It was the first time for me to go on an organized trip by myself. I went once with a friend to Egypt. This trip was fully organized. The drawback was that we were the only ones below 60 in that group. It was a fun holiday but I did not want to have that again. My choice for this trip fell on the travel company. Djoser. One of the main reasons is that the trip is half organized. There are a lot of excursions you can participate in, but it is not mandatory. So you are free to do as you please. Secondly you could see who your fellow travelers were before booking: the age range, gender and if they were traveling together or alone. That way I could find myself a trip with a nice group. And it turned out to be an excellent group. Everyone just fitted well together.
Something I needed to get used too was that Djoser has a different strategy with their tour guides. In Egypt I had a guide who was Egyptian and spoke Dutch. Djoser for this trip works with local guides. Our main guide for the whole tour did not speak Chinese. I do understand though that this Djoser formula makes the trip less expensive. Most of the time we had an awesome local guide, but on other times she was all by herself.
Like it was told on the website this trip is not a vacation, it is an adventure. I could not agree more. Especially when the locals do not speak any English and you cannot read the signs. The Chinese are pretty introvert, but when they saw you as a Western they sometimes try to make a photo of you with their selfie stick. Sometimes they did it secretly with resulted in a shy laugh when you discovered it, but sometimes they asked you. This really made me feel special and a bit as a celebrity.
The landscape was very different. The large cities were terrible smog wise. But it did not matter that much for all the temples and such that I was visiting. The south was a bit better. Yangshuo was just beautiful: the mountain scenery and the beautiful sky. One of my main highlights was Lijiang. I loved that little town with the creeks and bridges. All the flowers because of the golden week made it more perfect.
What I also liked about this trip is the finisher in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a nice bridge between the Eastern and Western world. It is so different than both worlds. It was a nice change before heading back home.
Someone who was reading my report told me: â€œYou talk a lot about the foodâ€. Yes I did, and for good reason. For most of the time the Chinese food I have eaten was just delicious. That is something I will really miss about this trip. What I will not miss is the crappy Internet. I understand that it is good to be without Facebook and Twitter during your holiday. But no google makes planning your next day quite a challenge. And that was if you had internet. In most hotels the internet was so slow that only a bit of Whatsapp messages were possible.
There are more things I will not miss of this vacation: the toilets and the beds. Chinese people like their beds hard. I apparently do not. I woke a lot of times with a sore hip and shoulder because of the hardness of the beds. The toilets are also just the worst. I can tell you stories about the filthy habits when it comes down to the toilet use of the Chinese. They have holes in the ground where they sit above it in squat position, sometimes with the door open even if there is one. And they are not clean. I have seen some in restaurants and in the night train that were just so filthy that I would like to remove those images from my memory.
Overall this trip was very awesome. I have no regrets what so ever. One thing I really missed was having a travel partner to share the experience with. I really liked to have a hotel room all by myself, but someone to share the experience with is so much better. That is why I think my Brazil trips to my brother (who speaks the language) or a trip to the USA or Canada trip with friends are better suited for me. But with this experience, a Djoser trip to an exciting destination will always be a good plan B for me.