HONG KONG, China. -- After flying all night to Hong Kong, nearly 100 students from Tacoma’s Lincoln High School found themselves with their first challenge: Try to keep up with champion table tennis players.

They couldn’t hold a paddle to the teammates from the Hong Kong Sports Institute, but none of the Lincoln High School students were complaining.

“We’re in China now. It’s so unreal for a lot of the students here because a lot of us haven’t been across the Narrows Bridge,” said Lincoln Junior Alicia Dorman.

Complete coverage: From Tacoma to China

Dorman’s first time on a plane was Friday morning. She survived the 12-hour flight to Taiwan squeezing the hand of a friend.

Photo Credit: Tacoma Public Schools

The students and about a dozen chaperones are special guests of China’s President Xi Jingping.

He invited the students in September of 2015 when he visited their school during a visit to Washington State. The Chinese government is paying for the trip.

After four days in Hong Kong, the group heads to Tacoma’s sister-city Fuzhou. The tour continues at a panda center in Chengdu before heading to Beijing.