Tour vs. independent travel?

Oct 3rd, 2005, 11:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Tour vs. independent travel?

Help-we need your input. My husband and I are taking our first trip to China at the end of October. We want to visit Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, and Guilin. Our preference is to set our own schedule and travel independently, however because it's our first time we're wondering if it's feasible to do this, or better to join a tour. Any suggestions. Thanks for your help!
cjenns3 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 12:41 AM
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My wife and I were able to do an independent tour of Beijing, Xi'an and Hong Kong a couple of years back so I think that it is possible. I have posted a trip report with pictures from our experiences on my homepage Maybe you can find some useful information there.

gard is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 01:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Hi, cjenns3.

At the end of October? As in, this month? You've left yourselves very little time to adequately plan a DIY visit - or even to book a suitable tour, I would have thought. Never mind, but you'd better get your head into a guide book or two, and trawl through previous posts on this forum. Lots of people travel independently in China, so there's not a feasibility problem per se, but China can present challenges for the independent traveller, so I strongly suggest that you make up your mind now which way to go - if it's the DIY route, start studying. If it's a tour, better book it tomorrow. Whatever, enjoy your trip!
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We pondered the same problem and decided to go it alone. I'm very glad we did. We had no problems. See our trip report:
Marija is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 04:10 AM
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Sorry, here's the correct link.
Marija is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 46
Hi there, I posted a msg earlier about this. Go on your own. Yes, do some homework, you still have time. Other than the hotel for Beijing do not worry about the rest, u can do it on the spot. even the flights. We just did this in early september with my husband. We were so surprised at how easy it is to travel within China. Much easier than here in Europe.
And if you go on your own you can do so much more. I felt sorry for the people going on a tour...
miss_saigon is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 146
We, too, went to Yangshou, Xian, and Beijing without a tour. We also took my parents who are in their 60's and we all loved it.
I understand your hesitation because all the people you talk to at work, etc. will tell you it can't be done. It can. I was also very surprised at the ease and comfort of travel - we used planes and taxis mostly.
I've posted (a long) trip report under 4 Americans and 3 Mandarin Phrases, if you care to read it.
Skedaddle is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 04:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Based on our fellow Fodorites input, we've decided on an independent tour. Thanks fellow travellers.
cjenns3 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 4
I just returned from China this week and, while I went on a tour, I should think you would have no problem traveling independently. Your hotels will have excursions or cabs readily available; for example, in Xian the terracotta army is rather far from the city.

The cities in China are all ultra-modern and easy to function in. English is spoken in all the major hotels and they can guide you with your logistics.

Have a great time. You will love China.
Rian is offline  

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