Tag Archives: hangzhou

On the Ground in China!

Considering a guided trip to China but can’t visualize your day to day? Step into our On the Ground with WIT Agent Barb Baumer. Barb traveled to China in March 2013 with one of our favorite small group tour organizers, General Tours.

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We stayed at the Sofitel in Beijing, a very nice hotel in a good location, not too far from Tiananmen Square. In the morning we had a walking tour of the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven. In the afternoon we visited we visited the Great Wall. There are now two locations most frequented by visitors, General Tours goes to this newer location called Ju Yong Guan, as it is less crowded with visitors.

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After one day in Beijing, we flew to Xian for an experience unique to General Tours—GT partners up with the Antiquity museum and allowed us to examine and handle ancient artifacts thousands of years old, all of which have been recently excavated from archaeological sites all across China.

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We also visited the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian. It’s an amazing place, much larger than I expected. IT’s hard to comprehend the enormity of the area and the amount of artifacts that have been uncovered. They are still working to rebuild many broken statues!DSC01028

We then flew to Chongqing to start our Yangtze River Cruise on the Yangtze Explorer. This ship has large rooms, all with balconies and lots of storage space, very substantial buffets for breakfast and lunch, with multiple a la carte choices for dinner. We stopped at the village Fengdu and sailed through the Three Gorges.

In Shanghai we spent time walking along the Bund and Pudong. General Tours took us to a small silk factory where we were educated on the production of silk fabric. We also spent time at the Shanghai Museum, which has great collections of Chinese artifacts, sculptures, paintings and ceramics from many different eras.

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We also were set up for a private guided trip to Suzhou, Portland’s Sister City—the city has so many gardens—it was early spring and things were just starting to bloom. We took a high speed train and met a guide in Hangzhou, a beautiful city on a lake surrounded by green hills. We visited a Buddhist temple in the hills and a tea farm—a nice respite from the bustling Shanghai.

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WIT Agent Barb would love to share with you more of her firsthand tips from China! Call Barb at 503-224-0180 for more information on China and/or General Tours.

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Filed under Asia, China, General Tours, Vendors

Where in the World is the WIT Agent? — Hangzhou, China

This week we are following Pam through her travels in China—and she has just arrived at gorgeous Hangzhou!

Hangzhou has been a famous destination for nature lovers and artists for centuries. The West Lake has been immortalized in countless poems and paintings, and currently resides on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. The locals have a saying: “Above there is heaven, below there are Hangzhou and Suzhou.”

Settled as early as 4,700 years ago and once the most populous city in China, Hangzhou is still a major scenic and historical destination. Flourishing under silk trade, it was the home and marketplace for foreign merchants including Arabs, Persians, and Nestorian Christians. Nowadays, it enjoys more than 20 million domestic and foreign tourists annually, and we guarantee Pam is in for a specific treat!

The numerous canals and streets that link throughout the city give it a Venetian feel. One of the more popular modes of transportation is the water bus, which you can ferry down the Grand Canal daily from Wulin Gate/West Lake Culture Plaza to Gongchen Bridge. Don’t miss the Canal Museum or Xiaohe Street and its recently renovated historical alleys.

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You can also take a variety of boats to the islands on West Lake, a breathless beauty not meant to be missed. There are so many sites to see in the area, from Mr. Guo’s garden villa to the Broken Bridge, from Mid-Lake Pavilion to Lord Ruan’s Mound. There is something for everyone—visitors can wander in and out of botanical gardens, temples, tea fields, churches, pagodas, or even the zoo. Have time to spare? Try a variety of free activities, including tai chi, hiking, biking, running—or just sip some tea along the road.

Side bar:

You can enter Hangzhou city through the Xioshan International Airport, or via Pam’s route, taking the high speed train from Shanghai—about 50 minutes nonstop from Shanghai’s Hongqiao Station.

Stay tuned for next week, when Pam joins the Viking River Cruises through the gorges and Xi’an!

Interested in touring Hangzhou or anywhere in China? Email info@wittravel.com or call us at 503.224.0180.

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Filed under China, Viking Cruises, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?