April 19th, 2017
From the first email until the trip was over, I cannot say enough good things about China Odyssey Tours! Karen was our representative and she put together a comprehensive package on a private tour for just 2 of us. The price was very reasonable and the hotels they chose were all 5 star, including 1 6 star! The guides and drivers in each city were outstanding! They are young, knowledgeable, and genuine to see that you are having a wonderful experience. My suggestion is to stay in a city at least two days and three might even be better. The major cities are extremely large and there is a fair amount of travel involved. Give yourself time to really enjoy something off the beaten track, not just the major highlights checked off a list. That said, if that's what you want, they can do that very well too.I experienced some difficulty during the trip and our guides were so caring and went overboard to see that I was taken care of. I thank all of them for their generosity and kindness!
November 26th, 2016
We used Odyssey to make arrangements for 12 days in China and were very happy with all the arrangements they made. The hotels were lovely and a welcome sanctuary at the end of a day of touring! All flights and trains, transfers, drivers and guides worked seamlessly! Actually a flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed due to weather and within an hour we had changed to a high speed train and were able to keep our itinerary on track. That was impressive!! Our guide, Evelyn, took it all in stride and handled it with poise and confidence. Allie in Suzhou was very personable and an excellent guide. In Shanghai, our guide, Robin, managed to track down a lost bracelet (that had sentimental value) and have the driver bring it to the airport for us - all that in a country of 1.4 billion people!! We would not hesitate to use their services again. Your people and services were superb. Many thanks for making our excursion to China such a success!
October 26th, 2016
We booked our 14-day tour of China with China Odyssey Travel. Over the course of several weeks, Karen helped us narrow down our destination cities, select our accommodations, decide what we wanted to see, and arrange all the details. She was helpful and patient with our questions and as we made adjustments. Once we had our itinerary set, she helped us gather what we needed to apply for our visas and then answered questions as we got closer to the trip. Her replies were always prompt, always friendly, and always helpful.Our trip was a custom private tour with English speaking guide, private car and driver, domestic transportation via plane or train, accommodations, most meals, and admission to our chosen sights. We were very happy with our guides and drivers, and the hotels that were selected were very good – we would choose them again. Our trip started in Shanghai. We visited the Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, and the 100th floor of the Shanghai Financial Center. (The financial center wasn’t specified with our tour and so we paid for that out-of-pocket and as it was cloudy we couldn’t see very much, so we would probably do that differently, but this is one of the very few things we would change.)Next we flew to Xi’an on China Southern Airlines. We were very impressed with the airline and the flight was pleasant. Our guide met us at the airport and we went to see the Bell Tower, the Muslim Street and the Great Mosque. The next day we started early and visited the Terra-Cotta warriors and then walked along the Xi’an City Walls. In the evening, we went to the Tang Dynasty show.After Xi'an, we took the train to Pingyao, which neither of us had ever heard of before planning our trip. Pingyao is an amazing in-tact ancient town and if felt like we were stepping back in time 700 years. Most of the sights we saw in Pingyao were inside the city walls, and we saw the Confucious Temple, the Qingxuguan Taoist Temple, the Rishenchang Exchange, the Shuanglin Temple, and the Wang Family Compound.Next we took the bullet train to Beijing. In and around Beijing, we saw the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. The Mutianyu section was a good choice – it wasn’t too crowded, and it was beautiful! We walked about halfway from where the cable car exits to the end, and then back. We were ill-prepared for just how strenuous this was, but we took our time and just went as far as we wanted. We were smart enough to walk uphill, so coming back was much easier. We also saw the Peking Opera which we were in Beijing, which we enjoyed very much.After Beijing, we flew back to Shanghai on China Eastern. Our last couple of days were spent around Shanghai with a visit to ZhouZhuang (a water town) and then a day at Shanghai Disney Resort. If you go to ZhouZhuang, spring for the “gondola” ride (they called this the Venice of China). It was an out-of-pocket extra for us, but well worth it. Finally, we flew home from Shanghai on Delta Airlines.Making a trip like this was daunting, and having English-speaking guides helped a lot. We got great advice on everything from which souvenirs were a good choice to what to order for lunch and where to go for dinner. In addition, our guides provided bottled- water in most cities, and we always had plenty. In addition to having our guides, Karen was available via phone and email the couple of times I had questions during our trip.A couple of notes – We had Chinese food for most meals, as would be expected. It was not the same thing every day, however, and it was all very good. But, my wife did get a little homesick for something else, and we were happy to find the occasional pizza or hamburger, and even gave McDonald’s a try in Beijing. We enjoyed eating local, but weren’t afraid to look for a break from time to time. Also, my wife dealt with a little stomach-upset a couple of times. China Odyssey was flexible with our itinerary, and Karen and our guide in Beijing helped me to rearrange things to allow my wife a day to recover while still getting to see the things that were most important to her. If you choose a tour agency when planning a trip of this type, make sure you will have that same flexibility if you need it! We didn’t realize it until after we had committed to our dates, but the first of our two weeks was the Golden Week Holiday in China. Most Chinese are on holiday for this week, and transportation and major tourist attractions are unusually crowded. We were nervous about this going into our trip, but it turned out not to be an issue. Karen helped us arrange our itinerary so that most of our plans fell on mid-week days or less-crowded times, and our guides helped also by suggesting we start early. At the Terra-Cotta Warriors, for example, we left the hotel shortly after 7 and the crowds were not bad. As we were leaving the site, we could see the lines waiting to get in and the crowds had grown considerably. Thanks to Judy for suggesting this tiny tweak.Finally, don’t be afraid to set your own pace. One of our guides seem to be in a hurry, but when we slowed down he slowed down with us. We were always free to ask for a little more or a little less time at a given attraction, and it was clear that every aspect of our vacation was tailored to our desires.This was the trip of a lifetime, and I very much appreciate the help and service provided by Karen and our guides at China Odyssey.