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Beware China Discovery Tours!

Plantation, Florida
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26 posts
11 reviews
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Beware China Discovery Tours!

I just got back from a 20 day trip to China using China Discovery Tours. Do NOT use this company. Some of the guides did not speak English. half of the restaurants were either filthy or inedible. They charged me an extra $200 per person for a non-shopping tour and then took us to a Silk factory, a jade factory and tea factory. I booked extra tours that I was charged for and they were shopping stops rather than the tours I asked for. I could go on, but won't. When I contacted them upon my return, they gave me a lot of double talk, refused to reimburse the non-shopping charges and offered me $100 toward my next trip with them. There will be no next trip with them. I would be happy to elucidate if anyone needs. I just wanted to be sure to get this out to the public. When I was booking, I couldn't find any reviews of them on TripAdvisor and wanted others to be able to benefit from my experiences.

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China Discovery-Day Tour
China Discovery-Day Tour
614 Reviews
Chengdu, China
27 replies to this topic
Italy
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39,682 posts
235 reviews
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1. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

There's 2 different China discovery tours, which one did you go with?

www.chinadiscoverytours.com

www.chinadiscovery.com

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China Discovery-Day Tour
China Discovery-Day Tour
614 Reviews
Chengdu, China
Sydney, Australia
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1 post
80 reviews
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2. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

Hi there, chinadiscovery tours seems to be based in Florida and chinadiscovery based in Chengdu. Which one was the bad one here? I have been looking at China Tours today with the China based one. Help!

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Chengdu
Chengdu
Sichuan, China
China Tours
China Tours
441 Reviews
Xi'an, China
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
16 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

I am sorry that you had such a bad experience, because China really is a great country to travel in. Not that it helps you now, but it may help others;

It's always a good idea to ask if your price entails forced shopping, and if it does, then how many stops per tour/per city, and which shopping stops they are. Also always ask about food budget (tourist restaurants as opposed to local ones), agency policy on hotels used (you'll always be better off in a 3-4 star near/at sights or city centre than a 5 star far away from everything).

Ask for a full disclosure itinerary to know what your tour really is about.

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Plantation, Florida
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26 posts
11 reviews
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4. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

China Discovery Tours out of Torrence California

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China Discovery-Day Tour
China Discovery-Day Tour
614 Reviews
Chengdu, China
Plantation, Florida
Level Contributor
26 posts
11 reviews
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5. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

China outshined the problems. We did pay an extra $200 per person to NOT have any forced shopping tours. I actually paid an additional $45 for a tea ceremony which turned out to be a tea tasting at a tea factory. The five star hotels we stayed at were wonderful and a great end to each day. I would do that over again in a heart beat. A big thank you to Trip Advisor. I 99% of the hotels from TA. Once I realized what was happening with the restaurants, I offered to pay extra for a better restaurant or a different dish. Some guides let us, some didn't. I also did not care for the practice of ordering for us without any knowledge of our likes and dislikes. But as I said, China out shined all the problems and I didn't let them ruin my trip. I was a big trip for us (20 days) and so, I would take us out for dinner after the guide left (early almost every night) when needed. I can't recommend China enough!! Just use a different tour company.

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San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Guangzhou
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13,717 posts
63 reviews
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6. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

"I actually paid an additional $45 for a tea ceremony which turned out to be a tea tasting at a tea factory."

There is no such thing as Chinese Tea Ceremony, only Japanese dance around with tea. The only thing about "Chinese Tea Ceremony" is to sell tea, it is a shopping stop. Not your fault because you wouldn't know that, but Tea Ceremony is one of the most common travel scam in China. In most cases, "Chinese Tea Ceremony" is a most well known fraud that cost travelers thousands of dollars, search for "Chinese Tea Ceremony" on China, Shanghai or Beijing forums, there are 100s of victim stories. Relatively speaking, you were lucky.

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Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai Region, China
San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Guangzhou
Level Contributor
13,717 posts
63 reviews
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7. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

I often thought whoever invented "Chinese Tea Ceremony" is very clever, a very effective brand, created something out of nothing.

If it were up to me, I'd spend a few hours to work with some local dancers and invent a new tea dance, study videos of how Japanese dance with tea, hire 2-3 girls to put on traditional dresses to dance with tea, write a Chinese Tea Ceremony history, build in some eco-friendly theme, invent a new tea god, how Japanese learned it from China 500 years ago, etc.... All these are pretty easy and dancers are a dime a dozen.

I will sell 100 times more tea and make 100 times more money sell tea ceremony shows.

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Plantation, Florida
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26 posts
11 reviews
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8. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

LOL - thanks for the laugh guys! They got me good!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Guangzhou
Level Contributor
13,717 posts
63 reviews
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9. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

I am sorry about what happened to you, I do not see anything I could have done differently to avoid all that mess. I once tried same thing you did, pay extra for no shopping stops, the only difference was the saleswoman was honest.

1- I have visited Guangzhou 30 times in 20 years on business, but never toured any sites, few months ago we decided to take a tour in that city, sort of "Gray Line Tour" type, see if we missed anything nice in 20 years.

2- I saw tours for 100 yuan per person on street tour kiosk. Exact same tour is 700 yuan in my hotel, but maybe okay if we can avoid shopping.

3- Hotel concierge woman said there is only one difference compared to 100 yuan tour on the street, that is in Chinese, this is in English. All have shopping stops, no matter what prices we pay or how much extra we pay.

4- Tour collects guests from varies hotels, this 700rmb tour maybe is 300rmb or 500rmb in other hotels, ours being a highend white tourist hotel, naturally it is more, because white tourists have more money, they don't know the difference and always happy anyway.

5- Don't shoot the messenger, she was exceptional for being honest with us.

6- So, we have NOT yet tour Guangzhou after 20 years.

Edited: 08 August 2013, 23:15
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Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangdong, China
Carson, California
3 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Beware China Discovery Tours!

Hi, I went to Trip Advisor with the intention of making a good recommendation for China Discovery Tours and was surprised with the title of this forum. I've always believed that word of mouth is the best advertisement, and since my trip last June, I've always wanted to thank them thru this. I've planned to write this review, I just got sidetracked with a lot of things.

Anyhow, I am so sorry for what you experienced! I have not met Kristie; Gen helped us with the arrangements and I also got to talk to her colleague Gloria. I will make sure to tell my friends to be wary of tea ceremonies when it’s their turn to take their China trip. And shopping tours! I gave them the instruction of no shopping, too, and it’s great they stuck to the arrangement! Now I wonder which restaurants they had for you, as mine were all fine. I’m actually wondering now what went wrong with your trip (new people?), as we did have a grand time! (See a separate review of my trip)

My mom and I went last June, we booked the trip last February. We have always wanted to go to Dalian and the Shangri-la region, and China Discovery made it possible for us. Our itinerary was Shanghai- Dalian - Lijiang- Shangri-la - Hong Kong, and we had one of the grandest trips ever!

It makes me sad that you had a different experience. Don’t they have the highest BBB rating (Better Business Bureau)? I made sure to check it before I paid for my trip – went to the site and checked under Travel Design USA (they’re a division of this agency, my mom a big customer of their cruises). Hope this recent turn of events does not affect that.

Mentioned in this post
China Discovery-Day Tour
China Discovery-Day Tour
614 Reviews
Chengdu, China
Dalian
Dalian
Liaoning, China
Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai Region, China
Lijiang
Lijiang
Yunnan, China
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