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Walk The Great Wall + Xian Extension WGT

Visiting: China
Trip Duration 12 Days
 

Reviews for Walk The Great Wall + Xian Extension

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Walk The Great Wall + Xian Extension reviews verified by reevooReevoo

21 reviews

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Walk The Great Wall + Xian ExtensionScores 8.7 out of 10 based on 21 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Mary

Toronto
Trekking on the different refurbished and original sections of the Great Wall was a dream come true for me. It was an amazing experience with a small group of great people and a guide who knew his history and consistently brought it to life for us. I am petite and in my sixties and found some sections challenging and grateful that, like some others in our group, it was okay to trek only part or even take the whole day off for a needed break. The sight-seeing in Beijing and Xi'an, along with all the meals and shows we attended, were well-organized to the last detail by our guides. The accommodations were sometimes very basic, especially off-the-beaten-path, but the bed linens were always clean and the staff welcoming. The overnight train to Xi'an in first class was a special treat. Loved everything about this tour.
Confirmed traveller: 06 June 2017
Published on: 09 June 2017
(7 out of 10)

John

Near Oxford
The trip itself was good, however there were odd things that detracted from our overall experience.

The Guide was poor, he had no idea of how to communicate to the group and subsequently we imparted no knowledge (if he had any) of what was happening, when the coach was arriving, what to expect and anything on the journey that was of interest or anything really about the wall.

On arriving, he collected us and then never explained anything, just saying our passports could be collected about 20 minutes after we arrived at the hotel. He then phoned to say why had we not come down as the group were waiting to go out to eat dinner........

On arriving at the restaurant, there was not consultation on what we could have, explaining the menu or taking into consideration the dietary needs of the team, which included myself (Coeliac) and a no pork person. On asking what I could eat from what was delivered I was told, "rice and vegetables" some of which on inspection had soy sauce on them. This theme carried on for the "Walking the Wall trip"

One of the reasons we booked with explore was that meals were not included but it became apparent that the expectation was that he organised the evening meals and pre booked the choices, never taking into consideration regional differences, dietary needs, consequently, sweet and sour pork, chicken with cashew nuts, beef and noodles became the standard.

Occasionally I was able to eat more than just rice and veg, with an omelette and once he was able to organise fish. When we manage to show the Chinese people my concerns without him I was able to arrange a meal without Soy Sauce.

The breakfasts without exception (on the wall section) were poor, in one case you were given an egg, piece of sweet corn, doughball and piece of cake on the same plate.

On most occasions for breakfast and dinner we eat away from the rest of the customers, not our choice, but organised but the guide.

On Tuesday of the tour, we did not follow the plan at all, and spent most of the day on what should have been a scenic drive viewing, coal mines, steel mills, barren land, dried rivers, rubbish and what could have been a war zone. The hotel was not as per the itinerary and when we arrived at 2pm and asked the guide what we were doing in the afternoon, he replied we could rest??? there was nothing to do as the two was one street with a coal mine and steel mill in it and covered in dust, rubbish and a state of dilapidation.
With no explanation from the guide about this, we tackled him about it the following morning and he said the walk we should have done was closed and so he had changed the itinerary / hotel / route. Had we been given a choice we could have stayed longer when on the wall / the town from the morning and arrived later at the godforsaken town we ended up in.

The actual days when we walked on the wall was amazing and had this been for more days would have added to the overall experience.

Xian on the other hand was wonderful, the overnight train uneventful as required, the guide as they should be, informative, helpful, considerate, and fully communicative about the city, history, food, places to go etc.

This part of the tour was all 10's
Confirmed traveller: 01 May 2017
Published on: 07 May 2017
(10 out of 10)

David

Polegate East Sussex
Best part of the tour was when we were walking along the Great Wall. Food interesting but you could eat well. It would have been nice to have had a little more time visiting the various places of interest.
Confirmed traveller: 25 April 2017
Published on: 01 May 2017
(9 out of 10)

Jeremy

Birmingham
A fabulous way of experiencing a few of the main highlights of China, with an obvious concentration on the Great Wall - whether or not you include the Xian extension. The Wall was the main reason for me booking this trip, so the itinerary was close to ideal. The trekking days are pretty much as described in the tour notes, but in my opinion the treks are not for beginners - some experience is preferable, given that so little of Wall is flat (and some sections are *very* steep). For me, walking boots and walking polls were absolutely essential.

Xian is well worth a visit in its own right, as well as for the sake of the Terracotta Warriors. The Muslim quarter was an unforgettable experience.

There are a few long drives on this tour, and the evenings in the some of the towns we stayed in were quiet. Most hotels were better than other reviews had led me to expect, however. The food was excellent - think of a Chinese banquet every evening for £10 a time including a drink. So once you're there, this is not a high-spending tour. Lunch generally consists of snacks taken on the hoof. £20 a day for food would cover everything.

The only slight disappointment was our guide, who we think was a last-minute replacement for someone else (events outside somebody's control, no doubt). He was good at getting things done behind the scenes, and in organising good quality food at affordable prices. In terms of communication, however, he fell well short of my expectations was on the numerous similar trips I've been on. We often found ourselves short of detail on the daily agenda, and we learned very little about the history and culture of the sites we saw. This was a surprise. Practical information given to individual members of the group was sometimes contradictory. Perhaps the slight niggles we all felt will be ironed out once this tour leader has gained more experience of this specific trip.
Confirmed traveller: 25 April 2017
Published on: 28 April 2017
(8 out of 10)

Mike

Malvern
Trip was as good as I'd hoped with a good mix of sight seeing and walking. Xi'an is well worth visiting; the terracotta army lived up to expectations but the city has lots more to see and is easier to manage than Beijing. The walks on the Wall differed widely ... some very short days but a couple of tougher ones. All in amazing scenery though. I was lucky with the weather, I think some of the walks would be difficult on hot days.

I'd recommend a case with wheels rather than a kitbag as some of the hotels and transfers involved a fair amount of lugging bags about. And although the food was very good - everyone says it won't be like Chinese food at home but if you ever eat in places like Chinatown it actually will be - there are fairly limited concessions to Western tourists and if you can't use chopsticks you'll need to learn quickly.
Confirmed traveller: 18 April 2017
Published on: 20 April 2017
(9 out of 10)

Sheila

Serralongue (France)
Excellent trip. Would certainly recommend. Accommodation better than anticipated, as we were advised not to expect too much, but it was fine. Would certainly advise adding the extension to Xian if possible - the warriors are formidable! Walking the wall is an experience I won't forget - no particular highlights, though more agreeable towards the latter part simply because it was less crowded.
Confirmed traveller: 11 October 2016
Published on: 17 October 2016
(9 out of 10)

Anne

East of England
Walking on the wall delivered all it promised . Views were stunning and we covered a variety of different locations, and restored and unrestored sections. Some days were more strenuous, with steep and exposed sectors and high humidity -but no problem for the 'mountain goats' in our group. The guides provided options for both those who wanted to walk further and faster or more slowly. Steps can be steep, and vary in height and depth, so those with knee problems may find walking poles very useful.

Hotels were variable but generally ok, with hot water and clean beds but often smelt of smoke.

The scale and numbers of the Terracotta Army are difficult to imagine prior to the visit and the site well laid out, though very busy.
Confirmed traveller: 20 September 2016
Published on: 29 September 2016
(8 out of 10)

Beelin

Cambridge
On the whole, the tour was well planned and I had a great time. The mix of cultural and physical activity is balanced. Good to have the optional activities. However, perhaps it's time to review the hotels used on the tour. My issue with the hotels is the tobacco smell in the rooms. It's not something you can do, but with your relationship with these hotels, is it something worth raising - perhaps encourage them to keep some rooms smokefree?
Confirmed traveller: 20 September 2016
Published on: 28 September 2016
(8 out of 10)

Monica

Lampeter
The tour guide we had for the Great Wall trek, Peter Cheng, was fabulous.
He was very friendly, sociable and attentive nothing was too much trouble.
The tour was well thought through and organised. It all ran very smoothly.

The only negative was that some of the hotel rooms were a bit shoddy.
For example, broken air conditioning systems, grubby stained carpets with cigarette burns, bathrooms were poor and badly put together on occasion e.g. water not draining away in wet-rooms, very worn towels supplied.
Confirmed traveller: 31 May 2016
Published on: 08 June 2016

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback with us, Monica. I’m delighted that you had such a great time and that Peter made it all the more special for you. That said, it’s a shame the accommodation didn’t meet your expectations. As we trek along remote areas of the Great Wall, we use local hotels and guesthouses that are the best ones available. Although they’re not to western standards, I do feel that any shortcomings are more than made up for by the experience of small town China – and some spectacular locations close to the Great Wall. It’s also worth me mentioning that your Explore Leader is always there to help smooth out any issues you may experience during the trip.

(10 out of 10)

Tracy

Winborne Minster, Dorset
Very well organized, all pre-trip information sent well in advance. Excellent guide, well thought out itinerary, all hotels and restaurants organized without any problems, excellent food too. Walks were great, all internal transfers went perfectly, we would highly recommend both Explore and the China tour.
Confirmed traveller: 07 April 2016
Published on: 10 April 2016