel agent, or online from Travel Guard at www.travelguard.com.

Luggage Allowance

On the International flight: 2 pieces of checked luggage (weighing up to 70 pounds each) plus 1 carry on. On the domestic flights within China: 1 piece of checked luggage (weighing up to 50 pounds) plus one or two carry on pieces that will fit under the seat e.g. a back pack and a hand bag or fanny pack.

You should be able to easily identify and to securely lock your luggage.

Even though each passenger is allowed two pieces of checked luggage on international flights, flights within China limit each passenger to one piece of luggage not weighing more than 25 kilos. You are advised to not bring more than 1 piece of luggage to China. You can purchase another piece of luggage in China, before we depart for the states to carry purchases made in China. You can check 2 pieces of luggage when returning to the US. If you have extra luggage when traveling in China, you may be required to pay an excess baggage charge at each airport. (Last reported at 1.5% of published fare for every 2 pounds of weight.)

The checked baggage should be able to withstand a certain extent of pressure, completely sealed, well-locked and firmly tied up. If your baggage is not packed in accordance with the requirements: the carrier can refuse to accept for carriage and will not be liable for any damage or breakage thereof. Please have your luggage marked so you, or other group members, can easily identify it from a distance. Brightly colored straps sold in the luggage department or travel stores works well.

Packing Tips: PACK LIGHT! You may have to carry your luggage up a flight of stairs.

Lightweight (canvas or nylon) luggage is the most practical. We highly recommend that you bring luggage with wheels. Light weight luggage with sturdy wheels will save much time, energy and your back.

Completely filling the bag will prevent contents from sliding around and becoming excessively wrinkled. Rolling rather than folding is a good technique for saving space and preventing wrinkles. One good traveler’s tip is to pack bubble wrap in the empty spaces; it can be used to wrap fragile purchases for your trip back to the US. Do not pack anything valuable, fragile or perishable in checked luggage. Your passport should be on your person at all times and any valuable items and prescription drugs should be on your person or in carry on luggage.

Suggested Clothing

Bring COMFORTABLE clothes suitable for movement and touring around that do not need ironing. Dressing in “layers” is a good plan. A jacket or vest with zip pockets can be indispensable. Loose comfortable clothes for doing Qigong will also be part of the items you’ll want to pack. Ladies, please plan on wearing comfortable pants for Qigong as skirts are not appropriate.

It will most likely be warm in Hangzhou and Chengdu. It can also be quite warm during the daytime in Wudang, Qiyun, and Juihua but it gets much cooler at night. It can also be very cool in the daytime if it is raining. A sweater and warm jacket will be fine.

Wash and wear clothes that do not require ironing are recommended for this trip. Fast drying items can be washed in your hotel room sink and dry overnight. Laundry services are available at the hotels, but tends to be quite expensive and we will not have time to wait for undelivered laundry.

Casual and modest dress remains the preference for traveling in China (sleeveless tops & shorts may be inappropriate, when visiting temples, at least have your shoulders covered). Slacks and a shirt or sweater are most always appropriate attire.

A HAT that will keep off sun or rain and windproof jacket with a warm under-layer, being the way to prepare for days that may be hot and humid, but with night time temperatures that can be quite cool (possibly into the 30's).

Shoes: Good walking shoes, cushioned with tough soles, medium or low tops are fine unless you need the ankle support. Don’t bring heavy hiking boots, they are not appropriate for mountains with stone stairs cut into them. This is NOT wilderness hiking. Make sure shoes are broken in with plenty of toe room. You can get by with good tennis shoes, they are light and comfortable, unless it rains. I don’t expect a lot of rain, but it can happen.

Socks: Cotton for most of trip, with one or two pair of “smart wool” socks for hiking. Smart wool comes in light weights is machine washable, is not itchy, and available on the net or at sporting stores. Great for preventing blisters, which can develop with thin cotton socks climbing mountain stairs all day. The cotton gets wet from sweat and then rubs. Cotton also takes longer to dry, for laundering purposes.

Packing Check List – Suggestions of Things to Include

It would be good to pack as lightly as possible so that it won’t be difficult to move our baggage thru the various airports and hotels. Some hotels, train stations, and bus stations in China do not have elevators and so we need to carry our bags up the stairs, We try to stay at hotels that have elevators.

Plus you may want to save room for any purchases you make there. There some very interesting outdoor markets, in China, where you can haggle to your heart’s content.

Essential Items

Wristwatch/smart-phone is ESSENTIAL. You need a watch to meet group travel schedules for numerous bus departures, or after we scatter at a site with a time deadline for meeting again.
Travel alarm clock (if you have trouble getting up). The hotels will have wakeup service in big cities.
Chargers for your electronic devices.
Back Pack (one that is comfortable for you to wear and can accommodate what you want to pack).
Personal toiletries.
Toilet tissue (the little travel size packages of Kleenex are a convenient size and shape to tuck in a pocket. In many parts of China, tissue in public rest rooms is non existent.)

Wash and wear clothing – dress in “layers” to accommodate changing temperatures including, warm sunny days, cold nights, windy mountain conditions and rain.

Miscellaneous Items

  • face-cloth and soap (Chinese hotels do not have face-cloths, if you need one, take your own)
  • personal toiletries packed in zip lock plastic bags
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • chap stick
  • extra set of luggage keys
  • small packages of kleenex (public toilets in China sometimes do not have toilet paper)
  • moist towelletes in packages
  • translation app on your smart phone or language dictionary and phrase book
  • photocopies of important documents
  • diary or journal to record your trip experiences
  • lightweight rain poncho
  • small fold up umbrella
  • hat to keep off sun or rain
  • sunscreen
  • extra zip-lock bags, of different sizes, useful for organizing things
  • your favorite snacks
  • tea, instant cocoa & instant coffee (hot boiled water will be available in your hotel room)
  • calculators so that you can effectively bargain at stores, shops, stands etc.

Suggestions of medical supplies

  • aspirin or aspirin substitute
  • vitamins
  • bowel regulators for diarrhea and for constipation (common problem at beginning of trip after long plane ride)
  • bandaids
  • your usual antibiotic
  • your usual cold medication
  • antiseptic spray/wipes
  • copy of medical history, prescription duplicates, extra eyeglasses, dentures
  • Emergen-C or Airborne to boost your immune system

Meals in China

Meals in China, if you are with a group, tend to be served family style, with a wide variety of delicious dishes to choose from, including vegetable only dishes. Be prepared to use chop sticks. (You may wish to bring your own fork.) Hot tea is available with lunch and dinner. Coffee is not usually available; if you want coffee, bring your own instant (although we will try to provide pour-over, availability may be limited or varied). The small drip style travel coffee maker that fits over a coffee cup works well. Hot boiled water will be available. Chinese breakfasts tend to consists of boiled eggs, steamed buns, congee (porridge) and pickled vegetables. If you need some sweet pastry or jam, bring your own.

The food in China is very different than American Chinese food – so much more delicious and varied. We typically feel that we are eating our way across China! You will get so spoiled eating food there that it can actually become difficult eating in American Chinese restaurants!

Special Meal Requests

If you are a vegetarian or have special dietary requests please let us know as soon as possible.

Dring Water: Do not drink tap water in China. Do not even brush you teeth with it. Hotel rooms will have electric tea kettles to boil water for making tea, etc. or thermoses of hot boiled water. You may wish to bring your own tea bags, instant cocoa powder or instant coffee. Do not drink water that does not come in a bottle with a seal on it. Do not drink beverages with ice.


Most hotels have a business center with internet access for a small fee. There are also internet cafe’s in many locations in the cities.

Public Toilets

You may encounter some public toilets in China that are not up to international standards. A few could be old-fashioned “hole in the ground” variety where you crouch and aim. Public toilets in hotels and most restaurants have Western-style fixtures.

Always carry extra tissue with you. Wet towlette packets are also recommended, as there may not be running water to wash hands at all public facilities.

Money Dollars – Yuan - RMB

HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED? Mostly depends on your appetite for shopping. We suggest that you bring a minimum of $600.00 converted to Yuan. You probably will want more than that.

It is best to exchange dollars for yuan at your bank, in order to get the best rate.

You should notify your bank and credit card companies know that you will be in China. Some ATMs may accept your credit or debit cards, but some will not, so please don't count on it. Changing dollars for yuan in China is not easy and very time consuming. Also note that they typically accept only the latest style of bills.

Shopping: Usually people spend more than they planned, as there are lots of nice crafts in China: silk clothes, paintings, calligraphy, jade, bronze, etc. We will have several opportunities to shop in China, ranging from quaint street bazaars to big stores. Larger stores and airport shops may take credit cards, and can also take a big profit. You will need yuan for shopping at the street bazaars where bargaining on the price of an object is both a game and an art. General rule: offer one third of what they ask...then enjoy the process. You will need yuan for any snacks, treats, and the occasional meal that is not included in the price of the trip.

Tips – gratuities for guides, drivers and meals are included in the trip price. You may want to make donations to temples, or to tip extra if you feel someone has been extra helpful.

You may also need some mad money, and some emergency money, in case you miss the bus and need to catch a taxi.

Medical and Health: All visitors entering China are required to complete a Health Declaration card distributed by the cabin crew during the flight to China. Officially China does not issue entry visas to HIV carriers.

If you have health problems, please inform your trip leaders as soon as possible.


Vaccinations are not required for travel to China except for travelers arriving from or via an infected area. It is up to individual travelers to do what they are most comfortable with and make their own choice to get vaccinations or not.

Air Travel/Jet Lag Tips

The flight to China will take about 12 and a half hours. Jetlag can be a challenge with its possible effect of weakening one's immune system by reversing night and day (12 hours time difference). This confuses the body until it reverses its biological clock. During this weakened period you are more susceptible to new bacteria in the food and water of China or latent (pre-existing) conditions in your body. Plus, trans-pacific plane travel can be stressful in itself: reduced oxygen and blood circulation during long flights take their toll.

Dehydration on long flights is the biggest problem. Take a water bottle, constantly drink. Try to drink at least 4 ounces of water per hour of flight time. Avoid alcohol, it dehydrates you and disperses your chi. Take a small spray bottle and mist face and arms regularly; it makes a huge difference, a little lavender in the water is nice.

Do Qigong at the airport just before getting on the plane. This improves chi circulation. We usually do some small movement qigong on the plane as well; at minimum take a regular hike every few hours around the plane aisles.

Get up early the first morning in China and absorb sunlight for 10-15 minutes to reset your hormonal clock. This may be difficult, but still go outside and get natural light. We will most likely be able to gather as a group to do morning Qigong together outdoors in a park, close by. Also eat a big breakfast the first morning, food also helps to reset biological your clock.




Contact Us