Walks in the Borderlands: Burma, China and Vietnam10 - 28 October, 2018

Burma, South China and North Vietnam
Trip Dates:
10 - 28 October, 2018
Trip Price: £3480 excluding international flights
Single Room Supplement: £680
Trip Length: 20 days

Accompanied by Dr Jamie Greenbaum, enjoy a number of easy walks (up to 6 hours walking per day) through this beautiful mountainous region, home to many ethnic minority groups who over generations have been marginalised to these remote lands. The journey begins in the Burmese Kachin State, one of the least visited areas in Asia and only just opening up to foreigners. It is an area of pristine beauty and its forests and eco-systems are internationally recognised as a hotspot of biodiversity. Continue along the Burma Road and cross into what is considered by many the most exotic part of China where steep mountains rise above the lush paddy fields to form a natural barrier which has separated numerous minority villages for centuries. The linage and traditions of the locals can be traced back to India and Tibet as well as China. This Chinese border region is dominated by several different highland and lowland ethnic groups all peacefully co-existing in a landscape strewn with pagodas and settlements - ideal for walking.

The surrounding countryside contains some of the most well preserved ancient villages in China. Jianshui lies a stone’s throw from the Vietnam border and the old hill station of Sapa in North Vietnam is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is orientated to make the most of the spectacular views overlooking a plunging valley, with mountains towering above on all sides.. This is northern Vietnam's premier walking area and a number of walks have been organised in the surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces and tiny hill-tribe villages that seems a world apart from modern day Vietnam. The journey finishes in Vietnam’s charming capital city Hanoi. .

This walks do not require any special technical abilities but will involve about 5 - 6 hours of walking per day over uneven and in places steep ground. Please note the highest the party will ascend in one day of walking is about 600 metres in altitude. However there are occasional steep portions of the trek where you may need to walk ‘up steps’ for about one hour. Walking poles can be very useful.  


Please note that Distant Horizons has sole responsibility for the operation of this tour. The participating University has no direct control over the operation of any tours.


Maximum Party Size: 20

Trip Leader: Dr Jamie Greenbaum

Dr Greenbaum is a cultural historian who has been resident in China for over 14 years. He is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Culture, History & Language at the Australian National University and is also involved with Renmin University in Beijing, teaching and mentoring post-graduate students. In this period his research has covered numerous subjects such as early Asian Utopia’s, the Ming Cultural world and even early 20th century Asian leaders. He has lectured and travelled widely all over Asia and in 2014 accompanied Distant Horizons’ first journey with walks in South China as well as helping research Distant Horizons first trips to North Vietnam and its borderlands with China a few years before. All in all he has accompanied over 12 journeys to China and the surrounding countries for the Alumni since 2004.

request itinerary

Walks in the Borderlands: Burma, China and Vietnam Trip Comments:

‘This is just a quick note to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to China and we simply want to thank you for what was a memorable three weeks. A perhaps unintended benefit was the opportunity to totally revise our previous perception of modern China and the China.'
'An absolutely fascinating trip; everything went very smoothly. We feel we must especially express thanks to Jamie Greenbaum for whom no praise is too high. His erudition objectivity, patience and kindness were crucial to the journey’s success.’
‘The local guides were all excellent – unfailingly helpful and almost always knowledgeable: Jackie and Penba, in particular. Our welcome in Beijing was also excellent: exceeded expectations!’
‘‘We really had an excellent holiday and would certainly come again with Distant Horizons. The holiday was an excellent mix of good organisation, lovely people, much better hotels than I was expecting, good walking, good guides, food etc.’