Hollie was lucky enough to visit China with Wendy Wu Tours recently. This was her experience –
I was lucky enough to join a trip with Wendy Wu Tours to China taking in a 3 centre highlights tour of this amazing country.
My first point of call was the buzzing capitol of Beijing. I was surprised at the size and vastness of this metropolitan city but also the history and cultural significance that lies within the modern centre of China. We visited Tiananmen square and passed Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, then entered the Forbidden City which was the sacred centre of the Chinese empire for over 500 years. The Forbidden City was vast and complex and it was fascinating to learn about the different gates and buildings within the city and their significance. From there we moved to the traditional Hutong’s where we had lunch with a local family followed by a rickshaw ride around the winding barrow streets. We also visited the Summer Palace and the local night street markets to discover some ‘local delicacies’ on the food stalls! Finally and the highlight for me in Beijing – a visit to the Great Wall of China at the Juyong Pass section. Climbing and walking along the Great Wall was a once in a lifetime experience and is an amazing place with stunning views as far as the eye could see. It isn’t easy though, when it was built they weren’t afraid of steep and deep steps but the Juyong section is renovated which made the climb easier and safer.
From there we moved to the ancient city of Xi’an which was the original Capitol of China and the starting point of the famous ‘Silk Road’, and the city has a history dating back to 1000BC. Whilst in Xi’an we visited the cultural Shaanxi museum and walked the ancient city walls of the city. Then we visited the famous UNESCO world heritage site of the famous Terracotta Warriors. Walking into the first pit of the Terracotta Warriors was a breath taking and truly spectacular site, one I will never forget and urge anyone to see if they get the chance. The army comprised of 7000 life size soldiers and some horses. It is an amazing place and there is still so much work on going at the site, uncovering new items all the time and working tirelessly to restore all the pieces back to their original glory for the world to see for years to come.
The final destination on the trip was the city of Chengdu which is the capitol of one of the most rural areas in China but has developed into a large modern city but still has the charms of old China. The highlights of the time here was a visit to the Grand Buddha of Leshan which is the tallest Buddha statue in the world sitting on the mountainside, and then a visit to the ancient town of Huanglongxi which comprises of ancient alleyways that date back 1700 years. We also got to explore the shops and streets of ancient Jinli street which was very enjoyable. Finally, on our last day in China I had the fortune to get to visit the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Here we learnt about the base’s success in breeding and protecting these beautiful and endangered animals and their on-going plans for the future. I also got to see the Pandas themselves, from elders & adolescents to 3 month old babies in the nursery – they were truly so cute and beautiful, and if I could have brought one home with me I would have!
All of these experiences were brilliant and there were added extras from Wendy Wu such as traditional shows on an evening, dancing & acrobats and traditional meals in the different regions that reflected the difference between the provinces which were very interesting and a real treat. We stayed in very good 4* hotels in every city, but if you wanted something a bit more special than their Exclusive 5* tours would be for you with upgraded hotels for an even more luxurious experience or we can do you a fully tailormade itinerary to stay in whatever hotels you wish and do an itinerary of your choosing to experience and see everything you wish to. Also, for the more adventurous they are introducing some great ‘Discovery tours’ which will be more physical and will take the adventure side of the tour to the next level.
One thing in all of the tours will be the superb Wendy Wu Tour Guides. Cynthia our national guide stayed with us for the duration of our stay. Her knowledge and professionalism was exceptional, and she was there alongside the local guides in the different cities to assist us with anything we needed and all of them were able to answer any questions we had and to explain the history and significance of all the places we visited, which made the trip so much more fulfilling and enjoyable. Wendy Wu’s organisation and ground operation in China was great and I highly recommend them.
China itself is a fascinating country filled with history and its people are so proud of & show great respect for their culture and heritage. It is culturally different to what we are used to here in Great Britain but once you immerse yourself into it you can easily adapt to any situation or difference!
Overall I feel I had a once in a lifetime trip and feel very fortunate to have seen and experienced everything I did, and whilst 9 days was only enough time to only scratch the surface of this vast country, I would love to go back and see more of China.
If you are interested in a trip to China, please come in and talk to Hollie.