+86 28 8521 4086
 
info@absolutepanda.com
 
The Classic Birding Tour in China
 
Video Intro by the tour guide, Philip He
 
White-browed Laughingthrush

Situated in a sub-tropical climate, Sichuan is blessed with an impressive geological formation that stretches over 6500m in elevation, making it a fantastic birding destination. In the spectacular nature scenery, our Sichuan birding tour will cover diverse landforms, including farmland and rivers of the Sichuan basin, sub-tropical mountain forest like Qingcheng/ Emei and spectacular Tibetan Plateau mountain ranges of the west with their rolling grasslands, and the sub-alpine forest. The typical climate also promotes great birding. Lying in a biological transition zone where the East and Central Asian zones of the Palearctic border with the Indo-Malayan eco-zone, the birds here are a rich mix of temperate and sub-tropical species. Sichuan can boast some of the richest levels of biodiversity found in the Palearctic. For birders, the province is the best place you can see big number of game birds, laughingthrushes, parrotbills, nuthatches and forktails including a list of endemics such as  Chinese Monal, Chinese Grouse, Golden Pheasant, Sichuan Jay, Three-banded Rosefinch, Chinese Nuthatch, White-throated Redstart, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, and Sichuan Treecreeper.

While we are birding along the way in our classic birding tour, we have opportunities to see some of the rarest alpine flowers, fantasitic sceners, most incredible mammals, and visit some of the most featured minority group villages in the area.  Amdo and Jiarong are two of the branches of Tibetan who live in the western edge of Tibet Plateau in Sichuan. Birding in Tibetan nomadic area will give us great opportunities to learn about Tibetan culture in China, interact with the locals and even take some great photos of local Tibetans in their unique custome. The areas we are going to visit is always fullof irresistible allure and warm hospitality.

Highlights
 
•Encountering a great amount of Chinese endemic alpine birds;
•Birding in breathtaking nature environment;
•Viewing some of the rarest mammals in China.
•Visiting two unique Tibetan minority groups---Amdo and Jiarong. The latter one can only be found in Sichuan Province.

Advantages of travelling with AbsolutePanda
• Unmatched knowledge about local birds, flowers and mammals;
• Bilingual birding expert team who will assist you birding during the day and checking the birding list with you at night;
• Flexibility in planning itineraries for both professional and amateur birding;
• Many years of running high-end travel business, strong logistic supports;
• Skill of bring you highlights from food, scenery and local ethnical minority, not only birds;
• Unbeatable price for the same quality service;The more people join the less you pay.
• Small group size, no more than 10 people;
• Guaranteed departure, the minimum departure limit is only 1 people;
• Provide Western breakfast wherever it is possible and necessary.


 White-collared Yuhina



Green-backed Tit


 Running Blood Pheasant, male


  Black-necked crane
 

(MAY25) Day 1 Chengdu/Wolong 
Starting from Chengdu, we first pay a visit to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see pandas at different ages and local resident endemic birds before we venture northwest to Wolong National Nature Reserve. Wolong is so famous for being Panda’s hometown and the research center of giant panda. 


(MAY26-27) Day 2-3 Balang Mountain---Wolong Nature Reserve 
With an elevation of 4490m at the mountain pass and 3000meters at the mountain foot, Balang Mountain, as a part of the Wolong Nature Reserve, is a great birding spot with amazing diversity of alpine birds. While driving up to Mt. Balang Mountian and scanning birds along the way, you will have a big chance to see quite number of game birds, such as Chinese Monal, Blood Pheasant, Koklass, White Eared Pheasant, and Tibetan Partridge. Once a while, we will stop at some nice spot and walk along some deserted road or trail searching for birds. This place is great place to search for birds such as Grandala, Yellow Billed and Red Billed Chough, Golden Eagle, Lammergier, Firethroat, Giant Laughingthrush, a number of Rosefinches, both Plain and Mountain Finch, Snow Pigeon and Rubythroat. For those people we like flowers, their desire of seeing alpine flowers will be greatly satiated in Balang Mountain where you can find a huge number of different flowers blooming on the slopes by the side of the winding mountain road.
Overnight:Wolong Guest House
 
(MAY28) Day 4 Wolong Nature Reserve/Maerkang 
Today we drive to Maerkang (capital of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture) and will have a number of roadside birding on our way to Maerkang. The birds that we are looking include White-browed Tit warbler, Hill Pigeon, Wall Creeper,  Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, White-winged Grosbeak, Collared Grosbeak, Hodgson’s Resstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Sichuan Jay, Winter Wren, Maroon-backed Accentor, Himalayan Red-flanked Bluetail, White-throated Redstart, Verreaux’s Monal Partridge, Severtzov’s Grouse, Blood Pheasant, Black Woodpecker, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Greenish, Hume’s Leaf and Yellow-streaked Warblers, Goldcrest, Chinese Babx, Giant Laughingthrush, Chinese Fulvetta, Eurasian Treecreeper, Pink-rumped Rosefinch. 
Overnight: Maerkang Jinjinglong Hotel (4-star or similar)
 
(MAY29) Day 5 Mengbi Mountain---Maerkang
We will spend whole day looking for birds in different parts of famous Mengbi Mountain. In the morning, we first drive to the mountain pass of Mengbi Mountain standing at 4000 meter high. From there we slowly search down a long the main road. We will take some path into the forest to look for birds such as Blood Pheasant, Three-banded Rosefinch, Black Woodpecker and Chinese Fulvetta. If we take the previous high Mountain Balang Mountain as a man with steep peaks and grand views, Mengbishan can be taken as very beautiful lady with beautiful forest and winding road. Both place will give chances to get some great shoots beside seeing some nice narrowly distributed endemic birds if the weather cooperates. We will discover small, steep-sided valleys, where the willow scrub conceals Chinese Grouse, those who want easier birding will be able to scan alpine forest and high grassland from roadside. Our target birds today will include Sichuan Jay, White Eared-pheasant, Severtsov’s Grouse, Chinese Fulvetta, Long-tailed Thrush, Chinese Beautiful, Three-banded and Pink-rumped Rosefinches. The top of the pass is another location where we will have a another chance to see Chinese Monal while the forest below is good place for Crested Tit-warbler.
Overnight
Maerkang Jinjinglong Hotel (4-star or similar)
 
(MAY30) Day 6 Maerkang/Ruoergai 
Maerkang is around 360km away from our next destination---Ruoergai. It will be another day when we drive through the boundless Tibetan Plateau via Hongyuan is famous for vast grasslands. Today we will bird in grassland and wetlands in search of alpine birds and a big group of summer breeders including Black-necked Crane, a number of ducks, plovers, gulls and grebes. Today is also good time for us to look for Tibetan Partridge and Common Pheasant in their original habitats. We may see some mammals such as Himalayan marmot, Pika and wolves. If you like flowers, we can also find lots of alpine flowers blooming on the vast grasslands.
Overnight: Ruoergai Tibetan Sunshine (3-star)
 
(MAY31) Day 7 Ruoergai 
Like Hongyuan, Ruoergai owns a vast piece of grassland with dozens kinds of plateau wetland birds living there. 
 Ruoergai is a place of vast high-altitude grassland at an elevation of just under 4,000 meters. It is one of the most important habitat for summer breeders and therefore a fairyland for birding. We will drive different habitats in the very early morning in search of our target birds and possible mammals such as Tufted deer, and wolves. The numerous alpine ponds and lakes on the wetlands and lush virgin forest at the edge of the plateau serve as very important habitat for a great number of summer breeders and local resident birds including Black-necked Crane, numerous of ducks, grebes, gulls and plovers such as Ruddy shelduck, Ferruginous duck, Brown-headed and Pallas’s gulls, Whiskered tern, Sichuan tit, Pere David’s laughingthrush, Azure-winged maggpie, Dusky warbler and Citrine wagtail. Our first target bird for today is to search for Blue Eared pheasant, Chinese Grey shrike, and a number of Larks, including Horned lark, Tibetan lark and Oriental skylark. Ruoergai is also home to great number of raptors including Upland buzzard, Black kite, Himalayan vulture and Saker falcon. Living in harmony with those wildlife is another group of ethnic minority Amdo Tibetan. Amdo Tibetan minority is a nomadic group who pasture yak and horse on the large grassland for generations. Here we have chance to visit some Amdo nomadic tents and talk to the locals about to learn about their stories.
Overnight: Ruoergai Tibetan Sunshine Hotel (3-star)
 
(JUN1) Day 8 Ruoergai/ Jiuzhai Valley National Nature Reserve
We will leave very early in the morning as usual to make better use of the golden hours for birding, especially birding for pheasants. After searching half a day for birds in the virgin forest. We will drive about 3 hours toward one of the most beautiful nature reserves in China—Jiuzhai Valley. Stretching over 72,000 hectares in the northern part of Sichuan Province, the Jiuzhai valley reaches a height of more than 4,800 m, thus comprising a series of diverse forest ecosystems. Its superb landscapes are particularly interesting for their series of narrow conic karst land forms and spectacular waterfalls. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992; the park joined the Man and Biosphere Conservation Network in 1997 and has also received IUCN and ISO 14,001 accreditations.
Overnight: Jiuzhai Guibinlou Hotel (or similar)
 
(JUN2) Day 9 Jiuzhai Valley National Nature Reserve
We will explore a number of birding sites both inside and just outside this wonderful sanctuary. It is not allowed to take our own vehicles inside the park. We’ll use the reserve’s frequent shuttle bus services to explore a number of excellent birding sites. Rufous-headed robin is virtually unknown away from here, so we’ll spend time searching an area of mixed forest for this fabulous songster. Other species include Chinese nuthatch, Rusty-breasted and Sooty Tits, and the noisy Spotted laughingthrush, Himalayan Bush robin, Snowy-cheeked laughingthrush, and White-winged grosbeak.
Overnight
Jiuzhai Guibinlou Hotel (or similar)
 
(JUN3) Day 10 Fairy pool---Jiuzhai Valley Nature Reserve
Today we keep on birding in Jiuzhai Valley near the so called “Fairy Pools”. Hidden in the depth of the mountains, the Fairy Pools was just found quite recently and was developed into a scenic area by a local company called Jiuzhaigou Paradise. It is situated about 49 kilometers (30 miles) from the entrance to the Jiuzhai Valley National Park. On the way to the scenic spot you can get a great view of the winding road from upper part of the road with snow-capped mountains as background. The virgin forest on the way is also good place for flycatchers, tree creepers, nuthatches and laughingthrushes.
 
In Tibetan, the Fairy Pool Scenic Area is called Nen'en Sangcuo. It means a place where fairies bathe. The Fairy Pool Scenic Area comprises about dozens of alpine lakes and travertine pools in different sizes. Pools of various shapes and sizes are scattered throughout the lush forest. The most celebrated attractions are the Golden and Silver Beach, the Double-Dragon Pool, the Divine Frog Lake, the Blue Dragon Lake, the Kermes Brooklet and the travertine waterfalls. These are the artistic treasures fashioned by nature without any artificial elements.
Overnight
Jiuzhai Guibinlou Hotel (or similar)
 
(JUN4) Day 11 Jiuzhai—Tangjiahe Nature Reserve

Today we will have a long drive to our final destination in this trip, Tangjiahe Nature Reserve where we will spend two days looking for mammals and birds in panda habitats. The first mountain pass we will climb over is called Rhododendron Mountain. We will have some stops in the safe place along the roadside in search of Kessler's Laughingthrush, Blue Eared Pheasant, Chestnut-throated Partridge, Rosy Pipit and Collared Grossbeaks. En route, we can pay a visit to 400 year old monastery which was built by imitating the Forbidden City. In this monastery we will enjoy some of the best art works done by craftsmen over 400 years ago. The special wooden structure has enabled this monastery going through several very strong earthquake including the very strong and destructive one happened in 2008. 
Overnight
 Tangjiahe Grand Hotel
 
(JUN5) Day 12 Tangjiahe Nature Reserve 
We will birding  in the reserve and spend time exploring other wildlife.  We will hike  whole day in search of mammals, birds and fish. Giant panda, Sichuan takin, golden snub-nosed monkey, Asiatic black bear, Tibetan macaque, golden pheasant, Salamander, and the animals we search the day before, will be on our list of visiting. 
Overnight: Tangjiahe Grand Hotel
Meal: BLD


(JUN6) Day 13 Tangjiahe — Chengdu 
Morning birding at the reserve, then we drive about 6 hours back to Chengdu and drop you at your hotel.
Overnight: Chengdu
Meal: BLD


(JUN7) Day 14 Chengdu
We will arrange some easy birding in local parks, depending on your departing time. Then we will drop at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and you fly home.

We know that no trip can meet all the needs. This trip is only intended to show you the best birds, flowers, mammals  and local culture in a limited period of time. You know China is so big and there is so much to see. We are very happy to customize this trip so as to better meet your timing, budget and interests or arrange a private extension to explore China as you wish. Please contact us for more information.

Group Tour Participants: 2

Date 

2016 May25~Jun7

Price 




Date & Price notes 
1. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in US Dollars. Fees may be different due to different seasons.
2. The hotel and vehicle could be customized.
3. Dates may change and could also be customized.
1. General Questions
2. Pricing Questions
3.  Health & Safety Questions
4. Traveling in China, Before Arrival Questions
5. Traveling in China, After Arrival Questions

 

 

1. General Questions

 

a. Why should I choose AbsolutePanda?  

AbsolutePanda is the ONLY travel company in the world focused on pandas and other endangered animals in China, providing eco-friendly trips to gain comprehensive experiences and life-time memories. We are an experienced travel operator and the experts gather from varies field. We help our clients obtain better understanding of native animals, their habitats, and neighboring minority cultures through carefully-planned visits.

b. Can I see examples of past clients whom you have served?

You may visit TripAdvisor,  where we are proud to have 100% positive feedback as “Excellent”. You may also check our “testimonial”, “gallery” and “Videos”. 

c. Does the pandas still exist in the wild?

The Panda is a conservation-reliant endangered species. There are only about 1864 individuals living in the wild. However, we do have opportunities to spot wild pandas in the carefully selected natural sites. Giant Panda Breeding Base also offers a program in which people can interact with a captive panda after paying a certain amount of donation. 

2. Pricing Questions

 

a. How do I complete the reservation?

To make a reservation, a deposit of US$200 per person is required for trips less than 8 days, a deposit of US$500 per person is required for longer trips. Please be aware that the cost of transportation (airplane ticket, railway…) has to add up to the total amount of deposit, either paid by wire transfer or sent by Paypal. Complete payment is required 30 days prior to departure. For trips booked less than 30 days before departure, complete payment is required immediately. Tour prices are made on the basis of per person and double occupancy. If a customer fails to make full payment of the trip as stated above, AbsolutePanda reserves the right to cancel the tour and retain the deposit.  

b. What is included in the tour cost?
The quotation of tour cost can be varied. In general, the quotation includes the following:
• All land costs, as indicated in the itinerary.
• All accommodations on twin-bed room sharing basis.
• All admission fees and activity expenses including charges for special arrangements or permit as noted in the itinerary.
• All meals, as noted in the itinerary, and snack food, fruit, and drinking water.
• Services of a AbsolutePanda guide and complete logistic support
• Domestic flight between major cities.
• Provide continental breakfast in the rural area.
• Provide invitation letter for visa.
• Chinese domestic travel insurance (coverage of 100,000RMB)

 
c. What is excluded from the tour cost?
• International Flight
• Chinese Tourist Visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders.
• International SOS Emergency Evacuation Service Plan
• Meals not included in the itinerary and alcohol.
• Expenses of  a personal nature (e.g. mini bar, personal telecommunications, laundry, etc.)
• Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
For specific itineraries, please refer to the pricing tab associated with those trips. 
d. Can I request to buy my own domestic flight tickets?

You may purchase your own domestic flight tickets, but please be aware to avoid restricted discount tickets. Those tickets are typically non-changeable once they are issued, and may result in unforeseen complications.  
e. Is travel insurance needed and accounted for in the AbsolutePanda cost?     
Although AbsolutePanda will buy Chinese domestic insurance for every clients, we strongly suggest all travelers purchase an International SOS Service Plan through AbsolutePanda, which provides for emergency evacuation to the nearest medical facility of international standards.

 

 

3. Health & Safety Questions

a. Can you accommodate allergies and food preferences?

Yes, AbsolutePanda team is very serious about the enjoyment of meals and choice of restaurants, because we take each meal as a chance to show you a unique local cooking culture, and regard it as vital part of our trip quality. All restaurants will be carefully picked and all the allergy information will be properly handled. For people who are allergic to certain items, we will avoid any chance of contacting those items in our arrangement. Generally, we request restaurant chefs to not use MSG to dishes.  For travelers who have severe allergies, please consult their physician prior to traveling. Please inform us if you are allergy to specific food, such as peanuts, fish, or shellfish, so that our guides can be prepared and arrange restaurants ahead of time. 

b. What kinds of altitudes do travelers experience?

The altitudes is under 1000 meters for regular city tours in chengdu. However, to seek endemic animals and attractions away from the city, our tours may experience altitudes above 3,000 meters. Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS) may occurs to some travelers, resulting in fatigue, headache, nausea and loss of appetite. Our itineraries are carefully crafted to ensure travelers have plenty of time to rest and adjust to the altitude. 

4. Traveling in China, Before Arrival Questions

 

a. How do I get a visa? What kind of visa should I get?

Nearly all foreign visitors to China will need a tourist visa. You may contact the Chinese Embassy in your area. Please note that travelers from certain countries, including the U.S., are now required to submit a letter of invitation with their visa application. If needed, AbsolutePanda will be happy to provide this letter after you have completed your booking.

b. What inoculations should I get before visiting China?

You may wish to refer to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides a comprehensive list of recommended immunizations prior to traveling in China: http://www.cdc.gov/travel

c. What kinds of toiletries should I bring?

Be aware most of restrooms doesn't provide toilet paper in China. We recommend that you can bring your own toiletries if you favor in particular brand. It is very useful have hand sanitizer during outdoor journey. We will send you a handbook with a suggested packing list in PDF format prior to your departure.  

d. What kinds of medications or medical supplies should I bring?

During the trip, AbsolutePanda will have a general first aid kit. We also recommend that you can bring antibacterial ointment, antihistamines, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrheal medication (Loperamide), insect repellent containing DEET, hydrocortisone cream for itches, Ibuprofen or other pain-relievers, and sunscreen (30+ protection factor). 

e. Are there baggage weight limits while traveling by air within China?

Yes, the luggage limit is 20 kg (~44 lbs) per person for economy-class flights.

 

 

5. Traveling in China, After Arrival Questions

 

a. What is the state of the restrooms in China?

There are seat-toilets available in most of hotels, but be aware that squat-toilets are very common in public restrooms. You may also want to bring some toilet paper to the areas where hygiene condition are subpar. 

b. How easy is it to change currencies upon arrival?

It is quite easy, you may change the currencies in the international airports, large banks, and hotels. China is still very much a cash-based economy, so major credit cards are only accepted at few locales.

c. Are there any restrictions on photography?

China is a very photogenic country. Most people are very comfortable being photographed. Ask first if you have any doubt, photography could be prohibited in some temples, monasteries, and museums. It is prohibited in all military bases.

d. Is it safe to drink tap water in China?

Tap water is not safe to drink in China. AbsolutePanda provides bottled water throughout the journey, and we allow restaurants to serve only purified water.

Only Good Travel Agency We've Ever Worked With. Phenomenal!”

All of my previous experiences with travel agents/tour planners have been unmitigated disasters at one end and massive disappointments with added inconvenience on the other. Absolute Panda was the first exception and thank all the travel the gods for that.We contacted them on short notice (just under 3 weeks) and during a busy time, with most of the guides already committed to other travelers. The team still managed to get something put together in time for us to get our expedited visas and locked up a great guy named "Leo" to be our guide.Leo may have not known all the names of the birds we saw, but he knew the sights and their history well, freely providing detailed historical anecdotes with precise dates and other added insights. At one point, my DSLR camera body had an error that I couldn't clear and he was able to find an authorized Nikon repair shop that was open and, with just a 90 minute detour, we were able to get it fixed and not miss out on any of our planned activities.Another thing we greatly appreciated (and it was one of the most grievous failings of the previous companies) was that they really listened to what we asked for, which was to fill our days from early start to late finish. When things ran short, Leo was always able to find another interesting stop or location to check out.Even though Philllip was with another group during our visit, he still found time to check in with us and make sure we had everything we needed and that we were happy with the service. Our driver was a little quiet, but always polite and professional.The only negative point is the whole payment by direct bank transfer thing, which is sadly standard practice across all the Asian countries we have visited, so it can't and shouldn't be held against them.I unreservedly and enthusiastically recommend Absolute Panda and Phillip's team to anyone considering a trip to the shockingly beautiful country of the Sichuan Province. It was worth every cent and then some. I find it highly improbable that there is a better company to work with in the entire region.
                                                                                                             ---- guest from India

“The Genuine Chine by a very high professional service”
 
We were interested in travelling through China in a personalized and flexible way, being sure to be safe and avoiding any “banal touristic places”. Last but not least, we would like met pandas and interact with them.
We found Absolute Panda on Trip Advisor and we read the excellent opinions on them. So we wrote to Philip He. Since the first contact, Absolute Panda met our expectations fully. We were positive impressed about Absolute Panda proactive and custmer oriented approach: before our leaving, Philip tried to understand our needs and expectations, and then sent us a detailed and personalized trip plan, that excited us immediately. Later we were invited to fulfill a form, by e.mail, with our food requirements and some information.
 
Since our arrival at Chengdu airport and for the whole trip, we had a guide and a driver at our disposal and we travelled with them for about 15 days in the Sichuan zone, seeing wonderful natural places, the authentic Chines and Tibetan villages, far away from the usual western touristic routes. Being in a personalized tour, we were flexible to see and stop wherever we liked.
Yang, the guide during our first part of the trip, was an excellent birdwatcher and showed us plenty of birds, even rare; but most of all, he was a competent trip manager, very proactive to anticipate our needs and authentically friend with us. So we completely enjoyed our trip, feeling among “competent and sincere friends”.
On the other hand, Philip, who took us during our second week, is very expert about Chinese and Tibetan History, cooking traditions and social matters: thanks to him we could better understand and appreciate a such complex and “western different” Country like China. Philip is also an excellent photographer, trip manager able to face up with difficult situations, that otherwise may treats some trips. He’s very helpful in many ways (he even lent us his personal photocamera, more professional than ours, and, last but not last, took for us some wonderful photos ). 
Lastly, Absolute Panda fully met our expectations at same as regard as the hotels, the restaurants and all the other services (experienced driver, clean and comfortable car, …): all was the best possible, according to the local standards, at a fair price.
We really thank Absolute Panda for having introduced us the Authentic China and having allowed us to loving it. 
We would like to come back to China, specially to the Tibetan zone, and, sure, will be with Absolute Panda again!
                                                                                                                      ---Serena from Italy

 
“Qinling Mountain village/birding trek”

My husband and I wanted to visit a specific, remote region of the Qinling Mountains, hiking, birding and exploring traditional villages. We contacted Absolute Panda and received an immediate, enthusiastic response from Philip, our guide and the founder of the company. Right away, he asked several questions about our priorities and our abilities, and promised to cater a trip within our budget. Over the course of several months, he was in touch often, updating us on his research of the area, asking questions about preferences, and alerting us to possible inconveniences along the way (such as there being no toilet facilities, permit restrictions, etc.). It was very clear that he wanted this trip to be the best for us that it could be.# And it was! From the moment we arrived at the airport, Philip was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. He scouted the area before we arrived and established relationships with villagers that made all the difference. For a week, he showed us a region that few foreigners have seen and was so attuned to our experience, that he made several adjustments without us even having to ask. In this way, within a day, he was able to perceive the balance of hiking and birding that we preferred. He was also very cautious as a baseline, but willing to be adventurous when we wanted to be. He dealt easily and effectively with the inevitable quarrelsome officials, and was a tireless, wonderful translator as we weaved our way from village to village, asking questions and sharing meals with villagers.# What really makes Philip and Absolute Panda stand apart from other great tour services, is their perception of travelers’ needs and flexibility. Philip could tell from early on that my husband and I were very adventurous and willing to stray from the detailed itinerary he had sent beforehand if unique opportunities arose. In this way, he suggested small alterations, such as a visit to a local sorghum vinegar factory and an evening making dumplings with a village family, that proved to be highlights of the trip. And I know that if we were the type of people who wanted to stick strictly with the itinerary, he would have done so, happily.# Philip certainly knows his birds, and moves so easily between the roles of birding expert, hiking guide, translator and trip manager. He was an equally wonderful guide to the city, showing us X’ian for a day and even treating us to a blind massage in the Muslim Quarter after days of roughing it in the mountains. All the staff he hired along the way (drivers, hosts, local guides) were competent, lovely people, all of whom we remember fondly. Four months after our trip, we still miss Philip, as a guide and friend, and are hoping to take another trip with him soon. We know that wherever we choose, he’ll make it fantastic.
                                         ---- Zuma.Z from US

 

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