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Wildlife holidays in China with Naturetrek
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Wildlife holidays in China

Tell me about China …

China is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilisations. Its religious and cultural influence has extended across the whole of East Asia and it is home to one of the earliest known specimens of Homo erectus – commonly referred to as Peking Man.

The first Chinese dynasty to leave written records was the Shang, which settled along the Yellow River in the 11th century, and in 1912 dynastic rule came to an end when the Republic of China was formed.

China is a vast country ranging from mainly mountains and plateaus in the west to lower country in the east. The great Himalayan range and the Tibetan plateau extend into south-east China. Here, three great Asian rivers – the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween – emerge from the heart of Tibet and forge their way towards the sea through the highest mountains in the world.

Our specialist in China recommends..

"China is probably best known for its Great Wall and the Panda but its botanical potential is superb. You could join us on our pioneering 22-day tour to Sichuan province, following the footsteps of the early plant-hunters."

Paul Stanbury
Operations Manager

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Featured Tours


Primula Dryadifolia (Gordon Rae)Lilium Regale (Gordon Rae)Gentiana rubicunda (Gordon Rae)Traversing Pools at Huanglong (Gordon Rae)Botanists in the Mist (Gordon Rae)Rosa sp., Dequin to Cizhong (Phillipe de Spoelberch)Rheum alexandrae, north of Sangdui (Phillipe de Spoelberch)Incarvillea mairei, Langdu to Daocheng (Phillipe de Spoelberch)Rhododendron rupicola (Red form), Geza to Langdu (Phillipe de Spoelberch)Rhododendron nivale - 4000m, Geza to Langdu (Phillipe de Spoelberch)Blue SheepIbisbillPallas's Sandgrouse (Yolyn am Khongoryn)Rufous-necked SnowfinchLandscape

What’s special about the wildlife?

It has the richest temperate flora in the world.
Yunnan and Sichuan provinces lie in the south-west and far west of China respectively, and it is to these remote areas our wildlife tours go, in search of their extraordinarily rich plant life.

Naturetrek tours to China

Naturetrek offers two botanical holidays in China visiting north-western Yunnan and Sichuan. These tours focus primarily on flowers and culture, following in the footsteps of pioneering plant-hunters of the 19th century.

Some highlights of our wild flower tours in China:

  • Herbaceous plants such as Primula, Lilium and Anemone species, as well as Cornus, Acer and Rhododendron species among the myriad of woody plants
  • All the Meconopsis species (poppies) – blue, yellow and red, including Meconopsis punicea
  • Lilium species, including Lilium regale
  • A wonderful variety of orchids including the stunning slipper orchids
  • Breathtaking scenery including that of the Tibetan Plateau


John Shipton must be second-to-none for his knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness and capability all round. His assistant/agent, Gonpo Tsering, was also wonderful, attentive, helpful, full of local knowledge and a born teacher.
A perfect, balance tour through wonderful scenery and with the right amount of culture included. John Shipton was a superb leader, flexible when necessary and extremely knowledgeable about China and especially the flora...Zhongdian [hotel] was excellent and good to get back to every now and again...Itinerary was well thought out yet flexible enough to include other interests, such as bee-keeping! Finally, Tsebu, our guide, was great company...[we] learned much about the culture and history of Yunnan.
This trip gave us a real opportunity to experience the culture of North West Yunnan. The very excellent Hotel in Zhongdian provided very welcome periodic comfort and opportunity for a good wash and sleep ... John’s enthusiasm for new experiences captured us all in our search for plants, and his spirit of adventure enabled us to cope with any difficulties ... Tsebu anticipated our every need for comfort in terms of food, water and wet-wipes, and introduced us to aspects of local culture.