Here are some reviews from our past travellers to China. For more details on each tour, simply click on the tour image.
Mandy as a tour guide is a real treasure. Her interest and concern for the party was unsurpassed. She advised the party of what was happening at every step of the tour, particularly when travelling. She also checked as to how we all felt about each of the local guides and the information they were giving us. Mandy also went above beyond by arranging to meet 3 of us who continued the tour back to Beijing at the station and, while she wasn't the one to take us to the airport, she phoned us on route to ask if everything was OK and to wish us a happy journey.
Generally the local guides were fine, and engaged with the Group with the exception of the guide in Shanghai. She showed little interest for the Group and was more interested in her mobile phone. She never told us what was happening with catching trains and often walked off without ensuring that all the group were ready,or telling us fully what was happening. Many of the Group were particularly unhappy at having to queue for nearly 4 hours to go up the TV Tower, and not being given any option. This was compounded by having to come out of the queue half way through for about 20 mins for a toilet break.
Generally the Tour was good, and covered all of the major sites that you would want to see. from a personal perspective, I would like to have seen a bit more of the countryside, and the picturesque side of China. The Shanghai to Beijing section of the trip was a highlight, particularly in the village, and the walking tour of Jinan. The guide Jin was great on this leg of the Tour.
Re the Tour, I think that a night tour of the cities should have been included. While we paid for the night tour of Beijing, this should have included seeing Tianamen Square at night. Also, Xian is very picturesque at night which we only saw by taking a taxi ride.
In Beijing, the trip to the Silk market was a waste of time. Most of us did not expect it to be a shopping mall, and really didn't want to spend the time there. More time could have been spent at the Summer Palace which was rushed, and quite a bit wasn't covered.
In Shanghai, we had a very long and tiring day having travelled overnight by train, and some of the party had a very early start the previous day going to see the pandas. An improvement would be to have the nighttime boat trip the following evening rather than all on that 1 day.
I did feel that the allocation of hotel rooms was unfair and that we got a particular bad deal. In many of the hotels, the rooms were of different standards, the higher the floor the better quality of room. From discussions with the other members of the Group, our allocated room was always of the lowest quality.
We had a wonderful time. It was great to see the cities and then travel into the country side of Guilin and Yangshou. The hotels were good as were the breakfasts excepr at the hotel in Guilin, breakfast was terrible. We had a flight cancelled and the guide (Louise) worked to remedy this satisfactorly. Everything we saw was what we wanted. The times allowed at each site was realistic. The only place we thought was a waste of time was the Silk Market - but we don't like shopping. When we reached Shanghai we were a little disappointed that nothing was organised for us to do, that said we saw heaps of the city using the subway and the Hop on Hop off bus. We really enjoyed the 3 shows we went to especially the kung Fu show.
Justin, our main guide was fantastic. His English was great. His knowledge and enthusiasm for China was amazing. Justine explained any questions clearly and fully, especially anything related to Chinese culture and customs. He coped well with a couple of difficult people on the tour. Joe in Luoyang was great. Beni in Xian was extremely entertaining and informative. Louise in Yangshou and Guilin went way beyond expectations, she showed us her hometown with love. She explained lots of culture and customs and took us to some amazing local restaurants.
I was highly impressed with the tour - the itinerary given the short timescale was exceptional. The tour guides in each location especially Stephanie in Beijing and Tom is Xian. The guides' knowledge and helpfulness was great. Stephanie was amazing throughout - her enthusiasm never wavered and her local knowledge was great. I would highly recommend this tour and Stephanie especially to my friends and family. ”