June 22, 2005 Hunters group, Dale and Susie from Virginia, USA
Michael, Eva, April,
Our many thanks for all your help on our trip to China. You are welcome to share this and use us references.
Thank you for a great tour of China . China is spectacular and CCT handled all of our tour needs in first class fashion. We had knowledgeable English speaking guides in all the cities we visited. All our guides were gracious enthusiastic hosts for their cities. Especially April, our national guide, who was with us for every stop but Hong Kong . In Beijing we visited the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, Tiananmen Square , the Forbidden City , etc. and the Pearl Market (more than once). Every one who travels to Beijing should visit the Pearl Market. The prices and selection were incredible. Everything from pearls, to clothing, to purses, to watches. Remember to bargain.
Perhaps Xi'an , April's home, was the best stop on the trip, although all the cities were fascinating. The 2300 year old terra cotta soldiers were amazing. The excavation is being done in a building the size the size of an airplane hangar. You arranged a marvelous expert guide - the same one who guided Deng Xiao Ping when he toured the site. Equally impressive were the tour of the Tang Dynasty Murals and the knowledge of the expert guide who has worked in that museum for many years and whose father also worked there. One of our group remarked that the guide's explanation of the murals was like poetry.
We had a great camel ride into the sunset in the Gobi Desert near Dunhuang. Our expert guide arranged special access in the grottos near Dunhuang and their thousands of Buddha murals. And, Lilly, our local guide took us to her family's farm, a memorable visit, where we met her parents who served us delicious fruit from their farm.
The river cruise in Guilin was a welcome day of rest. We want to return to Guilin and hike through the country side to see more of the beautiful scenery. (Did you know that we saw Guilin in Star Wars Episode III - where the Wookies live).
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijian, where the Naxi people live, and Hong Kong rounded out our trip. Wendy, our local guide, wore her native Naxi clothing and explained its symbols. Andy took us to the top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong to a private viewing area open only by special arrangement. The lunch at the China Club gave us a chance to reflect on our impressions of China - how different the its ancient culture is from ours but how warm the people we met.
Many thanks to you, to Eva, who helped us with arrangements in the US, to all of the local and expert guides and especially to April, who made sure we saw everything we wanted and made adjustments to let us spend more time when we were absorbed and lost track of time. When we were planning our trip, we weren't sure whether a national guide was right for our tour. Now we are very glad we followed your advice and included April, because we feel we now have become good friends.
We hope you will let us know when you visit the Washington DC area and hope you will visit our home although we could not hope to welcome to you as graciously as CCT welcomed us in China .
Of course the tour was not perfect. There were days when the schedule was too long (we over scheduled ourselves). There were some details that might have been addressed better in the itinerary. But April did a great job adjusting to our needs. And the hotels were all five star, except perhaps Dunhuang (an oasis in the Gobi Desert , where there may not be a five star) and Guilin , where the hotel seemed a bit worn. The meals CCT arranged were almost all first class (the lunch near the cloisonn factory was ok but not quite up to the first class standard.) And the Tang Dynasty show in Xi'an seemed more commercialized than authentic. But these were a just very few off key notes from a delightful two week symphony of a trip that we will always remember.
Frankly, we were a little reluctant to base our tour on arrangements made by email to a company based in China . But your references checked out and we are glad we chose CCT for our tour. Please feel free to use us references.
Itinerary: 16-day China tour of Beijing / Xian / Dunhuang / Xian / Guilin / Kunming / Lijiang / Hong Kong (11 tour participants)