Returning Hometown Trip of Adoptive Family for Regaining Confidence of Their Ethnic Dong Girl
-- Mr. & Mrs. Lawson’s Meaningful 19 Days China Trip for Adopted Chinese Daughters
Travel Length19 Days
Travel ThemeNature, Culture, City, Family, Ethnic Minority
Travel RouteShenzhen - Xiamen - Yongding - Guangzhou - Zhaoxing - Rongjiang - Congjiang - Yangshuo - Guilin - Chengdu - Hangzhou - Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai
HighlightsYongding Tulou Cluster, Zhaoxing Dong Village, Basha Miao Village, Yulong River, Cooking Class, Giant Panda Volunteer, West Lake, Hu Qing Yu Tang Chinese Pharmacy, Meijia Dock Longjing Tea Plantation, Shanghai Museum, the Bund, Shanghai World Financial Center, Zhujiajiao Water Town, Lingering Garden, etc.
There are always many touching moments in one’s life of several decades. For me also, and even during my normal working hours, no matter by the affectionate couples handing each other for several decades, or the encouraging bosom friends sharing your joy and sorrow. And one even usually will never be aware of his or her influence on others by just one simple and normal action. And this time in the third quarter of 2018, I was greatly moved by the Lawson’s of four from Britain and found the new meaning of my job as a travel consultant for international people.
Took Adopted Daughters Back to China’s Hometown
Story begins as following:
The very kind Mr. and Mrs. Lawson adopted two girls from China many years ago, with the elder from Guangdong Province, and the little as the Dong ethnic girl from Nanning City in Guangxi Province in South China region. After more than 10 years, they were planning to take their little girl back to China to visit her born place and help her know more about the culture of her belonging Dong ethnic minority. I was touched by their warm love deeply and determined to help them to customize this 19 days long vacation of “returning hometown”!
Receiving the email from Mrs. Lawson and knowing their demands to visit Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xiamen, Dong ethnic villages, Wind and Rain Bridge, and more fun elements appreciated by their teenage daughters, I helped them design this special vacation with important meaning with my experience and hoped they like.
The Little Daughter Regained Self-confidence
During their trip, I was gratified to know that they really had nice moments in the south part in China, including the Dong villages in Guangxi and more beautiful places before visiting Chengdu in the middle of the trip.
When Mr. and Mrs. Lawson and their two daughters visited Chengdu, I finally met them. They shared their rich experience during the previous days in Xiamen, Zhaoxing, Rongjiang, Congjiang, Guilin and the lovely Yangshuo during our dinner.
I Finally Met the Dear Lawson's Family in Chengdu
The part I remember most deeply is their visiting to Dali Dong Village which is a small mountain village in a remote deep valley in Congjiang. It was also the Baby Steps banquet of a local 30-day old new born baby on their visiting day. They witnessed so many villagers preparing the banquet and enjoying the jubilant lunch together and felt their strong value of new life and group members. Their little daughter from Dong group even had tears in her innocent eyes when watching the villagers to celebrate for the new-born on the banquet and give their gifts to that little life coming to the world. She was really moved by the valuable love and deep relationship of the Dong group. On our dinner in Chengdu, the parents also told me that their little daughter used to be some self-abasement as being a foreigner in the UK, but they have seen more smiles on her face and found her becoming more confident and proud being one of the Dong ethnic group after this trip returning China. While the kind couple extending their thanks to me for all the arrangements, I also truly felt very happy for the good change of the little sister and was infected by their solid love among their family members and hope for a brighter future!
Lawson's Family Visited the Baby Steps Banquet at Dali Dong Village in Congjiang
After the whole trip, Mr. and Mrs. Lawson shared their comments on tripadvisor.com as below:
“Amazing China Tour to Xiamen, Dong Ethnic area, Yangshuo, Guilin, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai tour”
“Perfect from start to finish. Catherine Liu was great to work with, and so helpful and knowledgeable. We’ve travelled several times to China so didn’t want to do any of the typical ‘must do visits’ as we’ve already seen those for some cities that we were now sharing with our kids, Catherine went out of her way to meet the challenges of us travelling with teenagers, keeping our itinerary fun and relevant and she offered many excellent suggestions.
All travel and accommodation within China was arranged by Catherine and was exactly as advised. Great hotels in good central locations, fab guides and drivers and good transportation and easy pick up of train tickets etc. The food options were all local based, great quality and often offering regional specialities - the food was always interesting and never bland or routine, even our two teenagers were happy.
We couldn’t fault the service, Catherine or the holiday - it was all just how we wanted it, perfect
Many thanks to Catherine, to call the guides and drivers for making our trip so memorable. We simply had an amazing, memorable holiday.
If you want to travel in China, don’t hesitate to use China Discovery and ask for Catherine!”
Great Gift for Me from the Sweet Lawson's Family
Roots Seeking for Who & How Great You Are - Help Others, Warm Themselves
“Fallen leaved return the roots” is almost the must-do thing in one’s life. And root seeking is one of the most important wish for a person living in another place or country. I think nearly everyone want to know where he/she was born and how beautiful his/her hometown is, how friendly the fellow townsmen are, etc.
Apart from Mr. and Mrs. Lawson, there are still many adoptive families in the UK and more countries. They adopt the orphans or kids from poor family without economic capability to bring them up, educate them for more than ten or twenty years into a teenager and adult, and wish to take them back to their born place to know more about the real hometown of whom living so many years ago overseas. The philanthropic act of those couples really helps thousands of and more children be able to grow up with deep love from parents, feel the care of others and receive great international education to be one of the great contributor of our world. And to help people from any corner of the world find their real birth place and the real root, I feel it really glad and worthy!
Mr. Lawson had a friend of adoptive family who were also planning a trip to China for their adopted Chinese kid(s). For their memorable and meaningful coming “returning trip”, he shared their experience as a similar adoptive family with us and wanted to help them satisfy the desire by recommending us to his friend by email:
“We have been contacted by Catherine at China Discovery as we believe you are thinking of a return trip to China with your adopted family, and we are very happy to suggest that this is the right travel company for you to work with.
Tom and I adopted two daughters from China in 2002 and 2004, and we returned to China in 2018 using Catherine’s services at China Discovery. Our requests were non standard as are most adoptive parents requests when they return to China as we don't want to select the off-the -shelf travel options and need something bespoke and designed to meet our special needs.
We worked with a number of travel companies before selecting China Discovery, as they were the only agency that understood that we wanted something different and specific to our needs and they we are happy to source and design this for us. Our youngest daughter is from the Dong Ethnic Minority group and it was very important for us that we saw as much as we could about her heritage as with China’s development that way of life is quickly changing.
Most agencies could offer an ethnic group tour but that meant a day at best with the Dong people and a number of days with other minorities, whilst interesting they were not what we wanted to focus on. Catherine was fantastic coming up with suggestions and options for us, and sourced accommodation that again was not used by tour companies but needed to meet our requirements. We had an amazing time with the Dong people and the 5 days were very much focused on Katie's cultural heritage.
We had chosen to visit Chengdu to see Pandas, and as Catherine’s company was based there we managed to meet and thank her for the work she had done on helping with our itinerary - photo attached.
It is a big decision choosing a travel company to work with as our trips to China are not just holidays but have such importance to adoptive families it's vital that they are well organised and that our daughters have the most positive of experiences in their mother country.
We have no hesitation in recommending Catherine nor China Discovery and will work with them again when we next travel to China, and would be more than happy for you to contact us with any questions that you may have.
19 Days’ China Trip Experience of the Lawson’s
Day 1 - Shenzhen to Xiamen:
Day 2 - Xiamen Visit & To Guangzhou:
Lawson's Family Visited Xiamen Yongding Tulou Cluster
Day 3 - Guangzhou to Zhaoxing & Zhaoxing Visit:
Take the high speed train from Guangzhou, and visit Dong village (Dong buildings, Wind and Rain Bridges, local market, Dong song and dance performance) in Zhaoxing;
Day 4 - Zhaoxing Visit & To Rongjiang:
Visit Tangan Dong Village, rice terraces, and Zeng Chong Dong Village;
Day 5 - To Congjiang & Congjiang Visit: (When the family met the local Baby Steps banquet)
Visit Sanbao Dong Village, Dali Dong Village, and Basha Miao Village;
Lawson's Family Visited Basha Miao Village in Congjiang
Day 6 - Congjaing Visit & Guilin Visit:
Visit Bapa Dong Village, Huanggang Dong Village, take high speed train to Guilin, and enjoy Impression Sanjie Liu show at night;
Lawson's Family Visited Guangxi Ethnic Minority Houses and Displays
Local Ethnic Women and Their Babies in Guangxi Province
Lawson's Family Visited Ethnic Dong Village in Guangxi
Local People in Ethnic Minority Villages
Day 7-8 - Yangshuo Visit & Guilin to Chengdu:
Day 9-12 - Chengdu Visit & Chengdu to Hangzhou:
Visit Luodai Old Town, Jinlong Great Wall, and Jinli Old Street. Enjoy Wenshu Monastery, Kuanzhai Alleys, and Sichuan Cuisine Cooking Class. Join as a panda volunteer at Dujiangyan Panda Base, hike at Mount Qingcheng. Fly to Hangzhou.
Lawson's Family Visited Adorable Giant Panda at Dujiangyan, Chengdu
The family tasted some Chengdu local food and Mr. Lawson commended as:
“Fantastic fun evening, great food and guide”
We walked with Xiao through Chengdu sampling local street food, baking, dumpling, noodles and pickles at a local market. Great information about the food culture of Sichuan, some local history too, plus information about the cooking styles and flavours. Our 15 year doesn’t like hot spicy and Xiao introduced her to dishes within her tolerance and she had such a great time she was even tempered to try some things out with her normal range as she was enjoying the food so much. Great company, an amazing guide and enough food to feed an army, Dont have lunch, come hungry so you can enjoy everything. it’s a fantastic experience. Lasts about 4 hours, and finishes with a meal at a local restaurant with one of the best fish dishes we’ve tatsted. Can’t recommend highly enough.
Lawson's Sisters' Fresh Taste of Sichuan Hot Pot and Chengdu Local Food
Lawson's Family Enjoyed Cooking Class at Sichuan Cuisine Museum in Chengdu
Day 13-14 - Hangzhou Visit & Hangzhou to Shanghai:
Visit Hangzhou city highlights, including sightseeing at West Lake, walking at Lingyin Temple, tea picking at Meijia Dock Longjing Tea Plantation, and enjoying Chinese Tea Museum, Six Harmony Pagoda, Hefang Street and the traditional Chinese pharmacy: Hu Qing Yu Tang. Take a high speed train to Shanghai;
Lawson's Family Visited Meijia Dock Longjing Tea Plantation in Hangzhou in October, 2018
Lawson's Family Visited West Lake and Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou
Day 15 - Shanghai Visit:
Visit Shanghai Museum, historical Old French Concession, and take the superfast elevator to the upper of Shanghai World Finance Center, walk along the famous Nanjing Road and appreciate the night view at the Bund;
Lawson's Family Visited the High Observation Floow on Shanghai World Finance Center in Shanghai
About the Bund in Shanghai, they recommended “Visit both sides” on Tripadvisor.com and said, “Colonial and space age describes either side of the Bund. Beautiful skyline day and night, lovely light show too. Recommend an evening cruise. Fascinating place to walk and experience.”
Lawson's Family Enjoyed View of Day and Night of Lujiazui from The Bund in Shanghai
Day 16 - Suzhou Visit:
Lawson's Family Visited Suzhou Lingering Garden and Old City Water Street
Day 17 - Shanghai Zhujiajiao Water Town Visit:
Relax at Zhujiajiao Water Town at the suburb of Shanghai;
Day 18-19 - Shanghai Visit & Fly back to the UK:
Lawson's Family Visited Antique Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai Downtown
Lawson shared his feeling of Yuyuan Garden on TripAdvisor as:
“Fun place to visit - lovely tea house too”
“The garden is amazing with a fantastic dragon wall. Typical Chinese style garden but very well maintained. Tea house before you enter traditional and very pretty and a bit expensive.”
During the free time in Shanghai, family of Lawson also visited Shanghai Starbucks Reserve Roastery on West Nanjing Road, and the father recommended it as:
"Wow - It’s some place to visit"
"Huge, fun, and definitely not your usual Starbucks. Waiter ordering, wide selection of coffees and teas even wine and nitro-coffee. Roasters on site, gift shop and a bakery. Worth a visit for the experience, very busy and not cheap."
Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai
Though they had returned the far UK, we still keep contact with each other to express concern and wish. Just in the early December, 2019, I heard the good news from Mr. Lawson:
All good here thanks, girls doing well - Jane was 18 last week and taking a year out before going to University after the summer in 2020 - she's working in a hospital just now to get some money. Katie was 16 and busy taking school exams, she’ll be glad it's the Christmas holidays soon.
Hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year - and of course that you enjoy family time when you celebrate the year of the metal Rat!”
I really feel very happy to meet the loving Lawson family of four in my work, which made my career more meaningful and proud. And also, I am looking forward to receive their email about the next coming trip to China soon and met them again to see their warm smiles on the faces!
Hi, I'm Catherine, Lawson’s travel consultant. Are you interested in his 19 days trip to Guangxi and more cities? Please feel free to contact me for more details of his travel such as trip itinerary, accommodation or other arrangements. If you want to take a similar trip or customize your own China tour, just e-mail me. It's my pleasure to invite you to our country and join us in appreciating this charming land.
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