Horticulture trip in China

China Horticulture Field trip ‘Walk with E.H. Wilson in NW Sichuan’ (tentatively June, 2017; email mgu@tamu if you’re interested; registration will be available soon).4d6900c3b94d1travel-route


Day 1 Beijing–>Chengdu.

Lodging: a hotel close to Chengdu Institute of Biology, China Academy of Sciences;


–        Meet Kaipu Yin, author of ‘Hundred years of pursuit’;

–        Watch documentaries ‘Earnest Henry “Chinese” Wilson’(director’s note: http://news.cntv.cn/2015/08/27/ARTI1440648550235929.shtml, use Google Translate for English translation) and ‘Hundred years of pursuit’;

–        Review “dos and don’ts” of field trips.

Day 2 Visit the City of Chengdu.

Lodging: a hotel close to Chengdu Institute of Biology, China Academy of Sciences.

Days 3 Chengdu–>Beichuan.

Lodging: Beichuan;

Highlights: Visit Ming Dynasty Opera Platform and new construction of Beichuan after 2008 earthquake.

Day 4 Beichuan–> Xuanping–> Kaiping–> Beichuan.

Lodging: Beichuan;

Highlights: Visit  Jianjiang Bridge and    Chastity Arch (http://news.163.com/10/0323/05/62EHJDH4000146BB.html)。

Day 5 Beichuan–> Nanba–> Pingwu.

Lodging: Pingwu;

Highlights: Visit 2008 Earthquake Ruins, North Sichuan countryside and Baoen Temple  ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Sichuan_earthquake; http://baike.baidu.com/view/1381949.htm; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bao%27en_Temple_(Pingwu)).

Day 6 Pingwu –> Huanglong.

Lodging: Huanglong;

Highlights: Meliosma beaniana

Day 7  Huanglong Orchids Festival.  

Lodging: Huanglong;

Highlights: Huanglong Orchids Festival  ( We may see Cypripedium flavum, Cypripedium tibeticum, Cypripedium debile , Cypripedium macranthum , Cypripedium guttatum, Cypripedium  henryi , Meconopsis punicea, Meconopsis integrifolia , and Meconopsis quintuplinervia, among many others) at Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area (UNESCO World Heritage Site; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huanglong,_Sichuan; )

Day 8 Huanglong–> Jiuzhaigou.

Lodging: Jiuzhaigou

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiuzhaigou; International Union for Conservation of Nature Category III—Natural Monument or Feature);

Highlights: Continental Plateau vegetation (e.g. alpine flowers such as  Meconopsis punicea, M. integrifolia and M. henriciRhododendron)

Day 9 Jiuzhaigou.

Lodging: Jiuzhaigou;

Highlights: Jiuzhaigou (Chinese: 九寨沟; literally: “Valley of Nine Fortified Villages”; ) is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan province, China.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is part of the Min Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and stretches over 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres). It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 metres (6,600 to 14,800 ft).

Jiuzhaigou Valley was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. It belongs to the category V (Protected Landscape) in the IUCN system of protected area categorization.

We’ll see many plants named after Wilson (e.g. Campylotropis wilsonii, Picea wilsonii, and Berberis wilsonii


Day 10 Jiuzhaigou –> Songpan.

Lodging: Songpan;

Highlights: The ancient city of Songpan.  The ancient city of Songpan was built during Tang Dynastyand it was later rebuilt during Ming Dynasty. Songpan was an important military post. It was also an important economic and trading center for horse and tea exchange between SichuanGansuQinghai and Tibet.

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songpan_County)

Day 11 Songpan –> Maoxian.

Lodging: Maoxian;

Highlights: Minjiang Valley; Lilium regale.

The Min River or Min Jiang (Chinesep Mínjiāng) is a 735-kilometer-long river (457 mi) in central Sichuan province, China. It is a tributary of the upper Yangtze River which it joins at Yibin. Within China, it was traditionally taken as the main course of the upper Yangtze prior to extensive exploration of its sources.

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_River_(Sichuan))

Day 12 Maoxian –> Chengdu.

Lodging: Chengdu;

Highlights: Miansi, Wenchuan, where Wilson discovered  Ceratostigma willmottianum and the epicenter of 2008 earthquake

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wenchuan_County)

Day 13 Chengdu –> Beijing.

Lodging: Beijing;

Day 14 Beijing–> USA
Flight US–Beijing ~$1,500
Flight Beijing–Chengdu ~$500
Tour (~$150/day) ~$2,100
Visa application ~$100
Visa agent fee ~$150

International Travel Health Insurance

I do not promote any specific company—- some companies that have traveler’s insurance are listed below.

HTH Worldwide
T: 610.254.8706
F: 610.293.3529
HTH Worldwide combines internet expertise with global medical and security knowledge and health insurance experience.

T.W. Lord & Associates
T: 770.427.2461
F: 770.429.0638
T.W. Lord offers both individual brochure products (“The Plan,” “The Plan for Study Abroad” and the “Seven Stones” series) and custom-designed health insurance plans for international students, scholars, exchanges, ESL, travelers, and study abroad programs.

Worldwide Medical 
T 800.647.4589 US/Canada
T 480.821.9052 Worldwide
F 480.821.9297

HCC Medical Insurance Services
T 800.605.2282

The following section is for trip 2012 ONLY.

Check out about the our first two trips  http://msucares.com/crops/hightunnels/china (2010)



I will be offering one summer trip (July 2-16, 2012) and one winter trip (TBA) this year. The cost will be $2,100 (you only need to ‘surrender’ $1,100 if you apply and receive a USDA ISE scholarship), which covers everything in China, including lodging, meals, transportation, and excursions. You just need to get yourself to Beijing airport on July 2, by purchasing your own air ticket (~$1,200) and getting visa (~$200) and stuff like that. Information is available by contacting me mgu@tamu.edu.

1 Q: What do you think of Panda Phone or something like it? See   http://www.pandaphone.com/china_cell_phone_rental.htm.

It would cost about $40 for rental and shipping, then 59 cents/min to call the US. OR will wifi be available enough to use skype or other free service almost daily?

A:When I was in China last time, I bought a very cheap phone (RMB100=~$17) just for calling (not smartphone), and RMB 100 for minutes. That lasted for 3 weeks when I was in China. Calling US will cost RMB 5/min (~$0.7/min).

I didn’t use that to call back US. I used MSN and SKYPE since wifi was available enough to use skype or other free service (google chat services, etc.) almost daily.

2 Q: On the long train rides, will we have sleeper cars?

A:Yes, definitely sleeper cars if it’s a overnight trip. It’s a lot of fun. You’ll enjoy and students from the previous trip LOVED it. You’ll get to see the countryside.

 3 Q: What about cash – will credit cards work in most places (other than where you pay for food and accommodations from the program fee) or will yuan be needed?

A:Cash works everywhere! Credit cards work mostly in the city. Remember the program fee covers your meals, lodging, transportation etc. Yuan is strongly recommended for personal purchases (like souvenirs). RMB 500 yuan (~$75) will get you around for quite a few days, depending on your spending habit.

Another thing is that it may be a good idea to let your credit card company know that you will be in China for a certain time. Otherwise your card(s) may not work

4 Q: What about passport and visa application
Each participants must have a valid U.S. passport and Chinese visa.

  • Apply for tourist travel visa (L visa) in China from the Chinese Consulate in Houston, TX if you reside in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico (http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/vp/zgqz/t518255.htm). Otherwise, http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zmzlglj/t84229.htm should direct you the consulate where you need to apply visa from.
  • Or email me mgu@tamu.edu and I’ll send you a mock visa application form.
  • A simple Google search will find many passport and visa services. Previous participants have used http://www.vippassports.com/visasstep1.htm for Chinese visa, which cost $207.50 in 2010.
  • It takes ~1week if you DIY and go to Houston for the visa, and 2-3 weeks if you hire a visa service.

5 Q: What about vaccination? 
Some basic information is provided by Center for Disease Control (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/china.htm). Talk to your doctor at least 3 months before the trip since some vaccination may require a series of shots.

I had vaccination for Hep A and Typhoid for my 2012 trip. In 2013, we’ll visit Beijing, Jiangsu and Fujian Province.

Packing Tips:
We will arrange for laundry every 4-5 days at the hotels. This Texas Tech website provided very good “Packing tips” and “Surviving China” informationhttp://www.depts.ttu.edu/agriculturalsciences/China-Hopper/index.php.

6 Q: Chargers and socket adapters

Electrical CONVERTERS: check on the back/side of your various electronic chargers (for cell phones, computers, camera battery chargers); if it says ‘input 100 to 240 V , you won’t need a CONVERTER.

Wall outlet ADAPTERS: Now, most CONVERTERS also have different PLUT ADAPTERS, and you may need an ADAPTER:


7 Q: What’s the dress code?  How much do I pack?

We don’t have formal dinner invitation at this point—-on my last trip, the hosts told us about formal dinner invitation when we were in their city (1-2 days notice). I think 1-2 sets of business casuals would be good enough. We’re going on field trips, so casual will be the norm, but no open-toe shoes. We will have laundry service in almost every stop, and i think 4-5 days of clothes would be good enough.

8 Q: Can I use my cell phone in China?

Depends. I want to buy a SIM card in China, so I need to unlock my cell phone first. RMB 50 (~$8.5) lasted 3 weeks for me in 2010. I have AT&T HTC Vivid and when I checked their website http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB414532#fbid=X5_I-l2xtuw, I’m eligible for unlocking my cell phone. For AT&T, call 1-800-331-0500. Check your service provider’s website for details.      

9 Q: What do I need to bring on the trip?

This checklist is not meant to be an exhaustive list.


  • Passport
  • Electricity/outlet converter
  • Medicines: CIPRO; Ambien
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Rain poncho/umbrella
  • Backpack
  • Muck shoes
  • Sun glasses
  • Handiwipes or sanitizer
  • 1 roll toilet paper
  • Snack bars


  • Airline tickets/travel binder
  • Camera; spare battery & battery charger
  • Cell phone & charger
  • Laptop & charger
  • Credit cards/ATM cards

One Response to “Horticulture trip in China”


  1. AgriLife Extension specialist to lead China horticulture trip in May 2013 | AgriLife Today - October 10, 2012

    […] also cover airfare and visa costs. More information and scholarship applications are available at https://greenviion.wordpress.com/announcement/. […]

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