China is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination, and China tours are growing quite competitive –and as a result, inexpensive.
Last year some friends and I made our first voyage to China and enlisted the talent of a local China tour company to familiarize ourselves with the culture, history, geography, and all of the great food China has to offer.
Instead of opting for a traditional China tour, we decided to create our own: a custom-tailored trip through China based on our own preferences and desires. My top three wishes were to explore the local cuisine, learn about China’s perspective on their history, and visit some ancient sights.
As huge Blade Runner fans, my friends wanted to explore the more urban areas of modern China, and learn a bit of the language. With such diverse goals for our China tour, our tour guide had his work cut out for him.
Our tour guide lived up to his name; Bao-Zhi –which means “full of wisdom”— and he most certainly was. In a nut shell, we were able to fulfil all of our goals during our 3 week stay. Bao-Zhi was a bit of a socialite; he was able to negotiate the best pricing on accommodations, took us to the best food joints in the country, and showed us a number of natural sights far off the beaten tourist path.
We were so satisfied with his ability to understand our wishes and deliver on them; we recently booked 2 –yes, TWO— cheap China tours in 2016 so we could explore the country during both high season, and low season.
Initially, our biggest concerns with visiting China were unexpected travel costs, and the language barrier. Bao-Zhi eliminated these worries immediately; his English was fluent, and he was able to set proper pricing expectations every step of the way. In all, it was cheaper to travel in China all-in than all of our expenditures for day-to-day life back home combined.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I was drawn to China for its epic street delicacies, vibrant culture, and friendly people however, I got a lot more than I bargained for.
There were not just one or two great places to eat at every stop along our journey. Instead, we had the luxury of eating something amazing for every single meal, from “hole in the wall” local fixtures, to elegant eateries with food selections that are popular among locals.
My top three favourite Chinese cuisine options were Gong Bao chicken, Ma Po tofu, and of course Chow Mein (the latter being consistently awesome every time I ordered it).
Bao-Zhi made the wise suggestion to not try and cram too much into our trip not because he wouldn’t be able to comply, but merely so we could really take our time to enjoy the experiences we were going to have. Initially we had planned to extend our journey across the country, taking in every single experience our limited funds could buy but that meant about a day at each before moving on, and with an itinerary as thick as we’d intended, it would have tired us out!
Instead we focused on a couple destinations per week, and all together we visited Beijing, Shanghai, the Yangtze River, Fenghuang, Lijiang, Pingyao, and the Great Wall of China.
We spent time camping out along the route, and plenty of nights in the cities. All in all, it was probably the best trip I’d ever been on. Looking forward to 2016!
Explore Chinese History and Culture with Affordable China Tours
August 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment