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tour advice for china

sm3
northern ireland
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tour advice for china

Hi all,

I am thinking of booking a 'Splendours of China' tour. It is through virgin holidays, and although it looks great, I am wondering if anyone on this forum has ever been on this escourted tour, and what it would be like. Any feedback is fantastic.

thanks,

sm3

Toronto
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for Tokyo
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1. Re: tour advice for china

If it's thru Virgin(the airlines), it should be OK. All tours to China are handled by a few "official" agencies once you landed in China, regardless of which tour company you buy from. Of course there are still different grades, being reflected in the accommodation, the amount of shopping, the quality of the coaches, ...

sm3
northern ireland
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2. Re: tour advice for china

Hi Bibimbob,

The tour seems pretty packed...2 nights in Shanghai, 2 in Suzhou, 3 in Beijing, 2 in Xian, 2 in Guilin, and last 3 nights in Hong Kong.

All the accommodation is 3/4star(all4 but one), and transport is all on a/c coaches. All meals,flights,excursions etc are included in China, although it doesn't say how much shopping! Is this something I should worry about? I don't mind shopping, but would assume I could wait outside anywhere I didn't want to shop. Is this the case, or are you really put under pressure at the shopping stops?

I guess it's all part of the experience, but I would love to speak to someone who has been on this trip before to see how they found everything.

We were in Hong Kong earlier this year, and can't wait to return, but are still trying to paint the picture what to expect in China, although I'm sure it will be a fabulous experience.

sm3

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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3. Re: tour advice for china

It does look pretty packed but someone else can comment on that. Even for a/c coaches there are different vintages. We once joined a tour originating from HK, and the coach that showed up at the airport in BJ was some 10yo coach. People bitched about it . 15 minutes later we got on a much newer coach and had that for the rest of the tour.

At shopping destinations, you don't have to buy or even stay inside the shop if you don't want to. It's rather with some inexpensive tours, you waste 2 hours everyday on shopping.

Again, I trust that with Virigin, you should be OK.

Norwich, England
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4. Re: tour advice for china

I have just got back from this, have you gone yet? do you still want info?

sm3
northern ireland
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107 posts
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5. Re: tour advice for china

Hi P H Wilson,

Thanks for posting. Yes, I would love to hear absolutly everything about your trip. We booked our trip for March 2007, so have a while to wait yet.

Thanks

sm3

Norwich, England
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6. Re: tour advice for china

OK, so much to tell that I can't get it all in...let me know if you want more info...paul@wilsonscomputing.co.uk

VERY busy two weeks..the hotels are all very good and the food is good, of course pretty much always chinese table service which means about ten of you sharing a table.

34 in our party which was a bit too big. We had a national guide and a local guide throughout china but you are completely on your own in Hong Kong.

We booked a 3 excursion package for hong kong which was much cheaper than doing it on the holiday and hong kong can be a bit confusing if you are by yourself.

Obviously China is great with loads to see, the tour is crammed with stuff but be aware they do take you to a lot of shops at the end of tours round factories. You don't seem to miss anything major, so we just put up with it. Several of our party just had a drink or stayed outside.

We did the thailand extension just to wind down from the holiday and were glad we did.

There are obviously lots of flights so take strong cases and try to pack light as you will get souvenirs (very cheap).

One thing about money..you cannot spend Yuan in hong kong.. and generally yuo won't be able to change anything smaller than a 100yuan back to another currency anyway.

Phew! We had a fantastic holiday and if you are flying with virgin then you obviously know how to get your 10% off (we save £380)

scotland
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7. Re: tour advice for china

I was on the virgin splendours of China tour earlier in the summer and it was a wonderful experience. The trip party was relatively small (only 16) and organisation was marvellous.

You have the services of a tour manager who stays with the group throughout the trip, and at each destination you have a specialised tour guide. This means you gather in a lot of information about the places you visit. Moving about from place to place was very easy, with bags picked up at your hotel, and delivered to your door at the destination hotel. There was no hanging around for hours in airports either.

There were so many trip highlights

Shanghai - the bund (the waterfront with all the modern highrise buildings). Get out for a walk on your own around the hotel.

Suzhou - a memorable train journey and a fantasic city guide called Janet. A visit to the silk factory - yes there was a shop at the end, but not for long and the products here were cheaper than in Hong Kong. A rickshaw ride was an experience on the busy roads, and a visit to leaning Pagoda were wonderful.

Beijing - all the main sites were covered, Tian. Sq, summer palace, great wall (my personal highlight), a fake heaven market if you like that sort of thing. There was an optional tour to the Hutong (the old part of town with a visit to a very nice old Chinese lady's house which is not to be missed). Visit to the Chinese Opera - I wasn't that impressed with that, but the translations were hilarious). Again you can get about on your own on your free evening to sample Chinese culture.

Xian - teracotta warriors were the higlight here, and a bicyle ride on the city walls. The hotel was near a large square which was very busy with local Chinese and Chinese holidaymakers, and there was a fabulous water fountain show at night ('water fountain' doesn't do it justice).

Guillin - this was a wonderful place to end the tour of mainland China. The boat trip down the willow pattern trail was so memorable. Another wonderful guide - Judy. The hotel was next to a lake and you could wander around here yourself at night.

The people were wonderful, so friendly - but you do have to get use to the staring and attention you draw. Many young people liked to talk to you to practice their English, but there were the usual warnings not to go anywhere with strangers - just common sense really. Even when walking out on our own we felt safe.

I could go on and out about it - it is a wonderful trip and I am sure you will enjoy it. The weather in March should be relatively dry and warm.

Have a great trip.

sm3
northern ireland
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8. Re: tour advice for china

A really big thankyou to you both...P H Wilson and Trrrip.

I really apperciate you both taking the time to fill me in on all the trip details. It sounds wonderful, and we really can't wait to go.

A few queries...

Did you have to check all your bags in at each airport personally, or was this arranged as part of the trip,

and did you have to pay internal and international departure tax at each airport, or again, was this taken care of as part of the trip?

It is really great to gain pieces of information about the trip that is not in the brochure.

thanks

sm3

Shanghai, China
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9. Re: tour advice for china

All departure airport taxes (domestic/international) should already be included in your flight price.

Silkeborg
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10. Re: tour advice for china

Hi sm3,

I am interested in travelling to China with my mother and husband, but the time has not been decided yet because we are still searching for information. I am thinking of using local agent in china instead of using one from our country. By the way, about the virgin holiday you have mentioned, is it a local travel agent? Do you have any contact details of the virgin holiday? From all the feedback you got, I think it is ok. Thanks in advance for sharing. - Ipak -