Travel Throughout China
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Miss. Vera Zhao
We only have to thank you for this wonderful trip and for your patience after all the changes we made until we got the final itinerary. Everything was great (but the delays of the flights, although that has nothing to do with you).
In every city the guide was waiting for us. They are all great, nice and know their country very well. Thanks to everyone of them specially to Lily (Guilin) and Tony (Beijing). I think they understand exactly what we wanted and were very helpful in everything, without mentioning their excellent English, and to Tessie who waited for us almost 8 hours at the airport in Kunming!!!
It's difficult to summarize 15 days of travelling throughout China. Every place we visited was amazing, the cities and the countryside, specially Longshen county, Huangshan and Guilin, every place just incredible! (We also stayed in Beijing, Xian, Kunming, Lijiang and Shanghai).
The hotels were very good located and provided a very good service, specially Guanzhou Hotel in Beijing.
This is the first time that with my sister use an agency (and also first time via internet) and I only have to say that everything was very well organized. We will surely recommend you and your agency to everyone.
When we arrived at the airport in Beijing our guide, Tony, was waiting for us.
Still on the plane you can see how big Beijing is. Lots of buildings and the new airport they are constructing to receive the thousands of people coming to the next Olympic Games in 2008.
On the way to the hotel you can have a good idea of how the city looks. High buildings, wide streets, a really big city.
After a very long trip and the 12-hour-difference, we just fall asleep as soon as we arrived to the hotel, which was good because we adjusted immediately to the new hour.
The hotel (Guanzhou Hotel) was very nice and well located (we could see the Forbidden City from our room), and the services just fine. Everybody was kind and polite. I cannot avoid mentioning that breakfasts there were simply delicious, with Western food and Chinese food also. Its location also enabled us to walk around by ourselves without problems. There are many shopping centers and restaurants nearby.
The next day Tony was on time on the lobby waiting for us just as we had agreed the day before. The first pla c e we visited was the Tiananmen Square. It's really impressive and big. There were a lot of people already there. We walk along with Tony, who explained many interesting things about the square. We were lucky because we had a good weather.
We then crossed to the Forbidden City (after a tourist took a picture of us!!!). This is a really amazing place. You cannot imagine a place like this, maybe you can see many pictures but you have to be there to realize the importance of the city and its meaning.
Even though you cannot enter to every place, you can see the wonderful architecture, and it is awesome to see why everything was in a certain position, why something was built in that place. Everything has its meaning. Tony explained everything to us so all you see make sense and you can appreciate the importance of the city.
We later visited the Temple of Heaven, a very beautiful place where many people were practicing writing, tai chi or the like.
We then went to the Summer Palace. Although we couldn't visit the palace itself, we made a really fine walk around the gardens to the bridge, to appreciate how big that place is. There were lot of tourists (as almost anywhere) but I guess we went to every place at a very good time.
In every place we stayed as much as we wanted and we saw what we wanted (within what was allowed). Tony was very patience because we like to see as much as we can, so sometimes we walk apart from the original route.
And so our first day was over.
The next day we got up early because we were going to the Great Wall. Tony advised us to put comfortable shoes because we were going to walk and climb a lot and also to bring water with us.
On the way to the wall we stopped in a Jade store and then we continued to the great wall and the first destination was the Juyongguan Pass. Already from the way you can see some parts of the wall and it's unbelievable. There were lots of people from different countries. We were lucky again with the weather because it wasn't so hot and a light breeze was blowing. We went to the top. It's a very difficult way, almost the whole way is up!! So you have to take a rest many times. But beyond the exhausting way you can appreciate such a construction. It's wonderful. Once you are at the top you realize how far you have gone!
Then we went to the Badaling pass. I don't know if everybody goes to two passes of the wall (and in the same day) but we wanted to see as much as we could of the wall, to have an idea of how it was built, the shape it takes because of the hills, etc.
We did not make the whole way, our legs were already hurting, but we climbed as much as we could. This pass is very different to the first one we visited, because is longer and you have to go up and down, go straight and then up and down. it is also wider but there are lots of tourists as well.
After a good rest on the way back to Beijing, we have to thank that we have our own car with air conditioning, something very very important--we went to Wangjujin Street. We like to walk around but also to visit the stores, because it's a good way of knowing the way of living in other countries, so in this part of the city we could do both things. There are lots of stores and it's a very nice street.
In the third day in Beijing we went to Beihai Park. A very beautiful and special park, there were lots of people dancing and singing. The atmosphere there was really nice. It has also some temples you can visit.
Later, we visited the Lama Temple. This is a wonderful place, the atmosphere and the people praying makes it amazing and the architecture is beautiful as well.
Then, we went to Liulichang Street, an old street full of stores of writing, mainly. It's a nice street to go if you have the chance.
We also visited the Hongqiao market. This is really interesting place. Here you can buy almost everything, real and fake. so if you want to spare some money you can come here, and practice bargaining. it's also nice to see many typical and lovely Chinese things.
In our last day in Beijing we had the morning free, so we walked to the Tiananmen Square to visit Mao's Mausoleum. We also visited the China Museum of History, just by the square. We recommend to visit both places.
We then visited the Hutongs. I have to say that this visit was a little bit uncomfortable to us. We know that lot of tourists really enjoy traveling in a rickshaw and see how poor people live, but we don't. But it's interesting to see such a difference in a big city like Beijing, and know the style of old houses.
We then went direct to the airport to take the flight to Xian.
We arrived at Xian and Elly was waiting for us.
That evening we walked around near the hotel, which was very good located, in a main street full of stores of different kind.
The next morning we visited the Terracotta Warriors Museum. We bought a book and had it signed by the man who found them (he is there just to do that). We then saw a movie in the round screen, very nice and interesting, where you can see the whole process of the making of the soldiers and some history of the place too.
You just have to be there to feel it. The warriors are really incredible and amazing. Their sizes, their expressions, everything is just incredible.
After the warriors we visited the south gate and the Ancient Walls of the city. Very nice too.
The next morning we went to the museum of Forest Steles. Although for some people this may not be interesting (our guide asked us why we wanted to go there) I think it is part of the history of China, as our guide explained to us, everything there played a very important role in the Chinese society. Besides, you can see part of the evolution of the Chinese writing.
Later, we visited the Hui Street where you can find lots of stores and interesting things. And after that we went to the airport to catch the flight to Kunming.
This flight had a delayed of 6 hours. The airline took us to a hotel in the airport and gave us a meal and a room to wait.
We arrived late at Kunming but our guide, Tessi, was waiting for us. She had been at the airport for almost 8 hours!!!
The next morning we went to the Dragon Gate, a very incredible mountain. You walk literally at the edge of the mountain, after taking a lift to the top. From there you have great views of the lake and the city. There are lots of temples constructed between rocks and trees.
The weather was great. We could see why they call it the spring city. Also, the city has flowers everywhere, so the city looks very nice.
Later on we went to the Grand View Park , a really nice park with lots of flowers, really pretty.
And as usual, our guide was waiting for us. We went directly to the hotel. The hotel is made of different houses jointed together by long corridors, so we had to walk a lot to our room, and we didn't like that at the beginning, but we then saw that we were near another entrance of the hotel that leaded right to the Ancient Town, so we went out that evening. The city looked awesome, with lots of people, stores and the lights. It was good to have that time at evening to walk around the small and narrow streets of Ancient Town of Lijiang , although we couldn't find that entrance to come back!
The next day we visited a temple, I cannot remember the name, but it was very interesting because there were many pictures and again, with the explanations of our guide, we could learn about the city and its people.
We then went to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. A very beautiful place. Before taking the lift, we took a look to the stores that sells wonderful clothes, that was helpful because we didn't bring enough warm clothes and it was cloudy. Once on the top, we took a walk through the forest. We arrived to the prairie, and although it was cloudy, we were lucky because after a while the clouds moved so we could see more than the bottom of the mountain.
We were free in the afternoon so we walked around in the new part of the city.
The next day we went to the old city but with the guide. Again, with the explanations everything looked different.
In the afternoon, we visited the pretty Black Dragon Pool Park on the Lion Hill where you can have the best view you can of the old town of Lijiang. And precisely that view we had seen in a picture a couple of months before traveling made us decide to go there. And it was really worth.
We then took the flight to Guilin where Lily was waiting for us. We went directly to the hotel. We take a walk near the hotel to appreciate the lovely lights on the river. That view is astonishing.
The next morning we went to Longshen County to visit the Longji Terraces. On the way there you can see lots of small villages and bamboo forests. This place is really awesome. It's so different to everything we have seen before, and climbing the mountain in a very very hot day makes the landscape even more beautiful.
We then had the evening free but we asked our guide what other place we could go and she suggested the Reed Flute Cave. Amazing, it is unbelievable to see how nature can build such a place.
We later walk around the city.
The next day we took the boat cruise along the Li River. This is really incredible. The peaks, the landscape in general, including the river is beautiful. After arriving to Yangshuo and back in Guilin, we visited the Elephant Trunk Hill.
After that we had some free time and we decided to visit the Seven Star Park to see the panda. That was a really nice ride.
After a couple of hour Lily and the chauffer picked up us and we went to the airport to our flight to Shanghai.
We arrived late, so we could see the city with its lights, and illuminated buildings. A magical view.
The next day we went to the Jade Buddha Temple, very different to the other temples we have visited so far.
Then we visited the Yuyuan Market. A very nice place where you can find lots of stores of tea and candies and everything! Afterwards, we went to the Yu Garden. A really pretty place. Jennifer, our guide, explained to us everything you have to know to appreciate the gardens, the architecture, everything.
Later on, we went to Nanjing Road. Here you can spend a whole day shopping, but as we only had a couple of hours, we made a quick visit to some stores. Before going to the airport we went to The Bund to appreciate the most famous view of Shanghai. So many modern buildings in front of you and right behind you a completely old different style, but so is Shanghai!
A very good organized day and very hot also!
A storm had already begun as we made our way to the airport, where we had to wait a couple of hour for the storm to stop to take the flight to Huangshan, our last city.
We arrived to Huangshan late, so our guide took us directly to the Hotel.
Very early next day we went to the Yellow Mountain. The landscape along the way is very nice. We took the cable car to the top (you can go up walking, but we didn't have enough time).
This place is awesome, the mountains, the views really took your breath away. It's wonderful. We were lucky, I guess, because despite the fog, we could see some of the most beautiful landscape we had ever seen.
We stayed in the hotel in the mountain to get up early and catch the gorgeous view of the sun rising. according to some pictures we had seen but it was too cloudy and we couldn't see it. We then started our way down the mountain to visit the really nice towns of Hongcun and Xidi.
These both ancient villages are really different to other villages we had seen in China, especially due to the white color of their houses. Once back to Huangshan city and after a big storm, we visited the nice old part of city. We then had a couple of hour free so we walk a little bit around the new city.
And then we went to the airport to take the flight to Beijing to spend the last night in China and take the next day our flight back home.
In every city we also visited many stores of silk, tea, writing, painting and jade, where you can appreciate the whole process of making those things and also buy a souvenir, but one store of every kind is enough.
I only have to say that this was an amazing trip. Not only because of the places we visited, but also because of the people. Our culture is very different, and the huge barrier of the language didn't prevent us from enjoying every city or every place we visited.
We could appreciate how big China is, and how different its cities are. I think that the places we visited gave us an idea of China, its landscape, and its people. We visited the countryside and the cities, the modern and the old, but everywhere was China! something you can only appreciate by being there.
Huangshan Scenic Area