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12 Days China Xiapu Mudflats Xiamen Tulou Coastal Tour by Bullet Train

Shanghai - Hangzhou - Putuoshan - Xiapu - Xiamen - HK

The 1,623 kilometers long high speed railway along the southeastern China's beautiful coastline make it possible for you to get from Shanghai to Hong Kong within 9 hours by the modern, fast and comfortable CRH bullet trains. But we suggest you break the train journey into a 12 days' trip with stops at the beautiful destinations, such as Hangzhou, Ningbo (Putuoshan), Xiapu, Xiamen, as this tour package does. It’s quite relaxing, interesting and scenic. You will visit colossal Shanghai first, then take a bullet train to Hangzhou, known for its beautiful West Lake, then pass through the lush and lovely coastal cities Shaoxing, Ningbo and get off your train to visit Putuoshan, the holy land for Buddhist pilgrims as well as a wonderful place to enjoy beautiful island and see views. The train journey then take you into Fujian Province where you will first spend two days at Xiapu to do some photography of the incredible mudflats, stunning sunrise and sunset, picturesque fishing villages, then move on to Xiamen to see the spectacular Tulou homes - the earth buildings of local Hakka people. You will finish your tour at Hong Kong, the electric megacity of Asia.

  • Type : Private Tour
  • Tour Code : CD-SHXT-12
  • Price : Request
  • Trip Length : 12D/11N
  • Theme : Train / Landscape

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS TOUR

  • Using high speed bullet train as the major transportation which is fast (average speed over 250km/h), comfortable and punctual;
  • Visit the poetic West Lake, original plantation of Dragon Well Tea, ancient Streets of Ming and Qing Dynasties in Hangzhou;
  • Get amazed by the amazing masterpieces of nature at Xiapu Mudflats, the most beautiful mudflat in China as well as one of the “Top 10 Domestic Photography Bases” in China.
  • Walk into the villages of Tulous, the vast, packed-earth and round buildings, and explore the unique living styles of local Hakka people.
China Shanghai Hong Kong High Speed Train Map
  • Day 1 ~ 3 Shanghai Arrival & Tour
    After arrival at Shanghai, you will have one full day to explore the most recommended attractions in the city, including the beautiful Yu Garden, 492 meters high Shanghai World Financial Center, the Bund, Shanghai Museum, and spend a half day at Zhujiajiao, one of the most beautiful watertown in China.
  • Day 4 ~ 7 Visit Hangzhou and Putuoshan
    Spend two full days in Hangzhou - one day to visit West Lake, Longji Tea Plantation and other attactions in the city, and another full day to Wuzhen Watertown, the most beautiful watertown in China. Then take a bullet train to visit Putuoshan where you will stay an one and a half days, then take a bullet train to Xiapu.
  • Day 8 ~ 12 Visit Xiapu and Xiamen
    In Xiapu, you will take a two days' photography tour to take photos its beautiful mudflats, fishing villages, sunrise, sunset. Then use a bullet train to transfer to Xiamen for a half day exploration of Gulangyu Island. After that, take a day excursion to Nanjing to see the spectacular earth buildings. Lastly, take a train to Shenzhen, and transfer to HK.
Itinerary Day by Day
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Day 1 Shanghai Arrival

Shanghai airport / railway station pick up, and check in hotel.

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Ni Hao! Welcome to Shanghai, the biggest metropolis of China!

Upon arrival, you will be met by local tour guide at the arrival hall of the airport/train station/port and escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to relax. If you want to explore nearby, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

Optional Activity - Attend an entertaining Acrobatic Show, including breathtaking “balls of death” acts, chair balancing, hula hoops, juggling of benches, walking in the air, and other breathtaking performances (usually performed during 19:30~21:00).

Arrival Ideas: At present, there are many international and many domestic flights to and from Shanghai. Also, you can arrive in Shanghai city by taking a high speed train from Beijing (5-6hrs), Xian (6-7hrs), Suzhou (30mins), Huangshan (4hrs), and so on.

  • Shanghai Night Splendid Shanghai Night View

Day 2 Shanghai ( B, L )

Today's highlights: Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, Shanghai World Financial Center, the Bund

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After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel to start your Shanghai exploration. Your first stop is Shanghai Museum, one of the Best Four Museums in China. This modern museum, with a round top and a square base which symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as "round sky, square earth", has collected many international-standard exhibits of bronzes, paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, jade from more than 5,000 years ago to the Qing dynasty. To help you learn about the history and facts about the relics in the museum easily, an Audio Explanation Device will be prepared for you.

Then you will take an interesting visit to Yu Garden, a shining star among all the ancient Chinese gardens in Jiangnan. This garden fully embodies the traditional design of Chinese architecture with jagged pavilions with elegant decorations, glittering pools with roving fish, and pine trees sprouting to the sky, all designed to refresh your mood and spirit. Adjacent to the garden is the Yuyuan Bazaar where you can savor tasteful local snacks and explore elaborate traditional Chinese handicrafts and art works. Next, you will drive several kilometers to enjoy a panoramic view of the modern face of Shanghai from the 100th floor (474m) of “the Eye of Shanghai” Shanghai World Financial Center.

You will then be transferred to another popular landmark of Shanghai, Nanjing Road, a shopping paradise as well as a great place to take a wonderful walk to experience the modern atmosphere of the City. Lastly, you will stop at the Bund, originally a simple towpath for transporting goods but now transformed into a feverish trading district. You will stroll along the Bund, seeing and feeling the perfect fusion of Chinese and Western cultures while at the same time taking in the stunning Shanghai skyline with your own eyes!

Optional Activity - Take a relaxing Huangpu River night cruise to see the city’s most significant edifices and streets sparkling under the atmospheric cover of darkness (about 50 minutes).

  • Shanghai Museum Shanghai Museum - One of the Best Four Museums in China
  • Beautiful The Bund Beautiful International Buildings at The Bund
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Shanghai Yu Garden

Day 3 Shanghai - Hangzhou (B, L)

Today's highlights: Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, Former French Concession

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Have you wondered why Shanghai developed into a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city from what was originally a shabby fishing village? This morning’s tour to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center will answer that question fully while also giving you an overview of the City’s ambitious plans for future. The Center is a fashionably designed modern museum, themed with “City, Citizens, Environment and Development”. Different usages of photography, models and interactive multimedia displays make your visit enjoyable and entertaining. The best features are the old rare photos of landmarks, such as the Bund, Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, during the international settlement, and the large scale model showing the detailed layout of Shanghai.

The charming Former French Concession used to be designated for the French and residential and as the premier residential for expats and retail district of Shanghai during the settlement period (1849 AD until 1943 AD) and the Republic of China era(1912 AD ~1949 AD). Its juxtaposition between the ultra-modern and the colonial past, tree-lined streets, boutique shops, historic lane houses and villas make it a window into the city’s up-and-down history.

In the afternoon, go to take a high speed train to Hangzhou (1hr). Upon your arrival, your private tour guide and driver will pick you up at the railway station, and transfer you to check in your hotel in Hangzhou downtown.

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors
  • Shanghai French Cocession Shanghai French Cocession

Day 4 Hangzhou City Tour (B, L)

Today's highlights: West Lake, Meijia Dock Dragon Well Tea Village

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In the early morning, your private tour guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel lobby, and then set out on today’s sightseeing in a comfortable, air-conditioned and private vehicle.

Firstly, spend the peaceful and less-crowded morning time to visit the iconic and World Heritage site of Hangzhou – the picturesque West Lake. Just as the famous traveler Marco Polo did and wrote: “A voyage on this lake offers more refreshment and pleasure than any other experience on earth”, you will start with a 45-minute leisure cruise to enjoy the tranquil lake views as well as the ancient pagodas, traditional arched bridges, tree-lined walkways, beautiful hills, green islands and lush gardens. After the cruise, disembark the lake shore to stroll leisurely on the famous Su Causeway and Bai Causeway, and explore the poetic sites around, such as Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon, Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, etc.

Leave West Lake, and move on to next site - Lingyin Temple, about 3km west away from the West Lake. With a history of nearly 1700 year, Lingyin Temple is hidden in the luxurious forest, and offers charming and peaceful landscape and impressive Buddhist culture. Next, extend your visit to the adjacent Feilai Peak, also known as Peak Flying from Afar, which flew to China to spread Buddhism from India according to the legend. It features in uncountable Buddhist carvings lining the riverbanks and hillsides and tucked away inside grottoes. 

Lastly, drive about 7km to Meijia Dock Dragon Well Tea Village, a picturesque wonderland surrounded by mountains with large area of tea plantations. You can go for a walk among the tea plantations, marvel at the beautiful surrounding sceneries, also sit down to enjoy a cup of the best Dragon Well Tea. After the enjoyable tea time, say goodbye to the host, and drive to the China National Tea Museum to learn systematically about Chinese Tea Culture, such as the general history, classification of tea, also take a look at the tea exhibits and precious tea wares, machines, etc.

Today’s visit ends. Drive back to your hotel.

Optional evening activity: 1) watch a magnificent night show - Enduring Memories of Hangzhou, a live performance with changing lights, music and dancing on the West Lake, which usually starts at 7pm; Notice: the Impression West Lake would be unavailable during December 17, 2018 to the early-March, 2019 for the cold winter in Hangzhou. 2) feast your eyes to enjoy an amazing Music fountain show at Third Park , near the eastern lakeside of West Lake.

  • Dragon Well Tea Culture Tour Dragon Well Tea Culture Tour
  • Beautiful West Lake - Bridge Beautiful West Lake
  • Lingyin Temple Lingyin Temple

Day 5 Hangzhou - Wuzhen - Hangzhou (B, L)

Today's highlights: Wuzhen Water Town

After Breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. The only destination today is Wuzhen Water Town (1.5 hrs' drive from Hangzhou). Known as one of the six famous ancient towns in South China, it is at the center of a triangle formed by Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. With a history of 1,300 years, it displays its profound culture and history.

You’ll visit Wuzhen East and Wuzhen West. In the east part of Wuzhen, you could visit ancient bed museum, wine workshop, indigo fabric workshop, woodcarving workshop, shadow play, local opera…In the west part, you could see soy sauce workshop, foot-binding culture museum, old post office, children’s museum and so on.

After the leisure tour, drive back to Hangzhou City.

  • Wuzhen Water Town Wuzhen Water Town

Day 6 Hangzhou - Putuoshan (B,L)

Today's highlights: Puji Temple, One Thousand Step Beach, Unwilling to Leave Temple

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After breakfast, you will go to take a high speed train to Ningbo. Your tour guide will pick up you at the railway station, then transfer you to Zhu Sha Jian of Zhoushan City to embark a ferry to Putuoshan, which will take about 15 minutes to get to Putuoshan Dock. Disembark the ferry to check in your hotel.

Start your visit with a short walk from the dock to Puji Temple. Built in 916, this magnificent temple is the oldest as well as the largest temple on Putuoshan Mountain. Every big Buddhist event or ceremony is usually held in the temple. In front of the temple is a beautiful pond for lotus. The Duobao Pagoda near the Puji Temple, built to store Buddhist sculptures, is one of the "Three Great Precious of Putuoshan", and still remain the original face as in Yuan Dynasty(1271~1368).

Then take a park bus to One Thousand Step Beach on the eastern side of Putuoshan Island. Walk leisurely on this over 2000-meter long white beach, let the waves kiss your toes and enjoy the clean sky and sea sceneries. Next, transfer by park bus to next attraction - Unwilling to Leave Temple. In the year 858, the Japanese Buddhist Hui'e received a precious statue of Avalokitesvara. While on his way back to Japan, he was detained by a storm, which was seen by Hui'e as sign that the Avalokitesvara was unwilling to leave. Then Hui'e decided to leave the statue on the Putuoshan, and built a temple to place the statue which was named Unwilling to Leave Temple. Near the temple locates the famous Purple Bamboo Forest which is believed to the original ashram of Avalokitesvara (the Goddess of Mercy). Walk several minutes down the bamboo forest, you will reach the landmark site of Putuoshan - the Goddess of Mercy Statue which is 33 meters tall and make of copper.

Lastly, get back to your hotel. The rest time of today is free for you to have dinner and walk around.

  • Puji Temple Puji Temple
  • The Mercy of Godbness The Mercy of Godbness
  • Putuoshan Sunset Putuoshan Sunset

Day 7 Putuoshan - Xiapu (B, L)

Today's highlights: Nine-dragon Screen, Hiking to Huiji Temple

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After breakfast, take a park bus to Fayu Temple, 2.8km from Puji Temple. The Nine-dragon Caisson on the ceiling of the Nine Dragons Hall, together with some glazed tiles used on the temple, was relocated from the imperial palaces of Ming Empire in Nanjing in Qing Dynasty(1636~1912). There is also a Nine-dragon Screen which is aged, giant and tall but can see any crevice though it was jointed by flagstones. Apart of the grandiose halls, the temple is also full of huge, rare and old trees scattering in the yards or along the yellow-walled paths, which make it easy for people to find the peace in mind.

After visiting Fayu Temple, you will hike about 1.5 hours, with 2088 stone steps, up to Huiji Temple on the top of Buddha Peak Mountain. If you want to save your energy and time, continue your park bus transfer to Haicheng Temple to take the fast cableway which will takes only several minutes to the Huiji Temple. The temple is covered by colorful glazed tiles. Its halls and yards were constructed in traditional Garden-Architecture Style in Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Not so far away from the temple is the Sky Lamp Stage where you can get clear panoramic views of Putuoshan, white beaches and blue seas in the far distance. (Note: the cableway charges ¥70 for a round trip, and ¥40 for a single trip, which is on your personal expense)

Walk or take the cableway down the Huiji Temple, and take park bus to the dock to catch a ferry to Zhu Jia Jian, then drive railway station to catch your high speed train to Xiapu. Enjoy the beautiful coastal landscape along the ride. You will arrive at Xiapu about 3 hours later, then be picked up by your tour guide, and transferred to check in your hote.

  • Fayu Temple Sacred Fayu Temple in Putuoshan
  • Buddha Summit Mountain Buddha Summit Mountain

Day 8 Xiapu Mudflats Photography (B, L)

Today's highlights: Weijiang Village Sunrise, Dong'an Island Fishing Village, Yantian Village

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On this day, get up early in the morning and head to Weijiang Village for sunrise. Also called Mantou (Steamed Bun) Hill, it is treated as a sacred place for shooting sunrise, hanging oysters, sunning kelp, working fishermen…You’ll see the sky changes suddenly - dark blue, green blue, light blue, blue white, bright red, golden…seize the rare moment to shoot the beautiful scene. With the flying egrets in the charming sky and the steamed-bund shaped hill, the whole scene is really a tranquil landscape of “Master Nature”.

Later, you’ll be driven to Dong'an Island which is called “Venice on the Sea”. Composed of thousands of fish tanks and hundreds of wooden houses, this village is the most concentrated fish farm with magnificent view. When looking down on the nearby hill, you’ll be enchanted by the harmonious, vibrant, tranquil, idyllic scene. Enjoy a boat trip to sail into the village.

Later, drive to Xiaohao Village (about 35 mins’ driving), which is a famous place for shooting sandiness mudflat and sunset. When the sun is falling down, the shining golden glory paints the whole mudflat, and this is the best moment to record this splendid landscape of the setting sun and the mudflat. The east of Xiaohao is great for photographing with back lighting and the color of its beach changing with light, offering photographers hidden surprises. The west of Xiaohao is great for shooting with front lighting, photographing super large-scale scene of kelp harvest - fishing boats like mighty forces shuttling among the bamboo poles on the sea, which is like a grand movement composed by many dancing musical notes.

  • Fishermen Are Collecting Seafood Fishermen Are Collecting Seafood
  • Charming Sunrise at Weijiang Mudflat Charming Sunrise at Weijiang Mudflat
  • Take Photos of Suset at Xiapu Xiaohao Village Take Photos of Suset at Xiapu Xiaohao Village

Day 9 Xiapu Mudflats Photography (B, L)

Today's highlights: Beiqi Village Sunrise, Huazhu Village, Dongbi Village Sunset

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Today, try to get up early and head to Beiqi Village for the beautiful sunrise. The morning golden sunshine spurting down on the sea, changes the mudflat into a dreamy colorful world. The most famous tiger-skin-like stripes of the mudflat, shadows of fishermen, fishing boats, poles, etc. compose a very harmonious painting, from which you will admire the “Magician Nature” who makes the extraordinarily common point, line, light and shadow full of magic.

Next, drive to Huazhu Villagea great site to take beautiful pictures of mirage-like views and overlook the tranquil village on the sea. During the porphyra harvest season, when the sun rises gently, the sunglow shines on the sea and the fishermen work on the farmlands, it depicts the most gorgeous sea painting scroll. Next, be followed a trip to Bachimen where is a good place to shoot purse seine to cultivate crabs on the mudflat.

Lastly, follow the trip to Dongbi Village for sunset. The golden color of the falling sun presents a golden silk dress for the mudflat and the soft lines of the sinuate water ways vary as the waves, some even performing “S” shapes, and this is super magnificent and rare. Furthermore, as some fishermen hang their fishing nets here on the mudflat, it is very lucky to shoot some pictures of the ordinary tools to increase your amounts of cultural themed photographic works of Xiapu.

After the tour, drive back to your hotel for a good rest.

  • Kelp Farms on the Mudflats of Beiqi Village Kelp Farms on the Mudflats of Beiqi Village
  • Dongbi Village Dongbi Village - Local Fishermen Hanging Fishing Nets
  • Huazhu Village in the Mist Huazhu Village in the Mist

Day 10 Xiapu - Xiamen (B)

Today's highlights: Gulangyu Island, South Putuo Temple, Hulishan Fortress

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On this day, you will take a high speed train along the coastal railway to Xiamen, the most popular tourist city in Fujiang Province. After arriving at the railway station, your tour guide and driver will pick up you and take you to enjoy a brief Xiamen city tour.

You will first go to the southern tip of Xiamen Island and visit the cultural relic Hulishan Fortress. First built in 1894, during the Guangxu reign in the Qing Dynasty, it has always been an important landmark in the island’s history, also served a key role to defense against the Japanese in 1900. Later, transfer to the ferry for a 5-minute boat trip to Gulangyu Island from Xiamen City. Start to visit Sunlight Rock, the highest point of Gulangyu, to have a panoramic view of both Gulangyu and Xiamen. Also visit to Shuzhuang Garden, a beautiful seaside garden and the famous Piano Museum with a collection of 80-fold rare old pianos from all over the world. Then, head to South Putuo Temple which first built in Tang Dynasty. It is renowned for its collection of Buddhist cultural relics, such as a Burmese jade carving of the Buddha, some important Buddhist texts. Standing at the top of the Wulao Peak, you can enjoy the bird’s eye view of Xiamen University and Xiamen Port.

After the sightseeing, go to check in your hotel and have a good rest.

  • Beautiful Gulangyu Island Beautiful Gulangyu Island
  • Amazing Beach of Gulangyu Island Amazing Beach of Gulangyu Island
  • South Putuo Temple South Putuo Temple

Day 11 Xiamen - Nanjing Tulou - Xiamen (B, L)

Today's highlights: Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster, Yuchanglou, Taxia Village, Chengqilou

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After breakfast, take a 3-hour scenic drive to see the earth buildings in Nanjing County, Zhangzhou City. You’ll visit Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster, Yuchanglou (learn structure Hakka House), and Taxia Village. Drive 30 minutes to Gaobei Tulou Cluster to visit Chengqilou. After the tour, transfer back to Xiamen.

Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster: Composed primarily of four round and one rectangular earthen house, it is one of the most magnificent and well-preserved Hakka Castles in the area. The village is also listed in the Famous Historic Cultural Village in China for its typical cultural regional system.

Yuchanglou: Yuchanglou was built in 1308 and is one of the oldest existing Tulou. This five-story earth building is most famous for its tilted pillars. The most extreme is slanted at 15-degree angle.

Taxia Village: There are more than 20 earthen building of different shapes built along the bank of a clear brook that flows through the entire village.

Chengqilou: It is the largest of the earth buildings located in Gaobei Tulou Cluster. Chengqilou is about three hundred years old and is made up of four concentric circular buildings. This King of Round Earth Buildings has altogether 400 rooms and used to house 80 families, more than 600 people in its prosperous days.

  • Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster
  • Yuchanglou Yuchanglou
  • Chengqilou facade Chengqilou facade

Day 12 Xiamen - Hong Kong (B)

Take high speed train directly to Hong Kong

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Today is free for you to transfer to Hong Kong. You will take a high speed train directly from Xiamen to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station. The railway distance from Xiamen to Hong Kong is around 553 kilometers, with durations from 4 to 4.5 hours. After your arrival, you can spend 2 to 3 days to explore the charming culture, history, fashion, food, skyline and shopping paradise of this attractive megacity by your own or board your flight home or your next tourist country.

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The quotation for this trip is from Per Person

1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2020.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.7. The final quote is based on current exchange rate. It may change according to the currency fluctuation, while the RMB quotation will be remained the same.

What's included?

  • Professional licensed English-speaking guide;
  • Admission tickets for all attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation as listed in the itinerary (4-star standard);
  • Necessary vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary;
  • Domestic flights (economy class) and high-speed trains (second class) as listed in the itinerary;
  • Airport (and train station) pick up and drop off;
  • Luggage Transfers: between airports (railway station) and hotels;
  • All meals as listed( “B” for Chinese and Western breakfast buffet in your hotel; “L” for Chinese Lunch in local restaurant; “D” for Chinese dinner in local restaurant.);
  • Accident insurance;
  • Our service charge, including tour planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

What's excluded?

  • China visa;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Accommodation not listed in the itinerary;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • Tourist sites which are not listed in the itinerary;
  • Recommended optional activities;
  • Flights or trains not listed in the itinerary;
  • Excess Baggage Charges;
  • Optional tips to guides, drivers, etc.

Check What our Customers Say...

Dear Lily,

We had a wonderful time on our President 8 Yangzi River Cruise!  Our guide, Nina, was very helpful.  I think we were the only English-only speakers on the cruise. 

We got busses from FengDu to Chongqing. 

Thank you for your help arranging the train rides, this cruise and the Chongqing visit with Portia. 

Sincerely,

Margaret Briskin

 

China Travel Photos

At the end of our cruise, with guide Nina

Margaret Briskin‚ USA, August 11, 2019

Hi Leo,

Here is my review. I will likely post it on TripAdvisor to help other tourists out so they know what to expect. Let me know if you would like anything edited (such as the Wire Transfer vs PayPal part) if you find it harmful for your business. My intent is to describe my experience to other Western travellers that may have similar fears about booking a trip like this.

Thanks for all you did. The trip was both flawless and amazing.

I took a 2 week personalized vacation with Chendu Bamboo tours through China. I wanted to put some thoughts down to the TripAdvisor community as I had a lot of reservations going into it, and I hope my review will help clarify some of the items that I was uncertain of.

First, while I researching, I determined that I wanted to do a custom tour as none of the packages that I saw had everything I wanted. The towns I chose were Beijing, Xian, Dunhuang, Chengdu, Guilin and Shanghai. I submitted inquiries to multiple companies and ChinaDiscovery came back to me promptly with a very comprehensive tour that was detailed and in line with my expectations. The scary part of communicating my requirements was that it had to be done mostly through email, although the company was also quick to Skype call me to handle some of my more advanced questions.

If you decide to book a tour like this (and you are firmly in the middle class) this is and expensive endeavor. For you to pull the trigger, you can expect 4 big expenditures. First, you will need to put 1/3 balance down on the trip to reserve the reservation. That 1/3 was placed through PayPay, and the Paypal account that I placed it to did not look anything like the business I was dealing with. It was scary sending the money to such a strange account, but in the end, the transaction was fine. One point of confusion...you may research and book through ChinaDiscovery, however the invoice then turned into (in my case) Chengdu Bamboo International Tours Co, Ltd. I don't fully understand the relationship, but it was legitimate, although a little confusing of why the website said one thing, but the actual contractor that was doing the work said another. Another scary thing came later when I was asked to pay the remaining 2/3 balance, I was requested to do so via wire transfer. Again, a scary endeavor which I felt I would have no protection if the company was not legitimate. So fearing loss of funds, I reached a win/win compromise to use the Paypal account again (with Visa) to submit the funds. Once I received confirmation, the company executed the hotel, train and plane tickets flawlessly, communicating the reservations about 1 week later.

In short, my fears were unfounded.

You will also have to handle 3 other expenses. First, and not surprising are your international plane tickets, which I handled shortly after the deposit. But the 3rd and 4th were not known. As a US citizen, I needed to get Visas for myself and the family. A Chinese Visa costs about $160 per person, and to get it, you must carefully submit a form to the Chinese consulate in a designated region of the country. Because I delayed doing this, I needed to do expedited service. And because the form is brutal and requires you to send your passports to the Chinese consulate, I enlisted a visa expert (CIBT.com) in order to get in processed. Long story short, about $1K later, I received the last of the passports back from the consulate with about 2 days to spare. 

The other warning, since all the trips have drivers and tour guides that take you around, you are advised (not mandated) to give them tips. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines given or direction of how much to give. I spent time researching on the internet what were fair tips for always outstanding service. Now, 1 week after the trip, I still have no idea if I tipped fairly, generously or cheaply. But, calculate 2 weeks and 2 persons a day, you can calculate that it will cost you hundreds of dollars or thousands of Yuan.

Last warning to give about going to China...you'll need cash. Only some (not most) banks and stores are hooked up to the Visa and Mastercard system. This means, (1) you may need to search for the right bank to get cash in China in order to withdraw funds and (2) the vendors that you'll see only will take your cash. This caused some stress the first couple of days as I had trouble finding a bank that worked.

Now...for the good stuff. Once prepping for all that, the trip that was designed by Chinadiscovery (or Chengdu Bamboo Tour Company) was pretty spectacular. The guides were beyond great, and did a truly amazing, amazing job of being everything you would want as a tour guide. Prompt, flexible, funny, sometimes motherly, sometimes brotherly, open, honest, kind, insightful, human, knowledgeable and ...simply great. Each one in each town was different...but each of them took such pride in their cities/country that you are given a great gift.

The hotels were as good as it gets as well. Breakfast was included in all hotels...some food good, and other food great. The hotels were within walking distance to all the good things. For Beijing, 15 min walk to the Forbidden City. Shanghai? 5 minute walk to the River and 20 minutes to The Bund. I could go on, but the accommodations were really good. Combine that with flawless execution of all travel arrangements, it made for a stress free trip. The lunches were all Chinese and again, and food ranged from good to great. They always gave our family of 3 too much food for one sitting, and I felt embarrassed about leaving so much food behind.

In Beijing, our guide took us through Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, The Great Wall, and Temple of Heaven (among other places). When she took us to the train station, she insisted in walking us down to our seat on the High Speed railway car. When I asked if that is the company policy, she said 'that MY policy' (to ensure her clients get to where they are going). Amazing. We reached Xian for a day and Zoe gave us great insights of the growing city, the crowds, and life in China. Then onto Dunjuang, where Lily and her driver rearranged the schedule to ensure that we saw all the Silk Road sites. The schedule changes included her and the driver starting at 6AM (after we were picked up at the airport 10PM the night before) in order to ensure we saw everything. Then in Chengdu, Cherry helped so patiently with my wife's shopping at the Panda sanctuary. And in Guilin, Kennedy was awesome describing the land and China's ethnic minority. The insight for the rice fields and rivers were wonderful. We ate probably the best Chinese food of the trip in the fresh country air. Then finally, to Shanghai, where Zack was truly a joy, and one of the friendliest and enjoyable people I have ever met in my life. The city of Shanghai was amazing, and my son enjoyed it tremendously.

Two things I would do over if I could. First, I would plan to take it in June, not late July. We had to compete with the rest of China, which has summer break at this time. As a result, the places were packed with China tourist going to the same sites, which made the crowds a bit much. Second, I would have also altered the trip to spend 1 less day in Guilin and 1 more day in Shanghai. Other than that, I would not have changed anything.

China Travel Photos

Our Customized China Trip

John‚ USA, August 11, 2019

Hi Vivien,

The Suzhou has been wonderful experience. Both guide and driver were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They have made the trip extremely enjoyable. And thank you very much for helping to arrange Suzhou trip in such short notice. Your customer service and attitude is fantastic!!

Regards

Marcus‚ Singapore, August 8, 2019

Hello Zoe,

I’m sorry it took me so long to reply to you. We really appreciated your help in arranging our trip with such short notice. Usually when we travel we don’t use a travel agent and we spend many weeks planning. Because China is so large and we had only 10 days including flights we needed help in making decisions and you provided that. We had very good guides which made getting around easy. It would have been difficult to figure out getting around the airports and train stations by ourselves. The guides’ English ranged from good to excellent. We especially loved Carol in Zhangjiajie. She was fun and recommended really good restaurants! Johnny took us to a museum in Xian that was not on our itinerary and we enjoyed that. He also recommended a new market with many food vendors that was very fun to go for dinner in Xian. Our favorite places were Zhangjiajie, the Terra-cotta Warriors and the Great Wall. Our least favorite were the Jade Factory and the tea house. We felt they was some pressure to buy things and that is not something that interests us. We liked our hotels and their locations. We were able to walk to interesting places for dinner, especially the Hutong near our hotel in Beijing.

Zoe, you did a very good job for us. You always responded to my emails quickly, answered all my questions and gave us good advice. I think we must have kept you very busy. And you seem very friendly! I enjoyed working with you and I will write a review on Trip Advisor.

Thank you so much,

Cathy ‚ USA, August 8, 2019

Hi Wonder, 

We arrived in Beijing today and received the tickets when we checked in. We’re all set for the trip. Thank you for all your help getting this taken care of.

Eric Vierling‚ , August 7, 2019
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How Our Teams Serve you at China Discovery

"Highest Standards of Quality and Honesty" is the core value of each specialized team at China Discovery.

Eveyone in our company is working hard for only one goal, which is to ensure the highest level of service, luxury, and attention to detail from the minute you begin planning your trip, to the day you return home.

1-on-1 Travel Consultant

China Tour

Our travel consultants are professional, experienced and responsible, helping you from the very beginning to the end of your China trip!

After sending us an inquiry, one of our travel consultants will get back to you within 0.5~23.5 hrs. In the next few days, he/she will be working closely with you to formulate a customized tour plan, as well as providing professional suggestions based on your travel interests, time, and budget.

Beside, he/she will keep in contact with you during your entire tour in China, continually checking if everything is going well as planned.

We're working at Chengdu Bamboo International Tours, local based in Chengdu.

Local Tour Guides

China Tour

Our local guide in every destination is not only very friendly, enthusiastic but also very informative and knowledgeable.

Once you arrive in the destination, the patient and punctual guides will pick you up and take you to get under skin of the city at your own pace. By in-depth discovery and explanation, they’ll show you more about the history, culture, customs and authentic local life. Throughout the journey, they're not only expert guides who take care of all the details but also fellow travelers who are dedicated to help you explore in comfort and style.

Our guides are passionate about what they do, and it shows all the way!

Local Drivers & Vehicle

Using our private transfer service makes you comfortable, relaxed and worry free all the way!

Our private service includes licensed drivers with many years’ driving experience and air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and well-maintained cars/vans. Drivers are local, polite, friendly and helpful, taking you to your tourist sites, hotels, airport/train stations in safety. All kinds of vehicle are offered, and yours depends on the size of your group. Usually, we offer sedan cars, SUVs, business vans (MPV) and different types of buses, all with extra space for your luggage.

Our private transfer service guarantees you the highest comfort!

Comfortable & Homelike Hotels

China Tour

In each destination, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay in a great location!

The hotels we choose are based on star rating, great locations, well-equipped facilities, cozy bed, high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Choices are a lot ranging from luxury 5 star, comfortable 4 star to budget 3 star. You could decide where to stay to best suit for your budget and likes. Generally, the hotels have both Western and Chinese breakfast with a wide choices.

If you have already got an ideal hotel, please feel free to tell our travel consultants and they'll book the hotel for you.

Have good sleep in our well-selected hotels in all the destinations of China.

Meals & Dining

China Tour

We can satisfy all the dietary requirements no matter you want Chinese local food, western food, vegetarian food or muslin food.

The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.

There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants to taste like Beijing Roast Duck, Xian Dumpling Dinner, Sichuan Hotpot, etc., if you are interested in local food tasting.

All the dining options will satisfy your stomach!

Here are recent candid photos of this China trip

  • Shanghai Night Shanghai Night
  • Shanghai Museum Shanghai Museum
  • Beautiful The Bund Beautiful The Bund
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Shanghai Yu Garden
  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors
  • Shanghai French Cocession Shanghai French Cocession
  • Dragon Well Tea Culture Tour Dragon Well Tea Culture Tour
  • Beautiful West Lake - Bridge Beautiful West Lake - Bridge
  • Lingyin Temple Lingyin Temple
  • Wuzhen Water Town Wuzhen Water Town
  • Puji Temple Puji Temple
  • The Mercy of Godbness The Mercy of Godbness
  • Putuoshan Sunset Putuoshan Sunset
  • Fayu Temple Fayu Temple
  • Buddha Summit Mountain Buddha Summit Mountain
  • Fishermen Are Collecting Seafood Fishermen Are Collecting Seafood
  • Charming Sunrise at Weijiang Mudflat Charming Sunrise at Weijiang Mudflat
  • Take Photos of Suset at Xiapu Xiaohao Village Take Photos of Suset at Xiapu Xiaohao Village
  • Kelp Farms on the Mudflats of Beiqi Village Kelp Farms on the Mudflats of Beiqi Village
  • Dongbi Village Dongbi Village
  • Huazhu Village in the Mist Huazhu Village in the Mist
  • Beautiful Gulangyu Island Beautiful Gulangyu Island
  • Amazing Beach of Gulangyu Island Amazing Beach of Gulangyu Island
  • South Putuo Temple South Putuo Temple
  • Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster
  • Yuchanglou Yuchanglou
  • Chengqilou facade Chengqilou facade
  • No documents found.

Most Important Trip Notes

Below are some important things to know regarding of train travel tips, traveling documents, hotels and food, weather, booking guide. Traveling with China Discovery, you only need to focus on enjoying your holiday time. We will take care of all the details. Our travel consultants are always ready to help you if have any questions about the trip.

1. How to travel by high speed trains in China?
Understanding China Train Designations
China trains are divided into two kinds: High Speed Trains and Normal Trains with different speeds, facilities and names. There are three kinds of High Speed Trains in China, differed by the letters G/D/C plus several digits. Generally speaking, G trains are faster and with better amenities. Normal trians are not recommended.
Facilities and Services in China’s High Speed Trains
All China high speed trains are fully air-conditioned and non-smoking. Western toliets are provided. There are also luggage racks, dining car, power plugs, water-dispenser and some other user-friendly facilities equipped on the train.
Which Class of Seat to Take
Second Class Seats, First Class Seats, Business Class Seats are three common seats you can find on most China high speed trains. First Class Seats are strongly recommended. They are larger and less-crowded.
How to Book China Train Tickets
Currently, you can only book China train tickets 30 days in advance. You can book on China Railway’s official website or some online travel agencies, or go to purchase tickets at any of China’s railway station. Passport is always required no matter you book online or at railway stations. If you book ticket online, you can collect ticket at the ticket counters in any railway station in China any time.
Security Check & Luggage Check
After arriving at railway station, firstly get your ticket and passport prepared and represent to the staff, and then pass Security Check & Luggage Check, and find the right boarding gate. It's easy and simple.
How to Handle Your Luggage
Travelling with luggages on China train is not a problem. If you take high speed trains, it will be easier to handle your luggage because there are plenty of spaces to place your luggage, and there are also many ways to deliver your luggages.
Related Tips about this tour
When is the best time to take this trip?
Both the railway and destinations in this tour are located along the southeastern coastline of China where the weather is usually warm and moist. So you can take this tour all year aournd, since you will take some photography at Xiapu Mudflats where the landscapes differ along in different seasons, you are suggested to visit Xiapu during late April to early early June when is the harvest time of kelp, and late October to early February when is the planting season of kelp and harvest season of nori. Better avoid China's holidays, such as May Days, National Days, Middle Autumn Festival
Vehicle and Road Condition
In this tour, the driving hour is less 2 hours each day. Most of the roads are in good condition. There may be traffic jams in rush hours and holidays. We usually choose the suitable time to start your trip to avoid large traffic. Our drivers are licensed drivers with many years’ driving experience. All our vehicles are air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and well-maintained.
Hotels and Dining
The choices for accommodation are flexible in this tour. The standards of hotels range from local 3-star to some international 5-star but amenities and services may differ in different cities. Putuoshan and Xiapu are smaller destinations where the hotels are not as good as those in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xiamen. The hotels we choose are usually based on star rating, great locations, well-equipped facilities, cozy bed, high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Air conditioning and Wi-Fi are usually available. Chinese food is mainly provided in this trip. In Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xiamen, western food can be arranged if you want.
Payment and Booking Guide
1. What kind of payment method do you accept?
PayPal, Wire Transfer/Bank Transfer, Western Union are acceptable before your arrival, and after your arrival, CASH is required.
2. How soon before our trip do you need payment?
Early booking is always better than being rushed, and we would suggest booking to be 2-3 month earlier than your arrival so as to guarantee the booking items. If you are interested in any of our tours, you can pay a deposit first and balance to be paid 30 days prior to your arrival. You can also choose to pay the full amount so as to avoid small loss caused by currency exchange rate fluctuation.
3. When should we pay the deposit and the balance?
Certain deposit will be paid if you decide to book, and balance is required to be paid 30 days prior to your arrival. If booking is less than 30 days, full payment is required.

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