Melinda B

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Melinda B

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Aug202014

Tour/Activity

Private Tour: Jiufen Gold Rush Town and Yehliu National Geopark from Taipei

Taipei, Taiwan

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We had a really nice time with our private tour. Our guide was the same guide we had for another private tour so we had some time in advance to go over our itinerary with him. The only bad part of the day was the weather and that can't be controlled. It made things a little slower and we missed out on seeing some of the rock formations at Yehliu. At least our guide was prepared with umbrellas and ponchos! The guides choice for lunch was excellent. We were primarily a group of dietitians and our guide took us to a food market for lunch. He helped us find all different kinds of foods to try and offered suggestions for foods we might like. And the ice cream shop he took us to was excellent! The only thing I think would have made this better would have been more time in Juifen to look around and shop. Unfortunately that late in the day it was pretty packed with tourists so it was hard to look around. It was still fun, but I heard it is excellent at night so I think it would have been nice to stay a little later (I know that would turn this into a really long day and that may not be the best either). Overall, I definitely recommend this if you have some time while in Taipei.

Aug192014

Tour/Activity

Danshui in One Day: History, Food and Night Market Walking Tour

Taipei, Taiwan

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

I liked the idea of having the guide so we knew a little more of the history and information about the nearby sights, but I also think for many people this is something that is very easy to do on your own. You may not get all the same info, but you can definitely walk around and see things on your own. Due to the weather we ended up having tea and afternoon snacks to stay dry, which was a great plan B selected by our guide, but that made it so we were too late getting to the fort to go inside, but that was uncontrollable due to the weather. Getting there is easy, but one thing that isn't clear is that the tour listed uses the spelling of Danshui while the MRT only uses Tamsui. They are very similar so most people probably assume they are the same, but it is easy to get confused if you are looking at it in one place and then looking at it as you are actually traveling there. The MRT ride was easy otherwise. If you are interested in the night market, make sure to let the guide know so that there is enough time dedicated to this. Our guide was helpful in finding certain foods we wanted to try and then offered us some suggestions for dinner.

Aug182014

Tour/Activity

Private Taiwan Northeast Coast Tour: Longdong, Nanya and Jiaoshi Hot Springs from Taipei

Taipei, Taiwan

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

It was a great idea to do this trip as a private tour. Our tour guide changed the itinerary around some but clearly explained why (some concerns with traffic heading back into the city at night) and gave us some options on what we wanted to do with the hot springs. The hot springs were very relaxing and well enjoyed. The drive around the coast was nice, but I would have liked more time to walk around and see the coast (as described in the tour information). We didn't get to see the light house because it was a bit of a hike and we were running short on time. We didn't mind because we were enjoying our day but it would have been nice to see. Lunch was excellent and a perfect choice by our guide. Overall I would recommend this, just make sure to let the tour company and guide know in advance what you would like to spend more time at and less time at so they can best accommodate your day.

Aug172014

Tour/Activity

Taroko Gorge Full-Day Tour from Taipei

Taipei, Taiwan

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This is an absolute "must-do" if you are in Taipei! I contemplated other ways to go about seeing Taroko Gorge and I am so glad we went with this option. The process of flying there and taking the train back was perfectly timed and the early wake up time for the flight was definitely worth it. The tour guide Josephine was excellent, very energetic and attentive to the needs of the group. The lunch definitely exceeded my expectations for a meal served on a group trip. It wasn't your typical touristy establishment and the food was delicious. One thing I will say is that the marble factory was overpriced (which I know the tour guide/company can't really control). I loved some of the things I saw but I passed because of the price. I found them for significantly less at another location so I am glad I waited. Overall we were very pleased with this trip and I would recommend to those looking for an escape from the city and wanting to experience the beautiful nature that Taiwan has to offer.

Aug152014

Tour/Activity

Taipei Arrival Private Transfer: Taoyuan International Airport to Hotel

Taipei, Taiwan

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This made the process of getting to our hotel very easy. The driver had a clear sign with our name and pick up was right no time. There were no issues and I would definitely recommend this service.

May292014

Tour/Activity

Private Custom Tour: Beijing in One Day

Beijing, China

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Overall our tour was very good. We had provided the tour company with ideas in advance but it didn't seem like all of the pre communicated sights were passed on to our actual guide. That was ok because our guide was flexible and quickly adapted to what we told her we wanted to see. We had requested the use of public transportation and used the metro to get to the first stop but after that our guide suggested we switch to a taxi. The traffic was horrible so this didn't seem like the ideal option. I understand that this may have been more convenient, but I felt like we had a lot of wasted time just sitting in a cab and being in some very frustrating traffic. Our guide was knowledgable and friendly which made for a pleasant tour and she did a great job making sure we fit all of the many things into our day that we wanted to see.

Sep062013

Tour/Activity

Korean Palace and Market Tour in Seoul Including Insadong and Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul, South Korea

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review

The sights themselves and design of the tour was ok, but the tour guide was not the best. Had it been just me, it may have been better, but I was traveling with someone that is vision impaired and the guide could visibly see this. We probably should have be very direct with her in that this slowed down our movement in crowded areas and places with lots of stairs but we assumed because she knew she was vision impaired she would have understood this. We were frequently left behind and I missed most of the commentary the guide provided. It was very rushed and we ran through most sights quickly. The final time spent in the Namdaemun Market was a big waste for me and my sister. The guide walked us from one end of a street quickly down another and at the end herded us back onto buses/vans.

Sep012013

Tour/Activity

Nara Afternoon Tour of Todaiji Temple, Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine from Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

We really enjoyed our trip to Nara and loved seeing the temple and deer. The guide was good, but with a larger group was hard to hear sometimes. Obviously not something that can be helped, but we did have some difficult with other guests on our tour. I know it is cultural and we understand that to an extent, but having rude guests touring with you can definitely take away from the experience.

Jul012013

Tour/Activity

Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak Cruise Day Trip from Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We had a great time on this trip. The weather was perfect, but if it is sunny out it is a good idea to wear a hat and/or sunscreen because it does get very hot out on the water. Make sure to bring cash, although we found that the larger market area we were taken too not actually on the water took credit cards.

Jun282013

Tour/Activity

Phuket Fantasea Show and Dinner

Phuket, Thailand

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

We really enjoyed the show, but if you are opposed to doing the tourist thing, this is not for you. The driver was prompt for pick up, but getting home was a little more difficult. We really had no idea if the driver was coming back for us and the buffet time we were given was after the show ended, which was way to late for us. It was 8:30-10 pm for dinner. We ended up eating dinner before the show so we could get back to our hotel at a reasonable time. I still have no idea if we were supposed to meet this driver again. We went home with the show transport instead. The food was bad, but the show was good. We actually like touristy shows so we definitely enjoyed that portion. They do not allow you in to the show with cameras and make you check those along with camera phones, so just be prepared.

Jun242013

Tour/Activity

Kuala Lumpur International Airport Departure Transfer

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Great service!

Jun242013

Tour/Activity

Chiang Mai Airport Shared Arrival Transfer

Chiang Mai, Thailand

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This worked out perfectly for us since we had people arriving at different times but all within a short time of each other. The driver/guide was easy to find and helpful in getting us acquainted with the city. He made sure we were checked in and did not need anything else before leaving, since we arrived before the hotel check in time.

Jun182013

Tour/Activity

Kuala Lumpur By Night Tour

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

My driver was excellent- on time and made sure that I was able to get some good pictures of Petronas Towers at night. The only downside was that I was the only one booked on the tour so I was by myself for the night since the driver didn't join me (obviously). On the other hand, I was extremely happy that the company did not decide to cancel the tour because it was just me. Then I would have been really bummed! The show was great and the food was pretty good too. I liked that there were a lot of vegetarian options for me.

Jun172013

Tour/Activity

Batu Caves and Temple Tour from Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I had a great time and definitely recommend it. The guide was professional and helpful. I enjoyed all of the information he provided to us. Since this was at the start of my time here it was worth it to have a guide giving me some of the background of the city as well as Batu Caves.

Jun162013

Tour/Activity

Kuala Lumpur International Airport Arrival Transfer

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

I definitely recommend arrange a pick up in advance. It was easy to find the company, but getting to the driver was a little more hectic than I would have liked. I suppose if I was a bit more well rested I may not have minded as much, but there was a large crowd of us all being herded in the elevators together and I kept getting pushed over by others trying to squeeze in. The ride itself was perfect and I even managed to get in a little nap on the way.

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