Reviewed on November 11, 2023

9-day private tour of Guilin-Yangshuo and Lijiang/Shangri-La/Kunming in Oct 2023

We travel extensively and often independently, but had not visited China for over ten years. Travel agent Wing Zeng provided a high-touch service throughout, via emails, and but also via mobile phone upon arrival. This was necessary due to our concerns over telecommunciations (simplest to use our Australian-based provider/SIM for unrestricted access) and payments infrastructure (WeChat Pay was eventually successful after many hours setting up, and many credit card incompatibilities - otherwise hard currency RMB, but tour guides occasionally accept EUR/USD).

Guangxi and Yunnan provinces are indeed picturesque - equivalent to Alps/Andes/Fiordlands/Iguazu/Milford. Altitude sickness was not an issue at high-3,000s due to progressive ascent over 48h. The diverse (ethnic) cultures - Naxi, Yi, Bai - were interesting and celebrated/prioritised.

Hospitality was warm, but I believe it would be an advantage having some Mandarin proficiency in these less populated regions from a practical (communication) perspective. As is the case internationally, accommodation standards tend to vary further away from major cities or tourism centres (one should not expect six-star accommodation in an ancient village). Food standards were excellent, but we particularly cherished the street vendors (US$5-10 per evening).

Telecommunciations and transport infrastracture are unparalleled - even in and across mountain ranges (reminded us of remote Tanzania - extremely convenient and reliable). We entered via high speed rail from Hong Kong to Guilin, and the comfort (unnoticeable at 300km/h) and extent of this nation-wide network is equally extraordinary.

Our local tour guides Lewis, Sandy, Xiao Liu, Aten, and Wang Yi (Ryan) were courteous, engaging (humour), and professional .

We are most appreciative of China Discovery (Chengdu Bamboo International) and their agents' efforts, and look forward to returning soon!

Destination(s): Guilin, Yangshuo, Guangxi, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Kunming, Yunnan
Date of Experience: October 18, 2023
Trip Type: Traveled as Couples
Tour Customized by: Wing

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