Have you always wanted to explore China? Our Travel Consultant Tara recently visited this beautiful country with On the Go Tours and shares her photos and experience with us:
When the opportunity came up to go to China with On the Go Tours I jumped on it. I was so excited and really didn’t know what to expect as I had never travelled on an organized tour before. Although I could appreciate the benefits and conveniences of a tour, I had no idea how much of a difference it would make in really seeing the culture, and learning about the country.
Our local guide Fung was terrific. She was there with us every step of the way, giving insight on the history and local customs to helping us translate our menus and finding Chinese medicine when we felt sick. I really don’t know what we would have done without her!
It All Started in Beijing
Picture busy streets with cars and scooters whizzing past, nearly running people over, steaming street food vendors and oh so many people; Beijing was all about the hustle and bustle. So much to see, and never enough time!
We had the opportunity to visit Tienanmen Square and The Forbidden City, take a rickshaw ride through the traditional Hutongs of Beijing, shop in the Silk markets and stuff ourselves silly with traditional Peking Duck dinner. Not to be missed while you are in Beijing is of course, The Great Wall.
Excited, we woke up early that morning and drove about an hour and a half from The Rainbow Hotel in Beijing. It was hot and sunny that morning but when we arrived the temperature was much lower. In fact one of the girls actually slipped on some ice! Hard to believe with all that blazing sunshine! Tip for travellers: bring good walking shoes and be prepared for drastic temperature changes!
The wall goes on and on and you might feel like you have been climbing forever– seriously! The higher up you get however, the better the views.
On the last day in Beijing we went to see the Summer Palace. Breathtaking views! There even was a boat carved out of Marble.
After 3 nights we said goodbye to Beijing and took an overnight sleeper train to Xi’an, which is one of the prettiest cities we visited. After freshening up at our hotel we were off to see the stunning Terracotta Warriors. This army was sculpted over 2000 years ago to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
It is estimated there are 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits, this is one sight you cannot miss!
Back in Xi’an we spent the afternoon cycling the ancient city wall. This 13 kilometer wall surrounds the old city and gives breathtaking views of the new city built around it. It took us a little over an hour to cycle the wall completely and this was one of my favorite experiences on the trip.
After 2 days in Xi’an we were back on the overnight sleeper train and on our way to Sizzling Shanghai! Everyone was excited to see this metropolitan city we had heard so much about and top of my list was of course the famous and delicious Shanghai noodles (you just cant get those back home).
Our first stop was the TV Tower with incredible views of the city including a glass-bottomed floor.
From the top include you can see older European buildings on one side of the Bund sharply contrasting the modern Shanghai skyline this city is famous for. A must- do is a river cruise at night on the Bund. The light show on these buildings is incredible!
On the last day of our trip we took a bullet train the to the intriguing city of Suzhou, which is compared to an Oriental Venice. We cruised the waterway by boat through this historic city and even had a change to go to a silk factory where we saw the process of how silk is made. This was unreal! Hard to believe those tiny worms just make a little cocoon the size of a cheese-puff and this is unraveled and woven into the softest fabric ever.
The last morning we spent packing up and exploring Shanghai. We said a sad goodbye to our dear guide Fung. But looking back, we covered so much ground on this tour. Every minute was so well planned, there was not a chance I would have been able to see anywhere near as much as we did in 9 days if I had tried to do it on my own. Of course there is always more too see, but we really had a good taste of China. From learning the history in the capitol of Beijing, seeing the beauty of Xian and the excitement of Shanghai this was an experience I will never forget.
Interested in learning more about travelling to China or with On the Go Tours? Tara Regan is a Travel Consultant at our Mayfair Flight Centre in Victoria, BC and can be reached online or by call 1-888-388-4788