Review – TripADeal 12 day tour of China
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Review – TripADeal 12 day tour of China

I’ve recently returned from a 12 day tour of China with TripADeal. When people hear this the first question they ask is ‘what was TripADeal like?’. So I thought it must be a question many people are asking so best I put my thoughts on line.

I knew a little about the TripADeal phenomenon as I have been following the company founder’s wife on Instagram for a few years now. @Jetsetmama and her adorable brood of gorgeous kids is quite engaging and having followed her for a the very least 5 years, I feel like I kind of know them all! Her husband Rich pretty much started TripADeal from home soon after they arrived back in Australia from Bali after their Balinese Guesthouse burnt to the ground without being insured. See I listen to you @Jetsetmama!

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TripADeal has grown from strength to strength and so has family! Claire is English and is pregnant with her fourth, no doubt will be another hippie, natural home birth surrounded by Atlas, Sochi and Zephyr eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new sibling!

Anyway I digress! Back to TripADeal.

You’re also welcome to join my Hong Kong & China Travel Planning Facebook group – it’s a great resource for all things travel in Hong Kong and China!

TripADeal 12 day China Highlights Tour

I did the 2 or 1, 12 day China Highlights tour visiting Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Xian and Beijing. You can read my Ultimate guide to visiting Beijing, it details all available options for visiting the Great Wall of China and whats different about them. If you are heading to Shanghai, I’ve got you covered there as well with our Shanghai with kids, the Ultimate Guide.

This trip was AU$1000 per person twin share but we upgraded to include a visit to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors. The Xian side trip cost an extra AU$500, so we paid AU$1500 each . Both my friend and I said why would you go to China and not upgrade to see the Terracotta Warriors, its like going to London and not seeing Buckingham Palace!

TripADeal review
Definite highlight of any tour to China

That price included flights from Melbourne via Sydney to Shanghai returning to Melbourne from Beijing also via Sydney with Qantas. Everyone on the tour was on the flight from Sydney and we were pretty much sitting around each other. Lesson number 1, don’t annoy the person in front or behind you on your way over because its highly likely you will spend the next 12 days with them!

What’s included in the China Highlights TripADeal tour

I’m going to tell you what is included in the cost of the tour. There were a number of things that were not included which I will cover further down:

  • Return flights with Qantas;
  • All hotels for the duration of the tour;
  • Breakfast each morning;
  • High speed train transfers;
  • Bus and driver;
  • Tour guide.

All the specified tours outlined in the itinerary were included in the price. This included at least one activity every day and included the main attractions such as the following places:

Beijing

  • Great Wall of China;
  • Beijing Zoo;
  • Tiananmen Square;
  • Forbidden City tour;
  • Pearl factory;
  • Jade factory;
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Ahhh the other highlight of the trip, the Great Wall of China, just as amazing as expected

Xian

  • Terracotta Warriors;
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What an amazing sight! Pit 1 at the Terracotta Warriors

Zhengzhou

  • Henan Museum;
  • Erqi Tower climb;

Hangzhou

  • Meijiawu Tea Village;
  • West Lake boat ride;
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Tea Plantation at Hangzheng

Suzhou

  • Lingering Garden – UNNESCO World Heritage Site;
  • Wuzhen Floating village;
  • Silk factory;
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Wuzhen Floating Village

Shanghai

  • Shanghai The Bund visit;
  • Shanghai Museum.

Optional Tours offered by TripADeal

You can choose to do all or none of the optional tours. Optional tours are not included in the original price and you pay as you go on the tour. We paid using local currency although you can use Australian dollars if that’s what you have with you.

I thought the optional tours were quite good and we did most of them however there were 2 that we decided to give a miss. What you have to consider if you don’t do the optional tour is what will you do instead. Now if the only option was sitting in the hotel, well the optional tour was definitely a better option don’t you think?

TripADeal review
One of the many optional tours, a night Cruise on the Huangpu River to the Shanghai lights come on across the Bund

One down side of the TripADeal tour are the hotel locations. They were often well out of town and while there was food options around there was little to see and do. This is another factor in choosing whether you will participate in the optional tours. There is no pressure to participate from tour guides but they will talk up the tours and that is very normal for a tour guide with every company I have ever travelled with.

Following are the optional activities and where they were located:

Shanghai

  • Chinese Acrobatic Show – The Intersection of Time – we did this show and we had great seats and  the program was excellent. The performers are very talented and have obviously been practising their trade wear for many years, I highly recommend doing this optional tour;
  • Shanghai Half Day City Tour – we did this tour and I loved it. We saw so much more of Shanghai than we would have, had we not done this. The tour included extra time at the Bund, lunch at the French Quarter, Yu Garden then a few hours shopping at the Yuyuan Garden Malls. The malls were a highlight for me, not only did we get some free time shopping for souvenirs but the old Chinese architecture was amazing to see;
TripADeal review
The Yuyung Garden Bizarre, lots of souvenirs to be found here
  • Night cruise on the Huangpu River – another highlight of the tour, we got on the boat at 6.45pm, the tour guide told us the best place to stand on the roof top deck to capture the best photos. The lights of Shanghai Pudong city come on at 7pm, our boat was in the perfect spot to view the lights and I captured the video of the lights come on. I definitely recommending doing both the city tour and the river cruise;
  • Maglev Train Experience – The maglev (magnetic levitation) train goes from Shanghai city out to the new airport at Pudong. Traveling at 431kms per hour the maglev train does the 30 kilometre trip in 8 minutes! We didn’t do this tour as we have travelled on the Shinkansen in Japan that does 430kms & we visited the Maglev Museum instead. The others that did do it said it was fantastic though & well worth doing.

Zhengzhou

  • Shaolin Kung Fu Temple Full Day Tour – we did this optional tour and while I was a bit skeptical at first, I actually really liked it. Kung Fu is synonymous with China and Shaolin Temple is one of the most highly regarded Kung Fu schools in China. It was amazing to see the current students do a Kung Fu performance in the onsite theatre. This is the only reason for going to Zhengzhou, if you don’t do this optional tour you’ll be spending the day at the hotel in an industrial city that has no main attractions to visit. The people that didn’t do this optional tour did some shopping and visited the hotel day spa. I highly recommend doing this optional tour.
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Shaolin Temple, home of Kung Fu
TripADeal review
Serious Kung Fu skills

Xian

  • Terracotta Warriors –  this is a pre-booked optional tour and let me tell you, if you don’t do this optional tour you are crazy! You can’t upgrade to include this once you have arrived in China so make sure you just include it from the start. The Terracotta Warriors were an absolute highlight of my whole trip to China. I can’t for the life of me understand why you would go to China and not see this, it would be like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tour! If you don’t do this you get to spend an extra day in Zhengzhou and its no secret Zhengzhou was my least favourite place.
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How could you go to China and not see the Terracotta Warriors
TripADeal review
Xian Bell Tower by night

Beijing

  • The Golden Mask Dynasty Musical – a large scale dramatic musical set in ancient China, the show is broken down into 8 different sections and has been running for 10 years. Acts range from acrobatics, to dance, singing, martial arts and more. We didn’t do this show and I’m kind of sad we didn’t because those who did said they really enjoyed it and it was pretty spectacular. On this day we took a taxi to Silk St shopping and that was nice to have some free time to ourselves as we had very little free time as we did most of the optional tours;
  • Hutong Tour with Dinner – the Hutong means narrow street and this is where you’ll see the old China, the way it use to be before the population boom and the introduction of high rise housing. The Chinese Government has kept some of the Hutong and the canals with their gorgeous traditional bridges just the way it was for tourist and locals to visit. We did a rickshaw tour of the Hutong and stopped and had dinner at a local home. The Hutong homes don’t have toilets and they share their bathrooms just like in holiday parks. We did this tour and I highly recommend it, it was definitely a highlight of Beijing.
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The Hutong, old China and preserved for future generations
TripADeal review
A rickshaw ride is a must in the Hutong

Accommodation on our TripADeal Tour

I have found that many people have been asking about our accommodation on our tour. The standard of accommodation was very good, mostly 4 star with a couple of Faulty Towers type hotels that looked good from the outside but just didn’t hit the mark on the inside. Overall the standard of hotels was sufficient.

The only issue I have with the accommodation is the location! Now I would prefer to pay a little bit extra and have a hotel in the best area as this would mean you can get out and do your own thing a little bit more in the evening. The hotels were rather isolated and had few facilities that we were interested in. We did find places to eat and generally at reasonable prices and we also found the hotel restaurants to be of a reasonable standard and price.

All hotels had wifi, some better than others but overall they were good. Obviously you are very restricted in what you can access on your smartphones in China but that is easily fixed by using a VPN. Download one of the many options in the app store and then you can access all your social media platforms using the VPN. I signed up to ExpressVPN and utilised the 7 days free option, I then downloaded the Betterment -best VPN proxy for another 7 days free access.

Food Options on the TripADeal Tour

Breakfast was provided every morning, a buffet breakfast at each hotel. They were pretty much of the same standard and were all pretty good with plenty of options both western and asian style food.

Most other meals were not provided however we were always taken somewhere that we could purchase food. You can eat really cheaply if you want to or you could find a restaurant close by the hotel. my friend and I called our trip the dumpling tour of China! We pretty much had dumplings every day and in every city.  Many of the group went looking for a Peking Duck restaurant when we were in Beijing but we didn’t go that night, some group members were foodies and went looking for local restaurants at the every city. We were often happy with dumplings at the hotel restaurant and a local beer!

When we weren’t eating in the touristy areas we could get dumplings and a beer each for under AU$10. This meant we were happy to have a blow out every now and then like when we had lunch in the Shanghai French Quarter, my hamburger was AU$20 and a craft beer was AU$15. However, generally if you ate local food was generally on the very cheap side.

Tipping on a TripADeal Tour

Now this is a bit of a sore point for me. The tipping requirements are clearly set out in the terms and conditions of the tour. Basically it is AU$12 per person each day. TripADeal breaks it down for you into sections relating to each tour guide. I had mine in a ziplock bag with the exact amount for each section of the tour.

Don’t be an arse and refuse to pay your tips in any circumstances!

This is not an optional tip, it is part of the conditions of travel, do not become an ugly traveller and be seen arguing with a tour guide over AU$12. I’m not going to go into details but we had to deal with some very ugly behaviour and its down right embarrassing.

If you can’t afford $12 for your tips, you shouldn’t be travelling. Also these very cheap tours are great for us that really appreciate travelling but it also opens the door for some people that maybe really shouldn’t leave Australia. Comments like ‘Why don’t they have an English speaking person at this restaurant’ is not really in the spirit of travelling and if that’s the case, I suggest you book a trip to New Zealand and not a foreign speaking country. Enough said!

There is also a $150 tourist tax charge that will need to be paid while in country. The $150 is per travel couple ($75 each) and the reason for it was quite grey. It is in the terms and conditions of travel and needs to be paid in Australian dollars. We forgot about this charge, I had it confused with the compulsory tips. There were others on the bus that had Australian dollars spare so we bought some off them. Apparently you could have paid local currency however I recommend being organised and have the money ready to go.

TripADeal review
Ahhh so many beautiful bridges in China

Tips on visiting China for the first timer

China blew me away, it was nothing like what I expected it to be like, it was 10 times better. I feel that China is poorly represented in the media here in Australia and while the language barrier is difficult, the Chinese are very welcoming and are very happy to show off their lovely country.

Bartering – barter hard, its a national sport and they love it. In my experience when they give you a price slash it by 95% then barter a little. If they get upset with you, you know you have come close to a decent price. If they are jovial and happy they have got a price they are happy with. Barter till they get upset then go up a little from that.

Toilets – most toilets will be squat toilets and you will need to take your own toilet paper. I took small travel packets which are $1.20 for 8 packets in Aldi. Most toilets are exceptionally clean, there will usually be a disabled toilet that will be western, the queue is usually long for it though. All hotels have western toilets.

Traffic – traffic is a nightmare but it seems to work, they have a very big problem with road users using mobile phones will driving. Our bus had an accident on the first day, involving another two cars, we were told the first driver was on him mobile phone. There are many expensive cars on the road in China, they are moving towards electric cars and there are many Teslas there.

Scams – like all countries there is a certain amount of scams, we got scammed by a taxi driver, we paid AU$80 for a taxi ride that should have cost $5. Not cool, but it happens. I knew it was happening at the time but didn’t know how to fix it, we put it down to experience.

Government Stores – all the tours will visit the silk, tea, pearl and jade factories its part of tour groups being allowed to enter China, suck it up and don’t whinge, remember the gem factories in Thailand? Same thing. They are very overpriced and bartering is welcome. Don’t be afraid to put a stupid price out there, they love the game. We bought silk scarf and pearl earrings and while I’m certain I paid more than a local would, I’m still happy with my purchases.

Packing – make sure you have plenty of room in your suitcase to bring home your shopping. I’m not a big shopper and still had to sit on my case to zip it up to come home. I’m also a light packer and my case on the way over was only 10kgs. The shopping can be very cheap if you barter well.  You’ll definitely find some ‘great quality knock offs’ and I love the oriental tea cups and prints and things.

Beijing Zoo – Beijing Zoo is a zoo of old, there is a great enclosure for the giant pandas, their national icon, but the rest of the zoo is all concrete and at times confronting. I would prefer to pay a bit extra and fly up to Chengdu to see the giant pandas in an ethically responsible conservation centre than in a sub standard zoo. TripADeal gods can you please make that part of the tour? I understand that will bump the price up a bit but I think it would be a better tour or at least another optional extra like Xian.

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Gorgeous but much better to see in Chengdu in my opinion

ATM’s – ATM’s are widely available, I had a travel card from my home bank which I pre-loaded with Chinese currency, I had no issues withdrawing money from various banks ATM’s. I even used my normal EFTPOS card when I ran out of money on my travel card. However my friend had issues at a lot of different machines and her card being accepted was pretty much hit and miss. A week after we got home, her bank contacted her and advised that her travel card had been compromised in China and it had been cancelled. No explanation was given and she has new cards in the mail.

What did I honestly think of TripADeal

Being a family of 5 we are normally very independent travellers and I do all of the research and bookings myself. I thought I would struggle with the lack of control but I’m pleased to report that I was pretty happy to kick back and let someone else look after it for once.

It’s a fast pace tour and you’ll need a decent level of fitness as there is quite a bit of walking involved in some places. I like fast paced as I like to see as much as I can and any down time means I’m missing out on something. We had a pretty good bunch of Aussies and we really did have a good time with them.

I had a few things that niggled at me, things like the day we went to the Great Wall of China, one of the biggest highlights of the trip and we were only allocated 2 hours there. Our bus was late that morning due to a traffic accident, no big deal that happens but they took us to a jade factory first then to the Great Wall and back to the same jade factory for lunch.

TripADeal review
I didn’t make it all the way to the top, if only I had an extra hour

I would have thought it was a better idea to go straight out to the Great Wall as we got there in the late morning and it was already pushing 36 degrees. If we went earlier it would have been cooler and we would have had a better chance of getting further up the wall. We could have then gone back and done the jade factory and had lunch in the same stop.

Zhengzhou we spent 2 nights, its an industrial city with absolutely nothing to do. I would prefer they tweak the itinerary and give us 2 nights in Xian instead. We had a great central hotel in Xian and there is plenty to see that we didn’t get a chance as we were there pretty much only one afternoon and evening. The afternoon is the busiest time at the Terracotta Warriors and we got there in the thick of it.

I would have preferred to have visited the Terracotta Warriors in the morning and had less crowds and more time to wander at leisure. I would loved to have gone back into pit 1 again as this is the best viewing spot for the Warriors.

I can’t fault the tour guides, they were fantastic and all but 1 had great English. They all had varying amount of experience with being a tour guide. Big shout out to Thomas in Shanghai with 26 yrs tour guide experience, Bryan in Beijing with 28 yrs experience, Jesse in Xian with 11 yrs experience and Sean is doing a great job in Zhengzhou with only 18 months experience. Sean was faced with some pretty average behaviour and he handled himself very well considering.

TripADeal
There might have been plenty of this on the bus! This was after the Great Wall, I’m a bit flushed!

All in all I highly recommend TripADeal but I can’t stress enough, don’t expect the bells and whistles when you are paying these prices. If you want the bells and whistles pay for it. TripADeal’s mission is ‘To make travel dreams come true’ and I think they are definitely delivering on that. While their core belief is ‘Travel is an experience that should be enjoyed by everyone and we’re proud to make it an affordable option for all’, I’m not certain that everyone should travel…..!

Last of all, TripADeal is excellent value and I can hardly fault them, I would happily recommend them and I would certainly travel with them again.

Anyone what to go to Bhutan?

Safe travels,

Sal.

Disclaimer – this is not a sponsored post in any form, this is my opinion after my experience. TripADeal please feel free to throw me a free tour to review for you, Bhutan maybe..!

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This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. This is great to read as I know a few people who are rather nervously hoping their booked Trip a Deal hol is a bargain, not a horror! It sounds given you go with the right attitude it is good value and I will look again at their site! I would love to go to Bhutan for sure!

    1. Definitely going with the right attitude is key, my mum always told me ‘you get what you pay for’ and in this case I think you get plenty more than what you paid for it. I would have no issue travelling with them again and I will continue to recommend them to others. Like any tour though, its what you make of it. I’ve just returned from having lunch with others from the tour and I created a Facebook group for us all to keep in contact. We will definitely all be catch up as a bigger group in the next month or so!

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  2. What an eventful and exciting 12 day tour! Really looks like you can cover so much and see a ton of amazing landmarks in China. Those Terracotta Warriors look amazing to see, I would go on it just to catch a glimpse of them.

    1. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It was very eventful, we covered a lot of ground. Its not my preferred way of travel but it certainly have me the thirst to want to return. China is such an amazing country with so many major sights, sometimes a tour serves its purpose.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

    2. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for commenting.

      China is full of amazing sites and many of them are UNESCO World Heritage listed. Terracotta Warriors definitely blew me away, and its definitely something that should be on your bucket list. I actually had a photo and met the farmer who discovered them in 1974.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  3. Looks like you got a heck of a trip with TripaDeal. Since we are U.S. based and it looks to be an Aussie company, not sure we’ll ever use them. You went in with the right attitude though, and got the experience you expected (albeit not exactly perfect such as a later arrival to the wall than was ideal). Glad you recommend them though. That’s a good sign.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Yes TripADeal is an Aussie start up online travel agency, they are running cost price tours and often having 2 for 1 packages for unbelievable prices. Like all tours they have their pros and cons. It was my first tour and I struggled a little with the lack of free time and ability to stay longer if I wanted to. It served its purpose and I would gladly go back and travel independently with what I know now.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  4. I am keen to go to China and see some of these famous landmarks and amazing cities, but I need to weigh up if a tour like this one is right for me. Glad to know I have this option, as I am in Oz. I will definitely consider Trip-A-Deal. It looks like you had a fabulous time.

    1. Hi Tania,

      Thanks for your comment.

      China has so much to offer and is rapidly changing, I can’t imagine what it would have been like 15-20 yrs ago! I love all the UNESCO World Heritage sites and so much history. Its definitely a great place to visit and a tour is a great option but independently would be great too.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  5. I also usually do all of my own research and booking and am always hesitant about these type of tour companies. But some countries, like China, tours do seem the best way to go. I’ve been looking into various China options and your review on TripADeal is very helpful!

  6. I am not familiar with TripADeal, are they a local company? I agree with you if I was ever to travel to China, I believe I would look into using a tour as well. It sounds like you covered a lot of ground, which would be impossible to do without a tour guide’s expertise.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment.

      Yes TripA Deal are a local Australian online travel agent. They are offering base price trips to various places across the world and are expanding rapidly. We definitely couldn’t have seen as much without being on the tour in that short time.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  7. It looks like you had a great tour. With everything planned i am sure it took pressure off of you. I know my friend and I could do something of this nature but I don’t think my family could. My husband is a photographer and he can spend hours at one location waiting for the perfect spot. Sometimes my daughter will leave him so we can explore and come back when we think he will be finished.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes the lack of independence is difficult when you are use to travelling independently but its the price you pay to see a lot in a short amount of time. Initially I was concerned about travelling there believing that it would be to difficult but now I am confident we would have been fine travelling independently and we’ll definitely be returning to explore some more.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  8. I’ve never heard of Tripadeal but that’s perhaps because we aren’t in Australia. I love the itinerary and the options of the extra tours. Like you, I’d absolutely do as many as I can. It’s too bad the hotels are in the outskirts of areas. When planning my own trips, I really like to be more central. Perhaps that’s part of the reason I haven’t given control of my itinerary over to a company yet. That said, there’s something to be said for having a details plan with transportation included.

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes TripADeal are Australian so you would be unlikely to have heard of them if you live elsewhere. One of the main things I would change would be the hotel locations, it was a big downfall of the whole trip. Some people like to have a slower pace so the optional tours are a great way to meet everyones needs. Personally I like to do and see it all!

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  9. That sounds totally full on and such a great way to see a lot in a very short time. I love the idea of the Lingering Garden, although there didn’t seem time for a lot of lingering. But as you say, it’s a great way to identify what you’d like to see more of on another visit, and I’m liking your fair and balanced review of the experience.

    1. Hi Bernie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes that’s the price you pay to see a lot in a short time. I usually travel independently so travelling on a tour was a shock to the system but it was definitely nice to pack a huge amount into a small amount of time but I’m definitely confident to go back independently for our next visit.

      China definitely exceeded all my expectations though and its a great place to visit.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  10. I have never heard of Tridadeal yet. But I think booking a tour for China is the best way to do it. Local tours know the best of everything and having an English guide is an advantage. Sometimes its good to not go about booking the tickets and itinerary and let the tour guys do it. Ofcourse there is negative side of it as you mentioned. But I enjoyed this 12 day tour of yours.

    1. Hi Ketki,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes TripADeal is an Aussie company running low cost trips to various locations around the world. The packages they run in China are particularly cheap yet cover a lot of ground. I was very happy even if some places I would preferred to have had more time. I’m happy I did it and would love to return.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  11. It was very interesting reading your experiences. Having studied abroad in Shanghai for a whole year, it is a wonder to me that you were able to cram in seeing so much of the country in just twelve days. I am not surprised to hear that it is fast-paced and requires a fair amount of stamina and walking. I also saw the acrobat show in Shanghai a few days after arrival, and that is quite a sight to see, isn’t it? I’m glad you had a great time and it is refreshing to read an honest review complete with all the details. I can see that a tour like this doesn’t have the “bells and whistles” as you mention, but sometimes that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I would love to base myself in Shanghai, I think it would be an amazing city to explore and wander around. I didn’t have nearly enough time there as its such an eclectic city and rapidly changing.

      Tours serve their purpose, when you want to see a lot quickly. China exceeded all my expectations, in fact it totally blew me away. There was anything I didn’t like, we had great weather and the smog/haze was no where near as bad as I had expected.

      I think people have a lot of preconceived ideas about China which is why i started my Hong Kong and China travel planning group on Facebook to help dispel some of those myths. I would love you to join, nothing like the view of someone who has lived there!

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  12. Thank you for your description of the tour. Very interesting and informative. We have booked this trip next August. Did you book the optional excursions before you left Australia or when you were on the tour? Looking forward to our holiday.

    1. Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You book the optional tours when you arrive. We paid in local currency and paid our tour guide as we went. The only think I recommend is organising your tips into ziplock bags prior to arrival and just hand them over when required. You don’t have to do all the optionals but they were all pretty good. The ones I missed (only 2) people come back and said it was wonderful so kind of kicking myself a little.

      I hope you have a wonderful trip, China exceeded all my expectations and I would return in a heart beat.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  13. Hi Sally,
    would this trip be ok for kids aged 7 & 10??
    thanks simone

    1. Hi Simone,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The tour is pretty fast paced, I have 3 kids aged 14, 12 10 and I think they would definitely be able to keep up the pace. We travel very regularly though. Honestly I think they would be fine. Like all tours there is a bit of sitting around in buses and the Shaolin Temple day the bus trip is about 2-2.5 hrs each way. That is an optional tour so you could decide to have a mid tour break. However, I recommend doing it, we enjoyed it.

      As long as the kids are happy to walk a bit (Forbidden City day was about 5kms walking), Great Wall they will probably make it up before anyone else! It is an old style crowd but that’s fine. There are western food in all the buffet breakfasts each morning so they won’t starve!

      I would say yes, go for it, you couldn’t do it cheaper independently, trust me I researched it!

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

      1. Hi Sally,
        a friend had advised me not to take the kids, so great to hear from someone that has. We travel OS with the kids every year too, so was conflicted. I did read the fine print and kids need to be 8yrs, but we are considering for next year. Thanks so much for your honest review
        simone

  14. Hi Sally,
    Would this tour (or any of the tripadeal tours) be suitable for 20 year olds???

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes definitely suitable for 20 year olds but its a high likelihood you’ll have an older crowd. If you don’t mind that then all good. However if you are looking for group tours more your age maybe Intrepid Tours would be a better option for you. My group didn’t have anyone under 30’s.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  15. Thanks so much for sharing. We,ve just booked with TripADeal and this is pretty much what we expect. I also had the thought of pre-packing the tips! Good to know about the loo paper. A trip to Aldi is on the list now….. Also appreciate knowing about the hotel locations. Obviously not something you’d choose but again, much like you’d expect for the price.
    I’ve noticed on the TAD page they quote RMB currency yet I can’t find that on XE. What was the currency you used and how did you find the best way to pay for the optional tours?

    1. Hi Fiona,

      Oh that’s great news, I’m sure you are going to love the tour. Like all tours they are fast paced but that’s the price you pay to see a lot in a short period of time.
      I transferred my cash onto my Commbank travel card as RMB, I changed about $400AUD into RMB at the local exchange to take with me. This lasted me a good while. I paid for the optional tours in local currency over there. I was able to withdraw cash at most ATM. I withdrew about $200AUD each time but you could increase that therefore meaning less withdrawals.

      Avoid changing cash at the airport, its the most expensive place to do it. Casino’s are normally good if you are near one at all. Chinese money is fairly easy to come by these days.

      Hope you have a wonderful time, I would love to hear what you think about it all when you get back.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

  16. My Mum and I are heading to China with TAD in 5 weeks time! So very excited.
    Never done a tour before so we are prepared to take it as it comes, as I wouldn’t have travelled to China independently due to the language barrier.
    Thanks for the review, its great to have some insider tips and know what to expect.

    1. Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Oh you guys will love the tour, its a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time. Independent travel to China is challenging but I didn’t find the language barrier all that much of a problem. There has been a massive influx of tourists in recent years so you’ll find most people will have a translator app or will find someone that can speak english. Getting around is what you would find most difficult I think.

      Make sure you sort out your tips sorted prior to arrival and have your money for optional tours. You can pay that in local currency directly to your tour guide. Most of all do it all and enjoy it.

      Thanks
      Sal & Co.

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