Please come to Hereford, UK - it's just started building the new retail development - plenty of new shops, multi-screen cinema and plenty of entertainment - which will be open in time for Easter 2014.
The day trip was excellently organised. The Travel Guide arrived on time, albeit we were only a small party.
We went to the Banpo site first which was interesting although something that I couuld have easily left out of the tour. The Terracotta Warriors were brilliant although we went during the National China Holiday week so all the locals were on holiday so the queues were incredibly long and the crowds overwhelming. Due to the high volume of people it was difficult to see everything at a leisurely pace. We went into the Gift/Souvenir shop afterwards to purchase a book, which was signed by the Farmer who had discovered the treasures!
Overall, well worth a visit.
The tour started at 7.00am. We went on one of the first days of the Chinese National holidays so everywhere was packed to capacity. At 7.30am we were standing in Tiananmen Square, overwhelmed by the number of locals that can gathered. The visit to the Forbidden City was good but limited in the sense that we did not really go into any of the internal "temples" as we walked through the F/City on the outer footpaths, which were still within the F/City so as to avoid the crowds. We arrived at the Summer Palace at 2.30pm by which time over 110,000 people had entered so that will give you a feel on numbers! Likewise, in order for the small party to keep together, we were constantly on the move, so little time to really look at anything. We visited a Chinese Medicine Hospital (waste of time), as well as a silk factory (quite interesting) and a pearl factory (great if you wanted to buy some very reasonable priced pearls). Obviously the latter three stops were purely there to part with some cash! Our guide, Mr Jacky Lee, was excellent as he took time to take photos of the couples in the group and he knew the best places to capture the photos so well done to him. Lunch provided was good. Apart from the crowds, a really good day was had by all.
The Jugongguan was well worth a visit - the climb was extremely steep in places and the higher you climbed, the volume of people was also reduced, albeit we saw very few tourists climb to the same level as us. Since it was on one of the National Chinese Holidays, all the locals had gathered to climb the wall so it was very crowded, so hanging on to the handrails became a challenge at times as the locals would just sit down and block access to the handrails. We were told that the locals prefer the steeper sections as it is good exercise for them and tend to avoid the sections which are not as steep. Our private tour guide said that there were no toilets at the top - he was wrong, unless of course he has never walked the distance that we did in the hour it took us to get to a relatively high spot, where the wall divided. We had clear blue skies so views were breath-taking when we got to the top, so well worth it.
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