What a fabulous tour, it was very full on, but I can’t believe we saw so many fabulous sights. Chris our tour manager was a star and all the Chinese guides spoke good English and were very knowledgeable about their local areas.
Highlights of Beijing were the Great Wall (and the Toboggan ride down) and the Temple of Heaven, the park was full of locals playing mahjong, knitting, dancing, a real taste of Chinese life. Be prepared for the traffic though, it is very congested.
The Terracotta Warriors were something to behold, and we took the opportunity to walk to the Muslim quarter on our own after visiting the city walls, had great fun bargaining for things on the many stalls and found the mosque, which was an oasis of calm in a busy city. I never knew you could have so much fun trying to order dinner, I recommend you learn the Chinese signs for rice and noodles! The Hotel was well located but not the best quality,
Guilin highlight was the River Li Cruise. We did the evening boat trip which was a bit China does Disney! Very touristy and not for you if you are not up for singing jingle bells and silent night. We visited the rice terraces but visibility was mostly zero, so a bit disappointing, but good fun walking up through the village and the food was the best of the whole tour.
Chengdu we ventured out for dinner alone and managed to avoid duck beak and starling on a stick! Jing Li St was good fun, but absolutely packed as it was a national holiday. The Pandas were cute, but it was again very busy and more like a zoo than I was expecting!
The train journey to Chongquin was very smooth and the station better than most English airports!
The cruise provided a much needed break and was very relaxing. Cabins were good size and of a good standard. The mini Gorges were spectacular and the views through the Wu gorge as the sun was setting was beautiful. We went though the ship locks at 1 am and that was something worth staying up to experience! Always chance for a snooze on a bus or plane later!
They saved the best Hotel to last and we loved Shanghai, it is a beautiful cosmopolitan city, far more relaxed than Beijing. The Bund is breathtaking and fabulous when all lit up at night. We had dinner for two for less than £3 in a local noodle bar, so splashed out on the last night and had champagne cocktails in the roof top bar of the Roosevelt building on the Bund overlooking the beautiful view.
Topped it off with a trip to the airport on the Maglev at 431km/ hr
A great time, with a great group of people, I am sure we will be back for more.
Review by Richard and Fiona Ware on 11 May 2014