Tours and Tickets by Travel China Guide Tour
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mnetelbeek19 wrote a review Apr 2019
We had a one day tour of Suzhou and Tongli with our wonderful tour guide John. He was very knowledgeable and friendly. We saw the Humble Administrators Garden, the old town of Suzhou and had a ride in a rickshaw. The driver of the van, the rickshaws (not part of Travel China) were all wonderful. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and John was great. While in Tongli there was a local school visiting the town. We enjoyed seeing all the children. They all tried to speak a little English with us, and were all very curious and friendly to see the Americans. We would highly recommend Travel China, and John as a guide and look forward to returning someday.…
Date of experience: March 2019
Response from SophieY241, Guest Relations Manager at Travel China Guide Tour
Responded Apr 9, 2019
Dear mnetelbeek19, Thank you for sharing your tour review with us! It is a great joy to see that you had a wonderful tour in Suzhou with us. From your words we learn that our guide John's excellent knowledge and great service have made your Suzhou experience memorable and impressive. We are also glad to know our arrangement has met your expectation. Thanks for your highly praise on our service and we hope that you can use our service again in the near future. Have a nice day!
Spectre68 wrote a review Aug 2018
Seattle, Washington125 contributions61 helpful votes
Jolin, our tour guide scheduled through Travel China Guide, created a fantastic day of sightseeing for us through Suzhou and Tongli. She had both an excellent knowledge of the destinations we visited as well as sensitivity toward what we were interested in seeing. As an example, she had a lot of knowledge about the history and special aspects of the design of the Humble Administrator's Garden. Specifically, in one part of the garden, she pointed out a distant pagoda and told us about how the gardens were designed to incorporate that structure into the observer's view of the garden. She also talked about the history of the garden and why there is a Western, Central, and Eastern sections of the garden. I noticed so much more in the gardens from her commentary than I would have on my own. I also appreciated that she was attentive to our interests. Based on our requests, she arranged a visit to the Suzhou No.1 Silk Mill which fit squarely in the types of sights we like to see when visiting new places. We learned about the production of silk there from looking at silkworms, touching cocoons, seeing how cocoons are unwound by machine to seeing how the silk is woven into fabrics. Fascinating! When we arrived, no one else was there so we were able to take the tour by ourselves. I even thought that the Suzhou No.1 Silk Mill didn't get many visitors. Only when we were sitting at lunch in the restaurant at the Suzhou No.1 Silk Mill did literally 4-5 busloads of tourists get dropped off for tours of the Silk Mill. It was really nice that Jolin got us there before everyone else that day for us to enjoy some quiet time during our visit! Prices at the Suzhou No.1 Silk Mill seemed reasonable in general. Scarves were priced quite reasonably (about US$ 14 each), duvet covers were perhaps slightly higher in pricing. I saw similar scarves at the Shanghai airport priced between 3 to 10 times the price we paid at the Silk Mill. One challenge to comparing pricing from different retailers is that some "silk" products sold in other stores are really made of polyester. It is difficult to figure out if your "silk" products are actually silk or if they are a polyester facsimile that should be sold at a much lower price. At least the products from the Silk Mill seem genuine and I've seen this confirmed in another Tripadvisor review in which the reviewer actually did a burn test and saw that the fibers from their silk duvet cover burned (instead of melted as polyester would do). Our last destination of the day was the Tongli water town. WOW, what a beautiful place! Jolin suggested a boat trip through the canals of Tongli instead of a rickshaw trip through the much more modern and crowded Suzhou "Old Town". Having walked through the Suzhou "Old Town" the day before, I can say that she was 100% on the mark. Suzhou "Old Town" had a mall of luxury retail stores with store along the lines of Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara so I don't think Suzhou's "Old Town" is very "old" anymore. Tongli, on the other hand, was both beautiful, relatively unmodernized, and surprisingly devoid of hordes of tourists. I'll attach some photos and let those images speak for themselves. Before our visit, we had considered visiting some of the other water towns including Zhujiajiao. Jolin was able to quickly describe these other towns and explain why Tongli is her preferred choice of water towns to visit for considerations including its beauty and its relative quiet due to the fact that it is more difficult get to for many tourists. From Shanghai, you have to go to Suzhou first before catching a bus to Tongli making a trip to Tongli much for difficult than going to Zhujiajiao without a car which we had on our tour. There are direct buses from Shanghai to Zhujiajiao. Having been in Tongli and comparing my experiences with images of other water towns now after returning from China, I have to agree with Jolin 100%. I'm sure Zhujiajiao is nice, but my experience in Tongli was out-of-this-world extraordinary along with the fact that it felt like we shared the town with just a few other tourists during our visit. Compared to Zhouzhuang, I've read that Tongli is quieter with fewer tourists. The Retreat & Reflection Garden (Tuìsī Yuán) in Tongli is also very nice as well and noted as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, though at a smaller scale than the Humble Administrator's Garden in Suzhou. I saw Jolin's expertise also in how smoothly our day went. Early in the morning about 10:30am, she asked us about when we wanted to have lunch. She said that she trusted either the restaurant at the Suzhou No.1 Silk Mill or a particular restaurant in Tongli, explaining that some of her clients did not react well to some of the other restaurants in Tongli. I appreciated that she had the experience and foresight to provide us with this choice early in the morning. It was great that Jolin and many of the guides that we had through Travel China Guide made our days feel like they were both self-guided yet effortless due to their expertise in anticipating and resolving logistical challenges. Thank you Jolin for a beautiful day in Jiangsu province!…
Date of experience: August 2018
Response from SophieY241, Guest Relations Manager at Travel China Guide Tour
Responded Jun 3, 2019
Dear Spectre68, We are excited to see you on Tripadvisor again! We really appreciate your time to share your detailed Suzhou tour accompanied by Jolin our excellent guide here. It is a great joy to know that Jolin has made your days in visiting Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou No.1 Silk Mill and Tongli Old Town fantastic. From your lovely words we can see that you learned a lot from Jolin's knowledge about Suzhou and you have known how to recognize the real silk products from those who are made from polyester. I think it will be helpful to the travelers who also want to buy silk products. In addition, we feel happy that your love your boat trip in Tongli Old Town. All in all, thanks for your recognition and praise, and we expect for your next visit. Best wishes!
SCT5 wrote a review Jan 2018
Ottawa, Canada4 contributions2 helpful votes
We had a lovely time in Suzhou even though it rained most of the time we were there! Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator's Garden and the Garden of the Masters of the Nets were just lovely to walk around. Given it was raining there was no one there, so the photos we took were fabulous! If it had been sunny I would have liked to have spent more time exploring the town but with the rain we had, it was a lovely day trip nevertheless.…
Date of experience: January 2018
Response from Sophie Y, Guest Relations Manager at Travel China Guide Tour
Responded Jan 23, 2018
Dear SCT5, Thank you for your wonderful review on our Suzhou tours. It's always our favorite time to hear that clients enjoyed our tour service. The rain was unexpected when you traveled in Suzhou. However the trip was not ruined as you could find different beauties of Suzhou in the rain. You are a broad-minded person for sure. Supported by you, we will keep on giving the best of us to every single client. Thank you again.