China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cost of Touring China

As a Tour Operator I receive many inquiries about how much it cost to tour China.  Many think it is very inexpensive because IT IS CHINA with their low costs of labor etc.  That was true just 10 years ago but things have changed.  There is Old China in the rural areas and there is New China in the cities.  Costs can vary a great deal.  My Chinese friend who lived near Boston for one year while going to school, returned to China this year and could not believe the difference in prices of food and many other things.  She said prices in China for many food items were much higher.  Many other costs in the U.S. were less for many items including hotels.   I travel to China myself often and find the same things.  A cup of Chinese coffee at the airport in Chengdu was 20% higher than Starbucks  which was just 50 feet away as an example.  If you see a very inexpensive tour to China on the internet, there is a reason why which you will find out when you arrive.  Expect to pay at least $3,000 to $4,000 per person not including international air for a 15 to 17 day private tour.  Group tours may be about 10% less but some can actually be more. Tours that are less costly or budget tours usually include two to three shopping stops each day often masked as cigarette or toilet stop breaks.  Many tour companies are now making some sights optional or steam table buffets to make their tours look less expensive.  China tours normally include most meals, all transportation, hotels and all sightseeing that they list.  Tips and Visas are usually extra and visa costs can range from $150 to $250 per person for the visa alone. You get what you pay for in China!  You spend about the same to get there so you should be able to see what you are interested in without having "shopping stops" taking up your touring time.  For more information on Cost of Travel in China contact me with any questions.  I am always glad to be of assistance in your planning without pressure to book a tour.   My name is Dave and you can email me at

Monday, May 5, 2014

Friendly Faces of China

I have travelled China for 26 years and everywhere I go I see friendly faces like these in the photos.  The people of China are very open and friendly always welcoming me wherever I go.  In the countryside you will often be invited for tea if you just show up at their doorstep.  Even when they do not want their pictures taken, they give a broad smile and shake their heads.  Getting into the culture is very easy no matter where you go.  In restaurants no one hurries you to eat and leave.  You must ask for a check as it is impolite to give a check to a guest without them asking even when they are very busy.  When travelling with a guide, they will often just shout out to the home  (no door bells in the countryside) and say,  "There is a foreigner here who would like to visit you if you are not busy".  Even when they are busy, they stop to invite you in and serve tea while they continue to work.  Exchanging questions asking about your life as well as you asking about their lives is common.  In the city it may be quite different however you will still see friendly faces even if they can not speak the language. Parks are a great place to have those personal encounters.  If you have children with you they will often be approached by Chinese children who are very curious about young foreigners. 

 Children see t.v. and learn English after 3rd grade and you always get a friendly "Hello" from them.   I hope you get the opportunity to have those personal encounters too.
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