OAT CHINA

Nov 22nd, 2006, 04:08 AM
  #1  
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OAT CHINA

I am looking at the OAT trip to China and Tibet. My concern is the sleeper train. It seems this would be an uncomfortable ineffecient way to travel with no gain???
This trip also includes a homestay which would be more sleeping accomodations with your tour group. Can anyone shed some light on either of these. Thanks.

cj
KIBOKO is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 06:38 AM
  #2  
 
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I would be more worried about OAT than the sleeper train. If you do a search on OAT on this board you will find a number of posts pro and con OAT.

I have used sleeper trains in a number of countries, and actually find them an efficient way to travel, saving a hotel night. What makes you think it is inefficent? It is also a good way to meet locals if you are traveling alone, but I doubt this will apply on a group tour, as you will likely be sharing a compartment with other members of the group. In China, if you are in soft sleeper, it can be quite luxurious. Chinese trains (like Russian) have a boiler at one end of the carriage, and the attendant will keep two thermos flasks full of hot water for you. True, you do share the bathroom with the rest of the carriage, usually one western and one squat. I would advise using the squat, but traveling in China you need to get used to squat toilets in any case.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 06:52 AM
  #3  
 
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A sleeper train is extremely efficient and fairly comfortable (as long as it's a soft sleeper, or deluxe soft sleeper) for overnight rides of about 12-14 hours. That's why they're so popular for those routes from Beijing to Shanghai, Xi'an, Hangzhou, etc; as they fit in that timeframe.

When the ride is longer than that, then yes, you begin to waste time, and you'll need to think if that's being the best use of your time in China. In some case, like the new Tibet Railway to Lhans, is absolutely worth it. People come from all around the world just to ride it - at least one Hong Kong person was willing to die to ride it, and did die, but that's another story.

Other trips that are very scenic include the ones between Kunming and Chengdu, and between Chengdu and Xi'an. Both in Western China.

Train travel is not for everybody. From your post, it seems like you're not thrilled with it to start with. In that case, I suggest you look at other tour options.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 07:23 AM
  #4  
 
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I took a look at the itinerary for this trip. Aside from the fact that I wouldn't take another OAT trip if they paid me, I wouldn't take this one no matter who was running it. You fly into and out of Lhasa (not taking the "I can't wait to ride it" new train), and have effectively two days there. Not only do you see no more of Tibet than Lhasa, you'll need both those days to acclimatize to the altitude.

The train in question is Beijing-Xi'an, apparently in soft sleeper, which should be fine. I certainly wouldn't count on their suggestion of having no one else in a four-berth compartment, though. I also notice that they can't even write the itinerary correctly, suggesting that you start the Yangtze cruise via Chengdu, when you actually start in Wuhan. I'd look for something else.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 09:14 AM
  #5  
 
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We did the 9 hr overnight train from just outside of Qufu to Shanghai.
Took Ambien and slept the entire journey.
The www.chinafocustravel.com loss leader HCS tour in Mar/Apr was "outstanding".
M
mikemo is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:14 AM
  #6  
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Thank you for the reply. I will continue to look for an alternate small group tour.

cj
KIBOKO is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 03:59 PM
  #7  
 
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We took the OAT trip to China and Tibet in October of this year and found it to be great. Our guide was a delight and everything was first class except the farm overnight visit. It wasn't that it was a bad experience it was just different but very interesting. The housing was ok, nothing great but we weren't expecting luxury. The overnight train trip was nice. The sleepers were clean and comforable. The train makes a lot of noise and some people found it hard to sleep. Tibet was amazing and the boat trip was great. I recommend the OAT trip. We had Sixteen people on the trip and all of them had been on previous OAT trips and loved them.
richhb is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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I haven't taken the China trip. I did just get back from the OAT Thailand and Cambodia trip. One of the men, in our group, raved about the OAT China trip, he took. He said it was one of the best trips he has ever taken.
Dottie is offline  
Dec 7th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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I can honestly say that my wife and I did a China tour with China Spree and it was the BEST tour we have ever taken. I had no idea you could get so much value for your money. I wish I had the skills to get across to anyone planning a trip to China that if you donít consider China Spree you are doing yourself a disservice.
Bob, from Florida

bcalvary is offline  
Dec 7th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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Sorry, I put the post in the wrong forum.
bcalvary is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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My husband and I took this trip with OAT earlier this year and absolutely loved it. The sleeper train was not the highlight of the trip, but it was an authentic Chinese experience. Some people in our group slept very well, but light sleepers did not. The overnight stay in the farmer's village was also an interesting experience - 2 couples per house. We were treated very well and got to see how these people really live. The visit to Tibet was the highlight of the trip, but we enjoyed the whole experience. The people, the food, the accommodations and best of all, the guide were wonderful. I highly recommend it.
PIPERPAT is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 08:00 PM
  #12  
 
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Hi, I was planning to go on this exact same trip and had the same reservations about the sleeper train. Not sure why, probably because I remember the experience going to Italy...which wasn't great - but we were in a 6 bed sleeper car. I would also expect to have to share the room. It seems like it will be okay according to the replies, however, now I'm worried about OAT. I spoke to a man who traveled with OAT to South America and many other places and he loved it. The small group size appeals to me since we have never traveled in a group, always on our own. Have you decided yet or have you found another travel company to go with? Would appreciate your input. Thanks in advance.
lvreise is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 03:08 PM
  #13  
 
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I have traveled several times with OAT and have had nothing but great experiences. The guides, accommodations, the places we visited and the interaction with the local people made the trips special. The small groups were a huge improvement over large groups we encountered with other companies. OAT is always our first choice when planning a new trip.
PIPERPAT is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 06:00 PM
  #14  
 
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thursdaysd, what's bad about OAT? I am interested in taking a long, leisurely trip in China w/ my 17year old dtr this summer & thought OAT may be a good way to do it, even though I'd rather do it on my own...your thoughts?
wisetravelers is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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wisetravelers - I copied this from my post on an earlier thread on OAT: "I went to Thailand with them in 1997, and swore I'd never use them again (on the positive side it was an incentive to move to independent travel!). The guide was uninterested (and uninteresting) and spoke poor English. The trip was badly planned, with AC coach travel in the cooler mornings and outdoor sightseeing in the hotter afternoons. The hotels were out of town. The food was dumbed down for westerners until some of us complained, and not great thereafter. The paid-for business-class upgrades for the return flight only came through as we were actually boarding the flight".

No reason you shouldn't do China on your own, especially if you're planning a leisurely trip. If you post an outline itinerary, people here will be happy to help. Or, there are plenty of other tour groups.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 08:24 AM
  #16  
pat
 
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Went to Thailand with OAT and the guide was awesome, and all the food was great. everything was well organized, and the hotels were all very nice. No problems at all. I liked it that OAT only takes small groups.
pat is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:11 PM
  #17  
 
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We have only had excellent experiences with OAT and their sister company GCT. Our three trips with them have been well-designed and we had top notch tour guides on each tour. We highly recommend them.
sandys is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 06:07 AM
  #18  
 
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I'm sure that with every tour company, someone has had a bad experience. We've done 2 OAT and 1 Grand Circle and have loved them all. We have 2 more trips booked with OAT for this year. In the groups we traveled with on previous trips, no one had a bad thing to say about OAT, and all had done many trips with them. We've traveled with other companies, but after traveling with OAT, they've become our first choice when looking for trip.
PIPERPAT is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 08:04 AM
  #19  
pat
 
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Our OAT guide said unless they have at least a 95% approval rating on their survey after a trip, then OAT finds it unacceptable. I doubt that a poor guide is still employed by OAT. Sounds like a lot of good companies do China, China Spree, China Focus, Pacific Delight, etc. It`s good for people who travel alone or for people who aren`t brave it to try it on their own the first time. Nothing wrong with that. ( I went alone and wanted the company). It wasn`t to China, but to Thailand.
pat is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 10:36 AM
  #20  
Lev
 
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OAT? No way.
Check Better Business Bureau reliability report on OAT:
http://www.bosbbb.org/reports/reliab...mId=0000003848
Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints.
Do you still want to book your trip through OAT?
Lev is offline  

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