Why we wouldn’t ever use G Adventures again
We booked our Essential China tour through Trailfinders with G Adventures, just in case you were thinking of doing the same here’s the complaint letter we’ve sent requesting compensation Xx
Here is my previously sent breakdown of the many organisational issues that we endured during the 21 day G Adventures Essential China tour with additions at the bottom.
- orientation walk: was simply a walk to a restaurant for a communal dinner we were not told about, so several people had already eaten. If you’re planning a communal dinner, say so
- No map of locale. In 10 months continuous travelling only one hotel had no map available of local places of interest, closest bank, store etc. G Adventures should provide local maps and tube maps for each city, can be photocopies so the cost is minimal or even from local tourist office so free
- Chong Wen Men Hotel
- No air conditioning
- No hot water for the first 2 days
- Cabbage smelling bathroom
- Day 3
- Told specifically we did not need our passports, yet when we arrived at Tianamen Square, if we wanted to see Chairman Maos mausoleum we did need them and could not go in as we did not have them
- No map of the forbidden city provided so we had no idea of the scale to plan our visit
- Hard sleepers with 6 beds and no doors and hole in the floor loos are not standard, they are basic
- We should not have to pay for tube and bus journeys on scheduled visits
- Day 5:
- Orientation walk then bizarre time to walk around massive shops in Nanjing road would be much better spent going to the Museum
- No map of Shanghai
- Day 6:
- Museum then really short time at the bazaar could be longer if the museum was the day before. Instead of planning to go to the observation deck early and having to wait hours for dusk why not go just before dusk and watch the lights come on
- Day 7:
- Again a lot of waiting around in hotel foyer and yet another open carriage hard sleeper
- Day 8:
- Xian: due to the change in schedule we’ve lost almost 24 hours here and the visit to the Muslim quarter is now shoved between cycling the wall and the dumpling banquet giving hardly any time to explore this wonderful place and no point snacking as you’re going to a dumpling banquet at 6! Also no time to see the Mosque, Drum or Bell Tower that GA tell us we will see and again no map.
- Xian hotel
- stained dirty carpet
- no fridge
- no divider between loo and shower, is a hostel not a hotel!
- Offered new room with equally scuzzy bathroom and unclean floor.(photos of mouldy bath mat included here)
- Day 9:
- Rushed around the terracotta warriors then sat for huge lunch and then sat in hotel foyer for several hours, again, perhaps don’t rush one of the tour highlights plan a light lunch and a group dinner to better spend the time and leave us less hanging about time. Several people said they would have bought things at the museum shop had they not been rushed.
- Short flight replaced by 18hr train ride, that is NOT an overnight journey that is an entire night AND day journey and in totally unacceptable entirely open carriages. No individual lights, no way of turning off loud music at 6.30am, disgusting loos
- Day 10:
- All day on train arrived 5.30pm and drove to Monastery, at dinner hardly anything I could eat despite Joanna knowing I am allergic to chilli, suggested I try the English menu next time
- We booked into a local hotel after seeing the damp incredibly basic monastery accommodation which is also five in a room dormitory accommodation, public shared showers and an outside hole in the floor toilet block, none of which is mentioned in the pre purchase information.
- Day 12:
- Additional night in monastery dormitory added to itinerary. Surely better to have NOT taken a night from Xian or added a night in Beijing or Shanghai
- Day 13:
- Another day wasted in all day travel to absolute horror of a hotel
- snot on wall
- mould around sink
- god knows what in bath, disgusting
- Exposed wiring in bathroom
- At 8.30pm after our hotpot dinner we are told to go to the supermarket and get food for breakfast lunch AND dinner tomorrow as we leave at 7.10am and after having done so there was food at every meal time available in the locations we were at
- Day 14-16:
- The boat was lovely and I understand that the last minute schedule change cutting our time in Xian was made to cut money to put towards a better boat as most travellers had complained that the boat previously used had ruined their vacation it was so awful. Great for the boat, shame they cut much needed time in Xian and added a super cheap night in Mount Emei to accommodate the change
- Day 17
- All day and night travel on train, billed as overnight
- Day 18
- The coach to Yangshuo did not take the much more direct expressway but meandered around for four hours stopping at the most primitive rest stop I’ve ever seen. Not even a hole in the floor but a poo covered trench. At this point we temporarily left the scheduled tour to go to Hong Kong rather than sit in wet Yangshuo and possibly do nothing for 48 hours and with help from Helena of China Adventure paid for our early transport to Hong Kong after arriving in the pouring rain in Yangshuo to find our cases soaked from the trunk of the coach and to be told both the lightshow and cycling were likely to be cancelled due to the rain, but that it always rains there, really? was any forethought or planning put into this?
All of the overnight sleeper trains were in hard sleeper open shared carriages with 60 other people, this is in no way standard accommodation but incredibly basic, with a 15 hour journey costing about £20 per person. Even if the lack of privacy were ok, which it was not, you are unable to do anything other than lie on the narrow bunks, they are too small even for the shortest of person to sit up and as two of the journeys lasted all day and night, which was not made clear in any of the paperwork, we were left huddled on the bottom bunk for hours at a time. The washroom facilities were highly unsanitary, clearly this has been done as a cost cutting measure although soft sleepers are not that much more expensive. We should have been told what the level of accommodation was being used on the trains was like, as we would not have signed up to a tour using open carriage hard sleepers.
On several occasions after many many hours of travelling we arrived in a new city to join the taxi queue, split into groups of three, be given strips of paper to the next destination and on two occasions our driver had no idea where to go following another driver and on the second occasion none of the drivers knew where to go almost depositing us some distance from our actual destination, it was a very stressful farce.
In both the monastery and Hong Kong my husband and I were given twin beds instead of a double, surely married people have the expectation of sharing a bed together?
Even on the most cheap and basic tours across Asia we have been given water on a daily basis, the lack of that and that Breakfast is not included anywhere is amazing, we’ve travelled in SEA for 10 months and stayed in good clean accommodation WITH breakfast for an average of 20£ a night, yet no breakfasts included here for vastly more a night.
Attached are the many photos from the 3 main let downs in terms of hotels, The Xian, Chengdu and Hong Kong hotels, all of which were dirty and mouldy, which is extremely unpleasant as well as extremely hazardous. We paid an awful lot of money not to spend our time in crappy accommodation and on such poor transport and it is upsetting that our long looked forward to China experience was so rushed, poorly executed and downright shoddy.
We kept trailfinders, our tour CEO apprised of our issues all the way along and China Adventures have said that we need to request compensation for the shortcomings in our G Adventures essential china tour from Trailfinders as we booked with you. I’ve sent a few emails asking who and how we would go about seeking compensation but had no response to any of them. We did not pay for nor have sold to us a bargain basement tour but this is what we have received.
…I am sure we’ll have a battle on our hands despite the dozens of photos we have showing the grossness, but whether we get compensation or not, knowing our experience might save someone else wasting their money Xx
UPDATE May 2016: G Adventures have refunded us a third of the trip price each admitting there were failings. We are still seeking further compensation as the trip was out and out awful and we think they should either charge WAY less for what they actually offer – poop 😉 Xx