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Jul 25th, 2011, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 84
Thanks for the replies.

Yes, Quovadis, I did try to present the tour as I saw it.

Marija, you are correct about accurate info. I did do quite a bit of research and know that I could have planned the trip myself and knew how to go about doing so. My husband, however, was adamant that we do a tour - esp. after speaking with his boss, who had visited China last year. So for us it wasn't an option this time. I have a friend who was there for about 22 days on her own, arranged some local sightseeing w/guides in advance and did a lot on her own. She would have been happy to give me tons of info. had I wanted it.

I will admit, that although I researched sites and modes of transport and cost, I stopped short of the amount of research I usually do when we travel because I felt I had more than enough info. for someone considering a tour. I didn't figure train routes or times; I didn't consider how much time to allow for this or that; and I didn't do nearly as much research on what type & price accommodations we would want, or which restaurants we wanted to try. However, I DID do quite a bit of reading and learned what there was to see. I knew we would like Yangshuo and we did and would have loved to have spent a couple more days in that area.(The expected drawback of a tour!) I checked airfares both to and within China as well, and still felt the tour was a good value for what we got. We are not the types to feel we get better deals or quality at "factory stores". And we did head off on our own a number of times. Sometimes it was easy, armed w/directions and info. Sometimes not so easy. I will say that I personally found it took more effort than any place we have ever been to communicate, despite signage in English at places western tourist are likely to go. (I usually actually sort of like the challenge such a trip brings!) But many times signage in English was NOT as widespread as I expected. And I was surprised at how little many hotel staff members spoke, if any. (Hey, it's their country and that's o.k.!) And yes, I did arm myself w/written phrases I might need, etc. (I do not have an Iphone or anything to translate aloud for me, but that would be something that would be invaluable for anyone visiting China independently IMO.)

At any rate, I am not urging anyone to choose a tour over visiting China independently. My "review" of China Focus is for people who want to do a tour to China and are searching for help choosing a co. (In fact, when I was doing the asking prior to our trip, someome on one forum ASKED me to please report back as everyone asks if anyone has toured w/this or that company but hardly anyone reports their experience!)

In NO way am I connected to anyone at that or any other tour company and my aim is not to dissuade anyone from going there on their own, even if I offer an opinion that, to some, may not encourage an independent trip.
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