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Your Position: HomeChina ToursYangtze Cruise Tours15 Days Yangtze River Highlights & Cruise Tour
  • Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces
  • Forbidden City
  • Li River
  • The Terracotta Army and Horses
  • Three Gorges Dam
  • Ciqikou Old Town
  • Elephant Trunk Hill
  • Shennong Stream
  • Reed Flute Cave
  • Summer Palace
  • Ancient City Wall
  • Goose Neck Park
  • Seven Star Park
  • The Temple of Heaven
  • Fubo (wave-subduing) Hill
  • Shaanxi Provincial Museum
  • Ming Tombs
  • Mutianyu Great Wall
  • People's Assembly Hall
  • Tiananmen Square

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

From $2138 per person

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15 Days Yangtze River Highlights & Cruise Tour

Tour Code: YCT15
Tour Duration: 15 Days
Destination: Beijing, Chongqing, Guilin, Longsheng, Shanghai, Xi'an, Yichang
Tour overview: This tour provides you the six most important destinations along the Yangtze River. You can visit almost every beautiful attraction favored by foreign cultomers in these places. It is also a claasical budget China tour for you to enjoy more China highlights with less money. Save your money with us!

  • Tour Summary
  • Day by Day Itinerary
  • Reviews
Great Wall Yangtze River Cruise Dragon Back Rice Terraces Elephant Trunk Hill

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Tour Dates Destinations Services Provided Meals Included
Day 1 Beijing Arrive in Beijing, be met and transferred to hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
/
Day 2 Beijing Coach group tour to Ming Tombs & Mutianyu Great Wall . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B, L
Day 3 Beijing Coach group tour to visit Tiananmen Square , Forbidden City , The Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B, L
Day 4 Beijing/Xi'an Coach group tour for Ancient Beijing & New Olympic. After the tour, be transferred to the train station to take overnight train to Xi'an. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Hotel Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square Mercure on Renmin Square Xian Ibis Xian
B, L
Day 5 Xi'an Morning arrive in Xi'an, be met and have breakfast and then be transfered to visit Ancient City Wall and The Terracotta Army and Horses . 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/Guilin In the morning, visit Shaanxi Provincial Museum and then be transferred to take the plane to Guilin. Arrive in Guilin. Be met and check in hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Guilin Hotel Guilin Bravo Hotel GuiLin Eva Inn Hotel
B, L
Day 7 Guilin/Longsheng/Guilin One day coach group tour to Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Guilin Hotel Guilin Bravo Hotel GuiLin Eva Inn Hotel
B, L
Day 8 Guilin One day Li River cruise coach group tour. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Guilin Hotel Guilin Bravo Hotel GuiLin Eva Inn Hotel
B, L
Day 9 Guilin Full day coach group tour to Reed Flute Cave , Fubo (wave-subduing) Hill , Elephant Trunk Hill and Seven Star Park . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Sheraton Guilin Hotel Guilin Bravo Hotel GuiLin Eva Inn Hotel
B, L
Day 10 Guilin/Chongqing In the morning, be transferred to take the plane to Chongqing. Be met and visit People's Assembly Hall , Goose Neck Park and Ciqikou Old Town . Then be transferred to the dock, pre-board the ship. Details... B, L
Day 11 Yangtze Cruise Shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City (8:00-10:00am). Details... B, L, D
Day 12 Yangtze Cruise Shore excursion to Shennong Stream (1:30-5:30pm). Details... B, L, D
Day 13 Yichang/Shanghai Shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam . Arrive in Yichang around 13:00, be met at the dock and have lunch and then be transferred to airport for flight to Shanghai. Arrive in Shanghai, be met and transferred to hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jin Jiang Hotel Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai Jin jiang New Asia hotel Shanghai
B, L
Day 14 Shanghai Full day classical coach group city tour. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jin Jiang Hotel Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai Jin jiang New Asia hotel Shanghai
B, L
Day 15 Shanghai Free at leisure till be transferred to airport for your flight departure. Details... B
Season Tour Class Group Size Single Room
Supplement
1pax 2-5pax 6-9pax
Peak Season 3*(Tourist Class) $3079 $2425 $2138 $752
4*(Deluxe Class) $3526 $2621 $2336 $951
5*(First Class) $4331 $3007 $2805 $1405
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 you will be greeted by our local guide and then transferred to your hotel by a private air-conditioned car. For the rest of the day you will enjoy some leisure time.

Day 2 Beijing (B, L)

Beijing (B, L)

Full day bus tour for Underground Palace & Mutianyu Great Wall Tour

Pick-up point and time:
 Your Hotel between 7:00am and 8:30am 
Finishing point and time: Your Hotel around 6:00 pm
 

Itinerary:

Ming Tombs (Dingling)---the best-preserved Chinese imperial tombs with 500 years history. Dingling is the underground mausoleum of Emperor Wan Li. The Underground Palace Halls, a labyrinth palace building, were the first royal tomb excavated in accordance with plan in China. Sightseeing on Ming Tombs for 2 hour.

End the visit of Ming Tombs at about 11:00, before having Chinese traditional lunch (11:30), travelers have 45 minutes to have a short visit of Jade Carving Factory. The jade carving is very famous special local product, it was not only the excellent skill on carving, but also mixes many Chinese traditional cultures in the jade carving.

After having lunch, then driving to Mutianyu Great Wall. Mutianyu Great Wall is known for its beautiful surroundings - dense woods and rich pastures changing colors with the seasons of a year. Mutianyu Great Wall is located in Huai Rou County on the north-east of Beijing. This section of the Great Wall is about 75 KM from the center of Beijing. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, Mutianyu section of Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. If you want to reach the highest point, cable car is a good choice (optional).

You are returned to the downtown Beijing and We will drive by exterior the National Stadium - the "Bird Nest" and National Aquatics Center - the Water Cube. You will have chance to take pictures.
 

Day 3 Beijing (B, L)

Beijing (B, L)

Sightseeing: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace.

Pick-up point and time:
 Your Hotel between 7:00am and 8:30am 
Finishing point and time: Your Hotel around 6:00pm
 

Itinerary:

Pick up at your hotel between 7:00am and 8:30am, This tour starts at Tian'anmen Square with its plentitude of monuments testifying to the communist, and more specifically, Mao's influence on China's modern history. From there you will proceed to theForbidden City, the largest and best-preserved ancient imperial palaces group with 500 years history in the world. Visit the Forbidden City along the central axis from south to north for 2 hours.

On the way to Temple of Heaven, you will have a chance to visit the Chinese traditional medicine culture. After having a short rest, we'll visit the Temple of Heaven -- the largest ancient imperial worship architecture group in the world where the ancient Emperors prayed for peace and harvest. The visit to Temple of Heaven takes about 1 hour.

After Western and Chinese buffet lunch ( 40minutes ) in Bangfuchun Restaurant, enjoy a short visit to a pearl free market not missed. Driving (30minutes) to Summer Palace, the largest and most beautiful Chinese imperial garden. It is regarded as a museum of gardens in China. The visit takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

After the tour you will be transfered back to your hotel and finish the tour today.

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

Beijing/Xi'an (B, L)

Transport Via: Train on our arrangement

Pick-up point and time: Your Hotel between 7:00am and 8:30am 
Finishing point and time: Your Hotel around 6:00 pm

Pick up at your hotel between 7:00am and 8:30am, and then driving to 
Beijing Zoo where you can see the lovely Giant Pandas. The Panda Zoo visit takes about 40 minutes.

Then take you to the largest Lama Temple of Beijing --- Yonghe Temple, 1 hour tour for the mysterious Tibet style Buddhism temple. The Lama Temple tour finishes at about 11:00. Before having lunch (12:00), you will have 45 minutes to visit the Chinese traditional handicraft silk carpet factory.

You will be arranged to have lunch with locals in a typical Beijing resident's house. Then you will be arranged to visit the old Beijing lanes by taking rickshaws. Hutong tour lasts for 2 hours. You will visit the typical Chinese quadrangles, primary school, many famous old buildings, like the bell tower, where you can explore the real life of ordinary people in Beijing.

We will arrange 45 minutes to take pictures at the Bird's Nest and Water Cube. If you are interested in the inner structure of the stadiums, the tour guide will assist you in buying the tickets, and you could enter in the stadiums for a visit yourself. Driving the travelers back to their hotel. 

On the way to your hotels, we also arrange the short visit to a China Tea House to enjoy tea ceremony.

After the tour you will be transferred to take the overnight train to Xi'an.

Day 5 Xi'an (B, L)

Xi'an (B, L)

Sightseeing: Ancient City Wall, The Terracotta Warriors and Horses.

Morning arrive in Xi'an, be met and have breakfast and then be transfered to do the full day city tour. First, you will visit 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 move on to visit the amazing 2000-year-old Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. Regarded as the 8th Wonder of the World, the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Over 2,200 years ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, ordered the construction of a vast army of Terra-cotta warriors in search of immortality. After his early death they were buried with him to protect his empire.

Day 6 Xi'an/Guilin (B, L)

Transfer Via: Flight on our arrangement
Sightseeing
: Shanxi History Museum

In the morning we will move on to visit the Shaanxi History Museum. It is a magnificent architectural complex in the Tang Dynasty style. The Museum possesses a treasure of 113,000 historic and cultural artifacts unearthed in Shaanxi, and it covers an area of 1,100 square meters for exhibition.

And then be transferred to take the plane to Guilin. Arrive in Guilin. Be met and transfered to the hotel. Enjoy some leisure time of the day.

Day 7 Guilin (B, L)

Guilin (B, L)

Sightseeing: Dragom's Backbone Rice Terraces

Pick Up Time and Spot: Your Hotel around 07:10-08:20 am

Itinerary:

This morning, we will drive to Longsheng County which is featured with rich and elegant folk customs. We will take the country road and arrive at Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces which have been called "an absolute one under the heaven and the first one in the world". The magnificent terraces look like silver belt in sprit, green wave in summer, golden tower in fall and dragon plays in water in winter.
 

We will enjoy the Long Hair Show performed by the local minority people and the lunch today is included.

After the tour you will be transfered back from Longsheng to Guilin to your hotel and finish the tour today.

 

Day 8 Guilin (B, L)

Guilin (B, L)

Sighseeing: Li River, West Street

Pick Up Time and Spot: Your Hotel around 07:10-08:20 am

Itinerary:

Guilin is famous for its picturesque scenery, and the best way to see it is from the deck of Li River Cruise ships. In the morning you will depart from your hotel and be transferred to the Zhujiang Pier (about 1 hour drive) for a 4.5 hours wonderful cruise. You will enjoy the unique mountains, peaceful green fields, farms and villages with water buffalos, cows wondering around on both sides of the river bank. 

In the afternoon you will disembark at the old town Yangshuo. Having a history of more than 1,400 years, West Street is the oldest street in Yangshuo. You will have some time to explore the old town's lovely attractions.

After the tour you will be transfered back to your hotel and finish the tour today.

Day 9 Guilin (B, L)

Guilin (B, L)


Pick Up Time and Spot:
 Your Hotel around 07:10-08:20 am

Itinerary:

In the morning we will visit Reed Flute Cave, which is a vast and very impressive cave system, and one of the most important sights of Guilin. Known as "the Palace of Natural Arts", you can see beautiful stalactites & stalagmites and learn how they are formed.

Then you will head to Elephant Trunk Hill. Located at the conjunction of the Li River & the Peach Blossom River, the whole hill looks very much like a giant elephant with a long trunk drinking out of the river; it is the symbol of Guilin city. 

We will continue to visit Fubo Hill. You will see lots of rock stone carvings & Buddha statues from since Tang Dynasty. If you climb to the summit, you will have a wonderful bird's-eye view of Guilin city.

Afterwards we will make a walk through Seven Star Park. It is one of the best urban parks in China. The park is in the east bank of Lijiang, the largest park in Guilin with the theme of rock caves.

After the tour you will be transfered back to your hotel and finish the tour today.

 

Day 10 Guilin/Chongqing (B, L)

Guilin/Chongqing (B, L)

Itinerary: Full day Chongqing highlight tour to visit Goose Neck Park, Panda Room in Chongqing Zoo, Liberation Monument,
Ciqikou Old Town with lunch. (Private vehicle and guide)

You will be picked up from your hotel then start the tour.

We will visit Goose Neck Park. This park has a good view of the city and the roiling Yangtze River. A great mural of the Yangtze River shows the pre-dam water levels and elevation marks signifying the displacement of the local population, as well as the land area that has been and will be covered when the dam is completed.

Later you will visit Panda Room in Chongqing Zoo to meet the lovely pandas. Then you will be transferred to airport and you will take the flight to your next destination.

Then we will continue our trip to see the Liberation Monument.It is Chongqing`s commercial and entertainment center, The actual monument , originally made of wood and dedicated to Sun Yat-sen, was built in 1945 to celebrate the end of the war with Japan. The monument is within walking distance of most of Chongqing`s major hotels and shops.

After the tour you will be transfered back to the dock by our local guide, board the ship for overnight accommodation.

Day 11 Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

 (08:00) Departs Chongqing .
(14:00– 17:00) Shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City.

Fengdu
, with fantastic temples of underworld demons and gods, is constructed on the Mingshan Hill by the river band. It is known as the "Ghost City" and is a place for punishing the devil and awarding the good.

Day 12 Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

 Sightseeing: Shennong Stream

(07:00-07:30) Passing through Qutang Gorge.
(08:00-09:00) Passing through Wu Gorge.
(10:00 –13:30 ) Boat excursion to Shennong Stream .
(16:00) Enter Xiling Gorge.

Shennong Stream is another tributary of the Yangtze River, and its fast-flowing, crystal clear water runs southwards through deep gorges. The stream races past large and small karst caves, flocks of swallows, sheer cliffs, deep gorges, waterfalls, three-colored springs, rapids, the ancient plank path, a suspended coffin in the cliff, groups of ancient tombs and marvelous karst formations.

Day 13 Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Transport Via: Flight on our arrangement 
Sightseeing: Three Gorges Dam

(08:00 – 10:30) Shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam. 


Three Gorges Dam
, the largest water conservancy project undertaken by man . The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction will be competed in 2009. It will be 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide on the top and 130 meters wide at the bottom. Tourists can get access to the top of the dam.

Arrive in Yichang around 13:00, be met and have lunch, and then be transferred to airport for the flight to Shanghai, 
 be met and check in the hotel.

 

Day 14 Shanghai (B, L)

Shanghai (B, L)

Pick-up point and time: Tour starts: around 8:30am
( Your hotel address within urban areas or our designated places in the city centre )

Itinerary:

S
pend a whole day getting to know the wonders of Shanghai: The beautiful Yu Garden and Old Market Town, the spectacular Bund, a choice of either Pearl City or Silk Factory stores, the Nanjing Road shopping experience, the serene Jade Buddha Temple, the vast Shanghai Art Museum, before ending your day in the relaxing Xin Tian Di district. An amazing day that you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Yu Garden
: A famous garden of beauty and tranquillity in the heart of Shanghai, built during the Ming Dynasty, 400 years ago.

Old Town Market
Found beside Yu Garden, is a bazaar of stores that sells traditional Chinese arts and crafts and souvenirs Items .

Bund
: A symbol of Shanghai. Also called "gallery of international architectures".

Silk Factory: Silk Factory, where you can view the silk making process and maybe pick up that tailored suit you've always wanted – it’s your choice!

 

Nanjing Road: Shop until you drop in the longest shopping street in China and one of the busiest in the world. There's something for everyone in its vast choice of stores.

 

Jade Buddha Temple: A beautiful Buddhist temple, founded in 1882 with two spectacular jade Buddha statues imported from Burma.

 

Shanghai Museum: A vast museum dedicated to all manner of Chinese art and culture, totalling over 120,000 exhibits.

 

Xin Tian Di: The best place to feel and touch the Shanghai of yesterday, today and tomorrow - a leisure entertainment centre with catering, shopping, and an amazing nightlife to suit all tastes and moods.

Day 15 Shanghai Departure (B)

 Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement

Today will be free for your own purposes, 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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