||There are 3 distinct difficulty ratings available for all trips to help you find the trip most appropriate for you desired comfort level. You should consider these when choosing and booking a trip to ensure that your trip is not too easy or too challenging.
The difficulty categories are:
- 'Physical' - indicates how physically challenging a trip is
- 'Mental' - indicates the "home comfort" level of a trip i.e. the accommodation and food standards
- 'Technical' - indicates the level of skills required
Each difficulty category is rated from "1" to "5" - "1" being the easiest and "5" being the most demanding. Most trips will be more enjoyable if you are in good physical shape - so the best advice we can offer is to get in shape.
Always check with your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program.
Level "1" (Easy) - None of our level "1" trips are particularly difficult but you will get more enjoyment out of the trip if you are in good physical condition. These courses are aimed at those who would like a gentle introduction or would like to take things slowly. No pre-trip conditioning is explicitly required.
Level "2" (Easy to Moderate) - The activities will be more active and slightly demanding. Your heart rate will go up now and then. For a reasonably fit person, no pre-trip conditioning is required, but doing so will likely improve your enjoyment.
Level "3" (Moderate) - You need to be in good health and physical condition to enjoy these trips, with adequate muscular strength, stamina, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and good balance. If you are not optimally conditioned, we recommend you start a training program at least 3 months before departure, gradually increasing the intensity and duration. Prior experience of the trip may be required to qualify.
Level "4" (Moderate to Strenuous) - The trip hours will be fairly long with little time to rest over the trip duration. There will be demanding exercises. You need to be in excellent health and physical condition to enjoy these trips with adequate muscular strength, stamina, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and good balance. If you are not optimally conditioned, we recommend you start a training program at least 3 months before departure, gradually increasing the intensity and duration. Prior experience of the trip is usually required to qualify.
Level "5" (Strenuous) - Our most strenuous trips usually involve intense physical activity throughout each day and are extremely demanding. You need to have exceptional health and top physical condition to enjoy such an experience with adequate muscular strength, stamina, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and good balance. We recommend that you start a moderate training program 6-8 months before departure, then slowly build up to a more strenuous level. Prior trip experience is usually required to qualify.
The mental ratings directly reflect the hotel star rating system of the destination country. The details below are for main land China.
China does not use a unified star rating system for hotels whatever the claims of the national tourism and hotel authorities. The Star Rating System is therefore based on western perceptions and occasionally used by hotel authorities in China.
Level "1" (Five Star) - Virtually all the comforts of home. Accommodations include pleasant hotels or lodges and meals in restaurants. Usually used to mean foreign invested hotels.
Level "2" (Four Star) - A few of the comforts of home. Includes most remaining foreign invested hotels and some state-owned properties.
Level "3" (Three Star) - Includes a large number of state-owned hotels and some private hotels.
Level "4" (Two Star) - Includes mostly collective, pooled and private hotels.
Level "5" (One Star) - Mostly Chinese hotels that, as with two star establishments, cater largely to Chinese guests.
Level "1" - No special skills required. Skills taught on the course will be very easy to learn.
Level "2" - Some basic skills are recommended, but they can also be learned during the trip. No previous experience is necessary, though it is certainly helpful.
Level "3" - Some skills are required, and previous experience is highly recommended. Apt, determined beginners can probably pick up enough to get through the trip, but they're likely to miss some of the fun.
Level "4" - Accomplished veterans only. No way even the most talented beginner can learn enough along the way.
Level "5" - Experts only. You should be a veteran of several fours before attempting a five.