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Event Information

For more detailed information about The Great Wall Challenge please click on the links below:

The Great Wall Discovery trek is graded as challenging. A “challenging” trip will test someone who is relatively fit and has a spirit of adventure. You may have had some previous experience, but this is not necessary as long as the correct training is undertaken. A “challenging” trip may involve some altitude, but this will be compensated by easier terrain and trekking conditions.

You can tell your supporters that on your Great Wall Discovery Challenge you will be:

  • trekking for around 4-7 hours per day, covering approximately 50kms over 5 days.
  • trekking up and down thousands of stairs.
  • exposed to the elements, rain, wind or sunshine along the wall.
  • trekking on un-renovated sections of the wall, with tricky terrain
  • taking on sections at height with drops at either side
  • staying in basic lodges each night

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your Great Wall Discovery challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The wall is very exposed, with almost no shade, and on sunny days the temperatures can soar. You should ideally be wearing a sun hat, sun cream, and hydrating constantly.
  • Some areas of the wall are very remote, with no car access, and emergency evacuation may take up to 4 hours. However, there are several escape routes off the wall and the nearest medical facilities will be by stretcher and then vehicle.
  • Certain sections are un-renovated, with crumbling and uneven terrain, and some steep drops at either side. Your leader will help you get through these sections if you have a fear of heights!
  • Smoke alarms are not a legal requirement in China, and as such many of the lodges we use do not have them in place. Your leader will explain the emergency fire procedures to you.
  • On the final day of the trek there is the opportunity to ride on a toboggan run on the wall. Charity Challenge strongly discourages the use of the toboggan run, and if you choose to do so this will be at your own risk. Also be aware that the Charity Challenge travel insurance policy will not cover you for this specific activity.

You will be flying from London Heathrow to Beijing. The flying time is approx. 9-10 hours if flying non-stop or 14-16 hours if indirect. Your flight tickets will be emailed to you before your deparure. If you choose to book your own flights please confirm with the Charity Challenge office first, otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights.

UK Citizens DO require a visa to enter China. You cannot obtain visas upon entry to China.

We will supply you with the relevant application advice three months prior to departure, and if you would like to start having a look at the information you can visit the Chinese Visa Application website by clicking here. However, you should not apply before 3 months prior to departure due to the validity of the visa.

You will need to attend the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre yourself to process your application. The Visa Application Service Centres are located in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Prices are subject to change by the Chinese Embassy and will be confirmed upon your application. The cost of the visa starts from £151 and a full breakdown of costs can be found here. Your passport must have at least six months to run from the end of your challenge and one blank page for your visa.

Participants under 18 will need extra documentation to apply for their visa.

a). Applications for those who are under 18 years old should be signed by both parents or their guardian(s) on the form Section 5
b). Applicants under 18 must provide the birth certificate with parents' names(original and copy)
c). Applicants under 18 must provide passports of both parents (original and copy of information page and signature page)and/or relevant legal documents for the guardians (original and copy) plus passport of the guardians (original and copy of information page and signature page).
d). If both parents or one of parents are/is non-British passport holder(s), both original and copy of the parent(s) valid legal stay permit( work visa, study visa or residence permit)must be provided.
e). If personal information does not match on documents(such as a name change), both the original and copy of the changing proof documents must be provided.
f). The birth certificate should be either in English or Chinese.

Note:
The visa form requires a “yes” or “no” answer to the following question:

Are you experiencing any of the following conditions?
1. Serious mental disorder
2. Infectious pulmonary tuberculosis
3. Other infectious disease of public health hazards
If you have any concerns about this question please refer to your GP/Health Clinic and note that you may be asked by the visa office for further information and a fit to travel note to support your travel to China.

It is a condition of travelling with Charity Challenge that you have a suitable travel insurance policy which covers you for your entire challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge.

If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you must complete and return to Charity Challenge prior to travel.

On your Great Wall Discovery itinerary there is the opportunity to ride on a toboggan run at the end of your day’s trek. Please note that, if you choose to ride the toboggan, you do so at your own risk and you will be not covered if you have taken out Insurance as recommended by Charity Challenge. We strongly discourage using the toboggan run and cannot vouch for its safety. Your decision to ride the toboggan should take this into account.

For up to date vaccination information please check the Travel Health Pro website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/49/china#Vaccine_recommendations

Charity Challenge team are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting so it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Medication
  • carry medicines (including those bought over the counter) in their correctly labelled container, as issued by the pharmacist, in hand luggage
  • consider packing a spare supply of medication in the hold luggage in case of loss of hand luggage
  • a letter from the prescriber detailing the medicines with the generic names for the medications can be helpful for border control checks, and in case medicines have to be replaced or medical help is required
  • carry a note from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery for controlled substances and injection medications
  • take out an appr
opriate level of travel health insurance including repatriation and specific cover for any pre-existing illnesses

N.B. Some medications are banned abroad so please check you can find further information at https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/43/medicines-abroad

Food is basic but filling. In recent years, breakfast has become more westernised, with eggs, tomato and cucumber, as well as cooked meats. Lunch will usually be a sandwich along with nuts, snacks and fruit. Dinner will consist of Chinese dishes and of course rice or noodles. There will, of course, be vegetarian options provided, although the choice is more limited. It is important that you eat as much as possible during the trekking phase in order to replace body salts lost due to increased perspiration.

All participants but especially those with personal eating restrictions should bring snacks to supplement their meals. You may also wish to bring additional treats like marmite, peanut butter etc. as you will be eating Chinese food everyday – this can become monotonous for even the most adventurous eater!!

The tap-water is not safe to drink. Bottled water will be provided during the trekking sections, and you can buy bottled water or soft drinks in hotels and lodges for meals (around 5 Yuan, or 50p).

Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

On the wall you will be staying in basic, but adequate lodges or hotels. It may not be up to the standard expected in Western hotels, but the lodges will provide clean linen and washing facilities. In the colder months of early April and late October,we recommend taking a sleeping bag for anyone who feels the cold in the night. Blankets are provided in the lodges, but a sleeping bag will increase your comfort.

The hotels in Beijing will be of a three star standard and much more comfortable. All rooms are en-suite and have facilities for charging batteries. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please ensure that you note this where appropriate when booking.

Toilets
There will be basic, western style toilets in the lodges and there will be en-suite toilet and washing facilities at the hotels. Depending on the season, hot water may be limited in some of the lodges along the wall. Along the trekking route, toilet facilities will be limited to the great outdoors!

Most of the accommodation you are in will have limited Wi-Fi which you will be able to use, but please do not rely upon this. Facebook and any Google-based applications (including Gmail) are blocked in China, so you will not have access to these sites or be able to post updates for your friends and family. You will have phone signal in almost all places on the challenge.

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support staff to assist them. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Each group is intended to be 20 people minimum in order to run and a maximum of approx. 30 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 19 people by charging a small group supplement of £75 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Currency
The currency in China is the Yuan ¥. We recommend exchanging currency before you go; however there are ATM’s and currency exchanges available at Beijing airport. You can only convert 100 Yuan notes (around £10 GBP) back in the UK, so make sure that you spend any extra change.

Credit Cards
Cards are not accepted at the lodges along the route of the wall, therefore you should have sufficient currency with you before leaving the airport.

ATMs
You will have no access to ATMs on the trekking days but once back in Beijing you will be able to withdraw cash if needed.

How much to bring
All accommodation and meals are included within the price of the trip, as well as water during the days of your trek. You will not need to carry a lot of money with you during the challenge, but as there are daily opportunities to buy soft drinks, alcohol and snacks on the wall, we would suggest a maximum amount of about £15 a day (in Yuan). Bring more if you intend to buy souvenirs and take up the opportunity of the additional tours offered by the guides. You may have the opportunity of visiting an acrobat show (around £20) and enjoying a relaxing post-trek massage (about £25) on your return to Beijing at the end of the trek. The guides will also offer you the opportunity to purchase a CD souvenir of group photos (around £20), traditional name chops and other items. There are plenty of great souvenirs in China so do keep that in mind!

Tipping
Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. We recommend approx. US$10 per person per challenge-day (including extensions). This should be given to the challenge leader who will distribute it among the support team, including guides, assistant guides, cooks and porters.

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking abilities. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace.

In the event of an emergency on the Wall, all guides and leaders are maintaining contact via radio, and the backup vehicle will not be far away. If somebody is unable to walk at all, then the guides will arrange evacuation off the Wall to the vehicle.

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