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  • Dr.Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
  • Forbidden City
  • The Bund
  • West Lake
  • Badaling Great Wall
  • Confucius Temple ( Fuzimiao )
  • Ling Yin Temple (Temple of Soul's Retreat)
  • Oriental Pearl TV Tower
  • The Grand Canal
  • Humble Administrator's Garden
  • Summer Palace
  • Yuyuan Garden
  • Jade Buddha Temple
  • Panmen Scenery Area
  • Six Harmonies Pagoda
  • The Temple of Heaven
  • FeiLaiFeng (also named Ling JiuFeng)
  • Nanjing Road
  • Tiger Hill
  • Ming Tombs
  • The No.1 Silk Factory
  • The Sacred Way
  • Tiananmen Square

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

13 Day Classic East and North China Highlight Tour

Tour Code: CCT20
Tour Duration: 13 Days
Destination: Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Yangzhou
Tour overview: Our 13 Days Classic East and North China Highlights Tour offers something special for those who want to visit parts of China not often seen by visitors. It showcases China’s most beautiful cultural aspects and some of its most impressive historical sites. You will visit temples, gardens, lakes, areas of incredible natural beauty, tombs, ancient city walls and much more. This is a tour that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

  • Tour Summary
  • Day by Day Itinerary
  • Reviews
13 Day Classic East and North China Highlight Tour 13 Day Classic East and North China Highlight Tour 13 Day Classic East and North China Highlight Tour 13 Day Classic East and North China Highlight Tour

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Tour Dates Destinations Services Provided Meals Included
Day 1 Shanghai Arrive in Shanghai, be met and transferred to your hotel. Visit Nanjing Road and The Bund . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jin Jiang Hotel Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai Jin jiang New Asia hotel Shanghai
/
Day 2 Shanghai Today you will visit to Yuyuan Garden , Jade Buddha Temple , Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Old Town. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jin Jiang Hotel Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai Jin jiang New Asia hotel Shanghai
B,L
Day 3 Shanghai/Hangzhou Take morning train to Hangzhou. Visit FeiLaiFeng (also named Ling JiuFeng) , Ling Yin Temple (Temple of Soul's Retreat) , Six Harmonies Pagoda . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Hangzhou Grand Canal Ramada Plaza Riverside Hangzhou Enjoyor Hotel
B,L
Day 4 Hangzhou/Suzhou Visit West Lake ,Dragon Well Tea Plantation, Then be transferred to railway station to take train to Suzhou. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Shangri-La Hotel Suzhou Bamboo Grove Hotel Traveler-Inn Gusu Hotel Suzhou
B,L
Day 5 Suzhou/Wuxi Visit Humble Administrator's Garden , Tiger Hill , The Grand Canal , The No.1 Silk Factory , Panmen Scenery Area .Take train to Wuxi. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Wuxi Binhu Hotel Ramada Plaza Wuxi Ibis Wuxi Hi Tech
B,L
Day 6 Wuxi/Yangzhou Today you will have a Taihu Lake Cruise, visit Turtle Head Isle Park, Li Garden. Then drive to Yangzhou. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Shangri-La Hotel, Yangzhou Ramada Yangzhou Casa Ibis Yangzhou Development Zone
B,L
Day 7 Yangzhou/Zhenjiang/Yangzhou After breakfast, drive to Zhenjiang, visit Jinshan Temple, Jiaoshan Hill. Drive back to Yangzhou. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Shangri-La Hotel, Yangzhou Ramada Yangzhou Casa Ibis Yangzhou Development Zone
B,L
Day 8 Yangzhou/Nanjing Visit Slender West Lake, Ge Garden, Han Tomb Museum. Then take train to Nanjing. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Nanjing Kingsley Hotel & Towers Ramada Plaza, Nanjing Milano Hotel, Nanjing
B,L
Day 9 Nanjing Today you will visit Dr.Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum ,Yangtze River Bridge, Nanjing City Wall, Zhonghua City Gate, Confucius Temple ( Fuzimiao ) . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Nanjing Kingsley Hotel & Towers Ramada Plaza, Nanjing Milano Hotel, Nanjing
B,L
Day 10 Nanjing/Beijing Take morning flight o Beijing. Visit the Summer Palace this afternoon. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B,L
Day 11 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 12 Beijing Trip to Badaling 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 13 Beijing Free at leisure until be transferred to airport for your flight leave Beijing. 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 Shanghai Arrival

Transfer via: International Flight-on your own arrangement
Sightseeing: Nanjing Road, the Bund

Arriving in Shanghai, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by our local guide. Afterwards, you will take a walk to the famous Nanjing Road and the Bund. They are among the most recognizable architectural symbols of Shanghai and therefore a must-see when visiting Shanghai .

Day 2 Shanghai (B, L)

Shanghai (B, L)

Sightseeing: Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Old Town, Oriental Pearl Tower

In the morning we will take a relaxing walk to the lovely Yuyuan Garden, a beautiful garden in the south of the Yangtze River. Wandering through it, you will find pavilions, corridors, streams, courtyards as well as many other natural features.

Then you will visit the Jade Buddha Temple in the afternoon. The old-time and classical architectural style makes the temple unique and inimitable in this modern city. Both, the Sitting Buddha and the Recumbent Buddha are carved with whole white jade. If you're lucky, you can watch the monks serving a ceremony in a side room.

After lunch, we will visit the Oriental Pearl Tower, the highest TV Tower in Asia, which creates a picture of 'twin dragons playing with pearls'. The entire scene is a photographic jewel that excites the imagination and attracts thousands of visitors all year-round.

You will also tour the Old Town with its winding alleyways, lined with shops, teahouses and restaurants.

Day 3 Shanghai / Hangzhou (B, L)

Shanghai / Hangzhou (B, L)

Transfer via: Train (soft seat)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Fei Lai Feng, Ling Yin Temple (Temple of Soul's Retreat), Six Harmonies Pagoda

Take morning train to Hangzhou. Arrive in Hangzhou, be met and then you will visit Lingyin Temple including the Fei Lai Feng. The Fei Lai Feng is situated in the east of Ling Yin Temple. Isolated from others, its stone quality is totally different from that of surrounding mountain groups.

After having lunch at local restaurant, we will drive to the Six Harmonies Pagoda, highly erected next to Qiantang River and in the south of the West Lake. It is a perfect example of brick-and-wood structure built in 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.

Day 4 Hangzhou / Suzhou (B, L)

Hangzhou / Suzhou (B, L)

Transfer via: Train (soft seat)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: West Lake, Dragon Well Tea Plantation

This morning, we will visit 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.

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 of 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 appearance. Finally you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Afterwards you will be transferred to the railway station to take your train to Suzhou. After your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by your local guide.

Day 5 Suzhou / Wuxi (B, L)

Suzhou / Wuxi (B, L)

Transfer via: Train (soft seat)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Humble Administrator's Garden, Tiger Hill, Grand Canal, No. 1 Silk Factory, Pan Gate Scenery

In the morning 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" due to 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 to be an artificial hill, but its history can be traced back 2500 years ago.

Afterwards, we will visit the Grand Canal. As well as the Great Wall, it ranks as the country's greatest engineering achievement and it is the longest man-made waterway in world. Cruising on the Canal, you will see the local peoples'
 life.

As Suzhou is also famous for its silk production we will spend some time in the No.1 Silk Factory to see how silk is processed from the silk worm to the final woven cloth.

Finally we will stop at Pan Gate which is an ancient city gate with land and water entrances. Gates with land and water entrances were quite typical in ancient China. Pan Gate is the only one left.

After the tours, you will be transferred to railway station to take train to Wuxi. Upon arrival, be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 6 Wuxi / Yangzhou (B, L)

Wuxi / Yangzhou (B, L)

Transfer via: private vehicle –on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Taihu Lake Cruise, Turtle Head Isle Park, Li Garden

Today you will first have a Taihu Lake Cruise. Taihu Lake, located at the junction between Jiangsu and Zhejiang and at the south of Yangtze River delta, enjoys Blue Mountain and green waters, packed with strong southern China flavor

Then visit Turtle Head Isle Park, it is on the Huanhu Road of Mei Garden in Wuxi City. And the Li Garden, it is located in the Qingqi Village on the west bank of the Lihu Lake about 2.5 kilometers southwest of Wuxi City. Transfer to Yangzhou and check in the hotel.

Day 7 Yangzhou / Zhenjiang / Yangzhou (B, L)

Yangzhou / Zhenjiang / Yangzhou (B, L)

Transfer via: Private Vehicle-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Jinshan Temple, Jiaoshan Hill

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Zhenjiang. Visit the Jinshan Temple (Gold Mountain Temple), the oldest and also the most famous sight has become a symbol of  Zhenjiang C
ity.  The temple is visible from far away. It climbs up the sides of a hill along the flat flood plains of the Yangzi, and its pagoda dramatically crowns the crest of the hill.

Then you will move on to Jiaoshan Hill, it is covered by greenery that makes it look like a "floating jade", hence its other name "Floating Jade Hill". Many also dub it "A Park on the River" or "A Reef in Raging Torrents". Due to its splendid beauty, the hill has become a favorite place for celebrities, travelers and locals.

After the tours, we will drive back to Yangzhou.

Day 8 Yangzhou / Nanjing (B, L)

Yangzhou / Nanjing (B, L)

Transfer via: Train (soft seat)-on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Slender West Lake, Ge Garden, Han Tomb Museum

Visit the Slender West Lake (Shou Xihu), it is one of Yangzhou's largest and most striking sights. The lake's layout gave rise to its name - it runs along both sides of a remarkably slender lake which snakes through the north part of the city.

You will also visit to Ge Garden is the most renowned garden in Yangzhou. It is famous for two things - its excellent collection of different types of bamboo and a garden design based on the four seasons of the year. 

Before you take the train to Nanjing, you will have a visit to Han Tomb Museum.

Day 9 Nanjing (B, L)

Nanjing (B, L)

Sightseeing: Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Yangtze River Bridge, Nanjing City Wall, Zhonghua City Gate, Nanjing 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 Nanjing 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 10 Nanjing / Beijing (B, L)

Nanjing / Beijing (B, L)

Transfer via: Flight –on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Summer Palace

Today you will be transferred to airport for your flight and fly to Beijing. When you arrive in Beijing, be met and transferred to your hotel.

You will visit 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.

Day 11 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.

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 12 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. In addition, you will encounter the marble tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors.

Day 13 Beijing Departure (B)

Transfer via: International flight –on your own arrangement

You will have some more leisure time until our guide will escort you to the airport for your next destination.

Comment on our service from Chew Huay Huay, Singapore
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.

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, 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.

Regards,

Mrs Wee

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Comment on our service from Jayne Ellen Wilgus, USA
You put together a wonderful itinerary for our two-week vacation in China. We enjoyed our guides, the food, and the hotels.

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.

Best,

Jayne


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Comment on our service from 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




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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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