Archive for June, 2016

SUMMARY OF OUR CHINA TOUR

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. We found Singapore and China to be fascinating and friendly places. Although our stay in Singapore was only two days, we got to see a lot and particularly enjoyed the sights of this vibrant city by night.

In China, we had a great Tour Director, Vivian and a wonderful group of fellow travellers, which made our tour friendly, relaxed and lots of fun. In each place we visited, we also had a local guide, who met us at the airport and stayed with us for the entire time that we were in their town/city, giving us lots of interesting information about the local culture as well as places of interest. Having two “guides” most of the time meant that we were able to minimize language difficulties with them on hand to translate and provide English names for some of the Chinese food we were served at most meals as well as being able to “talk” to the local people to find out about their day-to-day lives. On rare occasions we had to try and bridge the language gap with charades and basic words.

Apart from our hotel breakfasts, which always had a choice of European or Chinese food, most of our other meals were traditional Chinese food from each area we visited. We became quite adept at using chopsticks, although there was always a fork provided for those who preferred to use one. The Chinese meals always had plenty of food with a large variety of dishes that were served over a period of an hour or more, which made for quite relaxed dining.

We were lucky enough to stay in some really amazing hotels, some of which had wonderful views and all were centrally located, which made it easy for us to go wandering/exploring on our own during our free time.

We had six internal flights on various Chinese Airlines, which was a good way to get around this big country.

Our overall impression of China is of a country where most of the people appeared to be happy, friendly and always smiled when we attempted to say hello to them in their language. We were surprised at how much development is being undertaken in the cities with many large apartment buildings under construction. We were also surprised at the amount of green space and gardens that we saw throughout China – they even had pot plants along their highways and main roads. The Chinese appear to have a strong sense of community and respect for families, especially the elderly. We saw large groups of people, mainly seniors, gathered in local parks singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and just enjoying each others’ company in the open air – apparently they do this every day.

When we started our holiday we were not sure what to expect from this fascinating country. We are delighted to have come away with some exceptional memories of places and experiences, with our highlights being:

• Our stopover in Singapore, especially the Night Tour – we loved the sound and light show in the Gardens by the Bay and the spectacular view from the top of the Marina Bay Sands
• Exploring Kunming on our own before the tour started especially our day on Western Hill climbing up to Dragon Gate AND the Green Lake Park with all the “oldies” out enjoying the fresh air, singing, playing instruments and dancing
• The Stone Forest
• Lijiang – Dancing in Jade Spring Park with our local guide, Cindy’s Aunt and then teaching them how to do the Hokey Pokey
• Spectacular Jade Dragon Snow Mountain “Impression of Ancient City” show with colourful ethnic costumes
• Tiger Leaping Gorge – magnificent canyon
• Shangri-La – Songzanlin Monastery and wandering along the boardwalk beside the Shudu Lake at Pudacuo National Park
• Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda – watching the Giant Pandas playing – beautifully well-kept park with lovely gardens and pathways
• Beijing – Great Wall of China – Badaling Section where our tour group was the only ones on the wall AND our wonderful buffet lunch out in the open looking up at the Great Wall of China
• Beijing – Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Summer Palace
• Beijing – Legend of King Fu show
• 4 day Yangzi Rive Cruise on the luxurious Yangzi Explorer
o extra excursion walking along the Lon Jin Stream with beautiful scenery and local families showing us their day-to-day lives
o Shennong Stream cruise & Sampan (longboat)
• Chongqin Zoo – more Giant Pandas
• Xi’an – Amazing Terracotta Warriors
• Shanghai – Maglev Train 431 kilometres per hour
• Shanghai – Oriental Pearl Tower, Yu Garden and River cruise through the city
• Shanghai – Amazing Chinese Acrobat Show

What an amazing holiday we had!