China Tour Operators

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Nov 30th, 2002, 07:31 AM
  #1
Dick Weston
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China Tour Operators

We're thinking of taking a 3-week tour to China with a cruise on the Yangtze next fall. Uniworld and Globus offer pretty much the same itinerary at the same price. Does anyone have information which would help us to choose? Also, how about Victoria Cruise Line?
 
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Nov 30th, 2002, 04:51 PM
  #2
Maureen Murphy
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Hi Dick,
We had travelled with Globus and Trafalgar quite a bit in Europe and Africa and had planned to take the Globus tour to China. We live in Southern California and we had friends that had been raving to us about this company out of San Fran that offered so much MORE for so much less. We didn't want to go with a substandard company and almost didn't bother to check it out. Fortunately, we researched this company very carefully (thinking it was too cheap to be that good), but took their 22 day tour of China this past September. It turned out to be the BEST tour of our lives for half the money of what other companies quoted. We were pleasantly surprised by the overall tour...it was really wonderful. Take a look at their website....
http://www.chinafocustravel.com/tc.htm

This was the 22 day tour we took. It included all flights including 4 within china on super new boeing jets, all meals, all tours and tour guides....no extra optional tours on this trip....everything was included. I think the total including tips and taxes was $2650 each for 22 days!!!
We were so pleased with the savings, we were able to go to Scandinavia this year too. Amazing trip. There are lots of companies that travelers have voiced praises of on these bulletin boards but please at least check out China Focus Travel in San Fran. On ALL the other tours we reserached, you were on your own for many meals. In China, which is really 3rd world, you want someone always looking after you, especially where you eat. It's easy to get sick. With this tour, we always felt so secure.
Best of all, be sure to go as soon as you can....the dam is incredible. I would repeat this exact same tour tomorrow....it was that wonderful. Try posting an inquiry and gather info from other China Focus Tour travelers and get their opinion. We had 25 on our tour and I don't think there was one dissatisfied person in our group!
By the way, September was a perfect month. The heat was less...mostly in the 70-80s....and it showered only twice. Weather is important. I watch the weather at various cities in china and I don't think I'd want to be manunering the Great Wall on icey, slippery, wet stairs! It can be very cold in fall and winter. Still, it was such a great trip...I'd return anytime!
 
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Dec 1st, 2002, 11:12 AM
  #3
Fran
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I have only taken one fully escorted tour, so I can't compare however, I would recommend RitzTours out of LA.
 
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Dec 1st, 2002, 11:37 AM
  #4
Dave
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In May we went with Uniworld to China, Yangtze, HK, and Tibet, 22 days. You can see my report, "Road to Hong Kong."

One difference between Uniworld and Globus is that Globus includes some 4 star hotels, rather than all 5 atar.
 
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Dec 1st, 2002, 05:26 PM
  #5
susan
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I would definitely not recommend Ritz Tours. Very disappointed with their tour and guide. A letter of complaint to their company received a rude reply. Your could do much better with another company. I wish someone had warned me before I wasted my money with them.
 
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Dec 1st, 2002, 05:37 PM
  #6
Susan
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Hi, just returned from a 22 day Panorama trip with Laurus Travel.Stayed in 4 or 5 star hotels. We started off with 12 people and two folks left after the 9th day as they were only taking the 12
day trip. Four people left after the 15th day as they were on the 18 day trip, which left six of us. What was great about the group size was that the tour leader was able to be flexible with the schedule and include items that were not on the tour for no additional cost. Yes, we were all in agreement on these things.

We chose this Canadian company after doing a lot of research and corresponding
with others. To make a long story short, we chose Laurus because 1. We did not
want to go on a tour group that would be large, 2. They go downstream on the
Yangtze River (which makes the whole tour more expensive for the tour company in
the sense that you will be visiting more places during your trip in addition to those on the cruise portion, which increases the cost to the tour company, i.e., transportation, accommodations, guides, etc.; in other words, the upstream cruise takes 5-6 days but cost the tour company the same as the 3-day downstream cruise), 3. They include items that other companies charge extra for, 4. We went to places where we had a demonstration how something was done and then they gave us about 20 minutes to look around. There was no pressure to buy during this time.
The group also wanted to see a double-sided embroidery place which was not on the list and they accommodated us; I saw the women do the double-sided embroidery
and it was hard to believe their abilities. 5. Most important for us is that they went to two places that were on our must do list: Dali and Lijiang. Lijiang is a UNESCO cultural city and has a culture unique to that area, as with Dali.

We are very delighted that we went to Yunnan Province as it is so different from the rest of China that we saw. It was rural China where we saw a daily life that focused on farming, going to market, etc. and not on going to work in a big city. And we were able to interact with minority groups. The scenery was magnificent - no tall skyscrapers. You could identify the minority groups by the clothing they wore. The houses in Dali were uniquely decorated. They were one or two stories with pagoda style roofs and a pagoda style structure over many of the windows. The houses were painted white with paintings on them which were either black on white or in color. I could not believe the variety of art we saw and that the people who owned the houses were the ones who painted them.

I am afraid I could go on and on about our visit to Yunnan Province. For the cost of the trip we found it a "great buy" and Laurus Travel has an excellent reputation. Transportation in China is expensive and we went to many more places than other tour companies, and if you look at a map you will see how far it is to go to Yunnan Province. We also went to Dazu which is also a UNESCO Heritage site. We went to a portion of the Great Wall where not too many tourists go, so therefore there were no aggressive people trying to sell us stuff. The guides we had - no problem understanding their English. I am not to sure why, but people from other tour groups joined our tour guides' presentations. They could be identified by the tags they wear.

Our contact person at Laurus was Julius. I found him to be knowledgeable,friendly,
and very responsive. Following is their website: http://www.laurustravel.com

If you have any questions please write me.

Susan



 
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Dec 2nd, 2002, 09:42 AM
  #7
irene
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Anything but Ritz. Rude people in USA and in China.
 
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Dec 29th, 2002, 04:44 PM
  #8
Russell Farquer
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Dick...agree with Susan...Laurus Travel does have good reputation. The size of the group, the accommendations, etc are what make the trip fit your style..Remember all of them are "selling" pretty much the same Yangtze River Cruise.

I did use Victora Princess....very acceptable....not luxury. Personnel were wonderful, food was good, and cabin was adequate clean and compact)

My particular tour....was a group of 1....ME!.....so can't compare too much with others.....yes I was surprised too!
 
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Jan 2nd, 2003, 10:35 AM
  #9
Barb
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Has any one used or heard of travelchinaguide.com? Their tours sound good and good price. Thanks
 
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