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Author: proffrancaise

Joined: 3/10/2011
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2010

November 18, 2011


Is there anyone out there who can tell me about the optional tours offered on the China and the Yangtze River trip and those offered in the post-trip in Bangkok?  Thanks for responding.





Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 121
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Countries Visited:

Myanmar, Greece, Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

November 22, 2011

We took the trip in November 2009 without the Bangkok post-trip so I can only comment on the China optional:

Beijing Opera & Dinner – We took this optional.  It is a cut down tourist version of the Opera with a small number of players.  Before the show you get to go backstage and see how the put on makeup and ask questions.   It’s a nice experience but I would rank it as my least favorite of the optional we took.

Shanghai by Night with Dinner – We and almost the whole group took this optional, but one couple used shanghai subway and caught another river curse boat and saw the same thing minus diner for a lot less money.   That said the river cruse at night is not to be missed.  I got some excellent pictures I still use as wallpaper on my computer.

Suzhou with Lunch – Everyone in the group took this optional.  This is also a not to be missed.  The gardens in Suzhou are wonderful.

Tang Dynasty Cultural Show & Dinner – We skipped this show but everyone else went.  The comments from others were:  it was nice but after a while different dances with people twirling long sleeves got a little old and it was a lot like the show put on by the Yangzi river ship crew.     

Yao Shan Tea Garden with Lunch – We took this and most of the others did also.  If you are a tea drinker or are interested in learning about tea this is a good tour. 

Kowloon & the New Territories with Seafood Lunch – We skipped this but about half the group went.  Those who went enjoyed the markets and lunch.   One couple went to the markets on their own.  We skipped this optional because Hong Kong is easy to get around in on your own.  It has a very good public transportation system  and being a former British colony everything is printed in both English and Chinese and many people speak some English.

Author: proffrancaise

Joined: 3/10/2011
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2010

June 22, 2012


Sorry about my delay in getting back to you.  Thanks so much for responding.  I have one more question regarding money.  Is it best to bring cash (US dollars) to exchange in a bank or is it o.k. to use a debit card in an ATM?  My bank does not charge a fee if I use an ATM overseas.  Thanks for the feedback.




Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 724
GCT Trips Taken: 14
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Antarctica, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 22, 2012

 We took the trip in 2007 so there are some differences in the itinerary.

I don't know if the Bangkok extension was offerred then, but,. if it was, we had been to Thailnd and did not take it.

We did not do the Beijing opera. Those that went had mixed reviews.

The Shanghai by night with dinner was not offered.

Suzhou with lunch. I don't even rememeber the lunch, but the train ride, canals, gardens and market were memorable and worth seeing. I know we had luch, but I just don't remember it.

Tang Dynasty Cultural Show & Dinner. Everyone went and enjoyed it. Our table was right in front, at the stage. Our trip was only 14 people, yes this was Grand Circle not OAT.

Yao Shan Tea Garden with Lunch. Not enough wanted to go so it was cancelled. We had already decided to go to see the Reed Flute caves, which we had read about. The lighting was overdramatic, but the caves were definitely worth seeing. The taxi and the admission was less than $20 for the two of us, if I remember correctly, with a good tip. 

Kowloon & the New Territories with Seafood Lunch, was a very good tour with an excellent luch, right on the pier.

Hong Kong is very easy to get around, both on footd and by public transportation.

We brought US dollars for tipping bus drivers, who were used to changing US currency,and for the street vendors who sold everything for one dollah or two dollahs. For Chinese cash we used ATMs. We never had a problem finding or using them, and your PD will tell you which ones to use.

I did a belated Blog format trip report with pictures that might be interesting. It is




Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 231
GCT Trips Taken: 9
OAT Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2007

July 01, 2012

 we took the trip in October 2011, and we can concur with porkchop55 regarding the optional excursions, save we would not rate the suzhou with lunch so highly.  It was OK.  the boat ride was interesting, but the trip to the silk factory was essentially a shopping tour.  The buffet lunch was at a restaurant filled with virtually every other tour company.  It was hectic, and crowded and somewhat rushed, and the food while OK was only that.  Unfortunately, there wer few alternatives if you didn't take the trip.  Everyone in our group took it.  The gardens were nothing spectacular; they were OK.

We also did not take the Kowloon and New Terriitories with lunch, as we opted to tour Hong Kong on our own.  You can purchase the Octapus card for using the public transportation, which is easy to use, as maps and instructions are in English.  We went to a better fishing village( Tai O ) using the subways and buses, saw the Bird and Flowe Markets on our own, as well as the Goldfish Market( which Grand Circle didn't take you to ), and we weren't rushed as being part of a tour.  Hong Kong is a big city and there are no shortage of restaurants where you can eat.  In fact, the only tour we took with Grand Circle was the included city tour.  Everything else we did on our own, using the Octopus card.

As far as the extension to Bangkok is concerned, we did not take it because we were taking the OAT Ancient Kingdoms trip in February 2012( which is one great trip ), and it went to B angkok.  But the Grand Circle extension goes to Iutaya, which is a magnifican site, and itself is worth the cost of the extension..  If you have no plans of going to SE Asia, then we recommend you take this extension.  but if you are thinking about SE Asia, then you may want to defer taking this extension in favor of the potential of going there on a regular trip.  As we said, the OAT Ancient Kingdoms trip is one great trip.

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