City Tour Rating:
The guide pointed things out as we traveled from place to place. Just looking out the window at what a Chinese city on ground level looks like was interesting. Bikes and other contrivances everywhere, traffic patterns and street customs so different from ours, different flora.
Shanghai Museum Rating: Not Rated
So much to see here. Wish we'd had more time. Instruments, masks, jade and ancient metal pieces, much more. An excellent museum to visit in Shanghai.
The Bund Rating:
Wonderful views of the city from this long walkway on the river. Nice pictures available.
Yu Gardens Rating:
The first tour we took, once rested. First experience with Chinese art, architecture, furniture, culture and vendors. Everything was new to us and therefore awesome, and our guide was very clear about organizational matters, and how to "deal with" the sometimes aggressive vendors that are pervasive throughout the tourist areas of China.
Badaling Great Wall Rating: Not Rated
Fabulous!!!! We climbed to the left, which was pretty steep, but amazing. Created so long ago, the steps are very uneven as to both depth, height and slope. wonderful experience with views that are unparalleled. But I got lost after my descent, trying to find my way back to the meeting place.
(quoted from elsewhere in my review)...
I was dismayed, on the next-to-last day of the tour when we were at the Great Wall, when I inadvertently took a wrong turn when trying to return to our meeting place and found myself far, far away from where I was supposed to be. Although I missed getting back to my meeting place in time and my bus returned without me on the 50-minute ride back to Beijing, this extremely frightening experience (I had no Chinese language and the people where I found myself had little to no English skills) cost me a taxi-ride back to where I was supposed to get to, where I found out for the first time I had been "stranded" by my bus at the Great Wall, Viking River Tours already had anticipated such innocent mistakes as mine, and because I was wearing a name tag with a Chinese character on it telling the Chinese who I was with and therefore where I was supposed to meet, and because that same name tag had the phone number of my bus's Chinese (Viking) travel guide, I was rescued by Viking. In fact, the company even paid for my second taxi...the 50-minute one back to Beijing to the luncheon spot where the rest of my group had gone ahead of me. So, two things about that....they rescued me and took care of/paid for my rescue....and they didn't hold everyone else up while my rescue was happening. Although I was terrified at the time, I was actually under good care (which no one could share because of the language barrier) and was safe all the while, due to Viking's efficiency and management of their tour spots.
Beijing City Tour Rating:
This included Tiananman Square and the Forbidden City, but also pointed out the existing hutongs as we passed by.
Bird's Nest Rating:
Can't rate this adequately, because my son simply decided, with another passenger, to get of our tourbus to look closer at this Olympic site and to negotiate the Beijing subway on their own to get back to our hotel. He didn't get inside, but the independent factor was great for these two passengers.
Forbidden City Rating:
Interesting. Was glad I'd seen "The Last Emperor" before the trip for a little background on the site. Otherwise, mostly interesting for the architecture.
Summer Palace Rating:
We didn't actually go to any palace, so this was misleading. However, we viewed it from over the water on a neat little tourist boat we caught which went to a shopping area on the other side of the little lake/pond.
Tiananmen Square Rating:
Huge. Very hot day. Expanse! Neat central double-sided screen for movies, advertisement, and programming.