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Advice appreciated re China tour.

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I would greatly appreciate any advice that can be offered for my forthcoming trip to China in July/August.

I will be travelling with three adults and four children between the ages of 8 and 12. Due to travelling with children, we had thought of booking a private tour, however, the cost that came back from the tour agent was significantly higher than we had ancipated. They had also included what seems like every single tour in Beijing. I was also able to find a much lower rate on the Internet for the same hotel they suggested.

We have therefore decided to do away with the services of the tour guide/travel agent and shall be embarking on the trip ourselves. I wanted opinions on whether this is mad or not. My husband has been to Shanghai about 6 times on business so does have some knowledge of China, though he does not speak Mandorin.

I also wanted advice on the following itininary, this is what we have put together as what we would like to see. Can someone tell me if it would work logistically, as the tour guide was not sure about the Yichang to Guilin sector.

Beijing 3 days ( the tour guide suggested an Acrobatic show at Chaoyang theatre, Peking duck dinner at Dadong restaurant, Forbidden city and Tian'anmen Sq. Drum tower show and visit local family. Houlai lake, Mutianyu Great Wall, Olympic village, tea ceremony, Kung Fu show Temple of Heaven.

Xian 1.5 days
From Xian we would go to Chongqing to board for the Yangze cruise to Yichang.

From Yichang we would then like to go to Guilin and from there to Shanghai for two days.

Any advice also, about travelling in China with kids would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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