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
Derick Royaards Walker
the U. K
We heard of Alex through friends who had used him before. He organised an interesting two-week itinerary for us, combining traditional tourist attractions with some more individual activities. If you can, visit the Panda Breeding institute in Chengdu and the highlight of our tour was a home stay in an apartment with probably the finest rooftop views in Guilin. The three star hotels were all in perfect locations and far better facilities than we expected - apart from some of the breakfasts which can be an acquired taste. Our guides all spoke very good English and went out of their way to show us round street markets or recommend restaurants (A Sichuan Hotpot is a great experience). Using travel agents in another country can be a risk, but China Expedition Tours combined high levels of professionalism with great value for money. Many thanks to Alex and Team!
Date of experience: 07/05/2017-21/05/2017
Someone told us that if you want to know modern china, go to Beijing and Shanghai; If you want to know ancient China, then go to Xi’an. We were very lucky to take this tour and visit these three cities of China. We appreciated your service during the trip, especially the guide who gave us an excellent explains of china’s histories and developments. Besides, everything in the tour was considerably managed by China Expedition Tours, so we could have a light heart sightseeing and knowledge learning around China. Thank you so much.
Date of experience: 30/10/2015-05/11/2015
the U. K
Sorry I took a while to reply but went to Wales for a few days!
First of all a Big thankyou-your guides Rockie and Grace were superb-nothing was too much for them and they were very professional and enthusiastic making my experience in China a trip of a lifetime!
I enjoyed trip immensely ,learnt a lot,took 1000 photos and 2 hrs of video-Am inviting whole family around for a china night to show off photos and video!
Thankyou to you and your superb guides Grace and Rockie!!
Date of experience: 13/08/2017-18/08/2017
My friend and I had a wonderful time trip in China. We were impressed with the quality of the hotels and food, and the knowledge of local tour guides.We learned so much about Chinese history and culture! Your guides were so patient and helpful in answering our questions and accommodating our special requests.
Our only suggestion would be to allow more free time in each of the cities like relaxing at a cafe to enjoy the atmosphere or strollin in the city street. On the other hand, there is so much to see, so we were glad that the itinerary was full.
We have already recommended your company to some of our friends. Your well-run service is worth of it.Thanks again for the wonderful experience.
Date of experience: 01/08/2012-11/08/2012
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
I cannot thank you enough for all of your coordination for our trip in Guilin. Mandy and I thoroughly enjoyed Alex Guan, tour guide, and Mr. Jong (the driver). Alex also has a good command of the English language and a good sense of humor. Alex was very attentive, punctual and could easily resolve whatever issue we brought up. I would highly recommend Alex for any tour. He wondered why he wasn’t our guide on Monday at the orphanage and I told him that for some reason a Linn from BLAS got involved for that arrangement and I thought she was with the government in order to get us into the orphanage. Alex told us to call him if there were any problems.
Date of experience: 25/06/2012-11/07/2012
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