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jat May 1st, 2012 05:46 PM

China Spree
I would like to recommend China Spree to anyone trying to decide on a company for an organized tour of China. I usually travel independently and originally planned to travel independently in China, but could not find the time to organize this. I spent hours on Fodors and other websites reading reviews of various China tour companies and finally decided on China Spree. I have no affiliation with this company and was not asked by them to write this review; I am only doing it to help others who may be interested.

I was impressed with China Spree both before and during the tour. They were extremely organized and responsive to my questions and the information they sent in advance was very thorough. Everything was delivered as promised, and in fact, there were a few extras. I just returned from a tour, and the national tour leader was excellent. She made every effort to make sure we all had a safe and enjoyable trip and indeed, no one experienced any significant problems on the trip. The local tour guides were generally very good and generally spoke very good English. All were very personable and friendly.

I was concerned that the food would be bad. In fact, for the most part the meals were quite good and certainly extremely ample. All were served family style and generally in local restaurants. They really made an effort to serve different types of food reflecting the different regions at the different restaurants. There were a lot of vegetable dishes and they provided extra vegetable dishes for a vegetarian in our group.

The amount of time for me in each location was about right. I hate factory/shopping stops and there was one in each city (eg, jade factory, silk factory), lasting for a total of about 1-1.5 hours. In one location, I escaped and took a pleasant walk outside. In the others, I was fairly happy to use a nice restroom and rest a bit. The amount of time seemed a reasonable tradeoff to me, as I am sure I would have wasted far more time had I been on my own trying to get around, getting lost, etc. Being on a tour really took all the stress out of traveling, and allowed more time at the actual sites of interest.

The hotels were all good, and most were Sheratons or Marriotts. All had in-room safes large enough for my iPad and other valuables. All had free wifi in the public areas, so I was able to email and Skype each evening and morning. All had huge, very nice breakfast buffets.

Finally, I was lucky to be on a tour where everyone was very pleasant, flexible and compatible. There were about 23 of us. Age range was generally 50s and 60s, although there were two young women in their 20s accompanied by the mother of one. The tour was moderately active and at times involved a lot of walking, standing and stair climbing. It would not be good for someone who was not in reasonable physical shape or for someone who requires assistance in walking.

Everyone on our tour was extremely happy with the tour. My husband and I were so happy with it we are now considering going on another China Spree tour.

Hope this is helpful!

virginiafish Jun 30th, 2012 11:23 AM

I really appreciate this report. We are struggling with planning a trip to China, possibly, in October or November. Except for one trip to Costa Rica with O.A.T., we have traveled extensively and independently. The tours are daunting and I, also, do not want to spend time shopping. I looked your remark about the trade off for time, though. Is there a way I could contact you for more details? My address is [email protected]

Kathie Jun 30th, 2012 11:58 AM

Virginia, if you don't want a tour, it is easy to do China independently. Read some of the many reports here from people who have traveled China independently.

kja Jun 30th, 2012 04:15 PM

What Kathie said! If you prefer to travel independently, there is no reason why you shouldn't. There is a wealth of information on this board by travelers who have done so.

jat Jun 30th, 2012 04:52 PM

I think that taking a tour and traveling independently are both good, viable options. I debated about this, decided to take a tour because I just didn't have the time to plan a trip on my own, and I was glad I chose the tour. There are trade-offs either way. I do think we saw more and had much less stress taking a tour than we would have had doing it on our own. I would be happy to answer any questions about the tour we took.

Johnwolf Dec 9th, 2014 06:32 AM

How did they do in arranging your flights? Did they arrange the trans-pacific flight? How was that?


hsd Sep 22nd, 2015 05:24 AM

I just found your report while I was looking for vegetarian tours for China.
What sort of vegetarian options o they provide? Are they good spicy filling options or just stirfry veges etc, which doesnt really provide much in e=terms of feeling satisfied.

Can you please send me contatc details of the tour operatrs so we can ask them?

kja Sep 22nd, 2015 04:51 PM

@ hsd -- tours really are not a good option for China, which you can visit independently. Here's a recent thread that discusses vegetarian options in China:

temppeternh Sep 27th, 2015 06:57 PM

I was going to post a link to a great deal of very detailed criticism of China Spree (as an example of the Chinese tour industry in general), but I found that a great deal of negative comment had been deleted.

I did find one spirited discussion surviving though, which lists the questions that you should be putting to any China tour operator, and exactly where China Spree was falling down in its replies at the time:

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