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.