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The tour lack time at the different sites, did not think it was very professional that the guide included her sister and small child in the front seat in the rear of the driver while four adult paying customers were asked to crowd and press in the back seat. The majority of the quality time was spent at commission shops, when the group wanted to do some unsupervised shopping. After some of the persons complained they were allowed to seat on the seat to the rear of the driver.
Great day tour.
Tour guide was accommodating. Interesting sights to see. Lots of photo moments.
Overall tour was good but the guide was more interested in offer new tours to westerns then guiding us. Specially when you dont buy items like pearl or silk then you by come invisible to him.
Geza M Switzerland
Wir wurden pünktlich in unserem Hotel abgeholt. Der Guide sprach ein gut verständliches
Englisch. Es wirkte auf uns wie ein Abspulen eines Pflichtproramms.
Jeglicher persönliche Kontakt fehlte. Der Museumsbesuch, den wir alleine
durchführten, hat uns gefallen. Anschliessend gab es eine sehr dürftige Mahlzeit
in einem billigen Restaurant. Darauf hätten wir gerne verzichtet. Obschon wir bei dieser
Tour die einzigen Gäste waren, fühlten wir uns bei dieser Besichtigung überhaupt
nicht richtig als interessierte Gäste wahrgenommen. Das Tagesmotto war: Follow me!
Guide was not a good professional, lack of knowledge of the historical field.
The Water Village was nice, but what is advertised as Suzhou was extremely poor. In reality Suzhou is only a visit to a garden not a top one and a long commercial visit to a silk factory and commercial outlet. Both at the edge of the city - so nothing seen of the city of Suzhou. A real waste of time, and such a pity not to have seen anything.
The Water Village is nice - but don't take this combination tour.
John M United States of ...
What a treat! It's great to be able to safely choose great foods of the street. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.
Highly recommend to take the tour.
John M United States of ...
Chef Mike is 'Da Bomb'
I would recommend this tour to everyone! Fantastic tasting dumplings where you get to sample a range of different styles and can eat as many as you would like, though everyone in our group walked away very full! The cooking class was also excellent and great for beginners, and you receive a recipe to follow when you are back home. It was the perfect ending to our trip.
Amazing. Just do it.
Amazing experience every spot was highly memorable. Beautiful scenery and well planned itinerary. Tour guide and driver kept everything running smoothly.
Genuinely awesome. Ate some foods I never thought I would, and actually enjoyed all of it! Also drank far too much of the rice spirit drink, resulting in a sore head the next morning. All in all a sign of how much I enjoyed the tour. Highly recommended.
It was a nice and slow kind of tour, small group which is great and the guide Frank speaks good English and polite! Lunch provided was plentiful and of good quality. We bought the silk duvet from the factory and now our sleeps are so much more better.
Since we only had one day to do the tours of Suzhou and the old water town, I suppose this was a reasonable trip. However, if you can do a better one I'd recommend you keep looking. This tour had us rushed through a silk factory where they pushed goods on us - about 30 minutes of the tour was us being held back in the shops of the silk factory hoping we'd buy something. Two other issues: in one day, we only had time for one garden in Suzhou. We also went to the most commercialized water town - if I did this again I'd be looking for a less popular one that hopefully is much more authentic.
In summary, the duration allocated for sight-seeing or leisure strolls at the above scenic locations is way too short for me and my family as we didnt have the chance to adequately absorb the calm ambiance and the beauty of Suzhou as well as Zhouzhuang Water Village.
Prior to the tour day, the tour agency did send someone to the hotel lobby to inform us on the exact hotel pick up time. I personally think that this is a plus point as we didnt have to wander aimlessly at the hotel lobby from 7.45am. The committed pick up time at 8.30am from the hotel lobby was on the dot. The journey to Suzhou took slightly more than an hour. The tour guide speaks fluent English but there wasn't much talking done during the ride. I would have expected a little more interaction from the tour guide to keep everyone in the van entertained or excited about where we were heading to but instead, he either slept or was busy with his phone throughout the entire journey.
Upon reaching Suzhou, there were many beautiful sites that we saw from the inside of the minivan. We werent clear of what we were looking at exactly as the tour guide decided that it wasnt part of his itinerary to explain. When we got to the Net Master Garden, some light walking was required to reach the garden as the minivan was parked further away. We completed the entire Net Master Garden in less than 30 minutes. The tour guide was only engaged with the idea of ensuring he never misses a detail of the well-prepared narration about every room and courtyard in the Net Master Garden but forgetting about how to make the tour lively and fun. We were urged to move from room to room after he finished narrating and we were told that photo taking should be kept until the end of the session so that we wont disrupt his pre-planned speech. Well, we tried to take some photos here and there but obviously, we still need to catch up with him as we didnt want to be left behind. After we completed the garden tour, one of the tour mates which is less enthusiastic decided that no photo session was needed and we just moved on from there. Since it was just the first stop and us being optimistic, the time saved can be spent on something better on our next stop. To my dismay, no free time is allocated for souvenir shopping outside the garden although we observe abundant of good bargains on our way out. Keep on Walking was his theme.
Next, we got to the picturesque Grand Canal. The view was awesome but again, not surprised, my family and I were urged to walk quickly with no photo stops. We ended up being stared upon when we insist to make photo pit stops. We had to do so as there may not be another chance since one or two of the tour mates isnt exactly the enthusiast tourist while our tour guides mind is definitely programed to complete his mission on the tight schedule. After 15 -20 minutes, we are back on the minivan.
We were then off to learn about the process of silk making. It was a good experience to look at the silk making process. After that, we ended up spending about 30 minutes to wait for other tour mates to shop for silk goods while the tour guide isnt rushing them for time, well, for obvious reasons. After that, we got to lunch at a restaurant which is just a stone throw away. We could have started our lunch earlier if only the tour guide led us to the restaurant so we dont have to wait. Again, midway during lunch, the less enthusiastic tour mate decide to make or answer a phone call that lasted almost 30 minutes which caused everyone else to wait while she finishes her lunch after an obviously important phone call. We left the restaurant at approximately 1pm.
Nevertheless, we resume our journey to Zhouzhuang water village. The journey took about 30 minutes. The view at the water village is simply spectacular. All we wanted to do was to leisurely stroll along the man-made canals as it was just breath taking. At this point, the time conscious tour guide was again walking faster than ever and made sure everyone is following so we can all board the gondola as it was his final task for the day. I have to admit that the gondola ride is great and it shouldnt be missed. After the 20 minutes gondola ride, it was around 2.10pm, we felt relieved thinking that we still have at least one to two hours of free time in the water village before returning to Shanghai since the original tour package mentioned a total of estimated 10 hours including travel time. But then, we were strictly only given 30 MINUTES to explore the entire water village. At this point, we were completely devastated with the tour arrangement. The tour guide made it very clear we will all need to reconvene at 2.40 pm, so that we can all walk to the minivan by 3 pm so that we can return to Shanghai in time to beat the peak hour traffic before 5pm. So there goes our trip experience. Well, we are still thankful that there were no hidden cost and all the entrance fees were paid off by the tour company.
Great guide lovely driver best way to see the city
Wonderful, I characterize Zhouzhuang as the Venice of China it was beautiful despite being a cloudy / rainy day. While the guide seemed to have lost interest in guiding or providing information I still very much enjoyed the tour. Suzhou was certainly nice it was not as impressive as the garden I visited in Shanghai the day before the tour was still worthwhile.
I have rated 4 stars as I prefer to do my own research and therefore the lackadaisical attitude of the guide did not bother me but others might be disappointed and not appreciate the beauty and gondola type ride in the water village. I personally thought it was wonderful
In theory this could have been a great trip but in practice it was quite disappointing. Definitely not value for money and I would advise you not to book this trip.
My disappointment started with the preparations - minor points and if the trip had been good I would surely have forgotten about these. After booking this trip, I contacted the local agent to confirm at what time I would be picked up. To my surprise, the agent indicated that my foreign phone number didn't work in China ? and therefore that I would need to contact them again the next day to check with them at what time I would be picked up. I decided not to argue and called them again the next day. I was told I would be picked up at 8.00 and needed to be ready 5 minutes early. I was picked up around 8.25 hrs, which meant that I had to wait outside in the cold for about half an hour without being informed about the delay.
We had a very nice van and a good driver. We also had a very nice and friendly group. We were in total with 4 ladies. This is why I rated the trip with 2 stars instead of 1 star.
Unfortunately, the guide was incredibly inflexible, which is very surprising as we were such a small group and the ladies were actually really flexible. For instance, when we entered the gardens in Suzhou, we were rushed through the gardens in about 10 minutes and were not allowed to take pictures when the guide was speaking lady, listen to me!!. We then had about 15 minutes of walking through the gardens i.e. we had to do exactly the same tour again so that we could take pictures. Very weird experience. At that point I still thought it was funny as my fellow travel mates started rebelling : After a full day of rigid guidance it really started to annoy me. The highlight of inflexibility: I wasn't allowed out of the car to walk back home when we were about 1.5 km from the place I was staying. We first needed to drop of the other 3 ladies on the other side of the city centre and then we returned the same way to bring me back home... My fellow travel mates had absolutely no objection to the driver stopping the car to let me out and there were absolutely no safety concerns. So I was stuck for about one additional and unnecessary hour in traffic jam - traffic jam can be quite horrible in Shanghai.
Lunch was pretty average which is unnecessary as there are so many great and cheap places to eat in China. The silk museum was also average: small museum followed by expensive shops. The guide did not provide any information in the museum, he rushed out and we had to read the signs ourselves if we wanted to have any information. Perhaps the guide was just too tired: when we were in the van he was asleep for quite some time.
I debated between four stars and five stars and finally opted for five because the tour itself was excellent. The only drawback was Shanghai traffic. Our tour guide was very good and attentive to what we needed. She also provided us with great and interesting information about both Suzhou and Zhouzhuang. I would take this tour again.
Wonderful! Tour guide from England was able to give a resident's view of the city but still appreciate what was new and different to us. Easy to find the starting location and the spots were awesome! We have done many food tours and I liked that this one had PLENTY of food. I also liked sitting down and eating together: some we have done keep you moving so much that you get a bite then walk and never feel like you truly eat. Enough for a full dinner, complete with drinks for the evening. The tour guide pushed us to try new things and gave great context, but made everyone feel comfortable to try what they wanted! You do need to be a little adventurous though: we jumped into interested bites and views right off the bat.
This was a wonderful introduction to Shanghai It was a small-group tour and the tour guide Rita was excellent- fantastic communicator, highly knowledgeable and very friendly. I'd highly recommend this tour if you are new to the city and want to get a good, general impression.
Suggestions for improvement: I think for me personally it would have been nicer to have a little free time for looking around the Old Town instead of spending so much time at the Silk Factory.
Nyima our host was delightful, well informed on Chinese history and guided us through the streets of the French Concession District with ease and to some very nice food stalls. Cooking class was great but would have liked to prepare all the ingredients to be placed in the Dumpling. Thanks team.
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