Just returned from a conducted 8-day tour of Phoenix City/Zhanjiajie in China. Above are some of the photos I have taken. If queueing and waiting for more than three to four hours just to get into the so-called world heritage sites is not your cup of tea, just forget about making a trip there. There are other negatives:-
1) Smog - Changsha city - a gateway to the sites - is covered in smog. You can hardly see the blue sky. The industrial pollution and the cigarettes smoking among the Chinese people make the situation worse. You can feel the hoarseness in your throat after a while.
2) Language - If you do not speak and cannot read Chinese, you will be in a disadvantage position. You may not be able to communicate and get the information you need. Note that the guide speaks only the bare minimum of English Language.
3)Massive crowds - China is a massive country. Many of their own local tourists from other parts of the country also come to visit many of their own tourists' destinations. I spoke to people who came from as far as Mongolia and Xinjiang. It is worth noting that the Chinese are notorious for queue-jumping and pushing. At times there are awkward scenes of shouting and altercation.
4) Tour Guide - Our tour guide is a sweet-talking lady. In one afternoon we visited a tea joint, a medical shop, a jewellery emporium, a silk store and a miscellaneous goods shop.
I was just ruminating whether travelling can be different - where there is time to admire the sights, breathe in the fresh air, smell the place, imbibe the uniqueness of the locality, etc..............................................Sigh!