Tour Operators for China?

Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Tour Operators for China?

I am looking into doing a guided tour through China for 10-15 days next spring or fall. It sounds like several folks liked Pacific Delights. Any other experiences with other operators? We would like to see Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Xi-an. Not really interested in the river cruise tour.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:46 PM
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For the cities you are considering, and IMO for the PRC generally, you really don't need a guided package tour. For sure you don't need a tour in Hong Kong, Xian you can easily do yourself and also Shanghai. Beijing it is nice to have guides for certain sights, but again a wholly guided tour is not necessary. The cities on your itin are major tourist cities and getting around by yourself will not be an issue, esp in Hong Kong and Shanghai where you can quite easily use public transport (and in the case of Hong Kong ,walking is the best way to see much of it). English is widely spoken in Hong Kong and you won't have any issues, IMO in the other cities on your itin. IMO travel companies make it seem more difficult to travel in the PRC than it really is.

Also, if the tour includes all meals you are IMO going to miss out on some great food while the tour steers you to large touristy restaurants with more mediocre food. Again, this is esp the case in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing which are just full of excellent restaurants of all cuisines. (A recent poster's main complaint about her tour was the bad Chinese food they had for 2 weeks.)

Finally, the tours may include more shopping stops than you would want, or stops at "handicraft" factories which are one person painting porcelain and 8 guys trying to SELL you porcelain.

If you can arrange a tour to get you a deal on airfare, hotels and give you airport transfers and guides to some sights in some cities, that might be worthwhile. You can then do your own sightseeing each day and arrange your own meals.

A 10 day tour with those 4 cities is to much in too short a time. I would not do any tour like that. 15 days is doable, but you will be moving a lot. With 2 weeks, I would pick 3 places.

You might want to drop Shanghai in favour of a place like Lijiang.
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Old Jan 24th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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China Highlights is a reliable company. The guides we had were pleasant and knowledgable. The transitions to different regions went smoothly. They were on time and efficient.
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Old Jan 24th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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TravelChinaGuide.com is an online tour operator, but I don't have any experience with them.

If you are looking for unbiased travel info, check out ChinaTravelGuide.com (confusing, huh? TravelChinaGuide or ChinaTravelGuide). Or TripAdvisor for reviews.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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We saw China in 2003 with Laurus Tours and had a wonderful time--in spite of Sars being prevalent there. Laurus is mentioned several times on Fodors. You can check them out at www.laurustravel.com

We have recommended Laurus to friends who have had equally great trips. We took the 18 day Odyssey.
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Old Mar 16th, 2008, 11:41 AM
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A friend and I took a private tour this past October with TravelChinaGuide.com. I thought they did a great job. They provide a guide and a driver in each province. They pick you up at the airport and stay with you for that province and then check you in for your flight to the next province, where another driver and guide pick you up. We did the Luxury 10 day package (which was inexpensive compared to other tour groups) and were very satisfied. lovely hotels and great sites to see. My recommendation is to tell which ever guide you use that you do not want to go to any factories. This includes pearl, silk, tea houses and closine. They get a commission on all sales and it is always a high pressure sale, and NOT a factory.
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Old Mar 16th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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In fact, the city you will visit has perfected optional tours bassed on daily. Contrast to the form of Join-in group, they are more fexible and cheap. At same times, you still obtain pleasure private tour without shopping.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 12:17 AM
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you can aslo try
www.xiantripadvisor.com
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