Saturday. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Enjoy an arrival transfer to our hotel.
After a short group meeting we embark on a sightseeing tour of the nation’s capital and home of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square, partly framed by illustrious Chang-an Avenue, is essentially the heart of Beijing and is a public arena for the people and stage for Chairman Mao mausoleum. Across from the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao. Perhaps today, he is looking at a different Beijing, one that is quickly entering the 21st century. Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden City, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors, it was only opened after the last emperor was overthrown in 1911. Encompassing architecturally stunning temples and halls, the complex of the Forbidden city is simply spectacular.
Later, we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys and old back lanes, we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life. This evening, we enjoy an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out followed by a Welcome Dinner of Peking Duck at a city restaurant.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Dinner
Today, drive to Badaling, where we can walk on a section of the famous Great Wall. A symbol of total Chinese genius, the Great Wall is a cultural icon. At least 20 dynasties were involved in its construction. Stretching some 6700 kilometres, we walk along just a small chunk of this massive masterpiece of human endeavour. Later we visit a cloisonne workshop, viewing the step-by-step process of this curious, yet quite beautiful art form. This evening take an optional Beijing by Night city tour and see some of the capital's monuments illuminated against the night sky (payable locally).
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Lunch
Beijing - Xi’an. At the Summer Palace on Kunming Lake, we view the lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902. The Long Corridor, a hand painted 730m covered walkway, offers gentle respite from the elements. This afternoon, even the most hardened non-shoppers can’t help coming away with a few goodies at the Silk Alley markets. Name-brand attire, bling-bling jewellery, knock-off handbags and shoes are popular acquisitions. Later we travel by train to Xi’an viewing en route the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Centre.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Xi’an is Shaanxi Province is perhaps most famous for Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 7,000 life-sized soldiers, some 2,200 years old, stand battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. We tour the archaeological site and Terracotta warrior replica workshop. Tonight, we offer our Tang Dynasty dinner and show. Check out our Tang Dynasty bolton for more details.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Spend the morning at leisure before touring the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and taking a bike ride along the great Old City Wall. Peering from the Old City Wall offers spectacular, if not unique views of the city and residence going about their daily lives.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Dinner
Xi’an - Chongqing - Yangtze River cruiser. Spend the morning at leisure before flying to Chongqing, the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise. Before boarding the cruise we can stroll along Chongqing’s People’s Square, in the city centre.
Overnight: Yangtze River Cruiser | Breakfast, Dinner
Yangtze River cruise. Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south and wending its way through eight very different provinces. The Gorges are a breathtaking sight!
The first gorge we pass, Qutangxia Gorge is the shortest and narrowest yet the most impressive. Here, the dramatic 1200m limestone peaks are often shrouded in mist and the river shoots through the narrow entrance with great haste.
Next comes Wuxia Gorge, which straddles Sichuan and Hubei Provinces. Lined by twelve sheer peaks, Wuxia offers an spectacular vista for some 45km. Finally is Xiling Gorge, the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges. During our cruise, we mayalso sail through the new ship locks of the impressive Three Gorges Dam.
Whilst cruising, shore excursions are offered at no additional expense to Shibaozhai and Shennong stream, with its unique scenery and four natural gorges. Drift serenely along the stream in small, open ‘pea pod boats’ (water levels dependant), looking out upon lush greenery, jagged peaks and ancient villages of the Tujia people - one of the local ethnic minorities.
Overnight: Yangtze River Cruiser | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Nanjing. Spend the morning at leisure before we enjoy lunch and embark on our afternoon city sightseeing tour. Former capital of the Ming Dynasty and capital of Republican China, from 1911 - 1949, Nanjing holds a rich history of both ancient and modern China. We visit the Fuzi Miao (Temple of Confucius) and the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre, which is a moving experience that charts the atrocities committed at this very site.
Overnight: Nanjing | Breakfast, Dinner
A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou’s beauty, as does our exploration of the humble administrator’s house and garden.
Overnight: Suzhou | Breakfast
Saturday. Tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
The Rainbow is a contemporary hotel accented by the colours of traditional Chinese folk art culture. The spacious guestrooms display character of the Ming and Qing dynasties with beautiful wooden furniture whilst providing modern amenities fit for international travellers. The hotel also has a restaurant, cafe and bar.
Soft sleeper cabins are private compartments which have four bunks - two upper and two lower. A door separates the compartment from the aisle and bedding and pillows are provided. Each bunk is equipped with a small reading lamp. Temperature controls are installed alongside the door. Generally, the facilities include a clothes rack, slippers, clothes brush, stainless steel thermos, fine porcelain teacup, a waste bin and wall socket.
The Wan Nian Grand is a comfortable, friendly hotel with light, good sized rooms. Elegantly decorated, the rooms also boast modern amenities and the hotel has a wealth of facilities including an indoor pool and sauna house, a cafe and bar, and well-equipped business centre.
Twin bedded en suite cabins are air conditioned and of a western 4 star standard, each with private balconies. Leisure facilities include a swimming pool on the sun deck, in addition to a gym, sauna and beauty salon. Relax on the top deck and enjoy the views of China’s mighty Yangtze River and its Three Gorges and explore this beautiful region with daily shore excursions. In the evening there’s traditional Chinese entertainment on board and buffet breakfast, lunch and set menu dinner is included.
Built in 2005, the Nanjing Fangyuan Jinling is a modern hotel suitable for both business and leisure clients. There are a number of types of room from standard to suites and all designed with calming tones and warm lighting. The hotel has a beautiful indoor pool (open seasonally) and a restaurant, however more restaurants and shops are available a short walk away. Well located out of the city and close to the Nanjing Bridge.
Enveloped in elegant surroundings this 4 star hotel is well-equipped with recreational and business facilities. The smart guestrooms are comfortable with excellent amenities including internet access.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in China, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.
I did the Yin and Yangtze tour, joining from and returning to Hong Kong, where I visited a son on secondment from London. The first thing to mention is that I came as a single traveller, but I need have had no worries. The group comprised both younger and older travellers from several different countries, including half a dozen other solo members, and we all mingled, collaborated and supported each other brilliantly, to an extent that I have not experienced on previous holidays. This aspect made a great holiday even better - so thank you, guys; you know who you are!
Next, I have to say that the organisation and management of the tour were outstanding; everything just clicked, and any minor problems were quickly resolved. Special thanks to our principal tour manager, Stephanie, who was just great. Now and then one did get the feeling that things were somewhat regulated, prescribed or circumscribed to conform to the wishes and notions of the host nation, but given where we were that was perhaps hardly surprising and it did not detract from the enjoyment. There was of course relatively little contact with "ordinary people"; those Chinese with whom we did have contact, in hotels, restaurants, tourist venues, taxis and trains etc, were, I thought, efficient and business-like rather than particularly friendly or personable. Perhaps they have yet to learn to relax in the company of foreigners!
The tour itself, the places we visited and the sights we saw, exceeded expectations. Whether one was in a city, at a famous site/sight or just in the street, on the Yangtze cruise (or an astonishing "peapod" boat!), in a garden or museum, at the Great Wall, on a train or among soaring new skyscrapers and bridges, there was variety aplenty, much to admire and wonder at, so much that was unique, historic, or just different from anything experienced before.
Our accommodations varied, from fair to rather good, but were generally comfortable and spotless; and the food throughout was varied, plentiful and enjoyable. At the end, though, in Shanghai, my remaining companions and I found our way to the French quarter. There we happened upon the 'Boxing Cat Brewery', serving real ales, cocktails and an international variety of food, which, I confess, by that stage came as a welcome change! With a pool table and dart-board for amusement, it felt just like "home". But then Shanghai is a very cosmopolitan city, evidently trying hard to be like Hong Kong, and very much part of modern China.
Overall, this trip really was "on-the-go" and, partly because of a heavy cold that developed in the last few days, I came home exhausted. But I wouldn't have missed any of it. Everyone should go! Thank you, to all in my group and to everyone at On the Go Tours. ”
Stephanie was an absolute pleasure and so helpful. She made the trip really enjoyable and went above and beyond the call of duty, wonderful lady.”
Firstly we do not think that the experience as a whole could have been better so really there are only good things to relate in that regard. The National guides we had, Nicky on the tailor-made tour, and Betty and Tom (not their real names obviously) on the Yin and Yangtze were exemplary and we cannot speak highly enough of their knowledge, attitude, patience, assistance, and thoughtfulness. They were able to change the itinerary depending on traffic etc to ensure we had the maximum time advantage at each attraction. There was never an apparent hurry and everyone's varying needs and wishes were catered for. Speaking to other tourist groups along the way, this was not always their experience.
The tours fully covered all the tourist aspects of China that were advertised on the brochures and were the ones we wanted to experience. The only exception was the cruise terminated above the wall of the Three Gorges Dam due to adverse weather conditions. In hindsight this was probably for the best as we understood that being on the ship in the 5 cavernous locks is noisy and could be smelly with diesel fumes. The next morning Tom had made all the necessary arrangements for a bus tour of the dam wall and associated facilities, so we missed nothing.
We were the oldest couple on the tour but did not have any problems with the pace at all. Our guide, Tom, made himself available to the younger ones to go out in the evening thus enhancing their experience.
Since our return we have recommended "On The Go" to people we know and will continue to do so. We would have no hesitation to take one of your tours again to another exotic destination.
Thank you Kelly for your friendly can do attitude through the planning, advice, and purchase phases of this holiday. We have enjoyed every bit. ”
All local tour guides gave us an incredible insight into local history and culture. They all are very polite and are willing to help make our stay as enjoyable as possible.
I would happily choose on the go as a tour company again. ”
A well organised tour with good guides. ”
Stephanie was an absolute pleasure and so helpful. She made the trip really enjoyable and went above and beyond the call of duty, wonderful lady.”