The short review of our trip is that it was spectacular.
We had a great time: The scenery was fantastic, all the
arrangements/pick-ups worked, and the food was the best
we've ever had on a China trip. We had no mishaps, and
many adventures. Of course, we ourselves were a tourist
attraction, in part because very few westerners (and
zero US citizens, so far as we could tell) tour in
Yunnan, and in part because of our age. At one point I
was asked if my teeth were my own.
One suggestion I would make is that you be very careful
about booking the Liuku/Gaoshan loop. It was still
raining hard in September, and the road was extremely
hazardous. Dozens of landslides and restrictions on
entering sections of the road after dark. Our driver (of
him see more later) was magnificent, and his skill alone
ensured that we did not go over the edge in a couple of
places. Our guide, a lovely Dulong woman named Sue, said
that the road really is safe only in April, May and
October. We were terrified most of the time, and even
though the scenery was great I don't think we'd do this
Three of the guides were excellent - Jessica in Chengdu,
Mr. Zhao in Dali and environs, and Sue in Liuku. Tina in
Lijiang left something to be desired - our reaction
perhaps colored by the fact that we did not like Lijiang
at all - seemed like Disneyland to us - although the
Naxi Orchestra was a real winner. And Mu Li (spelling?)
in Zhongdian appeared to be semi-conscious at best,
although he did know his Buddhism.
The best guide we had was our non-English-speaking
driver, Mr. Ban. We were told that he was assigned to us
after Jessica reported "to Lijiang" that we did not want
to eat hotel food, we wanted (and could stomach) real
Chinese food. Mr. Ban is a gourmand, and he made sure we
had local specialties, lunches in homes of his friends,
and whatever fruits and candies he could stuff into us
in the van. Every meal was an adventure - yak hot pot,
local noodles, breakfast pancakes. He also ensured that
we visited some extra places, such as the Burma Road
Transportation Museum on the site of the WWII Yunnan Yi
airstrip built for the Flying Tigers, because of
interests that we expressed. My suggestion is that you
clone Mr. Ban.
The hotels, with some exceptions, were minimalist. The
one in Heijing was particularly daunting, but then we
did not pay for four-star lodging.
On the whole, I would recommend this trip to anyone who
wants to see real rural life in China, and to see
minority populations going about their daily lives as
opposed to being on display for tourists. The scenery is
Tomas, you were great! Very patient as we worked through a Tibet
itinerary, and very resourceful when we couldn't get that entry permit.
Your idea of a Yunnan trip was just the ticket, and I appreciate how you
handled all the details for us. A memorable trip, and I look forward to
traveling with you again.
Thank you for arranging this adventure for us.
Yunnan and Xian 2 pax private tour
Thank you for helping us put together our private tour to Southern
China. The hassle-free arrangements of flights, hotels, driver and guide
proved to be invaluable as I travelled with my father, since we could
then enjoy our time together with no worries. We had a most wonderful
time, and we found the all-inclusive trip to be very reasonable in
price. The guides were very helpful and knowledgeable, and ready to go
out of their way to make us comfortable and happy. I want to specially
thank Jack in Guilin, who stayed with us one day until very late at
night to help my father shop for a video camera, and also made all the
arrangements for us to attend the show in Yangshuo and get back to
Guilin with the driver. He was always very patient and ready to answer
all our questions. In Kunming, Dan was a very cheerful and delightful
young man, who got up very early to take us to the airport and make sure
we were in the right queue, when just a ride with the driver would have
been enough. Li Wei in Dali and Jing in Lijiang were very enthusiastic
and accommodating. The hotels were comfortable and the food abundant,
but always within the Chinese cuisine.
I will certainly recommend your agency to potential travelers.
have used Footloose Tours for two private trips to China (2007 and
2010). Both times I have been impressed at the personal attention and
the guide's desire to show a part of their country that is unique.
Having experience as both a high school teacher; a volunteer guide on
the Ming Dynasty Tombs at our local Royal Ontario Museum and starting to
learn Mandarin has given me a special perspective on how China will
impact our 21st Century world. The professionalism and friendship with
my Chinese guides : Angela in Guilin and Dolma in Kunming is another
reason why I returned in 2010. Seeing both Angela and Dolma was
wonderful and although it had been three years since we had seen each
other it seemed like yesterday. For an off the beat, private experience
I would strongly recommend Footloose Travel and their Chinese
counterparts. When I did have a small problem it was resolved instantly
by a cell phone call to my Chinese tour contact/director.
Here is a photo of me and Angela in Yangshou (near Guilin). She took me
again to the city art gallery where once again I bought a work of art.
Beijing, Kashgar, Turpan, Dunhuang, Lanzhou, Xiahe,
Hangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong 17-days 2 pax private tour
Frank and I thank you for your patience and expertise in helping us put
together this yet another trip to China. It's always a pleasure working
Whenever we can, we talk about your travel help to friends, family or
whoever will listen to us! We hope your business continues to flourish,
although it must be a challenge in this economy.
Beijing & Harbin, 7-days 2 pax private tour
We have returned from our trip to China. All of your
arrangements worked like clockwork. We were very pleased
with the quality of the guides that you provided. We'll
certainly use your services for future trips and
recommend you to our friends.
We are on our way back.
We had a great time in China. The guides were very good and some even
extraordinarily good. The flight arrangement worked very well and it was
easy to get around in the various airports. The hotels, except the one
in Hangzhou, were superb.
Over all an absolutely fantastic journey.
Beijing, Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Lhasa, Soul 14-days 2 pax
THANKS Tomas!! I have appreciated you so much. You are a
Blessing, and I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment. Thanks again
May God Bless you, and use your gifts and talents for His purposes,
Blessing all those you touch through your business.
Trek to K2 from Yilik - Xinjiang, Western
Tomas! The entire trip was perfect, and we had bluebird skies every day
on the trek—saw K2 in ideal conditions.
And it was an incredible place—a high-altitude deserted desert.
Fabulous...just what I love!
Your partners out in
Xinjiang were incredibly gracious and professional—really covered the
bases well. So glad I went—the Karakoram is unbeatable. Anyway, just
wanted you to know that it was flawless once again. Thanks for all your
work in putting it together despite the difficult times in that region!
Just wanted to thank you for arranging the most
wonderful trip of
our lifetime. Gary and I had some memories that we will
forever, and it was too incredible to put into words.
A million thanks to you for all your perfection, and
many many emails of questions.
I am sorry I slept through our appointed time for the
interview, as I was still not back to the states time.
Gary did a
terrific job and I will pass the email with your web
site to all of my
Take care, and we will talk again with our upcoming
trip to New Zealand.
Gary Conrad and Sheridan Scott
As you know we flew into Hong Kong, spent 3 days
there before boarding a plane to Kunming. We didn't
have to worry about the guide finding us as we came
off the plane since we were the only westerners on
it. This was pretty much the case in most of Yunnan.
Joe (Zhou) our guide in Kunming was very efficient,
spoke English well, was reticent about giving us
much information but answered any and all questions
we asked (and there were plenty). Of all the places
he took us for meals in Kunming, the Brothers Jiang
was pretty disappointing. Although we were very
curious about the "Noodles Crossing Bridge" which we
did have. The place is pretty run down compared to
The Stone Forest was one of the highlights of the
entire trip! The Karst formations and the people in
Yi dress was fascinating. Zhu Family Inn and Gardens
in Jinhong was a very, very long trip and we're glad
we stayed overnight. Frankly, although the Inn is
really strange, but charming, with lovely courtyards
and very pretty gardens, we didn't think it worth
the long ride to and from Kunming. I'll send you a
picture of the beds in the tiny room at the Inn.
And then there is Xishuanbanna and Mary, our
wonderful guide, who was determined and patient
during the whole nightmare of the stolen passports,
etc. Except for the Botanical Institute-which was
outstanding-we didn't see a lot of Banna and I'm
sorry we missed it.
The rest of the trip, thanks to you and Bobby, was
fantastic. Rearranging and rerouting the trip so
that we could see and experience most of it was
nothing short of miraculous. I thank you, Frank
thanks you. Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge,
Zhongdian or Shangri La, they were all memorable.
Our trip to
Dali was too short, of course (we must return). The drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge was
spectacular as was the drive to Zhondian
(Shangri-La) We loved it all. Since it was
October, we were able to witness the harvesting in
all the farms along the way so the Bai, Naxi and
other minority farmers were out and about in all
Overall, the hotels were just fine. The guides were
very good (especially Mary in Banna and Mr. Wun in
Guangzhou). If we had to rate them, I would give
Mary, Mr. Wun and Guanga (in Zhongdian) an "A" and
Joe a "B".
food was generally plentiful and good. We tried many
different dishes, some included bumble bees and
other unknown items! Some restaurant choices, we
felt, could have been better for esthetic reasons.
However, I am aware it was an extremely reasonably
priced tour. And, Frank and I both agree we got a
lot of "bang for our buck"!!
Francine & Frank Ruotolo
Beijing via Xian to Shanghai
We saw so much on our China trip that a week after returning we are still
processing all the amazing experiences. Everything
went smoothly and there never were any moments of
uncertainty about travel details. Our guides met us
upon arriving at our various destinations on time
every time, and were truly part of the trip's charm.
In Beijing the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and
Forbidden City all stole the show, and of course the
Great Wall was fantastic. In Xi'an, we toured the
famous city wall and loved the Terra Cotta Warriors
silently guarding Emperor Qin in the countryside.
Next we flew to Guilin, a forested mountain city
surrounded by isolated peaks as far as one could
see. Our hotel in Guilin had stunning views of the
city's buildings, bridges, rivers, and mountains
wrapped in fog. After a scenic boat cruise down the
Li river to Yangshuo, we took a bicycle tour through
town and into the surrounding countryside.
We were really happy to have taken the private tour,
and would definitely use your company again. All
the hotels were top notch and the guides, like
mentioned earlier, helped make the trip very
special. We ate almost exclusively at restaurants
arranged for us by the guides and they were always
very skilled at getting us the best meals. We can't
wait to go back. Thank you for a great vacation!
All of your
China staff was top, great
drivers, excellent guides. Thanks again for
everything! We'll contact you when we
are ready to travel again.
Eastern China and Yunnan
I took over 2600
photos! Thanks again for organizing the tour, guides,
trip and making sure everything went according to our
agenda. Well done! I am looking forward to coming to China again.
"We had a
great trip! The drive from Lhasa to Mt Kailash was
tiring, local guesthouses and food not too good but our guide made it a
Tibet learning experience, very informative!
And the Kailash Kora was everything we expected -
seeing the pilgrims, their fervor, their total
preoccupation with their piety made us forget our
mundane concerns, aches and pains trekking, and the
thin air... Thanks!
Shanghai to Chengdu
truly valuable to have an agent that has traveled all
the places we wanted to see and not just passing out
information to us from some brochures (Thank you Tomas!)
Tour was smooth, all the guides very knowledgeable, a
great value considering there were just the two of us.
May be next year we go to India with you guys..."
China& Yangtze River Cruise
"How was our trip? We had a ball in
China! Will get back to you again in the future - thanks!"