Personal Testimonials from 2014

After another successful and busy summer season on the trains, we have collated the feedback sent to our friendly Beijing office staff.

 



We were all commenting on how professional and easy it was working with you both, so thank you.

Carol Saab, Oct 2014

From: "Carol Saab"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 22 October, 2014 12:55:19 PM
Subject: Re: Travel Voucher and tickets

Thanks Andy.

I just wanted to say thank you for all your help with our tickets. We met a fellow traveller on the train out of Beijing who also used your services. We were all commenting on how professional and easy it was working with you both, so thank you.

The trip is going great. We're at Tobolsk where it's -17degrees C outside. We're just working up the courage to head out to the Kremlin.

I did get your email. The day we headed out to attempt at least 15km of the Great Baikal Trail it snowed heavily. We weren't dressed for it and turned back at the 3km mark. Ha. Got to love travelling.

Best
Carol



The guides helped us to learn so much more than we would have done if we had just been on our own

Hannah Bedard, Oct 2014

From: "Hannah Bedard"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 5:17:19 AM
Subject: RE: Trip Feedback

Hey Andy,

Thanks for your email - here are some of our thoughts about the experience as well as a couple of photos attached.

The Polny was a perfect package for us - a perfect balance of hand-holding and independent travel. The local guides in each place were excellent - in particular Natalia in Yekaterinburg, Anatoly in Krasnoyarsk and Dennis in Ulan Ude. They really helped us to learn so much more about the country and each place that we visited than we would have done if we had just been on our own. As we had limited time in each place this was especially important as they helped us make the most of our experience there. Booking the trip was simple - communication was prompt and all our questions were answered. Andy was great in helping us put together an itinerary based on our requirements and requests. The info pack we were sent before the trip was really useful in helping us to prepare for it although some of the specific city/destination info could do with being updated.

Thanks again!

Hannah and Jeff

Mongol Warriors in Ulan Ude

Mongol Warriors in Ulan Ude

Excellent hiking in Stolby National Park

Hiking around Krasnoyarsk

 

 

The atmosphere in Kashgar is quite different from anywhere else we’ve been in China - the people, the buildings, the food, the smells, all fascinating ..

Clare Whately, Sep 2014

From: "Clare Whately"
To: "Andy Monkey Business"
Sent: Thursday, 16 October, 2014 9:25:40 PM
Subject: our wonderful Silk Road trip

Dear Andy

First of all thank you very much for making all the arrangements - train tickets, accommodation, guides, drivers, contact info - all worked pretty well. And special thanks for being at the end of the mobile for texting when I was worrying about things. All most helpful and reassuring. Until we reached Kashgar, we saw no other westerners which made us feel rather intrepid!

The Tang Dynasty Art Garden Hotel in Xi'an was heaven. The overnight train to Urumqi went well. The train food was better than we’d expected and the carriage guards and dining car waitresses were friendly and helpful and the hotel in Urumqi was just ok, like the city. We were only there overnight in 'transit' - just enough to get an impression of a soulless busy city of high-rise buildings.

The atmosphere in Kashgar is quite different from anywhere else we’ve been in China - the people, the buildings, the food, the smells, all fascinating. We were met by a delightful 21 year old student who was neither Uyghur nor chinese but Tungan, we learnt a lot from him about life there. He took immense trouble. The Sunday market was another major highlight - we only saw one other western couple - just Uyghurs doing deals, bringing their animals to market, buying, selling, eating, drinking tea, talking, riding - complete hubbub and no notice taken of us. Ishmael took us to good restaurants - some simple local, some smarter - but we were the only westerners everywhere.

In Kyrgyzstan, our guide has been running the show here for the last five years. Very professional, thoughtful, helpful, kind - pretty perfect. I think Tricia was happy with the horse riding and thought I was rather pathetic! My horse was carrying packs on either side as well as me which made it hard to kick - necessary to get him to move. I stayed behind on the second day with the shepherd’s family which I loved. I played with their children, tried to talk to the mother and grandmother, watched them deal with yak, goats, sheep, cattle, horses, and cooking. So this was good. the family stayed in their own brick house. We were looked after by local shepherds and had terrific meals with them - Abdish translating. Thoroughly enjoyable and as good as it could have been given that it was too late in the year for the shepherds to be still living up there. Abdish really did the best he could for us.

All in all you have done a wonderful job for us - nothing went wrong! It was so great to be able to travel around on our own, to meet local people without any tour leader between us and them, to decide what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.

Clare Whately, Sep 2014

The border crossing into Uzbekistan was hot and dusty with only one guard checking papers. Thank goodness Imish had insisted we left early. In Ferghana we had a wonderful hotel with a huge swimming pool and we had a room each here - luxury. The Silk Factory too was strange - firstly elderly women, cross-legged in steaming, bad-smelling rooms stirring cauldrons of cocoons and winding silk onto machines, through to dyeing rooms, then carpet-weaving until finally a spotless shop with smart men serving beautifully folded silk items. Extraordinary difference in atmosphere within two hundred yards. In Tashkent, our lovely guide, Maria, arrived at 12 noon and took us to a good buzzing restaurant with excellent plov. An afternoon of mausoleum, madressa and the Museum of Applied Arts which Maria knew a lot about and was terrific. The hotel in Bukhara was great, brilliantly placed on the Lyabi Hauz square and small but good room which opened directly onto the courtyard. A small cafe outside the hotel on the square turned out to be a good meeting, resting point. Our guide, Venus, was chatty and nice. We loved Bukhara - great place to wander, explore, discover on your own. In Samarkand our guide Faruh was good - professional and full of information, on the extra day he took us to Ulugbek’s Observatory which was fascinating - especially as well-guided as we were.

All in all you have done a wonderful job for us - nothing went wrong! It was so great to be able to travel around on our own, to meet local people without any tour leader between us and them, to decide what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. Yet you’d made all the important and possibly difficult and time-consuming decisions - train tickets, accommodation, guides, drivers, riding - so we could just enjoy the travels, the journeys, the people, the places, the museums, buildings and local culture.


 

From: "Harry Vos"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 7:55:48 PM
Subject: Re: Moscow Itinerary

Hello Andy,
Happy to report that I got my Belarus visa today. The guide was a great help. Could not have done it without him.
The train journey was something special too.
Thank you for your help.
Harry



From: "Gerald Cadogan"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 12:00:10 AM
Subject: Our trip

Dear Andy,

A line to say Thank you very much for all your hard work in making the arrangments for a splendid trip, albeit too short for those who joined in Tashkent. Bukhara was the highlight, where we'd gladly have stayed another day. Samarkand was fascinating, and Tashkent grew on us.

All in all, we had a terrific time and, thanks to you, all could not have gone more easily.

All best wishes,

And very many thanks from us both,

Gerald



I travelled with you guys on a June 1995 Beijing-Moscow trip and stopped off for a home stay in Siberia. Wild.

Louisa Robb, June 1995!

From: "louisa robb"
To: monkeyshrine
Sent: Wednesday, 1 October, 2014 12:33:49 AM
Subject: louisa robb: Trans-Siberian Enquiry

Hi there - I travelled with you guys on a June 1995 Beijing-Moscow trip and stopped off for a home stay in Siberia. Wild. Anyway, i married one of the guys I met on the trip. Cool eh? Yes, a monkey marriage, and two fast growing up monkeys (12 and 9).

We were 12 and all got along SOOO well. 7 of us are still in contact. 2 we would like to find again for a 20 year reunion.

Departure from Beijing was JUNE 13 1995. We were a group of 12 and we had the first days together up to and including Mongolia. After the stay in Mongolia two people flew out (Jennifer Farrell, now Cordon from Canada, and John Ross from NZ).

The remaining 5 of us split into two groups - those who did the Listvyanka homestay and those who went straight through to Moscow on the travelling bazaar.

When we got on the train again we teamed up with some cool Americans who were coming from Vladivostok. 23 JUNE we started on the Baikal train from Irkutsk to Moscow.

What I know:
Louisa Robb - Zurich
Thomas Frauenlob - Zurich
Reto Peczinka - Zurich
Ben Edwards - Melbourne
Steven Bettens - Oudenaarde
Marjan Beugnies - Oudenaarde
Jennifer Farrell (Cordon) - Toronto

What is missing:

Becky Moss - England …
Paul Caller - England …
John Ross - NZ…
Stephen and Tom from Sweden / Germany?
Mal Jiganti?
Jennifer?
Rachel?

I know this will all be before you had records on computers and the like, but wondered if you had ANY files from back then? Thanks SOO much in advance.

Memories from 2005 Trans Siberian

Group at Beijing train station

Memories from 2005 Trans Siberian

Dancing in the streets

 

 


 

From: "Robyn Nelson"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Saturday, 6 September, 2014 10:01:48 AM
Subject: Re: Questions

PS. In terms of pre-trip organisation - best travel service ever! We have been travelling as a family since 1992 and I have never felt in more capable hands. Thank you.

Robyn


 

Thank you so much for your help throughout the last few months, you’ve been a huge help with our production!

Tom Cross, Sep 2014

From: "Tom Cross"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Friday, 5 September, 2014 4:46:03 PM
Subject: RE: Final Details

Hi Andy,

So far so good on the trip! Thank you so much for your help throughout the last few months, you’ve been a huge help with our production!

Many thanks,
Tom

[If Joanna's previous show, where she travelled to the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis), is anything to compare, Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Journey ought to be amazing. The start of Joanna's journey was also by train. Watch it on YouTube ,Ed]



I like quite much that the guides were not pressing but open to discuss the political situation – for me, that was also a very different insight

Katja Breitinger, Sep 2014

From: "Katja Breitinger"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Friday, 5 September, 2014 3:48:05 PM
Subject: AW: UEW / Back from the railroad

Dear Matt, dear Neil,

I want to inform you that everything went well and thank you once again for all your efforts to facilitate this great trip.

I’m just talking with my mother – we both liked it very much and what we would recommend to the next travelers.

I remember my first visit to St. Petersburg in the 90ies, the chaos and then how people closed down on political questions in the later years – especially comparing with China, where I now sometime get surprised that people start addressing the cultural revolution..

The guide in Vladivostok – Ludmilla, was really good and knowledgeable – she also offered a lot of personal insight – as originally being from Crimea and sights she and the driver took a personal pride in – the spot for swimming and camping, the university.

We also liked the private accommodation - both of them . The house at the Baikal lake was very beautiful and we cherished both the wonderful food and the flowers in the garden.

The visit of the Shaman was also very interesting – in my opinion, Tamara believes in what she is doing and it seemed to me a very rare example of trying to protect/revive their original but minority culture. In this respect, I was quite surprised in comparison to China, where the minorities get a kind of “zoo-status” that they seemed to be mostly ignored in Russia. In order to see such a culture, it was well worth the visit, even though in itself, it seemed as a show to us.

In Yekatarinenburg, the main guide, Konstantin, was also very knowledgeable and helpful. We even learnt some things, we didn’t even want to learn, like how to differentiate different types of tanks. We also like the visit of the iron church on our excursion – I quote my mother “the only church I have seen to be put in a sensible use” – as a community center. That was an impression in itself!

The guide in Moscow was also very good – she knew a lot and made a very nice tour of the backstreets of the Arbat – I liked this especially after 2 weeks with relatively few people, I wouldn’t have had much fun in the crowds at the Kremlin. She was also very helpful in organizing the airport transfer.

With all the guide, I like quite much that they were not pressing but open to discuss the political situation – for me, that was also a very different insight than what you get in the media in Germany.

My mother also told me that the next trip should be along the BAM and then with a boat /sledge on lake Baikal, so I guess, we will be coming back to you in a years time for new plans! The BAM would really be something different –

I also discussed with Uwe to visit the Amur valley, because this sounds fascinating in many respects – the indigenous culture, the river. I was in Rovaniemi in Finland earlier this year and their museum on Arctic culture depicts  that valley as one of the clearest cultures in Siberia still today – and they also have an own exhibition about Shamanism in the arctic (guess where I got the idea from..) I also met with an old Finnish friend who is working with indigenous people in the Arctic in respect to climate change (http://www.snowchange.org/)  but to see those people, would be traveling much further North..

Thanks a lot – it was really well organized!
Cheers,
Katja



From: "Mary Altaffer"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Thursday, 28 August, 2014 1:42:55 PM
Subject: Moscow tour

Hi Matt,

I really enjoyed my train trip even if it didn't go without a hitch. There was no one at the Beijing train station to meet me, the hostel in Ulaan Baatar didn't have my reservation, I was given the wrong printout for one of the legs of my train trip, and the hostel in Ektarinburg weren't at the train station when we arrived late at night to pick us up because they weren't expecting us until the next day. But it all worked out in the end. The people at each stop went out of there way to accommodate and make us feel welcome. Anatoly in Krasnoyarsk was the best. Hitches are what make a trip an adventure and add to the fun. All your representatives made my trip more enjoyable.

I will recommend your services to friends when they ask about the trip.

Best.
Mary



From: "Joanna Mazanti"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Monday, 18 August, 2014 6:53:32 PM
Subject: Re: JOANNA MAZANTI / Balance

Thanks Matt. The trip is going well. The highlight so far is a swim in lake Baikal.

-kindly
Joanna



Anatoily has been great -- so professional and his hostel is very clean and well run

Victor & Judy, August 2014

From: "Victor Epp"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine"
Sent: Thursday, 7 August, 2014 1:59:45 AM
Subject: Re: Moscow arrival

Hi Andy,

We reached Moscow !  Great train trip!

Everything has been going very smoothly so far. Anatoily has been great -- so professional and his hostel is very clean and well run. Everyone has been on time and things in Irkutsk with Lana also were very good.

Our guide in Moscow was very good. She helped us to get the visa registration started. That has now been done. Hotel room is very nice-- most of the desk staff speak no English and aren't helpful but there are two young boys who really make an effort.

That's all for now.
Judy


 

From: "Mike Shkurka"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Friday, 1 August, 2014 11:48:55 PM
Subject: Re: Trans Siberian Railway Feedback

Hi Matt,

Hope you are well and all is good back in China?!

Just a quick email to let you know that Kat and I had a really great time on the Trans-Sib trip. The whole experience is one we will never forget! Thanks again for all of the help in getting everything set up! We're back in the UK now for a week or two so will perhaps drop you another email on our return to Shanghai.

Enjoy the summer.
Mike


 

Your main guide was very nice if not the best "guide" I ever had. And what a driver? Superb. Mrs Tulip was very sweet, helpful and great in cooking

Sergio Ginaldi, July 2014

From: "Sergio Ginaldi"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Saturday, 26 July, 2014 4:12:51 PM
Subject: FW: Hi

Andy it was a very nice trip to Mongolia and the support people EXCELLENT. I was satisfied by your program even if we made some modifications along the way based on my conversations with the guide, who talks of you as a great person as well.

I had a great time even if my fear of riding horses may have limited what would have been a deep explorations of some areas particularly the last couple of days. Your collogue Mongol (absolutely gorgeous) was very nice and helpful and no problem on the transfer to the airport.

Your main guide was also were very nice if not the best "guide" I ever had. And what a driver? Superb. Also Mrs Tulip was very sweet, helpful and great in cooking and preparing what was needed every time with no hesitations or delay.

After so may time in that part of the world (Asia) still can't stop to brag about how nice people are.

Next here I would like to work in that trip/s going 1 week train Moscow Baykal Vladivostok and then the week and that peninsula volcanoes and bears and maybe more reindeers people only superficially encountered in this recent trip.

Thanks S



Sasha's was a great guest house and we enjoyed a pleasant day cycling by the lake.

Andrew Master, July 2014

From: "Andrew Master"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Friday, 25 July, 2014 10:47:57 PM
Subject: Irkutsk Homestay

Hi Matt,

We are having a great time on this trip but we also have a couple of issues to raise at this stage.

Arrangements in UB were great and we had a terrific time there.
Sasha's was a great guest house and we enjoyed a pleasant day cycling by the lake.

However we are now in Irkutsk and at a home stay with a very nice hostess but in a bed in which is too small and uncomfortable to sleep. We were not consulted at all about the change of arrangements and really this isn't a suitable alternative to the intended accommodation. We are now seeking assurance that the Moscow accommodation will be the mini hotel as per agreement. Can you please also confirm if we have a shared booth or not for the next leg of our train journey.

[you had booked an apartment arranged through the homestay and a misunderstaning meant the host accommodated you in the main house, rather than in a separate apartment, apologies].

Overall we are enjoying the trip and are grateful for your effort in putting the trip together but just feel these points needed highlighted with your office.

Thanks,
Andrew



From: "D Hofer"
To: andy@monkeyshrine.com
Sent: Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 3:50:44 PM
Subject: Sorry for my late answer

Hello

I am back in switzerland. The trip to mongolia was nice. Both guides were great and nice and spoke very good english. Also the food and acommodation was good. This is just a feedback. I enjoyed the trip a lot.

Wish you all the best
Andrea



From: "Dini Freundlich"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 1:38:05 PM
Subject: Re: Russia

Hi Matt
Just wanted to thank you for all your help with my daughters visa. She returned last night and had the most fantastic time!
I really appreciate all the help!
Dini


 

 

Everything worked very smoothly. My only regret is not to have made more stopovers !

Gilbert Hutin, July 2014

From: "Gilbert Hutin"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Thursday, 10 July, 2014 10:59:19 PM
Subject: RE: Vladimir arrival transfer

Dear Matt,
I have had a great trip thanks to your meticulous planning and to the efficient contacts you have along the line. Everything worked very smoothly. My only regret is not to have made more stopovers !
Thanks again and all the best

Gilbert Hutin



At this stage we'd like to say thank you for your help with the trip. Your services, patience and efficiency are much appreciated.

Ruth Buckley, July 2014

From: "Ruth Buckley"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Friday, 4 July, 2014 10:34:36 AM
Subject: Re: RUTH BUCKLEY / Travel documents

Hi Matt,

I collected the Mongolian visa yesterday, hattrick, we are good to go. Be advised for future reference that the 'Honorary Mongolian Consulate' here in Vietnam seem veeeery relaxed about passing out visas at $140 within 4 days.

At this stage we'd like to say thank you for your help with the trip. Of course it's your job but having dealt with a few other companies prior to MonkeyShrine, your services, patience and efficiency are much appreciated.

Thank you again and take care!



From: "Jon Lund"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Thursday, 3 July, 2014 11:12:53 AM
Subject: Re: Moscow pickup

Hey Andy - Thanks for the info on our pickup. Moscow has been a nice stop - a bit of sightseeing, evening ballet and circus performances, and even an occasional smile and chat with a local. Our guides were very good.

More later.

Jon



From: "JOHN DAY"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Thursday, 3 July, 2014 2:55:27 PM
Subject: South Korea

Matt,
Waiting for the ferry to Japan. This will complete our Russian adventure. It has all gone very well. Anyway, thank you for putting together a great itinerary and taking care of all the details..... we had a great time.
Best regards,
John Day


 

Awesome Andy, Just Awesome! I will definitely recommend the experience to anyone and all!!

Aaron Vessup, June 2014

From: "Aaron Vessup"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Saturday, 28 June, 2014 6:32:32 PM
Subject: Feedback on Siberian Trek

Awesome Andy, Just Awesome!
I will definitely recommend the experience to anyone and all!!
One should just be prepared for the Long-Ride on the rails, and also the "White Nights" that can play havoc with mind and body!! Monkeyshrine did an excellent job of keeping on top of things each step of the way.

All staff persons and tour Guides were most helpful. For myself, having many additional handy maps were of great benefit. I thoroughly enjoyed the free time, and look forward to flying back if this can be arranged without so much fanfare as before. Perhaps Kazan and then Moscow.

Some prize pictures taken have been posted on my Sina Blog and also Facebook. Let's do it again!!!

Train Marathon

Train Marathon

Lakeside ideas

Lakeside ideas

 

Thanks,
Aaron



From: "Wilfrid Tolhurst"
To: "Andy"
Sent: Thursday, 12 June, 2014 3:20:55 PM
Subject: Re: on the road

The repercussions of the stolen [in Beijing] wallet continue. Since it is a National holiday in Russia today all the migration offices are closed so we had to go to the police to receive a letter about the lost [on the train] migration card. We are currently in the police station with our local guide Karina who is assisting with the forms. She has been fantastic as has everyone else on our trip.

Thank you. You might say, our trip has been a bit of a disaster, but it has been a very well organised and fun disaster :)

Thanks again.
Regards
Wilfrid.


 

From: "Rachel"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Monday, 9 June, 2014 6:37:46 PM
Subject: Re: Train UB to Moscow

Hi Andy,

Made it back to UB! Thank you so much for all your help in getting there!!! Aaron was brilliant to have in my cabin, he quickly became the most popular person on the train!!!

See you on the other side!!

Rachel



From: "stephane lagarde"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Saturday, 7 June, 2014 5:25:10 PM
Subject: Irkutsk guest house

Hi Andy,

We spent a very good night in Ulan Bator and take the train for russia ;-)

We are now in Listvyanka guest house. The sun came back just when we arrived on Baikal, so it's great ;-)

Thank's,

SL



From: "陳建文"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 4 June, 2014 11:18:08 PM
Subject: Re: Arrival June 01

Dear Matt,

The Chinese guide is very good. I have great time at Moscow.

Hope you can tell me.
Best regards,
Sara


 

 

the start of my wonderful Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Siberian adventure.

Daniel Lis, July 2013

From: "Lis Daniel"
To: "MonkeyShrine Beijing"
Sent: Sunday, 1 June, 2014 1:42:29 PM
Subject: RE: Daniel Lis: Trans-Siberian Enquiry

I still have wonderful memories of the trip we took together 11 months ago . . . the start of my wonderful Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Siberian adventure.

Thanks again,
Daniel


 

We had an amazing time, meet some neat people and saw great sights.

Dorothy Smart, May 2014

From: "Dorothy Smart"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Saturday, 31 May, 2014 6:24:36 PM
Subject: Hi

Hi Matt
Well our Trans Siberian is reluctantly over. Thank you so much for organising such an awesome trip that worked like clockwork with no slip ups. We had an amazing time, meet some neat people and saw great sights. I have already recommended you and your company to others.

Once again thank you for your assistance and great planning.
Kind regards
Dorothy



I had an amazing time, the trip of a lifetime!

Philippa Green, May 2014

From: "Philippa Green"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 28 May, 2014 8:28:44 AM
Subject: Thank you!

Hi Andy and Matt,

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your help with my Trans-Mongolian trip!

I had an amazing time, the trip of a lifetime!

Andy, an especial thanks to you too for helping me out with my emergency Mongolian passport!

All the best and I hope all is well in Beijing!

Kind regards,
Philippa Green



From: "Andrew Powley"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 14 May, 2014 1:41:28 PM
Subject: Re: Trip Feedback

Hi

Train was great, wished we had stopped off for a night or two along the way, but limited time off work.

Thanks again,
Andrew



I enjoyed Brest and the snippets of history that went down here.

Ryan Boucher, May 2014

From: "Ryan Boucher"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 7 May, 2014 5:21:15 AM
Subject: Re: RYAN BOUCHER / Belarus Tour Voucher

Hi Andy,

Everything went smoothly all the way to Romania. I'm travelling with Jess now and we're in Bulgaria. It's lovely here and the weather has finally turned warm.

Here are my thoughts on the Belorussian leg.

Minsk - In the two days I was here I managed to visit most of the major museums and galleries. The city itself is pleasant and is undergoing heavy development for the Ice Hockey Championships on now. The hotel was clean. The WI-FI didn't reach the room I was in.

Brest - I enjoyed Brest and the snippets of history that went down here.

One little thing to mention to others. On the train from Minsk to Brest I was supposed to buy my linen as it wasn't included in the ticket cost. It's 10,000 Belarus roubles (~$1). I had no problem with the price it was just a confusing conversation as I didn't know what she wanted especially as I'd not had to pay for the linen through Russia. It became more confusing for her when I declined the linen, but for me it was fine to using my sleeping bag.

When you leave Brest for Poland you have to be at the train station between 30-60 minutes before departure to get through customs/immigration. At 5 in the morning, it's only 30 minutes but I had read that it can be up to an hour wait. This would be useful for future travellers to know as well.

If I had more time / planned things better I would make an effort to visit the European Bison (Zubr) which can be seen near Brest.

Thanks for organising the various tickets and tours.

Ryan


 

I had a wonderful tour today and am enjoying my trip a lot already.

Natasha Doherty, April 2014

From: "Natasha Doherty"
To: "Matt Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Wednesday, 23 April, 2014 2:33:32 PM
Subject: RE: Lost my Monkey book!

Hi Matt and Andy,

I got my Chinese visa and made it to the hotel in Moscow. I had a wonderful tour today and am enjoying my trip a lot already.

But, being the disorganised person I am, I left my Monkey guide book on the plane! Where could I find one in Moscow? I have a free morning tomorrow, so wouldn't mind going to find one.

Please let me know soon, as I will definitely need it. If you don't have one to give me in Moscow, would it be possible for you to email me the important information in it?

Best wishes,

Natasha

[we have a download version which is available to our paid up customers which we emailed to Natasha].

p.s I was able to print off the relevant chapters of the book at the hotel here. Thanks for all your help!


 

From: "Ryan Boucher"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine"
Sent: Sunday, 23 March, 2014 10:50:08 PM
Subject: Re: RYAN BOUCHER / Perm

I've attached some photos from Mongolia. The wild goat was a rare sight. Neither the guide or driver had seen one in the national park before. Spring has come early and it's not nearly as cold as I had expected it to be. We saw a marmot in Hustai when they're not usually spotted until May.

Stags in wintre at Hustai National Park

Wildnerness at Hustai National Park

Trans Mongolian train during winter

Train ride in Winter

 


Our Tranzib trip last April was brilliant! You have great meters and greeters too.

Kingsley Brown, April 2013

From: "Kingsley Ashford-Brown"
To: "Andy"
Sent: Tuesday, 4 March, 2014 4:42:34 AM
Subject: Tibet

Hi Andy,

Can’t remember if i thanked you for arranging our Tranzib trip last April but i can do now anyway. It was brilliant! You have great meters and greeters too. Thanks for your in organising it. Our journey onwards from Petersburg to UK by bus and train also went very well, although i would probably give Helsinki a miss next time although the ferry back and forth was fun.

Thanks again.

Kingsley Ashford-Brown



Our whole journey has been simply fantastic and without incident.

Kingsley Brown, Jan 2014

From: "Belinda I"
To: monkeyshrine.com
Sent: Monday, 10 February, 2014 6:56:44 PM
Subject: RE: Belinda I & Brandon I / Train delay

Hi Matt,

Just a quick note to say that our whole journey has been simply fantastic and without incident.

Everyone has been genuinely lovely and helpful, thank you for helping us organise this amazing trip.

Regards,

Bella




I was most impressed with Ludmila from St Petersburg

April Li, Oct 2013

From: "Li Meng April"
To: "Andy Monkeyshrine Beijing Office"
Sent: Friday, 10 January, 2014 4:48:04 PM
Subject: Re: Li Meng: Trip Feedback

Hi Andy,
Happy New year.

In general, we had very knowledgeable and interesting tour guide. I was most impressed with Ludmila from St Petersburg for her depth of knowledge with Hemitage and passion for arts. I'd prefer to have the same guide in each city, so there will be more bonding time to talk in more depth.

With regards to free time, the typical package tour in Asia included full day tour, we are not so used to 3-hour city tour arrangements. However I think your initial itinerary is clear enough on what to expect. You also provided the option for adding extra tour and full onboard arrangement with higher price, so I believe it's a tradeoff for the travelers to pay more with less free time, or pay less with more free time.

Attached one photo for your reference.
Best Regards,
April Li

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