The Three Gorges

Fengdu - Ghost City

Three Gorges Dam

Dazu - Buddhist Cave Sculptures

Xian - The Terra Cotta Warriors

An Octopus's Garden?

Down On The Farm

Hong Kong


Choosing a China Tour

  Choosing A China Tour  

A quick search of the internet will yield many companies offering China tours with Yangtze River cruises, but we only looked closely at three: Uniglobe, Abercrombie & Kent, and Pacific Delight.

uniglobe We'd seen newspaper advertisements for Uniglobe's Yangtze Cruises, so this was where we started.  The price was right, and we were pleased to see they used Victoria Cruises, but were quickly turned off by their air arrangements.
You don't get the details of your flights until two weeks before your trip, when you've already paid for your tour.  So you have no idea what your connections will be nor how many when you pay, and have little recourse if they don't suit you.  We weren't comfortable with this and eliminated Uniglobe from our considerations.  (They're also vague on their hotels, you may get "equivalents" instead of the hotels listed.)

abercrombie kent At the other end of the spectrum is Abercrombie & Kent, perhaps the Cadillac of tour companies.  We'd toured Egypt and Kenya with them many years ago and knew they did things first class.
Unfortunately, they were nearly twice the price of the Uniglobe tour.   We're big believers that you get what you pay for, but they were simply beyond our budget for this trip.  Also, they offered only a two day Yangtze cruise and we wanted three or four.

Pacific Delight Tours We were delighted to stumble across Pacific Delight, headquarted in New York.  Priced between Uniglobe and Abercrombie & Kent, they had great itineraries, gave you all the details of your flights up front, and didn't waffle on the hotels.
We were generally very pleased with Pacific Delight.  They delivered what they promised.  We chose a fully escorted tour, where you're accompanied by a guide from start to finish.  (You get the benefit of local guides as well.)  Tours using only local guides are also available.

Our guide did a great job dealing with airlines, hotels, and luggage and coordinating everything.  Our only complaint was that she needlessly delayed our departure to Xian to give us more time - time that we didn't need - in Chongqing.  And as luck would have it, our original flight was the last one that was able to land in Xian that day, which set in motion an unscheduled, nightmarish trip to Yinchuan, near Inner Mongolia, and messed up our schedule for the remainer of the trip.

The (generally) five star hotels we stayed in were one of the highlights of our tour.  The only one we weren't more than satisfied with was the Shearaton Grand Tai Ping Yang in Shanghai.

The main thing we didn't like about our tour was the food.  It was included in the price of the tour, but we ate mainly at large tourist traps, and the generally greasy, cheap food got old very quickly.  We're convinced that you can get good food in China, but you won't get it on this tour.  We ended up buying meals elsewhere a couple of nights.