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Jeri Jan 21st, 2002 06:48 AM

China trip-small group that's not superluxury
My husband & I are planning to visit China this year. We want to see fairly standard sites & there are no lack of tour companies. However, it seems as though you have a choice of either reasonable prices with huge groups (eg Pacific Delight) or small groups with ultrafancy accomodations (eg Aberkrombie & Kent) & the prices that go with them. We would like a small group & reasonable hotels (Western bathrooms & good locations, no hostels) but don't need 5 star hotels. Does anyone know of a tour company that does this? Also, we would prefer to have most dinners on our own so we can try out local restaurants.<BR>Thanks in advance for any help.

Al Jan 21st, 2002 07:44 AM

We sympathize with your request, and we have found that our experiences with Overseas Adventure Travel fill the bill. Their web site is: or you could phone them at 1-800-955-1925. In our experience, they keep every promise they make.

andrew Jan 21st, 2002 07:53 AM

Dear Jeri,<BR><BR>It's kind fo a mis-percpetion that Paicifc Delight Tours jsut oerpates large groups.<BR><BR>Some Pacific Delight Tours operate with as few as 2 or 6 customers ... if smaller tour gorup size is important to you, you can highlight this when you contact the reservationists and they can guide you to smaller groups.<BR><BR>Pacific Delight also does FIT (customised tours for individuals) which provides private tours for as few as 1 customer, or small groups starting with 2 customers.

katie Jan 21st, 2002 03:56 PM

My daughter and I traveled with OAT and had a wonderful trip. There were 10 people in our group--8 of us went to Bali. <BR><BR>Hotels are 4 or 5 stars and most of your meals are included. <BR>

Jeri Jan 21st, 2002 05:04 PM

Thank you for the responses so far. I looked at the OAT web site. They sound like they run the type of program we would be interested in. Unfortunately, I saw only 1 trip to China & it did not cover the places we want to see.<BR><BR>Has anyone used Laurus Travel? Their web site looks good and they have lots of itineraries. <BR><BR>We may wind up making our arrangements independently. It doesn't look like it would be much more expensive. Since we don't speak any Chinese, though, it would be nice to have some other people to talk to.

xxx Jan 21st, 2002 06:59 PM

I believe that Andrew who was touting Pacific Delights works for.......... Guess Who?? Pacific Delights!!

Rosa Jan 21st, 2002 07:01 PM

Have you checked out GoAhead Vacations? They don't have huge groups usually (11 in Israel, for instance), and they seem to avoid the herding tendencies. I haven't been on their China tour, but it looks comprehensive, and the four other trips I have taken with them have been very good value.

lisa Jan 23rd, 2002 11:33 AM

I just got back from Thailand with Pacific Delight (see trip report posted separately) and on my package there was just myself and one other person (plus our local guide and driver), which worked out great. They told me that their groups are normally 2-6 people. The local host was terrific. I haven't been to China with them yet but based on my wonderful time in Thailand I'm considering it. By the way, I'm not affliated with them in any way -- just a satisfied customer. You may want to go to and click on the "incredible bargains" button at the top -- there are some great deals to China ranging from $595-$1325 per person for 7 to 11 days including airfare, accommodations, some meals, and some sightseeing.

Vanessa Jan 24th, 2002 10:32 PM

check the website and you will find a surprise!

cb Jan 30th, 2002 07:53 AM

If you go during off-peak, most (perhaps all) tours will have small groups. THere were only 6 of us when we went in May. OAT may be the only one who limits group size. However, during peak travel season and even with a small group size, every tourist sight you go to will be swarming with people.

ART Jan 30th, 2002 11:20 AM

Check out China Focus. The have terrific tours and terrific prices.<BR>And the groups are relatively small.<BR>Go to for further information. Good luck!

jeri Feb 11th, 2002 10:09 AM


jeri Mar 16th, 2002 03:16 PM

We were concerned about group size, but I think less people are traveling this year. Due to itineraries, dates etc the best choices for us seemed to be China Focus, Laurus and Pacific Delight. Only Laurus has a guaranteed maximum group size (20). Checked and all three had plenty of availability for their April and May trips. As far as group size, for all three companies, the issue was if they had enough people for a given date (minimum 6) and not whether there would be a large group. The official tour group max did not seem to matter. So if you've been thinking of going to China, now seems to be a very good time.

Suzie Lam Mar 16th, 2002 10:58 PM

Not true. We tried to book the 18-day China Odyssey tour with Laurus Travel two weeks ago but were told it was sold out. Their May 5 departure has a few vacancies available but we can't go in May.

Deedee Mar 18th, 2002 07:26 AM

My husband and I went with Pacific Best Tours in November and had a wonderful time! All the guides were delightful and the connections, etc. were impeccable. Even though we had booked a group with a max of 20, we were the only two people and the tour went anyway. We had private car, guide and driver for the same price! You should check, many companies use CIT in China so regardless of who you book with, you get the same guides. We had mostly 5* hotels. The only difference being we could tell from the 4* was that from the 5* you could walk to everything instead of having to take a cab. Cabs are so cheap in China though, it's not really an issue. If we did it again we would save money with the 4* hotels. <BR><BR>As a caveat, we had originally booked with Pacific Delight. They cancelled 30 days before we were supposed to leave because the group was not large enough. Then they didn't want to credit our charge card for the tour price. (They wanted to mail us a check for the price minus the 3% credit card fee and let us "eat" the fee.) Today the bank tells us that the check they sent us was returned for non-payment! It has been five months and we are still fighting for our money. BEWARE!!! <BR>

Barry Mar 18th, 2002 11:07 AM

We took a China Focus trip last summer. Not super luxury, but very comfortable and moderately priced. Our particular group was made up of 27 delightful fellow travelers riding around on 40-passenger buses. I highly recommend them for what you want.

M Mar 18th, 2002 02:00 PM

Try Rim-Pac at <BR>Please Andrew you have five spelling errors in your first sentence!!!

adventurer Mar 18th, 2002 03:40 PM

We are here looking for unbiased information. Unfortunately we have people like Andrew touting Pacific Delight and Margaret beating up Andrew while promoting her own interest. Pretty sad. Can't you guys leave us alone?

Margaret Mar 18th, 2002 09:25 PM

Adventurer, I'm not promoting my own interests at all. Surely I can mention the name of a company just like everyone else does. Rim-Pac does great tours just like everyone else but you rarely see their name mentioned.

Kent Mar 20th, 2002 07:29 AM

If you haven't figured it out by now PAY ATTENTION! The tour companies pay people to come to these sites and promote thier company. Also to do damage control!!! Andrew, as he signs his mail, works for Pacific Delight tours! Folks my point here being is there are a lot of good honest people on these sites trying to help you out with your adventures! But BEWARE of the self promoters out there and take each posting of information with a grain of salt. Remember that if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. It would be nice if the Host of these sites could keep the tour companies off but I am sure that is asking alot. I will admit that I have some bias towards pacific delight as we have been having trouble with them since they cancelled our tour and we have been fighting with them to get our money back. But the real issue here is that I never knew until now was that they ( the tour companies) are plugging these sites with information promoting their companies and trying to sound like a normal traveler such as you and I. In my humble veiw that is wrong. Don't fall prey to their one sided veiws. Take everyones posting and make your own decision to chose a tour company. Knowing that some of them are from the tour companies themselves.

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