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
We had a wonderful trip down the LiRiver near Guilin with China Expeditions, and had a lot of fun at the rice terraces!
Date of experience: 13/04/2018-17/04/2018
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
Cindy was a wonderful guide. Our driver was always on time and was safe. We had a fantastic journey and will always cherish the memories. Thank you for arranging our flights,accommodations and Cindy! She made our stay informational, relaxing and fun. She was very nice, sweet,flexible and accommodating. Without Cindy our trip would not have been the same! Thank you very much for everything.
Di McGrogan,Wayne Emme, Steve andBarbara Dubois
Date of experience: 17/04/2017-17/04/2017
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
My daughters and I went to Shanghai to attend an Expo,thus we had limited time for sightseeing. My daughters wanted to see the mountains of Huangshan (Yellow Mountains) and the ancient village of Hongcun. Our only available days were April 30 to May 2, which unfortunately is a long holiday in China thus a lot of Chinese were expected to visit these very popular tourist sites. China Expedition Tours rearranged our schedule to make sure that we will not be wasting our limited time on lining up. They also assigned to us an energetic and very knowledgeable tour guide who also spoke English very well. China Expedition Tours’ attention to details made sure that we were able to appreciate the culture and craftsmanship of the Chinese people (which dates back to centuries ago) and to enjoy the mystical Yellow Mountains.
Date of experience: 29/04/2018-01/05/2018
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