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Pacific Delight review

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Pacific Delight review

Pacific Delight Super Value Tour from Beijing to Hong Kong including Yangtze.

1. Itinerary

This tour met my expectations regarding sight seeing. Although I did add on 4 days in Hong Kong to explore other islands.

2. Guides

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.

3. Hotels

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.

4. Food

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.

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1. Re: Pacific Delight review

Sorry that you had that experience. We took a 2-week China Spree tour and I posted a so-so review of it, which many frequent TA users might remember, because it caused quite a stir with the other members of our group! Anyway, I posted that review, and then talked with the owner of China Spree and I learned A LOT about tours in China and what to expect and what to look for. Our main complaints about our tour were almost exactly what yours were (food, guide quality, shopping). It's probably too late for either you or me to go back and tour China again, but I hope you don't mind if I share some of what I learned, for others who are reading and trying to choose a tour company.

When I posted my review, I believed what I had read here on TA by people who are not into group tours--mainly that all of the companies are just out to make a buck and mislead people. I think China Spree is different. They have recently made some great changes to the dining options and added events to the itineraries to increase people-to-people contact with the locals. I'm not going to give away all of their "trade secrets" here, but I can say that their tours are very well thought out and make the most of your travel time and money.

It is so hard to please everyone with food...if there is one spicy dish out of ten on the table, one person will say it's not enough, the other will say it's too much. China Spree has already improved the dining situation on their tours. If anyone is considering booking one, and food is a concern, I suggest you ask them about their new changes.

Now, you made an interesting comment about shopping and "do tour companies really know what these guides are up to". I know Wilson at China Spree tries really hard to limit shopping stops and time spent at them, but, he can't be in all places at all times. However, I know he takes this issue VERY seriously and I'd actually recommend China Spree just based on his attitude towards shopping. First, if you are booking a tour, any tour, ask up front, before you pay, what the stops will be, but then also ask what recourse you have if your guide deviates from that.

I can only tell others about our tour, but here goes...I asked about shopping before we booked and was told about the stops and duration, and then that same info was printed in the booklet we received before departure. Our guides did stick only to those stops, but the 40 minute time limit was not met. Wilson was really sorry about this and says that he will take some steps to remedy this and make it easier for future travelers to let him know if they are being kept at stops longer than 40 minutes. Again, not going to give away his trade secrets, but he takes this with the utmost seriousness and doesn't want his clients being inconvenienced by excessive shopping.

Yes, there were gift and art stores at some of the museums and gardens we visited, but we weren't "taken" to them, unless we happened to walk by or through them. The only time we had to spend on those stores was our free time at the museum or garden, and those who wanted to shop could shop while others looked around the place we were at.

To the OP, thanks for writing a fair and balanced and thorough review. I hope that all of this helps others when making decisions about tour companies in China.

2. Re: Pacific Delight review

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