Astonishing sights and experiences, very tiring, generally well organised but some small changes would make it even better.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The Great Wall - seeing the unrestored section snaking along mountain ridges into the far distance.
Terracotta army, of course, and three gorges cruise relaxing.
In Yangshuo walk up to and views from "Moon hill", the water show (even in pouring rain) and cooking course well worth doing, and mud caves fun!
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Unfortunately she had a cough/cold and was perhaps below par.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
1. Take an umbrella - for sun and rain.
2. Take throat sweets / cold cures - practically everyone got a sore throat / cold, possibly due to extreme range from 40 degrees heat to air con to heavy rain! (Don't let this put you off!).
3. Fleece / cardigan required for air con on trains. Sleepers remarkably comfortable and a good laugh (our group gelled well) but do take a sleeping bag liner and pillow case. Last train grubby but not horrific.
4. You can buy water, wet-wipes, etc etc, from local shops no problem.
5. We had no problem getting money out of ATMs.
6. We found the hotels ok to very good.
7. It has to be mentioned; toilets apart from in hotels very variable - on trains varied from ok to needing sluicing down (on last sleeper train). At Mt Emei they were beyond description (but we were there on a festival day so crowds) and a short walk into the woods was much preferable.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Tipping seems to have become obligatory everywhere - don't underestimate this.
Several "optional" trips should be included in costs as are must-dos eg summer palace boat trip, entry to temple of heaven
Several "optional" trips more or less sprung on the group (local guides particularly pushing some of these) with no time to consider individually or as a group whether we really wanted to do it resulting in (eg) going to bird's nest (without realising didn't include entry, and no time to do that anyway). In our opinion the Olympic park is not worth going to - long walk on concrete with no shelter from the sun.
Not sure why go on bullet train as part of journey from Tongli to Shanghai - lugging bags around onto/off coach each end and crowded train meant we'd all rather have just gone straight by coach and saved time.