This tour met my expectations regarding sight seeing. Although I did add on 4 days in Hong Kong to explore other islands.
Ranged from excellent to very poor. Some were more concerned with hustling us in and out of mandatory shopping stores or factories. Command of English also varied widely.
Renaissance ( Beijing), Sheraton ( Guillin) and Intercontinental Stanford ( HK) were excellent, Sheraton pool still not open though. The Hua Ting Towers ( Shanghai) and New World ( Xian) had fabulous looking lobbies but tired-looking old rooms. None of the hotels were in central locations but taxis and subways were always available and cheap.
Pretty much what other reviewers have described about tour meals
Breakfasts were always great. After a week lunches and dinners blended into one non-descript, unappetizing service with some exceptions. Duck dinner at Rennaissance was fine, Tang Dynasty show meal was served individually and was a great change from what we ended up calling round table buffets. New World restaurant was excellent ( choice buffet including a chocolate fountain for dessert). We even all agreed to pay 50 yuan for a hot pot meal in Chongqing because we were so desperate for a change.
It was great to get to HK so we could dine in choice places.
5. Shopping stops
I had done a lot of reading before booking my tour and knew that these mandatory shopping stops were part of all packages. However. I did end up choosing Pacific Delight because its’ itinerary included only 2 stops- the Cloisonné factory and the Carpet factory. Talk about misleading people! Do tour companies really know what these guides are up to? This is a list of all our shops. Beijing—museum store and calligraphy store in Forbidden City, pearl store, cloisonné store, Friendship store (under the pretense of stopping for lunch), silk store. (All this in 2 days- sure cuts in sight seeing time). Shanghai- Children’s Palace store, Yanching- embroidery store, Three Gorges Museum store,
Xian- store in the drum tower area, store at the Warriors, jade factory, Guilin- free time to “shop” in Yangshoa, Guanzhao- Chen Craft Hall (actually a great display of artifacts but again the mandatory shops), Hong Kong- jewelry store, Stanley Market. This is at least 16 stops in 17 days. At about 1 hour each, this is 16 hours that I would have preferred to use seeing more sights.
Would I recommend Pacific Delight? Probably- it doesn’t seem much different than other company review that I have read on TA. The alternative if I was younger- a self guided trip hiring my own guides.
Any more questions- let me know.