Well, we’re back home after our trip to China, and what a great vacation it was! We flew to Shanghai where we spent two nights, then it was on a train for two nights from Shanghai to Kunming, then a brief flight to Dali, then by car to Lijiang, then we trekked through the Tiger Leaping Gorge, then on to Shangri-La (Zhongdian), and finally to Deqin County before working our way back by car and plane.
I took loads of photos of people, houses, temples, landscapes, mountains, food and toilets, and will be posting some of them over the next couple of weeks, along with hotel reports, etc.
Without exception, the people we met were friendly and helpful, and in some cases very amusing (some Chinese people seem to have a strong sense of humour). With only one exception, the food was great. Some of the places we stayed in were superb.
We arranged the trip through Sanya China Travel, and were very happy with the service they offered and the arrangements and suggestions they made. Their documentation was good as well. My first enquiry was to China Connection Tours, but they didn’t get back to me with a detailed costing. Sanya China Travel, on the other hand, always responded quickly to my questions and suggestions, which is why they ended up with our custom.
There are, of course, various ways to travel in a country like China. You can go on a group tour, and we saw several of these in action – essentially, they are bus tours, and the itineraries are so busy that you hardly get a moment to savour the surroundings. You can tailor make your own itinerary using a tour company to make bookings and arrange pickups etc, which is what we did. Or you can travel independently, which is fine if you have lots of time, which we didn’t.
Sanya China Travel booked our flights and trains and our selected hotels, arranged airport pickups and drop offs, and provided an excellent guide and driver for the final week to see us through the Tiger Leaping Gorge and on to Deqin County near the border with Tibet. They also provided a detailed itinerary, advice on travel, and arranged access to some sites and venues. Other day trips and venues we arranged ourselves, so that there was a lot of flexibility. It couldn’t have worked out better.
I discovered that yak meat makes me very flatulent.
I took a lightweight Samsung tablet, and in most places there was free WiFi, enabling me to keep in touch via email, etc.
I knew that Facebook was ‘unavailable’ in most parts of China, but also found that Twitter, WordPress, Blogspot and YouTube were also banned. As a great deal of commerce is now conducted via those sites, I wonder how it will affect the economy in China in the future.
I found that even if I mentioned Facebook or Twitter in emails, my browser either slowed down or crashed.
There’s still an immense amount of building and construction going on in the country, with great emphasis on transportation and communications infrastructures.
Below is a short clip I made using the Samsung tablet, on the road from Deqin to Zhongdian.