After looking at trip advisor, we picked 3 China based travel agencies who we thought might be able to plan a tour of the area around Beijing. One agency suggested factory tours from the outset whilst another was fairly insistent that we travel overnight by train, but Monica proved to be thoughtful and flexible.
We have friends in Beijing and so started and ended our trip with them.
She suggested a day trip to the Great Wall from Beijing plus a tour of Pingyao, Xi'an and Luoyang with 3 bullet train journeys and one plane flight.
We decided not to go with a couple of her suggestions, but she was comfortable with that and re-jigged the trips to suit.
The actual guides provided are generally contractors who can work for several agencies depending on the work available. But the choice of which guides to employ still falls on the travel agency (and availability).
We were also very happy with our guides "Nelson" in Pingyao/Taiyuan, "Grace" in Xi'an and "Frank" in Luoyang as well as the drivers. They all turned up flawlessly on time for every appointment, helped us order lunch and always seemed happy.
There appear to be one or two 'scams' running with guides taking commission on purchases made. But having ordered an evening dance show + meal at our hotel "Grand New World" our guide in Xi'an certainly earned what ever commission she got by making sure that my meal contained no sugar or MSG/Soy Sauce.
Chinese drivers seem to learn to all drive at the Kamikaze school of motoring, but the drivers in Pingyao, Xi'an and Luoyang (Frank did his own driving) (also contracted but independently of the guides) did a good job of not frightening us too much.
Chinese cyclists and motor cyclists don't even follow the correct direction of flow and often drive on the wrong side of the road. Chinese drivers hoot constantly if they want to overtake and can't quite squeeze by!
Coffee in China generally doesn't seem very good (apart from at the large American chains).
The Tian yuan kui hostel in Pingyao is an interesting mixture of traditional and modern. The staff were extremely lovely and the food was tasty. The hundreds of recommendations on A3 sheets on the wall in English, French, Italian, Spanish and other languages were also testament to that.
The Grand New World hotel in Xi'an was a slice of America transported to China. Service was slightly variable. E.g. I had to go to 3 receptionists in order to find the one who was allowed to do checkouts. English from staff was variable though usually adequate.
The Peony Hotel in Luoyang was also like a slice of America. Our safe would not work as it had no batteries in it. We struggled with language problems for about half an hour to get 4 new batteries to fit into it and then to get the Chinese maintenance lady to fit them right way round.
The manager agreed a special picnic lunch for our train journey, but I ended up having to explain to francophone Chinese tour guide in French what we needed! But I guess episodes like this make a tour more interesting.
Many thanks to Monica for arranging this memorable holiday.
Date of experience: 01/09/2017-13/09/2017
I traveled to China with a college group in January as part of a Winter Term course at my school. I would not know where to begin planning a trip to a country as diverse as China, but our itinerary put together by Alex Guan was superb! We went to six major cities and we had a genuine cultural experience. We got to see everything from the Great Wall in Beijing to the Li River in Guilin and everything in between!
A particular highlight of the trip was that China Expedition Tours took our group to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall - this section of the Great Wall is very well preserved and is much less crowded with tourists. Most other tour groups would have taken us to another section of the Wall which would have been more crowded. The little things like this detail of our trip made our experience with China Expedition Tours exceptionally good.
Alex stayed with our group throughout our trip as a national guide. Everywhere we went we got an exciting history of attractions we visited and we had local guides with impeccable knowledge of their cities. Alex and our local guides did an amazing job of keeping our group on schedule so we got the most out of our trip and made every location a unique experience. Everyone at China Expedition Tours cared deeply about our enjoyment of the trip and went above and beyond what we would have expected from any tour group.
More than just giving us an incredible trip, we made lasting friendships with the people at China Expedition Tours that I know I will be back to visit in the future. I would not trust anyone else in China with planning a future trip!
Date of experience: 06/01/2017-21/01/2017
Erikas Petrikas & Ilona Petrikiene
We had wonderful time traveling around Guilin, just as my wife said, Guilin was such fascinated place that we would love to spend the rest of our life there, green hills and clear waters ,friendly people and beautiful scenery, it is just so perfect. Planed by China Expedition Tour, we discovered marvelous the Longsheng rice terraces, splendid project of wisdom. And Li River cruise was also amazing, Elephant Trunk Hill is full of history and we can not help to take photos there in memory of such lovely place. And story about Fubo Hill is compelling, our guide is humorous, she shared with us funny story without reservation, we spend pleased moment with each other, I just say she is so great. China Expedition Tour is so helpful and professional, we gonna miss their work team and miss Guilin, such pretty city.
Date of experience: 19/03/2017-22/03/2017
Dear , We happily got the flexible individual tour we wanted. The reason we paid extra money to tour as a small family was the expectation that each guide would to be able to be flexible to meet our individual needs and interests. We could not be happier with the delivery of CET and each of their city guides. They met and exceeded our standards consistently. We spent the most time with your guides. The visit to the wall including the bike ride was enjoyed by all. The Li river cruise is simply outstanding and memorable. The drive through the country side in open air bus was a hit. Thanks,
Date of experience: 11/09/2016-17/10/2016
We had a great trip (Xian, Guilin, Tibet, Yangtze River Cruise). What a memorable time for me and my two sons. We are in Beijing for the next 2 weeks with my wife and will be doing some site seeing around the city so I have many more photos to take.
Thank you so much for assitance with the planning of the trip. Everything went smoothly and we had a great time!
I recently just discovered the Trip Advisor App for my iPhone. It has been really useful so I will post something on the web site for China Expedition Tours.
Date of experience: 08/07/2017-24/07/2017
Hi Monica.The tour went very well and as I said to Helen.we can never prepare a tour in China so we will be looking to another 4 or 5 cities to do next time with you help. lease note that what I say below is not critical but for you to give some thought to.
Beijing:Guide Rock was good in so much as picking us up and listening to what we asked of him in information. He could have been more forward in pointing out things of interest without us having to ask as I think that is his job and he should be constantly pointing out things of interest for but he spent majority of time talking to the driver (about what we do not know as it was Chinese)
Xian:Grace was very good and we learnt so much. The hotel was the best I have
been in for a long time. My previous 2 visits the hotels were in the centre and only average.
Guilin:Lizzie kept us informed and entertained. I think the rice fields tour should be included in your tours as they really enjoyed it.The better rice field tour I have been on twice was unavailable due to road works.
Shanghai:Guilie was good but could do a little more talking about matters of interest.I think one water town visit is enough as the 2nd is virtually the same as the first.There must be other items of interest in such a large city.
Thanks again for your interest in our discussion and ging them an insight into China.Best wishes to Alex and the future for the company.
Date of experience: 19/05/2017-31/05/2017
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