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
|Tour Dates||Destinations||Services Provided||Meals Included|
Arrive in Beijing, be met and transferred to your hotel.
Full day visit The Temple of Heaven , Tiananmen Square , Forbidden City .
Full day visit Mutianyu Great Wall , Ming Tombs , The Sacred Way .
|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|
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 .
|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|
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 .
|B, L, D|
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) .
|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|
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 .
|B, L, D|
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) .
|B, L, D|
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.
|B, L, D|
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.
|B, L, D|
|Day 15||Urumqi||Transferred to the airport for the flight to your destination. 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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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!
Custom Tailoring: Design your own tour with our help to meet your unique interests. You don't have to compromise. Do exactly what you want to do! Let us assist you to tailor-make your own China experience.
Top China Tours
- 8 Days China Fantastic Tour with Luxury Train
- 9 Days China's Golden Triangle by Train
- 16 Days Best Selected Historical & World Culture
- 11 Days China Relaxation Tour
- 9 Days Classical Gardens & Ancient Water Towns Tour
- 9 Days Selected Picturesque China Tour
- 7 Days Imperial Tour for All Seasons
- 10 Days Dream China Discovery Tour
- 6 Days Beijing, Datong and Xi'an Cultural Train Tour
- 9 Days Beijing and Lhasa Train Tour
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 ...
Read more testimonials...