We had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU! Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.
Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for being patient. Here's what we thought of the trip.
Overall, we had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU!
Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. It was great to have their help dealing with hotel checking-ins and transportation details. It was very convenient and helpful. Having to move in and out of hotels daily and trying to catch all those train on time are very stressful ~ A big "Thanks" for all their help.
I want you to know that we consider Jackie Zhang (our guide for Zhangye & Dunhuang) to be the BEST of all the guides we encountered on this trip. She is enthusiastic, meticulous and extremely knowledgeable. You can tell that she enjoys her job tremendously!
My observation ~ Most "Foreign Visitors" don't always have a base knowledge of the history of the places they are visiting. A SHORT & CONCISE explanation is better than a long and winding narrative. It should not be assumed that one formula works for everyone. Some visitors are more knowledgeable than others and vice versa.
We enjoyed all the sights we visited on this trip tremendously. That said, there are some room for improvements.
The one disappointment for me was the visit to Qinghai Lake. It was too commercialized. It would have been so much better if we were able to stop by the lake area BEFORE the visitor center where it was much more pristine and unspoiled. After all, we are there to take it the natural beauty of the area after all.
Our guide and driver was most accommodating when we asked them to stop by the side of the road in order for us to photograph herds of YAK and sheep. It was the highlight of the trip for me! I am sure other visitors will feel the same way.
My suggestion ~ Maybe some sort of arrangements can be made with local farmers that owned land along the Qinghai lake for a short stop over in your future tours? This way, your visitors can have wonderful opportunities to photograph and experience the scenery and lifestyle of the local people.
My observation ~ In Turpan, the Turpan Museum would have been a BETTER choice than the visit to the Karez well system (Kan'erjing Museum). There is really nothing much to see here.
The International Grand Bazaar was also a bit of a disappointment, it was too touristy. I think we would find it much more interesting if we have the opportunity to visit a local street market instead.
We rode a donkey cart at the Flaming Mountains. It was great fun! I think this should be included in the future and its a great way to help the local make some extra money too. You agree?
Hotels ~ We still prefer staying at International Brand hotels. We really liked the Sofitel Hotels (in Xian & Xining) and the Sheraton in Urumqi.
We find the service and breakfast food selection available at the local brand hotels are still somewhat lacking compared to the International Brand hotels.
Food ~ We had some amazing and some mediocre food on this trip. The quality of the meal is inconsistent. I guess it depended a lot on your local tour coordinators?
I hope our observations and honest suggestions are helpful to you. Please do not consider this is as criticism of our trip but as suggestions for improvements. We had lots of fun and we hope you'll be able to attract more visitors to your tour. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.
I have attached the "corrected" photo and an extra one taken at the Flaming Mountains. You have our permission to include all three of the photos along with the following review to your website. I will write a review for TripAdvisor.com later.