Pacific Delight Yangtze River Tour C

Oct 25th, 2001, 07:46 AM
  #1  
Dennis
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Pacific Delight Yangtze River Tour C

I just got back from 24 days in China, from Beijing to Hong Kong with Pacific Delight Tours. Fantastic trip. I would be happy to answer questions.
 
Oct 25th, 2001, 10:47 AM
  #2  
Nikki
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Dennis,
Nice to hear, especially since I am about to go to China & Hong Kong w/ Pacific Delight on Saturday for 18 days - maybe I should have taken the longer trip. BTW, on the Yangtze, did you get to visit the 3 Lesser Gorges - I was told that they surpass anything else on the Yangtze. True?
Nikki
 
Oct 25th, 2001, 08:40 PM
  #3  
LEANNA
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Cmon Dennis...TALK!!!! We want to hear everything. How were the hotels, the TD, how many people on your tour, Which boat and how was it? The food.....american and chinese or what? Are there even more optionals offered....or is everything pretty much paid for. What should you have taken. What did you take you didnt need.....gee..I guess by now you get the idea!!! I leave the middle of April for this very same tour.....so you are my first ...first hand report!!! Also did you feel the 24 days were enuff....I was also considering an add on of Bangkok and Singapore. Also did any one get sick from Mao tummy? And really .....truthfuly how were the bathrooms!
 
Oct 26th, 2001, 12:25 PM
  #4  
Dennis
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reply to LEANNA: The hotels were outstanding. Three of the hotels (in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong) were 5 star plus. The lowest hotel was a 4 star plus and only one night, but the location was great. Lonely Planet said that the Beijing Hotel, The Palace, is considered by many to be the top hotel in Beijing. It is run by the Peninsula Group. All the hotels had good to outstanding health clubs, that included sauna, steam room, jacussi, etc., and better equipment than most health clubs.

There were 20 people on the tour. We had a tour guide (outstanding) for the entire trip - lives in Boston, but is Chinese and knew the language and how to get her way. No one got TD. No one got Mao tummy.

The ship was the Victoria Princess, built in 1992 and refurbished in April 2001. On all these ships, they sometimes turn off the AC and you need to squack. The food was very good, all Chinese at lunch and dinner. The rooms are good size 155 ft2. Breakfast on the ship and at the hotels was an American buffet. At the hotels, it was often a spectacular breakfast buffet.

Lunches were all Chinese, but the dishes are selected to appeal to Amnericans. Dinners were split about 50/50 Chinese and American. The American dinners were mostly buffets and excellect. Often there were more than one "chef" who would cook the fish or meat that you selected right there. The dessert tables could kill you, including make-your-own ice cream sundaes. Dinners were in your hotel, except on one or two ocassions when we went to dinner shows.

And really, truthfully, they almost always managed to find us good to excellent western bathrooms (At most a half dozen times, non western bathrooms). You do not need to takes lots of toilet paper with you. Just take some from your hotels. Your hotels have gorgeous, western style bathrooms. I have never seen such beautiful all marble bathrooms anywhere.
The hotels provide, shampoo, lotion, and much more, including robes, slippers.
Must visit places in my opinion: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Hong Kong.

The trip was great. My overall thought to young people is, learn Chinese. I never saw so many new high rise buildings, office and apartment, going up everywhere, all the time. The country is really moving. Yes, there is still and lot of poverty, but a lot of "progress". The Shanghai skyline has to be the most spectacular in the world, hands down.

The Chinese people were friendly. Many ask to have there picture taken with members of our group. We were in Beijing on October 1st, their equivalent to the 4th of July. We walked to Tiennamin Square at night and were there with over a million Chinese and never felt uneasy. We walked lots of places at night during the trip and never felt in the least threatened. I felt safer than in any European or American City that I have been in.

Twenty-four days was sufficient for me. Three days on the Yangtze River is more than sufficient.

Get the picture. The trip exceeded my exspectations in everyway.

I am an experiences traveler. I pack light, and used everything I took.

There were only one or two optionals and I don't think very many if any people took them. All of the meals were included, except lunches and dinners in Hong Kong.
 
Oct 27th, 2001, 11:00 AM
  #5  
laura
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I'm just packing for my Pacific Delight Tour to leave on Wednesday - one thing I'll need but don't have is an iron -- do you recall if they were furnished in any of the hotels?
 
Oct 27th, 2001, 01:28 PM
  #6  
Brenda
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I'm fascinated by your answers to Leanna's questions. You are such a find!
(1) You attended a "cultural show" in Beijing and a music & opera performance in Suzhou.......were they similar or did you enjoy both?
(2) Which area of the Great Wall did you go to and what were the conditions? How strenuous was it?
(3) How was your "Hutong" tour?
(4) Nikki asked how you liked the 3 Lesser Gorges and I'd like to know also.
(5) Was the visit to the Chongqing Zoo worthwhile?
(6) Did you actually see the cororants fishing on your Li River cruise or can they only be seen at night?
(7) What type of train transported you from Guangzhou to Hong Kong?
(8) I've seen remarks about the Harbour Plaza Hotel that have not been complimentary, apparently due mostly to the attitude of the help there. What was your impression? It certainly looks like a beautiful hotel with fabulous views. Some have said, also, that the location isn't the best. I'd like to know your views on this.
We all really appreciate your input!!!!!
Thank-you!!!!!
 
Oct 28th, 2001, 01:23 AM
  #7  
nnnnnnnn
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Yes so did I return from a pacific delight tour , and I can not say the same: the victoria cruise on the Yangtze river , well let me tell you the bathrooms smelled like sewage we complained and complained and the only thing that they did was to clean the bathroom, but its a problem on the whole ship, so all in our group omplaind about the same thing, nothing was resolved, it still stank. Food mediocre, nothing special as they mention on the brochures, we had a chinese guide he was exceptional, and some of the local tour guides were good other just tried their best, I am just feed up with them insisting allways in giving the tips, it gets to a point that it seems that they do their job just only for the tips, not all the hotels were good some frankly, I would liked to have stayed in a better and cleaner hotel, and this is a very sincere opinion
 
Oct 28th, 2001, 05:45 AM
  #8  
Dave
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nnnnnnnnn-

Which tour did you take? Which hotels were bad? What is the story about the tips?
 
Oct 28th, 2001, 09:43 AM
  #9  
anonymous
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I understand that Vitoria Cruises leased a boat this fall called the Dolphin. The boat did not meet customers expectations at all ... based on the negative feedback, they have now discontinued using the boat. I know that Pacific Delight was very vocal about having none of its customers on the boat. nnnnnnnn if this was the boat that you were on, suggest that you write Victoria and PDT a complaint letter and I am sure that you will be helped.
 
Oct 28th, 2001, 08:18 PM
  #10  
LEANNA
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Dennis..THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You are so kind to fill us in on things...and it was very reassuring to read your report. Brenda has asked some super questions and I'll be looking for your answers to those as well. Sorry to make you feel like we are picking your brains out....but I guess we are. NO one ever seems to report back so its just super to hear your comments. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!
 
Oct 30th, 2001, 07:07 PM
  #11  
Brenda
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Dear Dennis & nnnnnnnn,
Please reply to questions asked. We realize you're probably trying to catch up after your long trips, but we'd really appreciate answers when you get caught up. Thank-You!!!!!!!!!
 
Oct 31st, 2001, 04:06 AM
  #12  
Dennis
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Reply to Brenda:

I have been trying to post this reply for two days now and have not been successful. Here goes another try.

Note that Pacific Delight (PD) runs a number of different levels of tours. We ran into people on other PD tours that did not stay in the same hotels that we did, did not see the same things or eat the same meals.

1. We attended 4 or 5 different cultural shows, all different and all very interesting. In addition, there was frequently live music playing at our evening meals.

2. We went to Badaling. It was north of Beijing, about an hour’s ride. The walking along the top of the Wall can be strenuous. But you can take your time.

If you have difficulty walking, then China is going to be difficult for you. We frequently had to walk a considerable distance to get on a bus, in airports and trains stations, etc.

3. It was raining heavily the morning of the Hutong pedicab tour, so it was not a highlight of the trip (it snowed that day at the Great Wall). However, had the weather been better, I might have viewed the tour differently. The pedicab has a buggy top, and a plastic sheet was placed over our feet and legs. However, in the weather conditions that we experienced, I wish that I had worn my rain pants over my regular pants.

Note, it rains in China. One of the first things I do before selecting dates for any vacation is to check our historical temperature and rainfall. The fall is the best time to go for my money (leaving after the middle of September I went from 9/29 to 10/22.). I use Weather Underground for historical weather information ( www.wunderground.com), but there are a number of websites where you can get similar information.

I use a light rain jacket with hood, a pair of rain pants that can be slipped on over regular pants or shorts, and an umbrella. All of these things can be left on the bus, if you do no need them.

4.Yes, I liked the Lesser Three Gorges. I also liked the Li River (part of my tour in Guilin, about 6 hours including bus transportation). Some people liked the Li River better that the gorges. They are different.

5. Sadly, it was pouring rain when we were in Chongqing, so we had to skip the zoo.


Note: Take lots of good condition US one dollar bills with you. You will be tipping the local tour guides about US $2 per person per day, and the bus driver US $1 per person per day. In addition, you can purchase many of your trinkets from street venders with “one dollar”. Yangtze River Cruise = US$ 5-7 per person per day put into a common pot at the end of the cruise. Shore excursion guides and bus drivers get US$ 1 each per person per day. Additional dollars, that are left over, can be included with your tour operator tip ($4 to $7 per day per person), if you have one. I took $200 in singles in good condition and did not return with many. There is not a lot of other tipping. You do not tip the bell hops, for example.

Do learn a little Chinese. “knee how” kinda means hello, and “shay shay” means thank you. These two will get you a long way.
 
Oct 31st, 2001, 04:07 AM
  #13  
Dennis
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Reply to Brenda continued:

6. You can see cormorants fishing in Guilin at night. It costs about US$ 8, last about one-half hour, and was not included in the tour. You arrange to see the cormorants with your tour guide when you get there. After dinner, all we had to do was walk across the street and down some stairs to the boat. You do not go in the same boat as the fisherman and cormorants (you would not want to). You travel a few feet away in a much larger river vessel.

Note, if you stay in the Sheraton in Guilin along the Li River, be sure to walk across the street to the river side after dinner to the night market. Some of the best deals of the trip were to be found there. Lots of people bought luggage. They needed it for the stuff they bought.

7. I cannot say much about the train. We were in a two level passenger car in reserved seats on the upper level. There was a snack and beverage service, not free. The toilets on the train were not the greatest.

8. The people is my group had only complimentary things to say about the Harbour Plaza hotel. It is a five star plus hotel. The people at the desk were always helpful and courteous to me.

The Harbour Plaza is located on a tip of the peninsula, away from downtown on the peninsula. There is a hotel shuttle that travels on a 20 minute schedule that stops and pickups at several places in the downtown, including near the Penninsula Hotel. The Penninsula Hotel stop is close to the main (Star) ferry that will take you across to Hong Kong Island. There is also a ferry that will take you to the same point on the Island, that leaves less than a quarter mile from the Harbour Hotel. However, this ferry stops running at 7:30pm. The hotel will give you bus shuttle and ferry schedules.


Tip: Ask at the hotel desk or the concierge desk for a local map.
 
Nov 11th, 2001, 11:37 AM
  #14  
Dave
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nnnnnnnn- Which Vistoria boat did you take? Was it the Dolphin?
 
Nov 12th, 2001, 05:00 AM
  #15  
nnnnnn
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No, it was not the dolphin it was a VICTORIA 2, and they said it was a luxury ship, ha ha yeah sure, it is very dissapointing, but I think that for now on I better go traveling solo, it is a much better deal, and I get to pick, on that Yangtze river trip very nice boats passed us on the river trip and they where much more cleaner looking even from the outside.
 
Dec 13th, 2001, 06:19 AM
  #16  
Dennis
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just a posting to bring this back to the top
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 07:38 PM
  #17  
mj
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Dennis,
If you had to chose a trip on the Yangze or a tript to Guilin, which would you chose?? I am debating about one or the other. I am unable to add additional days to our trip as we are also going to Beijing and Xian.
MJ
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 08:17 AM
  #18  
travein4fun
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I know you asked Dennis but I'm putting my 2 cents worth in anyway. I think that Guilin was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Be sure to visit at least one of the caves, the are truly amazing.
Also, while the Lesser Three Gorges was interesting, IMHO it was not one of the highlights of China.
The Hutong pedicab tour was phone, but I would have enjoyed more time just walking through the Hutong district and exploring.
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 08:19 AM
  #19  
travelin4fun
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The Hutong pedicab tour was phone,
HUH??
I meant the The Hutong pedicab tour was fine
 
Jan 5th, 2002, 11:37 PM
  #20  
lze
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Hello, We also were on a tour but not PD. We climbed the wall at Badaling as was mentioned in another post. We were told there was a hard way and a harder way. We chose the hard way. It was long and sloped more. I was concerned about hand rails. There are low rails in a lot of places or you can hang onto the side of the wall which is also low down. Not a bad climb at all. Some in our group (the young adults) did the harder way. It is more steep we heard. We had ample time and also stopped and took pictures along the way. We had one group picture taken and it was at the Wall. Great memories.

Message for mj........my choice would be the Yangtze. I think it is some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen in my life. And the lesser gorges were fantastic. Whoever you travel with (we were with smarTours) you will have a wonderful time and a lifetime of memories. I was so fortunate to be able to make such a trip and I will never forget it.
 

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