VariArts Travel
City Tours • Cultural Tours • Private Tours • Nature & Wildlife Tours • Day Trips
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VariArts 'Insider Tour' of Beijing and Shanghai are ground breaking. Know these incredible metropolises with the expert perspectives of local designers, architects, military officers, scholars of history and archaeology, nightlife officiendos and home cooks. Yes you heard correctly! Get ready to see a side of China like few others.
Beijing, China

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Tours and Tickets by VariArts Travel
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

250 reviews
Very good

Washington15,801 contributions
Great place to visit the cute pandas. I didn’t quite like the enclosures as the glass makes it difficult for photography and people usually crowd around that small viewing area. However, the open air sections are lovely and natural.
Written September 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Noela M
Melbourne, Australia17 contributions
Jun 2018
Easy to get too, via MTR or bus, Ocean Park is still a great day out for people of all ages. Although I think it is mainly catering to families and children, there is still much to enjoy at Ocean Park. The skip the line ticket, ensured we went through the entry gates with ease and no waiting, it does not howevr allow you skip the line access at any rides - which was fine as I knew that already. You can however upgrade to skip the line access at all rides for an additional price. There is lots of walking, and some of the signposting was not fabulous, resulting is us walking more than we needed too, however overall, the whole experience is great. Caught the Polar Express up to the top , when we first arrived, after reading a review that this was the best thing to do, however disappointed, as the Polar Express, is not what I thought it was going to be. It is indeed a train, but, more like a submarine, than a train. All windows are blacked out and it is in mostly darkness with illuminated views of sealife on the roof. I understand that this is the quickest way to the top, which somewhat avoided the queues, however not really a great visual experience. Next time, I would choose to travel to the top and also return to the bottom of the mountains, via the cable cars, even if you have to queue for a while. Just my thoughts though. There are lots of shows and entertainment for all, just make sure you get a programme on entrance or online prior to your visit, so you can adjust your timetable to allow you to see the shows you are interested in. As there are various shows on the bottom level as well as the top level, I think you would need to be quite smart with your schedule - which I know with children, this could be an issue. Overall a lovely day, would go for the fantastic scenery at the top alone, even though we did not go on all the rides, shows or activities. Allow a full day and then some if you really want to see and experience everything. PS- on the day we went it was quiet and not school holidays, with hardly any queues, so please allow much more time if going in school holidays and popular holiday periods.
Written July 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Milwaukee, WI41 contributions

I just recently went to the Great Wall and the experience was memorable and yet VERY COLD! I booked the $20USA ticket in advance which includes the round trip cable care which I highly suggest. The Great Wall is definitely a workout with a steep climb so taking advantage of the cable car can work in your favor.

I read reviews that said spring is a great time to go however it was freezing when we went. The said this is the first time in 10yrs that they have gotten snow at the Great Wall. Wear comfortable walking shoes and if you go in the spring I would bring a hat, gloves, and a scarf. I ended up buying a hat from one of the Souvenirs shop. You also will need to purchase a bus ticket to take you to the wall which is $15CNY this is a round trip fare.

Also if you are interested in purchasing souvenirs bargain BARGAIN BARGAIN!! The vendors will quote you a high price tell them no that’s too high they are very pushy and will try to keep you in their tent walk away and you will get the price you want to pay. I also noticed that this seems to be the best place to buy souvenirs we stayed in Qingdao and Beijing and had the hardest time finding items so if you can bargain and get a good price for the items you want do so here. Overall great experience just COLD!
Written April 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cairo Governorate, Egypt45 contributions
Its very easy to get there using the metro from hongkong, we went there on a weekday the ticketing line was not long at all, it is the happiest place on earth, the lion-king show and the mickey mouse play were amazing, the iron man experience was very good also if u r a marvel fan. Only the restaurant accepts credit card so if u want to buy water or ice cream keep some cash with you. Overall a must do when in hongkong
Written May 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Philadelphia, PA1,832 contributions
Oct 2017 • Friends
Had an amazing time first in Guilin, seeing the magnificent Reed Flute caves first; saw Elephant trunk Hill next, which was an imposing rock formation; satyed at the Water Falls Hotel with rooms overlooking the lake with 2 gorgeous pagodas in it, one Gold and one silver.
traveled the boat On the Li river , cruising with the most scenic backdrop Ive ever seen... beautiful mountains, other boats, small fishing boats, blue skies .
stayed at the Mountain Retreat in Yangshuo, tucked in amidst the mountains and on a lake... absolutely breathtaking! saw the li River festival dance and was amazed by it ;drove to Long Ji the next morning...
Through out this period of more than 2 1/2 days , we were attended to and guided by thr one and only LeLe!! waht can I say about LeLe? he was just so full of knowledge, ever so friendly, had a good command of English and was able to joke with us;he was personal and took pics with us; He was with us throughout and was ever so flexible and willing to change a few things because of plane delays he extended tender care to those who neede help to walk or climb; overall, a fantastic guide;!!!
Written October 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Glasgow, UK18 contributions
Basically the day trip is OK and ideal for families and people just wanting a quick visit - a ‘been there done that’ - as it is all organised for you.

You get 2 hours at the wall, but because of queues it took us around 30 minutes to get the ski lift up and around 30 minutes to get the toboggan ride down.

You can’t get the cable car up and toboggan ride down. It’s either a cable car return ticket (120 RMB) or a ski lift up /toboggan ride down ticket (120 RMB) (would recommend - was a lot of fun!)

In total we had just under an hour on the wall itself - not enough time. It was also so busy at 11am on a Monday morning in early June.

We spent more time at the Jade Factory- 1 hour 20 minutes!!! Because some other girls on our trip wanted longer to look around at the scam shop, the guide just let them despite the rest of us waiting on the bus to go! I had to get off the bus and run back in to ask them to hurry up because we were all waiting. The guide wasn’t going to do anything!

We also accidentally left someone behind as we drove off from the jade factory so had to turn around to go get them!

If you want to have plenty of time, not feel rushed, go on a day when you will know the weather will be better, and have the time to actually explore the wall, take plenty of pictures and walk to the watchtowers etc., then do a DIY local bus trip or hire a private guide. We wish we had.

Ming tombs have nothing in them - just some red boxes. Really aren’t missing much. Whole stop is around 30 minutes but only spend 5 minutes in the tomb itself!

The guide Nikki was actually very nice with good English, lunch was fine and the tour is very cheap but we wanted more time considering we had travelled all the way to China to see one of the wonders of the world!
Written June 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ernesto Lebron
Dominican Republic144 contributions
Feb 2019 • Solo
I want to start by saying that the Kung Fu show in itself was GREAT. I really loved it and I think it's almost impossible that someone doesn't like it. BUT I think most of the other reviewers really reviewed the show, not the Tour. About the "Tour": in reality this is a (non-English speaking) driver who will pick you up at your hotel, take you to the restaurant, which is steps away from the theater. Then you'll walk together to the theater, you'll watch the show, and he'll drive you back to the hotel. You can do exactly the same thing and save half of the price if you simply take a taxi from your hotel, have dinner, watch the show (the tickets can be purchased online) and take another taxi back to the hotel.
Written February 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric B
22 contributions
My wife and I had a very enjoyable two days in these two places. Amy was our guide and took care of everything from airport in Guilin to travel to the Li River Cruise in Yangshuo. We stayed at the Li River Resort after our river trip. Very convenient and close to Yangshuo. The Li River resort was very nice with a nice on site restaurant. Great dinner. The River trip is not to be missed. Great photo ops and a relaxing 4 hours. Amy suggested we go to the light show in Yangshuo. Wow. The same guy organized and directed the opening Olympic ceremony At Beijing 2008. Spectacular. Amy also showed us the countryside and some villages that were very interesting. She is a delight. Her contact.

Nice trip and very interesting.
Written November 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Robert T
1 contribution
Oct 2018 • Couples
This is the third time I have visited the Great Wall and every time I’m left in awe. Fist time solo, then with my spouse and recently with my daughter. A must do!
Written October 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tucson, AZ6 contributions
Aug 2018 • Solo
This was an excellent trip for its value, but buyers should know exactly what they're getting. If you're looking for a comprehensive, and QUICK jaunt to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs, then this is probably the packaged for you. But know that there's very little time for a leisure - even at the Great Wall, despite the two hours of time allotted for that part of the excursion.

The first stop was a visit to the Jade shop. The Jade Shop guide will provide some background into the products that are made. It's really a slick way of selling merchandise, but probably something that I would have omitted from the itinerary, if given the option. Nevertheless, we didn't stay too long and folks seemed to have time to browse and make purchases. I understand that it's part of the local tour company's way of reaching profitability through partnerships with such vendors, but I could have done without it.

The through trek through the Ming Tombs was next and occurred at a breakneck pace. There was some time for taking pictures, but be prepared to move quickly. If you are out of shape, or have a physical handicap that prevents walking quite quickly, up and down stairs and damp/slick corridors, then I'd suggest another option. Also, if you are visiting China during the summer months, be prepared to sweat, and plan accordingly - this is true for the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall. I visited in early August and found the temperatures stifling when coupled with the humidity.

From there, we went to the Great Wall for lunch at a restaurant about a half-mile from the actual entrance to the Wall. Once you are dropped off, it's an uphill walk from the restaurant to the Wall so be prepared.

The food at the restaurant was fine, pretty standard fare for the region. Nothing special. More importantly, it cost an additional half-hour to 45 minutes that could have been spent on getting tickets for the lift or time spent on the Great Wall itself. There are other inexpensive and faster lunch options nearby. But these are not permitted by the tour guide given their vendor partnerships with this one particular "traditional" Chinese restaurant.

(Note: I attempted to forego the meal and get my ticket to the Great Wall straightaway. I thought it would be good to get a start on the group, and maximize my time spent on the Wall. But the tour guide would not permit this and refused to give me my ticket to the Great Wall despite the fact that I paid for it as part of the tour price. Very disappointing.)

The time allotted for the Great Wall is sufficient if you plan to snap a few photos, do some rapid hiking, and come back down. If you had hopes of taking your time, reveling in the history of the world famous landmark, and taking it all in at a leisurely pace, then this definitely isn't the trip for you. I found that even with two hours, my time was extremely rushed. I read other reviews and knew that the trip would be quick. But I didn't realize how fast it would actually be. Just something to keep in mind.

After the wall, we took a drive to a Chinese tea shop on the way back. Another vendor accommodation, I'm sure. I would gladly have omitted this from the itinerary as well in exchange for more time at the sites. But there's no compromise on the itinerary given the vendor relationships held by the local tour company.

On the way back to the hotel, we drove past a couple of the Olympic sites, but we didn't have time to stop (or the guide did not permit it - not sure which). The views were from a busy Beijing road and seemed half-hearted.

All in all, it was great to see the Great Wall. But I would probably have booked a different tour that wasn't so rushed.
Written August 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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VariArts Travel (Beijing) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go