Remote Lands, a New York-based luxury tour
operator, is promoting its custom itineraries to less familiar
Chinese destinations, such as Dunhuang, Kashgar and Wulingyuan, as
pre- and post-Olympics options to U.S. travelers bound for the
Summer Games in Beijing next August.
Remote Lands said
that forays beyond large Chinese cities such as Beijing and
Shanghai ensure that clients "experience China in a truly intimate,
"We love really
authentic experiences, and it's harder to get those if you go to
the same old places," said Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of
Remote Lands, a tour operator focused exclusively on Asia. "The
more remote you go, the more you can go back in time and get off
the beaten tourism track."
business at Remote Lands is booked direct, the tour operator does
work with travel agents.
"We don't do groups
or fixed-date departures," said Bruce Lazarus, director of
marketing. "The more agents understand what we do, the better it
will be for both agents and us."
Along the same
lines, Remote Lands takes pains to understand each client, the
better to customize each China journey.
"We get to know our
clients extremely well personally, and we don't just give them the
same old itinerary," said Heald. "Each [trip] is painstakingly
written by hand after an extensive interview process."
land-only, all-inclusive journeys are priced from an average of
$1,000 per person, per day. That's before popular high-end perks --
such as private jet charters, helicopters, private chefs and
photographers -- are tacked on.
The following are
some of the less well-known destinations in China sold by Remote
" Dunhuang: The desert
town of Dunhuang, on Crescent Lake in Gansu province, is home to
the Magao Caves, also known as the "Caves of a Thousand Buddhas."
Remote Lands arranges tours of the caves, complete with private
viewings of the Diamond Sutra, said to be the world's earliest
surviving printed book in scroll form.
" Kashgar: At the foot of
the Tian Shan mountains, on the Silk Road in Xinjiang province, the
city of Kashgar is home to China's largest mosque, the tomb of 17th
century Muslim leader Abakh Khoja and what's said to be the largest
open-air market in the world.
" Wulingyuan: This UNESCO
World Heritage Site in China's Hunan province is distinguished by
more than 3,100 quartzite sandstone pillars, some reaching more
than 650 feet high. From Wulingyuan, Remote Lands offers tours of
the Suoxi Valley and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and picnic
lunches in the Tianzi Mountains.
" Zhongdian: On the
Tibetan border, Zhongdian, also known as Shangri-La, is home to the
Rhingha Temple, where Remote Lands hangs personalized Buddhist
prayer flags in honor of guests. Other highlights include dinners
in local homes and visits to the Zong Gu monastery, home to the
world's largest Buddhist prayer wheel.
Remote Lands may
send clients to far-flung destinations, but services and
accommodations are up to U.S. standards, said Lazarus.
guides accompany clients, and accommodations -- such as the Hotel
of Modern Art in Guilin, a Relais & Chateaux member -- are
rapidly reaching or exceeding Western levels.
Remote Lands gives
10% of profits to local charities in developing
strongly in giving back to people in these destinations, who bring
us so much joy," Heald said.
information, call (646) 415-8092 or visit www.remotelands.com.
contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].