- Reviewed on November 11, 2016
Sorry this has taken so long. Marsha and I were very sick from the trip and are just starting to feel back to normal now. The air pollution is Beijing and Xian was very problematic! But now we are eager to share some of our thoughts about the trip in general and to answer your questions.
Both June and you were wonderful to work with!!! You were very flexible and helpful as we tried to figure out the best itinerary for our needs. You always responded promptly and made good suggestions. We were especially pleased to have more time in the Guilin area. The Longji rice terraces were a highlight for our entire group. It was so much better for our health to be away from the big cities of Beijing and Xian where the pollution was so bad during our visit. Thanks for helping us to work that in!
Our guides were all spectacular! All of them spoke English very well and they did a great job giving us background information in all the areas we visited. We got to know Kim in Beijing and Carina in Guilin quite well, as we were with each of them for several days. Johnny in Xian was also quite good. Getting to know these people is what Marsha and I will remember most fondly about our time in China! They were very open and personable. I feel we established a warm trusting relationship with all of them and came to know quite a bit about them in the short time we had together. Carina was especially helpful when she adjusted our schedule to take me to the Guilin hospital before our Longji rice terraces visit. Her ability to translate was essential to getting the right treatment.
When lunches were included, all of our guides picked restaurants with superb offerings! The amount and variety of Chinese food choices was fabulous! We really enjoyed the homemade meal in the little village in Beijing that Johnny took us to after our rickshaw ride. We also loved the place Carina took us to in the Longji area, a little private home above the picturesque terraces. The food and the setting were awesome!
All of our transfers getting to and from trains and airports were done very smoothly. We became very confident knowing that China Discovery would find us and get us to the places we needed to be! Though our time with our transfer guides in Chongqing and Yichang was sho, the guides were very good! Diana in Chongqing was VERY informative in the short time we were with her. She was upbeat and enthusiastic. When Laura needed to rest during our walk through the crowded market, she got us to a coffee house where we could be away from the crowds for a time to relax prior to our pre-cruise dinner.
The drivers were all competent and helpful. The vehicles were comfortable and of sufficient size to accommodate our needs. Having bottled water provided for us each day was very much appreciated
The hotel accommodations were all excellent! In Beijing we were so appreciative that our room had an air purifier that we could keep on while sleeping. It truly aided our ability to breathe more comfortably at night, especially since the air pollution was so bad at the time of our visit. You picked great hotels in good locations. It was easy for our group members to go out for walks and get to places of interest without having to go too far. Our only disappointment was that our Guilin hotel did not have air conditioning. Air conditioning can help to filter the air and make the room more comfortable. It was very hot in our room. The hotel staff was able to get us a fan which helped somewhat to relieve the heat. Finally, it was fabulous that you could accommodate Laura in rooms with her parents since this was an important travel request from our group.
The Century Legend cruise ship was wonderful! The small staff worked really hard to entertain us and make our experience great. The ship’s doctor responded to my situation promptly…minutes after I went up to talk to him at the conclusion of his speech on traditional Chinese medicine. He had me on an I-V with antibiotics within an hour, and repeated the same the following morning to make sure my lungs were clear. I know your company is not connected to Century Legend, but I thought you should know for future reference, since you make cruise arrangements.
WILLINGNESS TO RECOMMEND CHINA DISCOVERY
You & June did a wonderful job setting up our itinerary. All of the employees (guides and drivers) who worked with us during our tour were excellent! We would definitely recommend your company to other people who are planning a visit to China. We really enjoyed traveling exclusively with our small group. We received such wonderful attention, and such concerted efforts to make sure all of our travel needs were taken care of. We also appreciated that our request was honored NOT to make shopping a priority during our limited time to experience China. It was important for us to do as much sightseeing as we could in the short amount of time we were there.
The work on the part of China Discovery and all of its employees with whom we had contact was excellent!
One thing we noticed, especially during the Guilin part of our trip, is that the guides seemed fascinated with pointing out how rock formations look like some animal or another. We would have found it much more interesting and informative if we had heard more about how these formations came to be, as well as the overall geological history and the flora and fauna of the regions through which we were passing. Perhaps a note to pass on to the guides.
Finally, air pollution is a BIG problem for people visiting China! When we arrived in Beijing from Shanghai, the air quality was in the hazardous range. That continued the following day. Wearing a mask can help to filter the particulates from the air, but it cannot remove the poisons. I think part of my problem stemmed from breathing poisonous gases into my mask and then drawing these gases repeatedly back into my lungs.
I think people considering visiting China should be made fully aware of the potential problems of air quality before they book a tour. This is especially true for anyone who has any existing respiratory issues.
Also, since tourism is such a big part of the Chinese economy, I strongly urge your company, as well as any other tour companies you know of, to urge the government to take dramatic action to reverse the course of this devastating ecological problem! There are so many clean energy alternatives available today. Massive funds need to be poured into research and development, and a plan needs to be put in place to transition from coal-burning plants to something cleaner, and to transition from gas-fueled automobiles to hybrids and electric cars. I can’t stress this enough! I feel so sorry for the young children growing up in China today, not to mention everyone else who cannot escape the large cities, who must contend with this daily. And it is only going to get worse, if drastic action is not taken.
Given what I have just described above, it would have been highly interesting to me and the others in our group if the guides had informed us regarding what measures the government is taking to move toward use of renewable energy and its efforts to develop a more sustainable economy, assuming that they are doing something. I think this would be interesting to others as well.
Thanks again for all your efforts, Lyn!
Rick & Marsha McKay and Joe, Mary Alice, and Laura Masonick
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