11 Oct 2015 - 22 Oct 2015
I spent twelve days travelling a fascinating and diverse country with a group of wonderful people. This was my second Contiki tour and so different from my first in the US. Being a small group of about 20, we all got to know each other quickly. Our tour manager Alex was great with his vast knowledge of the history of the country, as well as where all the best Western toilets were! The addition of the 5 local guides at each destination was helpful, I especially enjoyed the visit to our guide Lilly's neighbours house in a Beijing Hutong for lunch.
We saw so many iconic sights: The Great Wall, the terracotta warriors, the Shanghai Skyline, and yet one of my favourite moments was the overnight train from Beijing to Xi'ian, where we all crammed into one compartment and partied all the way there!
Accommodation was great, especially in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and food is nice and cheap. There are plenty of opportunities to eat western food if you want, but make sure you try dumplings!
I also did all of the "Me time" optionals and I would do them all again. The cooking course was a personal favourite, and the light show in Yangshuo was spectacular, although some in the group were underwhelmed...
If you've never been to Asia before like I hadn't, take hand sanitiser and tissues for the squat toilets! Also prepare to stand out in a crowd, I never quite got used to being asked for photos due to my blonde hair, and the attention a group of tall westerners will attract!
This tour exceeded all expectations and led me to discover what an incredible place China is. I will definitely be going again as soon as I get the chance. I am currently planning to meet up with around 10 people from my tour, which is testament to how well we got on! I just cannot recommend this tour enough, and since returning, I have loved responding when people ask "Oh, why China? I'd never think to go there"!
Review written Nov 2015event 0.3
22 Jun 2014 - 03 Jul 2014
I was recommended this tour from a Contiki friend on another trip. I asked him what his favorite tour was and he said China was the best and I had to do it. I'm so glad I did!
Alex was my tour guide and he was the best. He was always great about telling us what to expect and giving great recommendations. He had restaurants in every city to recommend, which was nice because sometimes you don't know what to expect (or what might make you sick!). Also, he went out of his way to make sure we did some extra activities like a night cruise in Shanghai or visit the copy markets. The massage place he recommended in Yangshuo was a highlight (I tried hot cupping!). In addition, the local guides were great, especially Lili and Linda. They were so welcoming and went out of their way to make sure we had a good time. We had lunch at Lili's house for one of the activities and Linda came out with us one night.
Some of my highlights include: The great wall of China, peking duck dinner, forbidden city, rickshaw ride, party on the train to Xi'an, the Terracotta Warriors, bike ride through Xi'an, dumpling dinner show, boat cruise in Shanghai, acrobat show, going out in Shanghai, the copy markets, Chinese cooking class, the tallest bar in the world, and exploring Hong Kong. Also, I loved all the little cultural tourist things like the jade factory, calligraphy lesson, and the tea house. I feel like I wouldn't have been able to get all those experiences on my own. It's nice because our group was 19 people and we all became very close. Some of my favorite moments was getting to know people while on a plane ride to the next city. Myself and one of the other girls are doing another contiki in the next month!
This trip was unforgettable. It's definitely the bang for you buck as well, so much is included! I was very nervous about traveling to China for the first time, but I loved it so much. Definitely don't hesitate to book this trip!
Review written Mar 2015event 0.3
26 Oct 2014 - 06 Nov 2014
This tour is absolutely amazing and exceeded all my expectations in terms of accommodation, food, tour manager, local guides, sightseeing and every thing else.
Our tour manager was Alex and his knowledge of everything China made the trip even better.
I booked this tour at the last possible minute and it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. I was in a group of 16 and we all got along really well. I know that the people I met on tour will be friends for life.
The tour includes all the essentials but it doesn't feel rushed at any point. Each city you visit has its own highlights whether it's the Great Wall or Forbidden City in Beijing, the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an, the nightlife and shopping in Shanghai, the karsts and beautiful sights in Yangshuo or Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. My personal highlights were the Great Wall, the Shanghai nightlife and two days of unwinding in Yangshuo.
I can't recommend this tour enough and I will be encouraging all my friends to do it. China is an amazing country, the people are so friendly and the culture is fascinating. If you're considering doing this tour just book it. You won't be disappointed.
Review written Nov 2014event 0.3
25 May 2014 - 05 Jun 2014
I can't even begin to describe how amazing this trip is. Thinking about doing it? DO IT! I went as a 23rd birthday present to myself and it did not disappoint. Walking on the Great Wall was the highlight for me. The feeling of accomplishment and knowing I've walked on it is something that I will cherish forever. I was in a tour of only 8 so we were all quite close. Our tour manager Matt is the best tour guide I've had. He was kind, easy to talk to and we all had an absolute blast! The warriors you see in movies and on tv but seeing them in person is to the next level. I rang in my birthday in a night club in Xi'an with violin playing table dancers and yes Chinese people in nightclubs dance in unison to any music is was fabulous. It was one I'll never forget that's for sure. Then in the morning we took a bike ride on the ancient city walls. I did all the optional activities except the light show. I chose to stay in Hong Kong for 3 extra days and a few of the others had late flights so we all went to ocean park to see pandas.
This trip was everything I could of asked for and more.
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3
22 Jul 2013 - 02 Aug 2013
It is hard to put into words exactly how great this trip was, but I will have to try. My Asian adventure was comprised of the greatest group in travel history and was lead by the most wonderful man embodied in our tour manager, Nathan McBain. After having less then great tour experiences with others, Asia was easily the greatest experience of my entire life.
Our trip snaked from Beijing to Xi'an, then Shanghai, Yangshou and ended in Hong Kong. There is nothing to compare with the feeling of standing on the Great Wall, or taking a lap around the Terra Cotta Army, or seeing a gorgeous panoramic view of Hong Kong. Our attention was constantly being grabbed with the various shows and the me time activities were excellent. - Then you could wonder around the cities, as I did, and see the locals carrying on in a normal fashion. One of my tour mates and I found a temple and got amazing shots, and a view into the religious life of the region. There are so many sounds, smells and sights that comprise Asia that you have to pace yourself as not to miss a single thing. The local guides are all wonderful people and are there to explain and help you enjoy every city, every site, everything.
The hotels were all great. I have high expectations in general and was not disappointed once. The feel of the beds was a surprise, however we were kept so busy during the day that once I collapsed into it at night I slept soundly. Contiki REALLY outdid itself with the Metropolis in Hong Kong. That place was magnificent and to be quite honest I wondered if a mistake had been made. That fact became a light joke in the group. However the accommodations were extremely nice and I found my room a respite every night.
Finally, this was my first trip where I liked my tour manager. He made us feel special and was genuinely concerned about us as a group and as individuals. - I've never had that before as a traveler. I didn't feel like a number. I felt if I had ANY problem, Nate would work to try a rectify it, or direct me to where it could be rectified. I would travel with Nate anywhere.
Review written Sep 2013event 0.3
22 Jul 2013 - 02 Aug 2013
Well it was a mixture of everything that made this truly an amazing tour.
From the group dynamic, the enthusiastic and truly great english speaking local tour guides, combined with the amazing scenery, people and weather we were so lucky to be blessed with. We had a kickass tour.
From the start in Beijing to the end in Hong Kong, our tour guide steered us to all the best local bars and nightclubs, to the amazingly tasty cheap and cheerful lunch stops, cheers Nathan.
Every place you stop at has something different to offer, whether that be the amazing 'Peking' duck in Beijing and buying a beer on the 'Great Wall of China', the best morning wake up call riding a bike along the Xi'an walls before the 'Terracotta Warriors', the truly memorable nightclubs and full on bargaining markets in Shanghai, the intense out of this world 360 degree engulfing mountain scenery surrounding you in Yangshuo or the view from the 'Peak' in Hong Kong, China truly has a lot to offer everyone.
Incredible options including amazing Peking duck, and one that you would be incredibly idiotic not to see is the Chinese Acrobatic 'Cirque du soleil' style show in Shanghai, all I can say I motorbikes + Incredibly high blindfolded 'Astronauts' + women in a barrel = a show not to be missed or seen anywhere else but China.
Thank you Contiki, and thanks again Nathan for giving me a tour to remember and never forget, additionally to the people who made it that much greater than could of been expected.
As read above, heavily recommended.
Review written Aug 2013event 0.3
22 Jul 2013 - 02 Aug 2013
This trip was amazing, talking and hearing about things like the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors and Jade statues are one thing, but going to China and seeing them for yourself leaves you awe struck. There is so much to see and do and doing this trip with such a great mix of people such as i had, made it all the more special. Mad respect to Nathan McBain our tour guide for looking after us so well...Even after I got lost on the way to Mong Kok(my bad).
Review written Aug 2013event 0.3
23 Jul 2012 - 03 Aug 2012
A terrific trip!!!! we saw the main historical sights such as the great wall, forbidden city (palace museum), summer palace and terracotta warriors. the tour was a great mix of historical and modern china. tour guide and local guides were amazing and knowledgeable, plenty of activities and extras with free time available. hotels were a mix all comfortable. transport between cities by plane with a fun overnight train mixed in and buses in between sites. highly recommended!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
01 Apr 2013 - 12 Apr 2013
One of the best trips I’ve ever been on! This adventure opened my eyes to a whole new world and culture. The best things about this trip were the places we went to, the activities we did, our outstanding tour manager (Luke), our local guides - and best of all - the other people in the group!
I had initially thought of going to China with another tour company (Wendy Wu), which probably would have been cheaper, since they include flights, visa costs, and all meals. However, having spoken to people that have gone with that company and others, the average age of people on such tours is 40+ (sometimes 50+), the pace is rather slow, and I think I would’ve been bored! I’m so glad I went with Contiki, I'd heard great things about the company (this was my first trip with them), and there were always like-minded people up for having a good time, and for taking part in the more lively activities. (Most people were 20s-early 30s, with a surprising number of people with dSLRs – a random observation!) Also, Hong Kong was included – which was the cherry on top!
Every day was action-packed. The highlight for me was climbing the Great Wall - a day I'll remember for years to come! The Backstage Pass activities were excellent – some of the places that were included, like the 798 Art District in Beijing, were places that I’d never have considered going to if I were on my own, and the lunch with a local family in their house in the Hutong district, would not have been possible if I were on my own! I did all the optional extras, except the last one (the light show in Yangshuo?). Also, in the free time that we had, Luke’s recommendations were always great. The accommodation was top notch. We stayed in four-star hotels (most of them with free wifi) which had great Eastern and Western style breakfasts. The included meals on the tour were all good. And for those of you who are also adventurous with food and drink – there are plenty of opportunities to try the crazy stuff!
Our guides in each city/town were amazing. In Beijing we had Hubert; Xi’an – Ken; Shanghai – Linda; Yangshuo – Julie; and Hong Kong – Gain. Each was a character in themselves! What was great about them was how they added their own touch to each town – whether it was their sense of humour, personal stories, encyclopaedic knowledge, or their god-like ability to retrieve wallets/passports left on trains or in restaurants. Although I am a fan of reading guidebooks, having a living, breathing and interactive guide to tell us about each place was so much better.
To summarise, going to China with Contiki was full of memorable experiences. I wouldn’t have been able to do so many things, learn so much, make so many cool friends, and have such a great time if I went solo, or with another company. The tour was a great introduction to China and Hong Kong – I can’t wait to go back!
Review written May 2013event 0.3
15 Apr 2013 - 26 Apr 2013
China Adventure was my first ever Contiki trip and I have to say that it was one of the best travelling experiences I've ever had - worth every cent! Our guide Luke (hi Luke!!) was super knowledgeable about everything and had interesting things to say about every destination. Some of my favourite things on the tour were the Great Wall (and tobogganing off it), the cooking class in Yangshuo, trying scorpion and starfish in Beijing, tandem bike-riding on the Xi'an city walls and the acrobat show in Shanghai, although in all honesty I loved everything we did. Highly recommended if you want to see a bit of everything China has to offer!
Review written May 2013event 0.3
01 Apr 2013 - 12 Apr 2013
This tour was so much more then what I through it would be. The Tour Guide Luke was OUTSTANDING, he was friendly,helpful and so nice that he made the trip fun, he really knows his stuff and you can see that he wants everyone on the trip to get the best of China.
The people on the tour where a GREAT GROUP and everyone got on and enjoyed the trip, we where like one big happy family, couldnt have asked for a better Group.
The Local Guides on all the stops where also OUTSTANDING and really showed us the Best that China has to offer and where helpful if you had questions they could answer.
Accommodation on this trip is out of the World, every Hotel is well cleaned and in Great Locations of the Cities and sights. (If you have done Contiki before then the Hotels are no way a normal Contiki Hotel) if you havent done a Contiki before and do this trip then don't think that ever Contiki puts you up in the Best Hotels in the City casue they don't, this tour doesn't even feel like a Contiki.
Every Day was full on, yet you couldnt have asked for less, you saw everything and nothing was left out (you wont be leaving the tour going I wish we had seen this, as ever base is covered).
Meals where good and very nice (don't think its just Asian Food all the time you get a mix of Western and Local food).
The Optionals for this tour are Great and it is worth doing all of them, really couldn't say what the best one was cause I enjoyed them all and was good to do them.
Best Moemnt cant reaslly say as I enjoyed the whole trip and wish it was Longer cause I loved China and can't wait to go back again.
I def say it worth doing as you see so much and learn so much on the tour that it really is worth every cent you pay.
Review written Apr 2013event 0.3
14 May 2012 - 25 May 2012
Walking the Great Wall of China was surreal, seeing the Terra Cotta Army was new and exciting but what made the China tour so much more than the tourist sites were the people. Not only did I have the greatest people in my group but our tour guides from each city were so knowledgeable about their country that it made learning/listening less of a chore.
During our 12 days tour to China we visited Beijing (Guide: Hubert), Xian (Guide: Michelle), Shanghai (Guide: Annie), Yangzhou (Guide: Julia) and Hong Kong (Guide: Gain). With each new city, we had a different guide and each guide helped us navigate a country that spoke little or no english. What I love the most is that although they were from the same country their views of China were very different. I felt as though their views and knowledge was an extension of the city they were guiding us through, which gave me a better understanding of the people and culture from each city.
Because Contiki caters to people in their mid-30's and younger the tours and activities were geared toward the younger crowd. Yes we visited the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Army, which is a must for China, but we also visited the art district called 798. We rode a rickshaw through a Hutong neighborhood and had lunch with a Chinese family in Beijing; visited the Muslim quarters in Xian; and there was the cooking class and rafting in Yangzhou. In other words, Contiki did a great job in showing us all aspect of the Chinese culture: from old China to modern China.
However, the best part about my trip was my group. I don't think the trip would've been as exciting if we didn't get along like we did. I'll have fond memories of China thanks to my "I love BJ" group. And last but not least, a huge thanks goes to Luke for putting up with us and our shenanigans for the entire 12 days. Without your knowledge and your helpful hits, I would've come home with more souvenirs than I needed and loss more money that I wanted to.
Review written Jun 2012event 0.3
14 Nov 2011 - 25 Nov 2011
The best way to see the highlights of China - Contiki set us this trip so that we would see the best things from the best point of view - You can't imagine how amazing to experience the Great Wall with very little people around, and the bund in Shanghai!
Our Tour Leader Luke was knowledgable and very easy to approach, and anwsered all our silly questions and opened up our minds to what we thought we knew about China.
I met so many amazing people from America, South Africa and NZ, as well as people from Australia!
Our Accomodation was amazing - Even staying in 5 star hotels in certain cities! (This may be variable for your trip though!)
Overall, this tour is amazing for anyone wanting to go here - I guarantee it will not be what you thought it was!
Review written Jan 2012event 0.3
27 Jun 2011 - 08 Jul 2011
My first Contiki Tour and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. Tips: Take immodium etc because the milk isn't pasturised (almost everyone on the tour had stomach issues as a result) and the water isn't the best, only drink bottled! Take plenty of tissues/toilet paper as some places either don't have any or you can only buy it in small amounts, and haggle in the markets - it's easy to get a better price.
Review written Jan 2012event 0.3