Walks in the Borderlands: Burma, China and Vietnam10 - 29 October, 2018

Burma, South China and North Vietnam
Trip Dates:
10 - 29 October, 2018
Trip Price: £3480 excluding international flights
Single Room Supplement: £680
Trip Length: 20 days

Accompanied by Dr Charles Ramble, enjoy a number of easy walks (up to 6 hours 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 Charles Ramble

Dr Ramble is a former lecturer in Himalayan Studies at the Oriental Institute of Oxford University. He lived in the region for fifteen years, working as an anthropologist and a naturalist, and has travelled and researched extensively in the Himalayas. He is the author of some fifty articles and several books on the culture and history of the Himalayan countries and has accompanied six very successful journeys for the alumni since 2008.

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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.'
‘Dr Ramble was outstanding. He was empathetic, responsive to our requests and willing to share his passionate knowledge of the area and culture.’
‘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!’
‘Dr Ramble was an absolute star. Apart from his erudition, encyclopaedic knowledge, he was warm, witty, friendly and very good company. We felt very privileged to have such an expert accompany us on our travels.’