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China experts--I'm not a tour person, but this sounds different & quite affordable. Comments please.

China experts--I'm not a tour person, but this sounds different & quite affordable. Comments please.

Jan 29th, 2008, 08:39 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,237
China experts--I'm not a tour person, but this sounds different & quite affordable. Comments please.

Hi--

This tour opportunity just came in my e-mail, and I am seriously intrigued. I work in higher education and this tour is aimed at people in the field, so it has a different than usual emphasis. It is a more of a university faculty exchange emphasizing cultural exchanges with an educational/cultural tour emphasis. The tour is centered in Jiaxing City with an additional 4 night stay in Beijing. In a nutshell, this is a 16 night trip with visits to Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, China (one and a half hourís bus ride from Shanghai, 40 minutes by train). And, we would also visit Hangzhou; Suzhou; Shanghai; several cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu; and Beijing.

Land package price is around $1,500 per person and includes 16 days of lodging (3* hotel in Bejing, and I don't know what in the Jiaxing City area); meals; tours; admission fees to tour sites; local transportation; various lectures (history, culture, language, music, calligraphy, Taiji, etc). I figure my US to China airfare would be about $1100 additional.

As I said, I just heard about this and have not had a second to research this opportunity. So, if you could give me some feedback on the area to be visited and the pricing, I'd appreciate it.

I guess I should add that we have done a ton of traveling, but our only trip to Asia was to Vietnam a year ago. That trip we chose to do a very unconventional type of trip and didn't do the typical tourist route or trip. We spent 5 days bicycling in the Mekong Delta followed by a 3 day experience that included a homestay in a Hmong village in the mountains close to China, and then a 5 day private tour featuring cultural immersion in the area around Hanoi. The only days we were on our own for sightseeing and lodging were the days in Saigon and Hanoi. Also, we have never gone on a group tour, and I know that I sometimes have a streak that is too independent to fare well on a highly structured type of tour that is aimed at the middle-of-road typical tourist. This is one of the reasons why I am wondering if something more specialized like this may be better for us.

Do you have any feedback for me at all? Thanks.
julies is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Your "home base" city of Jiaxing would give me pause. It's a city known for its silk production and, lately, for industrial development. Not exactly a "higher education" or "cultural exchange" stronghold.

For the amount of money that you are contemplating spending, I'd try for a normal tour or even just a DIY with emphasis on visiting the major universities in Beijing and Shanghai. Last I saw, tour companies like China Delight were offering airfare plus hotel plus tours for about $1,500.

This sounds like a non-major city in China trying to promote itself. Personally, I wouldn't want to spend so much time in a non-major city unless it were something really really special, which this doesn't sound like it is.

Just my two cents worth.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:12 AM
  #3  
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Thanks easytraveler!

This is exactly the type of information I am looking for. Industrial development does nothing for me.

This tour includes interaction with faculty members and students at Jiaxing University, which is the host for 3/4 of the program. I had never heard of Jiaxing, but, of course, that means nothing since I know relatively little about China. I like the person-to-person and higher education/global education focus, but if I'm spending this amount of money I also want to make sure it is spent in areas that I'd really be interested in seeing.
julies is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:22 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Jiaxing is well located between Shanghai and Hangzhou, but I agree with easytraveler - 12 nights there will be way too much.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 10:45 AM
  #5  
 
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With the airfare added in, it doesn't sound quite affordable staying in 3* lodgings. I'd choose a program that allows you cultural exchanges in several cities unless the certain field Jiaxing University offers is very attractive to you.

I've been to Jiaxing, pretty city but didn't do much for me , spending a day was enough.
Shanghainese is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 12:48 PM
  #6  
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Thanks so much for the advise. It is so nice to have instant access to such expertise. After listening to what you've said, I think this will not be something I'd do unless I find some other compelling reasons to undertake it.
julies is offline  
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