China highlights

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

We’ve just returned from a three-week trip to China. What an adventure. The highlights included the view from Victoria Peak, cruising the Li River, visiting the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, cruising the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam, viewing the Terra Cotta Warriors, touring the Summer Palace, and walking the Great Wall.

We knew the country was huge and populous, but were amazed at how big the cities were and how fast the pace was. We were told that growth had slowed, but the pace was still impressive. Major apartment complexes were under construction throughout every city, ships were being built and launched, traffic was crazy, and everyone was in a hurry. The scale is astonishing. We expected the smaller towns such as Yangshuo to have only a few hundred residents, but they had several hundred thousand. And the population of the bigger cities is in the millions. The largest, Chongquin, has 32 million residents, more than all of Canada combined (admittedly not a high bar J). Even Guilin, one of the smaller centers on our itinerary, has over a million residents.

We started the trip at the South Coast Marine yard in Xiamen, where we have a boat nearing completion. From there we travelled to Hong Kong, Guilin, Yangshuo, Chengdu, Chongquin, Yichang, Xian and Beijing (trip route). We travelled by plane, automobile, river boat, cruise ship, day train and overnight train. We love mountain-top views and travelling by water, and got in a fair bit of both throughout the trip. We sometimes were the only “Westerners” about—James in particular drew a fair bit of attention—but we always received a warm reception.

We organized our trip with Interlake China Tours. Instead of a pre-canned group tour, we selected our destinations and itinerary, and they booked the travel, accommodations, and local guides where needed. The prices were competitive with major group tours, but with a flexible itinerary and without the herded cattle feel. The pre-trip support was excellent, the hotels were wonderful, the guides were prompt, friendly and knowledgeable, and the whole transaction was professionally run. We’d definitely book with them again, and recommend the company without reservation.

We’ll be posting a more detailed trip summary over the next few weeks, but below are a few highlights.

Nordhavn 5263 at South Coast Marine yard, Xiamen Hong Kong, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour from Victoria Peak

 Karst mountains along the Li River  Giant panda at Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu
 Crown Cave on the Li River

Tieguan Gorge along Daning River, a Yangtze River tributary   Qutang Gorge, Yangtze River 
Inside the locks at the Three Gorges Dam 

The Terra Cotta Warriors at Xian Long Corridor at the Summer Palace, Beijing


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5 comments on “China highlights
  1. Shobana Balakrishnan says:

    Hi James – Great pictures and an awesome boat! Sounds like a wonderful trip. I happened to see your post on Virtual Private Clouds and was intrigued by your China trip. Maybe we can meet sometime for coffee…

    Shobana (MSR)

  2. Hi Etienne. We also spent some time with Bill and Arlene of Autumn Wind and really enjoyed it. We got a chance to catch up with them and their travels in their 62 at the Nordhavn Rendezvous last month in Port Ludlow.

    It was fun to see our boat while in China. Hopefully it’ll be in Seattle getting commissioned in another 6 to 8 weeks.

    James Hamilton

  3. Great hearing from you Dave and thanks for the help with the trip. It was everything we were hoping for.

    James Hamilton

  4. Etienne Grobler says:

    Welcome back!

    That’s a very spiffy looking Nordhavn! We were up in the Broughtons in July and met Bill and Arline of Nordhavn Autumn Wind up there. Autumn Wind was one of the support vessels for the 2004 Trans Atlantic. Nice vessel and great people.

  5. Dave Bruels says:

    Photos are very professional. Love your boat. Dave

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