China Culture Tour (www.chinaculturetour.com) has been focusing on tailor-made luxury China tours more than 12 years and has served thousands of high-end clients including business owners, CEOs, lawyers, dentists, artists, photographers, company groups, school groups, etc. from all over the world. Contact us directly and we will customize you an unique tour based on your requests and interests.
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We recently returned from a very enjoyable custom private tour of China with our extended family, covering Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guilin/Yangshuo, and Shanghai over a 2 week period. Ms. Nora ** was our point of contact. When I first contacted CCT, Nora promptly called me first thing her time and things took off from there. She worked with me to customize the tour, offered feasibility guidance as we developed and fine tuned the itinerary over multiple iterations. We had multiple competing quotes from several nationally recognized tour operators and CCT rose above all of them with their highly competitive cost structure providing higher level services at every stop for nearly the same price as their competitors with no hidden fees. They provided all the documents required to get our visas on time from two different countries.
Throughout the duration of the trip, Nora was always available on WeChat to solve issues. When our flight in Guilin was delayed she offered us peace of mind saying if it didn't take off within the next hour, she'd reschedule on another flight. Nora gave us good advice when we asked, "Should we go to Tong Li, given that it was raining in Suzhou and we were getting delayed in Suzhou." She encouraged us to go to Tong Li and took care of all the arrangements and we are very glad that we got to see beautiful Tong Li because of her. We covered six cities and Nora set up the pick ups and hand offs seamlessly and we never felt lost of alone. She set us up with very friendly and competent English speaking guides in every city. More than just a travel professional, Nora played the role of a local friend who you could rely on for support and advice. I would happily jump on a rooftop to highly recommend China Culture Tours AND Nora to everyone.
Please forgive that this may be a lengthy post. I will start off by saying that this is my 3rd trip to China. Each summer I have been invited to give guest lectures in Shanghai; while in China I like to explore different areas. The first trip to China I researched tour agencies who could provide me with expertise and assistance in planning. I found China Culture Tour and read great reviews, so I contacted them. Nora planned my first experience and it was wonderful! I shared her contact information and my itinerary with colleagues who then contacted the company also with good results.
The 2nd year my husband was able to travel with me. I contacted Nora and told her I wanted the exact itinerary from the first year, including the same guides because it was a wonderful introduction to Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing. He had a wonderful, unforgettable experience. So, it was only natural that on my 3rd year invitation I contacted Nora again and asked her suggestions on new areas to explore. We worked together to come up with an itinerary to Chengdu and Guilin. Again, I could not ask for a better itinerary or better guides. The customer service is impeccable. As a woman traveling alone I felt secure and confident in the plan and company.
The experiences and itinerary were so amazing, I was able to experience pandas as a panda keeper in the panda keeper volunteer program; I took an amazing river cruise, biked through incredible countryside, took a cooking and painting class, and bamboo rafted down the Li river. All of these were suggestions from China Culture Tour and were unforgettable memory making experiences in beautiful parts of China. Their expertise and suggestions were better than what I could have created on my own. The guides are always enthusiastic and helpful. Jessica in Chengdu took so many photos and videos for me (without being asked to) which was so nice as I was traveling alone. Mike in Guilin was great in helping to finesse the itinerary times to maximize the best experiences.
But more than creating a great itinerary and tourist experiences, this company including people like Nora and guides like Mike are what makes them stand out. Their customer service is outstanding! There were a couple of time on my China travels over the last 3 years that I have had "bumps in the road". One was my first year where I had some difficulty in the airport before I could even connect with my guide and she was able to help me resolve my issue. The next issue came from this last trip where my own flight arrangements (that I made outside of the tour company) had a flight canceled and rescheduled for 2 days later to return to the US.
Mike was with me and helping me to navigate the airline ticket counter, helping me to translate, and trying to find me another flight to Beijing to make my connection to the US asap, while I was on the phone to my airline trying to get assistance from them. Nora was trying to use her powers to help as well. Again, this was not their responsibility as these were arrangements that I made, but their extra time, support and resources helped me to not only negotiate a different flight for later that afternoon with another airline, but they also were able to negotiate on my behalf to have a complimentary hotel room and food vouchers while I waited until the later flight.
Nora typically, from the very first trip, communicates directly with me during my tours to see how things are going and to make sure everything is just right. This last time was no exception. She continued to communicate with me to make sure I made it back to the US OK after my initial flight schedule difficulty. This above and beyond personal service is why I would recommend them to anyone and everyone! They will be who I call if I get another invitation to China, in fact Nora is already tentatively planning my next China Adventure and I completely trust her guidance and advice based on my experiences in the past with them. I can't wait to return and experience new adventures!
I researched companies online quite extensively before deciding to go with China Culture Tour. Nora was my main contact and was able to answer nearly all my questions and accommodate most of my requests. I was planning to meet my son in Beijing, after he had completed a stay in Mongolia and wanted this to be an exceptional experience for both of us. Indeed it was! We loved it! We stayed in five-star hotels which were magnificent both in terms of service and amenities. (However if you'd like to keep the budget down and extend your stay a couple of days, I'd suggest perhaps only one 5-star, like the Four Seasons in Beijing and the rest 4 stars.) We stayed 5 days in Beijing, 2 in Xian and really only had one full day in Chengdu. Too short in Xian and Chengdu.
All of our guides -- Sunny in Beijing, Amy in Xian and Roy in Chengdu were knowledgeable, spoke English well, super nice and friendly and made our trip as easy and enjoyable as possible. As "foodies" and people who like to explore off-the-beaten-path, Amy was the one guide who really went above to accommodate us in Xian and I wish we had another day there and one more in Chengdu for exploring. What you can expect: the guides will stick to the itinerary to "a tee" and will find it difficult to adjust, so make sure you really look over your very detailed itinerary in your confirmation letter prior to the start of your trip. Even with that, we had tried to make some changes, which still ended up on the itinerary. For example, I had made it clear that we did not want to see the Olympic stadium, but it remained on the itinerary and it flustered our guide when we wanted to go "off script."
We wanted to see museums and wanted to have the guides eat with us so that they could help order. Challenges we got over. Note that the guides do not help at night-- they like to end their day around 4pm. Highlights: The hotels and their buffet breakfasts, Spending Sunday in Temple of Heaven park, the Summer Palace, Forbidden City, the food, exploring on our own, everything in Xian (the liveliest city!), dumpling lesson and meal in a family home, Tai Chi lessons, taking the bullet train, walking everywhere, the Great Wall, the people we met.
Some Disappointments: Having our guide tell the Sichuan restaurants not to put any spice in our food, not having enough time in Chengdu where there are two great museums and food areas other than the touristy ones, no time for shopping, Tiananmen Square was closed off (and our guide didn't know that), Hutong tour was cancelled and guide also didn't know that. We ended up doing some calligraphy, but we got the sense that we really didn't experience the whole Hutong area. All told, however, we LOVED the trip despite a few disappointments that really were inconsequential to our overall enjoyment and CCT made it so easy for us. I would definitely recommend them, especially for a first time trip to China, for price, reliability and ease.
We are two women in our 60s with a lot of travel experience behind us. We contacted CCT initially because of a suggestion on TripAdvisor, and boy are we glad we did! From the first email, Nora took exceptional care of us. She was very patient in helping us plan our trip, reining us in when our desires were too much for our allotted travel time.
During our 15 day trip, we saw Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilin, Yangzhou, and Shanghai and went on a 4-day Yangtze River Cruise. We opted for a private tour, first class hotels, and business class trains whenever possible and were very pleased. The guides and drivers were, for the most part, exceptional. Even the one who lacked much personality (and treated us like feeble old ladies) was very knowledgeable. Shout out to Eva, Linda, and Alex who went above and beyond in taking care of us. Knowledgeable, friendly, prompt, flexible, eager-to-please, and responsive to potentially disastrous situations, our guides and Nora top the list of our best memories of China.
All of our guides spoke excellent English. We of course, spoke little-to-no Chinese. However, we found that smiling and laughing went a long, long way. We have so many wonderful memories of interacting with locals simply because they were curious as to what we were so happy about. In fact, one of our favorite guides referred to us as “exotic and charismatic!” (So apparently not feeble old ladies!) Seriously though, Nora planned the most amazing trip. She attended to our every concern and request.
For instance, when we found out the Leshan Buddha was closing for renovation, she arranged alternate tours at world heritage sites not often visited by Western tourists. When there was a mix-up with a passport number (that had the potential to derail our trip), both our guide Eva and Nora dealt with the issue seamlessly. (Eva took us straight to our train car, communicated with the attendant, and made sure we were still on the train as it left the station.) I mean, what trip doesn’t have its hiccups? That’s what makes some of the best memories. It’s how they are resolved that count. Between our guides, Nora, and our willingness to laugh and take it in stride, all was perfection.
Price-wise, we think CCT was a bargain. We originally looked into higher end travel companies, knowing we would be experiencing a lot of “foreign-ness” during the day and wanting more western amenities to retire to in the evening… at least on our first trip to China. After much research, we decided on CCT. For the price of a higher-end tour company (with 18 people in the group) we stayed in 5 star hotels with our own rooms, traveled via air and business class bullet trains, and sailed the Yangtze in luxury. Best of all, the two of us made up our “group” which had many benefits, not the least of which was the ability to be flexible with our time and itinerary. We just can’t recommend Nora and China Culture Tour highly enough and are so grateful to all for making our life-changing experience in China possible.
In 1984, as a much younger man on a solo trip around the world on a thin wallet, I stopped in Hong Kong and signed up for a two week tour of China by air. China had only opened up a decade or so earlier, so there were not yet many Western style hotels, no Bullet Trains and not too many Western travelers. I flew to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin and Guangzhou on old Soviet TU 154s, which resembled bombers more than commercial airliners. I loved my visit: the people I met, the culture, and the interesting experiences I had, and I vowed to return.
Fast forward to 2018. Retired now, I wanted to revisit China, show my wife the places I had been to, and experience the modern China we read so much about. We talked to our local travel agent and looked online for agencies which would make possible the type of travel we envisioned. We wanted to add additional time and places to my 1984 itinerary, make it an upscale trip, and avoid larger group travel. In our search, we came across CCT which seemed to offer the kind of travel we wanted. Our inquiry was immediately answered by Grace **; she provided an initial itinerary, possible dates, a price quote, hotel choices and many suggestions. We were immediately struck by her professionalism, honesty and dependability, as well as her patience with our many questions. We were also impressed by the almost uniformly excellent reviews on the CCT site and TripAdvisor.
Before I go any more detail, let me say that that we were not disappointed. The trip came off as we finally planned it, with zero hitches. It even exceeded our high expectations. We had opted for flying into Beijing on United and starting our tour there. We chose four and mostly five star hotels, biz travel on the three train travels and five air connections (recommended if you can do it), a half day trip on the Li River (wonderful), and a three day Yangtze river cruise. The total cost was by no means small; however, when our local agent took a look at the itinerary and what was included, she said she could not begin to match it. Cover reassuring for us. The upscale trip was of our choosing but one could reduce costs by staying in smaller hotels and traveling by coach. Grace would respect your wishes and make it a memorable trip.
As older folks, we appreciated the VIP treatment in hotels, with train and air travel - from expedited check-ins at the airport and train stations, and at security. We considered it all an excellent value as a total package. Train travel is something one should experience in China, gliding along at about 200 mph through the countryside. It is rivaled perhaps only by trains in Japan and perhaps France. Air travel in biz was superior to that in the US, with clean, comfortable, modern aircraft, good food, attentive service and on time performance by all three airlines we experienced.
With Grace's help, we came up with an expanded and final itinerary. We appreciated her flexibility and patience in making changes. E-mails were answered without delay and we were given all necessary guidance to obtain our visa to the PRC. In the end, we flew into Beijing, then to Xi’an, Guilin (where Grace took time out to meet with us), then a half day Li River cruise, Yangzhou, Chengdu (the Panda station), Chongqing (to catch the Yangtze River cruise), Yichang (not to be missed), Shanghai, Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau - a total, of 24 days. I won’t belabor all the wonderful things we did and saw and experienced except to say that Grace’s input was invaluable. We had a wonderful time, we both stayed healthy, nothing went wrong, we had mostly great weather, and we came back with wonderful memories.
Having a personal driver and guide made everything easier and more comfortable. The cars used were new or nearly so, comfortable and clean. We did not get to speak much to most drivers due to the language barrier but all were experienced, personable and helpful. We were happy to leave driving to them in the chaotic city traffic everywhere. The guides were all very good in their own way. They helped with every detail from hotel registration to check-ins at the train station and airports. They were ALWAYS on time and through them we learned a rest deal more about Chinese culture, manners, the people and history. They did not simply show us the modern China (of which they are justifiably proud), but took us to small villages in the countryside as well. We met American and German expats who were trying to make a go of a B&B and a German Biergarten.
The guides' English was good to very good. Some clearly stood out - like Helen in Beijing, Amy in Xi‘an, and Linda in Guilin. We got to know them on a more personal level and appreciated their sense of humor and laughter. Daisy in Chongqing helped us out beyond the call of duty when we experienced a small mishap. Candy in Shanghai was great and told us a bit about her experiences in the US, and Cecilia in Hong Kong, our last stop, made the city and territory come alive on our tour. Most of the guides did not simply provide canned information, stats and numbers but allowed us more insight by answering our often probing questions.
The hotels we had chosen we all excellent, except perhaps for the Chengdu Ritz which is not in the best location. The Intercontinental in Hong Kong, the Marriott in Hangzhou, the Fairmont on Shanghai, the Renaissance in Beijing, the Shangri La in Guilin, the Wyndham in Xi‘an and the Banyan Tree in Yangshuo were all great, with good locations, wonderful and attentive service and large Rooms. When choosing hotels, we tried to stay with chains such as IHG, Marriott or Hilton to take advantage of memberships for free upgrades, free WiFi and access to their lounges for Happy Hour (free food and drink). Breakfasts at all these hotels was plentiful and rich for the choices presented - Continental, American or Chinese. Our guides always picked interesting restaurants for lunch (included). We did not try goat feet or Duck feet or pig knuckles, but choices were plentiful and there was great variety.
We enjoyed some street food, too. A highlight was dinner at the Beijing DaDong which Grace had arranged. The presentation of the Peking Duck was a show in itself and was absolutely delicious. We watched Erhu players play traditional Chinese music and then, surprise, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Not to be forgotten. Or the many small touches such as ballroom dancing with Chinese in park in Beijing or learning how to make dumplings from a lovely lady in her apartment (they were delicious), or learning how to pick tea leaves and conduct the tea ceremony. Or visiting a marriage market in Chengdu. We had our last supper at Felix at the top of the venerable Peninsula hotel. It is worth a visit for their Martinis in the bar overlooking Kowloon harbor. A special experience.
One thing which took some getting used to is the heavy security and police presence. Cameras are everywhere. Not everyone‘s cup of tea but the streets are very safe, even at night. The trip could not have been more satisfying, in no small measure due to the help and planning from Grace and CCT. We would go with them again if and when we return to China - no reservations.
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After considerable research into the best agencies for a 2-week private tour of China, we selected China Culture Tour for its consistently high ratings. Our contact was Nora and she was extremely easy to work with for our ever-changing ideas on what to see and where to stay. E-mails were always answered immediately even though there was a 12-hour difference in time zones. Our tour began in Beijing and ended in Shanghai and included 2 boat cruises on the Li and Yangtze rivers. Both were exceptional. The guides in each of 6 locations were excellent, spoke reasonably good English and were attentive to our every need. I would not hesitate to recommend China Culture Tour to others interested in a well-run private tour that can be tailored to their particular interests.
A group of four of us recently completed a 19 day tour of China that spanned over 8300+ km (5200 miles). The trip was organized and planned with Nora over the past 12 months. We started in Shanghai with friends, and proceeded to rely on her organization through Beijing, Xi'an, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Longsheng, Yangshuo and Guilin. She was extremely responsive to our inquiries and emails through the whole process, and her assistance in organizing such a wide ranging trip was greatly appreciated. Every detail was taken care of, including amazing guides, safe drivers, comfortable hotels, delicious food, efficient transportation between cities, and additional suggested activities.
In addition, each guide had suggestions for what to eat and where to eat, and was able to adjust the itinerary depending upon what the weather was going to do each day. We especially enjoyed the variety/choice of boutique hotels, and we loved ALL of our guides. They made the trip all the more wonderful. Nora made the planning for this trip easy and stress-free. Every guide met us upon arrival in each location, and from there, we were whisked off to amazing and beautiful sights. The only thing we needed to worry about was whether our cameras/phones were fully charged for each day. Even if you could plan a trip on your own - this was 100% better having someone who kept track of everything and checked in throughout the trip to ensure things were going ok. If you are planning a trip to China soon, China Culture Tour should be at the top of your list!
This is our first time to tour China using China Culture Tours, and we are happy we chose CCT. Lydia, CCT counterpart, was very helpful from day 1 of planning up to the time we returned back from our trip. All the tour guides are very friendly and helpful, special mention to Sarah of Xi'an and Clark of Chengdu. I will give ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ if there's one for their excellent service.
On our trip, we encountered lots of health problems. I was rushed to the hospital in Chengdu as well as my mom in Xi'an. The tour guides helped us all throughout, even Lydia helped out on a rest day via WeChat. I was not able to finish the whole tour; and was forced to fly back after leg 3. We called Clark in the wee hour in the morning to ask for help, and he immediately processed everything from buying me a tix for my way back home to sending me to the international airport and checking-in for me at the counter.
We were really pampered and well taken cared of during our stay till we left China. Most local tours offer good service. For me, what makes CCT different is they are very hands on, and you can count on them especially on unforeseen situations. I really appreciate the help that CCT has extended for us to get through the trip. I will be back this coming December. Once again, CCT will tour us again in other cities. I highly recommend CCT and you will never regret it, promise!???
My wife and I (60 and 63), we are from Brazil, returned after 21 day trip to China, all organized by the China Culture Tour (CCT). I decided to hire a Tour Operator because there would be many cities to be visited (Beijing, Pingyao, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilim, Yangshuo, Hangzhou, Shanghai) and the difficulty of language in making hotel reservations, transportation, tours. Normally I do not use it, I like myself to do all the programming and reservations, but it was the most accurate decision that I took to hire the CCT. I sent emails to several tourism companies in China, and the one that answered me most agile and tailored the program for me was the CCT. I was looking for a private trip, without running around and not having to go in "touristy" shops.
Nora, who coordinated the whole trip, did an exemplary way, before and during the trip, keeping in touch with us almost daily to see if we were well and if we needed anything. In each city we had a guide and a driver to give us support: Tom (Beijing), Jonathan (Pingyao), Cristina (Xi’an), Ben (Chengdu), Cory (Guilin/Yangshuo), Derek (Hangzhou) and Catherine (Shanghai), all very helpful and timely. We felt very peaceful in arriving at the airport or at the train station and finding someone with a sign with our name or at the restaurant someone to help us choose the menu. The hotels, restaurants, tours, transfers, air and train tickets all booked by Nora. I was afraid to hire a Chinese company from Guilin directly and have no way to complain if anything went wrong. But after this trip I highly recommend the CCT, we did 100% of everything that was planned! Nora and CCT, thank you for the unforgettable trip!
We had a fantastic private guided tour experience through China Culture Tour. We chose the six-day Picturesque & Rustic Guilin by Hiking & Kayaking tour. We worked with Grace to organize and customize our itinerary. She was highly responsive and professional to work with, always responding promptly to our questions. Grace even helped us with other parts of our trip (train tickets, admission tickets, etc.) going beyond the services involved with our paid tour. The company works with high quality hotels and offers lots of choice. We stayed at extremely charming hotels in both Longsheng and Yangshou, as well as a modern luxury hotel in Guilin.
Car transportation was excellent, a very comfortable sedan, and the driver was skilled and very competent. And our guide Linda was absolutely a joy to travel with. She was extremely knowledgeable, doling out the history when needed but not more than we could absorb. She guided with passion, humor, and just plain fun. She adapted and adjusted our itinerary as needed based on weather (we had some rainy days) and traffic (we traveled during a holiday week), using her obvious experience, local contacts, and common sense. She chose local restaurants which she had clearly dined at herself and were here favorites. The food experiences during the tour were fantastic – must try the beer fish in Yangshou! We highly recommend using China Culture Tour for your travel needs in China. We will certainly call on Grace on our next trip.
CHINA CULTURE TOUR Company Information
- Company Name:
- CHINA CULTURE TOUR
- Company Type:
- Year Founded:
- Guilin(close to Hong Kong)
- +86 773 5835179