We are now safely on our yacht in Malaysia and looking back on a tour in China & Nepal that we all enjoyed very much, in spite of all the "impossible" problems we encountered - not only in obtaining visas and trying to comply with your requirements beforehand, but also after we arrived in China!
Terry, with his excellent command of English, made our time in Chengdu most enjoyable, & we much appreciated the arrangement for us to visit the amazing Irrigation Project, in spite of the problems for the region in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake. (And a most sobering experience it was for us to see some of that, with Terry telling us that the areas deeper in the countryside suffered more). We were impressed with how the Chinese authorities had worked to assist the region to return to normality.
The Pandas were, of course, just delightful, and getting there very early was the right thing to do.On arrival at our train accommodation, we were somewhat taken-aback by the fact that all 4 of us were to share one cabin. We hardly knew each other for anything as personal as sleeping together, and had presumed we would have 1 cabin per couple. But we were able to work out arrangements to make it as comfortable as possible - and then thoroughly enjoyed the whole journey, and luckily had no major problems with the altitude.
Dikey Dolgar met us in Lhasa and proved a most delightful and diligent guide. She looked after us extremely well and worked hard to provide for our needs and requests, sometimes to make small changes to our programme. Her knowledge of the area was superb and her enthusiasm for it all was extremely infectious. We were delighted that she was able to arrange for us to stay at the Base Camp for 2 nights, making that long and memorable trip very worthwhile and special.
She is an asset to her country and we would highly recommend her.One point about the Qomolangma visit - we were surprised that WE were responsible for purchasing oxygen to carry. None of us used this and we could not return it to the shop! We think it would make better sense for everyone if the tour company carried this as a matter of course and, any used during the trip could be replaced by the tourist.
Thank you for arranging for us to be met at Kathmandu. This made all the difference to our introduction, and we were able to settle very easily for another enjoyable experience.After all, this became a most memorable holiday and we are urging friends and family to try it!Whilst appreciating that our tour was arranged with less time than would have been ideal, however, we all agree that we needed more detail in our itinerary which would have prepared us for what to expect - eg,an introduction to the places we visited in Chengdu, the organisation on the train -toilet provision, importance of altitude sickness, possibility and provision of oxygen and medication; the need to carry some food, that snacks could be purchased at train stops, that a restaurant car opened at a certain time, and that flasks of boiling water would be provided for coffee or tea which we should carry with us. We have read since that the line has over 20 Altitude Sickness Centres along its route (for workers etc) and that would have been reassuring to know in advance. We believe now that someone on the train staff had medical training in case of need, but had no idea at the time!We guess, too, that there were notices explaining some of these things to passengers - but our Mandarin is almost non-existent! A simple translation of these details provided by your company would have been much appreciated.
We write these things to you NOT as complaints - on the contrary. We write them so that you might choose to include this information for future non Chinese-speaking tourists.Alfred and I would like to thank you very much for your efforts and send all our best wishes for the future.Sincerely,
Rosemarie and Alfred Alecio