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Posts Tagged ‘Recommendation’

It is very important to get a good driver. Yik and I were just very lucky that we met XiaoWu (小武) and XiaoMo (小莫) and had them to refer us to a responsible, friendly Tibetan driver – Zhaxipeichu (扎西培楚) . Even on the bumpy winding roads in the mountain, Zhaxi drove quite fast, yet very stable, that I felt safe enough when sitting in his car. And because he drove so fast, our ride from Meili to Shangri Las had cut short for almost two hours.

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Btw, only until when we said our farewell, Zhaxi told us that he is a champion of a Shangri-La rally race 🙂

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Here is Zhaxi’s business card. He told us that he also gives rides to Tibet. Yet, price is double of what he charges for Yunnan – 1000 rmb / day. He explained that it is due to the tough road condition and high gas price in Tibet.

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I had always wanted to see the famous sunrise (日照金山) of Meili Snow Mountain (梅里雪山) and it was at the top in the to-do list of my Yunnan trip. But because of the heavy snow and rain in Yunnan , the road to the snow mountain was blocked on the first 7 days of our trip.

One can find many travel agents selling local tour packages in Lijiang Old Town. So, in the first morning since our arrival, we went into the offices of these agents, chatted with many of them and tried to learn more about the current situation of Meili. We talked with no less than five travel agents. All of them, but one, told us that while they were not 100% sure, it should be alright to go to Meili Snow Mountain on the following day.

“Of course, safety is our first priority. If the weather doesn’t allow, we can’t help but make the most suitable arrangement accordingly. But the road to Meili should be ready in these two days….So, if you pay now, you can join our tour as soon as tomorrow…” all of the travel agents said similarly, except one.

And that exceptional one shot us with a big NO.

XiaoWu (小武) just plainly said,  “Nope! And probably won’t have any as well for the coming few days. The road is blocked. And it’s too dangerous to go anyways…”

XiaoWu and XiaoMo (小莫, his wife) of Alading (阿拉丁) were the last travel agents we went to, for we believed that we had found a reliable source for information and professional help that we needed.

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There are many travel agents in Lijiang Old Town.

After confirming on the impossibility of going to Meili on the next few days, Yik and I decided to go to Luku Lake (瀘沽湖), and were considering the tour package Alading offered. But, as funny as it may sound, XiaoWu suggested us not to join his tour. Through our conversation, XiaoWu had learned more about us and our travel style, and he believed that we would enjoy the freedom that traveling by ourselves brings more than joining a tour. He said, “It is quite simple to go around Luku Lake. I am sure you two can handle it. If you like, I can help you book the bus tickets.” And he did so with no extra handling fee, commission, etc.

Later, when we wanted to go to Meili Snow Mountain in the last minutes, we also called XiaoWu and XiaoMo for their comments on weather and road condition, as well as referral for driver to Meili (they referred us to a very good Tibetan driver – 扎西培楚).

Now, thinking more about this, I have just realized that Yik and I actually hadn’t bought any travel packages and such from XiaoWu and XiaoMo, but only kept calling them up, asking for advices and help.  And they were just so nice, treated us more like their friends than customers, and gave us help and suggestions anyways.

Thank you and best wishes to this newlyweds!

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Business card of XiaoMo (小莫) and XiaoWu (小武)

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李家院 (Lijiayuan) is the guesthouse that Yik and I stayed when we were in Lijiang. I first found it in 中国古镇网 (Here are recommendations of websites with info and reviews of guesthouses in China), then later, I learned more about it thru 李家院 (Lijiayuan)’s own website .

One picture says a thousand words. I like the many photos of the rooms 李家院 (Lijiayuan) has posted on its website. It makes one clear of what she will get from the guesthouse with the money she pays for. No unpleasant surprises :mrgreen:

Despite the seemingly innumerable guesthouses, restaurants, cafes and shops aimed exclusively at tourists, some old buildings and backstreets in Lijiang Old Town still make a nice place to stroll around – especially the further ones away from the center of the old town. And 李家院 (Lijiayuan) is one of these that stay away from the crowd.

It takes around 15 minutes to walk from Sifangjie (Square Street, 四方街) to the guesthouse. While both Yik and I enjoyed the peaceful and quiet time in there, I might consider somewhere less remote if I were travel alone. You can call me timid. But the neighborhood of the guesthouse is so quiet and dark, to a point that I will feel a little creepy if someone quietly shows up on the street when I am walking alone late at night.

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These are the people in 李家院: 阿夏麗 (Axiali), 林子 (Linzi), and 阿香 (Axiang). None of them is from Lijiang. While 阿夏麗is from Sichuan (四川) and 林子from Shenzhen (深圳),  阿香 is from Lijiang’s near-by neighbor town, The Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峽). They visited Lijiang and love the town so much that they decided to stay and live there. All of them are very friendly, easygoing people, who are willing to do more to accommodate their customers’ needs.

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It’s the customer service that I like the most about 李家院 (Lijiayuan), while the beautiful scenery from the balcony comes in a close second 😀

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Before my Yunnan (雲南) trip, I did some research online and decided to book a room for at least the first night of our trip.

There are 700+ guesthouses in Lijiang Old Town (雲南古城), with room price ranging from 30 rmb to 400+ rmb (this is the range for regular season, prices can get doubled during the national holiday season in October). With such a large pool to choose from, it could be difficult, especially when one has no idea of the living standard there. For example, an 80 rmb room in Huangyao (黄姚) could be very nice; yet, a room that costs the same in Shanghai could be unacceptably crappy.

But luckily, I found some helpful websites that have given me some useful information when I was making the decision. And here are two of them.

sozendotcom 中国古镇网
softimedotcn 阿溢灿

Sorry to those who can’t read Chinese, for both of the websites are in Chinese only.

Besides the seemingly-quite-reliable reviews given by previous customers, I especially like how both websites have posted many photos of the guesthouses.

Comparing the two, 中国古镇网 is much better developed, with a large database of guesthouses of not only Lijiang or Yunnan alone, but of 50+ other old towns in China. 阿溢灿, in contrast, is like a baby, with information and reviews of guesthouses of Lijiang and Shuhe (束河) only. But I like how it categorizes the guesthouses in different price ranges, making it easier to compare different guesthouses in the same price range.

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We tried several taxi drivers in our 4-day Sanya trip. We had both good and bad ones. And here I would like to recommend the ones that we had good experience with.

They are Mr. Cheung (張先生) and Mr. Choi (蔡先生) from Fujian (福建). They have moved to Hainan for more than 10 years already, now are partners and share a taxi together. For RMB 5000/mth, they rent a taxi and drive in shift.

When Yik and I were in their taxi, they were not pushy in giving and selling their sightseeing suggestions to us . Yik’s hometown is Fujian as well. So we are not sure if it was because of this fellow-townie relationship that made them so nice and easy on us.

But, anyways, we had a good time with them. We used their taxi a lot that day. So by the end of the day, we paid them RMB 150, with the extra RMB 50 as tips.

PS: If you are a Chinese, maybe you could pretend that you are a Fujianese who has moved out from Fujian since very young, and that’s why you couldn’t speak the language. Haha.

This is Mr. Cheung’s business card. The contact number of Mr. Choi is 13036067868.

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Tourguide: Kumar Pandey
Contact Address: POB No. 8974, CPC 251, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 0977-9841292381
Email: trekman_nepal@hotmail.com
Comment:
We didn’t have Kumar as our ABC trail trekking guide, but we met him afterwards when we were in the Durbar Square of Kathmandu. We didn’t especially want a tour guide that morning, but since Kurmar offered us an extraordinarily good deal of NRs 100, plus he looked fun and friendly, we accepted his offer. Kumar later told us that a scheduled protest of some kind that he had organized would start later that day. And because he was waiting and got a little bored, he wanted to find something to do. So he offered us such a good deal of being our tour guide, even without us asking and bargaining for one (we had other Nepalese offering us NRs 300 – 500).

Kumar speaks good English and is a Nepal government authorized guide. He is very experienced, and apparently, he has a very wide network of friends (he kept shaking hands and having small chat with those hanging around in the square). He is a fun guy. We had a good time with him 🙂

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