I had a great China tour with the help of China Discovery, and I’d like to share my real experience with you, including the attractions, hotels, as well as the service offered by China Discovery.
Just as other tourists said, some top destinations like Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin, Tibet etc. are undoubtedly beautiful and amazing. But there are some other places will pleasant surprise you, like Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple in Datong.
You can't say you have been to Datong unless you have visited Yungang Grottoes. This is indeed one of the best Buddhism grottoes in China, along with three other ones. This is the largest of all four, by size. There are hundreds and thousands of grottoes in this attraction, the key ones are the first 20-30. The later ones only have the grottoes but no buddha figures or carvings inside. There is only one way in and one way out. You won't get lost. If you are tired, after you are done visitor, they have electric car to take you back to the main gate, of course, you must pay a small fee like 10 RMB.The best time to visit Yungang Grottoes is in the afternoon when the sun shines directly towards the grottoes which provides the best photo-shooting opportunity. 2-3 hours usually is sufficient to visit major sites. But if you really want to take your time and soak in, budget a good half a day.
Amazing Yungang Grottoes which can't be missed
This is definitely an amazing architecture from ancient China. Because of its location, the best time to visit is first thing in the morning. Be there at the ticket office 10 minutes before the opening. Check the latest opening hours from its website. Get the ticket, be first in line to go up because there is always a line and they impose a quota limit per day for tourists to protect the temple. The sunlight shines directly to the temple around 8:30am-10am, which gives you good light for photo shooting. Other times, the temple will not be directly under the sunlight, and will be a dark. 8-10am in the morning is the best time to visit. Get it out of the way first so you can move onto your next activities at ease.
Hanging Temple is both interesting and spectacular
With modern style, Park Plaza Wangfujing is a great hotel tucked in the center of Beijing with good sleeping environment. It is located Near Wangfujing Street (10 minutes’ walk) and Tiananmen Square (20 minutes’ walk). Off the main street, so it's quieter, which provides good sleeping quality. There is a Starbucks right across from the front entrance of the hotel, if you are Starbucks fan. This hotel is equipped with friendly and courteous staff and concierge service. There are plenty restaurants nearby, if you think the hotel restaurant is too pricey you can always go elsewhere.
What I don't like about it: The front entrance is hard to find, it's inside of small alley. We had a hard time finding it when we tried to get to the hotel for the very first time. Even the taxi driver couldn't find it. We circled around twice before finding the entrance. But I would stay there again next time when I am in Beijing both for business and for leisure.
Park Plaza Wangfujing Hotel Beijing
Good value for a 3-star hotel. In Tibet's standard, instead of 3-star, I would say it's a 4-star hotel in terms of money paid vs service received. It is close to the famous Barkor Street (5 minutes walk) and 25 minute walk to Potala Palace (Potala Square). Grocery stores nearby are available if you need to buy drinks/water. There are two restaurants in front of the hotel. The hotel itself also has a restaurant. Staff are friendly and breakfast are good. What I don't like about it:
1) The room is a bit dark even with all lights on; 2) Only one elevator in the hotel.
Dekang Hotel - 3 Star Hotel in Lhasa
Dongshe Hotell in Xian is a great and comfortable hotel, with a 15 minutes’ walk to the city center where "Bell and Drum Towers" are located. It offers free do-it-yourself laundry service on 8th floor and they have sigh up sheet for both washer and dryer. If the previous person doesn’t come to pick up his/her stuff on time, you can call the front desk to have house-keeping staff come and pick it up to vacant either the washer or dryer for the next person to use. There are unlimited supply of bottled water - two free ones inside of refrigerator in each room. If you need more, you may get it from the public refrigerator on each floor. Free afternoon snack/tea time at hotel restaurant is for the hotel guests only. If you want to bring more people, there will be additional charge. The room is modern and new. There is also a fitness room available. However, there is no parking. I think the bathroom shower & toilet room can be more cleaner. Despite some of the disadvantages, this is an EXCELLENT hotel and I would stay there again when I visit Xian next time.
Room Tip: Choose a room where you can view the courtyard which is quieter, not the front street.
Dongshe Hotel with Full-equiped Facilities
Leo is great travel consultant to work with for the following reasons:
2. Responsive - always respond to my emails within promptly. One time, I sent him an email on Saturday and didn't expect him to reply until Monday. Not only he emailed me right back, but he also called me to follow up making sure I understood his answer. I was pleasantly surprised because it's Sunday his time. He said "This matter is important so I call you."
3. Good command in English.
4. Active listening - he listens to my needs and learn about my travel style before putting together a customized tour for me in China.
He is open and willing to learn new things and receive feedback even if it's constructive feedback - His motivation in continuous improvement and search for excellence in providing the utmost service to his clients clearly demonstrated through his humble attitude and teachable heart. He always is open and explore new ways to serve his clients better.
1. In countries like China, it's important to work with a credible tour agency, especially if you are going to visit places like Tibet. I spent 6 days in Tibet as part of this trip. Three main reasons why I chose to work with Leo and China Discovery.
2. To visit Tibet as a foreigner, in addition to the Chinese visa, you must also apply for the Tibetan permit. Not all tour agencies can successfully obtain the Tibetan permit. China Discovery has a subsidiary called Tibet Discovery which has good track record in obtaining the Tibetan permit for its clients.
Potala Palace only allows a limited number of tourists to visit each day. The admissions ticket is hard to get. You must wait in line to buy it in advance. Tibet Discovery knows well how to obtain the tickets. I chose to pay them for this service so I didn't have to do it and to free myself up for additional sightseeing.
3. The security in Tibet is tight. All foreigners must be accompanied by a tour guide in order to visit major attractions and you will be security checked at almost every entrance. It's important to use a credible travel agency for safety purpose.
China Discovery takes care of its clients from beginning to the end. They follow through.
" Hi, I'm Leo, Ms. Lee's travel consultant. Are you interested in her 18 Days China Culture Tour? Want to know their trip itinerary, accommodation, transportation or other arrangements? Feel free to contact me, and I will be glad to tell you more stunning stories about the places they visitied. Or, if you want to customize a tour on your own, I'm always ready to help at any time. Just like you, I love to travel and my favorite is riding on the road. So I’d like to invite you to China and help you work out a perfect travel plan. Come to join us and I’m just here waiting for you. "
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Kunming / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Lhasa
Beijing / Datong / Pingyao / Xian / Shanghai
Beijing / Datong / Pingyao / Xian / Luoyang / Dengfeng / Zhengzhou
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