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
We just got home on wed but came home sick with laryngitis therefore late reply. We enjoyed ever part of the tour. The guides and drivers are so nice and polite. All hotels are clean. Thank you for the best holiday & will certainly be recommending your company to all our friends.
Cheers Maria, Mick, Irene & Bruno
Date of experience: 04/05/2017-16/05/2017
Hello CET, without a doubt Great Wall views & the Li River were the most memorable attractions. We tried numerous of the restaurants & markets recommended in our confirmation letter and without exception they were all outstanding. As an over view of our experience with china expenditure tours: - My wife & I both love China, especially the Beijing region, and we will be travelling there again in the future, when we do we will use you again. What higher praise can I offer! All the very best,
Date of experience: 04/09/2016-30/10/2016
I traveled to China for the first time this past January. The trip was well-planned and fun from start to finish. Not only did Alex Guan do a fantastic job working with our travel dates and funds to fit a lot into our itinerary, he's also a great individual to talk to and travel with. If I had any questions or concerns, I felt extremely comfortable bringing them to Alex. The same was true of the the guides he had for us in each city. They were all very knowledgable and informative. I definitely learned a lot from this trip with China Expedition Tours. However, I also feel like Alex provided us several opportunities (scheduled and unscheduled) to break the "tourist" barrier and experience the Chinese culture. One of my favorite parts of the trip was taking a bike ride in Yangshuo with our guide, David. He arranged for us to stop by a local woman's house. She gave us a tour and shared fresh fruit and peanuts with us from her garden. With China Expedition Tours, you're guaranteed an unforgettable and highly enjoyable trip! I will be contacting Alex Guan the next time I visit China!
Date of experience: 06/01/2017-21/01/2017
Angga Kencana Lim & Tan Venisia Dewi
I have a breathtaking tour experience the amazing Guilin with my son, I’ve been dreaming to travel around such lovely place in all my life, together with my son, we had unforgettable memory of spending every moment in Guilin. Thanks so much for China Expedition Tour work team, we had fabulous time. And our tour guide is also awesome and knowledgeable.On top of Yao Mountain we overlooked the whole Guilin city, green hills and clear water around, Guilin has its unique sight in spring, we felt so pleased when getting so closed nature. Daxu is the old town with local folk style, it reminded me a lot of the past time, that’s funny, and my son said he’d love to travel through time and experience a special moment with local people. LOL.I would like to recommend my friend in Malaysia to travel around China especially Guilin with help of China Expedition Tour. They would plan the best trip for you.
Date of experience: 02/04/2017-03/04/2017
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