After 3 weeks of our G-Adventures China experience, without doubt our longest ‘tour’ activity of the trip, today is time to say goodbye to our fellow travellers and our guide Yongxin.
Our initial concerns about China being too hard for independent travel when we booked the tour were unfounded and we would have comfortably managed to get ourselves around this country with relative ease, however on reflection we are still pleased that we did choose the organised approach.
After nearly 5 months of constantly working out what, where and how you are going to spend each and everyday there was some genuine pleasure to be had from just sitting back and let someone else do all the hard work. In addition the structure of the tour no doubt meant that we fitted much more into the 20 days than we would have done if we had been organising it ourselves, but without doubt the reason we are most pleased was the colour and texture that having a guide brought to this fascinating country.
China is not the prettiest country in the world, the scale and volume of construction that has taken place in the last 30 years or so after the reforms to the county post Mao put paid to that. It is also not the most historic either as a combination of Mao and the recent construction has seen some of the historically interesting aspects disappear. It is however, arguably the most important country on the planet and one that has the power to exert a huge influence on the world, both environmentally and economically. More than any country before it, China will impact upon the world and everyone that lives in it, and to get a glimpse of this at first hand and have good long conversations with an intelligent, funny and pragmatic resident has been remarkable.
For our final day in China we walk strangely familiar streets (after our 2012 visit), grab some delicious Dim Sum from a Michelin Star restaurant before we head once more to an airport. Hong Kong airport is, by airport standards, a nice place to relax and that was the plan before a cursory check of our (self planned) itinerary identifies we have a single room booked in South Korea. A mad rush of internet access manages to successfully book alternate accommodation 5 minutes before we board yet another aeroplane.