What a trip! Our guide was fantastic, and the local assistant guides knew their cities and their material well also. This was one of the best vacations we've ever had. It far exceeded my hopes, and was well beyond my expectations. This tour moves at a brisk pace, so be prepared, and consider arriving a day or two early to acclimate to the time zone shift (we didn't). Beijing air quality is abysmal (as was Xi'an's). I recommend bringing N95 filters, available at your local hardware store for <$10, particularly if you are susceptible to pulmonary issues. I was the only person in our group that used them, though. Outside of the large cities, foreigners are apparently uncommon. In a few of the smaller cities we were swarmed by school children on class trips, eager to practice their English. One of our group brought quarters from her home state. They were a great ice-breaker, and I intend to do likewise on future trips. Our group was 18 people, big enough to find kindred spirits but small enough that we all got to know one another. Watching larger hordes go by at various UNESCO sites reminded me how glad I was that we'd chosen this tour. China in May was quite warm. I brought a sweater and never used it. This tour is fantastic. Even the days on the itinerary that looked disappointing (before we left) were exciting and provided some of my most memorable experiences. The train rides provide the opportunity to see the varied countryside, so I was glad we'd taken those, rather than an airplane. Go!