We took the private Li River hiking tour from China Expedition Tours in October 2019. For us it was a very spontaneous decision. We contacted the company just 1 day before the trip but everything ended up being just perfect! They reacted quickly, everything was organized as promised incl. convenient payment method. So, in the morning our private English-speaking guide - Alex was expecting us at the lobby of our hotel. The driver was also waiting for us in the spacious and very clean car parked in front of the hotel. The hiking itself was brilliant. Firstly, we visited the panoramic spots, where we really enjoyed the breathtaking views of Li River and mountains from above. Than the driver dropped us with Alex at one of the villages, where we started our journey along the river through ancient villages, local farms, wild nature and peacefulness. We went the paths you have absolutely no chance to find on your own as they were hidden in the woods and mountains. Alex was so helpful and informative! He showed us many interesting things (such as ancient paths, the cotton and mandarine fields, etc.) and explained a lot about local culture and way of life. He answered every single question we asked and was taking care of us on every stage of our journey. We made a stop for brunch and shared the food with each other on the peaceful riverbank. On late afternoon we arrived to designated place where the driver was already waiting for us to bring us back to our hotel. We asked Alex to give us advice, where to buy a tasteful tea from Guilin. He was glad to show us his favorite local tea store, where we could enjoy delicious teas and get the insights into tea culture of China. Don't hesitate to book this hiking tour! it's worth every penny!! We would like to thank China Expedition Tour and especially Alex from the bottom of our hearts for this unbelievable experience! We hope to be able to see him again in the future and take another tour with China Expedition Tour also in other cities of China.
Date of experience: 15/10/2019-15/10/2019
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
We've just returned from this particular tour, but our minds are still constantly thinking of our China trip.The tour-guides, who are all marvelous. There's no words to express how much we enjoyed this China Tour.
Date of experience: 20/05/2018-01/06/2018
Jenny and Bevan
We had an amazing trip, thank you so much for all your hard work in putting together our itinerary. All the guides were wonderful and their knowledge was incredible. They could not do enough for us and were always punctual, polite and fun.The hotels were very well chosen, great locations, rooms were beautiful and food was abundant.
We even had an upgrade on arrival in Bejing which was a lovely way to start our holiday. By the time Peter had finished with us in Bejing, I think I knew all there was to know about the Emperors and Dynasties. What would have helped would have been a “Time Line” brochure, so we could refer to which period was being talked about and where each Emperor fit in as there was so much to remember. Although we had a very full itinerary, I would have liked to see the Silk Road Markets in Bejing, I hear they are very interesting.The terracotta Soldiers in Xien were far more impressive than I had thought they would be. Grace was such a lovely Guide and obviously very proud of her job and what she has to show her guests.While we were in Guilin Amber suggested we take the chair lift to the top of a mountain and view Guilin from there. I am so glad we did, it was amazing.
Bevan came back down on the chairlift and I decided to take the louge with Amber, it was so much fun, even for someone my age (54).As we were a little early for the acrobatic show in Shanghai, Colin very kindly took us to a wonderful shopping precinct close by to the theatre, this was very much appreciated and I believe should be added to the itinerary. Colin also suggested we take the night cruise which we loved, Shangahi is so beautiful at night and what a great way to see it. The “Mag Lev” train to the airport was fantastic, my husband had always wanted to do this and was not disappointed, I think this should be offered as an extra when selling Shanghai.
All our drivers were fantastic. We felt safe at all times even though the traffic in China was very different to what we are used to. The only thing that would
have been nice was to return to a cool vehicle, although this was not always possible I am sure.
The only thing that I was sometimes disappointed with was the choice of lunch venues. We chose your company because it was for small groups or in our case, only two people, and in some places we were in large dining rooms with large groups of tourists. I am sure these places are chosen for their locations and the food which was served which was wonderful.
We had a most wonderful holiday and I will most certainly recommend China Expedition Tours to everyone. I do hope we can visit China again very soon.
Jenny and Bevan
Date of experience: 19/08/2017-03/09/2017
Thank you very much for such a nice trip. Please see our comments below: The distribution of the time was fairly done, Meals were excellent in general. All guides were knowledgeable of the place and able to answer our questions. The best one was Sarah in Beijing and Ruth in Xian. All guides versed in English. All drivers were fairly good. The hotels were very nice and excellent breakfast.
Date of experience: 13/08/2016-14/09/2016
I just wanted to comment on what a wonderful experience my husband and I had in China. We truly miss the beauty that China has to offer. Not only that, my overall experience with CET was better than expected. What I truly miss about China is the person! I am Asian myself, and I enjoy people. Now that we are back at home, as we get up every morning. It’s sad to not see people outside like in China. Again I want to express my heartfelt appreciation on what a wonderful experience we had with you. you has truly made our Vacation a Vacation that my husband and I will remember and cherish a lifetime!
Date of experience: 15/08/2016-11/10/2016
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