"Dream trip to China" China Travelogue by roamer61
China Travel Guide: 30,780 reviews and 88,259 photos
My China Adventure started in Beijing. For details on sites, etc, see my individual pages. I stayed at the Novotel Xin qao, a first class property that is part of that large French Owned chain. Most of the staff however were of course Chinese. The hotel has a number of restaurants. I ate in almost all of them.
My 3 full days were all with a guide. The first and 3rd day was with a guide I found through Trip Advisor named Catherine Lu. She was very knowledgeable and fun to be with. That first day, we hit the 3 main destinations in Beijing.
Tiannamen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. On the 3rd day, we visited a market ( I wanted to go to one), and then hit the New Summer Palace and the Botanical Gardens.
Catherine charges 500 RMB a day for her services. Transportation, admission fees and lunch are additional. Thats fine as you have the opportunity to select mode of transportation and where to dine. The 2 places she selected for lunch were exceptional.
In between the 2 days with catherine, I went to the Great Wall. I used a gude I found through Synotrip named Terry Wang. He was knowledgeable as well.
His service was all inclusive, car and driver, lunch, 1 bottle of water and his guide services of course. His cost was about 900+ RMB. After visiting the Great Wall at Mutinayu, we stopped to see the Cube and Bird Cage Stadium, sites of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Though the weather in Beijing was less than optimal (fog pollution), I did enjoy myself. The sites were great, the guides were good and the food teriffic. The only really down side were the crowds and the traffic which was crazy. Reminded me of NYC at rush hour, haha.
After Beijing, I flew to Xian in the middle of the country for 3 nights. Though its a good sized city, it is a fraction of the size of the capital.
There are essentially 2 parts. That outside the city walls and inside the city walls. My hotel, the Aurum International, was inside. So it was perfectly situated.
Unlike Beijing, Xian is easily walkable. The area within the walls are on a grid.
The main purpose of going to Xian was of course to see the famed Terracota Army of the First Emperor. They were amazing. There are 6000 excavated and many more still to be uncovered in 3 pits. They all date the 3rd century BCE, during the Qin Dynasty. More details on the applicable Xian Pages.
These were taken in on a private tour arranged through a regional tour operator online. In addition to the army, we also did the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which dates to the Tang Dynasty (7th-10th Century) and the city walls of the Ming Dynasty (14th-17th Century).
My second day in Xian I went to the Shaanxi Museum (named for the province). Unfortunately, it was closed as it was a Monday. But later on, I visited the Bell Tower from the Ming and then walked to the Drum Tower (also Ming) and then explored the Molem Quarter including the Great Mosque. Yes, there are chinese moslems. They are call Hui and are a minority group.
That pretty much wrapped up my visit to Xian.
Following my visit to Xian, I flew to the largest city in China, Shanghai. It is a sprawling megalopolis. I stayed in the Crowne Plaza, which was situated in the old part of the city.
I was supposed to meet my friend Roy, a VT member who is currently living in Ningbo, just south of Shanghai. But he was unable to make it. I did however, meet a chinese associate of mine who I've communicated with over the years.
My first full day, I went to the Shanghai Museum, which was great, and then walked down to the Bund. It was one of the highlights of the city. That night, took an evening boat tour which enabled us to see the city lit up. It was spectacular. This was followed by a visit to the French Concession. I dined there with some nice people I met on the tour. We ate in a Thai Restaurant which was excellent.
The next day is when I met my friend. we took a side-trip to the city of Suzhou, known for its gardens. We went to the largest and most famous, the Humble Administrators Garden. It dates to the Ming Dynasty. Afterwards, we took a cruise on the canals before heading back to Shanghai. As there was a 2 hour wait on the train, we dined in the station. It was a fitting end to the day.
My last day, I simply walked around town. That night, I ate delicious sweet and sour pork at a local restaurant before calling it a night.
The trip officially came to a close the next morning when I took a taxi to the airport. I said bai bai to China and vowed to eventually return.
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