This was undoubtedly one of the best vacations I ever had. It was extremely well-organized by this company and every transportation arrangement, hotel check-in, and day activity went off flawlessly. Accommodations in each city were fantastic and the chosen sights/cultural activity for each site were some of the most beautiful and enjoyable places/things I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Most of the tour guides were perfect- they had excellent command of the English language, were very knowledgeable regarding all the sights, were enthusiastic about sharing their country and culture, and had the perfect balance of how to arrange activities so that there was some rest in between each one. We had some issues with one or two guides during the vacation, but these concerns were relayed to our travel company, who were quite receptive to the critique. Luckily, the flaws of the guides did not significantly detract from the experience and we were still able to enjoy each city to its fullest. Food was excellent all around and we were given proper warning by each guide on which foods needed to be avoided. Overall, we had such a fun vacation and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We had such a great time that we are planning on a return trip to different locations with a more unique itinerary very soon in the next couple of years. When we do, we will most certainly be using this travel company's services again.
The most enjoyable/memorable parts has to be the sights and cultural activities of each city. From the Great Wall to the Forbidden City to the Terracotta Warriors to the mountains of the Guilin region, every place we went to was beautiful, majestic,and awe-inspiring. In addition, the cultural shows and restaurants that were arranged for us were spot on. Each show was not only very entertaining, but they also gave us great insight into the grandeur of China's past and of our own personal cultural heritage. China is such a beautiful country both in terms of natural landscapes and cultural richness and we know that we have only experienced just a tiny fraction with this trip (tip of the iceberg, so to speak), but for a first time trip, this was everything we asked for and more. Additionally, the food was just awesome. Everything we had was delicious and, if anything, we would have loved it if more local cuisines could have been arranged for us.
One of the things we'd do differently would be to have more activities arranged for us rather than having free days. We had one free day given during our time in Hong Kong, and while we packed that day with as much activity as we could, we probably would have been a little better off if we had just had our agency plan that day out. Additionally, we might have considered having our agency arrange more dinners for us. While we did find several extraordinary restaurants (a couple of them were Michelin-rated) on our own, our hotels were located in areas that were not very amenable to exploration and did not have many restaurants to choose from nearby. A couple were close to subway lines, but even a trek through the very reliable subway system would have taken a good chunk of time, and sometimes it felt like it may have been easier if we just had the travel company help organize the restaurant reservations. We would have probably also requested that our travel company help arrange for us to experience local cuisines more. We loved all the foods that we ate, but we were open to trying unique foods only found in that region and would have loved it if that could have been organized for us more. On the other hand, now that we know the layout of the cities, we would probably choose different hotels to stay at next time. We loved all the hotels we stayed at for this trip, but for the next time around, we would likely choose hotels that were closer to the center of the city and its activities to help make exploration a little easier.
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