We took a 3-hour drive to Fenghuang, and on arrival, we had lunch and then explored the town. It’s very pretty with beautiful buildings, and small lanes to walk around. It was really quite something then you turn corner walk down some stairs and you’ll see the most amazing river. We went on a small boat trip and took in the views of the shore. In the evening we saw a show – Border Town – with an impressive stage set up. Afterwards, a few members of the group took a night walk by the river, when it was lit up and so pretty. We did have a couple of drinks, but it’s very expensive.
This morning we drove to Zhangjiajie and the famous Glass Bridge over the Canyon. This is really good but it can get very crowded, so hopefully, your guide can time it in a way that you’ll avoid the peak times. The walk on the bridge is not recommend for anyone scared of heights, I’m not scared but my legs were shaking as I walked over the glass. The bridge opened in August 2016 and when it opened it was the longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world. The bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie. This is a popular attraction and it’s estimated to receive an average of 8000 people daily.
We checked in for a three-night stay at the 5* Qinghe Hotel – which had large comfortable rooms with nice bathrooms.
From the hotel, we took a 5-minute walk to the main gate of the national park. We took a cable car to the top and walked around the area taking in the views of the mountains. Then we moved towards the Tianzi Mountain area seeing the floating mountain. This whole park is very scenic and it’s easy to walk around and was used as the inspiration for the film Avatar. To properly see these two areas of the park it takes around 5-6 hours.
Today we took a walk along the Golden Whip Stream park. This 7.5 km walk was very pleasant, there are monkeys in the park which some people were feeding, be careful of them because they can take things off you – they are very quick. The group enjoyed this walk as it was relaxing and scenic. We had lunch and 3 members of the group left us to return to the UK.
Then we visited Baofeng Lake, where we had a Chinese speaking guide, using a megaphone, telling a story about finding true love, with Chinese people singing songs on the lake. It was a pretty lake and could be relaxing but as we didn’t know what was going on, and it was very noisy, it wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Today was the best day of the trip. We took an hour’s drive to see the mountain. On arrival at the mountain it starts with a 30 minutes cable car ride to the top it’s the longest in the world – the last part of this is very steep going up at 37 degrees over sheer cliffs to one of the mountain peaks – I didn’t like that very much. The queue to the cable cars can take a long time and again this will have to be timed right to avoid the waiting time. Once you reach the top you have a walk around the mountain and experience the glass walkway, it’s quite something the views are incredible. The walkway was opened in November 2011 and is 4,600 feet high. After this we took a chairlift to go a little higher, walk on a suspension bridge, then in a park area down a lot of stairs which lead to the escalator which seems odd in the middle of the mountain. We descended down to the ground level (took around 40 minutes). Midway you can get off the escalator and walk down 999 steps instead. When you are at the bus you can take great photo’s of the mountain and then on the bus you do the drive called 99 bends. Tonight we saw a famous show called the Love Story of Fairy Fox. This had an English translation but it was still a little confusing, but the scenes were all very impressive.
This morning we went to the old city to take a boat on Daming lake, the whole experience was enjoyed by all of us, it was definitely the hi-light of Shandong province. Everywhere was so clean and the water was a fresh spring – all the local people would be filling large containers to collect the water. The cruise was very nice and when we left the boat we all walked around the town. Again this was all very pretty a perfect place to relax and take in the sights. After this, we took a 2-hour bus ride to Qufu the home to Confucius.
This afternoon we visited the Confucius Tomb, this was in a large park area with a lot of old trees, we took an electric cart to get closer to the tomb.
This morning we spent the day at the Confucius Temple and Mansion. The grounds were large, and it will take some time to walk around.
Our experience of the bullet train was good, the Chinese are well organised for the train service. We had 2nd class seats, this really wasn’t too bad, and the seats were comfortable.
This morning we had a nice walk around the old town, the streets were tree-lined and it was very pleasant and peaceful. The town is split into two part’s old and new, and this is clearly seen in the photo’s. The old part has low-level red brick buildings, the new part has large modern skyscrapers. We had a boat tour to see the skyline it was a little choppy on the water but we had a good 20 minutes sailing around the coast taking in the views. In better weather, this would be a pleasant trip, and a night tour seeing all the lights would be good also.
We then transferred to the airport for the flight home. This took just over an hour’s drive. The airport will be modernised in September 2019, but it didn’t look too bad, it had everything you need. Business Class on Beijing Capital Airlines was good but not as good as the outbound flight with Hainan.