China Express - Beijing leg

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China Express - Beijing leg

Postby vanessaquake » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:40 am

Hello there fellow nomads! My husband and I are travelling to China in December on the China Express Tour.

In the Full Itinerary of the tour, it states that we will spend a day at the Great Wall, as well as visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City as a group.

It also states that during our free time, we have the option to visit the following places:
- the Temple of Heaven
- the Summer Palace
- Yonghegong Tibetan Monastery
- some of Beijing’s many markets.

From travellers who have already been on this tour, I have a few questions.....
(1) Were you able to see all the optional places listed above during your free time?
(2) If no, do the guides select one of those places based on what majority of the group decides or will the group simply split up?
(3) Again, if no to (1), which sites did your group visit?

Hubby and I will be arrive a day before the tour commences and are considering signing up for the MyGuide Beijing to see more of the city, and would naturally like to make the most of everything, rather than doubling up and seeing the same thing twice.

Cheers,
Vanessa
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Re: China Express - Beijing leg

Postby kathrync » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:05 am

Hi
I completed the Essential China tour 2nd to 21st June 2013 with my daughter (I am 52 and she is aged 27)
It was an amazing trip.
we had the afternoon of our arrival day to fill before we met the group and went on our own to the Temple of Heaven which was within walking distance of the Beijing hotel.
the next day (first full day of the tour) we were up and out for 6:30am and arrived at the Great wall visitor car park for 8am - by the time we had climbed up all the steps to reach the wall (a lung busting, calf killing trek of about 30 minutes) we had the wall all to ourselves and walked along the top for over 3 hours. We met our CEO back at the bus at lunchtime for our return to Beijing.
We then had the afternon free so walked local to the hotel to see the city wall ruins.
Next day was Tianenmen sqaure and Forbidden city which filled the morning and then we went on a guided tour (in a rickshaw) of the Hutongs - this was an extra and to be honest felt a bit touristy - we had lunch in a family home but as we were leaving there were two other groups also enjoying this 'special privelige'.
The next day we had free time until we got the overnight train to Shanghai and the CEO suggetsed we went to the Summer Palce but we decided there was not enough time to do it justice so as a group we went (without the CEO) to the Lama Temple which was a subway ride away from the hotel and worth the effort.
during most of the free time our CEO suggested places to visit but basically we were left to decide and organise what we did. sometimes he gave us optional excursions (eg the Hutongs) and we could decide to do them or not.
be prepared to fend for yourselves but ask the CEO for advice - enjoy your trip.
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Re: China Express - Beijing leg

Postby mike433 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:59 am

Hi Vanessa,

I did the China express in 2011. With regards to your question I really hope you have spare days in Beijing before the trip starts as you may not have enough time to do all you want. The day at the wall was great, if I remember right you get back late afternoon or early evening (I can't remember which). Our guide recommended us a Kung Fu show to see in the evening, the guide didn't go but made sure we all knew how to get there and back. After Tienanmen Square, you will have an afternoon spare before the overnight train to Xian. It really isn't that long to cram in what you want. Also the guide will probably leave you to your own devices rather then take you where you want to go. Our guide made sure we had all the information we needed to get where we wanted to go and left us to it. Some of the people in the group went alone, others wanting to do the same things went as a group. I opted to go looking around Hutongs and went to the llama temple.

I had a spare day and a half to do the summer palace and the temple of heaven before the trip began. Personally my favourite was the summer palace of the two and I spent most of a day there. You should have enough time in your spare time to do one or the other of these but I really recommend extra days in Beijing beforehand to see what you want.

I hope this is helpful

Mike
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Re: China Express - Beijing leg

Postby vanessaquake » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:25 pm

Thanks for the responses folks! I really appreciate it and sorry I didn't respond sooner, I completely forgot I had posted the question up here. Only three weeks to go - STOKED! :)

Cheers,
Vanessa
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