I and my 6 year old daughter have just returned from a 10-day China Discovery tour which took us from Beijing to Shanghai via Xian and Chengdu.
After doing a google search and reading some reviews I contacted China Discovery. Tracy was very fast in responding to my emails, making suggestions and adapting the itinerary to our needs. She provided an invitation/confirmation letter which we used to obtain our Chinese visas. Payment via paypal was very convenient - a 30% deposit and then the balance a month before travel.
In Beijing we stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel which was comfortable although the food we ordered through room service was not great.
Facade of Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beijing
In Xian, the Sofitel was luxurious as we were upgraded to a suite and the breakfast buffet was awesome. So much choice! Good location too for walking to the Bell Tower and the bustling Muslim food market.
Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square and Bell Tower at Night
In Chengdu, Rhombus Park Aura Chengdu was very modern with floor to ceiling windows in the bathroom! The location was perfect for walking to shops and restaurants. There wasn’t as much choice here for breakfast in terms of western food items though so was a bit disappointing after the Sofitel!
Modern Rhombus Park Aura Chengdu
The Shanghai Howard Johnson was ok but a much older hotel. The location was good for walking to the shops and the Bund though.
The Novotel Clover was in a great location for heading to Disneyland and also returning to the airport. They provide a free shuttle bus to the park. The room was very modern and clean and the breakfast choice was excellent, there was a separate eating area for children close to a large tv screen.
Howard Johnson (left) in Shanghai Downtown and Novotel Clover (right) Near Disneyland
Our guides were all waiting for us at the airport/station as agreed and the cars were all fitted with rear seatbelts so we felt comfortable and safe throughout the tour. Unfortunately the traffic in Beijing was always bad so it felt like we spent a lot of time in the car. The guides were all very pleasant and friendly – and patient with a demanding 6 year old! Their level of English was excellent - apart from the guide in Shanghai who was a little bit difficult to understand - and they all provided a lot of interesting information for their particular city.
There were a lot of sights to see but the main attractions for us were the Great Wall which was an unforgettable experience, the terracotta warriors were amazing and the pandas were adorable! The acrobat show in Shanghai was very entertaining and Disneyland was good fun.
Magnificent Great Wall of China (Mutianyu Section) in Beijing
Amazing Terracotta Warriors in Xian
Adorable Giant Pandas in Chengdu Panda Base
Entertaining Acrobat Show and Disneyland in Shanghai
The internal transport arrangements were all good - the bullet train was very comfortable and smooth and the internal flights were both on time. Although English isn’t widely spoken in China it is possible to get by. A number of signs are written in English and announcements at stations and airports are all made in English.
High Speed Train in Xi'an North Railway Station
Traveling with a child with blonde hair brings a lot of attention from the Chinese. Most people asked if they could take photographs beforehand and although my daughter declined they were, on the whole, very pleasant.
I read horror stories about the ‘squatty potty’ before traveling but was relieved to find these were unfounded! In 99% of the bathrooms we went to there was a normal toilet (usually the toilet for the disabled) and all had toilet paper.
I found that at some ATM machines my bank card didn't work as Chinese banks require a 6 number pin whereas mine is 4. Choose the ATMs at airports which are more likely to accept international cards.
All in all it was an amazing trip.
" Hi, I'm Tracy, Georgia's travel consultant. Georgia and her 6-year-old daughter had a great time in China. Are you interested in their trip? You can feel free to contact me for more details of their travel such as trip itinerary, transportation, accommodation and other arrangements. I will tell you any information you want and you may know more interesting stories of China tour. If you want to travel the same way as them or you want to customize your own China tour, just contact me and I will spare no efforts to meet your demands. It’s my great pleasure to invite you to our country and join us in appreciating this charming land, both ancient and modern. "
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Beijing / Xian / Shanghai
Beijing / Xian / Chengdu / Shanghai
Beijing / Xian / Lhasa / Chengdu / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Shanghai
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