16 Days Leisurely China Train Tour
Tour Code: CTT13
Tour Duration: 16 Days
Destination: Beijing, Hangzhou, Huangshan, Nanjing, Qufu, Shanghai, Suzhou, Taian
Tour overview: Showcasing China’s scenic highlights and historic relics, as well as Chinese cultural aspects such as traditional Chinese gardens and Dragon Well Tea, this China train tour will take you to places you have only dreamed of. You will visit temples of incredible beauty, such as Confucius’s home, the imperial palaces of Beijing, traditional gardens in Suzhou, and so much more. You will travel between destinations on soft sleeper cabins on Chinese trains, and watch the beauty of China pass by your window.
- Tour Summary
- Day by Day Itinerary
|Tour Dates||Destinations||Services Provided||Meals Included|
Be met and transferred to your hotel.
Full day visit The Temple of Heaven , Tiananmen Square , Forbidden City .
Full day visit Mutianyu Great Wall , Hutong Tours in Rickshaw .
|Day 4||Beijing/Qufu||Visit Summer Palace .Later this day you will be transferred to railway station to take overnight train to Qufu. Details...||B,L|
Arrive in Qufu this morning, visit Temple, Mansion and Cemetery of Confucius / San Kong .
After breakfast, we will drive to Mount Tai Tourist Attraction. Take Car & Vehicle to the Top of the Mountain. Visit Dai Temple/Daimiao .
Free at leisure this morning until be met and transfer to train station and head for Nanjing. After your arrival in Nanjing, you will be met and transferred to hotel by our local guide. Free at leisure the rest of the day.
Full day visit Dr.Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum ,Yangtze River Bridge, Nanjing City Wall, Zhonghua City Gate, Confucius Temple ( Fuzimiao ) .
In the morning, you will be transferred to the railway station and take express train to Suzhou. Arrive in Suzhou, be met and visit Humble Administrator's Garden and Tiger Hill .
Have a special Rickshaw Tour, visit Lingering Garden (Garden to linger in) ,Afternoon be transferred to railway station and take train to Hangzhou. Arrive in Hangzhou, be met and transferred to the hotel, free at the rest of the day.
Today visit West Lake , Ling Yin Temple (Temple of Soul's Retreat) (Temple of Soul's Retreat), Six Harmonies Pagoda , Dragon Well Tea Plantation .
Free at leisure until to be met and transferred to the express bus station and take bus to Huangshan. Arrive in Huangshan, be met and transferred to the hotel, free at the rest of the day.
In the morning, be transferred to the foot of Yellow Mountain ,take cable car to the top of Yellow Mountain, tour to North Sea Scenic Area and other peaks. Stay overnight on top of the mountain.
|Day 14||Huangshan/Shanghai||Free at leisure, take cable car down from the Yellow Mountain .Then visit Shexian, the Ancient Street, the Ink Stone Factory. Then be transferred to railway station for overnight train to Shanghai. Details...||B,L|
Arrive in Shanghai this morning, be met and transferred to your hotel. Then visit The Bund , Yuyuan Garden , Jade Buddha Temple , Oriental Pearl TV Tower .
|Day 16||Shanghai||Free at leisure until transferred to the airport for next city. Details...||B|
Price Inclusions and Exclusions
Price IncludeA. Entrance fees：To scenic spots as listed above in the itinerary.
B. Meals: All meals as specified in the itinerary.
C. Private Transfers: Among airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in the above cities by the private air conditioned vehicle.
D. Guide and Driver: As outlined in the itinerary, a well selected English-speaking guide and driver will accompany you throughout the entire tour in that city. They do not fly with you from one city to another.
E. Hotels: Hotel Based on two persons sharing one room with twin beds. All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
F. Luggage Transfers: Between airports and hotels.
G. Service Charge & Government Taxes.
H. Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
I. Arrangements: The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
Price ExcludeA. Entry or Exit China International Airfare or train tickets.
B. Visa Fees.
C. Excess Baggage Charges.
D. Personal Expenses: Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone call, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the itinerary.
E. Meals: Any meals which are not specified with "B", "L" or "D".
F. Single Room Supplement.
G. Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
H. Gratuities, Tips to Guides and Drivers.
Day 1 Beijing Arrival
Transport via: Flight on your own arrangement
Upon your arrival you will be greeted by our local guide and then transferred to your hotel by a private air-conditioned car. For the rest of the day you will enjoy some leisure time.
Day 2 Beijing (B, L)
Sightseeing: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City
This morning our tour will begin with a visit of the Temple of Heaven, which was completed in 1420, and expanded over the years by two Qing Dynasty Emperors. It was the place where the Emperor came every winter solstice to worship heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest. With the three blue-tiled cone-shaped roofs, a unique wooden and blue-tiled structure built without a nail, it has become a worldwide symbol of Beijing.
After lunch, we will go on our city tour to visit Tiananmen Square, the symbolical heart of China and gathering place for the masses. It is the biggest public square in the world, which can hold one million people.
From here we will walk across the Golden River Bridge to visit the Forbidden City and experience the ancient Emperor's daily life. For 5 centuries Chinese emperors carried out their administration here. With almost 10,000 rooms, it was the centre of the Ming and Qing dynasties, a massive complex of palaces, pavilions, courtyards and gardens where 24 emperors used to live. Forbidden City was the largest palace in the world, and in the past it was indeed a forbidden place for commoners. Your tour here will include private access to the Emperor's palace.
Day 3 Beijing (B, L)
Sightseeing: Mutianyu Great Wall, Hutong Tour
After experiencing the royal lifestyle, today we will be transferred to the surrounding countryside of Beijing and visit the Mutianyu Great Wall, the pride of China and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Whereas Genghis Khan contemplated it as a military obstacle, Richard Nixon described it as one of humankind's greatest achievements. You will be able to climb and walk on the sections of the 2,000 years old ancient wall, admiring the splendid mountain views. Bring a jacket and layer- although it is breezy, the climbing is tough. So be in a good shape!
We will experience a unique Hutong tour by taking a rickshaw this afternoon. Hutongs are a kind of ancient city alley or lane and are very typical for Beijing. Most of them can be found close to the Forbidden City, and many were built during the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing. Today, the Hutong is a living museum of Beijing history showing the traditional lifestyle of Beijing people.
Day 4 Beijing / Qufu (B, L)
Transport via: Overnight Train K51 (23:06pm-07:36am+1) on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Summer Palace.
This morning will start the tour with the visit to the Summer Palace. Equally famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is called 'Yiheyuan' (Garden of Nurtured Harmony) in Chinese. Until nowadays, it is the best preserved and the largest imperial garden in China. You will regret it if you leave Beijing without having visited this grand imperial garden.
Later that day you will be transferred to railway station to take overnight train to Qufu.
Day 5 Qufu (B, L)
Sightseeing: Confucian Temple, Confucian Mansion, Confucian family graveyard.
Arrive Qufu this morning, you will be met at railway station and transferred to your hotel to have breakfast and a short rest.
Today we will learn the Confucian culture with the visit to Confucian Temple, Confucian Mansion and Confucian family graveyard. They are called Three Confucians, which are now one of the four extant great architectural complexes in China.
Among many preserved Confucian temples of different dynasties all over China, the Confucian Temple in Qufu is the largest and earliest one. It represents the culture and history of Confucianism. Confucian Mansion: It is also called Yanshenggong Mansion, a large house consisting of 463 halls, rooms, towers and houses, covering an area of 13.3 hectares-the largest landlord manor in China's history. The courtyard is divided into three family temples. The main building in the center was first used as a government office then changed to dwelling house later. Confucian family graveyard: It is the graveyard of the Confucian family and has a history of more than 2340 years. There are about ten thousand tombs inside the graveyard .Also many stone steles, lanes and pavilions can be found here.
Day 6 Qufu / Taian (B, L)
Transport via: Private car arranged by us
Sightseeing: Dai Temple. Mountain Tai
After breakfast, we will drive to Mount Tai Tourist Attraction. Take Car & Vehicle to the Top of the mountain. Mountain Tai, Covering an area of 426 square kilometers with the highest peak 1,545 meters above sea level; the majestic Mt. Tai is one of the China's national parks and the first of the Five Sacred Mountain in China.
Have a visit to the Dai Temple. First built in Han Dynasty, it is the largest and most completed ancient building complex of Mount Tai. Emperors of the past dynasties held celebrations in the temple to worship heaven and earth, and sacrificed to the God of the mountain. Besides, it was also the first stop for the pilgrims on their way to the Tai Mountain.
Day 7 Taian / Nanjing (B)
Transfer via: Train D29 (11:44am-16:26pm) on our arrangement
Free at leisure this morning until be met and transfer to train station and head for Nanjing. Known as the Capital City of Ten Dynasties in China's history, Nanjing has many places of historic interests.
After your arrival in Nanjing, you will be met and transferred to hotel by our local guide. For the rest of that day you can enjoy some leisure time.
Day 8 Nanjing (B, L)
Sightseeing: Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Yangtze River Bridge, Nanjing City Wall, Zhonghua City Gate, The Confucius Temple
Today we will start our tour by visiting Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Sun Yat-Sen, leader of the 1911 Revolution that toppled the Qing Dynasty and ushered in the first republic in China's history, died in 1925.The mausoleum offers beautiful scenery and architecture.
Then we will proceed to the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge. It was the first double deck and double track highway and railway bridge designed and constructed by Chinese people themselves. The upper highway bridge is 4589 meters long and the lower railway bridge is 6772 meters long. Each arch of the main bridge spans 160 meters.
After a Chinese lunch at a local restaurant, we will jaunt to Nanjing City Wall and the Zhonghua City Gate. It is the best preserved Chinese ancient castle, and the biggest and most splendid city gate of Nanjing. The gate was built from 1366 to 1386 and is made of huge bricks and special cement which is extraordinarily strong.
Afterwards our guide will accompany you to Confucius Temple. Consisting of 3 architectural complexes, Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) was originally built in 1034. Enjoy yourself here, since the entire area around the temple consists of a series of tourist shops, snack bars, restaurants and entertainment arcades all being decorated in "Ming" and "Qing" style.
Day 9 Nanjing / Suzhou (B, L)
Transfer via: soft seat train on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Humble Administrator's Garden, Tiger Hill
This morning, you will be escorted to the railway station to take the express train to Suzhou. Suzhou is praised as the "Oriental Venice" and called "paradise on earth" along with Hangzhou.
Upon your arrival in Suzhou, our guide will meet you and escort you to a local restaurant to have lunch. In the afternoon you will visit Humble Administrator's Garden, the largest classical garden in Suzhou and one of the four most famous ones in China. Originally built in 1513 AD, it consists of three parts with different types of buildings around streams and ponds.
Then we will move on to Tiger Hill (Huqiu). Tiger Hill is the most famous sight in Suzhou city, enjoying the reputation of "The first scenic spot in Wu area" by its imposing beauty; This includes Leisure Spring, Testing Sword Rock, Third Spring, Broken-Pillar-Hall and Mountain Villa Wrapped in Emerald Green etc. With only 36 meters of height and an area of 20hectares, you might think it is an artificial hill, but its history can be traced back to 2500 years ago. The Tiger Hill Pagoda in the park is the landmark of Suzhou city.
Day 10 Suzhou / Hangzhou (B, L)
Transfer via: soft seat train on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Rickshaw Tour, Lingering Garden, No.1 Silk Factory
Today we will start off with a special Rickshaw Tour. Being driven through the old streets and Hutongs of Suzhou, you will see local people's life.
The arrangement will be made to visit the No.1 Silk Factory in Suzhou, as this city is also famous for its silk production. In the factory you can see how silk is made from the silk worm to the final woven cloth.
Finally we visit the Lingering Garden, one of the four most famous gardens in China. The garden is celebrated for its artistic way of handling the spaces between various architectural forms and garden courts. With pavilions, terraces, grotesque rocks, clear streams and rare vegetations, the corridors are able to separate the garden into several courtyards with distinct styles. The scenery of gardens within a garden is really attractive and makes tourists linger in this renowned Jiangnan Garden.
Afternoon, you will be transferred to the railway station and take the train to Hangzhou. An old Chinese saying goes, "There is heaven above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below." Centuries ago, Marco Polo called Hangzhou the most enchanting city in the world. Upon your arrival in Hangzhou, our local guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. For the rest of the day you can discover the city on your own.
Day 11 Hangzhou (B, L)
Sightseeing: West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Peak Flying from Afar, Pagoda of Six Harmonies, Dragon Well Tea Plantation
Today you will experience the beautiful West Lake. We will take a cruise boat across the lake to see the 3 pagodas in the lake. The West Lake is the most famous tourist spot of Hangzhou. Graceful mountains surround it on three sides. It has a charming scenery and many cultural relics and historic sites.
Then we will visit Lingyin Temple (Soul's Retreat Temple) including the FeiLai Feng from Afar. Close to the West Lake, the main hall in Lingyin Temple is about 34 meters (111 feet) tall - incredibly high for a one-storey building. In the center of the hall there is a statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, which was carved from 24 pieces of camphor wood. The temple was named Lingyin Temple for its extremely beautiful environment which is serene and suitable for "Soul's Retreat".
After having lunch at local restaurant, we will drive to the Six Harmonies Pagoda, highly erected by the Qiantang River and in the south of the West Lake. It is a perfect symbol of brick-and-wood structure built in the ancient China and was built in 970 AD in the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) to press down the evil of the river tidal bore in Qiantang River.
Dragon Well Tea is well known worldwide, so you will be guided to the Dragon Well Tea Plantation to discover the history of Chinese tea and the tea ceremony. The water of dragon well is sweet and good taste. The green tea here enjoys very high reputation since Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D) for its four special features: green color, fragrant aroma, sweet taste and smooth even appearance. Finally you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Day 12 Hangzhou to Yellow Mountain (B)
Transfer via: Express Bus on our arrangement
In the morning you will have some leisure time until you will be met by your guide and transferred to the express bus station to take the bus to Huangshan.
Huangshan City is a region with a long history and splendid culture. Among all notable mountains in China, Mount Huangshan, located in the south of Anhui province, is probably the most famous one. Together with the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Great Wall, Mt. Huangshan has become one of the great symbols of China. Mt. Huangshan boasts not only because of its magnificence but also its abundant resources and great variety of zoological species, for which it has been listed as a World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site. After your arrival in Huangshan, you will be met and transferred to the hotel, to enjoy some leisure time for the rest of the day.
Day 13 Yellow Mountain (B, L, D)
Sightseeing: Mt. Huangshan
In the morning, you will be transferred to the foot of Mt. Huangshan, take cable car to the top of it and make a tour to North Sea Scenic Area and other peaks. You will stay this night on top of the mountain.
Mt. Huangshan, known as "the loveliest mountain in China", is famous for its magnificent scenery made up of many granite peaks and rocks emerging out of clouds. Its landscape features "four wonders" of imposing peaks, spectacular rocks, odd-shaped pines, and a sea of clouds. Mount Huangshan boasts 72 peaks, more than 1,000 meters above sea level, with three main peaks rising majestically. The famous Welcoming Guests (Yingke) Pine (1,500 years old) and See-Guest-Off Pine have become a symbol of being faithful, unyielding and hospitable.
Day 14 Yellow Mountain / Shanghai (B, L)
Transfer via: Overnight train on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Shexian Paifang, Ancient Street, Ink Stone Factory
This morning, you will be free for your own leisure activities, and then take a cable car down from the Mt. Huangshan. Afterwards we will visit Shexian for the unique Paifang architecture. Paifang is an archway usually made of fine wood or stone, as memorial and decoration. Shexian county is famous as the "the Town of Paifang" and has thousands of arches scattered around it. It is the best place to explore the social culture of China's feudal society.
Our next stop will be the Ancient Street. Located in the center of Huangshan, the Ancient Street was built 700 years ago in the Song dynasty. Its total length is about 1.5 km and the sides of the street are laid with slab stones. There are hundreds of old but well preserved shops, evoking a bygone era with buildings which are simple and elegant. Today, it is a commercial walking street.
After lunch, we will spent some time in the Ink Stone Factory. Ink Stone is the most important part of the "Four Treasures of the Study". Because of its solid texture, ink stone can be handed down from ancient times. The Ink Stone Factory in Hangshan is one of the most famous ink stone factories in China, where you can see the whole working process.
Finally, you will be transferred to the railway station and take overnight train to Shanghai.
Day 15 Shanghai (B, L)
Sightseeing: The Bund, Yu Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Arrive at Shanghai railway station in the morning. Be met and transferred to your hotel for breakfast and a short rest.
Let's start today's activities with a visit to the Bund to take a walk along the waterfront and experience the smells, sights and sounds of the old "Wall Street"" in Shanghai. Actually, some people say that the Bund is like "an exhibition of buildings". Finally we will walk along the famous pedestrian street-Nanjing Road, known as "China's No.1 Shopping Street".
Then we will take a stroll through the lovely Yuyuan Garden, one of the best Suzhou-style garden in southern China, which has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools and flora, all connected by corridors and passageways. Afterwards, you will get an insight into Shanghai's local life on the Yuyuan Market – taste a pot of tea, shop for unique souvenirs and get a feeling for Old Shanghai.
Follow us to the Jade Buddha Temple. It is famous for its two rare statues of Buddha carved out of a single piece of white jade. One is a 1,000kg, 1.9 meter-high figure carved from Burmese jade brought to China in 1882, and the other is a sleeping Buddha; The temple receives thousands of visitors and worshipers every day. If you're lucky, you can watch the monks serving a ceremony in a side room.
After lunch you will visit the Oriental Pearl Tower, the highest TV tower in Asia and the world's third highest, creating a picture of 'twin dragons playing with pearls'. Like the Statue of Liberty in New York, Sydney Opera House and Eiffel Tower in Paris it has become Shanghai's symbolic architecture. The evening will be free for your own activities.
Day 16 Shanghai Departure (B)
Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement
The rest of the day is your own, until our guide escorts you to the airport for your next destination.
Dear Molly, Hope you have been well. We will be returning to Singapore in a couple of hours. Would like to commend on the tour guides, driv... Read more »
Booking Code: VOC-20190605-M Tour Starting Date: Wednesday, 5 June 2019
Client's information: Chew Huay Huay, Singapore
Hope you have been well.
We will be returning to Singapore in a couple of hours.
Would like to commend on the tour guides, drivers and accommodation that VOC has arranged for us. The guides and drivers are very professional,very helpful, thoughtful, caring and experienced. They practised good ethics as well.
We definitely have a wonderful touring experience and I will definitely recommend your company to my friends.
Van and I thought you put together a wonderful itinerary for our two-week vacation in China. Even though we missed a day in Beijing due to bad weather, our guide was v... Read more »
Booking Code: VOC-20190517-S Tour Starting Date: Friday, 17 May 2019
Client's information: Jayne Ellen Wilgus, USA
Van and I thought you put together a wonderful itinerary for our two-week vacation in China. Even though we missed a day in Beijing due to bad weather, our guide was very accommodating and helped us see as much as possible in the two remaining days.
We enjoyed our guides, the food, and the hotels.
Thank you for all of your help in putting together this trip.
Dear friends of visitourchina, We went to visit Nanning between April 28th and May 3rd 2019 with my wife and my daughter. For us, it would be the fi... Read more »
Booking Code: VOC-20190428-M Tour Starting Date: Sunday, 28 April 2019
Client's information: Arnold Demeyere, Belgium
“By accident” we get contact with visitourchina. It has been one of the best trips we ever had, we’ve learned very much of this part of China, enjoying the people we’ve met and with who we’ve got contact. It give us a real view of Chinese people and community and for us, a new world opened. A very good society, well organised, Nanning very good organised concerning environment and climate.
Dear friends of visitourchina,
We went to visit Nanning between April 28th and May 3rd 2019 with my wife and my daughter.
For us, it would be the first visit to China and we needed some support to organise this as I wanted to organise it all by myself (hotel, plane, visa, …). But as I was organising everything I felt the need of some extra support and help from people of China (for instance English talking guide, English talking organiser in China to take us around in a personal tour).
“By accident” we get contact with visitourchina. And they “give” us Molly Mo as contact person. It was a winning number from the lottery !
Molly took care of us like “a real mother” ! No question I’ve asked her, she answered them immediately with her advice and experience. Always in a very friendly and positive way, adding a human sense so we were even more longing to visit Nanning and it’s people. Molly organised our guide in Nanning, Wendy, who was TOP for us. Wendy took care of us, from early morning till evening with a very professional view on guiding adding a good human sense to her work. We were so good prepared we had one day on our own and we could fill in without problems.
It has been one of the best trips we ever had, we’ve learned very much of this part of China, enjoying the people we’ve met and with who we’ve got contact. It give us a real view of Chinese people and community and for us, a new world opened. A very good society, well organised, Nanning very good organised concerning environment and climate.
So, we came back from Nanning after a too short stay with very positive feelings, hoping once more to visit China again.
We’re very grateful to Molly in the first place. She is the ideal person to represent Visitourchina. She take care of my many, many questions with a great heart, she had many patience with us and she never disappointed us, her answers give us the extra love for China and it’s people. Visitourchina must be happy with her.
It's a pity we couldn’t see her to transform our personal gratitude to her. Many, many, many thanks !
I hope this is not my least mail to you, I would miss our contacts,
Arnold en Rattana Demeyere
Hi Molly, The tour was great. Both guide and driver are very friendly and helpful. For the meals on the trip, so much food and delicious dishes. We loved t... Read more »
Booking Code: VOC-20190426-M(A) Tour Starting Date: Friday, 26 April 2019
Client's information: Brandon Michael Driggs,USA
The tour was great. Both guide and driver are very friendly and helpful. For the meals on the trip, so much food and delicious dishes. We loved the trip. Thanks for all your help.
The tour was great. Both guide and driver are very friendly and helpful. For the meals on the trip, so much food and delicious dishes.
We loved the trip. Thanks for all your help.
Hi Stella, I must extend our thanks to you and the Tour Guide for this trip Peter (Hope i didn't get his name wrong) . The trip was fun and informative... Read more »
Booking Code: VOC-20190425-Y(A) Tour Starting Date: Thursday, 25 April 2019
Client's information: Serene Zhou,Philippines
I must extend our thanks to you and the Tour Guide for this trip Peter. The trip was fun and informative.
I must extend our thanks to you and the Tour Guide for this trip Peter (Hope i didn't get his name wrong) .
The trip was fun and informative. Peter is extremely caring and helpful to all the guests who participated in this group trip to Mutianyu great wall & Ming Tombs tour. He made sure nobody was left out of left behind. He is very polite and attentive to our needs.
Peter also made sure we are safe, he was concerned about the distance if the guests could find their hotel or find their way back to their hotel. I must thank Peter for insisting to drop us near our hotel where we CAN see our hotel building at least.
I hope you can let Peter know that he's an awesome guide and the Americans and the rest of us had so much fun.
Serene Zhou & Ernest
This is a tour agency in China that provides private English tours. I booked a 1 person private tour with these people for 4 days trip in Harbin for the Winter festiva... Read more »
Booking Code: VOC-20190223-M Tour Starting Date: Saturday, 23 February 2019
Client's information: Qiao Wenshu, Australia
This is a tour agency in China that provides private English tours. If I needed another private tour, would I use them again? Definitely!! I would recommend them for the service too.
This is a tour agency in China that provides private English tours. I booked a 1 person private tour with these people for 4 days trip in Harbin for the Winter festival and I think it was really worth it.
I booked a 4 day tour in Harbin with them at the last minute and the person I contacted was Molly, who did all the arrangements for me. They pulled it off at the last minute, and around Chinese new year too! I contacted them just before Chinese New year and they responded really quick (yes, China time is 3 hours behind Sydney, so my responses came after 12pm local time each day). She even told me they will be on public holiday from Chinese New Year until Monday the 11th of Feb and then on Monday the 11th of Feb, I got a message from her back with a quote from the local partners first thing, so I was able to make other arrangements quickly, like getting my plane tickets, and visa.
Molly provided me with an itinerary and a quote and I was happy with it, costed $1560 AUD including single non-shared accommodation (I chose 3 star accommodation because I am not fussy about the hotel), breakfast, private transport, pick up and drop off from airport, driver, and an English speaking guide all for myself, so I had 2 people helping me out during my time there, plus entry tickets to all the attractions, for 4 days. I saw a local Australian tour company that had a 5 day Harbin group tour for $1525 AUD with a maximum of 12 people, but it’s really a 3 day tour because that tour lets people arrive in Beijing, then everyone catches the train overnight to Harbin, and days 2-4 are spent sightseeing before catching the train back to Beijing on the 5th day, plus there was another tour company that offered private tours that quoted over $2000 AUD for a similar itinerary, so I believe it was money well spent. My itinerary included the Ice and Snow world, Snow Sculptures and skiing.
Molly gave me the name and contact details of my guide (Allison) as soon as one was allocated to me, and I contacted her on Wechat (a Chinese messenger phone app). Allison is pleasant and speaks English well. The driver helped put my luggage in the car. Allison was knowledgeable and I was impressed that she was flexible and had the sense to check with the local contacts immediately upon picking me up from the airport and getting into the car, to see if the attractions I wanted to see were still open.
Allison took photos for me, and was pretty good at it, and told me lots of relevant history and behind the scenes stories, for example, how the ice blocks are harvested from the river with people standing on the frozen river, drilling holes along the perimeter of the block as deep as it is thick, and connecting them with a saw and lifting them out with a crane; how the Dao in Laodaowai refers to the railway the Russians built when they came to Harbin, and forced the locals out of the railway/developed area, hence the name Lao “Old” Dao “Railway” Wai “outside” refers to outside the railway area.
As a local, she also helped me haggle a better price for the candied fruit sticks (Bing Tang Hu Lu) and I learnt that the Modern (Ma Die Er) Ice cream block is so named because it used to be sold from the Modern Hotel/shop and they were never individually packaged, rather, sold in tubs, so technically it’s only authentic if you buy it from the Modern shop on Central Street. (There is a shop with an oval red neon sign with 1906 on it.), and the original flavours are Original and Coffee (maybe something else, I forgot), the fruit flavours are new, so I recommend the original one. I saw reviews saying it's not that good - last time I was there in the summer I had one and didn't think it lived up to it's reputation because I ate a different branded one, so go for the authentic one at ￥10 each for the original flavour. (same price as the shop in the domestic airport in Harbin). They come on a stick, I haven't see the scoop ones.
Allison also took great care of me as a friend, and helped me walk around on slippery snow/ice and gave me some bandaids and heat packs when I got some grazes from the snow shoe walking around, and warned me not to go onto the frozen lake.
The car I used was a private car, in China, cars are allowed on road according to the numbers on the license plate, to limit the maximum number of cars on the road each day. Thankfully my itinerary was relaxed so there was some space to move around to get everything done, while still being within the permitted days for the car (if it’s outside, you can still have the car on the roads I was told, but just further from the attraction than if it was on a permitted day, which means a little more walking. I got door to door service every day!). It was clean and comfortable inside. Larger groups get coaches.
If I needed another private tour, would I use them again? Definitely!! I would recommend them for the service too. The driver was very professional and like another reviewer said, did not talk all the time, and didn't ask random personal info like local taxi drivers might. Wasn't too much 'awkward silence' either cause I talked with the guide in the back seat.
I got dropped off at the airport and Allison took me directly to the check in counter and they knew exactly which counter and flight I was taking (gave them the info before arriving, was surprised they kept it) so the driver drove me right up to the correct entry. Best service!
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What Our Customers Say
Hope you have been well.
We will be returning to Singapore in a couple of hours.
Would like to commend on the tour guides, drivers and accommodation that VOC has arranged for us. The guides and drivers are very professional,very helpful, thoughtful, caring ...
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