2 independent reviews for China tailor made holiday, from Beijing to Shanghai

Reviews for China tailor made holiday, from Beijing to Shanghai

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review 26 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The parks were my favourite part of the trip, I also really enjoyed walking on the Great Wall and the live show in Xian.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure there are others coming on the trip, ask the tour planning person not to take you to factories where you feel pressured to buy things and expect to bring lots of extra money for tipping the guides, supper and shopping.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I do not feel that it reduced the environmental impact but it did support local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

My holiday was good. I am disappointed with the travel company for many reasons: 1. I was told I was going on a group tour and did not find out it was just me until I arrived (a heads up would have been nice). 2. The first tour guide I had in Beijing was very nice but had little to no experience and it was apparent. The driver got lost a few times and the sent his friend to drive one day because something came up. 3. The front desk hotel staff at the Holiday Inn Express were extremily rude and not helpful at all. 4. I was told this tour did not take us to places where we were pressured to buy things, but that was not the case, it happened 3 times (Pearl place, Jade place and silk place) I would have rather not gone to those places. I do like to see the history parts not the pressure to buy things. 5. The driver was 45 minutes late on my last day in Beijing. 6. The tour company accidentally booked an extra day at the hotel in Shanghai and I think I am stuck paying for it. There were other problems as well, I would not recommend this tour company. I met other tour groups while travelling and their guides were much more friendly (not that mine were not, they just were not as friendly as others). They told me about the 1.5 hour commutes to meet me every day etc. and that made me feel bad. I don't think that is professional. I also am receiving tonnes of junk mail from the company and would like to be taken off the list.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Leigh, Thank you for booking your holiday with us. We appreciate your feedback and sorry to have learned that you were very disappointed with the arrangements that was made for you through our company. Firstly, with regards to the group tour, sometimes we may get last minute bookings for these tours and do not know the full numbers until the day before. I do agree that you should have been told that you were the only one that was on the tour before the day, or at least have booked this tour a few days beforehand. We have taken steps to make sure that these things do not occur again on future trips. In the itinerary that was sent to you through our travel advisor, it had specifically included visits to factories and shops, as the booking made for you was for a group tour. These are included in all group tours. However, there should have been no pressure for you to buy anything. I am sorry to know that you have felt the pressure to buy things. I am looking into these issues to ensure that this kind of things will not happen in the future. For private tours, side visits to shops and factories are never included, unless specifically requested by the customers in which we get them to sign a disclaimer. I am also sorry to know that your tour guide and driver did not meet your satisfaction and arrived late on your last day. I am very surprised to have also learned that the hotel staff at the Holiday Inn Express was rude and not helpful and We are looking into these issues to ensure that this kind of attitude would not happen again in the future for other clients. As the tour was from 17-24 April, from an earlier email dated 19 March, a request for an extra night for the 24th be made at the hotel, as it was understood you were departing on the 25th. I have therefore made arrangements for reimbursement of the night of the 24th for the hotel, as well as part of the service fee of the guide/driver in Beijing for you for the total amount of US$150.00. I have noted your request to have your name removed from our mailing list. I also want to clarify that how our trips benefit the local community and minimise the impacts on the environment: Firstly, we employ local people as our guides which belongs to the areas we visit. In Beijing, we recommend to take a rickshaw to tour the old Hutongs, which is more comfortable than walking or biking by yourself. Also it can reduce the air pollution. You can get close to the local people by visiting these hutongs. It also creates more job opportunities for the locals. Secondly, since 1998, we have formed a partnership with Helping Hands Volunteer Association, and donate money to help the disadvantaged children in a local orphanage each year. We also help kids in poor areas, and have donated clothes to people who need clothes to keep warm in winter. Now, we always dedicated ourselves to charity by donating a sum of money to the local charity institutions to help the orphans every month. Once again, I am sorry for the experience you had in Beijing and have appreciated your honest feedback which will help us in the future. Regards, Rebecca

review 23 Nov 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Overall this was a fantastic trip and we feel very honoured to have been able to see all that we did, especially the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors. In Beijing we took a private Tai Chi lesson in the park at the Temple of Heaven. The two ladies that gave the lesson were great fun, patient and full of good humour. It will be something that we will always smile about. In Shanghai we visited a local family for lunch having been given a tour of the local market. The mother was very hospitable and we all had a great laugh making the dumplings. In Xian the cycle ride round the city wall was good exercise although a pair of gloves would have been welcomed as it was getting a bit chilly.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Try to get to Tiananmen Square for the flag raising or lowering. We didn't but were later advised that this is a worth doing, however for the flag raising you need to be there very early in the morning before sun rise. The overnight train to Xian was very easy and popular with other tourists. In Shanghai use the maglev train to get to Pudong International Airport as it is much faster than by car and more of an experience. We didn't and wished we had.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We managed to travel like a local in all cities, Beijing, Xian and Shanghai by using public transport when we were not with the guide. We stayed at a eco friendly hotel in Shanghai, URBN, which was not only in a great location but was very comfortable with a great restaurant.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

By using the tailor made option we managed to see pretty much everything we wanted to and missed the commercial factory stops which were of little interest to us. It was a great introduction to China and we look forward to returning in the future. Overall 4.5 stars!.

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