For me, there are two important ingredients to arranging travel to China: (1) current knowledge of the destination and (2) reliability of the tour operator in country. Everything in China is changing so fast. From which airlines services which destinations, new hotels, new fast trains, new sightseeing venues, it can be difficult to keep up unless the travel consultant/tour operator providing the information can be considered a reliable source or you can see the changes first hand. In November, I was invited to visit China with a group from Wendy Wu Tours. Wendy Wu started organizing tour to China from Australia in 1994 and the UK in 2005 before opening an office in the US about five years ago. The years of experience is important to potential travelers because (1) the company has been in business for 20 years and (2) English is the primary language spoken on the tours. As a travel consultant, when I recommend a tour company, I want to know the travelers will get the experience they expect. In China, Wendy Wu Tours has operations based in Xian, China, and employs their own fully licensed English-speaking guides. Depending on the size of the escorted tour group, each tour departure has a national guide who accompanies you for the entire trip and a local guide in each city that provides detailed history, culture and local information such as interesting local facts and cuisine.
After numerous visits to China over the years, I returned to renew my knowledge personally and experience what potential travelers could expect from Wendy Wu Tours. Wendy Wu Tours offers escorted tour for small groups up to 24 passengers as well as independent tours for as few as two passengers. For the escorted tour, the size of the group does make a difference. From the type of hotel to the meals offered on an escorted tour, having only 24 passengers maximum allows the groups to stay in hotels and eat in restaurants that couldn’t accommodate larger groups.
On the November tour, the hotels were clean, comfortable and well-located. In Shanghai, the hotel was one block from Nanjing Road which is the walking street in Shanghai which serves as a backyard to many of the locals. Tai Chi in the morning on the street and music performances in the evening gives the traveler a chance to see locals enjoying life on Nanjing Road. In Xian, the hotel was located not far from the Xian City Wall and in Beijing, the hotel was located on the famous walking street in the Wanfujing District.
Each area of China has its own cuisine and Wendy Wu Tours made an effort to make sure that the tour participants were exposed to local restaurants that were known the local specialties. We enjoyed pork and soup dumplings in Shanghai; an entire dumpling dinner in Xian and of course, Peking Duck in Beijing. Every dinner was an adventure in exploring local cuisine.
Wendy Wu Tours offers tours the Asia and Southeast Asia including India.
OTHER NEWS: New Shanghai Disney Details Released
Disney executive recently announced details about the much-anticipated Shanghai Disney Resort which is slated to open in 2015. The Shanghai Dsneyland theme park will have six themed lands, including an Enchanted Storybook Castle, the tallest and largest (as well as interactive) Disney castle, and Treasure Cove, a pirate-themed land. In addition to the theme park itself, the project will include a massive 495,000 sq. ft. Disney shopping and dining development called Disneytown, which will not require admission for entrance. Shanghai Disneyland will also include two hotel properties – the 800-rom Toy Story Hotel and the 420-room Shanghai Disneyland Hotel – plus a lake and lush 11-acre green space that will serve as a venue for cultural celebrations and festivities. Check back for the opening date.