Traveller Review: China Adventure
I was lucky enough to discover the best of China on Adventure World’s China Adventure tour.
The trip exceeded my expectations in terms of the history, the sights and the sounds. We had 10 days to cover Shanghai, Xian and Beijing with a stop in Luoyang for good measure!
First stop was Shanghai starting with a light tour of Nanjing Road for shopping and the Bund for a great view of where east literally meets west. A waterfront area in central Shanghai, the Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. Don’t be embarrassed to whip out your selfie stick in Shanghai as you’ll find yourself comfortably blending in with numerous other selfie stick owners.
Our light tour also took us to Shanghai Museum, renowned for the scope, depth and quality of its collections and I can say that it was truly fascinating to learn about the rich Chinese history.
The next day saw us visit China's famous classical garden, the Yu Garden. Spanning over 5 acres, the Yu Garden is a truly beautiful garden that dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Here you can explore the grounds, take stunning photos and even get glimpses of people getting married in this stunning setting.
Our day only got more interesting as we saw how silk is made using silk worms to having lemon beer (strange but good) in a European garden. A highlight was the insanely amazing acrobat show where the talented acrobatics were doing crazy motorcycle stunts.
We moved onto an excursion to Zhujiajiao which is a beautiful water village not unlike Venice, with quaint little canals that weave through the town.
Upon arriving back in Shanghai, we spent some time in the Xintiandi and Tianzifang Longtang area. Called longtang or alleyways, these neighbourhoods of lanes are true to the traditional architectural style of Shanghai. Xintiandi serves as an upscale spot to shop, dine and drink while Tianzifang is made up of art galleries, cafes, new “it” restaurants and other quirky stores.
In the evening, the overnight train took us from Shanghai to Xian. The journey lasted for 14 hours and is a recommended experience for intrepid travellers. Upon arrival into Xian the next day, we were straight into a walking tour of the city wall that looks great during the day but at night it really had the real wow factor.
Our afternoon tour included the Great Mosque and the ancient City Wall. One of the oldest, largest and best preserved Islamic mosques in China, the Great Mosque was a unique sight to visit. The ancient City Wall of Xian is an enhancement of the old Tang Dynasty structure and great to explore on a rickshaw ride.
The next day, we embarked on a full day excursion to the museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses which is the Xian highlight and cannot be missed. It’s about an hour out of the city centre and the 6000-strong army of warriors posed to fight are an impressive sight to see, in particular Pit No. 1 where the majority of the warriors are held.
We returned to Xian in the afternoon and visited the provincial museum, Shaanxi History Museum where we marvelled at the intriguing paintings, pottery, coins and historic objects.
In the evening, we enjoyed a magnificent singing and dancing performance with amazing Tang Dynasty costumes and music while indulging in a tasty dumpling dinner.
Next stop was Luoyang on the bullet train doing over 300km/hr. Seated within the soft sleeper, 4-berth compartment; the journey was very quick with nice comfy seats. On arrival, we had lunch at a charming farmhouse and visited the Longmen Grottos. A stunning example of Chinese Buddhist art, the Longmen Grottoes holds thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples. This part of the tour is definitely for the active traveller, as we did have to tackle many steps and walked about 5 kilometres.
We jumped again on the bullet train to proceed to Beijing. Upon arrival in Beijing we hit all of city’s top sights in the one day: Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven taking in the history, the buildings and the people. A complex of religious buildings, the Temple of Heaven is regarded as the Altar of Heaven which also seemed to be a popular spot for wedding photos. Tiananmen Square is the site of several important events in Chinese history and is the fourth largest city square in the world. Another highlight was the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Forbidden City, which served as the home of emperors and their households and now only allows a maximum of 8000 visitors.
The following day we caught the Pandas at Beijing Zoo where it was fantastic to see these cuddly and cute creatures in a zoo that is constantly developing and improving the animal enclosures in order to provide better environments for the animals.
This was followed by a visit to the Summer Palace, which UNESCO described as a “masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design” and I can say that it truly was just that! Definitely, the best way to see China if you can is to finish in Beijing, it is hard to top that sight the “Great Wall”. Once you stop here, you can’t help but admire this magnificent manmade structure and the stunning greenery surrounding the wall.
On our day of departure, we enjoyed one last ride on the bullet train back to Shanghai before transferring to the airport for our journey back home. Our action packed trip also included a Kung Fu show and so much more, plus with amazing weather, China is a must, go now!
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