14 Thursday January, 2016
By Rosie Fletcher, China Specialist
Some time has now passed since Ellie and I got back from our epic Chinese adventure and my spirits do not feel dampened. I still feel surprised at my own reaction to China and how positive it left me. I am so excited to have discovered a new corner of the world, and I can’t wait to go back. Here is my day-by-day diary of our action-packed journey through China...
We hit the ground running! A 4.30am arrival in Beijing and straight to the Great Wall! We followed one highlight with another at the stunning Summer Palace… We are now cosy in our room at Aman Summer Palace and very much ready for Bedfordshire.
We had the perfect start to the day, with an early morning Tai Chi class from the ‘Master’, in the grounds of The Temple of Heaven – so Chinese! As the day unfolded, more unbeatable highlights followed: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Hot Pot lunch, Hutong Tour, 796 Art District… We have ended the day at The Opposite House and have found delectable treats in our room.
A full-on working day in Beijing for us today. But we were rewarded by an amazingly delicious Peking Duck at The Country Kitchen at the Rosewood Hotel. Totally mouth watering.
It was worth us waking up early today to get to the fresh air and beautiful mountains of Lijiang. We visited a local ‘Snack Store’ which was so much fun! We are now staying at the mind-blowing Amandayan.
Today we visited the picture perfect Black Dragon Pond, where we learnt so much from our guide about the history of the Naxi tribe in the local villages. We didn't want to leave Lijiang! But… We have arrived at The Temple House Hotel – it is the ultimate in ‘chic’. My first impression is that it is the perfect blend of Chinese authentic and modern.
Today was ALL about the pandas in Chengdu - we fell completely in love! Our evening flight was cancelled due to bad weather, with an overnight stay in the airport hotel – all in the name of a Chinese adventure!
We flew to Hangzhou this morning (admission: we stopped at the airport Starbucks…). The weather has been questionable but this evening we cosied up in The Steam House restaurant and filled ourselves with delicious Chinese pork belly…
The grottos and temples in Fayun village, the Dragon Well Green Tea plantations and the mystical boat ride on Hangzhou's West Lake were completely dreamy this morning. The serenity we felt earlier is totally contrasted to our bullet train to Shanghai! Wow, what an amazing assault on our senses, this bustling city definitely feels like “The Paris of the Orient”!
Museums can be hit and miss, but the amazing artefacts in the Shanghai museum made it a hit for us today. This was perfectly followed by a leisurely stroll around the French Concession. Which was PERFECTLY followed by a cheeky cocktail with a view at St Elly’s al fresco bar at The Peninsula Hotel… Work or play?!
Today we have had an exhausting full day of work in Shanghai. We are now tucked up in bed in the Shangri La, Guilin. Sleep time.
Today was spent walking amidst the beautiful and ethereal landscapes in Longsheng, home to the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces, a group of large terraces carved into the hillside dating back more than 650 years.
It’s hard to know whether our noodle soup for breakfast, or our noodle soup for lunch was more ‘authentic’ today! We had a great time visiting a local tea house, taking a river boat and exploring an authentic market – and sampling some street side, freshly steamed taro dumplings… China’s answer to custard tarts!
I can’t believe that we left mainland China today. The sun shone as we relaxed on our own bamboo raft down the Yulong River before flying to Hong Kong… It feels like we have entered another world.
Another full on working day in Hong Kong today.
We are flying home today, but we managed to squeeze in some exploration though. Soho is very cool, but my favourite was our ride on the Hong Kong Big Red Bus Tour - our chance to be quintessential tourists!
This has been an incredible trip, and we have been so lucky. China has blown all my expectations out of the water. Culture, history, art, architecture, food, landscapes, activity, relaxation – there is nothing that this wonderful country does not possess. So many incredible memories and I for one, cannot wait to come back.
For more information or to start planning your tailor-made holiday to China, please get in touch with Rosie:
firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 207 819 9770