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Excellent guides who were focused and cared to make my trip a very special and personal experience. They were flexible and evaluated my interests and made appropriate suggestions for fantastic experiences, including a hike to a mountainside monastery in Lhasa where I had yak butter tea on a rooftop with a nun and a visit to an out-of-the-way Bai riverside monastery in Dali where I witnessed their amazing culture first-hand. Bravo.
Kimberly Reed, Oct 2010
We returned yesterday from a wonderful visit to Yunnan. I wanted to thank you for compiling such an interesting and comprehensive itinerary…
The Linden Centre in Dali is a very interesting place to stay, and the restoration of the original building is fascinating. The staff are gradually learning what it means to provide 5-star service - my guess is it will take them another year to get there, provided Brian, he owner/manager, continues to provide guidance and coaching.
The Banyan Tree hotels were excellent - our favorite was Ringha - really a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful place to stay.
Juila (our guide) was first class. She is extremely knowledgeable of the local area and the customs and history of the ethnic minorities, which makes the visit to Yunnan all the more interesting. She has a great relationship with many of the locals, and easily establishes a conversation with people she doesn't know - with the result that we enjoyed tea with locals in various villages, getting to understand the history and culture of China. I would strongly recommend Julia to any person interested in visiting Yunnan.
Note from WildChina: For more information on our trip to Yunnan, see Yunnan: South of the Clouds.
Duncan Robertson, Jun 2010
Four of us just returned from a 21-day custom tour of China. I wanted to take time to comment particularly on the services of Jenny Zhao in your Beijing office. Jenny and I spent months planning the trip so I worked closely with her via email. She ALWAYS responded to my inquiries promptly and answered all of my questions honestly.
She was warm yet professional and her advice ended up being perfect. She even called our guides while we were on the trip to check that everything was going well, plus she planned a couple of extra activities for us while we were on the road. In short, she was the BEST contact person I have ever worked with (and I have done a fair amount of traveling). She deserves a raise!!
I also want to say that our trip was fantastic--our guides were excellent and added a lot to our enjoyment. (Howard Huang, Leo He, Jessie Shi, Steven Bai). Your company is only as good as your employees, and you are blessed with some of the best.
Note from WildChina: For more information on our trips to Beijing, Yunnan, Guizhou and Shanghai, see Beijing: A Glimpse into the Past and Future of the Middle Kingdom, Yunnan: South of the Clouds, The Richest Mosaic: Discovering Hidden Minorities of Southeast Guizhou and Oriental Decadence: An Affair with Shanghai’s Past.
Dawn & Larry Steiner, Oct 2009
We especially want to recognize the work of our Beijing and Xi’an guides. Andy, in Beijing, was an incredibly friendly, and highly competent guide. From our first meeting, through our departure from Beijing, Andy provided a truly model level of effort and approach to his role as our local guide. Here are some examples of how he went above and beyond:
- The day we went to the Forbidden City, it was very heavily visited by Chinese celebrating the 60th anniversary. We were in a very tightly crowded situation, awaiting entry, for at least an hour. Andy constantly assisted and watched over us so we did not get lost or hurt in the crowd.
- Later the same day, when I felt I might not be able to complete the days full agenda, I shared this with Andy, and he had a variety of options to make the day easier.
- When we went to the station to await our train to Luoyang, Andy realized there was no seating readily available. He promptly ushered us into a restaurant and ordered tea, so we would have a place to sit and rest until the train arrived. He even thought to order chrysanthemum tea, so that the tea balls unfolded into flowers in our glasses.
…Special kudos to Rita Gao who was part of the hutong tour. Rita explained the context and significance of different entrances in the hutong. Even more significant was the woman in the hutong who showed us how to make dumplings and introduced us to calligraphy. This woman opened her home to us and we encountered a truly special Chinese citizen. This was a most enriching experience. It stands out as among the most special encounter throughout my time in China.
Jessica, in Xi’an was another exceptionally talented and high-performing guide. Similar to Andy, Jessica had a variety of options for us that were not part of the pre-arranged plan. Jessica was our creative advocate, who successfully negotiated shared tables in a very crowded dumpling restaurant. This both got us seated sooner and resulted in my meeting up with relative of a US colleague!
When we thought we needed a break in the action, Jessica suggested a foot massage that was exactly the right thing at the right time! Jessica seemed to be an historical expert as she toured us through the Shaanxi History Museum, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Terracotta Warriors, the Xian City Wall, and the Forest of Steles. Jessica was most gracious, accommodating and hospitable, we were sad when we had to part ways.
…We found quite variable situations on access to water, snacks and hand wipes as we went with different guides/cars. Beijing and Xian had everything imaginable C water, crackers or cookies, candies, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, & tissues. All items were accessible to us in baskets in the backseat. We had to ask for nothing. Each day the basket was refilled. In Luoyang & Lijiang, we had to ask for water. We would have preferred that a consistent package of goods be available in each car.
Note from WildChina: For more information on our trips to Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Yunnan and Shanghai, see Chinese Treasures: Beijing, Xi’an, Yunnan & Shanghai and Rustic Guilin.
Regina Thompson, Oct 2009
I felt like WildChina staff was very responsive to our needs. You listened carefully to my stated preferences and identified an ideal trip… We said many times that Jerry was wonderful. He helped us access China in a way that we never could have coordinated…
Special thanks to Echo for solving our Kunming travel problem. We sat on the Beijing tarmac for four hours on Aug. 1. Echo made alternative plans so we had a guide who met us, took us to a Kunming hotel, made sure we had a box breakfast and got us back to our rescheduled flight for Dali. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
Jerry is fabulous. If I knew anyone planning a trip to Yunnan, I would tell them to ask for him specifically. He was super flexible. When we encountered a problem, like arriving a day late, he made adjustments that looked like they had been the original plan. He is a great listener. And, when we had a request, he found a way to make it happen. We really enjoyed Jerry’s upbeat approach. He was full of information. And, he never seemed flustered when we “ran into” the unexpected…like an overturned semi on a mountain curve.
…We felt like there were highlights every day of the trip…each unique and really not comparable. There was not one activity that we would have eliminated. We only wish that we could have had more time.
Note from WildChina: For more information on our trip, see Yunnan: South of the Clouds.
Theresa, Jeff & John VerWey, Aug 2009