These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.
Penelope Parker review 29 May 2014
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Visiting the Panda Breading centre and watching a panda mum and baby 'playing' together. Then watching the baby slipping off the platform and mum rolling over to join her baby on the ground. So special.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be prepared to carry your luggage, particularly at the train stations. The coach is often not able to park close to the station, so you have to carry your luggage across busy streets and negotiate steps and escalators that aren't working!!!
Be prepared for very unsanitary toilets on the overnight trains.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, to the detriment of my enjoyment.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Although I enjoyed the holiday and it was a great experience, I found it very challenging and not at all relaxing. I felt I was always on the move and there was not enough time to really enjoy the experiences. Often mealtimes were rushed and the train journeys were a test of endurance. I understand they were to reduce environmental impact by avoiding flights, but...were they really necessary? One arrived 5 hours late, which impacted on the rest of our days itinerary.
Read the operator's response here:
Firstly thank you for taking the time to review your recent holiday with us, we of course value all feedback and input from our clients. I am sorry that you felt that this particular itinerary and style of travel was not suitable and in fact was detrimental to your enjoyment of the trip. We have received fantastic feedback on this trip which we have been operating for over a decade and in fact have altered the itinerary to make it less rushed in recent years.
The very nature of China means it is very difficult to travel and reduce ones impact without flying but we have tried to go down this path. Whilst train travel and all the associated changes can I agree be stressful many clients seem to enjoy it. I am pleased that some aspects of the trip you really enjoyed like the Panda center which is very special and that whilst not being the relaxing experience you envisioned you have fond memories of your trip .