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Popular Cultural Holiday
Family group holidays that you and your family can enjoy together. These trips are active, adventurous and provide the perfect blend of exploration and sociability.
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.
Well organized and enabled us to see a lot of Chinese highlights in two week. It did involve a lot of travel, which we knew beforehand on several days. We were lucky with a very compatible group (all boys of similar ages).
Walking the Great Wall and watching the young pandas play.
Knowledgeable, friendly, good with the kids and hard working.
Take a phrase book for restaurants.
On the whole we had. A grant time and the trip was well organized. There are a few things that could be improved such as:
The whole day spent traveling overland to Hong Kong is tedious. This should be looked at and potentially a flight used. Although we recognize another guide may then have to be used in Hong Kong but this would be advantageous in terms of local knowledge and local guide privileges. For example, we had to get a taxi up the Peak as our Chinese guide could not get access to the 'group' priority lane to avoid 1.5hr queuing.
We felt that the tips given out to the drivers and local guides were in some instances not necessary or proportional to the services they provided, or the culture of tipping in the country. The amounts advised in the Trip Notes felt excessive for this type of trip in this country.
We were a little surprised that we had to pay for the guides meals on several occasions with the bill being divided by 11 rather than 12 on numerous occasions.
The travel on days 6 and 7, following the overnight train, seemed to be excessive and unnecessary when we spent over an hour traveling in and out of Luoyang on the same road for no purpose as we didn't need to be in the centre of town that night/there was nothing to see. Could the overnight train is substituted for the bullet train or a hotel further outside Luoyang be used?
We really couldn't fault this trip. The itinerary was a great mix of physical (Great Wall, cycling and then climbing Moon Hill in Yangshuo), history (Terracotta Army, Longmen caves), cultural (calligraphy, cooking lesson, kung fu), wildlife (pandas), and a mix of urban/rural. We used different modes of transport (flight, bullet train, overnight sleeper, bus) so the journeys were fun as well. The pace was just right - busy enough that you felt you were making the most of the time in China, but not frantic by any means. And, a great balance between organised activities and 'free time' when families could do their own thing. Above all, the success of the trip was because of our tour leader, Jing, who was absolutely amazing. (Jing also arranged specialist guides for Terracotta Army, cycling in Yangshuo, cooking - and these were all great as well.)
So many but if we had to choose (1) walking 5km along the Great Wall in an area relatively untouched by tourism, so you really get the feel of it (2) a trip to the park to see young and old engage in dancing, tai chi, outdoor gym, mahjong etc etc - and being invited to join in (3) wandering at night through the Muslim quarter in Xi'an with stalls selling all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff, and then cycling along the city walls (4) a lesson from a kung fu master in Luoyang.
Jing was a first rate group leader - absolutely outstanding in all respects. She was extremely knowledgeable about every China-related topic i.e. history, demographics, regional cuisine, geology etc, but kept it interesting and fun/accessible even for the kids to understand. She seemed to have expert knowledge/insight about each area/attraction/hotel we visited, and was always on hand to resolve any tiny issue that arose. Jing was amazing with the kids (five boys on the trip) and always took their perspective, whether it was about what might be more fun for them or altering the schedule because they were tired/hungry. Jing made a particular effort to make sure that my son's birthday was fun and arranged a birthday (panda shaped) cake and dinner at a local restaurant. Finally, Jing went to extraordinary lengths to make sure we were all well fed (3 vegetarians on the trip), happy, rested etc. Exodus is extremely lucky to have such a talented and caring guide!!
Well, 'book and go' ... but also, don't be surprised when Chinese tourists want their photos taken with you/your children ... bring some books/games for the internal bus/train/flights ... bear in mind the temperature difference between the start of the journey (north - we were v cold) and the end (south - v hot) and pack accordingly ... if your kids are fussy eaters, you might want to bring some favourite snacks from home but you can get reasonably familiar biscuits/crisps etc in shops in the cities.
Don't be tempted to leave your souvenir shopping until Hong Kong. There was very little there and it was expensive. The best gift shopping (by far) was in Xi'an.
This was an excellent trip, well organised, well thought out, with travel times between destinations allowing for enough time to fully appreciate the experience. Our guide (Dennis) was exceptional, passionate about his country, it's history, it's politics, it's culture, and clealry enjoyed emersing us in our experiences. The children had a fantastic time discovering a new culture and ways of living, they learnt to speak some chinese, tried new foods that they would never dream of trying at home, and learnt to appreciate thier own culture a lifestyle.
The great wall was absolutely breathtakig, the terracotta warriors were amazing, the cycle ride through the countryside and the mountains was such fun, there is nothing about the trip that wasn't inspirational
The group leader, Dennis, was exceptional, he was knowledgeable about all aspects of the trip, passionate about his country, so considerate regarding everyone's individual needs, patient with us all when we were too hot, tired, (late). His ability to create an environment where a diverse group of people, who didn't know each other before the holiday, could gel and become friends was masterful. He related to the children at a level suitable for their ages in order to engage them fully in the holiday, and was able to get them to try lots of new things that us parents would never have been able to convince our children to try.
This was a holiday of a lifetime, well worth every penny. Do not be put off if you are single parent considerng travelling with your children - I was on my own with my two children and we had an absolutely wonderful time. We will defintiely be travelling with Exodus again.
In cities and hotels you'll find the toilets pretty much match western standards. In the more remote areas and on motorway toilet stops, the majority of toilets will be squat toilets. It's recommended that you carry your own toilet paper as this isn't always provided at toilet stops once you leave bigger cities.
Charlotte Taylor - China Operations
Overall, pretty good! The overnight train will be booked in first-class sleeper A/C, sleepers are four berth and bedding is provided. It's quite a common and comfortable way to travel in China and long gone are the days of the "Iron Rooster"! You can buy drinks, beer and pots of instant noodles on board but you may wish to purchase your own food prior to the journey as well.
Brendan Phelan - Customer Operations
The unit of currency in China is the Yuan, also known as Renminbi (RMB).
Exchange facilities are readily available in all the big cities, and many of the hotels that we stay in also have foreign exchange facilities that do not charge a commission as the banks do. Exchange facilities may be limited in smaller towns. Please note that if you wish to change RMB back into hard currency when you leave China, you may have to produce your exchange certificates to do this. Both Sterling cash and dollars are fine to take. You may want to get some local currency before travelling but it is not 100% necessary, as the leader will help you change some on arrival.
There are ATMs almost everywhere in China, either actually in or close by the hotels we use, in the major towns and cities. Most but not all ATMs will take British/ European style cards, but your leader will be able to advise you.
Charlotte Taylor - China Operations
I had no problems with cash, but then wasn't changing it in every city. I also had no problems changing or getting cash from ATMs.
Sometimes you do have to try a couple of banks to find one with English instructions or which will take a western card, but it's by no means impossible. There are plenty that have, you'll just have to try another.
I just changed money at an exchange desk in the airport and then in a bank in Shanghai. The lady at the counter didn't speak English but it didn't cause any difficulty!
Dollars are simply better known, but I don't think you would have any issues with sterling. I took half and half and had no problems. I also topped up with my ATM card a couple of times, which was no problem, although I did have to try a bank or two the first time to find one that accepted my card.
There was nothing special I packed which I felt was essential, just the usual. Some things which came in handy were a universal adaptor, phone charger, a sun hat, an inflatable travel pillow (just a small one), a travel wallet to keep my documents in, and after that just some music and books for entertainment!
It should be quite warm, so light clothing really. There are some items advised in the trip notes but nothing you really need to worry about, outside of normal travelling clothes.
I used free internet in a couple of the hotels and saw cafes in different places. The internet is restricted, and you may not be able to access such sites as Facebook, but you should have general access to email.
I took a normal wheelie suitcase with a handle and had no problems. You don't really carry it around anywhere, in and out of a few hotels, up and down to reception - whatever suits you best really!
I took a meter taxi from the airport. I would say tips probably aren't expected but it's up to you.
Like here, tipping is down to you but most group meals won't expect a tip. There is a list of optional excursions in all the trip notes, they are booked and paid for locally and usually in cash.
You can get different plug types but I found it was usually 2 pin straight (the first one here). If you buy a Universal Adaptor from somewhere like Boots at the airport (only about £6), then this will cover all plug types.
Diane Knight - Web Sales
Regulations have recently changed, meaning you now need additional supporting documentation in order to get your visa and confirm all arrrangements.
Full details of how to apply are in the Chinese Visa Information Sheet which comes with your original booking confirmation. Please read this carefully. If all your paperwork is in order, your visa normally comes back within a week or so, although you should allow up to 3 weeks to be on the safe side.
Joanna Zubr - China Operations
All the staff at Exodus share a passion for adventure travel, and are always happy to answer any questions you may have. You can find an expert for the area you are interested in here and can contact them to get further information. If you don't see your specific country listed, please email [email protected] and they will get the answers you need!
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During your search for your next adventure you can save 'holidays' to your Shortlist and compare trips. For this to work correctly, you must be signed in during your 'user session'; i.e. during your time on the Exodus website. These will then be saved in your account (don't have an Exodus website account? Sign up now!).
The Shortlist menu item (top of every page) only appears when holidays are added. Adding holidays can be done by clicking on the 'Add to shortlist' with the 'Heart' symbol on any 'Holiday' page above the 'At a Glance' section, or in the 'holiday' panels within Search Results pages, or in the 'You might also like...' section at the foot of the trip page viewed. The selected holidays will be saved into your account for consideration and can be removed there, as well as from the 'compare trips' page from the menu link located at the top of every page.
|Date||Trip Status||Adult price excl. flights (pp) from|
|Thu 20 Jul 17 - Thu 03 Aug 17||Available & guaranteed||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,745||Contact Us|
|Sat 29 Jul 17 - Sat 12 Aug 17||Available & guaranteed||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,745||Contact Us|
|Sat 05 Aug 17 - Sat 19 Aug 17||Limited Availability||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,745||Contact Us|
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|Sun 01 Apr 18 - Sun 15 Apr 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,885||Contact Us|
|Sat 30 Jun 18 - Sat 14 Jul 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,885||Contact Us|
|Thu 19 Jul 18 - Thu 02 Aug 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,885||Contact Us|
|Sat 21 Jul 18 - Sat 04 Aug 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,885||Contact Us|
|Sat 28 Jul 18 - Sat 11 Aug 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from USD $2,885||Contact Us|
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