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Great Wall of China TCW October 2010

Thu, 05/13/2010 - 16:39

Hi, I'm booked on to this trip along with my Son. Anyone else going? It's the first one we've done so any hints, tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated.



Mon, 05/17/2010 - 11:38

Hi Clare, my name is Naomi, and I'm also going on this trip (on my own!) Where are you and your son from?


Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:06

Hi - we're from Clavering in Essex. Where are you & have you done a trip like this before?


Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:13

Hiya, yes, I went on a trip with Exodus to Rio February last year. This is a wildly different style trip, so I don't really have any tips lol. I'm a bit baffled with it all myself this time around. They were absolutely brilliant on the last trip though, so you and your son will be well looked after!  Are you guys doing much training, or are you guys super fit anyway?


Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:23

Not really training as such, I'm reasonably fit, I ride my horse 3-4 days a week & walk the dog everyday a fair distance. I've been breaking my boots in for a while so hopefully they won't give me too much grief. How about you?

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:26

Lol, I'm not fit at all, so I think I'm really gonna have to start doing something, otherwise it's seriously going to hurt!

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:35

Haha - good to hear that. I was worried everyone was going to be like racing snakes. Slow & steady - that's me.

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 14:14

Ha ha, absolutely not a racing snake!  I'll be walking like I've got a broken arse by the end of it.  Are you guys doing the X'ian extension after the wall?

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 16:11

Yes we are. We thought it'd be daft not to as it's such a long way & we'll probably never get the chance again. U? CP

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 16:21

Yeah, absolutely - same reason as you, crazy to go all that way and not see the warriors. Hey - if you're on facebook, you're more than welcome to add me - so you know what you're letting yourself in for by chatting to me lol. My email is

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 16:26

Hiya - will catch you on there then


Mon, 06/21/2010 - 13:18

Hi Clare , Naomi and Clare's son !

My name is Anne and am booked on this trip too as a solo traveller . I went on the Inca trail last year which was brilliant - with exodus- really well loked after so am sure we will be fine . Any consolation i was last every day on the inca trail so will no doubt be last on this too - slow walker but its not a race its about taking your time and nobody made me feel bad for being slow . it seems they cater for us having plenty of time on the walking days . Yes i am booked on the xian extension too - agree too far to go to not do the whole thing ! Should be good . I guess you are flying out of London - maybe i am too ...booked it ages ago . I live in manchester so i know i am defo flying out of manchester


Wed, 06/23/2010 - 17:16


Wed, 06/23/2010 - 17:23

Hiya Anne (I hit the enter button and left a non message by mistake) oops.

I'm pretty sure we're flying out of Gatwick or Heathrow. It was actually booked through friends of mine who unfortunately now can't go due to ill health. They have very generously insisted that Jack & I go anyway as long as we bring back plenty of pic's. We are both really looking forward to it, however a week on a beach at the end would probably be a sensible thing to do to recover before coming back to work! - Finances & dreaded work do not allow for such luxuries tho' so, it's straight back to the grindstone for us. I'm trying to walk alot more to wear my boots in but there aren't many hills in Essex so I'll just have to wing it & hope. How about you - if you did the Inca trail you must be fairly fit anyway? Looking forward to meeting you.



Wed, 06/23/2010 - 19:58

Hi Clare , 

Your poor friends they must be gutted ! It is nice the can give the trip to you though!  I would not say i am fit - i will probably find it hard but given that i managed in Inca trail , all but slowly , i feel confident that exodus will cater for our abilities and needs . At least China does not have the altitude that Peru had ! October will be here before we know it !


Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:03

hi ladies

I've been reading your posts, as I'm looking at doing the Wall, but in October next year, as I'm meant to be going with my son when he's finished Uni - although now he's all loved up, I think I may be going it alone - bit scary.   I do hope you'll follow up your trip with an update on here so I know what to expect, and I hope I will be able to chat to some people on here before I actually go too.  I keep looking on the site, and at the forums, cos I can't wait for the departure dates to be posted so I can actually get it booked and feel like I'm actually going!

Ann Lee

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 10:15


 I've just noticed I've been missing out on a whole load of chat!!

Nice to have you onboard Annieb - are you going to travelling on your own too?

Naomi x

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 20:25

Hi Naomi , 

Yes i am travelling alone ! I dont think it really matters though as going through the pain together helps us bond very quickly and easily !! we will have fun and maybe a bit of pain !!!


Tue, 07/13/2010 - 09:32

Haha - Anne - you sell it so well! I'm thinking I'm going to have quite a lot of pain...really should start some kind of exercise/training soon....  So where abouts are you from?  I'm a Dorset girl, living half way between Bournemouth and The New Forset

Tue, 07/13/2010 - 13:29

Nooooooo - pain is not in the itinerary anywhere! wheelbarrows at dawn - Jack ferrying us all through the hardest parts (Wear the young ones out first). Bottle of gin in one hand, chocolate bar in the other - that's my plan, anyone else in?



Tue, 07/13/2010 - 14:01

I'm in!!!!!! But I would probably swap the gin for a voddy lol. Poor Jack - I feel a bit sorry for him already haha x

Fri, 08/27/2010 - 21:43

I'm also booked on the trip and can't wait.  I'm definately counting down the weeks now!


Tue, 08/31/2010 - 10:57

Hello all

I just noticed at the top of this link it says departure is on 15th - I thought it was 14th..............confused

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 22:14

Hi everybody !

Indeed not long away now - time to seriously try and get fit ! Firstly - yes i am sure we eave on the 14th not the 15 th . I am wondering if anybody could give me the email of our contact person please . I recall we got an email about 10 days ago re trip notes and who to contact if we had questions . I am keen to read those trip notes as  guess they will be more up to date that the ones on the site . Unfortunatly i cannot find the email - would someone be kind enough to put it on here her email or number . Thanks alot anne !

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 10:22

Hi all

OMG am so excited. I got our visas through today - I was convinced I was going to have a problem with them. I found the forms a bit confusing (bit thick I'm afraid!) All seems to be in order so looking forward to meeting everyone on 14/15th x


Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:18

Hey hey - yup, I agree, the Visa forms were a bit daunting and I was also convinced I'd do something wrong, or request the wrong dates lol.

So, is everyone all set to go?  How much spending money are you guys taking? And are you taking it all in Chinese currency or taking dollars too?


Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:44

hi ,

i got my visa back today so all good and releived at that ! Should we take dollars instead of chinese currency ? I don't know . was thinking given the reviews to take 300 - 400 pounds - i am doing the extension though . Is anybody taking a sleeping back ? are you taking ruck sacks or normal bags ? as my message above would somebody mind posting the person who looks after us - email on here - email wer ecieved about 3 weeks ago . Thankyou ! Anne

Sat, 09/18/2010 - 07:45


Hi all

I think I'm going to take only about £50 in chinese and about £450 in US dollars. I will be taking a sleeping beg but that's mostly because I'm a wuss as far as getting cold in the night goes. I'll be taking a small rucksack for the plane and while walking but will also have a small case so I don't have to carry everything all the time.

I'm sorry Annie - I haven't got the info you needed which is why I didn't reply before. If you ring the offices, I have spoken to Charlotte before, who is very helpful, so maybe that's the way to go?

3½ weeks and counting ..................................

See you all soon

Clare x

Sat, 09/18/2010 - 20:28

thats really helpful thankyou ! unfortunately i ordered my chinese money last night !! are dollars better ?? I will contact the office then . they carry our stuff for us dont they whilst we are walking ? Not long left at all !


Mon, 09/20/2010 - 08:51

Hi Anne

yes they do carry our stuff but I think we need to take anything with us we will need for the day, I'm thinking; water, snacks, tissues, plasters etc.

25 days


Mon, 09/20/2010 - 14:22

Claire - did Charlotte suggest you take mainly dollar or is something you wisely decided? x

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 08:23

Hi Naomi

I saw the following text in the trip notes and rightly or wrongly interpreted that it may be easier to take dollars?? I don't know to be honest, I have dithered around so much about it I just decided to make a decision & go with it - if it's wrong - hey ho - there's always river snail to eat!!! 

"Cash - especially US dollars - is often slightly

easier to exchange than travellers' cheques, and can sometimes attract

a better rate of exchange. We do in any case recommend that you bring

a small amount of cash, preferably US$.

Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are quite

widely accepted in the larger cities in China, but not much elsewhere."


What are you taking?

Clare x

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 09:13

Well, I'm thinking I'm gonna take a bit of Chinese, and then the rest in dollars, and then I can just exchange it as I need it. Once got caught on a trip having to rely on my cash cards, and none of the ATM machines accepted then - that was a bit daunting, so now I just take all money with me. Basically Clare, I'm just gonna copy you lol.


Tue, 09/21/2010 - 11:02



Sat, 09/25/2010 - 14:18

Hi ladies ,
Seems like so far we are the only 3 on this site ! I picked up my chinese money today - too late for the dollars- never mind !
Was wondering if either of you were going to take malaria tablets ? I am going to do a proper check re this at work next week but if one of you had already sussed it out it would safe me the trouble ?
Either of you travelled with air china before ? - just hoping they have movies and a personal screen ! its a long flight !
Not long left ......

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 09:59

Hi Annie
I spoketo my Doctors & had a few jabs a couple of weeks ago, they said we didn't need Malaria tablets for the region we're going to. Still haven't actually sorted my money yet. I'm thinking of taking a sleeping tablet on the flight to be honest & no I haven't flown with air China before so here's hoping they aren't seats with no leg room Lol

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 12:46

Hi all- I got our 'final joining instructions' today!!!! Really can't wait now.
Looking forward to meeting you.

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 16:09

Hello everyone. I did this tour back in 2007 and have been reading this thread with great interest. It's a fantastic tour. I enjoyed it so much I went back to China independently the following year. Going back gave me a great appreciation for just how easy the Exodus tour leader made everything for us, as China isn't the easiest country to navigate independently, even if you speak Mandarin and Cantonese (like my wife!).

I see some of you are concerned about the walking. Don't be. I'm not big on exercise, and the 20 minute walk to the train station is about as energetic as it gets for me. I coped with the walking on this tour just fine, as you take plenty of water/food stops, or just stop to take in the views. There are some sections where there's a drop to one side, which can be uncomfortable for those who suffer from vertigo or have a fear of heights - which is behind the decision to grade this a B/C tour I believe.

As for the dollars to yuan discussion, I don't recall paying for anything in dollars anywhere, nor do I think it would have been very easy to. I took sterling and my ATM card and that was enough. There were two ATMs at the Dong Fang (the start and end hotel on this tour) which were connected to the global network. Although food and drink is generally very cheap in China, don't make the mistake I made and order a round in the bar in the Dong Fang, as you'll quickly discover that their prices don't quite match what you'll find elsewhere!

Enjoy the trip and don't think the excercise ends once you finishing walking, as the last day in Beijing packs in A LOT!

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 17:10

Thanks Kai
Well that's put a spanner in the works! Trip notes say one thing about money - someone who's been there says something else!!!
Hmmm - shall ponder some more


Fri, 10/01/2010 - 23:01

Thanks for your info Kai - very helpful ! Can i ask you what time of year you went and did you take a sleeping bag with you and did you do the extension ? Did you take walking poles ? Sorry you have put yourself right out there for a million questions ...hope you don't mind ! Have you been on any other exodus trips or got another planned ?
thanks anne

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:01

Hi Kai - thanks for that, that was really useful - would you bother to take any Yuen with you, as a bit of a contingency fund? Or did you just exchange when you were there?
Annieb - I am taking two walking poles and a sleeping bag so if you wanted to take those things just in case, you will not be alone.
Everyone - I have no idea what sort of whether to be packing for as every time I check the weather on the net for Beijing, it says something different. One day it's 18, the next it's 26 degrees c. Are we opting for warm weather or english weeather - oh, and are you guys taking waterproofs? xx

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:11

Hi all
We're taking walking poles and sleeping bags too. Am just as confused about the weather as you Naomi, I'm thinking we won't really be cold while walking as long as we're dry - so waterproofs are in.
Ok - I'm going to tell you what I'm packing and hopefully you guys will let me know what you think?
2 prs shorts, 2 'tracksuits', 6 t shirts, 2 jumpers, 1 pr jeans, waterproofs, sleeping bag, poles, walking boots, 1 pr crocs, 1 pr flipflops, 4 long sleeved shirts, 'buff' (for covering skanky hair), 1 dress and apart from toiletries, 1st aid and underwear, I think that's about it.
Let me know if u think it's too much/ enough etc.

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:18

That's very similar to what I was thinking actually Clare, just loads of layers, and I was also planning on going with the three pairs of shoes. So I reckon you've got your pack list about right xx

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:19

well at least I know if it's wrong I'll have someone else in the same boat as me.

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 13:15

Just thought I'd pass on 2 top tips from a friend of mine who has done this kind of thing before.
1/ Wear your boots on the flight a/ because they will be heavy in your case and b/ because you can do the trip without just about everything else should your luggage end up in timbuktoo but you'll still have your trusty, worn in boots.
2/ Don't forget to cut your toenails!!

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 16:24

Think i would cry if my luggage got lost !!
My new neighbour is from Beijing - she actually will be there when we are there. She said chinese currency absolutely fine - she didnt get the usa dollar thing- she thought that would be hard to use and suggested travellers cheques as wellas chinese cash . Fine for malaria she said but can still get bitten in october . October- the nicest month of the year to go to china . She said warmer than here early 20 s, suggested jumper as cool in the morning but quickly warms up , suntan cream a must . She said it is exceptionally safe even for women alone- she says it is just not in their culture . However pick pockets galore and lots of beggars. She suggested never give beggars anything becauae often they are in groups and if you give money the rest of the group will then crowd round . Very busy she said and lots of people , in Beiijing . She said the pollution is really bad and i would notice it dramatically - she said if cycling to wear a mask ?! Obviously this is from a local - alot of the above i know we have covered in the thread but thought would just share the info anyway and then we can make our own decisions etc !!

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 16:51

Annie B. I went in September 2007, and we had nice warm days (sun cream was needed up on the wall) and freezing cold nights! Back when I did the tour, you spent two nights camping in a farmhouse, so yes, I took a sleeping bag. We did away with the two nights camping though, so I don't think you'd need to bring this now. I didn't do the Xian extension however, as I couldn't get that much time off work.
I never use walking poles. On my trip we had one couple who brought them, but seemed to carry them rather than actually using them. I'm not sure what benefit you'd find using them on the wall, but they could come in helpful when you're walking up to or beside the wall.
I've been at Exodus 12 years now, so yes, I've done lots of other tours with us, including Cycling the Danube, Egyptian Discoverer, A Week in Jordan, South Africa, Borneo, Slovenia and lots of others. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with Exodus next. I was due to do the Sri Lankan cycling tour this year but had to cancel quite last minute.
I would just take sterling and ATM cards as you'll get a better exchange rate in China than you will here. If you can get some yuan here at a rate you're happy with, then it wouldn't hurt, but you won't encounter any issues changing money (or withdrawing it) on arrival into Beijing. You will spend money in Beijing at the start and end of the tour (especially on the last full day, as you'll probably go shopping in between the sightseeing and Chinese State Circus). If I've missed anything, let me know!

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 10:55

Kai - IWANT YOUR JOB!!!!!!! haha - sounds great & thanks for all the tips you've been a great help.
Clare xx

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