Destinations: Beijing, Yanan, Xian, Huangshan, Guangzhou, Meizhou, Chaozhou, Jieyang, Hong Kong
We had a wonderful time on the trip, and Christina was great! We think the trip went really well, with only a few minor issues. As we knew it would be, it was quite a tiring trip, but everyone liked all the places we visited.
We thought you might find it helpful if we provided you with some more detailed feedback on the trip.
- Your suggestion of taking the night train to Yan'an was great. Everybody enjoyed the adventure.
- We had a wonderful time here, and Caroline was very good.
- We were also not able to get dinner that night since there was nothing to buy in the Yan'an train station. Eating on the train was not a good
option. We then were supposed to get something at the Xi'an train station before we drove into the city, but that did not happen. Christina did
refund us for the cost of the meal for that night.
- It was too bad that the plane schedule changed so that we had to leave early. Hong had a great suggestion to have lunch at the Terracotta Museum,
rather than have lunch at the Muslim Quarter. But we were sad that we couldn't eat in the Muslim Quarter. (And of course, we were sad to have missed Banpo village.)
- Hong was excellent.
- The dumpling making class was fun (but hard!). Everybody thought the Tang dynasty show was great.
- Hong had a great suggestion to have us put out our luggage the night before and she had it checked in for us the next morning, so we did not have to deal with our luggage.
- We liked Pig's Heaven Inn, but when we asked if we should lock the room doors, Bruce said it was up to us, but there was really no need. Susan
ended up getting a jacket taken from our room. We don't know how, but we do know that people were able to come in and out of the inn. We should have locked the rooms and in the future you should have the tour guides tell guests to lock their doors.
- It was a great idea to leave the big luggage at the foot of the mountain.
- We ended up going up and down via the Yungu cable car due to the weather. In hindsight, this ended up being best as we hadn't realized it was a 3 hour walk to the Yuping cable car.
- We didn't visit Emerald Valley as it had rained a lot and there was a concern for rock slides.
- The calligraphy class, which I believe was added in place of Emerald Valley, was fun.
- The departing flight was late, so we didn't leave until the time were supposed to originally arrive in Guangzhou.
- Bruce was good, but initially he kept speaking in Chinese to me and wanting me to translate for the group.
- As we got to the hotel at 3am, we canceled the morning activities, so we discussed which place to drop off the itinerary. Rose was not interested
in Xiaozhou village so we dropped this, but we don't know if this was really the best idea. It sounded interesting in the guidebook, but Rose was
discouraging, even though she had not been there recently and had no knowledge.
- Catherine was very nervous working in English. We know that she was the only English speaker in that agency and the city, small place.
- Confucian Academy: Part way through our visit, they closed for lunch and we couldn't finish our tour. Our understanding was that normally they
don't close for lunch, so we don't know why they closed and we had no time to go back.
- The vegetarian meal before visiting the Kaiyuan Temple was a nice touch, but not satisfying for those in the group who eat meat!
- When we got to the hotel, there was massive confusion with our luggage. We were dropped off with our luggage, but it turned out there was
another group waiting on the sidewalk to board the bus we just got off of. The driver had deposited our luggage on the sidewalk and the guide went in
to get the bellboy. The other group started swarming around our luggage as they tried to get on the bus, and as I tried to ensure our luggage was not
taken, someone in the other group thought it was their luggage and that I was trying to take it. We finally got it all straightened out, but it was chaotic.
- Prince Gong's Residence: We only saw the house as Cathy said that Prince Gong was just like the Forbidden City, so a waste to go there.
- Houhai bar street at night: Even though this was going to be at our expense, this fell off the itinerary. First of all, Cathy wanted us to go
to a separate acrobat, kung-fu, or opera performance, but in the end, no one went. Also, there was a problem with the opera mask painting person, so we couldn't go in the afternoon and instead went at night after dinner, when we were supposed to go to Houhai.
- Peking duck dinner: we know that Christina had originally selected another restaurant. Cathy said she changed it to a better restaurant, but
we aren't sure if that was really the case or not. The restaurant was OK but seemed to be out of the way in southeast Beijing, which took extra time
to and from.
- Walk through the Foreign Legation Quarter: We randomly walked around for 10 minutes.
- Lunch after the Lama Temple: Cathy wanted to take us back to a restaurant in southeast Beijing that we previously ate at, which was far
from the Lama Temple. When we asked for a restaurant in the Lama Temple area, Cathy brought us go to this restaurant and we found it to be very nice, the food was great, and the service was fine. Everybody liked it there. There was no need to go back to the SE section, and then come back to the China National Museum.
- Lugou Bridge and Museum: We took our time getting there, and then went to the bridge first. We then went to the museum, but almost couldn't get in as the museum was about to close. Cathy was able to talk our way in, but we would have been very upset if we had missed the museum.
- Cathy: There were 2 incidents that she was successful at: they were going to close Tiananmen Square yet she got us in and out the exit they were closing, and she got us into the Lugou Bridge Museum even though they were closing.
- We enjoyed the performance at the Laoshe Teahouse, the Beijing opera mask painting, and the tai chi class.
- Getting to/from the hotel with luggage: Some people were taken to the hotel by car, but some were dropped off at various places and had to walk
in with their luggage. The times we entered by car, we went straight up Nanluoguxiang, but there was actually another hutong right in front of the
hotel that could have been used (yes, they had to wind around some streets, but it was doable). On departure, it was great that you decided to have a
vehicle come in to take all the bags directly to the train station and check them so we did not have to handle them at all.
- As we mentioned, there's still a problem with the drinks throughout the trip. On this group, there were less people who drank beer, but many
that wanted to drink water. There were times when we asked to exchange a bottle of beer for water, but there always seemed to be a one for one
exchange, even though our assumption is that water is much cheaper than either beer or coke. Drinks were a point of irritation at meals since
Americans are used to drinking cold drinks with their meal, and often will want beer or coke AND water.
- It also appears that you are sometimes in a difficult position with the local tour agency. While Christina understood the itinerary very well,
it seems like sometimes the local tour guide had a different agenda and opinion. This also pertained to the menu. I asked Christina several times
to add more meat so there was more of a balance between meat and vegetables, but I donot think the local tour guide complied with her request.
- As we mentioned in the feedback we left with Christina, it seems the quality and quantity of food this year was not consistent, some meals we
had a lot of food, while others we didnot seem to have enough. Additionally, perhaps because we had a vegetarian, there seemed to be meals where we had a lot of vegetarian dishes with few meat dishes. We appreciated the efforts you made to ensure there was food for the one vegetarian, but there were more meat eaters who sometimes felt there wasnot enough meat.
- Bus drivers, we only had problems with the one in Yanan. The others were all fine, but only a couple helped with luggage, especially the driver
Lastly, everyone in the group really liked Christina and found she was very helpful, flexible, and responsive. She looked after us very well (and she
often bought us snacks!) and we highly recommend her for her professionalism and customer service.
We have been very pleased with the two trips that Absolute China Tours has organized for us and hope to travel with you again in the future.
Carol Yee, Susan Puska
Destinations: Hangzhou, Mr. Huangshan
Travel Detail: Click
Would like to thank you for helping us with our holiday arrangements in Huangshan.
We had a wonderful time there and the weather was very good....bright, sunny & cooling.
Jack was also a very good guide.
So glad to hear from you. We are home and tired. That is a long flight. You were a wonderful guide for us and I appreciated everything you did for me. I enjoyed my visit to your beautiful country, so much history . Hope your trip to USA is going well and keep in touch.
We all love you
You did an outstanding job and everyone in our group fell in love with you. Our phone number is XXXXX. Come visit and stay for a while. You have many new friends here.
Bill & Nancy
Good to hear from you so soon. We did make it home safely even though for some strange reason, we had the wrong time for the flight. Little panic at first but we did get to the airport in time. See, you leave early and the wheels fall off. Seriously, I had a great time and have you to thank for it in so many ways. I will stay in touch.
Evon, Bill, Nancy and Ed McCarthy
Thanks for the great arrangement. We had an enjoyable trip in Xinjiang. Nuer is great too and Mr Ma,the driver is a careful driver. We were lucky to have 2 of them throughout the trip. I plan to organize another trip to Xinjiang next year and hope you can give me better offer. Bye
The trip was great and your agency performed great. We were pleasantly surprised with how responsive you were and with the trip that you planned. Very professional. A previous agent told us we couldn't pull off a trip with so many stops but it was not a problem and the pace of the trip was good for us. We don't like sitting still in one spot for too long. The guides in each city did well and a couple were excellent. Speaking of the most enjoyable or memorable parts of our trip, I will definately say hiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge and staying in a guest house overnight. I recommend this for anyone who likes a little adventure and natural beauty. Also, taking the Li River cruise and seeing the Karst hills in Guilin was incredible. The photos online don't due the beauty any justice.
I think Xishuangbanna was a good place to visit but I think it was below the other places we saw. If I was to do the same trip over again knowing what I do now, I would have skipped this area and found another place to visit. I would also liked to have spent a night in Yangshuo. Best RegardsKevin
Kevin and Jennifer