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A collage of images taken in China

Staff stories: The wonders of China

Join ROL Cruise Advisor Olivia as she shares her experience of China

Published on 07 Jun 2024

Hi Olivia! You recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China. Can you tell us about your itinerary? 

Of course! We had a direct flight to Changsha which is the capital of Hunan Province in South Central China. We spent three nights in Changsha, which is steeped in history, and explored as much as we could. We thoroughly enjoyed tasting local dishes and experiencing the city’s nightlife. 

We then travelled by bullet train to Zhangjiajie, which is a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is well known for its incredible mountains which inspired the film Avatar. We explored the breathtaking Hallelujah Mountains, walked on the glass footpath high up in the mountains and took the famous Bailong Elevator. We even visited the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and some of us even braved the zip-line across the gorge. 

After three action-packed days, we returned to Changsha on the train and then it was onward to Beijing. Here, we were welcomed with a traditional Peking duck banquet before two full busy days of sightseeing. We even walked a section of the Great Wall of China, though more on that later. Other Beijing highlights included visits to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, an acrobatics show and a Tai Chi class. 

It truly was a non-stop itinerary. We said our farewells to China, but I will definitely be returning! 

Out of all the incredible places you visited, which was your favourite and why? 

I loved Zhangjiajie, it was just so unexpected. I knew we would visit cities in China, but to be in this stunning national park was not the image I had in mind. I loved the unique mountains and we had some great food there. Our guide took us to an incredible local nightlife spot! 

You visited the Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage site. What was it like? 

It was amazing! It’s surreal being in a place that you have seen pictured so many times. I loved being able to see the wall snake over the rolling hills as far as the eye could see in both directions, it was mind-blowing. The scale of the wall is so impressive and the history around it was very interesting. 

What was the most unusual thing you experienced? 

Probably some of the food in the night markets. It was very different to what I expected! 

I was brave and tried some of the local dishes, stinky tofu being one of them. Stinky tofu is black and looks a lot like a lump of coal. It was pretty unusual and we saw it a lot while in Changsha. 

Wendy Wu Tours’ tour guides are outstanding. How did they shape your experience? 

Wendy Wu Tours were incredible! I wouldn’t have got half as much from this trip without them. Their experience and knowledge was unbeatable. Each guide had impeccable English so nothing was lost in translation and you can tell how passionate they are about showing off the country and making you feel so welcome and relaxed. 

What was the food like? 

It wasn’t what I expected, especially at the start of the trip in Changsha and Zhangjiajie. We had more stereotypical Chinese food in Beijing, though. 

We always ate as a group with many dishes being placed on a large lazy Susan in the centre of the table so everyone could access them. It was a great way to dine as you could try lots of different dishes. 

What was the most surprising part of your trip? 

How friendly and welcoming the people we met were, especially in Changsha and Zhangjiajie where they don’t get many western tourists. They just want to show off where they live, their history and traditions. 

Which moment of your trip will you cherish forever? 

Walking down the 999 steps below the Heaven’s Gate Mountain. It was just beautiful and a place I had only ever seen in pictures before. It truly takes your breath away and I have never seen landscape like it. 

Why should one travel with Wendy Wu Tours? 

I couldn’t have done this trip myself, especially to reach less travelled destinations. Wendy Wu support you throughout, assist massively with the language barrier and really make sure you see everything at its best. Their itineraries are perfectly designed and their guides are known for being the best in the industry. Only highly regarded and experienced guides can work for Wendy Wu. 

Lastly, do you have any top tips for customers travelling with Wendy Wu Tours? 

The joy of booking a Wendy Wu tour is that everything is sorted for you. Amazing information booklets before you travel mean that all your questions are answered and your guide who is with you from start to finish means that you are never without support and guidance. 

My top tip would be to try some of Wendy Wu’s tours that take you off the beaten track and show you another side to China, more than just the bustling cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xian. Go with an open mind and it will exceed your expectations. 

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