We had a totally amazing and memorable day with Guilin Photography Tour! Andy and Mia were highly organized, friendly, and designed an incredible, custom-made tour experience just for our family.
Because we chose to start the day on a mountaintop at sunrise, Andy and a driver picked us up at 3:45 a.m. so we could be set up on the peak before dawn. I appreciated that our custom itinerary design took into account not only our “wants” but our physical needs, and the hike was just right for us. Andy, highly skilled in the art of photography himself, set up equipment along with us. We are amateur photographers, so he also tactfully offered occasional tips to our family and allowed us to see how and what he was photographing while always making sure our needs came first.
After photos and breakfast on the mountain, we started the drive down, chatting about China, the culture, Andy and his wife’s move from Europe, experiences they’d had in China, etc. When we discovered Andy was fluent in Chinese, we asked to change our plans for the day and seek out the neighborhood where one of our daughters had lived in an orphanage. Andy took the sudden change in stride, and we discovered he had a connection to adoption and was a wealth of information.
Andy took us on a walking tour of the orphanage neighborhood, allowing us to photograph the marketplace and daily life of those who lived there. He is a personable guide and, with his fluency in Chinese, was able to engage us in conversation with locals. Finally we arrived at the orphanage gates. We stood outside, and our daughter was overwhelmed with emotion. I am forever grateful to Andy’s driver, Isaac, who sensitively photographed our family during this emotional time, and Andy, who later sent us the pictures.
We then resumed our itinerary, which included lunch at a charming restaurant outside Yangshuo, a photographic session and visit with a widow who had run her farm and raised three young boys on her own, and a photographic shoot with a cormorant fisherman at sunset. The itinerary was perfect for us and the photography was terrific, but the real surprise was how much richer the whole experience became because of Andy. Meeting with locals and chatting with Andy for hours made our day more vivid, meaningful, and memorable than anyone had imagined.
I cannot recommend Guilin Photography Tour more highly. Between the two of them, Andy and Mia speak several languages fluently and have created a company that excels in service, from the top quality guides and drivers they hire for your tour to the snack basket they provide during travel. They are warm, friendly, organized, and willing to create any type of experience you desire. Their itineraries already take you off the beaten tourist path, but they are also more than willing to help you explore or push the limits. And they are flexible enough to change plans at the last second, if the need or urge strikes. It was an amazing tour, and the day will live in our memories for a lifetime.