We are now finally back in the UK and want to say thank you for organizing what was an excellent, interesting and informative trip through China. All went smoothly with the hotel bookings, guides, transport and connections. Please take my further comments as constructive criticism. In Beijing there was no meal breaks built into the activities. The first day started at 08.30 and finished at 3.30 without a meal stop. The next day at the great wall I had to ask for one. Also on entering the Forbidden City we were taken along the side to see living quarters etc and at the end of the tour realized we had never been taken into the Great Hall – Palace of Heavenly Purity or the Hall of Union or the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity. Similarly the next day at the Ming Tombs, the Spirit Way with the stone animals and warriors etc was not included, (all the guide books say it’s the most interesting part) In the end we got the driver to reluctantly go back and we bought our own tickets to walk through it. Xian: our guide was fantastic, enthusiastic, amusing and knowledgeable, by far the best of all the guides we had. Really likes Xian, could have stayed an extra day. Hotel was fabulous. Longmen Grito was definitely worth a visit and the Christians hotel was surprisingly good but the Shaolin Monastery was not that interesting, very commercial and tacky. I wouldn’t recommend it. Shanghai, very nice hotel, good location. Guilin: hotel OK not great while the hotel in Yangshou was below par. Its location was beautiful, the views magnificent and the staff were friendly and helpful but the room was not well cleaned, there was a pubic hair on the bed, the sheets had stains of perhaps lipstick from the previous occupants, the towels were frayed and there was no shower curtain. After three excellent hotels in Xian, Luoyang and Shanghai, did we run out of money and you booked us in cheaper ones? Finally there was the issue of contacting Max and the team in China. Twice, in Shanghai and Yangshou, we emailed him on a Saturday only to find he is not at work those days. We were not given any alternative contact emails or numbers in advance. I had a Chinese SIM and tried to call but the phone number on Max’s email is either wrong or out of date. On the final day in Yangshou as we were being driven to the train station we still had no confirmation about a driver to take us to Hong Kong. In the end our driver managed to contact your local partners and we got the name and details of where to meet the driver. If my wife hadn’t spoken Mandarin it may not have happened. All in all though we had a most enjoyable, trouble free and relaxed tour.
an extra day in Xian without guide and dont bother with Shaolin Monastery.