A Splendid Tour of China
- Submitted by: Lyn, United Kingdom
- Submission Date: 13th Aug 2009
Day one: arrived in Shanghai and met by are personal guide and driver and escorted to the four star Ocean hotel for a two night stay. We were free for the rest of the day so we took advantage of the spare time, cleaned up and went for a walk. Shanghai is a vibrant city, at it's heart is the Huangpu River with it's steady stream of traffic. Across the river is the Pudong District a new Manhattan built on marshland. We didn't venture far as we had a full day excursion on day two.
Day two: we up bright and early, and ate a hearty western breakfast then met our guide for a day's tour. Visit included the Shanghai Museum, the Bund which is a lovely walk along the river, also Nanjing Road a shoppers mecca, Old Town with it's ancient Wu Xing Ting teahouse, Yu Yuan gardens, a classic Chinese garden in old Shanghai. Just outside the garden a visit to Yu Yuan market. Early evening we visited the Portman Acrobatic Show, performed by skilful performers, it was an unforgettable experience.
Day three: transferred to the airport for our flight to Guilin, a city that has been celebrated for generations by poets and painters because of the breathtaking views.
Our guide Lu and driver Bie were there to meet us with smiles all over their faces as though they had known us for years. This time the hotel was the beautifully situated four stars Bravo Hotel, the view from our window was of a lake, we couldn't have asked for more.
Lu was ready to get us out and about, she seemed really proud of her city. A tour of Elephant Trunk Hill was on the itinerary, which resembles a giant elephant drinking water. Next came Reed flute Cave which contained the Crystal Palace of the Dragon King that alone can hold about a thousand people, many more were crammed in during world war two when it was used as an air-raid shelter. Inside the cave there were some extraordinary scenery, it looked like rock concert lights that were shining on the stalactites and stalagmites.
Later that day Lu had a surprise for us, she took us the offices of China Odyssey Tours. We were going to meet Louisa, the pretty young lady that had put this tour together. At last we were going to see the face behind the countless e-mail, and we not disappointed, what a lovely girl.
Day four: was the day we took the drive to Zhujiang Pier (40 ins) to start the boat cruise along the tranquil Li River. It was a very relaxing day and the sights up the river were breathtaking with the buffaloes, rice paddies and the formations of the limestone mountains.
At Yangshuo we left the boat and roamed the quaint cobbled stoned West Street for yet more retail therapy.
In the evening we went to see the famous Guilin cormorant fishermen who use trained birds to catch the fish, these fish are more expensive to buy than fish caught by more conventional means so we were told.
Day five: saw us depart on a flight for Chongqing the home of the famous dish" Huoguo" the aptly named Hotpot, more about that later. We decided that we would like to see the pandas at Chongqing zoo so of we went to pay a visit and we were not disappointed they had just woken up and were ready for their photo call, never thought one could take so many photographs of panda's!
A bit of spare time was on our hands so we asked if we could take the cable car to the south side of the mighty Yangzi River, towering over the buildings then over the murky waters of the river was yet another unforgettable experience.
Chongqing is not like other cities in China as you wont find the countless amounts of bicycles as the hill climbs make it the ideal recipe for a heart attack, so you will see motorbikes and cars fighting for space on the busy roads.
In the evening a visit to a local restaurant to sample the infamous Hotpot, these restaurants can be found al over Chongqing, in fact all over China. Assorted meat, fish and vegetable dishes are cooked in your own Hotpot at the table in a broth like liquid, the liquid is very spicy. We didn't make much of an impression to our dishes, but the food isn't wasted, you can take a "doggie bag" or the restaurant will feed people in need. We had a good time thanks to the guidance of our waitress who helped us through the various cooking processes.
In the evening we said goodbye to Joanne and joined the cruise ship Victoria Rose for our trip on the Yangze River, we were played onboard by the ships band and welcomed by the cruise director Bob from New York. Evening at sea.
Day six: wondered at the sights up the river, took a shore excursion to Fendu, rejoined the ship and took on the various activities that had been laid on for us. Food was very good and the crew were wonderful.
Day seven: carried on our cruise and took another excursion to the Lesser Three Gorges.
Day eight: disembarked at Maoping, excursion to the Dam Site an awesome construction which is near completion. Transferred to Yichang for a one night stay to await our flight to Xi'an.
Day nine: as we had a little spare time it was decided to take a trip to see the Yangze River Sturgeon program which has been put in place to save the fish from extinction because the dam has threatened the environment of the fish. Later we went to the Three Travellers Cave. In the early evening took a flight to Xi'an in a thirty three seater aircraft, which took one and half hours. Met by Ellie the guide and Mr Yan the driver we called him Jack much to his amusement. Hotel Royal Xi'an a four star was ideally situated and of good quality. We liked Ellie very much and will request her when we return to China. Her passion for the job filled us with awe, and her command of the English language was perfect.
Day ten: in the morning we went for a tour of the city walls which Ellie told us takes about four hours to walk round, so we took her word for it! The Bell Tower was next followed by the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. After lunch we were on our way to see one of the highlights of the trip The Terracotta Warriors at the Li Shan Mountain that was a sight we would like to do again. The evening we attended a Tang Dynasty Show with a dumpling dinner--a traditional popular food in China. We looked like a couple of dumplings when we had finished.
Day eleven: Ellie took us to the Shaanxi Provincial Museum and enthralled us with her knowledge, then it was another airport for our flight to Beijing. We were so sorry to say goodbye to Ellie and "Jack". Hotel in Beijing was the very nice-Guangzhou Hotel, another four stars.
Day twelve: our guide this time was Orange and the first port of call was the historic Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world. Then on to The Forbidden City in the centre of the city, after lunch it was The Summer Palace which used to be the summer resort of the Qing Dynasty and here where we saw the famous Marble Boat.
Day thirteen: the climax of the tour is today, we are of to see the Great Wall. We asked Louisa our tour consultant if we could view the Wall from the Mutainyu section as we had heard this was a better part than the one we had opted for which was at Badaling. She arranged this for us. The section we had chosen was ninety kms from Beijing about a two hour drive in Huairou County.
We were not disappointed, the views were stirring as it underlates over mountains into the distance and is fortified by a number of Ming Dynasty Guard Towers that can be climbed up into for views of the surrounding area.
Day fourteen: morning tour to the Temple Of Heaven which was built in 1420, made of wood and still used as a hall of prayer, inside the grounds people of all ages were enjoying themselves doing various activities, singing, dancing, playing games, it was a joy to watch wish we had more time there.
The evening we went to a Peking Duck Dinner, lots of sumptuous dishes cumulating with a chef carving a duck at our table, a truly memorable occasion. Then sadly it was time to bid a farewell as our flight was that evening.
Myself and Lynn hope that you have gained an insight to our adventure. We highly recommend China Odyssey Tours.