Our head office
Encounters Travel
Uncover the World Travel Ltd
Leigh House
Varley Street
Leeds, LS28 6AN
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom
+44 203 725 8921
Agent log in

HIGHLIGHTS OF CHINA

Price from
US$1,149
(per person)
Duration
15
Days
Tour Type
Shoestring

HIGHLIGHTS

Bright lights of Hong Kong, active adventure in Yangshuo, rural landscapes of Fujian, cute Pandas, the Terracotta Warriors, Kung Fu monks of Shaolin, bustling Beijing & Great Wall of China
COUNTRIES : China

This great budget tour of China winds its way through the west of the country from the sky scrapers of Hong Kong, through stunning rural China, to the bustling capital of Beijing.

Our budget tour of China starts in lively and crowded Hong Kong before heading out to the stunning rural landscapes of Yangshuo. Surrounded by towering karst mountain and fertile valleys, the area is an adventure playground with plenty of fun activities on offer. Next it's on to Chengdu for an unforgettable encounter with the iconic panda bear.

Our next stop is Xi'an, rich in history & culture, and home of the world famous Terracotta Warriors. Then it's on to birthplace of kung fu for some martial arts training with the famous Shaolin monks.

Our final stop is bustling Beijing and a chance to visit the impressive Great Wall of China.

Our tour starts early morning at the Yes Inn @ Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, where you'll meet your tour leader and the rest of the group. Leaving your luggage at the inn, we'll take the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak for a great view over Hong Kong and our pre-trip meeting. Returning to the hostel, we'll then head to the train station to catch the bullet train to Guillin and then on to Yangshuo.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Yangshuo hostel
  • EXTRAS:
    Extra day in Hong Kong - pre-tour, Options available while on tour, Private Room Supplement (CHSHHC)

Today we enjoy the stunning rural setting of Yangshuo with a cruise down the Yulong River on board bamboo rafts. Kick back and put your feet up as you gently float down river. In the evening enjoy a nice cold beer on the rooftop bar at Monkey Jane's hostel.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Yangshuo hostel

An optional challenge today is to cook up some traditional Chinese foods at a friendly and practical local cuisine institute, where you can try your hand at one of the many tasty local dishes as you try to master the skills of Chinese cooking. There are plenty of other optional activities to choose from to fill your day.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Yangshuo hostel

You day if free today to relax and enjoy the idyllic setting, or alternatively you can try your hand out at one of the many adventure activities on offer. These include rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and more. You can also jump on bikes to explore the surrounding countryside.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Yangshuo hostel

Today we make our way by train to Chengdu, situated in the heart of Western China in Sichuan province. Sichuan province is renowned for its beautiful countryside, there are many attractions on offer and the food is amazing. We transfer by metro to your hostel.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    On board sleeper train

Chengdu has plenty of sights and experience to keep you busy during your stay. Today you can start with an optional massage from a blind physical therapist to help ease the stress of the overnight train journey. Later in the afternoon we take a lesson in Mandarin to help you master the basics of this complicated language. In the evening you might like to head out to experience a night out in Chengdu and perhaps try the traditional dish of Sichuan Hotpot for dinner.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Chengdu hostel

We take you on a tour of the city today, including a visit to the The Panda Breeding & Research Centre to see these incredible shy and endangered animals up close and perhaps a visit to Chengdu's Tibetan quarter to experience the many Tibetan shops and cafes. Plenty of other optional excursion are available to book locally including a trip to Leshan, to see the world's largest stone Buddha.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Chengdu hostel

After some free time in Chengdu where you can visit WenShu monastery and a traditional Chinese tea house, we board the train to Xi'an, cultural capital of China. Start and end of the famous "Silk Route", Xi'an is like a history book of China and the perfect place to explore the countries rich and interesting culture.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Xi'an hostel

Today there is the option to take a bike ride over the city walls, an excellent way to get you bearing and a good overview of the city. In the evening is free for you to enjoy, perhaps try a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter and relax after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Xi'an hostel

Today we take you to visit the legendary Terracotta Warriors, row upon row of life-size statues stand silent guard over the burial place of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. In the evening you'll have the chance to visit the Star Sun home for people with disabilities and to volunteer. Then it's time for a night out Chinese style!

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Xi'an hostel

This morning we board the public bus to DengFeng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple. The rest of the day if free to take an optional kung fu lesson & show at a local children's Home run by the Shaolin Temple. Here the monks teach the children to be kung fu masters. All proceeds go directly to the children's home. We also have a second Mandarin lesson to help brush up on your language skills.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Dengfeng hostel

The day is free to explore more of Dengfeng and it's surrounding. You can visit the world famous Shaolin Temple and watch the masters of Kung Fu perform their amazing feats set amongst the beautiful temple courtyards. We'll take a hike to Dharma cave, spiritual centre for Buddhist pilgrims, before we board the overnight train to Beijing.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    On board sleeper train

Arriving in Beijing, we transfer to our hostel and check in. We start the day with a Mandarin lesson where you'll learn the basics of this intricate language. Next it's time to take the Mandarin Challenge! Use your newly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing's ancient streets and alleyways. It's a great way to explore the city and the winning team earns a prize.

Late afternoon we visit one of the wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China. To obtain permission to access the locals only sections of the unrestored Great Wall, we enjoy a mandatory meal at a local farm. We'll then hike on totally unrestored sections of the Wall where we set up camp on a deserted section of the wall. In the evening we take in sunset in this ancient and dramatic setting (Please note, due to cold weather before the end of April and after September, we stay in a guest house near the Wall instead of camping, but still return to the Wall to watch sunrise in the morning. Between April and September monsoon rain may also mean we are unable to camp on the wall.).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Great Wall camping

After sunrise on the Wall we return back to Beijing. Back in Beijing the rest of the day is free for you to explore at your own leisure or try one of the many optional tour available (see the Options tab for all available local options). Perhaps you could visit the Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium, or enjoy the incredible Beijing Acrobatics Show. For dinner tonight there is a chance to taste Beijing's signature dish Peking Roast Duck, enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Beijing hostel

Today the tour ends so this is your last day to see more of Beijing like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. In the evening you could explore the WangFuJing night market where you can push your taste buds to the limit and sample many foods you'll have never tried before, like scorpion, bugs and more.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Beijing hostel
  • EXTRAS:
    Extra day in Beijing - post-tour
Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in basic hostels
  • All transport and transfers in trains, buses & public transport
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Visa invitation letter
  • Entry fees to included activities and attractions
  • Bilingual western and local adventure leaders

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Airport arrival & departure transfer service (optional on request)
  • All meals
  • Optional activies
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tour guide tips
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Highlights of China accommodation
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we use most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
yes-inn-causeway-hong-kong.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Yes Inn @ Causeway Bay
Hong Kong, China

Yes Inn is located in Causeway Bay, a 2-minute walk from Causeway Bay MTR Subway Station. It offers a rooftop garden and air-conditioned dormitory rooms. Free Wi-Fi is provided.


Yes Inn is located in Causeway Bay, a 2-minute walk from Causeway Bay MTR Subway Station. It offers a rooftop garden and air-conditioned dormitory rooms. Free Wi-Fi is provided.

Yes Inn - Causeway Bay is a 3-minute walk from Sogo and Times Square Shopping Mall. It is a 45-minute drive or a 1-hour subway ride from Hong Kong International Airport.

Stylish rooms are decorated in bright and vibrant wall colours. Each room has individual reading lights and lockers. Shared bathroom facilities are available.

Guests can enjoy a relaxing barbecue on the rooftop garden. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist with fax/photocopying services and attend to guests' request. Laundry services are also provided.

yangshuo-11-hostel-yangshuo.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Yangshuo 11 hostel
Yangshuo, China

Located in Yangshuo in the Guangxi Region, 200 yards from Yangshuo West Street, Yangshuo 11 Hostel features a garden and sun terrace. There is a restaurant, a shared kitchen and snack bar at this property.


Located in Yangshuo in the Guangxi Region, 200 yards from Yangshuo West Street, Yangshuo 11 Hostel features a garden and sun terrace. There is a restaurant, a shared kitchen and snack bar at this property. Guests can also hire a car or a bicycle to explore the surroundings. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property.

Yangshuo South Bus Station is 0.9 miles from Yangshuo 11 Hostel, while Impression Liu Sanjie is 1.1 miles from the property. Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is 41.6 miles from the property.

Each room at this hostel is air conditioned and is equipped with a flat-screen TV and DVD player. You will find a kettle in the room. A TV is provided.

This property offers 24-hour front desk, luggage storage and ticket service. Guest can also spend some quiet reading time in the library and relax in the game room.

mr-panda-guesthouse-chengdu.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Mr Panda Hostel
Chengdu, China

Mr Panda Youth Hostel is located in Chengdu, 1.2 miles from Chun Xi Road. This non-smoking hostel offers 2 dining options and cosy rooms with a private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is provided in public areas.


Mr Panda Youth Hostel is located in Chengdu, 1.2 miles from Chun Xi Road. This non-smoking hostel offers 2 dining options and cosy rooms with a private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is provided in public areas.

Simply furnished, rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a work desk and wardrobe. Shower facilities and slippers are in the en suite bathroom.

Available for breakfast, Snake Bar serves a variety of local dishes. Light snacks and drinks are offered at Mr. Panda Bar.

Recreational choices include playing a game of darts, or enjoying games in the activities room. Luggage storage services are provided at the 24-hour front desk, while staff at the tour desk can assist with ticketing arrangements.

han-tang-inn-xian.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Han Tang Inn Hostel
Xi'an, China

Han Tang Inn is a boutique hostel situated inside a traditional residence in Xi'an City Centre. It offers bicycle rental services and a 24-hour front desk. Massage services are available.


Han Tang Inn is a boutique hostel situated inside a traditional residence in Xi'an City Centre. It offers bicycle rental services and a 24-hour front desk. Massage services are available.

Han Tang Inn is a 10-minute drive from Xi'an Train Station and Bell Tower. Xi'an Xianyang Airport is a 35-minute drive from the inn.

Dormitories and rooms each have an attached bathroom with hot shower facilities and a hairdryer. A TV and tea/coffee-making facilities are provided.

The inn provides luggage storage facilities, fax and photocopying services. The tour desk provides booking assistance for Mount Huashan and the Terracotta Warriors, among other places. Laundry services are available.

bandeng-guesthouse-dengfeng.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Bandeng Guest House
Dengfeng, China

This basic but comfortable guest house is just a short walk from the main Shaolin temple. It has clean well equipped rooms and wifi as well as its own on site restaurant.


leo-hostel-beijing.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Leo Hostel
Beijing, China

Leo Hostel, one of the top-rated hostels in China by Lonely Planet, is a 10-minute walk from Tiananmen Square. The hostel with traditional characteristics offers comfortable accommodation, a tour desk, a library and massage service.


Leo Hostel, one of the top-rated hostels in China by Lonely Planet, is a 10-minute walk from Qianmen Subway Station (line 2) and Tiananmen Square. The hostel with traditional characteristics offers comfortable accommodation, a tour desk, a library and massage service.

Located in a Hutong market street, Leo Hostel is a 10-minute walk from Forbidden City and a 12-minute walk from Qianmen Square. Capital International Airport is about 30 minutes' drive away.

Guestrooms are all air-conditioned. They have either en suite or shared bathroom facilities. Each dormitory room has free security lockers.

Guests who wish to travel can make sightseeing and ticketing arrangement at tour desk. Car or bicycle rentals are also available. Laundry, dry cleaning and concierge service are all provided. After a day of tours, playing a game of billiards seems nice.

The on-site restaurant and the 24-hour bar serve a variety of local and international dishes for guests to enjoy.

Highlights of China options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you're visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Private Room Supplement (CHSHHC)
Price from
US$179
per person



Private Room Supplement (CHSHHC)
Min numbers: 2 Adults

This option books a private single, twin or double room in all the hostel accommodation throughout the tour. You only need to add this if you don't want to stay in a shared dorm room. Prices are per person based on two people sharing.


This option books a private single, twin or double room in all the hostel accommodation throughout the tour. You only need to add this if you don't want to stay in a shared dorm room. Prices are per person based on two people sharing (so double the displayed price if you want a single room).
 Extra day in Hong Kong - pre-tour
Price from
US$49
per person



Extra day in Hong Kong - pre-tour
Min numbers: 2 Adults

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

 Extra day in Beijing - post-tour
Price from
On
Request

per person



Extra day in Beijing - post-tour
Min numbers: 2 Adults

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Options available while on tour
Price from
On
Request

per person



Options available while on tour
Min numbers: 2 Adults

There are plenty of optional tours and activities that can be booked locally whilst on your tour. Click the "more" button below for a full list of local option available.


Yangshou

  • Bamboo rafting (included)
  • Chinese cooking class (120 CNY)
  • Yulong River bike ride (included)
  • Hot cupping (35 CNY)
  • Rock climbing (170CNY)
  • Deep water soloing/hiking (150 CNY)
  • Moon Hill and the Water Buddha Cave & bike ride to Moon Hill (85 CNY)
  • Cormorant fishing (45 CNY)
  • Kayaking (150 CNY)
  • Sally's home village visit (80 CNY)

Shaolin

  • Shaoling Temple (120 CNY)
  • Hike to Dharma Cave (free)
  • Kung fu lesson at childrens home (150 CNY)

Macau

  • Venetian Casino (free)
  • World's highest bungee (3,288 HKD)
  • St Paul' Cathedral tour (included)

Xi'an

  • City wall bike ride (100 CNY)
  • Great Mosque in Muslim Quarter tour (25 CNY)
  • Terracotta Warriors (included)
  • Soup kitchen or Star Sun home (charity/optional)

Shanghai

  • Pub crawl (180-200 CNY)
  • French Concession tour, Propaganda Museum and market (100 CNY)
  • Karaoke (approx. 35 CNY)
  • Zhujijiao Water Town (25 CNY)
  • Yuyuan Garden (cost TBC)
  • Tour of People's Square (free)
  • Vue Bar (100 CNY)

Moganshan

  • Bike ride (free)
  • Moganshan peak hike (free)

Fujian

  • Stay overnight in a mud roundhouse (included)
  • Walking tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Site (included)
  • Tea plantations (included)
  • Bike tour around the roundhouses (included)

Beijing

  • Tiananmen Square (free)
  • Forbidden City (60 CNY)
  • Fake Market (free)
  • Jing Shan Park (15 CNY)
  • Great Wall (included)
  • Mandatory Great Wall lunch when the group camps (approx. 35 CNY)
  • Olympic Park (free)
  • Temple of Heaven (40 CNY)
  • Acrobatic performance (140 CNY)
  • Wang Fuling market (10 CNY)
  • Peking Duck dinner (approx. 70 CNY)

Chengdu

  • Blind massage (40 CNY)
  • Pandas (free)
  • Jinli Street and Tibetan District (free)
  • Hot Pot dinner (approx. 80 CNY)
  • Leshan Buddha (90 CNY entry + transport split between the group)
  • Sichuan opera (140 CNY)
  • Wenshu Monastery, Mao's Statue, People's Park and a traditional tea house (free)

Hong Kong

  • Victoria Peak Wall (free)

Deng Feng

  • Guesthouse meals (100 CNY)
highlights-china-map.jpg
Highlights of China tour notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

Our Shoestring China tours are based on basic but comfortable and fun hostel accommodation. These are safe and have good showers, internet, washing machines, and real Chinese character. Like hostels around the world, they tend to be most popular with young travellers aged 18 to 35 who are travelling on a small budget and who are keen to meet people and make new friends in the lounge or bar. While these are subject to change, the main hostels we use are: 

  • Yangshuo 11 international Hostel Yangshuo – 11 Lian Feng Xiang West, Street YangShuo, GuiLin, GuangXi, Yangshuo
  • Mr. Panda Guesthouse Chengdu – Mr Panda Guesthouse, 75 2nd Ring Road North, Chengdu (Tel: +86 028 8662 8336)
  • Shuyuan hostel Xi’an – Shuyuan Youth Hostel, No.2 West Shuncheng Road (Tel: +86 029 8728 7720)
  • Bandeng Guest house Shaolin – Bandeng Guest House (Tel: +86 159 3871 9599)
  • Leo Hostel Beijing – Leo Hostel 52, Da ZhaLanXiJie, Qianmen, Beijing (Tel: +86 010 6303 3318)
  • Xiwuli Lodge Moganshan – Xiwuli Lodge, Houwu Village, Paitou Township, Deqing County (Tel: +86 1865936 9855)
  • Phoenix Hostel Shanghai – Phoenix Hostel 15-17 South Yunnan Road Shanghai (Tel: +86 021 6328 8680)
  • Camping/Tulou stay Fujian – WanheKezhan Tulou (Tel: +86 1395 9628 178)

Accommodation is in shared dorm rooms with all bedding and linen provided (this includes sleeping bags and mats during camping excursions at the Great Wall). Luggage is tagged, recorded and stored at the hostels while you are out on day excursions.

Camping at the Great Wall is only available between April and the end of September.

Upgrades to private rooms are available at the time of booking or up to 4 weeks before departure. Prices are per room (so couples can split this price between them): HK-HK 25 days = $780; BJ-BJ 18 days = $380; HK-HK 16 days = $350; SH-SH 18 days = $380; HK-BJ 15 days = $350.

Important Note:
Accommodation is not included in the standard tour itinerary for the night before Day 1 of your trip or for the night of the last day of your trip.
If booking your own accommodation for these pre/post-tour nights we recommend the hostels listed above. If you are booking accommodation in Hong Kong we recommend doing this as far in advance as possible as it can get very expensive if you leave it until close to your check in date.

Airport transfers are not included in the price of the tour. However, they are available on request if required. Prices are given per vehicle (up to 4 people), and if you would like a bilingual guide to meet you and travel with you from the airport to your destination (or vice-versa) this can also be arranged for an extra fee (generally GBP 20 / US$25) each way. This airport transfer service is available from and to the following airport locations: Guilin, Chengdu, Xian, Beijing, and Shanghai.

The group size on our budget China tours is min 5, max 20.

Each trip is accompanied by a mixture of western and local tour leaders who are all bilingual in Mandarin and English. Local tour leaders are often young professionals who work for a couple of seasons after graduating university. They are highly educated and thoroughly trained, but as they are doing it more for personal experience rather than to make money, they are cheaper, helping to keep the tour cost down, and some may argue, are more enthusiastic than the ‘career tour guides’ used by most tour companies in China.

Tour leaders tend to be specialists in their own local region and generally do not accompany the group between the main cities of locations on the tour. Instead they will look after you throughout your time in each main hub and then get you settled onto the train to the next location where you'll be met by your next tour leader.

This tour is run in conjunction with our friends at The Dragon Trip, so you will be joining travellers booked with them.

Hong Kong:
The joining point is the Yes Inn @ Causeway Bay (hostel). The address is 2nd Floor, Nan Yip Building, 472 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay. The building entrance is nearby the Stanley mini bus station on Tang Lung Street. Click here for directions to Yes Inn.
The meeting time is 7.00 am sharp in the lobby. Please check out at the front desk and have your bags packed and ready to go in the lobby before 7.00 am. If we haven’t seen you or heard from you by 7.00 am, then we do need to leave without you. Please note that we will return to Yes Inn for 10.30 am to pick up anyone who missed the 7.00 am departure time. At 10.30 am, we must leave in order to cross the border with mainland China and board the train to Guilin. This is the last chance to meet your group in Hong Kong – if you miss this, it will be your own responsibility to catch up with the group in mainland China.
Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you to the pre-departure briefing so that we can contact your insurance company on your behalf in the event of an accident.
If you miss the 7 am meeting time, please immediately contact us by calling us on any of the emergency telephone numbers on your tour confirmation voucher.

Due to the huge size of China and the excellent quality of the public rail network, we use train journeys extensively on our Shoestring tours in China. Typical train times are given below, though these are subject to change:

  • Guilin to Chengdu is from 12:50 – 13:30 the following day
  • Xi’an to Beijing is from 19:30 – 9:00
  • Beijing to Hangzhou is from 19:30 – 8:30
  • Shanghai to Fujian (day train) 10:00 – 18:00
  • Fujian to Guangzhou 22:00 – 7:00

You will have your own sleeper seat on each overnight train journey (full flat bed). We try to ensure that all our travellers are booked in the same compartement so you can have fun getting to know each other better, play some games, and share a few drinks.If you or a fellow traveller have a seat that is not with the rest of the group, the tour leaders have a process in place to try to switch seats. In some stations they will be able to board the train and arrange a seat swap with another passenger. In other cases you can make use of the emergency phone that we provide to accompany every group, and the tour leader will then use this to speak in Mandarin to the conductor or directly to another passenger to help arrange a seat swap. This normally works very smoothly and without incident.

Upgrades to a four-berth soft sleeper are also available (you must book this with us at least 1 month before departure). Please contact us for details and prices if required.

Tipping in China is not customary and is not necessary. Of course, voluntary tipping is completely up to you, but in places like restaurants, bars or taxis it is extremely rare.

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.  You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

China: Hepatitis A. Malaria map. Malaria risk is low throughout the year throughout the country apart from areas that border Myanmar and Vietnam which have high risk.  It is not generally present in Hong Kong unless contracted abroad. Yellow Fever vaccination certificates are required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for all travellers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission
Hong Kong: Hepatitis A. Malaria is not generally present in Hong Kong unless contracted abroad. 

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the lowland regions Bhutan are considered malarial zones, while higher altitudes including central Bhutan including Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Bumthang are not. Nepal is considered mainly low risk with prophylactics not normally required.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary. Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

If you renew your passport between the time you book and your final travel date, please let us know as soon as possible. When purchasing your train tickets in China, we must have the details of the passport that you will be carrying while you are on the trip.

In general, all nationalities (except Singapore, Brunei & Japan) need to apply for and obtain a China tourist visa before entering Mainland China. Most nationalities are not required to have a visa for travel solely to Hong Kong. If your flight into Hong Kong connects in mainland China (for example, in Beijing or Shanghai), you will need to tell the Immigration officer in the airport NOT to cross out a single-entry visa, as you are only transferring. If the Immigration officer crosses out a single entry visa, you will encounter difficulties when you start your trip with us and need to cross the border from Hong Kong back into mainland China.

In order to apply for your China tourist visa to travel on this tour, you will need the following:

  • 2 passport photos
  • an invitation letter (which we will provide)
  • an itinerary (you can download and provide these tour notes for this)
  • photocopy of your passport 
  • a completed visa application form
  • a confirmed flight/train ticket with entry and exit dates shown clearly

Please send us a scanned / photographed copy of your passport identity pages as soon after booking as possible so that we can start to arrange your invitation letter. We also need a copy of your passport in order to book your accommodation and train tickets in China, so please ensure we get it as quickly as possible. We'll send your visa invitation letter to you together with a detailed itinerary as soon as its ready. You should then apply for your visa within three months of your travel start date.

Visa application form assistance:
You can download a copy of the official China visa application form here.
Please note the following when completing the form:

  • You must print the form off as double-sided. This is an embassy requirement.
  • Please fill the form out using black capital letters.
  • In Chinese culture dates are written in the order of year / month / day, so please follow this on your form.
  • 1.9 - Leave this blank, it is not referring to your passport number.
  • 2.1 - Tick the Tourism box.
  • 2.2 - Unless you plan to enter Mainland China again before or after your tour with us, you will require a single entry, 3-month visa.
  • 2.4 - Please write the number of days of how long your tour in Mainland China will be. For example: China on a Shoestring - 25 days, please input 24 days here (Day 25 is in Macau and Hong Kong, both of which are not in Mainland China). Highlights of China should be 15 days, and Beijing to Shanghai Expres should be 9 days.
  • 2.5 Please enter the following addresses and phone numbers in the ‘Detailed Address’ column according to your itinerary.
            1. Yangshuo 11 international Hostel NO. 11 Lian Feng Xiang West, Street YangShuo GuiLin GuangXi, Yangshuo
            2. Mr Panda Guesthouse 75 2nd Ring Road North Chengdu Tel: +86 028 8662 8336
            3. Shuyuan Youth Hostel No. 2 West Shuncheng Road Xian Tel: +86 029 8728 7720
            In the fourth row, just write the following note: “please see detailed itinerary for further accommodation details”
  • 2.8 Please enter the following:
            Name of Inviter: Shanghai Zhonglei Travel Service Co. Ltd.
            Address of Inviter: 822 Zhennan Road, Shanghai, China
            Contact Telephone Number of Inviter: +86 21 6150 3200
            Relationship with applicant: Tour Operator
For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Chinese embassy/consulate.

A variety of different electrical sockets can be found in China (Type A, C, I), with the majority accepting two flat pins. Voltage is 220V. Plug sockets in Hong Kong are three flat (like UK) or round pins (Type G, D). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Most hotel & hostel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

The Chinese currency is Renminbi, shortened to ‘RMB’ (‘the people’s coins’). RMB is also referred to as ‘yuan’ or ‘kuai’. You can generally withdraw money in RMB from ATM machines all over China using your home debit/credit cards – just make sure you’ve told your bank that you’ll be travelling there in advance and be prepared to pay a percentage conversion / commission fee. Alternatively, you can carry cash round with you and convert into RMB in banks in in Honk Kong or mainland China. Travellers cheques also remain widely accepted.

Food in China is very cheap. We advise you to budget approximately 80 RMB per day for food in great local restaurants your tour leader will suggest which they know are safe and tasty. If you want to eat cheaper than this you can by eating more simple dishes like fried rice/noodles which come in at less that 10 RMB per meal. As an example of prices of everyday items:

  • Small bottle water- 2 RMB
  • Basic Chinese meal- 35 RMB
  • Drink in a night club- 70 RMB
  • Beer in a restaurant/hostel 10-20 RMB
  • Coke/soft drink - 6 RMB
  • Taxi- 10 minutes- 20 RMB (taxi prices vary depending on the city, but are very cheap compared to Europe/North America)

As this is a Shoestring tour with plenty of travelling from place to place including on and off trains, we strongly recommend packing light. Suitcases are OK, but you will find a rucksack or holdall much much more convenient and easier to transport around. Low cost laundry is readily available hostels, and bear in mind that much of the world's clothing is made in China, so cheap replacements and extra items are readily available if required. If you are returning to Hong Kong at the end of your tour after starting there, you can leave a main bag in Hong Kong for the duration of your trip for HK$300.
We recommed you bring:

  • Sandals / Flipflops
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts/skirts
  • Swimming costume
  • Lightweight waterproof
  • Towel
  • Washbag
  • Sunglasses, sunhat and aftersun
  • Camera & charger
  • Socket adapter
  • Copies of your travel insurance policy, credit cards, passport and visa (also email a copy of these to yourself)
  • Small first aid kit including paracetamol, disenfectant, medicine for diarrhoea
  • Books and other entertainment for the night trains (bring electronic gadgets at your own risk)
  • Small day pack
  • If travelling in October to April, bring a hat, gloves, warm coat, jumper and warm trousers
  • Your passport & credit card!

Language: While there are nearly 300 living dialects in China, today's modern mainland China has a dominant dialect which is Mandarin. All schools teach in Mandarin, politics, business and the national media all use Mandarin and the entire middle class and above speak it fluently.  There remain many people who don't speak or understand it well though, but if you're going to learn some 'Chinese', then Mandarin is the dialect to go for. You will find that Chinese people will love you if you do try and speak in their language - your efforts will definitely be rewarded. You don't need to read Mandarin to get by (which is a relief!), but learning some words and phrases is very useful. If you are struggling, then most public places (eg. stations) have an official English speaker on hand to help, and 12-18 year old school children are also a great help as they learn English at school and are invariably delighted and keen to help out. You can also check out Pleco: This is a great tool - a free dictionary to help you communicate in China. You can download it from the Android Market or App Store.

Internet: Wi-Fi and computers are available for use in all hostels used on our Shoestring tours. Some websites are blocked in China, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. If you would like to use a VPN while in China to access the internet it is much easier to do this before you leave. Two examples of free options you can access via your device are Betternet or ExpressVPN.

Phone: You can use your mobile phone in China, as long as it has been unlocked for international usage. If you want to use your phone while in China, we recommend bringing an unlocked handset and then buying a cheap prepaid SIM card from one of China’s main 3 mobile phone providers (these are China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom). You can buy these directly from their retail outlets, but in order to do so you will need to show your passport. SIM cards can then be recharged at most convenience stores and roadside newspaper stands (for around 100 RMB).  Most SIM cards can be used for 3G/4G data, texting and domestic calls. Your tour leader can help you with this. 

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
If you book a flight departing from the UK from us with your tour, or if you live in the UK and your tour includes domestic flights, then your entire package is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10467.
Additional financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers not otherwise covered by ATOL.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

Highlights of China dates & prices
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
Start Date End Date Price (P/P) Offer Price Note
07 Mar, 2018 21 Mar, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
12 Mar, 2018 26 Mar, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
14 Mar, 2018 28 Mar, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
19 Mar, 2018 02 Apr, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
21 Mar, 2018 04 Apr, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
02 Apr, 2018 16 Apr, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
04 Apr, 2018 18 Apr, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
11 Apr, 2018 25 Apr, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
16 Apr, 2018 30 Apr, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
23 Apr, 2018 07 May, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
02 May, 2018 16 May, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
09 May, 2018 23 May, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
16 May, 2018 30 May, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
21 May, 2018 04 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
23 May, 2018 06 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
28 May, 2018 11 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
30 May, 2018 13 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
04 Jun, 2018 18 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
06 Jun, 2018 20 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
11 Jun, 2018 25 Jun, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
20 Jun, 2018 04 Jul, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
27 Jun, 2018 11 Jul, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
02 Jul, 2018 16 Jul, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
04 Jul, 2018 18 Jul, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
09 Jul, 2018 23 Jul, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
16 Jul, 2018 30 Jul, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
18 Jul, 2018 01 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
23 Jul, 2018 06 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
25 Jul, 2018 08 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
01 Aug, 2018 15 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
06 Aug, 2018 20 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
08 Aug, 2018 22 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
15 Aug, 2018 29 Aug, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
22 Aug, 2018 05 Sep, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
29 Aug, 2018 12 Sep, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
03 Sep, 2018 17 Sep, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
05 Sep, 2018 19 Sep, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
12 Sep, 2018 26 Sep, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
17 Sep, 2018 01 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
26 Sep, 2018 10 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
01 Oct, 2018 15 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
03 Oct, 2018 17 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
08 Oct, 2018 22 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
10 Oct, 2018 24 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
17 Oct, 2018 31 Oct, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
24 Oct, 2018 07 Nov, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
31 Oct, 2018 14 Nov, 2018 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
19 Sep, 2019 03 Oct, 2019 US$1149 - -  
Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!
Step 1:Number of people traveling
Step 2:How much would you like to pay
tripadvisor winner 2014 and 2015
Encounters Travel Reviews
Service

Product

Posted Feb 14, 2014
Service rating : Great value for the money ...our guide Idris was exceptional.

Product : Intimate tour of the country. Great tour. Really felt immersed.
Service

Product

Posted Aug 14, 2015
Service rating : Allround excellence

Product : Amazing sights, a well organised tour!
Service

Product

Posted Jan 06, 2016
Service rating : I really appreciated how organized they were and I appreciated the affordable price.

Product : This was an amazing introduction to Egyptian history and culture. The tour was very informative and yet, fun.
Service

Product

Posted Feb 13, 2014
Service rating : The tour guides were excellent - both as people and as our leaders. I had Idris as a tour guide and Issham as the bus driver. They were both a pleasure to spend my days in Morocco with. If another variety of tour were to come about - visits to different areas not on our current itinerary --- I'd definitely return and I'd love to see everyone all over again; Idris, Issham, Zhouzou, Hamou, etc.

The hotels and places of stay were excellent. The only awful one was the desert - but that's a given to be cold - we were simply misinformed of how cold! I think instead of sleeping in individual tents, one giant one with everyone under the same "roof" would have been better. More body heat for such a cold night! More time in the desert to roam would have been nice as well. Perhaps a longer tour would need to be in effect. More along the lines of 15 days instead of 10 days.

Product : There is no way I could have seen all that I saw on tour on my own in that amount of time! It was certainly well worth it, however - the stops (both the rest stops and the tour stops) were too rushed and two out of the three buses were cramped. I'm very fortunate I made it onto the big bus, given my back and knee conditions. I wish there were more walking tours available. More time in Marrakech would have been lovely as well - I kind of wish I had extended my stay a bit longer. I met some new found friends in the marketplace. And I made friends with all the people on the tour. It was a real treat to be with such an amazing group of people.
Service

Product

Posted Aug 11, 2014
Would have rated them excellent but our return flight information was incorrect or the flight time was changed and Encounters did not notifiy us. The flight was listed as 2pm but was actually 1pm.
Service

Product

Posted Mar 08, 2014
Service rating : Encounters was easy to work with pre-departue and made booking fast.

Product : We had an excellent time in Morocco! Our guide Zuzu was amazing and show us so much of his beautiful country.
Service

Product

Posted Jan 18, 2016
Service rating : I was very pleased with the responsiveness of everyone that I encountered through Encounters Travel. I worked mostly with Anthony and he was always very helpful.

Product : I thought they selected a wonderful guide for the trip. The one part that I really hope that they change is the night at the Bedouin Camp. It was not authentic and it was so out of the way. I think that people would prefer to spend the extra money for a night in a hotel with a bed and your own bathroom.
Service

Product

Posted Feb 08, 2016
As Above
Service

Product

Posted Feb 13, 2014
Service rating : The responses were quick when I had a question and there was helpful suggestions along the way.

Product : The tour guides were amazing! They really wanted to show off Morocco and its deep history. The one draw back was the food. It was not what I expected and I feel like we could have had better. Overall everything was great and I couldn't have been more happy with my experience.
Service

Product

Posted Jun 17, 2014
Service rating : Ant was great. Personable, great response rate, great customer service.

Product : The non-hotel portions of the tour were great value for the money. Highlights included the camel ride and the 4x4 driving. Our tour guide, Idris, was FANTASTIC. Truly informative and treated us like kings and queens. Our driver Moustafa was also excellent, one of the kindest folks I've ever met. The hotels were generally, in a word, disappointing. While I think at some level they were commensurate with what we paid, the Berber camp was truly subpar. There were waterbugs in the shower, the lights didn't work, and the tents were just dirty and tired. In general with the hotel rooms, we only wanted 3 things - working A/C, hot water and clean linens. Generally speaking we were lucky if we got 2 out of the 3. Recommend upgrading from the Golden Tulip to somewhere else in Marrakech, there are so many better options at the same price. The one truly awesome hotel we stayed at was the Palais Asmaa. The rooms and the grounds were just outstanding. Everything else was very tired.
Service

Product

Posted Oct 21, 2014
Service rating : Could not fault them - extremely helpful in all aspects

Product : A wonderful experience- would recommend it to anyone
Service

Posted Sep 18, 2016
The alternative dates I needed were provided. Payment and booking was straight forward and filled with ease.