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Travel Agency for China

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So, I've been really interested in traveling to China next year during the month of June. I get a 2 weeks paid vacation, so I would like to take the full two weeks there. I have been browsing the web the past week looking for sites that offer a package deal, since it's such a foreign country to me I would not know what to do, so I want it somewhat all laid out on the table for me. The first site I came across is China Odyssey Tours. I am not sure if it's legit or not, but I asked for a quote etc and a girl emailed me a itinerary with a detailed layout of a 13 day tour across China (yada yada) that would cost roughly ~3,000 USD.

Is there any agencies with good reviews that would offer such a trip? I would be going solo since none of my close relatives or friends would be willing to cough up that amount of money, and it doesn't bother me to go alone because I would be in it more for the scenic/historic experience then the party/night life/city life experience.

Is it better to plan it myself? The biggest downfall I see with this is not knowing the language and not knowing where is where and what is what. I found another site that is a group tour (10-20 people) of single travelers that they kind of pair up, but most sites say the average person that goes on these sort of tours are 35-55 and I'm only 21 so it might be a bit weird.
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
any ideas on how to safely plan a trip to China?
post #3 of 12
You could technically just list out all the places you really want to go to and just go there yourself, I'm only saying this because I hate tours...just never had a good experience with any that I've been on.

I did China myself, well not completely by myself had a place to stay and went out to travel alone in the day time, I didn't know anything and not even speaking the language really helped me that much.
post #4 of 12
What cities are you trying to see?
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoozah View Post

I'm only 21...

21?! You're supposed to be carefree and embrace life with reckless abandon. A backpack, your passport, and a sense of adventure is all you really need. Don't be afraid to "muddle" through it; you're not being scored. Figure out what two or three locations you want to see, such as Shanghai or Xian, hit some websites that appeal to backpackers to do a bit of research, and stay at cheap guest houses / pensions when you get there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoozah View Post

I found another site that is a group tour (10-20 people) of single travelers that they kind of pair up...
Group tours appeal to the old. And the fearful.
Edited by curzon - 8/27/11 at 4:43pm
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
well the itinerary i got looked like this
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Detailed Tentative Itinerary:

Day 1 Sunday 3-June-2012 ()

Arrival / Beijing

Transfer via: International flight arranged by you

Upon your arrival at the Beijing airport, your local guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax and recover from jetlag.

Accommodations: Jianguo Garden Hotel, Beijing (4 star)

Phone: (86)10-65286666

Fax: (86)10-65225261

Address: No.17 Jianguomennei Avenue, Dongcheng district, Beijing, China

Web: http://www.jianguogardenhotel.com/



Day 2 Monday 4-June-2012 (B)

Beijing

On this day you will visit Tiananmen Square, and the magnificent Forbidden City. In the afternoon, you will marvel at the spectacular Temple of Heaven.

-The Tian'anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) Square: the largest city square in the world and the spiritual heart of China, where the national flag is raised exactly at sunrise everyday.

-The Forbidden City: located in the center of Beijing, used to be the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties with a history of around 600 years, it is the grandest integral palace complex still remaining in China.

-The Temple of Heaven: the place which was visited yearly by the emperors who performed intricate rituals to insure a good harvest for the whole nation at ancient times.

Accommodations: Jianguo Garden Hotel, Beijing (4 star)



Day 3 Tuesday 5-June-2012 (B)

Beijing

You will visit to the magnificent Great Wall (Badaling section), Jade gallery and Sacred road.



-The Great Wall at Badaling: the most outstanding representation of China's Great Wall, located 70km northwest of Beijing, at an elevation of 1000m, this section was first built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) and heavily restored in the 1950s and 1980s.

Standing at the strategic highest point from northwest of Beijing and giving access to every direction, Badaling section is the important pass for protecting Beijing City.

Badaling section is composed of Guan City and its affiliated Wall, with city platforms, wall platforms and watchtowers along the Wall. The Wall is 8.5 meters high, 6.5 meters wide at the bottom and 5.7 meters wide on the top, which makes it possible for 5 horses or 10 people march abreast on the top. And the surrounding scenery is magnificent and impressive.

-The Sacred Road: the path lined with stone statues of animals, mystical beasts and officials who serve the emperor in his afterlife, through which the sitting emperors would go to perform memorial rituals for the ancestors once a year.

-Dragon Land Superior Jade gallery: Jade, the most symbolic culture of China, its history is as long as Chinese civilization. In the jade gallery, you will experience how to turn a raw material into the masterpiece by Chinese traditional skill and technique, and have a general idea of jade's classification, color, quality, symbolic meaning etc. Each jade item here is well designed, skillfully carved, and carefully polished. From the largest item to the smallest one, every piece will attract your eyes and your camera.

Accommodations: Jianguo Garden Hotel, Beijing (4 star)



Day 4 Wednesday 6-June-2012 (B)

Beijing / Xian

Transfer via: Domestic flight on economy class arranged by China Odyssey Tours

On this day you will be free until your local guide escorts you to the airport for your flight to Xian. Upon arriving in Xian, your local guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Then you will visit the Big Wild Pagoda, the Great Mosque and Muslim community.

-Big Wild Goose Pagoda: regarded by many as a symbol of the city, the pagoda was built in 652 A.D in Tang Dynasty to house the sutras brought back from India by the famous monk Xuan-zang.

-The Great Mosque: the largest mosque in Xi'an and one of the four grand Islamic mosques in China with more than 1200 years' history, the mosque possesses not only traditional Chinese architectural style, but also features peculiar to Islamic mosques and now it is a major spot for religious activities of 50,000 Muslims in Xi'an.

Accommodations: Grand New World Hotel, Xian (4 star)

Phone: (86)29-87216868

Fax: (86)29-87210708

Address: Lianhu Road, Xian, Shaanxi, China 710002

Web: www.gdhxian.com



Day 5 Thursday 7-June-2012 (B)

Xian

You will visit the incredible life-size Terracotta Warriors and Art Ceramics Factory in the morning. After lunch, you will visit the Ancient City Walls and then Xian’s ancient Bell Tower.

-Terracotta Warriors and Horses: discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, one of the most significant archeological finds of the 20th century. These 6,000 life-size painted terracotta warriors and horses --individually sculpted from real-life models and arranged in battle formation have been protecting the mausoleum of the first emperor in Chinese history—Emperor QinShihuang since 2,200 years ago.

-Xian Art Ceramics Factory: It is a good place to know how the astonishing Terracotta Warriors were made back to over 2000 years ago. You can actually join the work flow to make one by your own by using the original technique and process.

-Bell Tower: standing in the center of the city and built in 1582, the Bell Tower is a three-story wooden structure with traditional Chinese architectural features; it is so called because an iron bell is hung in the tower to give the correct time.

-The Ancient City Walls: built during the 14th century on Tang Dynasty foundations, date to the Ming Dynasty; the walls are the largest and best-preserved ancient fortress in the world. There is a gate in each of the four sides, the gate towers built over each gate look lofty and magnificent and form a tight defense engineering system.

Accommodations: Grand New World Hotel, Xian (4 star)



Day 6 Friday 8-June-2012 (B)

Xian / Guilin

Transfer via: Domestic flight on economy class arranged by China Odyssey Tours

On this day you will be free until your guide escorts you to the airport for your flight to Guilin. Upon your arrival at Guilin, the most scenic city in China, your personal guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. After a rest you will head out for a tour of Elephant Trunk Hill, Pearl museum and Reed Flute Cave.



-Elephant Trunk Hill: the symbol of Guilin, which resembles a giant elephant drinking water from the Li River.

-Guilin South China Sea Water Pearl Museum: South China Sea water pearl, known as the best quality for its smoothness roundness and natural luster and was listed as the national treasure and named the pearl king about 2000 years ago. In the museum, you can see a nice presentation about how they grow the pearls and some unique colors of sea pearl only cultivated in China. It is the best place to see and buy the south sea water pearl with very good quality and reasonable price.

-Reed Flute Cave: 5 kilometers away from the city center, famed as “A Natural Palace of Art”, in which you can see lots of stalactites & stalagmites illuminated by the lights of different colors and learn how they were formed.

Accommodations: Guilin Park Hotel, Guilin (4 star)

Phone: (86)773-2558899

Fax: (86)773-2827209

Address: 1, Luosi Hill, Guilin, Guangxi, China 541001

Web: http://www.parkhtl.com



Day 7 Saturday 9-June-2012 (B)

Guilin

After breakfast, you will be driven to Zhujiang Pier (40-minute drive) to start your boat cruise down the picturesque Li River, which is the highlight of any visit to Guilin, until you get to Yangshuo County. Along the river, you will be inspired by breathtaking views of peaks and pinnacles, crystal-clear water and picturesque pastoral views of rice paddies and water buffaloes. Visitors feel they have stepped into a traditional Chinese painting. After checking into your hotel, you will be free to explore Yangshuo and its famous West Street.



-Li River cruise: The highlight of the tour in Guilin, by taking the cruise from Zhujiang Pier to Yangshuo, you will be inspired by breathtaking views of peaks and pinnacles, crystal-clear water and reflections in the water together with the serene pastoral views of rice paddies and water buffaloes, you are certainly walking into a traditional Chinese painting by cruising on it.

-West Street: a busy and exotic slate street in Yangshuo County, about 2km long crammed with shops, pubs, cafés and hotels, where you can relax yourself and do some souvenir shopping.

Optional: night show, Show of Impression Liusanjie, US$ 36 per person, normal seat

Accommodations: New Century Hotel, Yangshuo (3 star)

Phone: (0773)8829819

Fax: (0773)8829809

Address: Pantao Road, Next to Yangshuo Park, Yangshuo, Guilin, China, 541900

Web: http://www.ysxsj.com/



Day 8 Sunday 10-June-2012 (B)

Guilin / Chongqing / Yangtze River Cruise

Transfer via: Domestic flight on economy class arranged by China Odyssey Tours

You will be free until your Personal guide escorts you to the airport for your flight to Chongqing. Upon your arrival at Chongqing, the largest city in Southwest China, our local guide will meet you and escort you to the city to have city tour including Erling Park, Huguang Gild Hall and Ciqikou Old Town. And then transferred to get on board the ship.

-Erling Park: one of the old private gardens in Chongqing, built in late Qing Dynasty around 1909 AD, due to its relatively high altitude, there you can have a bird's eye view of the whole city.

-The Huguang Guild Hall: was first built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and it was rebuild later.The present remained building is quadrangle with very high walls. The whole construction is even more splendid than others.

-Ciqikou Old Town: it was Chongqing's old harbor and was once the home of many of Chongqing's rich merchants, where you can still see lots of Ming and Qing dynasty architecture, local shops, tea houses, local Sichuan street performance and so on.

Embark President No.1.Departs Chongqing at 22:00.

Accommodations: President No.1 (5 star)



Day 9 Monday 11-June-2012 (B,L,D)

ON THE CRUISE



Shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City this morning. The ship company will choose one spot as your shore excursion destination according to the weather situation and other conditions.

-- Fengdu Ghost City: constructed on the Mingshan Hill by the river bank, it is so called because of the legend which goes that about 1,700 years ago, two officials, Yin and Wang (the combination of their surnames means "Ghost King ") became Taoists here and eventually Immortals. Now with fantastic temples of underworld demons and gods, it shows the Chinese ghost culture and is a place for punishing the devil and awarding the good.

Accommodations: President No.1 (5 star)



Day 10 Tuesday 12-June-2012 (B,L,D)

ON THE CRUISE



Shore excursion to Shennong Stream at about 13:00pm.

--Shennong Stream: a small tributary of the Yangtze with 60 kilometers long, famous for its picturesque sceneries, Shennong Stream is beautiful and ancient. When you take a sampan drifting along it which is not without risk yet exhilarating and a challenge to battle with the nature, you will be attracted and surprised by its crystal clear steam flowing swiftly from north to south through deep gorges,steep ridges and peaks, thick vegetation and wild flowers, flying birds, plank road built along a cliff and ancient hanging coffins, the Minority people and their sweet love songs.

Accommodations: President No.1 (5 star)



Day 11 Wednesday 13-June-2012 (B,L)

Yichang / Shanghai

Transfer via: Domestic flight on economy class arranged by China Odyssey Tours

Upon your arrival at Yichang, be met and escorted to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon your arrival at Shanghai, China's most cosmopolitan city, your personal guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax, or step out into this amazing city for an adventure on your own.

Have a tour to Three Gorges Dam site(0800-1000).After lunch, disembark the ship in Yichang at 13:00.

--The Three Gorges Dam: spanning the Yangtze at Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei province, China, construction began in 1994, it is now the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. The Dam will be 2,335 meters long, 18 meters wide, and its bottom will be 130 meters wide after completion in 2009, and by then the water level will rise to 135 meters above sea level. The reservoir began filling on June 1, 2003, and will occupy the present position of the scenic Three Gorges area, between the cities of Yichang, Hubei; and Fuling, Chongqing Municipality.

Accommodations: The Bund Hotel Shanghai, Shanghai (4 star)

Phone: (86)21-63522000

Fax: (86)21-63606367

Address: 525 Guangdong Road, Shanghai China

Web: http://www.thebundhotel.com



Day 12 Thursday 14-June-2012 (B)

Shanghai

After breakfast, you will visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, which chronicles Shanghai’s past, present and future. Then you will visit Jade Buddha Temple, Silk workshop, Yu Garden and Yu Market.



-Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall: This museum has five floors that detail the ambitious plans of Shanghai's urban planners. It fully displays the achievements of Shanghai in city planning and construction and embodies the theme of “city, man, environment, and development”.

-Jade Buddha Temple: named after its exquisite milk-white jade Buddha brought from Burma in the 19th century by a Chinese monk, it is a spiritual oasis in the midst of a modern metropolis.

-Jiangnan Silk Workshop: Chinese silk has surprised the world through the ancient Silk Road. How small cocoons transformed into elegant silk and embroideries has for long time been described as a magical process. Jiangnan Silk Workshop is where the magic done in reality. You will see a variety of skills used for producing the dazzling silk items. It is also a good place to find worthwhile souvenirs for your families and friends.

-Yu Garden: located in the Old Town of Shanghai and laid out in 1559 AD by a powerful Ming official, Yu Garden recreates a beautiful landscape of pagodas, pavilions, rockeries, fountains, ancient trees and precious flowers.

-Yuyuan Market: Outside the Yu Garden, a bustling market with different snacks and trinkets.

Accommodations: The Bund Hotel Shanghai, Shanghai (4 star)



Day 13 Friday 15-June-2012 (B)

Shanghai / Exit

Transfer via: International flight arranged by you

After breakfast, you will walk down the Bund along the Huangpu River and visit Nanjing Road, and then get a bird's eye view of Shanghai from the Jinmao Tower. After, you will be escorted to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

-The Bund (the word "Bund" was derived from Anglo-Indian word meaning quay): Where the great trading houses and banks had their headquarters in 1920s and 1930s, about a mile long, it is the city's fulcrum.

-Nanjing Road: known as “China's No.1 Shopping Street” with a huge of merchandise on sale.

-Jin Mao Building: It has 88 floors above ground and 3 floors underground with a total height of 420.5m. It is the highest one in China and the third highest in the world. From floor 53 to 87, is the highest hotel in the world, Grand Hyatt. The sightseeing hall on the 88 floor is the largest sightseeing hall in China now. It takes only 45 seconds for you to go up to the 88th floor.

i guess i could skip the cruise and just copy everything else lol
post #7 of 12

Honestly, kid, throw some clothes into a backpack and follow curzon's advice.

 

lefty


Edited by lefty - 8/28/11 at 12:34am
post #8 of 12
Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.

Golly, don't miss that.

Much of the itinerary is good, and it's on a well-beaten path that you can do on your own. I'd skip the 4-star hotels and stay at guest houses and hostels where you can meet other travelers and do things together. For example this one in Xian.

I'd also travel by train rather than plane where possible.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
lol i'm so tempted to just get on a plane with a back pack and leave.. i'd just like to be a little bit prepared wink.gif
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoozah View Post

lol i'm so tempted to just get on a plane with a back pack and leave.. i'd just like to be a little bit prepared wink.gif

There you go m8, that's the spirit.

I understand the attraction of someone doing it all for you (for a high price, of course), and if you were accompanying your elderly & infirm grandparents it would be prudent to avail yourself of those services. But on your own... embrace the challenge. Best thing about traveling isn't only the people, places and culture, but also learning about yourself, getting by on your wiles and developing your resiliency. And if all else fails... throw money at it wink.gif

Once you decide your itinerary book some nights at hostels before you depart, and if you cancel too late or arrive a day later you're only out a few dollars. Key thing is getting your transport sorted w/ domestic air and/or rail.
Edited by curzon - 8/27/11 at 10:24pm
post #11 of 12

My parents, who have a company in Beijing, use Seven Seas http://citycatalogue.com/China/Hong-kong/Travel-agency/5966494
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoozah View Post

So, I've been really interested in traveling to China next year during the month of June. I get a 2 weeks paid vacation, so I would like to take the full two weeks there. I have been browsing the web the past week looking for sites that offer a package deal, since it's such a foreign country to me I would not know what to do, so I want it somewhat all laid out on the table for me. The first site I came across is China Odyssey Tours. I am not sure if it's legit or not, but I asked for a quote etc and a girl emailed me a itinerary with a detailed layout of a 13 day tour across China (yada yada) that would cost roughly ~3,000 USD.

Is there any agencies with good reviews that would offer such a trip? I would be going solo since none of my close relatives or friends would be willing to cough up that amount of money, and it doesn't bother me to go alone because I would be in it more for the scenic/historic experience then the party/night life/city life experience.

Is it better to plan it myself? The biggest downfall I see with this is not knowing the language and not knowing where is where and what is what. I found another site that is a group tour (10-20 people) of single travelers that they kind of pair up, but most sites say the average person that goes on these sort of tours are 35-55 and I'm only 21 so it might be a bit weird.


 

post #12 of 12
Travel Agency - Pros: they will speak some English, set plans, less chance of mixups, helps with transportation logistics
Cons: less adventure, they will probably take you to some shitty places to collect their commissions, you never know who you'll be stuck traveling with, more expensive

Doing it on your own - Pros: more fun?, more of an adventure, can be empowering getting around on your own in a foreign country, make your own itinerary/schedule, cheaper
Cons: language barrier (especially in smaller cities/hotels/everyday on the street), possible transportation difficulties, if you get lost or something you could be fucked

Long, more details in spoiler

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Just picking up and going is fine and all, but I'd recommend at least a little planning. You should at least plan what cities you're going to see and get an idea of where you're going to stay in each city otherwise you'll run in to problems, especially if you plan on spending any time in smaller cities or places out west.

For example, I went to Lanzhou earlier this year without booking a hotel in advance only to find that pretty much none of the hotels there allow foreigners to stay in them. I had to go to like 10 different places before finally finding one. Luckily I have a friend there with a car so he drove me around and if all else failed I could have slept on his floor or something, but someone else could have been in trouble.

Travel agencies will be good for arranging things like that and arranging any transportation for you, especially if you don't speak any Chinese.

On the other hand, you could always plan out your housing and stuff in advance, make an itinerary, get a phrase book and be totally fine on your own though. The transportation would be my main concern if you were to do it on your own thoughm not so much if you book flights from city to city, but if you were planning on taking trains/buses. The tickets for those can be a little tricky since you can only get them a few days in advance from train stations, specific "train ticket stores," or sketchy delivery guys who will get them from the stores for you and charge you a service fee. I wouldn't mess with the buses at all if I were you on your own either. They can be weird with pickup/drop-off locations sometimes, and you don't want to be dropped off at some random place unless you can speak Chinese.


That all being said, if it were me, I would have a pretty well thought out plan made ahead of time (dates, transportation, and places to stay) and then go at it on my own and wing the rest. FWIW, that's what I do whenever I travel here, but speaking Chinese helps to work out all the little details (like how to get from my hotel to the great wall or something).
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