x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Ask the Expert: See the best of China by rail

A 13-day rail journey that combines rail travel with a cruise down the Yangtze River may be the best way of touring Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing and Yichang.

Do you have any recommendations for long rail trips through China next year? We would like to see Beijing, the Three Gorges, Xian's Terracotta Warriors and other places of interest, but not Shanghai because we've been there before. How do we obtain visas for the trip? Would the Chinese consulate in Dubai be able to help with this?

There are several travel companies that organise railway trips with itineraries structured around various cities across China. Although most of these tours can be customised, it might not be possible to exclude a visit to Shanghai if you are interested in seeing the Three Gorges dam - it is located on the Yangtze River, and most tour routes along the river usually begin or end in the port city.

Beijing Tours has a 12-day trip through Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Top attractions include an exhaustive tour of Beijing; visits to the Terracotta Warriors, City Wall and Great Mosque in Xian and the famous Tiger Hill in Suzhou. Prices start at US$1,650 (Dh6,000) per person, based on two sharing, with airport transfers and local transport, breakfast, entrance fees to sites, the services of an English-speaking guide and sleeper train tickets between all the cities. Visit www.tour-beijing.com for more information.

Chinatraintickets.net has a staggering number of railway tours across the country to choose from, including a 13-day journey that combines rail travel with a cruise down the Yangtze. You'll visit Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing and Yichang, with stops at Bejing's major attractions, such as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace; the Terracotta Warriors and Goose Pagoda in Xian, and various other places along the way. The tour ends in Shanghai but can be customised on request. From $1,430 (Dh5,252) per person, based on two sharing, including transfers and all local transport, guides, some meals and soft-sleeper train tickets. visit www.chinatraintickets.net for more information.

China Holidays (www.chinaholidays.com) has an eight-day trip through Beijing, Taiyuan, Pingyao and Xian that costs from $826 (Dh3,033) per person, based on two sharing, with most meals, local transport, entrance fees, services of an English-speaking guide, domestic travel insurance and soft sleeper train tickets. All prices exclude international airfare.

The Chinese consulate in Dubai accepts applications for visas to mainland China (as well as Macau and Hong Kong). It normally takes four working days for a visa to be issued, but the process can be expedited for an extra fee. For a detailed list of requirements and documents needed for obtaining visas to China, look under "consular services" on the website.

Do you have travel questions or queries? Email them to us at travel@thenational.ae