I've seen several very cheap offers from travelzoo in the past couple of weeks and was wondering if anyone has done a guided tour in china and can give advise.
The one I got today leaves San Fran, 6 nights hotel in Beijing, 3 days guided tours, 9 meals, and air for $899. Seems insanely cheap and hard to pass up. There are others which stay longer but all are good values...I think.
Which companies have you used, how good are the guides, what's the can't miss items, worth it to do the ones that have 3-4 cities and fly in between? Forbidden city and the great wall are the only "must see" items atm.
We did a three week tour of China where we worked with atour company to arrange an itinerary of our liking. We flew between cities and a new guide and driver were at the airport to pick us up and then drop us off when it was on to next locations. We went to Beijing (only a couple of days as we had been there before), Xian, Guillin (Li River Cruise), Chengdu, Yangtze River Cruise, Tibet (Lhasa), and Shanghai. It was a fantastic trip but a lot more than $899.
We used Explorient and were very pleased. I can give you name of agent we used if you want. For 20 days, it came to over $12,000 for the two of us but it was high because of Tibet and a very luxurious Yangtze River cruise. All told, we had six internal China flights that were included.
Here is our itinerary:
TOUR OUTLINE Day Activity Summary
Arrive Beijing: Upon arrival, after clearing immigration and customs, you will be met and transferred
to The Regent Beijing hotel.
Beijing: Today, enjoy a private car and guide at your disposal (up to 8 hours) to shop and explore
Beijing / Yichang: Morning at leisure. Fly to Yichang in the afternoon. Upon arrival, be met and
transferred to the Yangtzi Explorer Cruise ship for your river journey upstream. (B)
Yangtze River Cruise (Three Gorges Dam): Cruise along the Yangtze. Today you will visit the site
of the Three Gorges Dam at Sandouping. When completed in 2009, it will be the largest reservoir in
the world. Enjoy meals, shore excursions and on board entertainment daily. (B,L,D)
Yangtze River Cruise (Three Small Gorges): Today you will cruise through the legendary Three
Gorges: Xiling, Wu & Qutang. After arriving at Wushan, enjoy a motor boat ride on the Daning River
through the towering Three Small Gorges. Enjoy an unforgettable boat journey along the spectacular
Shennong Stream (B,L,D)
Yangtze River Cruise (Shibaozhai): Today’s shore excursion takes you to Shibaozhai, gem of
Chinese architecture. There you will find a 11-story-high red wooden pavilion built against a
protruding rock with sheer cliffs on the north bank overlooking the great Yangtze. (B,L,D)
Chongqing / Lhasa: Disembark cruise. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Lhasa.
Upon arrival, bet met and transferred to Four Points by Sheraton for your next 3 nights’
accommodations. Balance of the day at leisure to adjust to the altitude. Enjoy dinner at a local
Lhasa: Enjoy a full day sightseeing that includes the Jokhang Temple, local bazaar and Summer
Palace. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants. (B,L,D)
Lhasa: Tour of the Potala Palace to view the 1000-room former home of the Dalai Lama. Visit a
typical Tibetan Monastery in the afternoon before returning to Lhasa. (B,L,D)
Lhasa / Chengdu: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chengdu. Commence sightseeing of the
Panda Breeding & Research Center. Afterwards, enjoy a visit of Jin Li Street lined with its colorful
shops, local food stands and tea houses. Accommodations at Sheraton Lido Hotel. (B)
Chengdu (Leshan): Enjoy a full day excursion to Leshan, an UNESCO World Heritage Site
famous for its Giant Buddha, located at the confluence of three rivers - Min River, Qingyi River, and
Dadu River. The Giant Buddha was constructed between 713 during the Tang Dynasty and took 90
years to complete. It is biggest carved stone Buddha in the world. Lunch is served at a local
restaurant. Return to Chengdu in the late afternoon. (B,L)
Chengdu / Xian: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. Upon arrival, commence city
sightseeing of the City Wall before transferring to the Shangri-la Xian Hotel. (B)
Xian: Today’s full day tour includes the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the City Wall and the Tomb of the
Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di with its remarkable Terracotta army dating over 2000 years. After lunch
at the Terracotta Museum, proceed to the impressive Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, one of
the most acclaimed Museum in all of China, before returning to the hotel. This evening, enjoy a
special Tang Dynasty dinner and cultural performance. (B,L,D)
Didn't realize there was a max limit on posts; here is the rest of the itinerary.
Oct. 23 Xian / Guilin: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Guilin. Upon arrival, enjoy sightseeing of Flute
Reed Cave and Elephant Trunk Hill. This evening, enjoy a Cormorant Fishing Show and dinner at a
local restaurant. Accommodations at Waterfall Hotel. (B,D)
Oct. 24 Guilin (Li River Cruise/Yangshuo): Today's unforgettable journey takes you on a cruise down the
majestic Li River to the charming, artisan village of Yangshuo. Enjoy sightseeing of Yangshuo
passing through farms and villages before returning to Guilin in the afternoon. (B,L)
Oct. 25 Guilin / Shanghai: Transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, be met
and transferred to your hotel. ****Accommodations in Shanghai on passengers’ own
Shanghai (Zhujiajiao): This morning, enjoy a visit to the ancient water-town of Zhujiajiao famous for
its well-preserved Ming and Qing Dynasty architectures, stone bridges and quiet canals. After lunch
at a local restaurant, return to Shanghai and enjoy your guide & car at disposal to shop and further
explore Shanghai. (L)
Shanghai: Full day free at leisure.
Oct. 28 Depart Shanghai: Transfer to the airport for your departure flight onward.