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Private car (with driver) for day trip to Hua Shan in Xian, China

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Aug 1st, 2011, 04:12 PM
  #1
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Private car (with driver) for day trip to Hua Shan in Xian, China

Does anyone know of a reputable company where we can hire a driver with a van for 7 adults?

We don't need a tourist guide - just need a driver who will take us to Hua Shan (120km from Xian) in the morning, and take us back to the hotel in Xian.

I found a few names on the web but not sure if they are reputable or not. Any information is much appreciated. Thanks.
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 03:16 PM
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John: visited Xian and the terra cotta boys for the second time a few years ago. I had contacted a guide recommended on this forum....who didn't show up at the airport as promised. Found out during prior visit that most Xian taxis are driver owned, so we asked our women driver en route to the Hyatt from the airport whether she could take us to the warriors..which she did the next day. Charged less than $40, waited two hours for us in the assigned parkng lot, drove us back to Xian (a half hour or so), and said for another $10(!) she would pick us up the following day to take us to the airport. The concierge at the hotel also verified that these independent drivers can arrange any size transportation including vans...far less expensive than guides.

stu tower

xian pics here, including one taken in prior visit, 1984:

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/ChinaXian2007#
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 05:42 PM
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Thanks Stu - that's why I am looking for driver + car or van rather than a private guide. WE don't really need a guide to explain to us about a mountain as we will ahve our maps. The only thing is that we will be going to Hua Shan which is 2 hours from Xian (or some says 3 hours from Xian city center), so it is a whole day trip - I don't know if I want to wait till we get to Xian to look for a (cab) driver.

I did find on the web a guide called Bryan Bai. He has his own website and it looks reputable.

http://www.xianhistorytourguide.com/...stimonial.html

His website does not list his price but he also advertised his price at other sites and it looks reasonable. I have yet to contact him about going to Hua Shan (120 km from Xian). If the price is OK and if I cannot find just a driver + car we may have to consider him or similar guides.
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 08:05 PM
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John...I wish i had the Xian taxi driver's email or phone..but I didn't even think about it at the time.
You could write to the concierge at the Hyatt and ask for a driver (not a guide) to use all day. He/she may have someone else like the taxi driver we had. I would write to
"contact us" on the Hyatt web pages and ask for your query to be sent to the concierge at the Hyatt Regency in Xian. As I had said, the desk there seemed to know of all these available taxi drivers.
stu (Good luck, John!)
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 06:01 PM
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That is strange! I searched the Hyatt website and there is no Hyatt hotel in Xian - there is no Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt or any Hyatt named hotel.

Maybe they sold the Xian hotel recently!
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:17 PM
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Hi John...no I wasn't under the influence the whole time I was in Xian...we indeed stayed at the Hyatt...at least that's what the sign said(see my pix)...Here is the Xian Hyatt for you. Hope you can get some good action on a driver.

Will you have time to get to Guilin/Yangshuo and the Li River? I hope so..I can recommend a guide with good drivers therein.

http://www.sinohotel.com/english/hot...ency_xian.html
Stu
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 11:44 PM
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The Hyatt Regency Xian has been rebranded. It's now the Grand Metropark. http://grandmetropark.com:80/hotelHo...earch_hotel=41
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Aug 4th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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Kim...strange, they still have a web page giving all particulars for te Hyatt...see above. Very nice hotel by the way.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 07:32 AM
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Thanks Stu and Kim.

No Stu, I am sure that you weren't "under the influence"! in fact many search sites like eLong, Ctrip, Hotelbooking etc. etc still have Hyatt Xian listed. Maybe only very recently it was sold to Metropark.

I will keep on working on a driver. Actually I got a couple of quotes - all about $200 for a van (for 7 of us) and driver for the day. We still need to buy the park fee and the gondola fee (~$30 total pp) - so without a guide it's about $80 per person, versus about $100 per person with a private guide. It's only $20 difference but we do not really need a guide at the mountain!

Yes after Xian we will fly back to Beijing for one night, then go to Hong Kong and then go to Yangshuo. Booked the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, which does have car to pick us up from the airport, and also to the Dragon Back terrace on the last day and then back to the airport. Since we have 3 full days there we may need a guide/driver. If you can recommend someone that would be much appreciated.

Thanks again.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Many booking sites list it as Hyatt but it's gone from Hyatt's own website and industry newsletter a couple of months ago listed the change in management and affiliation.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 10:37 AM
  #11
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I contacted guide Bryan Bai (mentioned above) and he said he is sorry that he does not provide only "driver + van" because he is a guide. When I asked him if he knows any driver with a van, he was able to make the arrangement for me. From our email exchange Bryan seems to be very polite and ounctual (always return my email within a day).

I have therefore booked a van with a driver for our Hua Shan trip. We will pay for the park ticket and gondola fees ourselves. But in the end we will be paying much less than the ~$100 per person that most agencies quote (with a guide). Some places even quoted $200-300 per person!.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 09:54 PM
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John..I can recommend JadeLeo and his cadre of drivers. Tell him I've recommended him and said you will get preferred rates (whatever that means..sounds good, though!)

Here are my Guilin, Li River, Yangshuo, Dragon's Backbone pix...Jade Leo's guys will take you wherever you want to go.

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuartto...erAndVicinity#

Hope this web site and email work:

http://www.private-guides.com/guide-...-530/index.php

[email protected]
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Aug 11th, 2011, 06:50 AM
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John, wrote to Jadeleo (so his email is still good). Here are all of his coordinates which he sent back to me: (Stu)

Hello, Stuart Tower,

How are you these days and we are missing you.

thanks very much for your recommendation.

best regards

Jade Leo

Mobile: 86-13086737586
Tel: 86-773-5845096
Fax: 86-773-5845096
Email: [email protected]
No. 18, Longyin Road, Guilin, China.
To see real China at www.guilinprivatetours.com
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Aug 11th, 2011, 07:17 AM
  #14
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Thanks for sharing your photo album, Stu.

I will definitely check into Jade Leo. Is it appropriate to tell me at this site here roughly how much did he charge for a day?

At first I thought the Dragon Back rice terrace is the only attraction in the area. Given that we will stay in Yangshuo, it would take about 3 hours to get there, and then 3 hours back - it is a lot of car traveling. The Yangshuo Mtn Retreat recommended that we do that on the last day, leaving the hotel early, arrive there at ~10-11 am, see the rice terrace for 2-3 hours, then drive directly to the airport in Guilin for the 6 pm flight.

Looking at your photos of Longsheng,it looks like it is worth a day trip, since we will have 3.5 days in Yangshuo - arriving Oct 21 afternoon and leaving 25th at 6pm. Personally I am not too interested at just looking at the rice terrace, but the Longsheng old town reminds me of the Lijiang old town, maybe less touristy and not as busy.
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Aug 11th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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The Yangshuo Mtn Retreat recommended that we do that on the last day, leaving the hotel early, arrive there at ~10-11 am, see the rice terrace for 2-3 hours, then drive directly to the airport in Guilin for the 6 pm flight.

good advice, John...the airport at Guilin is closer than having to go back to Yang.
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Aug 11th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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John...can't recall how much we paid JadeLeo..couldn't have been excessive or I would have remembered. He picked us up at airport and took us to Guilin's Sheraton. When we took the Li River trip next day they drove us to the docks,and he had his drivers meet us in Yangshuo where they took us to the light show..spectacular. Drove us back to the Sheraton after the show and next day they came to get us for the Dragon trip..then returned us to Guilin. Next day we were taken to the airport by Jade Leo.
stu
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Aug 18th, 2011, 03:14 PM
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John...did you know that Hua Shan is 2,000 meters (6.000 feet)? I often wished that we had gone there either in '84 or 2007, from what I've heard. Hope you make it.
stu
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Aug 18th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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No problem - there is always the gondola to go up. I am not crazy/brave/fit enough to walk 3 hours up the trail/stairs to the North peak.

We went to the Yellow Mountain (Huangsham) 3 years ago. The scenery was spectacular. The only disappointment was that we got up at 4:30am to catch the sunrise. But it was drizzling and the sun never came up. Well the sun came up but it was so foggy and rainy that we couldn't see anything.

My sister from Hong Kong will be meeting us in Beijing. She doesn't see very well and neither do I. It's called the blind leading the blind in Huashan.
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Aug 19th, 2011, 12:48 PM
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You don't want to walk up Huashan, I hear the trails are steeper than Huangshan, quite a challenge.
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