Undecided on what tour to take. Help!

Old Mar 13th, 2003, 05:51 AM
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Undecided on what tour to take. Help!

Nobody was interested in answering my previous message titled: Guilin or Kunming?, so I decided to title it a bit differently. I`m considering two China tours. The first one will go to Beijing, Xian, Kunming, Dali & Lijiang and Shanghai(not visiting Guilin). The second one is similar visiting Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Suzhou and Shanghai ( but leaving out Kunming, Dali and Lijiang). Which of these tours will give you a better first impression of China? Need your advice on which tour to take and why. Thanks
Gilberto is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 02:41 PM
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It's a tough choice; I had the same predicament.Decided that on my first trip to China I'll see the more popular tourist cities/towns - which includes Guilin and Suzhou. Fantastic landscape and scenery in Guilin; magnificent gardens, the grand canal, silk factory, embroidery factory in Suzhou. I believe in Kunming (stone forest), Dali (beautiful gardens) and Lijiang, you encounter more of China's minorities.

Sorry I can't be of more help, but if you do decide on the first itinerary, you'll post a report on your trip and let me know what I missed.
banares is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Suzhou and Shanghai...are the key cities to visit for a first time traveler to China PLUS the river tour a must. Take a look at Chinafocustravel.com before you book with anyone. They have very first cabin tours that are really outstanding that take in the above stops for very little $$$$$. It's amazing how they do everything for so little.....no add ons, no special tipping. One low price includes all. The second group of cities you mentioned we plan to visit soon....but you will never be disappointed with any travel to China. Go now....we are the minority....and it is fun!!!! Westerners are still rare and China Focus takes you off the beaten paths into the rice paddies!!!! Shopping is so much fun. Travel light. Take a look at my journal on the Frommer's Bulletin board.... CHAMPAYNE TOUR ON A BEER BUDGET. Gracious, caring people...the people of china. If I can be of more assistance, write to me direct
[email protected]
TAKEMEAWAY is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2003, 02:51 PM
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Here is the one that banares responded to that seemed to get lost.
Patrick is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2003, 04:07 PM
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It might be of interest to note that the poster above who used so relentlessly to push China Focus Tours on this site, and now seems to have returned to do so again, has a posting on the Frommer's site complaining about Fodors for having deleted such postings in the past.

The tours may well be excellent, certainly in terms of price, but the description of them is perhaps not entirely accurate:

On "no special tipping", their recommendation is in fact US$4 per tourist per day. This is regrettable. Add it to the total cost to arrive at the real price

And as for "off the beaten track", China Focus seems to introduce the same set of experiences as other mass-market tour companies--a convenient way to see a number of 'greatest hits' destinations in a short time, but about as "off the beaten track" as turning into 42nd Street from Broadway.

It also includes, it says, 4-5 shopping 'opportunities' in a 15-day tour, although others have posted to say it was more. Some may want to avoid such a volume of shopping stops. For others its welcome, and fine if wallets are kept firmly shut.

Returning to Gilberto's query, I'd take the tour which includes Kunming, etc. Kunming is not China's most interesting city, but the scenery on the way to Dali and Lijiang is splendid, and the two towns, while heavily visited and very touristed (particularly Lijiang) are nevertheless very attractive and less touristed than Guilin, etc. (almost anywhere, even in China, is less touristed than that) if that matters. There's more contrast offered on the Kunming route, and as banares mentioned, there are people several ethnic minorites to see (including those who cross from a neighbouring province which sees less tourism, in order to peddle their handicrafts to visitors as local goods).

If you have free time in Dali, then just go walking and take random back alleys to find, just metres from your comfortable hotel, local people using buckets to extract water from deep wells, people making snacks from pulped plums and sugar wrapped in vine leaves, and a remarkable Catholic church built by French missionaries, which looks exactly like a Chinese temple until you note the cross on top and that the murals on the beams have rather different subjects from normal.

Peter N-H
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 04:38 PM
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Being an American born chinese and having been to China a few times, definitely go on the one with Kunming and Shanghai - Shanghai, because it's fast becoming the london/new york/rome of the East and Kunming for sheer spectacular beauty. This itinerary offers the most range in terms of urban versus landscape and I sincerely don't think that you would regret it. Have a great trip.
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 07:50 AM
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We did the Pacific Delight tour of Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hong Kong in July 2002. It was excellent. All food and programs were included. It also included tours of local homes, factories, etc. I strongly recommend Guilin. It was the BEST!
Linochat is offline  
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