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Group Tour China

17 replies

DrewandJonathan · 26/10/2019 10:49

I am a single parent and am thinking of taking my teenage son to China next year. We want to do a tour taking in Beijing, Xi’an, Guilin and Shanghai.

Has anyone been on an organized group tour and if so would you recommend the company you used?

Many thanks

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BubblesBuddy · 27/10/2019 00:20

I have heard Wendy Woo tours are good. Have a look at Exodus too.

Having been to Guilin I’m not so sure it was worth it. The Rice Terrace villages are better, eg Longji. The Li River boats are not great!

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ShanghaiDiva · 27/10/2019 02:39

www.odynovotours.com/ -
I have used this company (and so have some friends) and really recommend them. I used them for Bhutan, but the company is based in Guilin in China. This is for a private tour, but may be worth comparing prices and you can also design your own itinerary.
I disagree with Bubbles - I think Guilin is lovely - you can cycle through the countryside, go on a raft down the river, outdoor show - www.guilinchina.net/activities/impression-show.htm
I have also heard that Wendy Woo tours are good.

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zebra22 · 27/10/2019 02:56

Wendy woo or explore

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DrewandJonathan · 27/10/2019 06:36

Thanks everyone - lots of links to look through and think about today.

Shanghai - do you mind me asking how long do you think is a good time to stay in Shanghai with a teen and are there specific things to do/visit which teens may particularly like. Thank you.

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BubblesBuddy · 27/10/2019 07:40

The raft on the River is dangerous. There are no life jackets. When we were there the Police were shouting at the rafts on the River to make them pull off the river. To repeat: it’s not safe. We also went down the River to see the karst landscape. All the boats are rust buckets. Don’t eat the food. The chefs were all smoking and preparing food at the same time. Yes, the countryside is nice and it’s rural. But it’s not worth it overall. The villages within the rice terraces area are more interesting. If you only have time for one thing, see the rice terraces.

Or you could go to Chengdu instead and see the pandas!

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BubblesBuddy · 27/10/2019 07:50

Cruise down the Pujiang River at night in Shanghai. Go up the Jin Mao tower to the observation deck, go on the maglev train and take a walk down the Bund at night. The French Quarter is quite interesting and the Yu Gardens will be very busy. There is also the Jade Buddha Temple which was full of Buddhist monks when we were there. It’s a great complex though.

There is a zoo and a theme park if you are desperate.

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Fantababy · 27/10/2019 09:14

I went with G adventures. I didn't go to Shanghai and opted for Hong Kong instead which was amazing, as was Yang Shuo.

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Penguin66 · 27/10/2019 09:31

I did a tour with Wendy Woo tours and they were excellent! Went to Beijing, Xi'An and Chengdu. Very organised with superb tour guides plus local guides too. Be warned about hotel beds though - they are extremely hard! Have a great trip.

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ShanghaiDiva · 27/10/2019 09:40

@DrewandJonathan - contrary to my username I don't live in Shanghai - am about 3 hours away.
I would recommend the Bund, Pearl Tower and Pudong area, Yu gardens is okay but Suzhou has much nicer gardens and is about 30 mins on the train from Shanghai so easy to do as a day trip, but probably not that interesting for a teen. French concession is nice for a wander around , but super touristy and Tianzifang is much better imo, but also very busy, packed with cafes, galleries and shops selling all kinds of weird and wonderful things- great t-shirts and also feiyue sneakers which may appeal to your teenMaglev is good - but check the times as it only does the top speeds at certain times of the day. Shanghai museum also worth a visit and People's square for a wander. Also check out Time Out Shanghai before you leave to see what exhibitions are on.

Contrary to what Bubbles said - we did have life jackets when we went on the raft in Guilin, as did every raft. I suggest you assess the safety situation when you are there.

I think you can cover most things in Shanghai in 2 to 3 days.

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BubblesBuddy · 27/10/2019 13:18

If the river safety has improved that’s a plus. We were there three years ago.

From Shanghai you can go to Tongli which is a well preserved water town. It’s like Suzhou but not so many gardens or as busy. The Yu gardens were ultra busy so I have to say it wasn’t my favourite garden! I loved the Buddhist temple though.

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DrewandJonathan · 27/10/2019 21:36

Thank you everyone and thanks for the raft warnings (will stick to a bigger boat if we end up there). Thank you shanghai for extra info Inn Shanghai.

I would love to go to Hong Kong but think it is a risk booking now and having no idea what the political situation may be like by the time of the trip. Will save if for another trip when things have calmed down there.

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handbagsatdawn33 · 28/10/2019 12:02

We went with Wendy Wu & there were a lot of problems.
First was being taken to the wrong hotel - very upsetting after being awake for 36 hours.
Last was having a cockroach in our final dinner - & a lot of other problems in between.
I complained, & eventually received c.10% refund. I'd asked for more, but no amount could compensate for a spoilt holiday.

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DrewandJonathan · 28/10/2019 20:41

Thanks for the heads up Handbag. Cockroach in the food? 🤢🤢🤢

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BubblesBuddy · 29/10/2019 01:09

The Chinese eat anything “with its back to heaven”. Always remember that!

Do check hotels and restaurants on Trip Advisor and other hotel web sites. We went with Audley Travel but I wasn’t sure of your budget. We didn’t tour with others and had a bespoke trip but we went to great hotels. It was hassle free except guides try and rush you. The Chinese don’t spend long looking at anything so we slowed our days down. There are certainly some unmissable sights, but rushing the best sights is very annoying and we also did feel a couple of areas in Beijing were not what we imagined!

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ShanghaiDiva · 02/11/2019 11:56

China has plenty of decent budget hotels - holiday inn express etc - depending on how much you want to spend. If you have a packed itinerary then you will spend very little time in the hotel and it may not be worth paying for a 4/5 star experience.
There are plenty of Chinese dishes that I don't really care for - sea cucumber, abalone, shark fin soup (not very common now), but as the dishes are shared it's easy to just try a small amount of something or avoid altogether. It's easy to stock up on snacks such as muesli bars and fruit incase you have a particularly dire meal.

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beguilingeyes · 27/11/2019 15:20

We just got back from a Wendy Wu tour. We loved it. It was a 14 day Treasures of Yangtze or something like that. We started with three days in Shanghai, has a four day cruise down the river and then did Chengdu (pandas!), Xian (terracotta warriors) and Beijing (Tiananmen Square, various palaces and the Great Wall).

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MidtoLon · 01/12/2019 19:24

Look at Mercury Travel. We have just returned from a tour of Vietnam and Cambodia with them and several people on our tour had previously been to China with them and were very satisfied.

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