Summer Palace

My tour isn't till 2015, but I'm trying to do some pre-pre-planning. Does the tour cover the Summer Palace? Also, what time do we arrive in Shanghai and Hong Kong? I appreciate any help that anyone can give.

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  • edited August 2014
    soun80 wrote:
    My tour isn't till 2015, but I'm trying to do some pre-pre-planning. Does the tour cover the Summer Palace? Also, what time do we arrive in Shanghai and Hong Kong? I appreciate any help that anyone can give.

    soun80: We were on this trip (northbound as I infer you are since you'd otherwise know when you'll arrive in HK) this past May. Understand that what I describe below may change in the year between our trip and yours.

    That said, our tour included the summer palace as per the Tauck description, "[c]heck out the pavilions, halls, bridges and gardens of the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and cruise on Kunming Lake." This was after a morning visit to the Great Wall and a lunch nearby. We did not actually enter the largest part of the palace up the hillside overlooking the lake...just the pavilions and grounds along the lakeside. For us, this was enough after a full day just after arriving in China.

    Our flight to Shanghai left Yichang at 3:45 PM and arrived in Shanghai at 5:20 PM and at the hotel at about 6:30 PM.

    Our flight to Hong Kong left Shanghai at 12:05 PM and arrived in HK at 2:35 PM and at the hotel about 4:00 PM.
  • Thanks, Portolan! I wonder why did they take it out of the 2015 eastbound tours? We go to the hutongs immediately after visiting the Great Wall. Thanks for also telling me about the times we arrive in Shanghai and Hong Kong. It really helps with my pre-pre-planning. How was the cruise portion? Is it worth it getting into the Wu deck rather than the main deck in terms of noise? This would be my first time doing any cruise so I'm excited to hear how it's like.
  • edited August 2014
    soun80: OK, I've now looked at the 2015 itinerary and there have been a number of changes. The one that affects the Summer Palace visit is that you only have 3 nights in Beijing...we had 4. You'll have 2 nights in Guilin, we had just 1. The only other significant change is that you'll be staying at the Intercontinental in HK whereas we were at the Kowloon Shangri-La.

    This may be too late for you, but if you've traveled with Tauck before and booked this trip early enough you should be getting a "Gift of Time" night which you could use in Beijing and visit the Summer Palace on your pre-day. Viator has some good options like http://www.viator.com/tours/Beijing/Beijing-Historical-Tour-including-the-Summer-Palace-Lama-Temple-and-the-Panda-Garden/d321-2042SIC_06. We had the longer stay in Beijing and so we used our Gift of Time in HK where the tour stay is too short to really see the city (we spent the extra day on Landau Island with a friend from the US Consulate). You could also pad both ends by booking a room on your own and using the GoT at the other end. BTW, if you book the extra night through Tauck, they'll comp the GoT room at the less expensive hotel so if there is a big difference in cost between Beijing and HK, then book the extra night at the less expensive hotel on your own. Tauck (in our experience) will still honor the transfer to get you to/from the start or end hotel.

    We were on the Xiling deck on the Yangtze Explorer and had no issues with noise. Understand that river cruises are less elaborate than ocean cruises which is what you mostly hear about. The YE was fine (and purportedly the nicest boat on the Yangtze), but don't expect overly elaborate meals or entertainment...both were entirely satisfactory, but not overly memorable.
  • Thank you so much, Portolan! Reading your take on the tour is really wonderful and I can't wait. Thanks also for the input and suggestions. I may have more questions as my trip draws closer and closer so I really appreciate any responses that you and anyone else has regarding this trip.
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