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Group Code: TCT-LL-FIT-180322
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The 13 Days Chinese Kung Fu Exploration Tour organized by Top China Travel was a very enjoyable experience for my friends and I. We are all experienced travelers and have gone to exotic places before (India, Peru, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China several years ago for myself), and we made a decision to travel to China to explore the country together. The challenges we faced prior to booking the Tour with TCT were:
(1) Find a time frame which we'd all be available to vacation and travel together,
(2) Determine which attractions we were each individually interested in and figure out how to see as many of them as possible,
(3) Obtain the services of translators, guides,and transportation to facilitate getting around a foreign country in relative comfort.
We determined quickly that the window of time we had available to travel would be within 6 weeks for all of us, so we needed to move fast. The 13 Days Chinese Kung Fu Exploration Tour met our criteria of what attractions appealed to us and which covered the majority of our target destinations. TCT was also flexible in meeting our requests to modify the tour itinerary a bit, to allow us more time at certain places we wanted to explore in more detail. TCT also organized all the accommodations, transportation between cities, and provided local drivers and tour guides/translators in each location. Choosing to book with TCT seemed like a very good option for us.
TCT and the 13 Days Chinese Kung Fu Exploration Tour absolutely delivered for us. Once we arrived in China and through to the day we left to return home, TCT took care of my friends and I very well. We were greeted at each new city by our tour guides and drivers who were reliable and friendly, and we always knew that we were in good hands. In addition to ensuring that we got to see all the sights listed in our itinerary, the guides facilitated off-itinerary activities and dining, and would often work late into the evenings to ensure that we were entertained and comfortable. We considered our guides as friends and enjoyed their company and conversation. They were always unfailingly polite and accommodating.
The attractions on this Tour package were amazing to visit and captured the imagination. For a group of friends who grew up in the West, seeing things we'd heard about or seen only in magazines or on TV for many years was a huge treat that did not disappoint. We were amazed by the size and grandeur of the Forbidden City. We looked far off and saw the Great Wall snake over the horizon. We walked the grounds of the Shaolin Temple and recalled the many martial arts movies we'd grown up with. We were awestruck by the sheer scale and detail of the Terracotta Army. We climbed up and down the Longmen Grottoes to see thousands of Buddha statues, and up and down Mount Wudang to reach the temple at the Golden Summit, and we marveled at people's devotion to spirituality. We explored the different colonial quarters and shopping districts of Shanghai, and pondered how the mixture of Western and Eastern cutures had influenced the city. And there was so much more on this Tour -- so many colors, smells, sounds, and people!
Transport provided on the Tour was typically by minivan while visiting a city or its surroundings. Between cities the transport was by highspeed train or a short domestic airline flight. Transport was on-time, clean, and comfortable. The subway system was used from time to time when a city had such a system, and it was a good opportunity to see how local residents commuted each day. Tour guides would escort you to departure points to make sure you knew where to embark, and then there would be a new tour guide at the destination to greet you and bring you on to your next adventure.
Hotel accommodations arranged for the Tour were clean, comfortable, and secure. The things that people might need to contend with however, are street noise and room temperature. Hotels in China seem to have central heating and cooling; there isn't per-room temperature selection. At the time of the year we traveled (March), it was already hot enough to prevent comfortable sleeping at night for some in our party, but it was too early in the year for the hotels to have air conditioning turned on. Opening a window -- if it was possible to open the room window -- alleviated the problem a bit but then let all the street noise in. The hotels were chosen to be in close walking distance to shopping areas and other places of interest, so while convenient for touring it was also oftentimes the case that there was a lot of street noise to contend with.
Food provided on the Tour consisted of breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was normally provided as a buffet selection by the hotel we stayed at, and for the majority of the hotels had a good variety and provided a great start to the day. One word of caution though, is that China is still primarily a tea-drinking nation as opposed to coffee-drinking, so once in awhile you may run into a situation where you have to get your caffeine from tea instead. For lunch, this was typically provided at a restaurant along the tour itinerary for the day. These meals were good and we tended to get overfed each time, so we always appreciated it when our tour guides would join us for the meal and for good company. Tour guides will order the dishes for you, so let them know if you have sensitivity to spices or some food allergies.
The 13 Days Chinese Kung Fu Exploration Tour was very enjoyable for my friends and I. We left China for home already discussing what we wanted to see the next time we come to China to explore. China is a large country with much to offer in adventure, so we do not yet know what the next trip will look like, but there's a good chance TCT will be part of that trip to help us out.
Thank-you to TCT and special thanks to our tour guides and trip organizer, who have been great ambassadors for China:
* Lily at TCT
* Kathleen in Beijing
* Frank in Luoyang
* Joy in Xian
* Amy in Wudangshan
* Holly in Wushan
* Mary in Shanghai
We hope to see you again when we next travel to China!
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