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Hi, Monica.Thank you for your note. My tour in Beijing was excellent - Allen (Lu You) was a fantastic tour guide and I have only good things to say about him. Our driver was also very good.
In terms of improvements - I would have liked to have spent more time at the Summer Palace and in the Hutong, but we were on a tight schedule.
I would also suggest that tourists not visit the pearl market - the atmosphere was not very pleasant. However, the tea house and silk factory that we visited were very good.
I would recommend Allen as a tour guide to other tourists and would definitely return to the sights that I saw on this trip.
Here is the picutre taken on the Great wall. Thank you again, it was a very good trip,
Date of experience: 15/09/2017-17/09/2017
Our guide speak wonderful English, he's very kind, helpful and extremely polite, we have fond memories of him as our guide in Guilin. The Aroma Tea House is very beautiful by the lake,we really enjoy it.Anyway, we had so much fun on this trip!!
Date of experience: 19/04/2018-21/04/2018
Alex Guan did an awesome job of putting together a fun itinerary for me and my friends, and at a great price at that. While I was there I felt like I had an authentic Chinese experience, which was a blast! My favorite city was Guilin, which is Alex's hometown. It was simply breathtaking! I would definitely use Alex again, and would recommend him to anyone else thinking about doing a tour of China!
Date of experience: 10/10/2016-29/10/2016
It was all so wonderful - and the home stays were the best!! What an amazing opportunity that was for us to get a more real experience of being in China. If I were younger I would want to learn Chinese and go live there for a year or so. As I age I feel a strong sense of wanting to know what the world really is and will be like when I'm gone. I want to feel that there's good hope for understanding and peace in the world --- --- and I so felt that among the people we met there. How could all those hardworking, intelligent and kind folks, who are striving to do their best and who care so much about their children, put up with anything but the best of opportunities? I'm not worried for two generations from now, and maybe only one.
The sheer bigness of buildings and squares and traffic and crowds was impressive to me especially too, in the ways that somehow it all appeared to be working in usually peaceful and often exciting ways.
And of course the cutting edge of things is always exciting to experience - Shanghai being especially great for that. Besides the variety and creativity in the tall buildings and the amazing Shanghai Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art there was mind-blowing to me. With a beautiful exhibit of art by emerging young artists, the works were often both quite delicate and also wrenching - most stimulating! I wondered if there was much censorship and if it didn't somehow make for greater discipline and help to create art that was more deeply meaningful.... and of course with the rich history of art you all have under your skin somewhere...I haven't been moved so much by an art exhibition in a long time.
Date of experience: 20/05/2012-06/06/2012
Hi, Monica, we just came back home and still in jetlag. We enjoyed our tour, the guide was very nice, his english was very good and the driver was also very nice. They were on time at the hotel. We enjoyed the lunch at the jade factory resturant. The food was very tasty , according to our liking. The only thing I would suggest that I wish some one had called us a day before at our hotel and confirm, because I tried to call the the phone # on the papers, but due to holiday no one answered. I was not sure if some one will show up in the morning. The adress you gave me in Chinese writing was very helpful.
Date of experience: 05/10/2015-05/10/2015
Richard and Sylvia
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
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