The thought of organising a trip to China was initially daunting but Travel Local and their Chinese partner made a complex planning exercise into something that was relatively easy. Our trip went off with no problems and we could sit back and enjoy the experience. All I can say about China is WOW! See below for more details.
As a bespoke private tour we were assured of good hotels, door to door service with excellent English speaking guides and because we also had 'on call' private taxis we were able to see many more sites, museums and places because we did not have to think about any travel arrangements. Our city to city travel, whether by air or train was pre-booked by TravelLocal's Chinese partner, and the guides got us through the vast stations and airports which otherwise would have proved difficult. The guides had, in some cases, encyclopaedic knowledge of the sites we visited and could show us the best 'bits' making our visits both informative and exciting.
We travelled to three cities in China and all the taxis were adequate but the Shanghai taxi was a little scruffy in comparison with the ones from Xi'an and Beijing. Also the Shanghai taxi was not always prompt. Having said that the driving conditions were quite taxing but they all coped with aplomb.
Special mention must be made of our guides and drivers in Xi'an and Beijing. Linda and Mars and their drivers were all brilliant. They were charming, caring and considerate to our needs. Our safety was their first concern. Their knowledge of the sites we visited and generally was considerable and brought the sites and cities to life for us. They made our stay very enjoyable.
Just one warning for travellers - if you take cash into china for exchange in the hotels be sure the notes are in pristine condition. We had notes rejected because there had tellers numbers written on them or old notes which were frayed at the corners, apparently the Bank of China was rejecting them.
All was absolutely brilliant. The shear scale of China can at times be overwhelming. Everything is on a vast scale. All the cities and sites we visited were all so different from one another and unique in their own way. I feel that having visited three mighty cities I have only just scratched the surface of China. Having said that the outstanding parts for me have to be the Terracotta soldiers in Xi,an, the bullet train to Beijing, Shanghai business district with the many 50 plus storey mega buildings or even our 87 storey hotel where our room was on the 76 floor giving us a fantastic view of the city and the commercial traffic on the river going past the Bund. There were many beautiful places but for the most beautiful building had to be the Ming tomb. Also mustn't forget the Great Wall.