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Your Position: HomeChina ToursChina Train Tours15 Days China History Experience Tour with Ancient Silk Road Cities
  • Forbidden City
  • Gansu Provincial Museum
  • Heavenly Lake
  • Jiayuguan Fort
  • Mogao Grottoes
  • The Terracotta Army and Horses
  • Bell Tower
  • Grape Valley, Turpan
  • Mingsha Shan & Yueya Quan (Singing Sand Mountains & Crescent Moon Spring)
  • Overhanging Great Wall
  • South Pasture
  • White Pagoda Hill
  • Ancient Water Mill
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Karez Well System, Turpan
  • Summer Palace
  • Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty
  • Flaming Mountain, Turpan
  • The Temple of Heaven
  • Yellow River Iron Bridge / Zhongshan Bridge
  • Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs
  • Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves
  • Dunhuang Museum
  • Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta)
  • Hutong Tours in Rickshaw
  • Ming Tombs
  • Mutianyu Great Wall
  • The Sacred Way
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Xiushui Street

You can click to see the attractions included in this tour itinerary.

15 Days China History Experience Tour with Ancient Silk Road Cities

Tour Code: CTT16
Tour Duration: 15 Days
Destination: Beijing, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Lanzhou, Turpan, Urumqi, Xi'an
Tour overview: Discovery the incredible views of China as they pass by the window of your soft sleeper train car in this incredible China train tour. You will travel through the major trading cities on the ancient Silk Road, beginning in Xian, and traveling through to Urumqi. The culture and people of China’s section of the Ancient Silk Road are so unlike other parts of China. Their colorful traditions make these cities very special.

  • Tour Summary
  • Day by Day Itinerary
  • Reviews
15 Days China History Experience Tour with Ancient Silk Road Cities 15 Days China History Experience Tour with Ancient Silk Road Cities 15 Days China History Experience Tour with Ancient Silk Road Cities 15 Days China History Experience Tour with Ancient Silk Road Cities

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Tour Dates Destinations Services Provided Meals Included
Day 1 Beijing Arrive in Beijing, be met and transferred to your hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
/
Day 2 Beijing Full day visit The Temple of Heaven , Tiananmen Square , Forbidden City . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B, L
Day 3 Beijing Full day visit Mutianyu Great Wall , Ming Tombs , The Sacred Way . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B, L
Day 4 Beijing In the morning, visit Summer Palace , Hutong Tours in Rickshaw , Xiushui Street . Then be transferred to railway station to take Overnight train to Xi'an. Details... B, L
Day 5 Xi'an Arrive at Xi'an in the morning, then be transferred to your hotel. Visit The Terracotta Army and Horses , Bell Tower , Big Wild Goose Pagoda . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Hotel Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square Mercure on Renmin Square Xian Ibis Xian
B, L
Day 6 Xi'an/Tianshui/Lanzhou Today you will be transferred to railway station to take train to Tianshui. Arrive at Tianshui, be met and have a visit to the Mount. Maiji Grottoes. In the evening, be transferred to railway station to take overnight train to Lanzhou. Details... B, L, D
Day 7 Lanzhou/Jiayuguan Arrive in Lanzhou, be met and then start the tour to see White Pagoda Hill , Gansu Provincial Museum , Ancient Water Mill , Yellow River Iron Bridge / Zhongshan Bridge . Take evening train to Jiayuguan. Details... B, L, D
Day 8 Jiayuguan Arrive in Jiayuguan in the morning. Be met and transferred to your hotel. Then visit Jiayuguan Fort , Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty , Overhanging Great Wall . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jiugang Hotel - Jiayuguan
B, L, D
Day 9 Jiayuguan/Dunhuang After breakfast, you will be transferred to railway station to take train for Dunhuang. Upon arriving, be met and transferred to your hotel. Then drive to see The Mingsha Shan & Yueya Quan (Singing Sand Mountains & Crescent Moon Spring) . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Grand Sun Hotel Dunhuang International Hotel Dunhuang Hotel
B, D
Day 10 Dunhuang/Turpan Today visit the Mogao Grottoes , Dunhuang Museum . In the afternoon, be transferred to railway station to take train to Turpan. Details... B, L, D
Day 11 Turpan Early morning arrive in Turpan, be met and transferred to your hotel in Turpan. After a short rest, start the city tour to see Ancient City of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto), Karez Well System, Turpan , Grape Valley, Turpan . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Tuha Petroleum Hotel Grand Hotel Turpan Silk Road Oasis Hotel
B, L, D
Day 12 Turpan Full day tour to see Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs , passing by Flaming Mountain, Turpan to visit Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves , Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta) . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Tuha Petroleum Hotel Grand Hotel Turpan Silk Road Oasis Hotel
B, L, D
Day 13 Turpan/Urumqi After breakfast, take three hours' from Turpan to Urumqi. After lunch, drive from Urumqi to Heavenly Lake that a lake boasts both splendid natural scenery and legendary tales situated on Tianshan Mountain. There you will take boat cruising on the lake. Transferred back to the city of Urumqi. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Silver Star Hotel, Urumqi Xinjiang Grand Hotel, Urumqi Urumqi City Hotel
B, L, D
Day 14 Urumqi Today you will explore the South Pasture , and then continue to visit the Terai Camp to experience the Kazak nomadic life and taste delicious Xinjiang Cruise – milk tea and mutton. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Silver Star Hotel, Urumqi Xinjiang Grand Hotel, Urumqi Urumqi City Hotel
B, L, D
Day 15 Urumqi Transferred to the airport for the flight to your destination. Details... B
1. Normally hotels allow a maximum of 3 adults per room with an extra bed, at extra charge. Some hotels will allow three adults and a small child.
2. Tour price is indicative only, please enquire for a detailed quotation.
3. More people more discounts. Please enquire for more details.

Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Price Include

A. 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 Exclude

A. 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

Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement

Upon your arrival in Beijing, our local guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. Then you will spend the rest of the day exploring the nearby streets, or resting and catching up on your jet lag.

Day 2 Beijing (B, L)

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. In the park nearby local people practice Tai Chi or sing and dance relaxingly. They will invite you to join in with these activities which will become a very worthwhile and unforgettable experience.

After lunch, we will go on our city tour to visit Tiananmen Square, the symbolic 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. (Also Bertolucci's film "The Last Emperor" was produced here). 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)

Beijing (B, L)

Sightseeing: Badaling Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Sacred Way

After experiencing the royal lifestyle, today we will be transferred to the surrounding countryside of Beijing and visit the Badaling 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 one of the best preserved 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!

In the afternoon we will visit the legendary Ming Tombs, which are situated at the foot of Heavenly Longevity Mountain, Changping, northwest of Beijing. Since there are 13 Ming emperors buried there, this place was called the 13 Ming Tombs.

You will walk along the Sacred Way, a road guarded by stone statues on both sides, as the ancient emperors did to hold a memorial ceremony for their ancestors. Finally, you will encounter the marble tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors and visit one of the spectacular tombs, indeed an underground palace.

Day 4 Beijing to Xi'an (B, L)

Beijing to Xi'an (B, L)

Transfer via: Overnight train (soft sleeper class)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Hutong Rickshaw Tour, Xiushui Street, Summer Palace

We will experience a unique Hutong tour by taking a men-driven rickshaw this morning. 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 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. We will make stops to visit a local family and experience how the people of Beijing live.

Then we will visit the Xiushui Street, which is a market located nearby the embassy area where you can find a number of duplicates of clothing in traditional Chinese style. Here you will mingle with Beijing people, overseas and local art dealers as well as farmers who import goods from the countryside. Therefore you may find some interesting things and enjoy your bargaining with shopkeepers.

After having lunch at a local restaurant, you can spend the whole afternoon to visit the famous royal garden-Summer Palace. In 1888, the notorious Empress Cixi used the money intended for the Chinese Navy to build this opulent summer retreat for herself. Have a lakeside cruise on the lovely Kunming Lake and enjoy the magical views of the temples, pavilions and covered corridors around. Late in the evening you will be transferred to the railway station for your overnight train to Xi'an.

Day 5 Xi'an (B, L)

Xi'an (B, L)

Sightseeing: Ancient City Wall, Bell Tower, Big Wild Goose Pagoda

This morning you will arrive in Xi'an, one of the most important cities in China's history. Being the first stop on the Silk Road, Xi'an was the first Chinese city which opened up its doors to the Ancient world since Tang dynasty. You will be met at the railway station and then visit the Ancient City Wall You will experience a half-hour's hike along the Ancient City Wall. It is the largest and best preserved present city wall in ancient China and is probably the best military battlement in the world. If you want to, you can rent a bicycle for a ride on top of the spectacular city wall. The wall was built in the Tang dynasty (618 -907) and enlarged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

Then we will go on to visit the Bell Tower, which is the best-preserved and best-known one among many. The Bell Tower was built in 1384. In early mornings of ancient times it had the mission of ringing the bell and giving the correct time to the whole city, hence called "The Bell Tower". With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant.

Our last stop today will be the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated in the south of Xi'an city, it is one of the main constructions in the famous Buddhist temple-Da-Ci-En Temple. There, the well-known Buddhist Master Xuanzang (Monk Tripitaka) stored his collection of classic Buddhist artifacts brought from India in Tang Dynasty. Now it is the Landmark of Xi'an.

Day 6 Xi'an to Tianshui to Lanzhou (B, L, D)

Xi'an to Tianshui to Lanzhou (B, L, D)

Transfer via: Train / Overnight train –on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Mount Maiji Grottoes

After breakfast, you will be transferred to railway station to take train for Tianshui. Arrive at Tianshui railway station around 12:00, then be met and transferred to have lunch.

After lunch, drive to visit Mount Maiji Grottoes. 30 km southeast of Tianshui City, the Mount Maiji Grottoes are one of the Four Great Buddhist Grottoes in China. (The other three are the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan Province and the Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Shanxi Province).

In the evening, you will be transferred to Tianshui railway station to take overnight train for Lanzhou (train depart Lanzhou railway station around 23:25pm).

Day 7 Lanzhou / Jiayuguan (B, L, D)

Lanzhou / Jiayuguan (B, L, D)

Transfer via: Overnight train –on our arrangement
Sightseeing: White Pagoda Hill, Gansu Provincial Museum, Ancient Water Mill, Yellow River Iron Bridge

Arrive in Lanzhou this morning, you will be greeted by your local guide.

Today we will first visit White Pagoda Park. Located on the north bank of the Yellow River with a white pagoda temple on its height, it is a large, quiet area for strolling. The pagoda is structured in 7 terraces with an octagonal body and 17-meter in height. Golden City Pass and Jade Folding Pass are at the foot of the Hill.

Then we will visit the Gansu Provincial Museum. It has an excellent selection of exhibits relating to Gansu and the Silk Road. 75,000 cultural relics including natural resources and historical exhibits are exhibited here.

Continue, we will visit to Ancient Water Mill. Water Mill is a kind of ancient implement for irrigating at past. This Mill Wheel was imitated by Lanzhou Government for reappearance. It is made up of Waterwheel with double wheels, round weir, water grindery and Kursaal.

Also we will have a visit to the Yellow River Iron Bridge.

The overnight train from Lanzhou to Jiayuguan depart around 20:35pm.

Day 8 Jiayuguan (B, L, D)

Jiayuguan (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Jiayuguan Pass, Wei-jin Mural Tombs, Suspension Great Wall

This morning, you will be drive from Zhangye to Jiayuguan (around 3.5 hours) .

And then visit Jiayuguan Pass, Located in the western end of Hexi Corridor in Gansu Province, Jiayuguan Pass is the main part of the western end of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. It has been the first pass of Hexi region since ancient times.

Wei-jin Mural Tombs, located about 15 kilometers northeast of Jiayuguan, Wei-Jin Mural Brick Tomb is a big tomb group with over 1,400 tombs built between the 3rd Century and 5th Century during the Wei and Jin dynasties. Renowned as the largest subterranean art gallery in the world, housing a great deal of colorful murals, the gallery has attracted tourists from both home and abroad since 1972 when it was excavated. Most tombs are of families, housing bodies of three or four generations, and now only Grave 6 and Grave 7 are open for tourism.

Suspension Great Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Work began on it in 1539, and was completed in the following year. It was built using layer upon layer of stone and yellow earth. In subsequent years, the wall has dwindled from its original length of 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) to its current 750 meters (2, 460 feet).The Overhanging Wall gets its name because there is a 231 meter long section, with an obliquity of 45 degrees, built onto a 150m high ridge. From a distance, it is said to resemble a dragon about to extend its body towards the ground.

Day 9 Jiayuguan / Dunhuang (B, D)

Jiayuguan / Dunhuang (B, D)

Transfer via: Train –on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Echoing-Sand Dune, Crescent Lake

After breakfast, you will be transferred to railway station to take train for Dunhuang. Upon arriving, be met and transferred to your hotel.

Then you will experience a short camel-riding along the Echoing-Sand Dune to the Crescent Lake, who is a nature miracle coexist with the desert for thousand of years. The lake and the Echoing-Sand Dune which can make sounds when the wind passes are located in the place where the sand and the oasis meet.

Day 10 Dunhuang / Turpan (B, L, D)

Dunhuang / Turpan (B, L, D)

Transfer via: Overnight train – on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang Museum

After breakfast, we will drive to Dunhuang Mogao Caves, also known as "Thousand Buddha Grottoes". They are located at the rock side of the Singing Sand Mountain in Dunhuang city of Gansu Province. The 3 or 4 tier grottoes extend 1.6 kilometers. According to historical records, the Mogao Caves were carved in 366 AD. There are 492 grottoes in existence with some 45,000 square meters of murals, and 415 painted clay figures.

Then visit Dunhuang Museum. It is a local museum for housing the cultural relics that were excavated in the Dunhuang area. Now there are over 4000 historical items contained in the museum. The museum is divided into four exhibition halls.

Later of this day, you will be transferred to railway station to take overnight train for Turpan.

Day 11 Turpan (B, L, D)

Turpan (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well, Grape Valley

Early morning arrive in Turpan, be met and transferred to your hotel in Turpan. After a short rest, start the city tour to s explore the Jiaohe Ruins, the remains of an ancient walled capital of the Uighur with its large monastery and palace. It is probably the same size as Gaochang but better preserved. UNESCO has contributed to its preservation. The dry weather has helped city preserve its cityscape. It is a life-sized model of a Tang Dynasty city.

Move on to visit Ancient Karez System.The entire Turpan region has for 2000 years relied upon the Karez underground irrigation system for sustenance; There is currently one karez well site open for exhibition. It is complete with a museum of displays and pictures. It is a good way to get an understanding of how the tunnels were dug.

Then we will proceed to visit Grape Valley. Lying at the base of the western end of Flaming Mountains, Grape Valley is a unique world of vineyards and fruit trees. you can sit in the shades and sip the local wines to kill a brutally hot afternoon.

Day 12 Turpan (B, L, D)

Turpan (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Astana Tomb, Passing by Flaming Mountain to Visit the Bezkelik Thousand Buddha Caves, Sugong Pagoda

Today you will visit to The Astana Tomb, which is located in the Gobi Desert and 6km from the Gaochang Ancient City. Astana means capital in Uygur. Covering an area of 10 square kilometers, the tombs were the public cemetery of the ancient Gaochang residents, both aristocrats and commoners.

Passing by Flaming Mountain to Visit the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, once an important Buddhist site with many caves covered with brightly painted murals, Bezeklik means "place of paintings" in Uighur. The caves were hewn into the cliffside, and large murals, Monks used to live inside the caves and the frescoes here clearly represent the life work of generations of devotees. Unfortunately, this place was damaged by the locals who converted to Islam in the 10th century and looted by the western archaeologists in the early 20th century.

Move on to visit Emin Minaret. The Emin Minaret also called Sugong Pagoda is located 2km east of Turpan city. The whole place is composed of the pagoda and a mosque. The Emin minaret tower was built in 1778 by the local Muslim ruler, Emin Hoja. The minaret was built in a simple Islamic style, 44 meters in height, and 10 meters in diameter at the base. Be transferred to the railway station to take overnight train to Dunhuang.

Day 13 Turpan / Urumqi (B, L, D)

Transfer via: Car-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Heavenly Lake, boat cruising

This morning, you will take three hours' ride from Turpan to Urumqi. After lunch, you will head to visit the Heavenly Mountain (Tianshan): it is surrounded by green pastures and pristine conifer forests. Snowy Alp-like peaks soar to great heights and enclose the lake. Take a boat ride on Heavenly Lake and escape into a peaceful, dream-like world.

Transferred back to the city of Urumqi.

Day 14 Urumqi (B, L, D)

Urumqi (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Nanshan Pasture, Terai Camp

Today you will explore the Nanshan Pasture. The Nanshan Pasture is located in Kelawucheng Mountain, a branch of north Heavenly Mountain. Moreover, there are numerous valleys in the pasture. It is cool here in the summer, and is a good place to get away from the heat. You can ride a horse or a camel running through the valleys, walk across the woods picking mushrooms and enjoying the magical wild flowers, you also can climb up the mountain to overlook.

Then continue to visit the Terai Camp to experience the Kazak nomadic life and taste delicious Xinjiang Cruise – milk tea and mutton.

Day 15 Urumqi / Departure (B)

Transfer via: Flight-on our arrangement

Free at leisure until be met and transferred to the airport for the flight to your destination.

Comment on our service from 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.

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 the trip. Thanks for all your help.

Best wishes,

Brandon


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Comment on our service from Serene Zhou,Philippines

I must extend our thanks to you and the Tour Guide for this trip Peter. The trip was fun and informative.

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. 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.

Best Regards,

Serene Zhou & Ernest


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Comment on our service from 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!

Best wishes,

Qiao Wenshu  


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Comment on our service from Annette Esselborn, Germany

We had a wonderful day. The tour was well organized. We would also book it again with you. The tour guide was awesome! A big praise. She patiently answered all the questions, was funny, responded to the group. That was really great.

Hello Sandy,

 

Thank you for your request. We had a wonderful day, even though we experienced exactly the snow on the Chinese wall. The tour was well organized. We would also book it again with you.

 

The Ming Tombs were interesting, but of course the Great Wall of China was the highlight for us. And despite the snow, it was an experience. Somewhat hectic was the climb from lunch (by the way very, very delicious!) But I know that this was only due to the weather that day.

 

The tour guide was awesome! A big praise. She patiently answered all the questions, was funny, responded to the group. That was really great.

If I come back in 2 years with a group, we would like to book again the same tour (maybe without snow ....) with the same tour guide.

 

Our heartfelt thanks!

Viele Grüße

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Comment on our service from Nancy Tuksaudom,USA

Each and every city was thoroughly explored with the wonderful guides and drivers that you arranged for us.  We also enjoyed every hotel that you reserved for us. We especially enjoyed each guide, their knowledge, courtesy, and personality! We had a thoroughly wonderful time in China and thank you for all the work you did to plan it for us.  Should we ever visit China again, we will contact you to assist us!

 

Hi Sandie!

Thanks for your email! We are both doing fine and have happy memories of the time we spent touring China, thanks to you! 

We are home now (since early February) and planning our next trip in Mexico for April.

  

We totally enjoyed our time in China, despite the fact that it was cooler than we had planned for/expected. Each and every city was thoroughly explored with the wonderful guides and drivers that you arranged for us.  We also enjoyed every hotel that you reserved for us, as we did the flights, as well. The only semi-negative comment was that the Guilin hotel heat situation was sub-par. 

We especially enjoyed each guide, their knowledge, courtesy, and personality! They often showed us much more than we expected and worked very hard to make all connections efficiently, etc. 

  

I did complete feedback forms for each guide in each city. I hope that they forwarded them to you. They were likely to be more thorough than what I just wrote to you. 

The bottom line, though, was that we had a thoroughly wonderful time in China and thank you for all the work you did to plan it for us.  Should we ever visit China again, we will contact you to assist us! 

If you ever visit Seattle, Washington, please let me know and I/we will show you around our beautiful city and environs. 

Thanks again!  

Nancy and Pricha (Tuksaudom)

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Comment on our service from Gracie Chan, USA

We had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU! Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.

 

Hello Sandy,

Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for being patient. Here's what we thought of the trip.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU!

Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. It was great to have their help dealing with hotel checking-ins and transportation details. It was very convenient and helpful. Having to move in and out of hotels daily and trying to catch all those train on time are very stressful ~ A big "Thanks" for all their help.  

I want you to know that we consider Jackie Zhang (our guide for Zhangye & Dunhuang) to be the BEST of all the guides we encountered on this trip. She is enthusiastic, meticulous and extremely knowledgeable. You can tell that she enjoys her job tremendously!

         

My observation ~ Most "Foreign Visitors" don't always have a base knowledge of the history of the places they are visiting. A SHORT & CONCISE explanation is better than a long and winding narrative. It should not be assumed that one formula works for everyone. Some visitors are more knowledgeable than others and vice versa.

We enjoyed all the sights we visited on this trip tremendously. That said, there are some room for improvements.

The one disappointment for me was the visit to Qinghai Lake. It was too commercialized. It would have been so much better if we were able to stop by the lake area BEFORE the visitor center where it was much more pristine and unspoiled. After all, we are there to take it the natural beauty of the area after all.

Our guide and driver was most accommodating when we asked them to stop by the side of the road in order for us to photograph herds of YAK and sheep. It was the highlight of the trip for me! I am sure other visitors will feel the same way.

My suggestion ~ Maybe some sort of arrangements can be made with local farmers that owned land along the Qinghai lake for a short stop over in your future tours? This way, your visitors can have wonderful opportunities to photograph and experience the scenery and lifestyle of the local people.

My observation ~ In Turpan, the Turpan Museum would have been a BETTER choice than the visit to the Karez well system (Kan'erjing Museum). There is really nothing much to see here.  

The International Grand Bazaar was also a bit of a disappointment, it was too touristy. I think we would find it much more interesting if we have the opportunity to visit a local street market instead.

We rode a donkey cart at the Flaming Mountains. It was great fun! I think this should be included in the future and its a great way to help the local make some extra money too. You agree?

Hotels ~ We still prefer staying at International Brand hotels. We really liked the Sofitel Hotels (in Xian & Xining) and the Sheraton in Urumqi.  

We find the service and breakfast food selection available at the local brand hotels are still somewhat lacking compared to the International Brand hotels.

Food ~ We had some amazing and some mediocre food on this trip. The quality of the meal is inconsistent. I guess it depended a lot on your local tour coordinators?    

I hope our observations and honest suggestions are helpful to you. Please do not consider this is as criticism of our trip but as suggestions for improvements. We had lots of fun and we hope you'll be able to attract more visitors to your tour. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.

I have attached the "corrected" photo and an extra one taken at the Flaming Mountains. You have our permission to include all three of the photos along with the following review to your website. I will write a review for TripAdvisor.com later.

Regards,

Gracie.


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