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AUDREY GROW Nov 1st, 1999 11:00 AM

Beijing in May
I will be traveling to Beijing from the middle of WI. I have family in Beijing but would like to know if I should go with a tour or just get the best airfair to the city. I would like to see Shanghai and a few other sites. Which airlines are preferred and how soon should I try to book the ticket for May travel?

cb Nov 2nd, 1999 03:13 AM

I joined a group tour when I went to China last May because I am not familiar with the language. If I have family in Beijing who can help make arrangements within China, I would have gone on my own. I met people from different places in the world like New Zealand, who were on their own, but with help from relatives in China and they were able to go to the same places we did. <BR>This decision depends on how you like to do your touring. Do you want to do it at your own pace ? Do you want someone else to make your arrangements, etc. etc. There are many posts in this forum about experiences with guided tours, including one that complained about a guide who spent more time in a shop than in the site. My personal experience was positive. <BR>My airline was Northwest, but within China was China Air and some small airline whose name I can't recall. <BR>I can't comment on when you should buy your ticket.

dan woodlief Nov 2nd, 1999 05:06 AM

Interesting. I already went to China in May, and it was sort of from the middle of Wisconsin. I was a grad student at UW-Madison business school at the time. I went as part of a business class, but we did a lot of touristy stuff too. Three days in Beijing and five in Shanghai. I can see some benefits to being with a group in a place like China, especially if you don't speak Chinese. However, we had a little more control over what our guides did than you would with some tours. They did take us to shopping areas but not as much as I have heard that other guides do. I went with a similar group to Europe too. Personally, I much prefer travelling on my own. Considering that you have family there, and you are going to main cities (not way out into the countryside), I would try to do it myself. I have only flown one airline to Asia, but I have flown many others on other trips. We used Japan Airlines. It is still my favorite. The service was wonderful, and I enjoyed the food too. If you use this airline, you may stop over at Narita. If so, try to see the Narita-san temple while there. If you go to Shanghai, try to take a day trip to Suzhou.

Emily Nov 2nd, 1999 07:32 AM

My husband and I have been to China a number of times and he also has family in Beijing. When we've gone with a tour group, we've found that it's VERY difficult to find enough time to visit the relatives (your guide is always rushing you off to see the sights and, after all, that's what you paid for!) <BR> <BR>If you're only going to Beijing, just book the flight yourself and ask your family to take you around when you get there. But if you're planning to visit other cities, it might be less hassle for you to join a tour group so they can take care of flights, tickets, transfers, hotels, sight-seeing, etc.

Michael Nov 2nd, 1999 08:41 AM

Hi Audrey, <BR> <BR>All previous posts have lots of good input. I agree that you should just travel to Beijing and make arrangements for sightseeing, etc. from there. I've traveled to Beijing over 30 times in the last 10 years, have family there (since I married my wife in 1996)and have seen lots of change. <BR> <BR>Today one can travel to and in the major cities with little problem. English is spoken at the hotels, airports, department stores, etc. <BR> <BR>I suspect your relatives would be glad to arrange sightseeing trips around Beijing for you. More importantly they can probably get better airfares and cheaper hotel accomodations for you in places like Shanghai. If the arrangements are made properly hotel transfers, sightseeing tours, etc. are a piece of cake. <BR> <BR>I've traveled all over China and have found that the only places I really needed to speak the language to get around was in small cities/villages where little or no English was spoken. <BR> <BR>Have fun! <BR> <BR>

clarence Nov 4th, 1999 07:08 AM

wellcome to xi'an. <BR>my name is clarence guo,a taxi driver and tour guide in xi'an----the home town of terra-cotta figures,i often take travellers to a cave dwelling village after terra-cotta figures,you'll visit some family live in the cave houses which built hundreds of years ago,meet local farmers and kids there. <BR>if you need my help(airport transfer,hotel,tour) in xi'an,pls feel free to e-mail me. <BR>Regards. <BR>

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