Testimonials and Reviews of Laurus Travel Tours by Real Customers
All the customers whose testimonials appear below are available as references. But we have more references available and more testimonials than what you read below. We really mean it!
Testimonials below mainly concern China. For testimonials on our Southeast Asia tours (Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar etc) please click here. Testimonials on trips to Japan and South Korea are being organized and should appear here soon. For more reviews on Laurus Travel please go to TripAdvisor.
From: Gregory B
Sent: May 5, 2018 5:56 AM
Subject: 19-day China Odyssey land package 4/12/2018
Laurus Travel provided an excellent tour experience. Accommodations were excellent and the itinerary was exactly what we were seeking.. But most importantly, Laurus provided excellent tour guides. Our tour leader was outstanding. Everybody in the group appreciated the lengths he took to provide us with the best experience. Efforts to beat the crowds to exhibits were worth the trouble. As much as we appreciated his efforts, we also really appreciated each of the local guides. All were knowledgeable and quite personable. Their discussions on life in China were very helpful in allowing us to form our own opinions on their very different way of life. All of the guides worked together seamlessly and not only provided great guidance, but also provided excellent choices for lunches and dinners. They worked hard to make us happy. The success or failure of any tour depends on the qualities of the guides. A++
We were very fortunate because we had a great tour group. We all got along and became even closer as the tour advanced. We do not normally join tours, preferring to travel on our own. But there are selected itineraries where joining a group makes more sense. I do not think we could have had as complete of an experience on our own.
East Lyme, Connecticut
From: Terry N
Sent: May 2, 2018 2:52 PM
Subject: China Tour Comments
I thoroughly enjoyed it all!
I really enjoyed many things about the trip (and tour). I couldn’t have picked a better travel agency!
1. The support given me by Laurus Travel while I was on the tour (and away from the tour) when I realized my plans had changed a bit was second to none. Laurus was able to secure my lodging and alternate train transportation so that I did not have to contact hotels or train stations to do that my self.
2. The tour leader Jacob and tour guides were awesome! Jacob provided a secure feeling by communication that all plans were well thought out, and we felt as though he was a local “guardian angel” not only to me, but to all those who participated in the tour. I felt that he was not only looking out for our best interests, but in representing Laurus Travel his commitment and responsibility to the each person’s welfare and tour satisfaction was total dedication to his job!
3. The tour guides were also of the mindset that they, in their capacity, wanted to provide thorough in-depth knowledge but yet all the while conveying the feeling of safety and security. Helen in Chengdu was a great inspiration while giving me a personalized tour of some sites in Chengdu prior to me later joining back up with the tour group.
4. The sights selected were perfect for a 13-day tour!
5. The Chinese people are friendly, especially to me as I was the only one who could speak any Chinese!!
Upon deciding to take a trip to China, I searched online for travel agencies that would provide tours in Asia. I had previously looked locally and stateside for agencies and organizations that provide tours of China. Immediately upon seeing the high ratings Laurus Travel had received by Frommer’s, I looked no further than Laurus. The trip turned out to be all that was advertised – and more – with the level of service provided by Laurus that I rate as second to none! I have already given the Laurus name to those who inquired of me as to which agency I used.
From: Richard and Margaret M
Sent: May 1, 2018 4:43 AM
Subject: RE: China Tour Review
You have anticipated our morning’s pleasant task. We wanted to congratulate and thank your organization for such a wonderful experience.
Starting with your very clear, accurate, informative and very useful website, and the timely and helpful feedback from Laurus representatives like you, the trip was excellently conceived and executed. It truly was a 5 star experience. We certainly feel better informed about, and more appreciative of, China and its peoples.
The readings were very pertinent and did inform our trip. The very explicit visa instructions made that potentially difficult task very straightforward.
The itinerary was just what we wanted. The sites were well chosen and the length of time allotted just right. We would have enjoyed the Hong Kong extension, but needed to be back before the end of the month.
The main host and guide, Jacob, was an excellent choice. He is personable, knowledgeable, and very responsible. He has a very nice, informal way of sharing information about his country and culture. He listens, and goes the second mile in individualizing the experience for each person. In short, he is a treasure. Hang onto him. Similarly, the local guides were very helpful and informative.
The accommodation and meals were outstanding. I am afraid I made things more difficult as I don’t eat pork , lamb, or beef, but Jacob and the local guides ensured I was well taken care of, nonetheless.
The actual trip arrangements and transfers were amazingly stress free. We were given ample time and well informed as to what to do. Local drivers were efficient and courteous.
As you can see from the above, we are very pleased with Laurus Travel. We will recommend your team to others.
Thank you so much.
Richard and Margaret M
From: Norman and Kathy W
Sent: April 30, 2018 10:07 PM
Subject: China Tour
Spectacular visits to the key tourist places in China with an excellent guide, Jacob, who had the connections needed for a very smooth trip and admissions to major sites, trains, etc. We saw the whole “bucket list” in a very relaxed and guided way. No similar trip by any other travel service has been as good. Jacob had a very balanced presentation about all aspects of the geography and life in China. The hotel accommodations and restaurants were superb.
This is the single best tour we’ve taken. Laurus Travel, the tour guide, and local personnel exceeded our expectations. We were always the first passengers to board any train. We often went to the head of the line at the tourist sites. The days and hours to visit any particular site were based upon having the fewest numbers of other tourists.
Norman and Kathy W
From: Mike G
Date: Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 8:28 AM
Subject: Re: China Tour Review
Overall, Antonio and I had an excellent trip to China and a stellar experience travelling with Laurus. We were truly impressed by the level of attention, organization and efficiency displayed by the Laurus representatives throughout the trip. Each of the local guides was excellent. Of course, we spent more time with some than others by the very nature of the itinerary, but we were so impressed by their knowledge and leadership skills. Each guide made sure that our personal needs were met, that the itinerary was followed and that we were safely transported to our next destination. We were also fortunate to experience warmer than average weather and that we were such a small group, which made it easier to get in and out of crowded sights.
We liked all the cities we visited, but we particularly liked Wuhan with its relatively smaller population and sophisticated vibe. We also enjoyed Shanghai and would have liked to have had a free day there. For that reason, I would suggest that the itinerary for the China Discovery tour be modified to include a free day in Shanghai.
Again, we very much enjoyed our experience. We would certainly consider Laurus for future Asian travel and strongly recommend them to anyone interested in travelling in that part of the world. Thanks so much for all of your assistance and attention over the past six months or so in the planning of our trip.
Best to you,
From: Karen W
Sent: April 29, 2018 10:26 PM
Subject: China Tour
The guides were very knowledgeable and very attentive. Jacob and Elaine were very good at their jobs. David was fun and flexible. Sally was efficient in the short time we were with her. The food was wonderful on the whole trip. China was a remarkable place to visit. Laurus did a great job. The hotels were really nice and the drivers were very good at their jobs. Thank you for helping to make great memories for my daughter and I. The Great Wall was amazing.
Deer Park, Washington
From: Vivian H….
Sent: December 4, 2017 2:11 PM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: Custom China itinerary
I found Laurus Travel when I was searching for tours without any shopping stops. They delivered on that and much more! My family and I worked with them to develop a customized itinerary. Everyone I talked to at the Vancouver office was friendly, patient, and efficient to work with. The tour guides they work with in China are great! All of our guides throughout our trip were knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. They obviously knew a lot of history and were interested in answering all of our questions. We had a problem with an ATM machine in one of the hotels and the guides were genuinely concerned and interested in helping us resolve the issue; they communicated with both the hotel staff and bank about the problem for us and followed up.
I have traveled to several international destinations and this trip to China was my first trip using a travel service. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and I’m convinced we had a smoother trip because of Laurus. I highly recommend their tours and services! I should note that they cater to an older age group but this worked well for us with my parents being on the trip.
From: Candace and Wayne S
Sent: November 23, 2017 9:54 AM
Subject: 15 day China Discovery tour
The entire tour…from planning to completion…was impressive. Laurus Travel was exceedingly efficient and thorough. Nothing was left to chance and everything from Visa application, fights, hotels, itineraries and connecting with local guides occurred as planned. We were a small group which meant we had a great opportunity to engage with our guides and get the most benefit of their knowledge, experience and passion for China, its history, culture and local traditions. Tony, Paul and Eileen were exceptional and attentive…sharing their knowledge of China’s long and complicated history with us and helping us to understand modern day China as well. The hotels were excellent, the local food plentiful and delicious and the days were filled with exposure to China’s history, culture, magnificent and diverse landscape, old and new monuments and buildings and the friendly people. We were most impressed with the interesting combination of communism and capitalism!
It was a wonderful trip and we wouldn’t hesitate for an instant recommending Laurus to others.
Candace and Wayne S
From: William J and Nadine C
Sent: November 21, 2017 3:10 PM
Subject: China Tour
Testimonial: The tour was excellent. We were fortunate enough to be in a very small group. This made for very personal discussions with the local guides who were all very knowledgeable and eager to discuss matters. The guides were all prompt and accommodating of our needs. The accommodations and food were excellent. Laurus did an excellent job of having all arrangements in place and kept us fully informed of things that needed to be done in preparation for our trip. I will book any further Asian trips through them and have no hesitation in recommending Laurus Travel to anyone interested in traveling to Asia. Fun, worry free travel!!
Barrister & Solicitor
From: Bill & Carolyn T—– [mailto:27——@gmail.com]
Sent: November 20, 2017 9:27 AM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: 21-day Classic China Tour Oct 19
…Jacob was terrific! He looked after us all like a shepherd caring for his flock. The trip had a great combination of culture & education to complement the sightseeing. Meals & hotels were all superb.
The highlights exceeded expectations ( great wall & terra cotta warriors), but there were so many pleasant surprises that also exceeded expectations- e.g. Li River cruise , night lights & cruise in Guilin, tea plantation- just to name a few.
Laurus Travel is a terrific choice for a China holiday! A variety of options are available & the itineraries are incredible. Our 21 day trip was fabulous from the get-go. From the initial inquiries through the booking & beyond, Laurus were attentive, proactive and helpful. You can’t pick all your travel mates- but you can pick Laurus & Jacob as a guide!
Carolyn and Bill T
Scotch Creek, British Columbia
From: Khaled T—— [mailto:—-@batelco.com.bh]
Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2017 11:55 AM
To: ‘Laurus Travel’
Subject: RE: China Trip
My wife, Zahra, and I returned two days ago from our 15-day China Discovery tour. I should perhaps explain how we chose to travel with Laurus Travel. We live in Bahrain, a small kingdom in the Arabian Gulf near Saudi Arabia and Dubai, and not in Canada. When I surveyed the market of China tour online, there were many agencies. After considering the type of tours, their length (we wanted a 2-week tour) the profile of the agencies, and the cost of the tours I concluded that Laurus was the best for us as it catered to the expectations of Westerners (primarily Canadians and Americans), and your being of Chinese extraction insured good connections in China. Well, we were correct on both counts. Our experience was wonderful. My wife and I had traveled extensively in Europe and the USA, but have not had much experience with travel in Asia. I was a little apprehensive about the trip, particularly due to the language and culture barrier. We did not know what to expect!
… As we returned, we reflect on this two week dream of a trip which was made so easy, thanks to all our dedicated local guides and to your excellent planning, Julius, and to the work of all your helpful employees, and to name one, Heather, who was most helpful, prompt and cooperative in all the queries and requests we made. Thank you again for this wonderful trip, which we shall never forget, and I shall certainly consider Laurus travel to all future trips we may plan and shall recommend it to all our friends.
Professor Khaled T
Kingdom of Bahrain
From: Andree M [mailto:m——-@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 3:58 AM
To: ‘Laurus Travel’
Subject: Thank you
Dear Julius and Heidi,
We returned from China last night. Bill and I just wanted to thank you for making our China trip a wonderful experience. We feel that the “Fifteen Day Best of China Tour” provided us with a very good overview of China’s history and culture and the itinerary took us to many of the highlights in China. The hotels were centrally located and luxurious. The drivers were very good, courteous and their vehicles were well-maintained. The local guides (Jacob, Paul, David and Elaine) were extremely knowledgeable about their respective cities and their histories. They spoke English very well and were eager to share their past experiences with us. e.g. Jacob took us to the wall bright and early before the heat and crowds set-in; Paul took us to the Terra-cotta warriors before the museum was officially opened knowing that during the height of the tourist season the museum often opened early. Not having to fight the crowds and being amongst the first people there made both of these experiences more memorable for us. The food was plentiful and very good. We couldn’t help but notice that we were the only ‘westerns’ in all of the restaurants. It was obvious to us that the locals visited many of these restaurants to celebrate special family celebrations. At one of the restaurants in Guillin, we were able to see the guests arriving for a ‘hundred day celebration after the birth of a baby’. In our opinion, Laurus Travel along with their local guides went above and beyond to ensure that we had a wonderful experience in China.
Please accept our heartfelt thanks,
Andree and Bill M
Caledon East, Ontario
From: Bruce A
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2017 1:29 PM
Subject: China Tour
The entire trip was phenomenal. The Guides were fantastic. We visited six different cities, and had five different guides, and they were all great. Steven in Shanghai, Jacob Wei in Beijing, Paul Guo in both Luoyang (along with Jumbo) and Xian, David in Guilin, and Alex getting us into Hong Kong. They were friendly, fun, talkative, in great humor, knew their history inside and out, and were incredibly helpful in all aspects. In point of fact, one of our group had a bad fall in Xian and Paul went above and beyond in helping with everything. Total professional.
My only suggestion would be to have cold water on the bus. We always had plenty of bottled water, but it was not cold, and the temperature was hot most of the time. Outfit the buses with coolers to keep the water cold.
I cannot recommend Laurus Travel highly enough. They did a phenomenal job organizing the trip, arranging the hotels (which were top-notch), providing wonderful, friendly and very knowledgeable guides, and arranging most of the meals, which were delicious. The bullet trains and plane travel went without a hiccup. This was a trip of a lifetime and they made sure it was an A+ experience.
From: Gerry and Lindsey J
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 11:04 PM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: 19-day China Odyssey Tour Review
We went on the Laurus 19-Day China Oddessy Tour in mid May and it was amazing. If you are considering Laurus Travel do not hesitate. It was our first group tour and our first trip to China. Laurus exceeded our expectations. We had VIP treatment from beginning to end and their attention to detail was impressive… Everything ran like clock work. Without fail there was always someone waiting for us at each destination. The Sheraton accommodations are 5 star and the abundant buffet breakfasts were outstanding. The pace is excellent, most days began around 8:30 with visits to interesting and important local highlights and historical sites. Daily lunch and many dinners were at local Chinese restaurants which provided a wonderful sampling of cuisine from each region and we were usually the only foreigners dining with the nationals. On the Yangtze River portion Laurus arranged for us have use of the Executive Lounge which was a lovely surprise.
The guides were fantastic and their English excellent. Jacob in Beijing, David in Guilin and Elaine in Shanghai were so very knowledgeable and enlightened us to their incredible Chinese history, culture and daily modern life. They were top notch, just the best. There were additional evening attractions we were offered for an extra charge but absolutely no pressure to purchase. We did go on the evening boat cruise in Guilin to see the lights of the city. What a “wow” experience and one we highly recommend.
One thing we were not prepared for was the very limited access to the Internet. We use Google, gmail, Facebook, whatsapp, Instagram etc. The Chinese government blocks these sites so we had little opportunity to connect with our kids and do business using these programs. We heard from some Americans that wechat and AOL were working for them so best to download some of these sites or their China friendly equivalent before you leave home. Had we known in advance we would have been prepared. All in all we loved our adventure and learned so much about this amazing country. We highly recommend Laurus and will definitely use them again should we return to that part of the world. Thank you bunches and bunches Laurus for making this a trip of a lifetime!!
Gerry and Lindsey J
Victoria, British Columbia
From: Michael X [mailto:——–@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:39 PM
Subject: April 18 – China Golden Route 17 days
I am very pleased with the professionalism and step-by-step support of Laurus Travel staff to book the trip, get the Visa work done and then to have great tour guides who attended to all our needs proactively. They made us feel welcomed, safe and excited at what else was there to experience and see.
From arrival at the Hong Kong airport, to the day of departure from Shanghai the guides ensured that all our travel needs and comforts were addressed. All hotels were superb, clean with great fitness and personal care facilities and fantastic accommodations.
I strongly recommend Laurus Travel – they know China and how to make the tour a very pleasant and memorable experience.
From: John A
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2016 8:42 AM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: China Tour
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you.
I agree with your method of getting feedback.
We had a very good trip to China. Everything went according to the itinerary and the organization was very good.
Guides: The guides were excellent, diplomatic and thoughtful. We have to single out Jacob in Beijing for his superior service but the others were good as well.
Hotels: All the hotels were excellent with the possible exception of the Harbour Grand in Kowloon. The room we had looked like it had not been cleaned and the heating/ventilating was not working.It was definitely showing signs of age! We were given another room without problem. The location was good and everything else about the hotel was good.
Cruise: We were on the Century Sun and we can recommend this boat for it comfort and crew.
Itinerary: Very good with time enough to see everything properly.
One suggestion: It might be an idea to have some transit cards available for anyone one wants to take the subway, say in Beijing or Shanghai and have a quick lesson by the guide to familiarize people on how to use it. It was great to use the Octopus card on public transit in Hong Kong.
Food: The food was always good and it was clear from the choice of restaurants that they were not tourist type ones.
We were a bit confused by tipping expectations..(other than the guides which was reasonably clear although there were quite a few comments that it would be better to include the payment/tips for the guides and the driver in the total package price) we found that tipping was more the norm than the exception. For example the guides on the land excursion off the cruise ship. Of course we don’t mind tipping but we did not know what to do…we should have asked the cruise ship people.
In talking with people who used other tour companies, on the cruise for example, it was clear that Laurus was far better.
Thanks for a good trip to China. We will post some comments online. Which sites do yo you prefer? Trip Advisor? Lonely Planet?
Best wishes for 2017!
John and Nicole
[ Effective February 1, 2017, all tours offered by Laurus Travel would include tips for local guides and drivers. ]
From: Pamela M
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 1:27 PM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: Re: Laurus Travel China Tour Review
China Odyssey Tour & Hong Kong – October 20- November 9, 2016
Hello Heidi, we arrived back from China on Wednesday, November 9th, after fulfilling a long-time dream to visit the land of my father’s birth.
We were fortunate to find your company on the internet and booked the 19 day China Odyssey Tour, plus 2 days in Hong Kong. I want to express a whole-hearted THANK YOU to you and the Laurus Travel team for facilitating what was our first guided trip and one that will remain as our most memorable. There were many things we appreciated about your organization; there were a variety of tour options available for China and other parts of Asia as well as the size of the group. When I contacted you earlier in the year, you were quick to respond and supplied the information requested by us and our two friends who travelled with us, with no pressure for us to book. You followed up when I asked you to and you were very helpful in arranging the flights not only with our preferred airline but were able to secure reduced seat pricing for us. You also obtained our China visas very quickly and saved us a lot of pre-trip leg work. The reminders and travel tips, you provided prior to leaving, were very helpful especially since we were leaving our home for a significant period. Thanks again.
Now, on to the trip itself. On our arrival in Beijing we were happy and relieved to see the Laurus flag being held high by our smiling taxi driver. He didn’t speak a whole lot of English, just enough to let us know where he was taking us. We didn’t know what to expect since this was our first to Asia and as mentioned before our first guided tour. The Sheraton hotel in Dongcheng, Bejing, was extremely well appointed and our stay was exceptional. We ventured out on our own as we arrived one day early and were surprised as to how little English was spoken in Bejing and our Mandarin was at best, laughable. By pointing to the picture of Tiananmen Square on the map, our taxi driver was able to get us there quickly in spite of the rain. Later, we made our way to the recommended South Beauty restaurant close to our hotel and managed to order dinner by pointing to the pictures on the menu. The four of us ate dinner for about 10 people! Every dish was absolutely delicious and spicy. We received a telephone call that evening from Jacob Wei, our extraordinary tour leader, who gave us instructions for the next morning (spoken in perfect English)! What a relief!
China is in one word—Majestic. The splendour of its vast landscape, culture, beautiful people (many), rich history and the mixing of the ancient, well preserved monuments and buildings with the modern sky scrapers, as we saw in every city, particularly Shanghai, certainly exceeded anything we imagined China would be. Photos or print cannot capture or duplicate the reverence one feels when walking on the iconic great wall or experiencing the splendour of the majestic Yangtze River. We woke at 3am to watch the ship go through one of the locks.
The local guides were exceptional and added great dimension to the tour, in particular David in Guilin who eloquently shared so much of the history with us and was able to offer insight on life in modern day China as well. We thoroughly enjoyed Elaine’s female perspective who guided us in Shanghai and yes, she told us where to find the good shops!
A special thank you goes to Jacob Wei, our exceptional and much beloved tour leader who travelled with us, on each leg of the China tour. He was not only very well versed in the history, politics and culture of China but showed true compassion and genuine care for our group. We always felt safe as we knew that he was looking out for us, no matter where we strayed, trying to get the perfect photo. We nicknamed him our “warrior”. It was difficult to say goodbye to him on leaving China; We extended an invitation to host him and his family, should he wish to visit our beautiful country.
Hong Kong was over the top opulent and breathtakingly beautiful. Quite the jaw dropping experience seeing so many tall buildings and the view from the Peak was incredible. We found a wonderful Italian restaurant and although we enjoyed all the delicious chinese dishes in China, we were craving some Italian pasta by this time. We enjoyed our sightseeing day with Alex. who was also very knowledgeable and was amazed at how warm the water was at Repulse Bay beach.
I have nothing but praise for Laurus Travel and the entire team for putting together an amazing tour which exceeded our expectations. Thanks for making my friend’s birthday memorable with a birthday cake at lunch. What a thoughtful touch! Another great aspect of this trip was the friendships we made with the wonderful group of people from Canada & USA who shared this experience with us. We will be more than happy to endorse your organization and hope to travel with you on our next trip to Asia in two years.
From: Wanda A——
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 3:06 PM
To: ‘Laurus Travel’
Subject: RE: Laurus Travel China Tour Review
Just back home now – as we also included a Mekong River cruise to our trip.
Our trip to China – travelling to Shanghai -Guilin-Xian-Beijing was fantastic! The trip was on my bucket list for many years and Laurus Travel’s expertise made it most enjoyable. Everywhere we went, China’s long history of contributions in culture, philosophy, architecture, science and engineering were in full view. Buddhist shrines, tea farm and terraced rice field visit, terracotta warriors, ancient city walls, a calligraphy lesson, Muslin bazaar, imperial palaces and summer homes and hiking the legendary Great Wall – everything was inspiring. We experienced a very different China than what we expected – cities were clean and very little pollution (brisk autumn winds helped!). The past and future seem to happily commingle – parks are packed with old-timers clacking mah-jong tiles alongside stylish youths sporting the newest fashions.
The Laurus Travel website is very informative and well organized. It was very easy to assess the itineraries to choose a tour and to compare with other providers. The information you provided for trip preparation was very valuable and complete. Saved us lots of time and stress in planning our vacation.
The food was excellent in each city. We enjoyed to start out day with the full breakfast buffet. It certainly satisfied us with great choice and variety, of both Western and Chinese dishes. The guides selected fantastic restaurants and provided a “local” flavor in each city.
Our tour guides in each city were fantastic – very fun and knowledgeable and masters at handling logistics! We especially liked to be greeted at each airport and helped with hotel check in. The van and bus drivers were excellent and seemed to be able to handle every type of road condition.
It was a wonderful trip and I wouldn’t hesitate for an instant recommending Laurus to others. Thank you!
The following is an excerpt of a three-page letter from a customer who found us after her party of four’s China trip booked with Harvard Alumni Club was cancelled.
[address and phone number removed by Laurus]
November 10, 2016
Hello Julius and Heidi,
We’ve been home for a week, and the jet lag is slowly receding. But the memories of our trip are still quite vivid. It was an amazing experience for us. I don’t think we had any idea of how rapidly China is changing; or maybe we did, on a theoretical level, but we didn’t expect to see those changes in such a dramatic way—huge housing developments, luxury cars, glittering malls, relocation towns, international retailers. The scale of everything in China was breathtakingly large.
We feel very fortunate to have visited China on a Laurus tour. Several times we saw other groups or spoke to tourists traveling with other organizations, and the comparison between our experience and theirs was striking. They ate in banquet halls where they were often alone. We ate in restaurants where we were almost always the only Westerners. They moved in large groups. We never had more than 13 people in our group. Both groups visited the major cultural sights in each city, but I think I can safely say that we learned more about what it is like to actually live in those cities.
Which brings me to the topic of our tour leader and our city guides. I cannot praise Jacob Wei’s leadership enough. Jacob has all of the characteristics of a superb tour leader. He is highly organized, but always flexible. His communication skills are excellent, and his “people skills” are outstanding. Jacob was always concerned about our comfort and happiness. In fact, he was sometimes more concerned than we were! One of the highlights of our experience in China was the opportunity to get to know Jacob. Because he accompanied us for the entire tour, there were many occasions when we were able to have casual conversations about life in China. As luck would have it, four of the couples on the trip have children who are about the same age as Jacob. Talking with him talk about the lives of young, educated, urban parents in Beijing and comparing their hopes and plans with those of our children was fascinating and mind-expanding. When the trip was over, all of us extended invitations to Jacob and his family to visit the US and Canada and offered to host them in our homes. That gives you an idea of how enthusiastic and appreciative we were for all of Jacob’s work and how much we like him.
We also want to mention two of our outstanding local guides. David was articulate, intelligent, knowledgeable, and engaging. We asked him many questions about the history of modern China, and as we traveled to the rice fields we had an opportunity to discuss it at length. We are sure that David’s ability to explain, integrate, and illustrate the changes in Chinese politics and communal life is as good as a top-notch university lecturer. In Shanghai we particularly appreciated Elaine’s good humor, flexibility (particularly when our flight home was suddenly changed), and her local knowledge—for example, helping us find places to eat and interesting walks to take…
New York, NY
[feel free to ask for Robin’s original three-page letter to Laurus Travel]
From: Mike B——–
Sent: Monday, November 7, 2016 10:05 AM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: Re: Laurus Travel Tour Review
Hello Heidi and team. Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback about our 26 day trip to China and Tibet. One week has passed since we left China – it is hard to believe that time has passed so quickly. We want to say that we had an incredible time in China and Tibet. It was an amazing opportunity to share in this experience with the many guides in varied cities and most importantly, to have Howard as our tour coordinator.
Every city brought its own flavour (in terms of food, geography, highlights and history). The city/region guides and Howard provided much expert insight into each place; the history and cultural significance. We have to say that Howard was outstanding, and if you can share this with him, it would be appreciated. He made the trip seamless in terms of all organization and never did we have to be concerned about what was happening or feel that there were any issues. That goes to show the experience and knowledge that Howard has. In addition, Howard was extremely calm, personable and positive. He was the best coordinator that we have dealt with in our travels. Kudos to Laurus travel for working with Howard.
Our one concern related to Howard (and he never complained or stated a negative word – in fact he was very positive) was that he stayed off site from where we were located and on the Yangtze cruise – we were concerned about his room – given that he was so key to our group, we all felt that he should be located closer to the group members and have a reasonable place to stay on the cruise boat.
Generally, the hotels were excellent although on occasion we had to ask for a room change related to smoke – we are non-smokers (with allergy to smoke) and the rooms were on a smoking floor or were quite impacted by the smoking floor below. This was not a big issue but it is important to book all rooms on non-smoking floors in non-smoking hotels as possible but we do realize that this is not necessarily realistic in China as it may be in Canada. Despite that issue, the hotels were great and those hotel folk we encountered were accommodating and very helpful. The one hotel that was a bit on the less than positive side was in Shigatse. We again realize that hotels are limited in this region, but it was definitely smoky and we felt it to be a little less clean compared to those we encountered in all other places, but overall, we were very pleased with all other venues (loved the hotel in Lhasa – the St Regis – great pick).
The food was excellent and we certainly had a wonderful opportunity to try food from varied regions with varied specialties and spices. There was definitely more than enough food, as well.
The sites we saw were awesome. We appreciated the odd day or part day off to wander and see some of the cities and local communities on our own. We felt that we could venture off, explore and feel very safe in doing so. Our interactions with the local residents was so positive and interactive.
We did have the opportunity to participate in some “extra” cultural opportunities and these were spectacular i.e. – the opera in Chengdu and the Princess Wencheng spectacular in Lhasa, to name two. Both were wonderful opportunities to see culture and history. Again, thanks to Howard, we were excited to attend these offerings and were never disappointed in these types of recommendations.
Overall, we had a trip of a lifetime with a most excellent tour coordinator (Howard). I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. Thank you for doing such a great job in organizing/offering this trip.
With best wishes,
Lori and Michael B
From: Garfield M*******
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2016 8:38 AM
To: Laurus Travel
Cc: Susan M**
Subject: Thank you
Just a quick note from Susan and I to thank you and your staff for providing a wonderful experience in China last week.
Howard, Jacob, Paul and Elaine represented your company just wonderfully in their respective cities. We had a very positive experience in all three cities, and have no complaints at all. The Sheraton Hotels really worked out well, and are a great place for everyone to stay.
We finished in Hong Kong which again was a wonderful experience and is just a perfect way to end a holiday.
If you would like us to make a comment on something like Trip Advisor, let us know and we would be glad to.
Thank you again, and please pass on our regards to your staff on our behalf.
Garfield M & Susan M
Vancouver, British Columbia
This is Susan’s third time to travel with Laurus Travel.
From: Diane H. B.
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 5:24 AM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: Laurus Travel China Tour Review
Dear Heidi and the Laurus team,
We thoroughly enjoyed our China trip and are very happy to give you feedback.
The choice of cities was good for first timers as well as seasoned China travelers. Our guides, Jacob in Beijing, William in Xian, David in Guilin, and Elaine in Shanghai, were very well informed about contemporary society as well as history and provided more detailed info for those of us with more knowledge of and experience in China. Their excellent English meant there were no communication issues. They were very polite and solicitous of us, checking in often about how we were doing.
The hotels were very comfortable and the breakfasts were very good. The food was excellent. The guides choose very good restaurants serving local food. We really thought the food was delicious, as a consequence we may have gained a few pounds even with all the exercise:)
The transportation arrangements were very convenient. The ease of getting around enabled us to see more sites. The train ride was a delight and an eye opener to Americans. It provided a good opportunity to see the countryside.
Guilin was the high point for us. We had never been there and it certainly not only met, but exceeded, our expectations. We will definitely consider taking another Laurus tour and we will recommend it to others. If you should want to discuss our feedback further, please let us know. We’d be happy to talk with you.
Diane and Ed B
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
From: Kathie F <kpf——@comcast.net>
Subject: Laurus Travel China Tour Review
Date: May 31, 2016 at 7:09:00 AM PDT
To: Laurus Travel <email@example.com>
Our trip was wonderful, in fact it exceeded my expectations! I expected China to be beautiful and fascinating, but didn’t expect a lot from the touring itself. Howard Zhang was wonderful, and local guides Jacob in Beijing and David in Guilin were outstanding. Howard and David both gave up their free time to accompany us to dinners and extra excursions, and Howard managed our recovery from a cancelled plane flight extremely well so that we only lost part of a day. I was amazed every day by the food, being able to eat in totally non-tourist restaurants, and the quality and variety of the food our guides selected was outstanding. Even my restroom fears were allayed as we were always directed to clean, if not Western-style, facilities. Each day’s tour was thoughtfully planned so we didn’t get exhausted or overwhelmed. It doesn’t seem possible, but almost every day was a high point – no ‘filler’ here (with the exception of our afternoon in Chongqing, but we understood the difficulty of filling time between an uncertain plane flight time and boarding ship). I also did not expect the high-quality education from all the local guides who shared history, culture, and their personal experience with us. This enhanced the trip immeasurably. I would recommend Laurus to anyone without reservation.
Thank you all for my wonderful trip.
Hillsborough, North Carolina, USA
From: Marilyn S
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 7:24 PM
To: Laurus Travel (Heather L)
Subject: China Tour
First, I would like to say this was a fabulous 19 day trip. It exceeded my expectations. I saw and experienced so many interesting and, to me, amazing things and learned so much about China. There was no place on the itinerary that I would have missed. I found each site interesting and worth the visit.
I found your company on the Web and was attracted to three things. First, you gave a detailed description of what we would see and some background/historical information about each place we would visit. That appealed to me because I thought if the information was that helpful and complete on the website, then the tour would be the type that wouldn’t just take you someplace, but would explain about the background and history that were important about the place. That was what I was looking for.
The second thing that appealed to me about your tours was that they were limited to 20 people. Since I knew I’d be traveling by myself, I wanted a small group to travel with. I thought that would give me a better chance of becoming acquainted with people .
I was also looking for a tour that didn’t have a lot of free time scheduled. Because, again, I was traveling by myself, I didn’t feel like I’d want to go off and do a lot of things alone , particularly in a country where I don’t speak and can’t read and write the language. The amount of scheduled free time was just right for me.
I was very impressed with our tour guide, Howard. He was friendly, helpful, interesting, calm and patient. Although I didn’t realize how important it would be, it was very helpful to have Howard stay with us for the entire trip. I don’t know what we would have done the day we left the Yangtze river cruise and our flight was cancelled. Howard must have been upset, but all he showed was calm and determination to fix the problem for us. I also appreciated that he came back with two suggested solutions and asked us what we preferred to do.
Our city tour guides also made the trip very special, informative and fun. In addition to being knowledgeable about the cities we were touring, each gave us a different perspective about life in China. The tour guide that we had in Chongqing was a little hard to understand, but I think by then I was feeling a little tired.
Another thing I apprecIated about Howard and the city guides was the way they kept their eye on us. The city guide stayed in the front and Howard followed at the end to make sure no one got left behind. I really appreciated that as at the Temple of Heaven, we were given time to explore on our own, but I got confused about our meeting point. When I didn’t find the group where I thought we were to meet, I was scared, but kept telling myself the group wouldn’t leave without me, and pretty soon I saw Howard’s welcome face as he came looking for me.
Several other things.
Appreciated the information you sent out as the trip time got closer and closer. That really helped and reasssured me.
Loved the food and the restaurants selected.
Having the earpieces was very helpful. It made it easier to hear the guide’s commentary and also follow their instructions about directions, as some of the sites were quite crowded. A suggestion…it would have been very helpful to have these in Shanghai. It was quite difficult to hear Eileen because of the other tour guides. I missed a lot of what she was telling us. The earpieces would have really improved that problem.
Two other small suggestions…it would have been nice to have a brief time at the beginning of the trip when we could introduce ourselves to the other members of the trip. I would also have appreciated name tags…just first names and the city or country where we lived. It took me half the trip before I learned everyone’s name.
Also, several of us mentioned we would have liked to go to a Chinese opera. We did love the Chinese Acrobats in Shanghai.
I’ve always wanted to visit China. I was concerned about traveling by myself, but really wanted to go. I’m so glad I chose Laurus and overcame my initial fear of traveling by myself. It was an outstanding trip.
Thank you all.
From: Lewis L
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 12:45 PM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: Re: Laurus Travel China Tour Review
I have absolutely nothing negative whatsoever to say about my China tour with Laurus Travel. From start to finish, it was extremely well organized, highly professional, and very, very informative.
The hotel rooms were spacious, clean, and well tended by the housekeeping staff. I also appreciated the fact that, at the reception desk, there was always somebody who could provide information or assistance in English. And those breakfasts: sumptuous, food always fresh, and just such an extensive choice and variety, of both Western and Chinese dishes!
Lunches and suppers – all of them, including those on the Yangtze cruise ship – were uniformly delicious, with a nice variety of different locals dishes, and always in sufficient quantities that nobody ever left the table still hungry!
All of our guides – Jacob in Beijing, Elaine in Shanghai, Holly in Yi Chang, and Sabine (and, briefly, David) in Guilin – were impressively knowledgeable, patient, and courteous, at times even going “above and beyond” to be of help. As well, it was especially nice to be met by your guide at each of the airports we landed in, and then to be taken to the hotel and checked in with their assistance.
The drivers of the mini-vans were always punctual, prudent on the roads, and all obviously experienced in successfully negotiating the often-congested traffic situations in either Beijing, Shanghai, or elsewhere.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip, made all the more memorable because of Laurus Travel, and I wouldn’t hesitate for an instant recommending Laurus to others I may meet in future who are considering travelling to Asia.
Thank you for everything.
From: — Services Ltd.
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2016 12:03 PM
To: Laurus Travel
Subject: 11-Day China Golden Triangle Tour Fantastic!
My husband and I just arrived home at midnight yesterday from Hong Kong – exhausted but thoroughly satisfied. Our tour of China with your experienced and caring guides was most enjoyable: Jacob from Beijing, Paul from Xi’an, Elaine from Shanghai, and tour leader Howard had all done an amazing job. A special thank you to Jacob and Howard in arranging for my son and daughter-in-law, who had specially flown up from Hong Kong to Beijing to spend Mother’s Day weekend with me, to partake in the group’s Saturday Peking Duck dinner and Sunday lunch so we could be together. I am grateful for their kind consideration. A note of appreciation too to Elaine who had gone out of her way to help my husband buy his special ping-pong paddle in Shanghai. I find Paul’s wealth of knowledge and communication skill very impressive, Jacob’s caring nature, knowledge and humour very enjoyable and comforting during our hectic schedule in Beijing, and Elaine was more like a good friend showing us around than a stranger during our private tour in Shanghai, relaxed and fun. I find accommodation in all the cities very comfortable, and last but not the least, the food you had provided us was fantastic which included local specialties. My husband, who was always skeptical about touring with a group, finds this trip an incredible experience. Thanks to you and your skilled staff.
We would not hesitate recommending your Company to our friends and family and we would love to travel with Laurus again in the future.
From: Martin W
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2016 1:32 PM
To: Laurus Travel (Heather L)
Subject: Trip to China
Hi Heather and Julius:
We are back and recovering from jet lag but thought we should drop you a note to say how we enjoyed the trip that you booked for us.
In short we had a marvellous time. The hotel Harbour Grand was great. It turned out to be a better than expected location with a dozen restaurants within two blocks and shuttle buses to downtown Kowloon and Kowloon station for trips to the airport. When we returned from Guilin we were upgraded to a suite overlooking the harbour, which was very nice and exceeded expectations. In Guilin we met David at the Sheraton. We had not expected to be met at the airport since it wasn’t mentioned on the itinerary and took a cab to the hotel. David had gone to the airport but we didn’t connect.
David was an excellent guide and we enjoyed his company for the three days in Guilin. We added an excursion to the rice terraces which turned out to be the highlight of the trip. The hotel was good, in an excellent location, but a little tired and needing carpet replacement. Meals in both hotels were very good.
Thanks for organizing this memorable trip. We will recommend your services to anyone wishing to visit China.
Barbara and Martin W
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
From: genevieve C
Date: Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 10:34 AM
Subject: Adventures in China
To Julius and Heather
Our family highly recommends Laurus Travel for creating unforgettable memories of China. Laurus Travel is a hidden gem in the wide world of travel agencies. Laurus Travel makes it a priority to ensure your trip has the excitement you are looking for without any hassles. Our family returned from China in March. We were part of a small group tour that travelled to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. With the crowds in China, we appreciated the attention to small details that Laurus Travel provided. We did not have to wait in lines for tickets to attractions. We ate at the best local restaurants often in private rooms for extra comfort. At the end of the day, the five star Sheraton hotels provided the luxury we were hoping to find for our accommodations.
My family’s favourite memories were in Beijing. Jacob is an excellent local guide with a wonderful personality. The Forbidden City is remarkable, but Jacob really brought the history alive for us while helping us avoid the crowds. We felt that Jacob was a wonderful tour guide. My favourite city was Xian. I was looking forward to seeing the Terracotta Warriors. However, the museum of Xian is even more incredible. We viewed artifacts from the 11th Century B.C. Our local guide, Paul, had many humorous stories. He was well educated in the history of China. For people who are looking for a unique experience in China, Xian’s Muslim Quarter should be on their agenda. When we ended our vacation in Shanghai, we were delighted to see the Shanghai acrobat show. Steven was very proud of Shanghai and explained local traditions in the city. Without the expertise of these three guides, we would have missed the important stories of China.
If you are hoping to taste authentic Chinese cuisine, you must book with Laurus Travel. In Beijing, we enjoyed Peking Duck. It was carved in front of us at our table and Jacob demonstrated how to prepare it. While in Xian, we were able to taste the delicious biangbiang noodles, BBQ trout and spicy, crispy eggplant. You cannot find these local dishes without the knowledge provided by Laurus Travel. As well we were impressed by the hired drivers who were able to move quickly through the crowded streets. As part of the tour, we were provided with free bottled water and personal assistance from the tour guides. There is also time for exploring each city on your own if you prefer. Our family had a fascinating time discovering China. We hope to visit again.
Paul and Genevieve C.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
From: Patrick G
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2016 8:17 PM
To: Laurus Travel (Heather L)
Subject: Re: Laurus China Tour Review
Laurus Travel did a great job for us! Super hotels and guides.
One thing we really appreciated. Our airline cancelled our direct flight home from Shanghai, so we had to rebook through Beijing. We thought the one hour forty-five minute layover was enough, but later learned we had to collect our bags, haul them to another terminal, and check-in again, and were supposed to get this done at least an hour before the flight. Both Jacob and Steve worked on this issue, as well as your Beijing office. Steve got us seats closer to the front, and priority baggage tags, and when we landed in Beijing, a man with a “transfer service” vest met us and escorted us to the other terminal. We had about five minutes left to meet the one hour deadline, but could not have done it without help. Thanks to all who worked on this for us.
We have no suggestions to offer, as your company showed you are experts in China travel. We may be returning next fall for another bird watching tour, and will check with you for other tour options you offer.
Salem, Oregon, USA