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Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Yangtze River cruise’

Friendly Planet review: A snapshot of the Best of China tour

It’s nice to have a friend recommend a city, a hotel, and even a restaurant when you’re deciding where to travel. I know it makes me feel more comfortable knowing that someone else has been there and liked it.

Ron with his wife Jan and trusty camera in China 

So when Ron Beller was deciding to travel to China, one of his friends recommended Friendly Planet Travel’s Best of China tour. His friend just returned from the tour and was raving about it. That was enough to sell Ron on the trip.

Ron and his wife Jan booked the tour for October 2009. They had an equally amazing time in China traveling to Shanghai, Yichang, Three Gorges, Guilin, Xi’an, and Beijing.

When he returned, Ron e-mailed us some fantastic photos he took in China. If a picture says a thousand words, these pictures said all that and more.

I had to give him a call to get the stories behind the photos. He told me he was a nature photographer, so he was practically born with a camera in his hand. He was always lagging behind the group trying to capture just a few more photos. He had taken 1,600 by the end of the trip!

We talked about what it was like traveling to China in late October, seeing the 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soliders, the Yangtze River cruise, the camera he used, and more. So if you’re considering traveling to China, listen to my podcast with Ron and then view his photos. He’ll give you a first-hand look into Friendly Planet Travel’s Best of China tour.

Customer testimonials: Taj Mahal Express and Best of China and Yangtze Cruise

As you know, we always have a steady stream of customer testimonials flowing in to the Friendly Planet Travel offices. Maybe it’s the holiday cheer, maybe it’s because it’s so satisfying to see all of our hard work pay off, or maybe it’s just because, but our customer reviews have really put a smile on my face recently. So I thought I’d share a couple with you today, verbatim.

FP_TajMahal.jpgWhen we first heard about our tour to India, we were a little hesitant because the price was so low. We thought it may be too good to be true. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was everything we had hoped for and more. The flights were trouble-free and all the hotels were much better than expected. Our hotel in Delhi was the nicest hotel that I have ever stayed at! And I have traveled the world and been to many high class hotels. Also, we were initially concerned about our safety while in India. It turns out that safety was not an issue. Again, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Indian people very welcoming towards Americans. You couldn’t find nicer people in the world. I don’t know how you kept the tour price so low! Keep up the low prices and high standards. I can’t wait to book my next Friendly Planet trip!

- Riley Loback, Seattle

FP_YangtzeRiver.jpgMy husband and I want to thank you for creating comprehensive, fun packed days of touring in China. We saw all the sights we had on our own lists and the city guides made sure that if possible, they worked in places the group requested. With the number of inner city flights and hotel transfers on this trip, the national tour guide made sure it did not eat into our time to enjoy the marvels of history that we were about to see. The daily planning, the food, hotels, the shows, and the ease of getting around made this package one of the exceptional values for a once in a lifetime vacation.

- Susan Razenson, Nanuet, N.Y.

Averting disaster in China

There’s nothing that illustrates the difference between a Friendly Planet
Travel tour and our competitors than how travelers experience a travel disaster.

Now, let’s define disaster. That can be anything from someone getting sick
on the trip to losing a wallet or passport, to a snafu in the itinerary.

Here’s a story, just in from a customer letter (pasted below) that falls into
the snafu category. As you read it, ask yourself how you would feel were you
in the same situation.

This happened recently during our Best
of China
tour. Not even the weather man can always predict the
weather, right? Well, that was the case this winter in China.

Flights were grounded, and passengers (ours and others) were at risk for not
making the boarding of the Yangtze
River
cruise. This is one of the most spectacular legs of the entire trip,
and you don’t want to miss it.

Our Friendly Planet Travel tour guides quickly figured out an alternative
route, bought new tickets (without penalty to our passengers), corralled our
tourists, and set off on the new route. The day was saved.

While Friendly Planet’s travelers boarded their cruise ship, hundreds of other
travelers were left stranded. They missed one of the most dramatic and exciting
parts of the trip.

Needless
to say, everyone on the Friendly Planet Travel tour was thrilled with our course
of action. Many have written to express their gratitude. Here’s a copy of the
letter I just received, which sparked this blog post.

This is the actual letter, verbatim, without any editing.

“Meena and I had a wonderful time in China, especially making friendship with
fellow tourists. Each day was a great vacation with all kinds of relaxation
and plenty of food. Too much beer… breakfast, lunch and dinner. Overall our
last year China trip was memorable with the wonderful organization and planning
by Friendly Planet to make our stay very comfortable and enjoyable. Taking
care of our needs and requirements (Vegetarian meals) and responding to various
emergencies were the commendable services of Friendly Planet and the tour guide.
We could have missed our joy of the Cruise if they have not administered the
alternate mode of flights and the bus ride to reach the destination when the
original flight was canceled due to weather condition.

In short, we had a ball each and every day with varieties of excursions, tours,
and high quality top rated hotels, restaurants and shows — we all got the
real value for the price. The openness and good communication of our tour guide,
Sim Liu, is greatly appreciated. The finale episode highlight in Beijing was
an important event with Riksha rides, kindergarten tour and visiting a Chinese
family. Friendly Planet is the way if you want to leave the worries of planning,
touring and eating, this being my second time experience with their services.
Last year we had a vacation to South America with their group.

Meena and Ram”             

Have you had a Friendly Planet Travel experience? Have you had a bad experience
elsewhere? Share your story with me at PMGoldman@FriendlyPlanet.com,
or post it as a comment here.

About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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