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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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My Trip to Shandong ( First Day )
My trip to Shandong starts with Mt.Taishan on July 11, 2008. There are many trains to Mt. Taishan from Beijing. I choose D Train ( CRH ) to Mt. Taishan instead of Z Train. The train I take is Number D31, a train running from Beijing to Shanghai. My destination is Mt. Taishan, one of 5 stops on the way from Beijing to Shanghai. It is first time for me to take D train ( CRH ). The main reason I take the D train is that most of the D trains run faster and all the D trains run during the daytime while Z trains run during the night. Below is the timetable for D31 Train from Beijing to Shanghai:

Beijing South Train Station
D31 1 Beijing 11:05
D31 2 Tianjin West 11:46 11:46
D31 3 Mt.Taishan or Taian city 14:28 14:29 (I get off at Mt. Taishan)
D31 4 Xuzhou 16:30 16:31
D31 5 Bengbu 17:32 17:33
D31 6 Nanjing 18:50 18:52
D31 7 Shanghai 20:49

There are two kinds of tickets - soft seat and hard seat. And the soft seat ticket is again divided into two kinds - first class and second class. The difference between the first class soft seat and second class soft seat ticket is the number of seats abreast in the carriage car. In the first class soft seat car, there are two soft seats abreast while three soft seats abreast in a second class car.

Some D train pictures I take from my trip

I get off at the train stop - Mt. Taishan
Actually the name of the train stop should be Taian, the name of the city. But most of the travelers to the city of Taian is to see Mt. Taishan. So the train stop'name changed for Mt.Taishan is for the convenience of the possible confused travelers. The city of Taian is just located at the south foot of Mount Tai. There is a big square in front of Taian Train Station. I don't see much traffic on the roads. I randomly choose a taxi waiting on the square and drive to my hotel - Ramda Palza Taian, the only 5 star hotel in the city of Taian.

Square of Taian Train Station
Square of Taian Train Station

Pictures from Ramada Plaza Taian
It is a 5 star hotel owned by the Lu Neng Group, managed by the Ramada International Inc. based in USA. It is located just at the foot of Mt. Taishan. The 198-room and suite hotel is equipped with all the modern facilities including the free of charge internet broad band service. Liesure facilites include a sizable in door swimming pool, fitness center, beauty saloon and private KTV. All the rooms are spacious, clean with all kinds of facilites.

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