A great introduction to China. This is a busy trip with a lot of travel, but an excellent way to see the main highlights the country has to offer. The few days in Hong Kong at the end of the trip were highly enjoyable and provide a welcome contrast to the week spent in China.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
This trip has many highlights, but for me it was seeing the Terracotta Army - absolutely amazing & took my breath away! The Great Wall is also a site to behold seeing it stretch for miles and miles! The Forbidden City and Palace in Beijing is impressive but so vast that you do become "palaced out"!
The few days in the countryside are a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the cities (and pollution, particularly in Beijing) and are at a considerably more leisurely pace. I would recommend the cycle/rafting/walking day, although you do have to have your wits about you for the cycle back into town at the end of the day!
I also loved Hong Kong - such a contrast to be back in a "westernised" society after the culture shock of China!
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Li Yan/Sandy was very pleasant and helpful and had a great sense of fun, even taking some of the group to a karaoke bar!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for a bit of a culture shock in China, not so much in terms of facilities (although some of the toilets were rather "interesting"!! I found the local people to be rude and what really pushed my buttons was the constant spitting no matter where you are!
There is a lot of travelling between the various destinations so make sure you have books/ipods/games etc to keep you occupied. The overnight train trips were great fun, but earplugs are definitely advisable! Travel reasonably light as there are quite a few times when you will need to carry your own luggage. Do also take an umbrella, especially if travelling during the rainy season - we literally had monsoon rains in Hong Kong!
The time in Hong Kong is limited - a free afternoon plus a day's guided tour - so if you can extend your trip by a few days I would do so. I had an extra day and was able to get out & explore further.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
This is a very interesting yet intense trip but a fantastic way to see a lot in a short time. Take the plunge & go for it!