International Flights to China
As standard the international flights on our group tours are with British Airways (upgrades are available). If you have a preferred partner or destination that is not listed please enquire and we will do our best to meet your request (subject to availability). The quickest and easiest option for UK passengers is a direct flight from London with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic. Other (sometimes cheaper alternatives) include flying with Air China, Finnair, Emirates, KLM and Lufthansa.
In-direct International Flights to China
In-direct international options from London usually involve a stop/change in the home hub of the airline, for example: Emirates fly from London to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong with a stopover in Dubai for 3 hours. KLM fly from London to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen and Hong Kong with a stopover in Amsterdam of 2 hours. Lufthansa fly from London to Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong with a stopover in Frankfurt/Munich of 2 hours. Finnair fly from London to Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong with a stopover of 90 minutes. These flights inevitably take a bit longer, but can on occasion work out to be the most cost-effective.
Regional UK Departures
British Airways have domestic connections with London from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle. KLM have domestic connections with Amsterdam from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Humberside, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester…they have a large network of internal flights in China. These options are more convenient if you do not live near London.
Internal flights are the quickest and most convenient way to cover the large distances when travelling in China. During our tours transport methods include; flights, trains, coaches and private cars with air-co.
Domestic train travel in China is a great way to see more of the countryside and scenery away from the big cities. To cover large distances between popular destinations like Beijing – Xian – Shanghai we normally suggest taking an overnight sleeper train, private berths with 4 bunks are available and it saves you the price of a hotel or flight. The quality of the toilet facilities on these overnight trains vary from acceptable to unhygienic, please bear this in mind when travelling overnight on the train during your tour. These days it is also possible to take the fastest train in the world, the bullet train, getting you to the next destination in a matter of hours. The commonest routes to take the bullet train are Beijing-Xian (5 hours) and Beijing-Shanghai (5 hours).
Your guide usually knows which carriage you are on, and will meet you on the platform. However, some trains are now so fast (e.g. D trains travelling at 200 km/h) that no-one is allowed onto the platform until after the train has arrived. In these instances it’s hard for the guide to come in quickly against the flow of passenger rush, so you should stay put until your guide finds you. The guide will know where on the platform you can be found, and this will avoid you having to look for multiple exits.
Your guide can ask the carriage attendant to warn you 5 minutes or so before you arrive at your station. Local trains, e.g. to Suzhou, may be a through train, stopping only very briefly, about 2 minutes. Make sure you are ready!
Sometimes you may need to show your ticket to get off the platform when you arrive, so hang on to it, just in case.
Each carriage is numbered. Each bunk is numbered. This is shown on your ticket. In the carriage each 4-berth cabin is also numbered. This is not shown on your ticket, and can confuse you. E.g. you are in Carriage #6, berth 7. Berth 7 will actually be in cabin 2 (Cabin 1 has berths 1-4; Cabin 2 has berths 5-8 etc). Cabin 7 will therefore have berths 25-28.
Procedure: Go to the waiting room (your platform/waiting room are displayed on the boards) in the station, with train number and destination. In large stations this cycles between Chinese and English, like the airports, in the smaller stations you can pick up the train number to see which platform and/or waiting room)
Doors from the waiting room to the platform will be opened when the train arrives, and close 5 minutes before it leaves (note on some of the smaller trains the procedure is different, e.g. at Suzhou the train only stops for 2-3 minutes, and it can be a scramble).
Once the doors are open, find the right platform. Don’t underestimate this task, it may involve quite a bit of walking, and some stairs. One waiting room may give access to many platforms. Sometimes you can get on early (avoiding the mad scramble) with the help of your guide who can pay a porter a few Yuan to give you early access to the platform. The main point is GET THERE IN GOOD TIME.
Taking a taxi is a most comfortable, easy and secure way of getting around any city in China. There are plenty of them available, simply hail one and the next available taxi will pull over for you. Prices vary from city to city, but on the whole they are quite affordable costing you only a few £ pounds each time. Tip; make sure when you get in the taxi they turn their metre on!
Yangtze River Cruise
Our tours and holidays can give you the opportunity to experience some truly wonderful river scenes ranging from the 3 night Yangtze River Cruise – where we use 5 star liners of Victoria Cruises, to enjoying a simple buffet lunch on the beautiful Li River cruise between Guilin to Yangshuo (lasts 4 hours).