The World’s Eyes on China
The world’s eyes were focused on China with the Olympic Games and for at least the near future as well.
One of my clients recently returned from an exciting trip which we helped organize. Travelers are just beginning to realize that they can explore China on their own rather than following the traditional guided tour. They have the freedom to do their own thing at their own pace while enjoying a significant cost savings. With independent travel, we do recommend that travelers have handy the contact numbers for the various services on the detailed service vouchers; these are very useful in the event things do not go as planned.
A good travel agent with their network of contacts can arrange hotel accommodations, sightseeing, and airport transfers based on a client’s budget and desired destinations…not just for the dominant tourist cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian but to other major cities across this large country.
Hotel options in China range from 2 to 5 stars with nightly prices going anywhere from just over $30 per night to $500 per night (USD). In addition to hotels, we can offer over 1600 services for independent travelers to China including 145 sightseeing tours plus guide services, transfers, shows, and other options through our supplier. These options include half and full day private/group tours to places such as the Great Wall, Chuan Di Xia Village, cooking classes, a foot massage, a traditional meal such as Peking Duck, and cultural shows such as acrobatics and kung fu.
I am pleased to be able to share with you one such itinerary lasting 7 days to Shanghai and Beijing for one of our clients. On arrival in Shanghai, our clients were met and transferred to the JC Mandarin Hotel. While the grandiose marble lobby and modern business style rooms were impressive, the best attribute was the hotel’s central location. Our clients had booked a half day chinese cooking lesson on their first morning. Promptly at 9am, the chef instructor was waiting in the lobby to whisk our clients off in a cab (at the chef’s expense) to his kitchen classroom. Together they made oyster mushrooms with baby bok choy, sweet and sour pork with pineapple, and sichuan style chicken with spicy chilies and peanuts. At the end, our clients were put in a cab to return to their hotel. For the remaining 2 days in Shanghai, they explored the city on their own with a city map translated in both english and chinese, and a handy business card from the hotel which had their name and directions written on it.
On the third night, our clients flew from Shanghai to Beijing and were met by private transfer from the airport to the Holiday Inn Temple of Heaven, a very nice 4 star hotel. They found the only drawback was its location which required taking taxis everywhere. However for the first 2 of their 4 days in Beijing, they didn’t have to worry about taxis as they had a full day Great Wall and Ming Tombs private tour and a half day Summer Palace private tour scheduled. Once again their tour guides were promptly downstairs in the lobby at the designated meeting time. The full day tour was with a young chinese gentleman whose english was adequate and was happy to make any additional stops to places like the Olympic Stadium site. With a driver, our clients were taken to the Ming Dynasty Tombs and then the Great Wall at Badaling where our clients were allowed to climb on their own for as long as they desired. They were then driven back to the hotel. The following morning, another tour guide, a young chinese woman, and her driver took our clients to the Summer Palace. Both guides were excellent. As an added surprise, the tour also included a silk factory visit where the actual silkworms process was shown, as well as, the “magic” silk blanket which is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The rest of the time in Beijing was spent on their own to do whatever they wanted.
This is just a sample of the many options available for independent travelers to do what they want to do, when they want to do it, at their own pace with as much free time as they want without the crowds. So why not put together your own China Adventure, with our help you can do it.