I found this unbelievable deal on the internet; a ten day escorted trip by UTO to China for $790.00 Canadian per person including round trip flights to Beijing from Toronto, flights between Beijing and Shanghai, all accommodations in 4 and 5 star hotels, all breakfasts, 1/2 of your lunches, all ground transportation, admission to many of the sites and all taxes. The trip visits Beijing, Wuxi, Hangzhui, Suzhou and Shanghai.
You were charged $130 per person ahead of time for tips and a Chinese visa is $120 if you do it yourself or $180 if the tour company does it for you. John and I did it ourselves and it was quite cumbersome. If we knew that going in, we probably would have coughed up the extra money and had the tour company do it.
UTO offered many dates for this tour, some for as low as $590. Prices change all the time, here is the link:
We couldn’t believe the price. After doing some on line research, John and I and six of our friends; Carol, Steve, Barry, Cole,Emily and Vince, jumped on this opportunity.
Our flights were on Hainan Airlines. We pre-booked our seats the day before. I was delighted to find that we didn’t have to pay extra for our checked baggage and carry-on.
Upon arriving to our seats, we found a pillow, blanket and ziplock comfort case including sleep mask, ear plugs, toothbrush, toothpaste.
We were treated to the most creatively amusing plane safety video that I have ever seen.
I ingested my sleeping pill just before take off on our 12 hour and forty minute flight to Beijing.
The flight got better and better. We were given a hot cloth and then a menu with the choice of many kinds of juices, hot drinks, liquors, hard liquor, red or white wine and a cocktail all for no extra charge. We had the choice of three different meals. Definitely a lot of extras. Very nice.
I snoozed for most of the flight and woke shortly before landing.
Upon leaving customs we easily spotted our tour guide Wendy by her big smile and waving flag. A bus took us to our hotel; the Wyndham Beijing North which is out in the suburbs.
The hotel was a five star with many restaurants. Not many of the staff spoke English.
The spacious hotel rooms were luxurious with comfortable beds, warm duvets (silk?), and all kinds of toiletries, sewing kits, shoe shine kits, robes, plush towels and more. John went straight to bed and the rest of us went to one of the hotel restaurants for a light supper. The waitress looked horrified when we communicated our desire for separate bills with my translation app. The food was mediocre and tourist priced.