2008 Customer Reviews
- Clients: Mr. Wayne Glenn Winston and Ms. Lee Winston-Wright
- Country: United States
Dear William and Cecily,
It has been about 2 1/2 months since we returned, and we can finally offer some comments. We will as well as offer additional observations about the tour and our experiences.
The lunches and dinners we had at restaurants were of excellent quality. The best of these was the farewell dinner at the Shanghai Central Hotel, with both a extensive selection and high quality.
In general, we found the quantity of food offered at these meals was far too much! We were always disappointed that so much food was left. As the trip progressed, we told the guides that we would order one or two dishes fewer than we could have ordered.
The dumpling banquet in Xian was excellent, but the quantity of food was overwhelming! There was enough to feed a platoon of PRC soldiers!
Regarding the hotel breakfast buffets, the quality slowly deteriorated as the tour progressed. The Holiday Inn in Beijing had a great buffet. By the end of the trip, we found the buffet at the Bund Riverside was not very good, with a small selection and disorganized staff (but a very good room).
All the guides had English language skills that ranged from good to excellent.
All the drivers were excellent and their cars were clean and in excellent condition.
As it turned out, we had some extra time before leaving Beijing. It was a rainy Saturday morning, and Linda had scheduled another museum for that extra time. When she picked us up at the hotel, we had decided we wanted to go to the Saturday-Sunday antiques market. The always helpful Linda and the driver got us to the market, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. It was apparent that few tourists go there, because the very crowded streets around the market would make it impossible for tour buses to get there. A car or on foot is the only practical way to get to the market. We found a few great, unusual souveniers of our trip.
We had a late arrival in Wuhan, and the schedule had to be changed. Oscar offered to take us to the museum in the little time we had after lunch, but the Provincial Museum and airport are at opposite ends of the city. We would have spent most of the time driving between them. Instead, we choosed to stroll the large park along the river in central Wuhan. It was a delight to spend time with the local residents, as well as see a very interesting collection of life size bronze statues in the park.
Also, Oscar's English would make you think he spent many years living in the U.S. Excellent!
Finally, some other observations and comments.
1. Just before we started the Yangtze River cruise, I developed a head cold with a blocked, runny nose. Of all the common medicines we brought for all the simple problems travelers might encounter, we forgot something for common cold!
Vivian in Guilin, Oscar in Wuhan, and Sunny in Shanghai all took me to a pharmacy to find something that would relieve my cold. In that respect, they were very helpful. We could only find herbal remedies, which I found did not work for me. I was surprised I was not able to find even the most common western medicines that are sold everywhere in the U.S., without prescriptions.
At the Shanghai pharmacy, we did discover that the pharmacies have a huge book that cross references the common chemical name of drugs, in English, with the Mandarin equivalent. We tried an antibiotic for which we could remember the chemical name, and the pharmacy could find the Chinese equivalent. So we might have been able to find a needed cold remedy if we knew the chemical name, and not just the brand name used in the U.S.
That was an interesting discovery. A list of the chemical names of about ten of the most common, non-prescription medicines found in the U.S., might be useful for your guides to have. These are for common illnesses such as I suffered. Then local pharmacies my be able to find the equivalent medicine sold in China. Let me know if you would like such a list.
2. Finally, we found the English language skills of all the guides to be good to excellent. Congratulations to anyone who undertakes learning English as a second language. It is a complicated language with many rules about pronunciation and spelling. But there are so many exceptions to these rules, they are almost useless. We asked most of the guides how they learned English, and I believe the one common thing was that none of them had trained with a native English speaker. So, most of them had certain common problems with the choice of words and pronunciation that can probably only be remedied with a native speaker.
By our last two days in Beijing, our guide (Linda) seemed relaxed and comfortable enough with us, that she did ask what the exact right word or phrase in English would be used to describe certain things. We certainly did not feel she imposed, and were very happy to explain what words a native English speaker would use. With only Linda and the two of us, it was easy for us to discuss this.
By the end of the tour, we thought how nice it would be if there were the time and place we could spend with each of our guides to discuss (over many cups of tea) some of the language problems we noticed, and how native speakers would use the language.
Would we recommend this China tour? Certainly, yes. There were many surprises along the way. We came with certain ideas about China and the people, and were pleasantly surprised that many of them were wrong. We came to see for ourselves. Even in 15 days, it was more than we could see and fully understand. It took us a couple of weeks after we returned home to really appreciate and understand all we had seen. At some future time, we would like to return to China again.
Any parts of this Email may be used on your web site - www.travelchinaguide.com, along with this Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne & Lee Winston
- Clients: Mr. Matthew Wesley Abbey, Mr. Daniel Tadeusz Mackernan and Marketing Manager
- Country: UK
Dear Cynthia and all at TCG,
We only had the one meal and it was excellent - Lilly took our party to a restaurant where both the food and service were outstanding, made even more enjoyable by Lilly kindly helping us to select a huge range of dishes.
We only had the one guide - Lilly. All members of the party are agreed that we were very lucky to have her as our guide, in spite of our flight being delayed by over 14 hours she was there to greet us at the airport, she then proceeded to condense our two day trip into the one remaining day with an articulate and well informed history lesson of Xian. In spite loosing a whole day we did not feel we had missed out on our Xian tour.
Special thanks also to Cynthia for coming personally to meet us at the restaurant with complimentary gifts and, un expectantly / un requested, a refund for the activities we had missed out on due to our plane being delayed.
Similarly to our guide we greatly appreciated our driver waiting all day for our flight to arrive, he was friendly, courteous & punctual - everything you would hope for in a driver.
The only negative aspect of our trip was the typhoon, which delayed our flight out of Shanghai by 14 hours, and this was completely out of anyone at TravelChinaGuide's control. Shanghai airlines could have been more helpful by communicating more with their passengers, and their own airport staff, whilst other carriers were taking off we were left 1st for 6 hours on the plane then in the airport with no option of arranging alternative modes of transport, or any indication as to when they hoped we might take off.
Thankfully Lilly and our driver hadn't abandoned us and were still waiting for us when we finally arrived at Xian airport, from then on everthing was plain sailing.
We would like to thank all at TravelChinaGuide for the proffessional, courteous and friendly way in which our tour was handled. Anyone wanting a reccomendation for a tour operator in China will certainly be directed to www.travelchinaguide.com
- Clients: Mr. Barry Self, Ms. Robyn Self, Mr. Robert Baillie & Ms. Dianne Baillie
- Country: Australia
Dear Ruby/ Dora,
We really enjoyed your vacation, and have the following comments.
2 ----Meals in Beijing, Shanghai and Xian very good. The meal at the Hyatt on arrival in Xian was the best!
3--- The guides were all good. All guides were knowledgable, however it would help the tourists if the guides could advise us about points of interest on the journey to our destination.
4----All drivers were very good and the buses were spotless.
5----Robyn Self became ill in Tiananmen Square and our guide Ray was extremely helpful in arranging an ambulance to take Robyn to the hospital, where we were met by two staff from Travel China Guide. We could not have received service as good as this in Australia, and we would sincerely like to thank Ray and the two young ladies for their assistance.
Within 15 minutes of arrival, Robyn had been seen a doctor, and was in a room with a drip inserted. Then back to the hotel, and was ready to resume the tour the next day.
Keith and Robyn Self
Bob and Di Baillie
- Clients: Mr. Eric Raymond McKee, Ms. Yvonne Elaine McKee & Ms. Joan Ada Johnson
- Country: Australia
Good Morning Dora Chen/ Ruby Zhao,
Photo offered by our client Ms. Yvonne Elaine McKee
Firstly let me say we could not have had a better company for our first adventure to your country, it was wonderful, in fact all personnel that we have had contact with in your company, including yourselves have been highly professional, extremely helpful and obliging.
Our guide in Beijing, David Lixuyang and driver Yan Jun Bao were excellent and although we didn't spend may hours is Xian the guide Maggie and Mr. Cheng the driver were also very professional. David and Yan were wonderful, David's knowledge on your country's history and his English is very very good, he is a excellent communicator. Jan is also a patient and efficient driver, considering your traffic, and his vehicle was always pristine.
In regards to the meals, my husband who is usually not very adventurous in trying new types of food ate everything placed in front of him. After 2 months of travelling unfortunately I cannot remember if one particular meal stands out but I do know we enjoyed all the meals and were totally satisfied with the service in all the restaurants as well.
Finally, we intend in a few years to returning to China for a more extensive look at your beautiful country and will not hesitate to book a tour with your company, TravelChina Guide.
Thank you again
Yours sincerely Yvonne McKee
- Clients: Mr. David John McNeillie and Ms.Rose Marion McNeillie
- Country: UK
It was nice to meet you face to face in Xian. We were very happy with our 25-day luxury tailor made tour to China. It truly exceeded our expectations. The organisation and arrangements made by Travel China Guide are second to none. At each location, our guide and driver were always waiting to greet us wherever we arrived at an airport or railway station. We had heard that travel on Chinese trains could be difficult, but even this proved simple and straightforward with TravelChinaGuide's close attention to every detailed aspect of our trip.
We felt there was a nice balance between seeing the traditional tourist sites, discussing Chinese history and culture with our guides, enjoying Chinese food and hospitality, and going to see a show on some of the evenings.
All the guides and drivers were very courteous and helpful and treated us like personal friends rather than as paying clients. They all spoke very good English and at no time did we have any difficulty understanding them. We asked many questions and the guides were genuinely happy to answer them all. All guides demonstrated a good knowledge of Chinese history and culture and handled all our questions with apparent ease. We were particularly pleased to have a Naxi guide in Lijiang and a Bai guide in Dali as this enabled us to gain a more detailed knowledge of the minority cultures in China. Although driving in China is a very different experience from that in the West, at all times we felt completely safe with our drivers. We were also extremely thankful that we were not having to worry about driving ourselves.
All the hotels were of an excellent standard, extremely comfortable and particularly well located. The food was very good throughout and the guides checked our preferences before ordering for us. Our only negative comment would be that we were offered too much food at lunchtime. We are used to having only a snack at lunch time.
We enjoyed the shows that were organised for us and they helped us to gain a broader appreciation of Chinese Culture. The highlights were not surprisingly the Tang Dynasty Show in Xian and The Acrobatic Show in Shanghai. Our guide in Kunming suggested that we attended an ethnic dance show in Kunming and this was a wonderful mix of raw power from the men and beauty and grace from the female dancers.
We really enjoyed the visits to the Chinese families in the different locations. It added greatly to the tour and it was an interesting experience that we had not encountered on any of our trips to other countries. At all times, we found the Chinese people extremely helpful, and if on our free days we consulted a map, we could rely on someone approaching us and offering to direct us to our destination.
The meals we enjoyed the most were the buffets offered by some of the hotels at dinner time. The buffet dinner in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Xian and the Landison Plaza, Hangzhou were particularly good. We were cautious about eating seafood and avoided it until we got to Guilin, Shanghai and Hangzhou where the seafood was outstanding. The dinner that accompanied the Tang Dynasty Show was also excellent.
Our guide in Xian, Monica, could not have been more helpful. Her English was fine and we did not have any difficulty undertanding her. [Several of our guides spoke English to a remarkable standard and we were astonished at the extent of their vocabularies - e.g. Fiona in Kunming knew the English name of virtually every flower we encountered in the Stone forest. The standard of the guides' English is particularly impressive given that almost none of them had been outside of China.]
Monica was very knowledgeable about the places we visited and told us many interesting facts about the Terracotta Army, some of which would only be known by someone with a very detailed knowledge of the exhibits. She also gave us a great deal of information about the exhibits in the Xian Provincial History Museum and the Mausoleum of Western Han Emperor Liu Qi. The latter really surprised us with its exhibits.
Since we returned, Monica has been in touch with us by e-mail as she offered to send us the e-mail address of the lady we visited in Xian. We intend to send her the photographs we took in her appartment.
We had a lot of fun with Monica and the driver we nicknamed Jackie Chan and we very much enjoyed their company. The car was always clean and tidy both inside and out. In summary, we were very happy with Monica and Jackie and want to dispel any concerns you think you have picked up from our comments.
It is difficult to single out any guides, when the overall standard was so high, but probably Sara in Beijing and Fiona in Kunming stand out as going well beyond the call of duty. Having said that we were also serenaded by Charity during a boat trip in Suzhou !
You should anticipate from our responses, that we really enjoyed our trip to China and our heartfelt thanks go to all those from TravelChinaGuide, who contributed to a truly memorable and enjoyable holiday. We would not hesitate to recommend TravelChinaGuide to anyone contemplating a visit to China. We may well return to China ourselves in a few years time and if we do we will contact you again.
On a completely different point, it might be worth mentioning on your website that if you wish to make use of some of the hotel swimming pools, you are required to wear a swimming cap. This is not a requirement in hotels in the West.
Well that is all for now. I will give you access to a selection of my photographs when I have finally processed them all.
Please contact me if there is anything else you would like to know.
- Clients: Ms.Diane Poppish Baker; Mr. Mark Andrew Baker; Ms. Sydney Marie Ann Baker; Mr.Weston Andrew Poppish Baker
- Country: United States
We enjoyed our tour tremendously. From the driver and tour guide to the hotel, food, and tours.
1. We enjoyed all the meals. The children and my husband really enjoyed the Peking Duck, even my son who is very picky.
2. Our guide (Cindy) was very good. Good knowledge of the tours and her English was very good.
3. Driver (Mr. Wang) was also very good. Always there ready to pick us up and always had water for us. Car was clean and comfortable.
Again, we really enjoyed our tour and have already recommended your travel guide to other friends. Thank you again for a very enjoyable trip.
- Clients: Singapore & Indonesia & Malaysia group
- Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore
We were very happy with the service provided during the duration of our tour. Our guide, Kevin, was very patient and accommodating. His English is excellent and he was always flexible with the schedule and open to our requests. Before we reached the second hotel, he even took the intiative to ask for a baby cot for our hotel room, after he'd heard that we'd asked for one in the first hotel. The driver was also very good. He did not speed, was very helpful with the luggage and his attitude was always friendly.
The meals were all very good, except that there was a bit too much food most of the time. I think our favorite meal was in Dejuyuan in Pingyao.
Finally, thank you for your efficient service in answering our questions and booking the tour. It was a very enjoyable holiday.
- Clients: Mr. Geoffrey Ronald Iles & Ms. Peta Lee Iles & Mr. Robert Lindsay Iles
- Country: Australia
Of all the numerous journey my wife and I have undertaken over the pass 30 years we must say that your company is the most professional and courteous that we have encountered.
Photo offered by our client Mr. Geoffrey Ronald Iles
The 14-day luxury itinerary provided my wife and I with a wonderful vacation highlights some of the major attractions. The 5 star hotels provided excellent accommodation whilst our guides took note of our food type preferences for all our lunch and dinner meals. The food without exception was excellent and always more than we could accommodate.
All of the guides were very informative with our guide in Beijing, Sarah, being exceptional. Whether meeting us at different airports or hotels they were always on time with very clean and comfortable vehicles.
Jandy, our guide in shanghai, was extremely helpful in arranging the train trip to Hangzhou as well as the sightseeing around the city.
Undoubtedly the highlight of our experience with your company was when we received your email advising us that as the cruise ship could not sail through to Wuhan, due to the low water level, instead of subjecting us to a 6-hour bus trip, which previous clients of yours had complained about, you arranged to fly us from Yichang to Shanghai and provide the extra nights accommodation at the Sofitel, all at your company's expense.
When requested to transfer the booking for 2 extra nights from Shanghai to Hangzhou, you did so at no extra expense as well as including the train tickets and transfer to the station.
As you know we had booked these 2 extra nights accommodation once the trip finished through your office. This was done after I found your quoted rate was approximately 30% cheaper than the best rate I could obtain on the internet.
Your company provides an excellent professional service that I can highly recommend to any traveller looking to gain a greater appreciation of China.
The one point that travellers should be aware of is the extremely limited space in the twin bed cabins that are provided on the Yangtze "Princess" cruise ships. There are luxury suites (if available) that can be "negotiated" with the on board crew from 5000 yuan down to 2500 - 2900 yuan which then provided a very comfortable and pleasant Yangtze cruise.
A wonderful trip to remember and one that Travel China Guide can be complimented on for an extremely professional service.
- Clients: Ms. Theria Angelica Smales; Mr. Donald Scott Smales
- Country: United States
Our China trip took us to Beijing, Lhasa, Xian, Guilin, Shanghai and Suzhou. Although it seems like a leap of faith to board a flight to China with essentially no travel documents, Travel China Guide came through to meet all of our expectations. Their use of internet technology speaks to their professionalism and efficiency. At each city, we were met by our guide outside of the baggage claim without incident. The drivers wove seamlessly through some of the most frightening traffic never imagined but we always felt perfectly safe. The hotels were top of the line in every city. Each of our guides was very knowledgeable when it came to the history of the sites we visited but they were also eager to help in any other way. The meals were all delicious and plentiful. One meal in particular that would stand out was the dinner show in Xian. I might also mention that on one or two occasions, due to flight scheduling, a meal or two was missed. When this happened, they always made up for it somewhere else. To be honest, we probably wouldn't have noticed but they made sure to keep track. At one stop, a museum was closed for renovation. Our guide more than made up for that by taking us to other points of interest. That particular guide was Pa Sang in Lhasa who deserves special mention for exceptional service. If I were to find something to complain about it would be that sometimes we would have liked a little more time on our own. But it is understandable that some would prefer that and others wouldn't and a tour group could not know who that might be. In other words, you can't please everyone. I would recommend Travel China Guide without hesitation. I believe it is because of their outstanding service that our tour of China was flawless and a truly memorable experience. We will always hold a special place in our hearts for the people of China.
Don and Tia Smales
- Clients: Ms. Deborah May Fletcher and Mr. Raymond Daniel Ranieri
- Country: United States
Thank you for the update on our guide and driver. We are pleased they made it back safely.
Again, we wish to thank you for the wonderful vacation you arranged for us. Everything was delivered as promised! We were promptly picked up in our hotel in Beijing and delivered to our flight to Lhasa, where our guide and driver were waiting. The tour was carefully and thoughtfully arranged. We had read a great deal about Tibet before we left; and there was little (if anything) we would have changed.
Our guide was knowledgeable and helpful. As we are independent travelers, he always sensed when we needed some time just to wander around a little by ourselves. The driver was quite simply the best driver I have ever seen. The roads were impossible, yet I was never concerned for my safety.
Thanks again for an excellent trip! Feel free to post my email on your website. Before I booked my tour, I contacted others who all recommended you highly. I hope to offer this service to other travellers in the future.