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First trip to China / 5 star hotel and tour company comment requests

First trip to China / 5 star hotel and tour company comment requests

Old Mar 28th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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www.traveldocumnet.com based in Washington, D.C.
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Old Mar 28th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Update: We are all booked and confirmed with Easy Tour China. We have been dealing with Charlie Chen and have found both ETC and Charlie to be professional. We wired our deposit and have made a few tweaks to the itinerary all without issue. It did require a leap of faith to wire money to China but we've done quite a bit of research and feel quite comfortable with our situation. Making deposits and payments are quite similar to our experience when we wired money to Arusha, Tanzania for our African safari a few years ago. We can only hope that things go as well in China!

We are sorting out the visa application starting tomorrow with pictures and hope to have visas in hand in a few weeks.

I certainly enjoy and appreciate these message boards (along with others). I am well into my 3rd book on China and enjoy discovering as many China podcasts and videos that I can find on the internet. So much to learn about China's history, culture and society!
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 07:18 AM
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correction: www.traveldocument.com
Friends have used them for years for annual their annual China trips.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 06:01 PM
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Thanks Happy Traveler! I'll check them out!
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Old Jun 4th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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Hi JazzDrew-trying to do a China trip next June with my 17 year old niece for her graduation, so very interested to hear feedback on your trip. Also, how did everything work with 3 people on your trip.
Also took my Tanzania safari with Roy's so I know exactly what you are speaking about organized tours. We did Europe, Australia and New Zealand on our own, but would also rather use an agent for China.
Thank you and safe travels.
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Old Jun 11th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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A quick update on our China trip.

Quite a few developments since I last posted. We purchased air using flychina.com and I currently am using a computer in the American Admirals Club in Chicago (our Chicago to Beijing flight is delayed until 12:30 am). Saved quite a bit with flychina.com.

We booked with Easy Tour China. Charlie Chen is our agent and so far he (and Easy Tour China) has been great with all of our changes.

We initially booked a private tour and booked a cruise out of Shangahi to Japan and South Korea. The earthquake resulted in our cruise being canceled. We rebook a new cruise out of Hong Kong that went to Sanya and Vietnam. Charlie was able to modify our plans without any issue. We are very dissapointed with Royal Caribbean in how they communicated (poorly) and how they compensated us for our flight changes. We are out $1,800 in flights that we will likely not get back from them. This may be the last time with RCL...

We had booked Tibet, but learned a couple of days ago that Tibet was indeed closed. So in a few short hours Charlie arranged an alternattive to Jiuzhaigou.

As you can see with our new itineray we are on the go all the time - and we want it that way! I figured that we will fly or sail over 18,000 miles in 3 weeks! That is 3/4 the way around the world!! And to start it off our second flight is already 3 1/2 hours late arriving in Beijing at 3am. Oh the adventures we are in for!!

ITINERARY

Day 1-4
June 12–June 16
Arrival in Beijing: AA 187

Accommodations: The Peninsula Beijing, Beijing (4 nights)
Tel: 011-86-10-85162888, Fax: 011-86-10-65106311
http://www.peninsula.com/beijing/sc/default.aspx


Day 5-6
June 16-June 18
Beijing / Xi'an Transfer: by plane– MU2114 (15.05/16.50)

Accommodations: Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square, Xi'an (2 nights)
Tel: 011-029-8792-8888
http://www.sofitel.com/zh/hotel-5949...re/index.shtml


Day 7-8
June 18–June 20
Xi'an / Jiuzhaigou Transfer: by plane– MU2377 (07.55/19.11)

Accommodations: InterContinental Resort Jiuzhai Paradise (九寨天堂洲际大饭店) (2 nights)
Tel: 011-86 837 7789999
http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/interco...iuzhaiparadise

Day 9
June 20-21
Jiuzhai / Chengdu Transfer: by plane– MU3006 12.05/12.41

Accommodations: Chengdu Shangri‐La Hotel (香格里拉大饭店) (1 night)
Tel: 011-86‐773‐2698888
http://www.shangri-la.com/en/property/chengdu/shangrila


Day 10-11
June 21–June 23
Chengdu / Guilin Transfer: by plane– CA4323 19.50/21.35

Accommodations: Sheraton Guilin, Guilin (2 nights)
Tel: 011-86-773-2825588
www.sheraton.com/guilin


Day 12
June 23-24
Guilin/Yangshuo Transfer: by cruise ship

Accommodations: Greenlotus Hotel, Yangshuo (1 night)
Tel: 011-86-0773-8886666
http://www.greenlotushotel.com/


Day 13-15
June 24-26
Yangshuo / Guilin Transfer: by private vehicle
Guilin/Hong Kong Transfer: by plane CZ3031 (17.35 / 18.35)

Accommodations: Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong
Tel: 011-852-3552-3388
http://hongkong.langhamplacehotels.com/index.html


Day 15–19
June 26–July 1
Royal Caribbean
Legend of the Seas
(888) 724-SHIP ($7.95 a minute)




Date Port
26-Jun Hong Kong, China

27-Jun Sanya, China

28-Jun Hue/Danang (Chan May Port), Vietnam

29-Jun Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam

30-Jun Cruising
01-Jul Hong Kong, China


Day 20-22
July 1–July 3
Hong Kong / Shanghai Transfer: by plane FM810 (12.30 / 14.50)

JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square
Tel: 86-21-53594969
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...morrow-square/


Day 22
July 3
Shanghai departure

Arrive Cedar Rapids 11:05 PM on Sunday, July 3


I'll be glad to offer a quick review when we return to anyone who is interested.
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Old Jun 13th, 2011, 11:42 AM
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Update- We are in Beijing and could not be happier! Hotel and guide are fantastic. So far we love Beijing and can't wait for tomorrow!
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Old Jun 17th, 2011, 07:10 PM
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Can't wait to hear more details - thank you for the update!!
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Old Jun 20th, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Just another quick update. We are in Chengdu at the Shangri La and could not be happier with everything! We are very pleased with Easy Tour China. All of our guides have been great, the hotels outstanding - although they should be as we chose them. We have been able to choose if and when to modify if needed including any shopping. All of our guides spoke excellent English and anticipated our needs. Vans are all nicely air conditioned, non smoking

Because of the earthquake in Japan and Tibet being closed we had lots of changes in our itinerary and Charlie with Easy Tour China. After reading so many posts from people who "do China" without a tour operator, I simply can't imagine making all the necessary arrangements on our own. I k ow that we paid more for the service, but for us it is completely worth it.

Off to hold a panda, then Hong Kong, Vietnam and Shanghai... I'll write more details when we return and be glad to share if there are questions.
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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:28 PM
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Back now from a WONDERFUL holiday in China and Vietnam! Working on pictures, YouTube video and trip report. Bottom line things went great for us. We are tired but quite satisfied that we saw and did a lot in a relatively short 3 weeks. So much to see and absorb, so many new experiences for us.

Silivia - I would use Easy Tour China again in a heartbeat. Charlie, our Easy Tour China agent, took us out to eat at a great restaurant while we were in Guilin. I would highly recommend him to you for your consideration. I'll share pictures and details as the jet lag works off later. Please let me know if you would like my email or phone number as I know it was good to communicate with someone who actually used ETC when we were making our decision in planning.

What are you interested in seeing? The big surprise for us was the beautiful scenery, mountains, clear skies, lakes and culture while were were in Jiuzhaigou.

We also loved our hotels and would suggest splurging a bit for the higher class hotels if that is within your means. Our favorites were Beijing Peninsula, Chengdu Shangri La, Hong Kong Langdam Place (club level), Shanghai JW Marriott (we used pointes to stay on the top floor executive level - what a view!).

We should have used Charlie's suggestion for the Sheraton in Jiuzhaigou instead of the InterContentinal!

Guides were fantastic, transfers great and food was very good, except for the lunch in Jiuzhaigou - but there was really no other choice in the park.

Thanks to everyone on this board for all your assistance and posts. You really helped guide us in our plans for our memorable holiday!
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 02:38 PM
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We also used Easy Tour China for our 6 week IndoChina trip. We met Cathy and her Director Wei when we were in Guilin which was really a nice touch to put faces to names of the team who worked very hard to make our holiday fantastic. We were nervous about the leap of faith of making a payment into an unknown (for us) Country and Company. We need not have worried and all was well. Cathy was happy to change any details we wanted (and there were many) and using Skype to communicate (via the chat function) made organizing things and asking questions so easy. Cathy and her colleagues speak excellent English too. I hope you enjoy using Easy Tour China.

Any queries just ask.

PS: Our itinerary was very well documented and was in the same format as posted by Jazz Drew
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Here is a 3 minute video of some of our favorite images from the trip:

http://animoto.com/play/SOllmzL1rxxc4bS3WpEscA

Please let me know if this works for you!

More to follow.

JazzDrew
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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I love the video! I'd followed your planning and your trip in anticipation of my own. Thank you for sharing so much info!
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for sharing your experience via your video!
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Old Jul 14th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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Great video, such happy memories. Could you tell me which boat you took on your Halong Bay cruise and how was it? Thanks!
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Old Jul 14th, 2011, 02:51 PM
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Nice video and report - thanks for sharing!
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Old Jul 14th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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Jazz Drew - LOVE the video!! I would definitely be interested in any info you could provide so your e-mail would be great. We are also going next June with a 17 year old, so will be interested in what your teen thought-liked and did not like/bored. Thank you for doing all the work for me
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 09:10 AM
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JazzDrew, our family of three is also looking at China for a tour next summer with our 17-year old daughter. I look forward to your response to Silivia and will continue to monitor this site. Loved your video. Thanks.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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Here are Beijing pictures:

http://www.pbase.com/jazzdrew/beijing

Jazzdrew
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 09:27 AM
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Xi'an pictures:

http://www.pbase.com/jazzdrew/xian_2011
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