Tours in China
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 11:36 AM Last Post By: JPDeM
Nov 12, 2012 4:00 PM
Tours in ChinaIs it better to organise and pay for tours with a travel agent here in Australia, or wait until we are in China and do it on the spot? Or would a better option be to organise tours on the internet with a Chinese travel agent in China? Any advice appreciated. Does anyone have suggestions of best agent to deal with?
Nov 12, 2012 5:46 PM
1What sort of "Tours" were you thinking of taking?
Just an assumption; but I'd lay money it'll be more expensive to do it in Australia'
You could organise trips through CITS but...
A) They'll probably be group-tour.
B) They WILL be expensive.
Nov 12, 2012 8:26 PM
2hi, if you are not familiar with China and you don't speak Chinese, it is better to do it in Australia. Yes it is going to be expensive but at least organized & reliable. Again it also depends on how much flexibility you'll like to have & your expectation :)
Nov 12, 2012 9:16 PM
Nov 12, 2012 9:22 PM
4Just to clarify: all big hotels will have tours desks, offering trips to major sites (Like The Great Wall) and most hostels will organise tours as well so if this is the sort of thing you mean, I'd wait until I got to China before booking. The down-side is that many of these tours have "shopping" stops; pre-arranged comfort-stops at jade markets or medicine factories where high pressure salesmen will try to relieve you of your hard-earned (Although there are other tours that are spesifically advertised as "no shopping", which are usually a little more expensive). The hotel/hostel staff that book your tours will, almost certainly, be able to speak good English but that does NOT necessarily mean that the person who runs the tour will.
Mind you; you're probably just as likely to strike shopping trips and monolingual tour operators booking in Australia.
Nov 13, 2012 12:15 AM
5It depend on when you are going to tour and what kind of tour you will take.in China.As for private tour, in low season, you can come over and order in the hotel or travel agency in China. But if in high season, it is suggested early booking.Not all the travel agency will arrange shops during the trip and not that expensive, you have to choose very carefully cause there a lot available on the website.Compare their feedbacks by tripadvisor and then decide.But if you are backpacker,what you need to do is get real-time information on everything, hotels, flights,entrance fee , transportation,etc.
Nov 13, 2012 7:58 AM
6This is not a forum that is geared to tour takers, but more for independent travelers. As such, most people here including myself, would advocate that you plan your own itinerary that fits with the time you have, time of year you want to go, and your interests. Then get yourself from city to city. This forum is good for getting advice on these aspects. Then in each location, decide if you need a tour or not--there are relatively few places in China where a guide brings much value added and I won't go into all the reasons for this but it's not just because of the time-wasting shopping stops you get roped into.
But at least if you do decide to get a guide in a location on short notice, you'll pay less. And if you get a dud, you're not stuck with them for long. These two reasons alone are good arguments for waiting until you get to China. Do arm yourself with a guidebook and/or internet printouts for the places you end up going.
If you are set on an organized tour, then looking at the China forums of fodors.com, frommers.com, tripadvisor.com might be more fruitful for suggestions and feedback.
Nov 14, 2012 7:11 AM
7I booked in forehand on the internet when I wisited China in 2010.
I used "China highlights"
and I was very pleased with them, especially the guide in Beijing.
I booked two tours with them:
1) From Guilin airport to Longji riceterasses and then back to Yangshuo
2) 3 days of sightseeing in Beijing.
The rest of the time (Shanghai and Yangshuo) we traveled without guide.
The mail reason for hireing a guide and a car in Beijing was time. You have time for a lot more per day if you have your own car. And you go into the forbidden city in a special fast line.
I saved $1400 (two people) by organizing everything by my self instead of using a swedish agency with a complete package.
Nov 14, 2012 7:37 AM
8Hiring a car and driver direct is even cheaper than using an agency. See http://www.thebeijinger.com/classifieds/general/Services/Cars-Drivers
Note that you should take most of the reviews that some of the ads link to with a very big pinch of salt. And also, while you may deal with a fluent English speaker when making the booking by email or on skype, on the actual day you might just get a driver with very minimal English skills.
Nov 16, 2012 11:36 AM
9Understand that if you book back home, they will subcontract to someone else in China. So you do not really know what you are getting.
It is not so difficult to travel in China on your own. If you require some hand-holding then hire a private guide. It is a much cheaper alternative. Check on www.synotrip.com
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