Our travel agent did a wonderful job putting an itinerary together that met all our expectations. Before as well as during our trip she was in constant contact with us and very responsive to our questions and requests. We travelled together with our 16 and 18 year old sons and our agent as well as all the guides in all the different places that we visited ensured that we had a very memorable experience. Especially our guides in Beijing and Chengdu went out of their way to make sure that we had a wonderful time. We would very highly recommend this travel planner at the travel agency as well as these guides to anybody!
After such a wonderful trip it is quite difficult to choose just a few most enjoyable or memorable parts. Our first overwhelming impression was the spectacular view from our hotel room on the 16th floor at the hotel in Shanghai. Taking the high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing was also quite exciting and in Beijing our sons found most memorable hiking the Great Wall at Mutianyu (thanks to our guide for hiking with us!). In Xi'an of course visiting the Terra Cotta Army stood out and in Chengdu we really enjoyed the country side surrounding the Panda Breeding Centers in Dujiangyan and Wolong as well as the visit to the Giant Buddha in Leshan, in Guilin the Li River cruise along the Karst hills really stood out.
We also enjoyed the hotels that had been arranged by the travel agent. We asked for four/five star hotels and they managed to get a good mix between high quality/comfort and authenticity.
We would not do too many things differently. During the trip we already made some changes to our itinerary as, especially towards the end of the trip, we had booked too many things and we wanted to have some time to just enjoy the landscape surrounding the hotel. So we skipped the cooking class as well as the biking tour in Yangshuo. If I would have had a choice to pick the season for visiting I would also not pick the summer as it was really hot (between 36-43 degrees Celcius (96-109 Fahrenheit) with humidity over 80%).
What we also would not do again is have a very early morning flight and full day itinerary as that turned out to be very exhausting in the summer heat.
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