I'm planning on a Viking River cruise trip on the Yangtze + Shanghai+ Xian + Beijing either October 3rd or November 21st. Trying to decide the best time to go from a weather standpoint. Oct 3rd is $150 more but I'm willing to pay the extra if the chances of good weather and reasonable temps are significantly better then. Any thoughts from someone who's been there?
One of the main reasons why cruise fares, air fares, and land tours differ in price from one month or season to the next is because of the weather pattern--temperature and precipitation expectations. Yes, in Cina the weather in October is usually better than the weather in November. If you go to theweatherchannel.com, you can find 10-day forecasts as well as average monthly temperature and precipitation levels for cities all over the world.
I just returned from a Viking River Cruise with Viking. Everyone in my group of 24 experienced world travellers loved it--many calling it their best trip ever. The crew is exceptional and the guides are THE BEST--especially Maggie! Three different guests sent me copies of journals they kept of the trip, and I have their permission to share them with others. One of them is comes with great photos. If you'd like me to forward them to you, please send me your email address.
Shirley we are on the Imperial Jewels tour with Viking beginning 08/30, if it is possible could you please send me a copy of the journals? My e-mail address is: DL111255@AOL.COM, please put Viking Cruises in the subject line. Thanks I appreciate it.
Shirley I am planning the same tour in early September and would love to see your Journals etc. I haven't booked yet as I am tossed between this and a ChinaPac tour out of Canada. The China Pac tour does not look as appealing but does cover all the same things - exception in the quality of the hotels - 4 star versus 5 and delux.
Thank you so much for your response. With your glowing review, I am more excited than ever about this trip. I have, in the interim, booked the October 3rd trip and look forward to it with great anticipation of entering an exotic world that I never thought I'd see.
I'm sorry to say that I hadn't checked back to the bulletin board in some time after posting my question and was surprised to learn this morning from my travel partner, Vanessa, that you had responded. I feel somewhat negligent and wanted to be sure to thank you and let you know that your efforts were not in vain. Thank you so much for sending the journal and photos to Vanessa. She has forwarded them to me and while I have not had a chance to look at them, I am excited to have the weekend ahead of me so that I can take my time to review them.
I have noticed with interest your comments on China cruises. I realize you are a travel agent, so I would like to give you a shot if your interested.
My wife and I plan to do a Yangtze River tour in June, 2006. Our prefernce is to start in Shanghai and end in Bejing. In between we wish to visit Suzhou, Guilin and Xian. Our prefernce is to be on a ship with a balcony. The tour length can be from 14 to 20 days. We are flexible.
If interested, please quote land/air from San Francisco (or L.A.) We live in St. Augustine, FL., so perhaps you can quote the air adder from either Orlando or Jacksonville.
If you wish to call, I may be reached at 904-471-6327. Please do not pass this along to any provider. I look forward to hearing from you, even if you are not interested.
Thank you for your inquiry. I will send you detailed information about the China cruisetour possibilities for June, 2006. There are cruisetours centered around Yangtze sailings of 3, 4, 7, and 9 days. I recommend the itineraries that include the 7- or 9-day sailings, although others prefer shorter cruises and longer land travel.
You inquired about including Guilin, Suzhou, and Xian in your itinerary. Several of Viking's cruisetours include Suzhou and Xian--in fact you stay overnight in Xian. However, Guilin is not included in any of the itineraries--except as an add-on package. Viking offers a 4-day add on, either pre- or post-cruise (depending on the direction you are travelling), which includes 3 nights in Hong Kong and 1 night in Guilin. I'll include pricing and date information for that add-on.
p.s. China can be very warm in June and July. Is it possible for you to travel in early May or in the fall instead?
I just posted this under "Cultural delights" but thought I'd repeat this here as it is relevant. We began our tour at the end of October and ended in mid November. The weather was wonderful - slightly warmer in the south than we expected. Just bring layers for a cooler northern leg of your journey - and enjoy!
Also - make sure you bring enough film or digital memory for pictures. China has much to photograph. In fact, much of this trip will take your breath away - the three gorges river for example. I'm still sorting out my pictures. Unfortunately I have too many to upload or I'd offer to show them.
We were fortunate to have Steven Shu as our tour guide - he met us at the airport and stayed with us until we returned home. I hope you all can be lucky enough to have him or someone like him on your trip.
Our Viking River Trip to China was the best trip ever! I cannot begin to tell you how grand this trip was - despite our ongoing jet-lag. Flying over it wasn't so bad but coming home is something else...
Here's what worked:
1. I brought sleeping pills. I used them on the plane and when I arrived so I would be guaranteed sleep at the proper time. I used them during the entire trip and it worked. I am not taking them now that I am home and am dealing with jet lag more "naturally." I am not normally a pill taker and don't want to continue with them here. Door to door - it took us 27 1/2 hours to get there so a sleeping pill on the long flight worked well so I wasn't "dead on arrival."
2. We got sick - stomach stuff - forgot and rinsed our toothbrushes in sink. Peter suffered for a day before he saw a Chinese doctor. It was a speedy recovery after that for him. I got it too and went to see the doctor immediately and never had to skip a meal - but did skip one short shore excursion. i.e., Chinese medicine works very well in China and a doctor is always on board the ship. Our remedies from home didn't work...we shouldn't have bothered - except for the sleeping pills and Advil for headaches.
3. We packed light (laundry is easily available only onboard the ship) and bought a cheap suitcase in Beijing to bring home our souvenirs. I would advise any tourist to grab a suitcase when they see one - if they need one. Some people waited too long and couldn't find one. They are available at the shops near the Great Wall in Beijing.
Here's what didn't work:
1. We did not make any allowance for global warming. It was hotter than we expected and we did not have any warm weather tops. Believe it or not, the Chinese don't offer any T-shirts to tourists - in most places. Also, their sizes tend to run small, i.e., a Chinese XL might be our M - don't buy by the tag.
2. Eastern toilets without toilet paper took some getting used to. By the end of the trip I was carrying my own paper and preferred them to western style.
3. My AAA ATM Travel Card - no place to use it until I got to Beijing at the end of the trip. In the ATM Machine at the hotel it didn't work - as it required a 12 digit code. My experience was that we quickly ran out of money. The night before we came home the Beijing Hotel advanced me Chinese money on that card but charged me a hefty interest. I used that to tip the guide...etc.
4. Were I to do this again, I would carry at least $400 in small American bills - lots of $1's, $5's & some $10's. Because you can get "forged" bills in change, it is a good idea to not bring a bill that you may need change for (don't bring $20's unless it is for the guide). I would also pre-figure and carry the cash to tip the riverboat staff and the guide in addition to this (aprox. $250?). We were all going nuts because we couldn't get to a bank on any of our stops. The Boat does not advance cash on our credit cards. We tipped all our drivers and single bus tour guides....it was a lot of small change.
5. There was no problem using American dollars. However, it is a good idea to have some Chinese money as that is how prices are marked. (I would recommend changing $150 into Yuan.)
6. At first, remember to look down when you walk. Because of the adherence to Fung Shui the Chinese place barriers in every single doorway we entered. It took two days to stop tripping over things. :o)