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April 5, 2007 at 6:48 pm #30253
China Travel Tips
By Mark Uhlig, Berlin, Germany, Jan 12, 2007
Traveling is always like a dream for all of us since we were kids, to see new places, experience exotica and different cultures. China has been one of my dreamlands when I read the Lost Horizon by James Hilton and watched the Last Emperor. The splendid Great Wall, the magnificent Forbidden City, the fabulous Terracotta Warriors, the picturesque Li River, the Giant Buddha, Potala Palace, the Giant Pandas,…etc. And if you want to work with a local travel service within China, which one you could trust?
Some suggestions according to my personal experience as followed:
If you just want to take regular tours in China, there are three primary options. China International Travel Service (CITS, China Travel Service and China Youth Travel Service (CYTS,
These three are the largest travel services in China, and have big network throughout the entire country. They have many regular tours for big groups and daily tours. However they are not so flexible and sometimes everybody has to follow the tour guide, trying not to get lost in the crowded places. Besides, compulsory shopping is another spur to clients.
But what about if you want to take a private tour and want to experience more while keeping your journey flexible? Whom you should turn to? It is easy, go for some of the small but credible travel services or agencies in China.
DiverseChina, a tour company focusing mostly on west China but can also arrange high-end featured cultures tours. Being flexible is their priority and they are committed to responsible tourism. We have worked with them on Minya Konka Trek and it is one of the best trekking that we’ve ever took, because of the beautiful scenery and the high-quality service. Though the price is a little bit high but it is absolutely worthy. And there is no compulsory shopping on any trip of theirs.
DiscoverChinaTours is another one who can offer you good tours at very reasonable price, particularly for the tours to Guilin where it is located.
Besides them, there are plenty small travel services in China but out of my own experience and just think it over more when you decide to work with them.
If you prefer to travel as a backpacker, it is also easy in China. The hostels in each large city are nice to stay where you could meet plenty of travel buddies and head for your destinations with them. The only problem is that the staff of the hostels speaks very little English but enough for the basic communication. And when you get to some remote area like Kham Tibet, communication is getting even harder with the locals. Anyway you can always figure it out since the locals are very friendly and can always explain things using hand gestures.