The Bottom Line
- Very willing staff to help you and guide you through decision-making.
- Branches across China so you're dealing with the same company in most places you visit.
- Quick response time for questions and feedback, usually within the same day.
- Our Qingdao Guide was knowledgeable, friendly and patient (we had 3 kids and a baby along)
- It might be difficult to get off the beaten path with this company.
- Tour Company Name: China Odyssey Tours
- Contact Details: China Odyssey Tours Contact Info
- Location: the company operates out of its main headquarters in Guilin. Their hours of operation are 9am-5pm (China timezone).
- Best way to contact: I advise contacting them primarily through email.
Guide Review - Qingdao with China Odyssey Tours - A Review of Their Services
When I told China Odyssey Tours that I would be traveling with kids, they had some good suggestions. One was a tour of Guilin that included cycling between the karst mountains and paddy fields, bamboo rafting down the Yulong River, rock climbing, mud bathing and kayaking. Their suggestions for Xi’an included learning peasant painting, making jiaozi, visiting cave dwellings and cycling the ancient wall. These are fantastic ideas if your kids are over 8 or so. Mine at the time of writing are 5 years (my son) and 5 months (my daughter) so unfortunately we can’t be quite so active.
In the meantime I had decided on Qingdao. To give them credit, Odyssey Tours warned me that it might be difficult for them to put together a good guide and itinerary based on the fact that the Qingdao boat show and International Beer Festival were both on the weekend of our trip.
Despite the warning, Odyssey Tours had within a day or two several suggested itineraries that included things that they thought our children would enjoy. Climbing Mt. Laoshan was one (going by the easy route up the mountain), seeing some of the old colonial architecture (my personal request), visiting some of the most famous beaches (fun for kids). In the end, despite their offer of filling full our 4 days there, we opted for touring one full day and one half day given our want of free time and downtime with the kids.
Our group consisted of two adult friends, 3 kids, one baby and me. Our appointed guide and driver were very friendly. The guide, when our kids managed to let him get a word in, was very knowledgeable about the area even though he wasn’t originally from Qingdao. He probably could have told us a lot more than he was allowed (kids aren’t very good at listening to history) but he was very kind and sympathetic to the fact that we weren’t a typical group. He was flexible, which is something that is difficult sometimes for guides. For example, during our visit to the famous Qingdao pier that makes the illustration on a Tsingtao beer bottle, the crowds were so thick we couldn’t walk. While we were discussing what to do, our kids decided to crawl down the embankment to the beach to look for shells. Our guide took it in stride and put the tour on hold until our kids were finished hunting.
Using a tour company has 2 components. One is the planning component and if you’ve got someone helping you who has good suggestions and is willing to work with you and your needs, then this is a sign of a good agency. China Odyssey Tours scores very high here. The other aspect is your guide and with any tour, you could be in a great location with a bad guide or a bad location with a great guide. This will color your tour significantly. We enjoyed our guide and thought he did well despite our last-minute changes and needs.
My tour during my trip to Qingdao was complimentary and I thank China Odyssey Tours for arranging it.