This information is now combined with POTTY PROTOCOL, etc.
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Your National Guide will follow the his/her bus group throughout the whole tour and will have selected an English first name to make it easy on you. It is our experience that Asia Holiday hires only the best of the best for this position and it is very competitive. Our experience is that they work their hearts out for you to serve and please you. Many of you will find you will want to adopt yours and bring him or her home with you.
When your National Guide gives you the next morning’s departure schedule (at the end of each evening), please make every effort to be on time - ON the bus and READY to go by or before that departure time - otherwise you may cause the bus to be late. Be sure that you get the word to your National Guide if you will NOT be joining your group that day for any reason otherwise the whole bus may be waiting for you in vain.
Try to rotate the seating each day so that everyone has the opportunity to sit in front, in the middle and in the rear to be fair to all. It is smart to keep whatever seat you take first thing each day for the rest of the day so you can leave things on the bus at your seat as needed when you are out touring. Please take note that the Local or City Guide will be giving you information throughout the bus rides to each place. Therefore, the bus rides are not a great time for private chit chat since it will make it hard for others to hear what is being said if the guide is competing with you. The bus rides are usually not very long between points and rarely will reach two hours at the very most. The 45-to-48 passenger buses normally have only 30 people aboard. They are not equipped with restrooms. We are all human, so if you have an emergency, let someone know to see what can be done about it.
In summary: ****PLEASE be on time - or early - for bus departures! It holds up the whole group when you are late. Our sightseeing schedules are very full and delays really compromise the wonderful plans of the tour guides. The buses have the right to leave on time … with or without you! Also, try to switch around where you sit each day and do not hog the front seats or the rear ones. Rotate as well as you can without any formal plan (too cumbersome) unless your bus votes to work out its own plan. Let everyone have a chance at a good seat at some point and share the fun! One last thought - you will be amazed at the skill of the bus drivers they are phenomenal.
Your National Guide will hand out hotel room “keys” on the bus as we approach each new hotel for our first arrival there. You will be asked to surrender your passport overnight on your first arrival at the hotel in Shanghai. Many countries in Europe hold onto your passport throughout your stay, but here they will make copies for the records to use for all the other hotels in hopes of not needing to do this again. We are always assigned non-smoking floors. You will not see them vacuum your room on a daily basis but they will take care of all the linens and clean the bathrooms. This is standard in all hotels and also on the cruise ship. Vacuuming only occurs between check-out and check-in. It is not unusual for there to be a doorbell outside your room for hotel rooms in China. Often there is a center console between 2 beds that gives you control for turning on and off everything in the room. Your hotel plastic card “key” is often used to place in a holder inside the main door of your hotel room to allow the electricity to be on or off. When you leave to have breakfast at each hotel or leave to tour, removing your card will turn off all electricity automatically. We have discovered that placing a business card behind the plastic hotel room keycard in that slot - and then removing the hotel keycard will sometimes fool this system and allow lights, etc., to remain on which may come in handy if at any time the hotel provides only one keycard per room with two occupants (this is happily a rare occurrence).
All rooms are checked for damaged, broken, or missing items (including items for sale in the room) before they allow our buses to depart after check-out from each hotel. Please be careful about availing yourselves of things that may appear to be free in the hotel rooms. Anything that is missing that is a charged-for item will be counted and a list will be presented to us for payment along with the room number(s) involved and you will get embarrassed! If you decide you want to buy something that is in the room (NOT recommended), be sure to go to the hotel desk to settle your bill well before departure time and get and KEEP a receipt as proof. Also if you break anything and settle that bill well before check-out, be sure to get and keep a receipt of that as well.
Most hotels will have one bottle of water per person for free waiting for you. If the bottle of water has a tag on it, it is NOT free and is probably an upscale brand for sale. The charge for broken or damaged items is quite high in our opinion, but the occupant of the room will be expected to pay the full amount before any of us can leave.
If you avail yourself of the Internet, either in-room or through the Business Center, please be sure to settle that bill well in advance of a departure (night before or early morning of the day we check out of each hotel).
Beds in China are often notoriously hard even in many of the 5-star hotels. The new hotel in Shanghai has bragged about their better, softer, more Westernized mattresses, but the rest may be tough on some of you (& me) Larry LOVES these, though. You may want to bring along a sleeping aid if this situation will cause you difficulty sleeping. I use the “1st Class Sleeper” I purchased from Magellan’s blown up a little bit to soften the situation. You can also ask for an extra blanket and/or pillow, etc., to use as padding underneath you. The cruise ship is supposed to offer extra duvets on request to use underneath you since their beds are by far the HARDEST of all. I also recommend that you bring some ear plugs not only to ward against a snoring roommate but also to insulate you should there be 24-hour construction going on near the hotel not common but still possible as they continue to modernize rapidly.
If you have difficulty controlling the temperature or air flow in your room or can’t figure out how to work the controls for that or anything else, call the hotel front desk and they can send someone up to help you. In some cases, a window can be opened if it is too warm, but outside noise and smells may make that less than wonderful. Sometimes, a portable fan can be provided. Our tour occurs when the weather is no longer very cold but not yet too warm, so we fall into a period when the weather outside is very temperate but the hotel rooms can be warmer than desired since the air conditioning system is usually not activated yet.
If you are given an unsatisfactory room, again call the front desk to see if you can be switched. This is not always possible especially if the hotel is full. I will want to know of any major problems you encounter as they are rare and I want to make sure these problems are passed along for correction. Your National Guide will be able to help you in many of these situations better than Larry or I can since they are all fluent in Chinese .....
This page last updated August 3, 2010