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Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

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Manila, Philippines
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Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

Tour Bus

Big bus - good for 50 people. Seats were reclineable. It was clean and the driver was good.

Tour Guide

Spoke in English first then Mandarin then Cantonese maybe because these were the proportion of people in the tour. His english is passable, some mistakes in grammar but overall we knew what he meant. He really knows a lot about the places like history, background, etc. I don't care if he just made up the specific dates. Although he was annoying in asking for donation for the church, he was generally OK; showed some sense of humor and signs that he gives a **** on the tourists. Much better than what I was expecting after reading some reviews online.

Hotels

Montreal - Holiday Inn Midtown (only location is commendable).

Quebec - Hotel Universal (cheapest), Hotel Plaza Quebec (mid), Loewes Le Concorde (highest). Stayed at the Le Concorde, much much better hotel than the Holiday Inn and location was fantastic. Those who stayed at the other 2 hotels couldn't walk to the Old Quebec anymore.

Food

Everyone had the option of joining the buffets. 1 Dinner ($18) and 2 Lunch buffets ($13) including tax per person. The guide collected the money without telling the name or type of restaurant. He eventually allowed our group to check the buffet first before paying.

Good thing the places these buffets were located had other restaurants around them.

Optional Tours

Civilization Museum - $12

Biodome and Montreal Tower - $27

Thousand Island Cruise - $20

Day 1

8AM: Left Pacific Mall in Scarborough

1030AM: Reached Kingston. Drove by Prime Minister McDonald's House, the jail museums and then gave us 30 minutes to take pictures around the harbour.

12NN: Reached Brockville, 1 hour for lunch at our own among fastfood chains.

230PM: Reached Ottawa, gave us 30 minutes to take pictures in Parliament Hill. Obviously not enough time.

330PM: Spent roughly an hour in the Museum of Civilization. Why they chose this museum, I don't know.

7PM: Dinner at Fu Lam fake Chinese buffet for those who went with the tour. A couple of restos in the area including a McDonalds.

8PM: Check-in at Holiday Inn Midtown Hotel. Very tired and old hotel with soft beds. Walked to Rue St. Catherine on our own.

Day 2

730AM: Arrived at St. Joseph Oratory. Guide asked for $5 donation each. Not everyone gave of course. Spent an hour here; too much considering only 30mins was given for the much nicer Notre Dame Basilica.

9AM: Arrived at Notre Dame Basilica. Barely appreciated the place because of the time constraint.

10AM: Arrived at the Biodome for the optional tour. Didn't bother joining.

Lunch at Fu Lam fake chinese Buffet again before reaching old Quebec.

4PM: Arrived at Old Quebec. Free time for the rest of the day.

Day 3

1130AM: Brunch at Win Wah, another fake Chinese buffet. Ate at Eggs and Crepes which wasn't great either.

12PM: Reached Thousand Islands; cruise for 1 hour.

530PM: Stopover at the Big Apple before heading back to Toronto.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Pros: Cheap and you get to see 3 cities in 3 days.

Cons: Very tiring (wake up at 6am for 3 days but you get back to the hotel early also). Barely enough time to take in the grandeur of the places. Limited food choices.

I don't know why they included the Civilization Museum, the Biodome and the Montreal Tower while skipping Old Montreal and some more popular sites. I'm guessing the tour agency gets a cut from these places. The tour would have been better if we were given alternatives (or free time) to these places.

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Toronto, Canada
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11. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

this was a very good review..thanks !!! have booked the tour lets hope they give us more time on day 2 considering they bring you back to the hotel at 4.pm ...

Manila, Philippines
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12. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

I have a short audio clip recording of the tour guide speaking in English. If there are folks interested to hear it, I can post the link where I uploaded it.

Canada
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13. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

We did the Tai Pan 7-day East / Maritimes tours couple years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Also their 4-day New York tour. It is a personal choice, yeah if you have the time, inclination and money you can do it on your own and visit most of the places you want to see, but personally we prefer to leave the driving, organizing and aggravation for these kinds of long road trips to someone else. The tour itineraries are all described in their brochures and on-line sites, so the places they will visit are known before-hand and should not suddenly be a surprise to anyone. It is the same as with any travel or vacation business and they have times, costs, hotels, itineraries etc all pre-planned to maximize their profits, that's just the way it is. They have English speaking guides, the hotels are top brands, they offer regular bio-breaks on the road, and they rotate your seating so everyone gets a good road view. You can choose to eat with the group or do your own thing, and yes getting up early is part of the process. On our European and Asian tours it is the same thing, and given the short times available for exploring, by choice most times we prefer to join up with local tours even if they don't always go to all the places we would like.

In fact we will soon be going with Tai Pan on their cross Canada Western tour (Toronto to Vancouver) and returning with their USA Western leg (via Washington - Michigan - Ontario). Of course we certainly don't expect to see everything, but the itinerary and destinations they are visiting are interesting and perfectly acceptable to us. For value we think that it just can't be beat, for us doing this by rail/ car/ air is simply unworkable. Like I said, it is a personal thing, bus tours are not for everyone, but if you want to do this, do your research then decide which tour/company to go with.

Ottawa, Canada
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14. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

TO MR-CRUISER,

Welcome to the TORONTO TRAVEL FORUM.

Thank you for your very informative post... agree that using an Organized Motorcoach Tour is a choice... and not something that works for everyone... BUT certainly a good way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time (I hestitate to say "see" a lot of Canada... because most of the Itinerary is certainly spent hustling between cities... and for the most part... that isn't what most Canadians would say is the "BEST" parts of our country... the scenery and journey between our cities would be the thing that sets us apart from other places in the world).

Thanks for sharing,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 21 June 2011, 13:58
Calgary, Canada
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15. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

I took this tour in 2008 (wow how time flies!) and we did enjoy seeing the sightseeing spots (Old Montreal, Biodome, Notre Dame, Parliament, other churches that I can't recall, a museum, etc). I can vouch that this tour is not for everyone. It's perfect for those who want to see a lot in 3 days, on a budget, or likes having a driver/planning all done for them. This tour is very appealing to those who just like to say 'Yeah, been there and done that' versus those who might like to spend 5 hours at one place.

Toronto, Canada
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16. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

You guys are a bunch of whiners. Ever heard of the phrase - YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR? It's a common wisdom. Sure these tours are not the greatest but for approx $200-$300 a trip, what did you expect? A 5-star hotel accommodation and restaurant? Geez. A one night stay alone at a relatively decent hotel costs $100. If you paid $300 for a 3day tour and expect you'll get an amazing travel experience then you must be dreaming.

When I signed up for the Canada East 3 Day tour last year, I knew what I was getting into. How did I know? They tell you! Their itinerary (which you can find on their website) will give you a pretty good idea beforehand. I don't understand these people who complain about the long bus ride or that they didn't get enough time to look around in the museum. You are signing up for a bus tour to the US from Canada. Hello? Of course the bus ride is going to be long! Why not book your own trip and stop whining like a 3 year old.

I agree that the lunch/dinner meals at a chinese buffet EVERYDAY is enough to make you swear off chinese food but you have an option NOT to partake and eat somewhere else. The tour guide will tell you that you are going to 'one of the best Chinese buffets in the city' (they will tell you anything as long as they keep getting kickbacks) -- don't be fooled. There are other restaurants to choose from. Likewise with their attractions. If you don't like museums and would rather go somewhere else, just tell the tour guide. As long as you are back on the bus at a specified time/location, you can go wander off on your own.

Why complain about the early wake up call? The bus leaves at 7am from the hotel every morning so that you will have more time to see places. If you are off travelling somewhere, would you waste your time in bed sleeping in? Seriously!

Don't like the tour guides broken English or Chinese movies? BRING AN IPOD!

These chinese tours are not for everyone. Definitely not for someone who likes to spend a full day looking at things in museums. This is more for people who don't have better things to do and have a few hundred dollars to spare to see other places. It's for someone who don't have the time and can't be bothered to book their own trip.

Gold Coast...
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17. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

Just came back from a 3 day Canada East tour with Tai Pan. We bought these tickets from someone on Kijiji who needed to sell them off, so we got a good deal.

At first I was a little worried about the tour after reading some reviews. Obviously I knew we weren't going to spend a lot of time in places that we wanted but it was a much cheaper option that doing it by ourselves. Overall I thought it was a good experience and would recommend it to someone who is looking to see the main sites without spending a lot of money. I'll give a run down on the main points.

HOTELS: We stayed at Ruby Foo's Hotel in Montreal (located 20-30 mins from downtown). Close to the Metro which is easy to use. Nice hotel and modern. Was a little worried when they announced the hotel but was really surprised when we saw it.

Hotel Plaza in Quebec: located 20-30mins from vieux Quebec. Nice hotel and clean. Much better than I expected. Wanted to go back to the old city but it was rainy.

Only thing is you only know the names of the hotels the day before (our tour guide didn't call us). So we couldn't plan appropriately.

TOUR GUIDE: Our tour guide wasn't the best. We thought he missed out a lot of opportunity to engage with the passengers and he didn't know a lot of information. Thought he might have been over it and didn't really care. He spoke in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. If you're looking for a informative guide, this isn't it. I would expect you to read up on info before going/

BUS: Bus was clean and ok. They showed movies twice a day.

TOURIST SITES: Didn't go along with the optional tours as we have seen most of it and prefer to go back another time instead of paying and then only spending 45mins in each. Would have been nice to spend more time in Vieux Quebec and Montreal but c'est la vie!

FOOD CHOICES: Didn't go along with their chinese buffet options. Think its about 13 CAD each person. There are some restaurants around but mainly fast food chains.

SERVICE FEE: There's a 24 CAD service fee for each passenger.

I think to make the most out of it, go out and explore when you have free time after you check in the hotel. It may be tiring but well worth going to restaurants in Montreal and seeing what there is to offer.

Toronto, Canada
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18. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

No one forces anyone to go on these tours. It is really a little foolish to suggest that so many places requires 2, 3 or 4 days each to appreciate them. Sure, that is true, but it is also true that for some people time on a vacation or trip is limited and they don't mind squeezing a lot into a small time frame.

Far as I am concerned, that tour still sounds more fun than schlepping around Toronto on the TTC.

Calgary, Canada
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19. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

mr_cruiser : Can you please give me more details on trip. After reading your review, All i knew was trip was enjoyable. I wanted to know how was the stay, Journey in Bus, restaurants/hotels where Bus stopped, and other place of attractions that they promised. I am planning for similar trip very soon and would be happy to get your feedback.

Ottawa, Canada
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20. Re: Taipan (Tai Pan) Tours Canada East 3 Day Bus Tour Review

TO XPLORING CANADA,

As a fairly NEW Member of TripAdvisor a few things you should be aware of…

Travellers who have made enquiries on the FORUMS (or replied to other’s topics) RARELY come back to the FORUMS for Follow-Up or to answer others Questions… Travellers typically ask Questions… then Travel… and maybe post a Trip Report or some REIVEWS… before moving onto the next Destination FORUM that meets their needs for their next Trip Planning Requirements.

RARE is the Poster who has opted to have TA send them email and follow along on a particular topic (especially so if they weren’t the OP ~ Originating Poster … who created the topic to begin with). So it is doubtful that a past poster will see or reply to your Question here.

For better results... you could however, send them a PM ~ Private Message if their feedback is important to you on this topic.

To send a PM, click on their highlighted User Name… and follow the directions for SEND A MESSAGE… inturn TA will send them an email letting them know that someone is wanting to correspond with them here on the TA Website.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS.. Hopefully if you do take such an Organized Motorcoach Tour, you'll come back to the FORUM and share a detailed Trip Report with us... could go a long way to helping other Travellers.

Edited: 07 September 2011, 00:48
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