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Has anyone had experience with Chinatour.com?

Has anyone had experience with Chinatour.com?

Old Oct 14th, 2015, 04:06 PM
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Has anyone had experience with Chinatour.com?

They just came out with some pretty amazing prices for a tour to China. I was thinking of taking my family there for the kids' spring break. However, the adage, "if it's too good to be true..." is staying with me. Have any of you had any experience with this company?

Bill
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Old Oct 14th, 2015, 05:14 PM
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No tour is necessary unless you really want one, and in China, tours are often a VERY bad idea. Tours in China will cost FAR more than it would cost to travel independently, the guides rarely have accurate information (as they have minimal access to anything that isn't government approved), you will probably stay in hotels that are just OK, and you will probably not end up in restaurants where you can eat extraordinarily delicious local specialties at very affordable prices.

Traveling in China independently is perfectly do-able, even if you don't speak a word of Mandarin. (But do, please, learn hello and thank you!) Always have with you a card on which the name of your hotel is written in English and in Chinese characters. Taxi drivers or others will not necessarily be able to read English or pidgen; they will be able to read the Chinese characters. Likewise, carry with you the names of places you want to visit in both languages. Also bring a good phrasebook that has some common words and phrases in both scripts. You might also consider getting a copy of the very lightweight Me No Speak, which has pictograms you can use if necessary.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097...=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

That said, I found VERY little need for any language other than English in major cities, and even in many places rarely visited by tourists. At this point in time, the vast majority of young people and those involved in the tourist industry speak English or will have a smartphone or other device they can (and will) use to look things up. Some older people won’t know English, or won’t be willing to risk mispronunciation, but it is unlikely that you would need to rely on them. Honestly, I had MUCH bigger difficulties with language in Paris in the early 1990s than I had in China in 2010.

Several of us have filed trip reports on our experiences as independent travelers in China -- you might take a moment to look at some of them. You can find them by clicking on the "China" forum and scrolling down the page. You can find my report on 4 weeks as a solo female independent traveler (northern China only, in 2010) by clicking on my name.

I don't want to give a false impression -- it won't be like traveling in Switzerland, where everyone seems to speak English (and 3 or 4 other languages!). But IME, language was not a sufficient barrier to preclude independent travel for those who are accustomed to doing so and are willing to do their homework. And the rewards of independent travel in China can be substantial!

Hope that helps!
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Old Oct 15th, 2015, 06:06 AM
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Thanks. This is really about pricing more than the tour. I am not a fan of tours personally, but the whole trip, which supposedly includes two 4.5 star hotels, costs less than a normal coach flight there.
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Old Oct 15th, 2015, 07:14 PM
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Well, it depends on where you choose to stay and eat, but IME, an independent visit to China can cost little more than a normal coach flight there! ;-)
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Old Oct 15th, 2015, 09:49 PM
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If it's that cheap, you can expect ample shopping time at places they bring you. To believe otherwise would be foolish.
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Old Oct 20th, 2015, 05:04 AM
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At that price the shopping stops are an acceptable diversion.
Suggest you thoroughly check out the tour operator.
Enjoy the trip
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Old Oct 20th, 2015, 05:39 AM
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Story happened in Hong Kong yesterday, but just don't get into fights during the mandatory shopping stops in China either...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peop...our-guide.html
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Old Oct 20th, 2015, 04:53 PM
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OMG, rkkwan! Thanks for giving us the news.

I wouldn't have considered the shopping stops an "acceptable diversion" even without reading that news. My time -- and especially my travel time -- is WAY more valuable than that.
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Old Oct 20th, 2015, 06:29 PM
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And here we thought the forced shopping stops were just a waste of time!
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