Our tour: Beijing, Xi`an, Yangtze River Cruise and Shanghi
When we first made our inquires, we thought we would be hooked up with a group but due to our dates, it turned out to be just my husband and I. It was one of the best tours we’ve been on and we travel the world.
First, we were immediately notified of a hotel upgrade prior to leaving home due to a National Holiday they declared in China. Our first hotel was close to the center of Beijing and everything would be shut down due to the Military Parade scheduled.
Upon arriving in Beijing at 4:30am, we learned from our “super” guide, Grace, that all tours would be shut down for that one day also. Not a problem. We ended up going to the Great Wall and the Summer Palace the day before the shut down. We had plenty of time at both locations plus a delightful lunch on the way to the Great Wall.
The day after the shutdown, was to the Temple of Heaven, (actually a wonderful park with everyone doing everything from dancing to playing checkers) then on to Tian`anmen Square. Here the decorations were still up from the parade and it was starting to get crowded but we started early, the Forbidden City and the Rickshaw Hutong Tour. Lunch was part of the Rickshaw tour and was in a local Chinese home. Normally, these might be spread out over a couple of days but we had to compress due to the shutdown and didn’t feel we missed anything. Again, Grace and our driver were wonderful and she knew all the short cuts etc… Then they drove us to the high speed train. Grace arranged our tickets and even boarded the train with us to make sure we were in the right seats, Loved this girl!!
We were met in Xi`an at the train station by _____and driven to the Ramada Bell Tower.
First on the agenda was the Ancient City Wall. This wall is about 40 feet high and probably 15 feet across. It isYou popular to rent bikes and ride around it (lots of tandum bikes) or walking or jogging. The whole distance is about 6 miles around.
(visible from Google Earth) Then on to Terracota Army Museum. This is about an hour drive out of the city. This is a large complex. I don’t know what I was expecting but I didn’t expect buildings other than the hugh one built over the warriors. Lunch was provided at a restaurant on site. Back to Xi`an and a quick stop at the Wild Goose Pagoda. Here you are given into the care of a Pogoda volunteer to take you thru the grounds. The next morning we had some time before our flight to Chongqing so ___ took us to the Shaanxi History Museum. This museum has some wonderful exhibits that are well worth the time.
Our flight was met by the local guide and driver and they took us to the
Victoria Llanna. I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to have these guides to move you around and look out for you. There is no way we would have known to hire a local porter to carry our luggage to the boat They put a suitcase on each end of a bamboo pole and carry it down probably 60 cement stairs to a 50 foot metal walkway on drums extending out to the boat. I had to hold on to the rail just to walk across to board the boat. No way I could have handled luggage. Our guide recommended the proper fee to the porter and fended him off when he wanted more. Registration is
on board the boat. Our guide helped us with that and then off he went.
On board, you are seated with a group of other travelers. We were called the
Foreign Independent Travelers. We had couples from France, Israel and Australia at our table. The meals are oriental but it is easy to find something you like. Every meal was buffet except for the final night. Always breads, eggs, meat and various fruits for breakfast. Lunch and dinner had rice, chow mein, various meat and vegetable dishes and always watermelon. In the bar area, I found an ice cream bar that was my daily reward! The different Georges were beautiful. On one you stop and board smaller boats to go deeper into the Goddess stream.
At about 11pm on the final night, you start through the locks of the three gorges dam. Two boats go through at a time. Take a nap so you can stay up for this transition. When we arrived in Yichang, another very competent guide came on board and collected us. Hired a local porter for us and up the hill we went to the car and driver. Then on to the Yichang Airport to catch our flight to Shanghi. Our guide
walked us into the airport and made sure we had our boarding passes.
In Shanghai we were again met and taken via the MagLev train to the Marriott Puxi Hotel. The MagLev operates out of the Pudong airport so if you want to ride on this, you need to arrive at the right airport. (our son said we had to do this so, there you go) Our day in a took us to the Jade Budda Temple, YuYuan Garden, Old Town, Oriental Pearl Tower (clear observation floor-like you are standing on air), Nanjing Road and the Bund. All doable in one day and at an easy pace. I’m not a shopper but did take my picture at the Apple Store to show I was there!
Next morning we went to Watertown. This is a town with canals (think Venice) that is 1700 years old. Walked the streets and took a cruise on the wooden boat. Very peaceful amid the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. On to the Hongqiao Airport for a flight back to Beijing. (We were on Hawaiian Airlines so needed to go in and out of Beijing )
Our last day in Beijing we went to the Pearl Market to shop. This is where one goes to by knock offs. High end handbags, electronics, toys etc. (Flight crews go there to shop) This is not a souvenir shop.
The next morning another guide and driver showed up to take us to the Beijing Airport.
A guide and driver are the way to travel China and Top China Travel does it well.
All guides were English speaking and paid attention to any requests we had