Cina Photo Expeditions 2015
16-Day Fall Expeditions
Departure on Sept. 12
Group size: 8-12
Yunnan Province - Photograph interesting Chinese colorful farmlands, minority villages and ancient Lijiang, a large outdoor performance.  Take the cable car to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Yak Meadow.  Enjoy the Blue Moon Valley.  Stroll the streets of exotic Shuhe ancient town.  Meet minority villagers.  Photograph exotic birds on Sashihai Lake
Guangxi Province - Capture sunset and sunrise against the brilliant shining limestone along the Li River. Take sunrise pictures of Guangxi's jagged karst land scape from the Xianggong mountain. Watch fishermen working with their cormorants and oil lamps on bamboo rafts. Attend a riotous performance on the Li River. Explore the lively West Street and quiet Yulong village.
Fujian Province - Visit China’s most beautiful mudflats in Xiapu, with its people earning a living on fishing for thousands of years. Photo the floating houses, the marine life, bamboo poles, seaweed harvesting, fishing nets, fishing boats and dotting fishermen blend into the mudflats as the sun rises and sets, which create bright-colored graphic pictures and a dreamlike world of light and shadow.  
Itinerary of Fall Expedition 2015
Date Places Tour Note
9/12 Portland/SFO Alaska Air; leave Portland at 6:3pm, arrive SFO at 8:23pm Air
9/13 SFO/hongkong Cathay Pacific Airline. Leave SFO at 1:30am. Air
9/14 Hongkong/Kunming Arrive Hongkong at 6:40am, leave H.K. at 11:50am, arrive Kunming at 2:15pm, check in Hotel Air/Bus
9/15 Kunming/Dongchuan Bus to Dongchuan at noon. Sunset at "Red Land". Bus
9/16 Dongchuan Colorful farmland and interesting villages Bus
9/17 Dongchuan Sunrise at “Red Land”, Continuing photograph colorful farmland Bus
9/18 Dongchuan/Kunming/Lijiang Back to Kunming, fly to Lijiang in afternoon. Bus/Air
9/19 Lijiang Lijiang Impression outdoor performance. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yak Meadow. Blue Moon Valley Bus/Cable car
9/20 Lijiang The Black Dragon Pool Park. Ancient town of Shuhe Bus
9/21 Lijiang Dragon Snow Mountain in the early morning. Birds on the Sashihai Lake. Lijiang old town. Bus
9/22 Lijiang/Kunming/Guilin
Fly back to Kunming in the morning, fly to Guilin, bus to Yangshuo Bus/Air
9/23 Yangshuo Sunrise on Yulong River.  Yulong village. Impression Liu Sanjie outdoor performance in the evening Bus
9/24 Yangshuo/Xingping/Yangshuo Sunrise on the Yellow Cloth shoal.  Ancient town in the afternoon. Fishermen on the Li River in the evening Bus/Boat
9/25 Yangshuo/Guilin/Fuzhou/
Sunrise on the Xianggong Mountain.  Bus to Guilin in the morning. Fly to Fuzhou and bus to Xiapu Bus/Air
9/26 Xiapu Beiqi village for sunrise and fishermen working on the mudflats, Xiaohao village for beautiful sunset. Bus
9/27 Xiapu Sansha East or Shatangli low lying beach for stunning sunrise, Weijiang for seaweed harvest. Photo floating houses in Sha’ao Bay. Bus
9/28 Xiapu/Fuzhou Alluring old banyan tree forest in Yangjiaxi. Bus back to Fuzhou Bus
9/29 Fuzhou/Hongkong/USA Leave Fuzhou at 11:25am, arrive Hong Kong at 1:10pm. LV Hongkong at 4:35pm, arrive LAX at 2:55pm, LV LAX at 5:45pm, arrive Portland at 8:14pm. Bus/Air
    Side Trip  
9/29 Fuzhou/Shanghai Fly to Shanghai at 11:25am, arrive Shanghai at 1:00pm. Bus to Zhujiajiao water town Air/Bus
9/30 Shanghai Tianzifang art street in the morning. Pearl Tower and Chenghuang Miao bazaar in the afternoon. Bund at night. Bus
10/01 Shanghai/USA Early morning at Bund. Leave Shanghai at 2:30pm, arrive H.K at 5:05pm. LV HK at 6:45pm, arrive SFO at 4:30pm, Cathey Pacific Airlines. LV SFO at 8:25pm, arrive PDX at 10:04pm, Alaska Airline. Bus/Air
Price: $4690/person
Single room supplement: $700
Departure will be on Sept. 10, 2015
Price without international airfare: $3290/person
(From USA to Kunming and from Fuzhou to USA)
Shanghai side trip cost: $750/perosn (estimated, base on four people)
Tour package features:
  • Round-trip international airfare from Portland, Oregon, or from California, plus all airfares in China.
  • Sightseeing tours by air-conditioned motor coach.
  • Fine meals during the whole trip.
  • Four-star and five-star hotels or best hotel at local site.
  • Medical insurance in China.
  • Itinerary can be adjusted if photo opportunities appear.
  • Fall tour deadline for registration is July 31, 2015
  • Call Su Zhou at 503-639-8396, e-mail:
  • Tour web site: and click on Tour 2015.
  • Tips not included. We collect tips in advance, to be announced later.
Yunnan Province
Located along China’s southwest frontier, Yunnan offers an unmatched diversity of landscapes, climate, and people.  The Tibetan highland frames its northwestern fringes; tropical rainforests and volcanic plains lie to its south.  In the center are plains and hills, crisscrossed by some of Asia’s great rivers – the Yangzi, Salween, and Mekong.
The seat of the pastoral Dian Kingdom founded in the 3rd century BC, Yunnan was for centuries an isolated frontier region that resisted Han influences and upheld local identities.  Even today, the province is home to a third of China’s ethnic minorities and has much in common with neighboring Myanmar, Laos , and Vietnam.

The province’s capital, Kunming, is one of the more relaxed cities in China .  Farther north is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang, capital of the Naxi Kingdom , with cobbled streets and ancient architecture.  Tiger Leaping Gorge, an impressive, steep-sided ravine, offers superb, accessible two-day hikes.

Su’s Note:  We will arrive Kunming in the afternoon, rest or attend a show titled “Dynamic Yunnan,”(option) directed by China’s reportedly number one dancer Yang Liping in the evening.  Next morning, we will drive to Dongchuan (160km) to see the gogeously colorful fields.  Farmers here rotationally grow different crops like potato, buckwheat and wheat and, because of the acid in soil, the farmlands without crops turn to red.  Hence, under the blue sky, you can view land alternated by different colors such as green, white, red, and some other colors depending on the types of crops and the time of visit.  This feature attracts many photo-lovers.  We will stay overnight, and we will keep taking pictures the next morning.  We will stop by some interesting villages on the way back to Kunming in the afternoon and fly to Lijiang (40 minutes) in the evening.

Lijiang:  Set in a picturesque valley with a stunning mountain backdrop, Lijiang’s ancient town, Dayan, is a labyrinth of cobbled alleys lined with wooden houses, cafes and the workshops of traditional craftsmen.  Home to the Naxi people, Dayan is one of the most pleasant urban scenes in Chin .  Lijiang came to international attention in 1996 when an earthquake killed over 300 people and devastated the city.  Money poured into Dayan’s relatively sensitive reconstruction, and numerous hotels as well as an airport were built.  In 1999, Lijiang was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Su’s Note: We will stay at Lijiang for four days.  First, we will visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, whose the main peak is 18,360 feet high.  We will take a cable car to Yak Meadow where we will enjoy a sweeping view of the meadow.  Yaks roam in the meadow, and fields of flowers present a picture of early summer. At 1 pm, we will enjoy the outdoor performance of “Lijiang Impression,” directed by China’s famous film director, Zhang Yimou, who also directed the Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing in 2008.   Afterward, we will visit Blue Moon Valley, where gets the water out of the melting snow that runs from the mountains and forms four lakes and a few waterfalls. The head of the valley has natural white water terraces.
During in Lijiang, we will take pictures at Black Dragon Pool Park in the morning.  There is a perfect spot to take pictures of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.  The mountain is so high that is always covered by cloud, but if we are in luck we may see the peak. We will visit Lashihai Lake (15km from Lijiang), a paradise for birds.  We might see some bar-headed geese, cormorants, brown-headed gulls, egrets and cranes. We will stroll at Shuhe Town, the earliest inhabited place of the ancestors of the Naxi. Before and after dinners, the ancient town of Lijiang is a worthy place to visit.  Lijiang has been classified as a “National Town of History and Culture.”  Its ancient architecture is well preserved and even the original water-supply system for the town still functions effectively even today, reflecting the wisdom of the ancient Naxi people.  We will have enough time to see more of this ancient town--a cobweb of narrow cobbled alleyways, crisscrossed with canals, and free of traffic.  It’s extremely pretty and very popular. To sample the native life, head off into the alleys where the local people live.

Guangxi Province
Guangxi and Guizhou share a dramatic mountainous landscape of weathered limestone (Karst) pinnacles, which hide some of China’s largest cave systems.  Despite the abundant rainfall, the region possesses poor soil, which discouraged Han settlement until the late Ming period.  As a result, the area saw little development, and many indigenous groups, especially the Miao and Dong, have retained their traditional customs, including several festivals.  Guangxi is also home to the Zhuang, China’s largest ethnic minority, and became the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in 1958.          

Yangshuo: A small highway town at the end of the Li River Cruise, Yangshuo is surrounded by some spectacular karst hills interspersed with green paddy fields.  It was nothing more than a rural marketplace until the late 1980s when it became popular with visitors taking the cruise from Guilin.  Not as tranquil as it used to be, Yangshuo remains a good base from which to explore the surrounding peaks and river as well as a few caves and outlying villages.

West Street: An 820-ft long cobbled street running between the highway and the Li River, West Street is lined with restored rural architecture dating from the Qing dynasty.  Today, it has a glut of friendly restaurants, cafes, guesthouses and souvenir shops aimed at foreign visitors.  Restaurants serve western cuisine such as wood-fire pizzas and steak as well as local specialties. including a variety of fresh fish dishes.  Shops sell a range of inexpensive Chinese souvenirs, from Mao memorabilia and wooden theater masks to antique wooden panels, batiks, silk t-shirts, scroll paintings, modern and traditional clothes and pirated Western music CDs.  A few shops also sell factory-reject designer wear at bargain prices.

Su’s Note:  We will arrive at Yangshuo in the evening for a two-and-a-half day stay. Yangshuo is a paradise for photographers and, if weather allows, we will take home praise-winning pictures.  Because of this, we will need to change our normal sight-seeing schedule to take advantage of Yangshuo’s morning and evening light.  We will get up early each day and be out to take sunrise photos and be back to the hotel to rest in the daytime.  We will be out again in the late afternoon to take sunset pictures. (Our schedule depends on the weather--please have your fingers crossed.) 
One the first day, we will drive to Yangshuo Bridge to take sunrise pictures on the Li River, then return to the hotel for breakfast.  We will also visit bustling West Street (five minutes’ walk from our hotel) in the afternoon.  That evening, we will enjoy another outdoor performance, this one “Impression Liu Sanjie,” directed by the same film director Zhang Yimou.  This night-time show uses the Li River as its stage, the lights coming from the hills behind in the bend in the river. On our second day, we’ll get up early again, heading to the town of Xingping. Chinese say “ Guilin scenery is the best in the world,” but Guilin people say “Yangshuo scenery is better than Gulin’s.”  and the local photographers say “Xingping scenery is better than Yangshuo’s.”  We will take a boat ride to the spot to wait for the sunrise,then go back to the hotel to eat and relax.  We will go to Xingping again in the late afternoon, take an another boat ride to a place where we can get pictures of cormorants catching fish for fishermen who work with the cormorants in the light of oil lamps on thier bamboo rafts after sunset. On our third day, we will get up early again. We will take the bus to Xianggong Mountain and take 20 min. hiking for sunrise pictures. Bus to Guilin at noon and fly to Fuzhou.

Fujian Province
Fujian Province, with its capital Fuzhou, is on China's southeastern coast. It faces the island province of Taiwan across Taiwan Strait to the east. Fujian occupies an area of around 120,000 square kilometers (about 46,335 square miles). Its permanent resident population is slightly above 34.7 million. Many minority ethnic groups live in Fujian province: Hui, Miao and Manchu.  Fujian has a year-round warm and humid climate. Annual average rainfall ranges from a low of 1,400 mm to a high of 2,000 mm, and annual average temperature from a low of 17Description: to a high of 21Description: It is hospitable in all seasons for travelers in this province.
Xiapu, known as the most charming fishing village of China, Xiapu is located at the northeast part of China's Fujian province. As a small region along the southeast China coastline, Xiapu nevertheless has the largest mudflat in the country, encompassing 40 square kilometers and more than 400 kilometers of coasline.
Along its tiger-striped beaches, bamboo structures and poles, buoys and fishing vessels provide human counterpoints to the area's natural beauty. Xiapu ranks the first place on the list of "Top 10 Paradises for Photographers" by CHIP FOTO-VIDEO Digital, a famous Chinese professional photography magazine. If you are fascinated with nature and folk photography, being committed to capturing the perfect balance of light and shade, Xiapu fishing villages ought to be your next destination, which is simple, bumble but a real paradise for photographers, and is bound to bring you a completely new visual impression.
Su’s Note:  The itinerary in Xiapu will really depend on the weather. I will hire a local photographer to be our tour guide. We will get up early every morning for the sunrise pictures. Also, granitoids distributed on Xiapu hilly coastline tightly next mudflat, as if to provide the natural viewing platform, those hills next coastline are between 100 to 300 meters in height, and the hillside slope is easy on foot and on. A lot of time we shoot down from high direction, a 300mm lens is needed.
Shanghai (Cancelled)

Lying on the banks of the Huangpu River , close to the mouth of the mighty Yangzi on China ’s eastern seaboard, Shanghai is the nation’s largest and most dynamic city, with a population of more than 13 million people.  It is an autonomous municipality, and the recent explosion of economic and industrial development has made it one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Tianzifang,Little known to Shanghai old timers, Tianzifang has transformed itself from legacy residential architectures and factories into an artsy area housing bars, cafes, crafts shops, design studios, galleries and boutiques. It is ardently supported by crowds of yuppies, trend setters, designers and expatriates, who fall for temptation of old Shikumen houses (stone-framed-door houses) and lanes with infinite novelties.
The development of Tianzifang is fairly recent. It is also known as Taikang Road which was a back street in Dapuqiao district. One of the Shanghai highlights is the old residential buildings called ‘shikumen’, literally ‘stone doors’, which reflects a confluence of architectural tastes. As a prized treaty port, Shanghai had been familiar to venturers since the mid-19th Century. By the 1920-1930s, housing with stone doorframes and solid wooden doors are commonly known as Shikumen. People adopted simple engravings on the stone frames. Taikang Road area was built up by the French Concession expansion. Apart from Shikumen buildings, there are also French style remainders. The distinctive scenes and architectural composition in Taikang Road denotes the city’s eventful history. In the 1930s, white-collar workers, including doctors, artists, competent seafarers and bank officers preferred to settle down here. It is equivalent to prosperous uptown of nowadays. Many influential artists in early 20th Century treat this region as their home.

Zhujiajiao is an old water town located 48km from the city centre. Founded 17oo years ago, Zhujiajiao was once a prosperous trading centre of rice and clothing fabrics. The town is crisscrossed by small waterways connected by ancient stone bridges.

The Bund: Some places are forever associated with a single landmark, and in the case of Shanghai it is surely the Bund.  Also known as Zhongshan Lu, the Bund was at the heart of colonial Shanghai , flanked on one side by the Huangpu River and on the other by the hotels, banks, offices and clubs that were the grandiose symbols of Western commercial power.  Most of the old buildings are still in place and a walk here can easily absorb a couple of pleasant hours.

Yu Gardens and Bazaar:  The old-style buildings of the Yu Gardens bazaar are not really old, but the fanciful roofs are nevertheless very appealing.  The shops here peddle everything from tourist souvenirs to traditional medicines and , despite inflated prices, the area is incredibly popular.  It is best to arrive early and go straight to the beautiful and relatively peaceful Ming-Dynasty Yu Gardens (Yu Yuan).  A dumpling lunch, before the restaurants get too busy, will set you up for an afternoon of shopping and haggling, followed by a cup of tea in the quaint Huxingting Teahouse.

Su’s Note:  We will shop in the Bazaar after visiting Pearl Tower if we have time.  We will stay by the Bund.  It will be easier for us to take pictures of the Bund in the morning and at night.  And it is also convenient for shopping on Nanjing Road .

Zhujiaqiao Tianzifang The Bund