August 2, 2010

Warning : Don't take local China tours

Yes. This is a warning! Ignore it at your own risk..

Ok. When we were on our Beijing tour, we met this nice couple who told us that local China tours were much cheaper then the ones that we paid for back in Malaysia. And even though we had to mix with the local china people, it is quite nice and yada yada yada...

So that's what we did...

Case 1

Since we have 1 week before home sweet home, and we had already spend 1 week in Beijing, we decided to head north to a small place (actually not that small) called "Chengde". And since it was quite last minute, we though, hey lets try a local tour. So we proceeded to the the tour desk at the hotel and enquired about tours to Chengde. There were quite a number to choose from but none were provided by the hotel, hence they warned us that they would not be liable if we are not happy or satisfied. Warning sign No.1. Package was quite cheap. I think is RM180 for a 2D1N trip + accommodation + food all provided + entrance fees+ transport. Warning sign No.2. And we could take our time to decide about the tour package. We only had to confirmed the before 10pm, the night before the tour. Warning sign No.3.  

The night before the tour to Chengde, we called up the tour company to book our slot. The guy confirmed with us that he will pick us up @ 7.30am the next morning from the hotel. Great..

The next morning @ 6.50am, *Ring! Ringggg!* The phone rang and the conversation (translated from mandarin) as follows:

Tour guy : Hello, is this the 6 person going to Chengde?
Us : Yes.
Tour guy : Are you foreigners?
Us : Yes, we are Malaysian.
Tour guy : Sorry, we don't take foreigners.
Us : WHAT!!!! But we confirmed yesterday night already.
Tour guy : Yes, but we don't take foreigners.
Us : But..but...we are all packed up and waiting for you to pick us up.
Tour guy : Erm.. I'm driving now. I will call you back.
Us : OK..

7.30am... waiting

8.00am... Sigh! Let's go back to bed...

So that's what happened to our almost trip to Chengde :( Luckily we did not pay anything.

Case 2

We had alot of free time. And our pockets are running dry with all the shoppings.

"Lets take a local tour to visit the Temple of Heaven & 13 Tombs" someone said.

"Okay!!!" We all agreed. So we again headed to the tour desk and this time, it was a tour by the hotel. Yay!! A 1-day tour to a couple of places. It's not cheap. Cost about RM 220 because of the cable car ride and some other stuff which is not worth the price. And the best part (yeah right *eyes roll*), we need to be ready by 5.30am. Weeee! I eagerly look forward to waking up at an ungodly hours just to visit a temple and some tombs. *sweat*

At 4.50am *Ring! Ringggg!* the phone rang. I thought to myself  "Not again". The conversation as follows (translated from mandarin again) :

Tour guy : Hello, is this the 6 person going to the tour?
Us : Yes.
Tour guy : Can you come down at 5am?
Us : WHAT!!!! Are you crazy?
Tour guy : Well, got traffic jams and we want to avoid the traffic jams.
Us : But we confirmed yesterday that you will pick us at 5.30am.
Tour guy : Yes, but got traffic jams and we want to avoid the traffic jams.
Us : But you already told us at 5.30am. 5am to early for us. We are not ready yet.
Tour guy : Yes, but got traffic jams and we want to avoid the traffic jams.

This went on for a few minutes...
Us : 5.15am OK?
Tour guy : Ok la..

At 5.15am... *pants*gasp* phewww... we made it..

2 hours drive *snore*snore*

Eh, what happened? Why we stop for so long? ..*peek out the window** What!!??!! The driver is standing by the roadside smoking away.. Let's go down and give him a piece of my mind...

As I got down from the bus, this is what I saw..

Infront of our bus..

Behind our bus..

Beijing is crazy. Traffic jams are stand still... literally.. You'll see people standing around, cars standing around, animals standing around.. Erm, but some sleeping in the bus la..

Anyway I was bored, and since we were parked beside a farm, I decided to test my photography skills.

See the ants in the flower. It must be really sweet..

See this girl.. so cute with her tutu-like skirt and flowers in her hair..

Still waiting..

Please be prepared k.. Photos overload :) Hey, I had soooo much time to waste..

For those who don't know where their rice comes from..

I got no idea what this is. Anyone?

Purple flower..

Un-ripe tomatoes..

Red flower. Remind me so much of the fake red flowers that we put up during Christmas time..

Ripe, almost ripe, not ripe small tomatoes in a row..

Yellow flowers..

Beautiful butterfly..

Zoom in for a freaky looking white butterfly. Check out the face..

Peek-a-boo tomato..

You know who...

See the bee hovering above the flower.. I really like this picture cos bees move very fast and its difficult to catch a picture of one..

After 2 hours.. more people on the road..

:( no sun for me to shine my pretty face..

After 2 and a half hour, the vehicles started moving... Nobody knows why everything became standstill.. Nobody knows how long it will be.. They will just wait till the vehicles infront of them starts moving. And based on the attitude of the tour guide and driver, I can conclude that this is very common..


Finally, we arrived at Badaling Great Wall. This is my 2nd Great Wall. I know I abit messed up, cos I'm blogging about this before I even blog about my first week in Beijing. Well, cos local China tours suck and I'm so wanna tell you about this first. You know, went we first went to the Juyoungguan Great Wall, we had to climb up and it was tiring *not going to say more cos I will be blogging about this later*, and when we heard that there was another section where you can take a cable car up, we were like.. "Aiyah, how come we get cheated. We want take cable car also." Lazy-ass people :p

Went we reach. We had to queue up for a long time under the hot sun.

This is the cable car.


Looks more like roller-coaster right??

Nothing to see. The whole way up. Entertained myself snapping pictures of the 'cable cars'. Its quite scary. You can just fall off the side anytime. And it was creaking and groaning the whole way up.

Went we arrived at the top. We were all feeling so cranky, tired, hot, sweaty that we snap only a few pictures before heading back down. The sun was really hot. I think almost 45-48 degree celsius.

The worst part ever.

See the picture below. That was the beginning of the super long line for the cable car ride down.

You not only get to queue up with sweaty, smelly, rough, rude, impatient people, you need to be slim enough to go through the bars..

I was separated from my group :( and was stuck in front of an impatient kid who keep standing close to me that he kept touching my ass. After a few times of turning around and glaring at him, he kept his distance. I think he was angry cos I keep a distance from the guy in front of me. Eh, come on la, I need some fresh air to breath instead of the sweat and body odour. And its not like we are going anywhere.. we still need to follow
the line. But I did learned something, China people are super impatient and rude. Really extremely rude and rough people. Even the women.

That's somewhere in the middle of the line for the cable car ride.

Finally, the ride down. Weeee!!! It was fun, cooling but scary. See the guy right in front. He is the driver. See the silver stick he is holding. That is the brake. Yes, I meant it, that is the BRAKE!!!

Made it down safely.. I now know why the 1st tour company did not bring us here. It's infested with local china people. No foreigners around.

Beijing Waxworks Palace of Ming Dynasty. It's again queuing up with sweaty, rude and impatient people. But the displays were quite interesting. At least now I know a little bit more about China's history..

The 13 tombs of the Ming Dynasty. Did not snap much pictures as we were warned not to do so. I think they were afraid of that we might see other "stuff" in the pictures later.

Actually, I did not take much pictures for this tour. Why? Cos I was already worn out and exhasted early in the morning. They took us to so many factories (i.e. pearl, jade, pixiu, erm... food stuff, health.. etc...etc). I'm so sick of them. I went to all this factories last year went I was on a tour from Hangzhou to Shanghai. Went again during the tour to Beijing. And now they want to take me there again??? Once is enough, 3 times is wayyy too much.

And I realise that the tour people treats the local China people quite terribly. Comparing the tours, we were treated like VIPs but in this tour, we were lower then ... erm... dirt? They were rude to us, scolded us, the food was terrible, air-condition was not working.. and basically we were like a bunch of animals. The selling was like pasar malam style. They don't bother about you, or your comfort, they were more interested in your money. And they are not afraid to let you know. It's like " You want to buy? No? Go away then.." kind of thing. There was this girl who was serving us lunch; who scolded us because we couldn't hear her over the din. I turned around a scolded her back in English. The look on her face. Priceless :) I think she was more shock that I was a foreigner then in what I scolded her. And talking about the food, it was like.. wheel out trolley loaded with food, table for 10 people, throw dishes on the table, wheel trolley away. Even the local Chinese couple on the table left after a few bits because the food was terrible and tasteless.. It was worst then a mess hall in a camp for refugees.. (erm, not like I've been to one la)

And if you think that is terrible, wait till you hear this. On the way back to the hotel, the bus dropped a few people off. Including the tour guide. Hmmm... Nearing the hotel, the bus driver shouted " Those who are staying at Redwall hotel, please get down. We were stunned. We went in front and inform him ""the tour guide promise us that she will send us back to the hotel". Bus driver said " Sorry, I don't want. Traffic jam. You walk from here." So we got our tired bodies off the bus and took a 20 minutes walk back to the hotel.

After a nice long bath and as we slip in between clean sheets, we vowed never to take local China tours again...

Ok. Enough ranting already... I will leave it to you to make up your mind..

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