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What our customers say about us. Read 647 unedited reviews!

: DONT BE AFRAID!!! When I told my friends I was going to China, the response (in words or looks) was 'Why would you want to go THERE?!” Negative Perceptions are not the reality! The cities we went to were a wonderful mix of old and new. The cities, while large, are immaculately clean. Everyone was incredibly honest - my lost IPad was returned, I bought a purse at bazaar and the man came looking for me because an extra strap, which I never would have missed, was left behind. The ancient history is something we don't learn about and that is incredible. If anyone has concerns about 'political issues', this is a non-issue. You will be amazed! It exceeded my expectations! Do not hesitate for even a half second to book with China Spree!!!! I did the research for you: compared numerous trips, researched blogs, checked with the BBB (A+). No other company came close to advertised value and quality. They didn't disappoint when I travelled. I have nothing but raves for this company and would definitely travel again with China Spree - thinking about the new Bali tour!
- Carole F, Florida
I would book with ChinaSpree again in a minute! We could not have been happier, and can recommend them without reservation. We do not normally take tours, but usually do independent travel, and have done so in much of the world. Based on cost, language and culture issues we decided that our first visit to China should be with an organized group, and we researched tour companies for almost a year before deciding on ChinaSpree. We had reasonable expectations, and are seasoned travelers who know that things rarely go without some problems, so we were ready for the trip. We were delighted and amazed about this tour. We are so glad we went with ChinaSpree and cannot say enough good things about the trip. Our national guide, Lucy, was with us for the entire experience and has to be the best and most caring guide in all of China. The accommodations, food, sights and shows were all things we had wanted to do, but the selections were much better than we could ever have done on our own. The shopping experiences were more like museum visits, and we were never put in a situation where we felt pressured to buy something and we were never put into situations where we felt ChinaSpree was pushing us into a shopping experience to lower their costs. Little things like the Executive Deck Program on the Yangze river cruise, the visit to Guilin and the Li river cruise and the visit to the Dragon Spine Terraces are unique to ChinaSpree and were the hightlights of our trip. I cannot imagine how we could have planned a better trip, and certainly not for the price we paid for this trip. We are now planning to use them for a future trip to Indian and SouthEast Asia. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
- Jay & Barbara W, Texas
Book with China Spree! This was an incredible trip. Reading the description and seeing the itinerary and the cost, I expected there to be some sort of 'catch.' But every thing was exactly as represented, and more. Great accommodations, knowledgeable and friendly guides, delicious food and an overall amazing experience. I would also recommend booking all the optional excursions when your book your trip. The extra trips added a lot to the experience. One thing I have to share is the commitment and helpfulness of the guides, even after the trip was over. On the trip I bought a jade bracelet from the jade factory tour. I wore that bracelet every day since I bought it, until the day it shattered on the floor! I was so devastated. My husband contacted our guide, Sunny, who even six months after our trip was willing to help us. He helped us purchase an exact replica from the jade factory. I also celebrated a birthday on the trip and Sunny surprised me at dinner with a birthday cupcake complete with musical candles. I am so amazed!!!! The whole trip way exceeded my expectations. I am recommending everyone I know to take a tour with China Spree.
- Devon T, Wisconsin
We are long experence travlers and have used many tour companies. We have had some bad ones but most of then are pretty good. We have to say with out one bit of hesitation China Spree is the best and I mean the best tour company we have ever used. The guide, the price and the itinary was top notch. It doesn't get better than China Spree. CS:Comment on your tour guide Answer: I have been on many many tours over the years and I have never seen a guide like Kevin. He was funny, well informed had a good grasp of English. As I said, he was like a mother hen, he didn't miss a thing. If he felt you had something wrong he was on it right away to mend it. He was there at 8am to meet us and he stayed around the hotel after the tour to answer any questions or to give advice. When I couldn't get a umbrella from our hotel he got one from the manager. At one of our lunches we could not find four seats together so we could have lunch with my daughter and her husband. Kevin without upsetting anyone had two couples move so we could sit together. At the airport we were told there were no window seats. Kevin pulled his magic and we got one. This man is worth his weight in gold and as a former business owner I can tell you, you should never lose him. People like this will continue to make your business successful. CS:Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: China was never high on our bucket list. We when we saw what China Spree was offering we decided to book a tour. After spending seven days experiencing the food,culture and the friendly people I would highly recommened visiting this country. It is beautiful and has so much history. We were so happy with what we found we are now talking about going back real soon.
- Christopher A & Christine E, California
I travel quite a bit and am generally able to plan my own trips through study, travel books and learning the language basics of the countries I travel to. I thought it best to travel on a tour, a planned itinerary and a National Guide in China due to the potential language/communication, and I was right about that. While China is becoming very Westernized and there are lots of English signage and restaurants in China, it was a smart move to tour China with an expert to guide us seamlessly through the itinerary. The National Guide was knowledgeable, entertaining and smoothed out any and all wrinkles along the way. He dealt with the restaurant staff, ticket agents, rickshaw drivers and salesmen in a efficient and timely manner that allowed the group to enjoy as much of the experiences as possible. Not having to worry about paying for meals or entry tickets to attractions helps keep people in a relaxed and happy mood which is essential when you are travelling. The local food was plentiful and very tasty and the western style breakfast buffets really help kick off the day on a good note and with a full stomach. The buses were spacious, clean and comfortable. The sights and attractions offered on the tour are spectacular and leave one with a sense of awe and wonder. The itinerary is packed full of fun and exciting thins to do, but still offers enough free time to relax and enjoy beautiful China. The price of the tour is extremely affordable and I left China feeling as if I got more than my monies worth and had all my expectations met or exceeded. I highly recommend the China Spree company for all your travel needs to China. CS: Was there a particular highlight of your China trip you wish to share? Tongli was a nice change of pace from the bustling cities, markets and tourist sites. It was beautiful. My wife absolutely loved the Summer Palace, while I thoroughly enjoyed the Temple of Heaven and the Yu Garden Bazaar. The Hot Pot lunch was exciting, fun and very tasty. Our National Guide, Emperor Ronald Wong, was absolutely fantastic. He was full of useful and interesting information about Beijing, Shanghai, China, the Chinese people and the Chinese way of life. He took great care of the group and worked diligently to make sure every step of our China journey was smooth and memorable. I will be signing up for the Tibet tour at some point in the future, but only if I can have Ronald as my guide. He was clearly very instrumental in making the experience exciting, fun and created memories that my wife and I will treasure for the rest of our lives. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Go. Just do it. Conquer any fears or reservations you may have about travelling to a communist country as you will be both pleasantly surprised and thrilled with your experience. The people are friendly and helpful, customer service is excellent, and the sights and sounds of China are both enchanting and memorable. China Spree and its tour guides provide the upmost in customer service and top quality value for the dollar. Don't miss the chance to take the adventure of a lifetime to amazing China with China Spree. You will only regret it if you don't go. Just do it!
- John & Paula K, California
We just returned from the 15-day, The Mighty Yangtze trip and can't stop thinking about how wonderful this experience was. We were a small group of 12 with a phenomenal national guide, Maggie and excellent local guides at every destination. We decided on China Spree after researching several other companies. We definitely made the right decision and would travel with China Spree again with no hesitation. Before the trip, I was impressed with the pre-trip information that China Spree provides, such as suggested reading, arrival and departure information and other useful information. They really pay attention to details. Any questions that I emailed them about were promptly answered by phone. They tell you that you will receive the final information (tickets, etc.) two weeks before departure. Not only were they true to their word about that, they even sent us notification a few days ahead that the packet was sent out. My expectations at this point were now raised so I was afraid my now high expectations would not be met. From the moment we walked out of the baggage area at the Beijing airport we knew we were in good hands. The hotels were gorgeous and first rate, especially in Beijing and Shanghai. The itinerary is varied, flexible and well planned out. Everything was flawless. Much of the credit for such a wonderful trip should go to Maggie our national guide but I believe that after speaking to other China Spree groups that we came across, every national guide is exceptional. Maggie and all the local guides had excellent command of the English language. They were all knowledgeable, informative and patient. Maggie especially always made sure we were happy, taking control when necessary yet flexible when not. We thought China would be a 'once in a lifetime' experience, but there is so much more to see that we would consider visiting again. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that it will be with China Spree. CS: How’s the pacing of the tour? Answer: It was perfect! We liked that we were able to cover the entire itinerary plus a few extra things (for instance, the kindergarten) yet everything was so flexible. One day we encountered a road closure so the bus ride to Tongli took a little longer than expected. But because of the flexibility, all it meant was everything was pushed back a little and we didn't miss anything because of the delay. A perfect carefree vacation! CS: Comment on your National guide Answer: Maggie was absolutely fantastic! She was very calm yet you knew she was in control. She speaks well and tells wonderful stories. Her delivery of the stories made it so much fun to listen to her. Maggie made the trip so enjoyable. She was patient, knowledgeable, funny and made us feel very comfortable. We knew immediately that we were in good hands with Maggie. CS: Recommended packing and reading Answer: Pack light. Don't need to pack toothbrushes and toothpaste as it was always provided (never came across that before. We read Daughter of China: A True Story of Love and Betrayal by Meihong Xu and Larry Engelmann which was on the recommended reading list. We loved it and now that I've been to China, I want to read it again. We also enjoyed and would recommend Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman, another book on your list. We had with us the suggested book, The Yangzi River by Judy Bonavia, which we didn't read in its entity but found very helpful while on the boat. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: Look no further! China Spree is fantastic. And China is an exciting, beautiful and interesting country. Not to be missed.
- Jill & Wendell W, New York
My husband and I have enjoyed mostly independent travel in the past but decided that doing China on our own was just too daunting. In the past, we have found the regimentation of tours stressful, but in the case of China Spree, the opposite was true: we have never felt so relaxed on a trip. Our sightseeing was done efficiently with the cool bus waiting for us after every excursion. Airport check-ins and baggage handling were facilitated by our guides, excellent introductory information was supplied prior to and during every program, and our itinerary was beautifully balanced between monumental sights and intimate cultural ones (kindergarten visit, Hutong home visit, etc.). The Chengdu bamboo park day and Yangtze cruise were timed perfectly - a respite from our first week of hard-driving sight-seeing in Beijing and Xi'an. Our peapod boat excursion on the Shennong Stream was adventurous and great fun as was our 'drag race' in the Hutong pedicab. The Yangtze cruise excursions were both informative and beautiful experiences. To sum up: our guides were expert and accomodating in every way, our meals were varied and delicious, and our daily attractions and experiences were truly thrilling. China Spree really delivers a peak experience. CS: Comment on your National guide Answer: We can't think of any way Kevin could have been better! He was extremely well-informed, passionate in his presentations, personal in his recounting of his family relationships, wedding, etc., compassionate in caring for those with various issues, attentive to each and every one of our needs, and delightfully funny. His grasp of colloquial English was perfect and his personality was engaging, entertaining, and genuine. Awe-inspiring energy and commitment!! CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: Be prepared for a fast-paced, physically demanding itinerary and know that, although there isn't a great deal of leisure time, your stamina will be richly rewarded. Expect to be enlightened intellectually and moved emotionally by the stunning scenery, exquisite culture, and fascinating history. You will be in very good hands with China Spree.
- Barbara P & Thomas K, California
My wife and I just returned from the 12 day China Delight tour with China Spree. They are an extraordinary tour operator. Their marketing material stresses that customer satisfaction is their number one priority. They take this claim seriously. Their staff, both in their Washington state administrative office and their tour guides on location, do virtually everything they can to accommodate the requests of their guests. They delivered on every single claim they made in their promotional material. The accommodations provided were excellent. Each meal was in a different venue and offered variety and local color. The busses were modern, air conditioned and comfortable. The group size was manageable and allowed for individual attention. But the one factor that brought it all together was the exceptional tour guides who were entertaining, knowledgeable, well organized, and genuinely interested in the well being and enjoyment of their guests. Our 'national' tour guide, Jing, shepherded us through the entire trip starting with a brief orientation meeting on our first morning and continuing till our departure. She carefully described our upcoming schedule each day, gave us practical travel and shopping advice, and used the time riding to meals and attractions to describe local customs, everyday life, and Chinese housing and social service policies. These discussions were full of give and take with the tour participants. It was like having a personal friend to answer all of your questions. But it didn't end there. Jing gave us her cell phone number and was on call 24 hours. She was assisted by local guides in each city who shared their expertise on the history and unique characteristics of the cities they represented. All were friendly, well informed and candid. This is not a trip for the faint of heart, however. It is geared to serious travelers who are interested in absorbing as much as possible in the brief time available. The days are long and comprehensive, packed with a myriad of sights, tastes, and thought provoking impressions. This is the best packaged tour we have ever taken. CS: Comment on your National guide Answer: Jing Liang was absolutely incredible. She was tireless. It seemed she never slept. She met us when we got to the hotel late on the first night, made sure we were settled in, checked our satisfaction with the accomodations at each location and was up bright and early each day reviewing the daily itinerary. She got up at 4 AM on the last day to see us off. She was prompt, friendly and very much in charge. She was informative and entertaining on the bus, looked after us at each attraction, explained what we were seeing, gave us advice on local customs, and carefully described upcoming activities. She even watched over us when we were eating to familiarize us with the food and to make sure we were satisfied. She adapted to events beyond her control, such as traffic, weather, and crowds. She made it a point to connect with each and every person on the tour. She was so organized that she made it look effortless, but that kind of finess requires a great deal of preparation. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: Take China Spree. They really care.
- Stanley N & Sandra C, New Jersey
I don't know if all China spree tour groups are like ours. Ours was just such a good fit. We were all intelligent, well educated, and well traveled. We got along very well. We talked about that quite often and I wondered if perhaps there was something that China spree did to attract that sort of person or whether we were the only group like that. We laughed often even at the tour guides jokes. The 12 days went by way too fast but we will be in touch for many years, I just know it. CS: Was there a particular highlight of your China trip you wish to share? Answer: There were so many..... But I always tell the story of my sister in law Eva Benavides who went with us. 2 years ago I had total knee replacement and I worried about taking so a physical trip. Well, I decided that we were going to climb the hard part of the great wall as it was less crowded (for a reason I knew). The first easy part of it we were all fine. Then about every 15 minutes of the hour walk to the top she kept saying 'How's your knee, do you think you want to stop? If you do, I will walk down with you' She was exhasted and was looking for any excuse to stop' I told her, 'no, I was not going to hate myself by coming all the way to China to not go to the top'. And our group climbing that side did Me, David, Gloria, Eva, Mary, Alex, Robert, Janice, and Joanne that I can remember. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: I agree with the testimonials that I read before I chose China Spree. I also can't beleive that China spree makes any money at all. I chose the China Highlights tour because it was an inclusive tour (all extremely filling meals, all air travel, all shows, all buses, all tour guides, gondola ride, rickshaw ride, wonderful hotels, all entrance fees, all history lessons, and the culture visits. EVERYTHING (they wouldn't pay for my pearls tho). Every tour that I read on China spree not inclusive said, tour optional, entrance fees optional, so I thought by the time I pay for all the extras, I might as well get an exclusive tour. I also went there apprhensively thinking that the other shoe was going to drop and there would be some sort of surprise fees. Instead there were extra things not even mentioned. For example, when you get off the plane in Beijing until the security gate in Shanghai Pudong Airport, your national guide is with you every step of the way. He takes care of your baggage, your meals, your tours, your tickets, your boarding passes, everything (except I asked him to make the rain stop and he didn't but...). The tour goes effortlessly, or so it appears to us. It is a finely oiled machine but you are just along for an enjoyable ride. You will love it even if you don't like Chinese food. But I loved the food, my guides, the buses, I loved everything immensely) One thing however that you must do is to take a small bounded notebook and quit enjoying yourself long enough to write down some of what the tour guides are saying and also where you are going and what pictures you take. The fast pace of the tour makes some of the memories run into others. It took me 3 weeks to organize my 2500 pictures because I couldn't remember place names. I don't know if other tour companies are as good, but I know China Spree and its tour was unbeleivable. For those who have never considered China (like me), it is unbeleivable and the people there love Americans and you don't get that in most countries. They are also very very happy people. I wish I had written down more informatin. I beleive the first dynasty was the Qin but I am not sure. You will be entertained on bus rides with interesting China history. And you will find yourself repeating the information that you remember, hence, write it down. At the airport I got in an argument with another china spree group memeber when I told them that our tour guide was the best and she seemed to think that her's was the best. So maybe they are are good and maybe our group was the best ever also. P.S. Don't be surprised if you are asked to have your picture taken with them. Some of them from the country have never seen a blond evidently.
- David & Roxana B, Texas
Dear Wilson, I have filled out your form, but I also wanted to follow up with an email. In doing so, please accept my personal thanks for what you and your company did to make our trip an amazing experience. Your concern to give us an excellent trip was obvious, and every one of the 20 of us had very high praise for China Spree. Here are some additional thoughts for section 9 of your form: My wife and I are experienced travelers who have always done our own planning, and we were very apprehensive about taking a guided tour and somewhat skeptical about what we would receive. Our concerns were mediocre hotels, bad food, and a bored staff herding us through one history spot after another. But the reality was entirely different. We had a fabulous experience, and we are grateful to China Spree in so many ways. Instead of seeing just the tourist sights as expected, we saw so many aspects of life, culture and change in China today. There was a general consensus in our group that none of us could ever have dreamt up, no less seen, nearly that much on our own. Our accommodations were great if not outright luxurious for 9 of the 12 nights, and quite adequate for the other three. The Marriott City Wall in Beijing, the Guilin Sheraton and the Shanghai Pullman were among the best hotels we've ever stayed at, and the hotel in Yongshao seemed the best one in that small town. The breakfasts were a sight in themselves, as the buffets were enormous and carried both Chinese and western food. With a very few exceptions, the other meals ranged from good to excellent, and were designed to give us an idea of Chinese culinary culture. We ate in a private woman's home in Beijing, went to a fine Peking duck restaurant, took cooking lessons on the Li River, had a dumpling banquet, cooked a meal in a hot pot, etc. China Spree seems to have anticipated every small detail, taken care of everything, and to have cut no corners to make our trip memorable. They took us to some pretty out of the way places, a few of which were not even on their itinerary (like a kindergarten in the country and some cave dwellings still in use). Their personnel are, however, their biggest asset. Our national guide, the extraordinary Lisa Li, is the queen of guides. She wove us into a virtual family, made everyone feel special, made sure we did not get taken when buying things, and helped us bargain for better prices when we were. She was our seemingly tireless advocate every minute, a fountain of energy and information, and worked to give us every advantage. One moment she is getting local people in a park to invite us to join them in their morning exercises, the next is saving us time by bringing us to the front of a long line, and the next is asking a woman who lives in an old village by the rice terraces above Guilin to allow us a look inside her home. Lisa was assisted by four local guides in the various cities who were all very good, so we generally had two guides with us despite our small number. This really added to the experience. Wilson Li in Beijing and Sue in Guilin merit particular praise. I'm not sure how China Spree does it, but we paid very modestly for what we got. In terms of value for money, this trip gets an easy 10. Best regards, Steven
- Steven & Susan R, Havertown, PA
Good morning Wilson, I have recently returned from my China Spree Tour (Imperial China/Tibet and Hong Kong) and want to take this time to personally write to you about this exceptional trip although I will save most of my feedback for the online questionnaire. I have traveled fairly extensively and recently toured India prior to this trip to China. The differences between your tour company and the company I used for India were extensive. First and foremost, Ming Li, our national tour guide, is the most exceptional guide I have ever had. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and concern for our well being was boundless. If you recall, I have a life threatening allergy to shellfish and had serious concerns about my ability to safely eat the food in China. During our first meal in Beijing, I was approached by Ming as well as Jack, our local guide, to inform me that every restaurant on our itinerary had already been notified about my allergy. Even with this information, I conveyed to Ming my own anxieties about eating the food. She went above and beyond to let me know what every dish on the table was, had chef's come out of the kitchen to talk to me, and had special food made for me if there was even the slightest possibility that there was cross-contamination in the kitchen. The lengths to which Ming and in effect, your company, went to soothe my anxiety was extraordinary. This enabled me to fully enjoy my trip rather than continuously worrying about what I could or could not eat. In general, Ming's ability to oversee the entire tour and to ensure that everyone's needs were met was exceptional. I often wondered if she ever got any sleep or was she continuously just working beyond the scenes to make sure every little detail of the trip was attended to? I cannot say enough about this woman. You are extraordinarily fortunate to have someone of her caliber working for you. It is rare that i contemplate returning to a place that I have visited as there are so many trips on my 'to do' list. In this case, i can say that I know I will return to China and it will most certainly be with China Spree. Thank you for making China Spree such a wonderful organization. It is obvious that your employees reflect the attitude of the company. Keep up the great work. I will surely be recommending you to my family and friends. Sincerely, Carolyn W, New York City
- Carolyn W, New York
China Spree provided me with a tour well beyond my expectations. I have traveled with four other tour companies in Europe and Africa and was totally unfamiliar with travel in Asia or China Spree. I learned about it on the internet and was a bit nervous about booking. DO NOT HESITATE!! The best value I have ever had for my money. I traveled solo for the first time in my life and felt totally comfortable with everything. China is beautiful!!! Thank You, Eric and China Spree. CS: How was the general performance of your guides? Eric (National Guide) was delightful, considerate and obviously worked well with his local guides. His laid back personality was comfortable and caring. John, Sherry and Anthony were all great. All willing to listen and accomodate. All good educators and efficient at moving us. When a handful of us wanted to see a performance at West Lake that was not on the itenerary, Eric and Sherry made it happen for us! John made Beijing feel like home and Anthony was superb in his Garden tour especially. CS:Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Do not delay this experience, if you have ever had any inclination to go to China - book now!!! I left my heart there.
- Nancy T, Alabama
11-4-2010 Mr. Wu and China Spree, Although we know you have many many great testimonials on your website, we wanted to add ours as maybe it’s a bit unique given we took our two girls, Sophia 11 and Eva 9 on the 14 Day China Treasures tour. I tried submitting this online and it did not go through so trying again! My wife and kids had never been to China, and the kids had never been to Asia. I know both Sophia and Eva both consider our national tour guide, Ming, their lifelong friend! She was so considerate of them and paid special attention while not slowing down the group or getting distracted, a rare talent. We thought this tour was the right size (17 people) and the mixture of major attractions with meals at local’s homes and “off the beaten track” cities and sites really gave us a glimpse into the China culture. What a wonderful country! The kids kept journals and it really helped them internalize what they saw. We also appreciated how the guides gave their opinions as well as facts, so we got an idea of how they thought about their country and its place in the world today. We had the best vacation of our lives, and the kids loved it and felt safe and secure the whole time. We will definitely use China Spree again and have already recommended to a number of our friends. The hotels were excellent and the meals and shows were great. What a wonderful tour you have put together. Thanks for changing my kid’s perspective on the world, and treating us so well Best Regards, Rick and Liz F
- Rick & Liz F, Taxas
I have always wanted to explore the ancient cultures of the world. I have been checking off places from my bucket list for a few years now; Italy and Greece were some of my favorite recent travels, and now it was China’s turn. Although I have traveled extensively on my own to many countries in Europe I wanted a tour experience because of the language barrier and the convenience of having a tour guide to navigate this new country. I excitedly began to search on the internet for tour companies. (Note: I have taken four educational tours with Rick Steves’ company, ETBD, so my standards are pretty high when it comes to tour companies.) I also looked at some travel forum websites like Frommer’s, TripAdvisor, and Virtual Tourist to name a few. After I weighed the pros and cons of the companies that I researched I finally chose China Spree. I settled on an itinerary that gave me the best overall introduction to China for a fantastic price: China’s Best Treasures. Having gone through this long process I was still questioning what I was getting myself into since I didn’t know anyone personally who had used this company before. Crossing my fingers I paid the deposit for myself and my parents and made plans to go to Chicago to get my Chinese Visa. Well, I must say that my fears about the tour were gone as soon as I walked onto the Air China plane. This was a very comfortable air experience. As soon as we passed customs in Beijing there was a China Spree flag welcoming us to the vacation of my dreams! The minute I met Lisa I knew that this was going to be a good experience. She made it clear up front that her only desire was to make sure that this was the best tour and that she would do her very best to make sure that this happened. So, how can I sum up my 2 week intro to China? It was fabulous! Both my mother and retired father were very pleased with it as well. It was a good mix of ancient and modern, with city and rural scenes. Now let’s talk basics: The hotels were modern and comfortable. They really surpassed my expectations. The Marriott Beijing and Pullman Shanghai were superior for their spaciousness and breakfast spreads. The food was plentiful and tasty all throughout the tour. Every single meal allowed us to find dishes on the revolving lazy-Susan that were delicious. If you tasted something you didn’t like (this is very unlikely in my experience- and I’m kind of a picky eater), or it was too spicy, then there were other options to choose from. We always had enough food for everyone at the table, and it was interesting to have regional foods prepared for us to try. Peking duck, noodle dishes, hot pot (that was a fun experience), Mongolian BBQ, dumplings, oh, my... and Lisa bought fruit and candy along the way for us to try out, too! I usually lose weight when I tour, but not on this trip! The bathroom situation wasn’t as bad as my mom thought it would be. Lisa made sure to include plenty of stops along the way for the group. She reminded us to use the facilities like a little mama and let us know if there were western or eastern toilets available. It is true that 'squatters' are a test of balance, but I feel that it’s just part of the whole experience- to 'do as the Romans... rather, Chinese... do! ' (Note: Most of the time there were western toilets to use.) By the end of the trip we were all pretty good at the bend-squat-aim-and hold- technique ;-) The tour scheduling is compact and your days are full, but there are restful periods to sit and have a drink, or just watch the passing scene while you wait for everyone to finish their 'free time' photo ops and exploring. There were shopping stops- which we all took advantage of. I am not a shopping Diva, but if you are there are a lot of opportunities to look for treasures along the way. There are factory stops which begin as educational tours to show the process of cutting jade, or how silkworms are processed to make silk. A pearl factory, a silk rug factory, and a terracotta statue/lacquer workshop were all stops for this tour. If you wanted to drop some cash you could, but this also allowed for some free time to look around or relax for a moment before moving on. There were also times in the day to explore outdoor markets to try out your bargaining skills. I did not buy a lot, but I had fun at each place just looking around the workshops and display areas to admire the artistry and/or experience something new. The Best Treasures tour provided me with opportunities to see 'the biggies' like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, and modern Shanghai, but what I liked most about this tour was the opportunity to visit places that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own- like driving through the countryside to reach the Dragon Spine Terraces where we hiked up to see the mountain-hugging villages and tribe people who farm these rice terraces. Or the Li River area with its hauntingly beautiful karst limestone scenery. The water town of Tongli and gardens in Suzhou were also enjoyable as they gave me another view of historic Chinese cities and the culture. We visited a home in Beijing’s Hutong district to have a meal prepared by a housewife. We also saw the home of the farmer who discovered the Terracotta soldiers in a farm field. Our group loved our peek into a nursery school where we were entertained with some songs from the children. One girl was the star of the show. This is one of the great memories of the tour. I also enjoyed the drives in more rural parts of China. Seeing the homes, store fronts, various modes of transportation, fruit stands, animals and farm fields- all these vignettes helped me to 'see' more of the true China. Another big bonus are the cultural programs like the Tang Dynasty dancing and music show. Coming from a musical background, I truly enjoyed this spectacle. We opted for the Kung Fu show in Beijing and the Light show in Guilin (by the 2008 Olympic Games opening ceremony director) which we enjoyed tremendously. Seeing all of the pageantry reminded us of the 2008 Olympics. The skilled Shanghai acrobats were included as a part of the tour. The national guide was professional, efficient and friendly. She always looked out for us. She tried to 'spread the butter' but could become a 'dragon lady' if the need arose to get the job done! The regional/city guides were all informative and spoke English well. The bus drivers were proficient at their job. Water was provided throughout the day for drinking. The plane rides from Beijing to Xi’an, Xi’an to Guilin, and Guilin to Shanghai were good. The times that we flew were thoughtfully manipulated so that tthe whole day wasn’t lost. We had the time to sightsee in the morning before our flight or we had an evening activity if we flew in the AM. Finally, the tour members that I shared this experience with were the best. I couldn’t have asked for a friendlier, relaxed group! They truly helped to make this a wonderful tour as well. So, how would I rate this tour overall? I give it an unwavering 10. It will remain one of the best travel experiences that I have ever had in my life. I think that the highest praise I can give is that I will recommend China Spree to my friends and family. I have already been thinking about returning to China in the future myself to see other parts of this fascinating country. Thank you, Lisa for your personalized attention, and China Spree, for providing me with the opportunity for the trip of a lifetime.
- Deborah N, Kansas
My name is Paul. I am a busy physician who does not have time for long vacations, but I love to travel. This China Triangle Tour was the best brief vacation of my life. The greatest sites of the one of the greatest cultures in just 8 days (excluding travel to China). It all went like a fantastic dream, like a breathtaking action movie. The organization of the trip was flowless. Excellent buses, hotels, food, Multiple great sites to see every day were lined up in such sequence that it was never boring. All admissions were free for us. Many of this sites would be otherwise with an expensive admission tickets after standing in long lines. To be honest, I do not understand how China Spree was able to afford to get such a high level of quality of everything and keep the price of the trip so low. All guides were very friendly and highly professional. They were constantly giving everyone a personal attention while being very respectful and nice. I am very impressed not just with China itself, but with the quality of organization and management of this trip. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: Do not think twice. Go there while it is still affordable. GO WITH CHINA SPREE.
- Paul G, Maryland
We were absolutely 'blown away' by our trip with Chinaspree. Everything about this trip exceeded our expectations. We can’t say enough about it, and I keep talking to all my friends about what a great tour it was. They packed in the most wonderful highlights of China in each locale. Their tour guides were extraordinary; we had both a ntaional tour guide and local guides in each of the four regions. They were not only knowledgeable and fun to be with it, but went way out of our way to make sure the trip worked for each person, including the three children in our group. The food was not only plentiful but fantastic; we ate in private rooms and were served plate after plate of deliciousness. It felt like each meal was better than the last. Each locale had its own distinctive flavors. Some of the unique experiences were SO unique: aside from the normal wonderful sites one would want to see (Great Wall, Teracotta Warriors, Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, etc), there were so many surprises: the entertainment at night (Classical Chinese Music, Shanghai Acrobats, a production on the water in Guilin with a case of thousands), the silk factory process, where we learned how silk is made from cocoon to finished product, the Guilin River Trip, exquisite in its beauty and so interesting and fun, a rickshaw ride through old Beijing, a lunch in a family’s home in Beijing, where we learned from the mom how to cook dumplings; a visit to a one room Yao Dung' where most of the people who don’t live in the cities live in caves dug into the mountain: these experiences are so unique. We NEVER could have had such a rich and full trip trying to go on our own. It was absolutely delightful. 100 on a scale of 1-10. And I would repeat it in a second flat. CS: Things that impressed you most on this trip Answer: What impressed us most was the food, the excellence of the tour guides, how happy the people were; how taken care of people in China are (parks within 15 minutes of where people live in Shanghai); when they decimate an apartment complex, they give people larger rooms and transport all the businesses as well, retired people seem to be having such a good time in the parks. The country is so beautiful, and they are handling the rapid pace of growth well, we think. It did not seem crowded to us; there was a flow and ease about getting around. Guilin was absolutely beautiful, as was the Reed flute cave. The Terracotta Warriors took our breath away when we first walked in there. CS: Comment on your Tour Manager, using rate 1-10 while 10 is the best Answer: How about 100? Lucy was absolutely amazing. She went way out of her way for us and EVERYONE, taking care of all requests, and even requests that were unspoken, finding ways to make it work for everyone all of the time. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: would say go to China! It is unlike any picutres that you have in your head about what it’s like. It’s an amazing country, with wonderful people, beautiful and fascinating sites, and going now, while it is in its rapid growth phase, is the perfect time. We loved it! We loved everything about this trip. And I’d go with China Spree. They make it not only affordable, but super comfortable, almost luxurious. It was like having a five start experience all the way while paying fantastic prices. Talk about being economical! Unbelievable.
- Amba G, Washington
Thank you China Spree and Jim Mao. We cannot say enough about the service we received on this tour. I really do not know how you provide all the service for the price you charge. Our hotels were outstanding, the food was delicious. We were worried about having Chinese food so many days. Because you travel to so many regions in China the food is always different. From the moment we arrived at the Beijing airport we were treated like royals. Our bags were always taken care of. We saw other tour groups with large numbers and saw they spent much of their time gathering everyone. The change of the cruise ship was a great decision on China Sprees part, I had researched the previous ship and found several bad reviews. We loved the ship. The room was fine and the food on the ship was outstanding. China Spree has some of the greatest guides. Jim Mao, our national guide was outstanding. He was everywhere addressing anything that happened. One of our flights was cancelled by the airlines and he was on top of everything. He got us on a different airline with just a few minutes difference. CS: Comment on your Tour Manager, using rate 1-10 while 10 is the best Answer: I would give Jim Mao a 20. He was everywhere. He was knowledgeable. He was entertaining and just made the trip enjoyable. I had no idea a manager would work so hard. He was at the airport when we arrived and saw us off. It was sad to leave him. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: Take the trip. You will not be sorry. We were worried about the language and food. You will not have any worries. You are in very safe hotels. The bus drivers are very courteous and great drivers. The guides are all outstanding. Their are several locations with steps but the group will wait for you. You are given time to shop and explore on your own. It will be the trip of a lifetime.
- Barbara, Florida
When we first considered booking a tour with China Spree we were a little hesitant because we did not know anyone who had been on a tour with China Spree. But, after checking with the Better Business Bureau, and reading comments on a variety of internet travel sites about China Spree, we believed China Spree would be a reputable company and provide a good tour. We took a chance and were thrilled with the results. China Spree provided a tour that exceeded our expectations. The hotels were excellent; the food was good; and the tours were absolutely thrilling. We were told that the hotels booked by China Spree would not be as nice as other tour companies. But it was funny when we saw those same tour groups staying in the same hotels we were in with China Spree! And when we attended some of the shows, the China Spree group had the best seats in the house -- even better than groups on the more expensive tours with other companies. I don't know how China Spree can host such a great tour for such a reasonable price. We paid less for our tour than we would have with some of the other companies, but we always felt China Spree was first class. I will recommend China Spree to anyone considering a tour of China. Our family loved it! CS: Things that impressed you most on this trip Answer: The warmth and friendliness of the guide, George Li. He was the glue that bonded everyone and all the experiences. We were so fortunate to have him as a guide. Also, we were very impressed with the cultural exchanges, including dancing in the park with locals, and having lunch in the hutong.
- Debra, Florida
China spree is an excellent company. It was a true pleasure to just pack my bags and say 'where to next' without worry of it being up to my standards. The hotels were excellent, sites were unforgetable, food was a feast to say the least. The guides were so knowledgable, my family learned so much, we had a true appreciation for the culture. China Spree had a unique 'culture sites' program where you visit and have lunch at a familys home and was really interesting. Nothing was left for to chance, everything was taken care of and ran smoothly. They really know what they are doing. I didn’t have a single bad moment. Even my husband and son who didn’t want to go to china and complained about having to go, at the end of the trip they both said it was the best trip ever. I am happy to say that we are looking forward to using China Spree again. The tour guide George was a big fat 10++, truly worked very hard for us. I saw him always asking one by one if we needed anything, if everything was good. He did a great job of managing a group. Was informative. I could see the pride in his country, and how he wanted us see it. I could honestly say HE made the trip from great to excellent.
- Aleida, California
What an amazing trip! If you’re looking for a very good and honest tour company, China Spree is the way to go. I have learned so many amazing things from my stay in China; I only wished I had booked a longer stay. China Spree took care of everything - once you step off the plane in Beijing you are taken care of until you leave for home. Excellent meals, excellent hotels, flawless service from the bus driver to the tour guides, everything you can imagine; not to mention all the amazing destinations your tour will take you to (depending on the package). When it came down to choosing which tour company to use I’m so happy I went with China Spree; you won’t be disappointed. I would recommend you ask for Jim Mao as your national tour guide, he made the trip that much more special and unique. In the beginning I was debating whether to go to China by ourselves and make all the travel arrangements. Thank God we didn’t, it would’ve been a bit of a hassle; our guides took care of our domestic flights, meals plentiful and served up quickly, our hotel arrangements, our transportation within the cities, our tickets for the cultural sites, any special requests we had. It just put your mind at ease to know you had such good people taking care of everything, and it allowed us to really sit back and enjoy the ride. Also worth mentioning is that large groups get priority access to most of the historical sites, so we really didn’t stand in the long lines for the individual entrance. I was a bit skeptical a first putting all my trust in one company - but the quality and service we got was unsurpassed and I would definitely recommend China Spree to anyone wanting to experience China. When the opportunity comes to visit China again, I’ll be booking with China Spree. Mike CS: Things that impressed you most on this trip Answer: The people - very friendly, open, and kind hearted. Their pride and respect for all things ancient and sacred, the tour guides who helped us every step of the way as well. CS: Based on your experience from this trip what would you like to say to potential travelers to China? Answer: Get ready to be amazed and pleasantly surprised. China offers so much history, amazing cultural experiences, beautiful modern cities, and so much more. I heard that China has changed so much in the past 10 years and you can really tell. The people are very friendly and I recommend you take it day by day - time flies when you’re having fun!
- Michael, Florida