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With China Spree: Middle Kingdom or China Highlights?

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With China Spree: Middle Kingdom or China Highlights?

I have information on both of these tours, both around the same price and both the same 12 days. The Middle Kingdom visits only 5 cities, while the China Highlights visits 7. Also, The Middle Kingdom is "first class," while the Highlights is a "value" trip.

In my opinion (we have not yet booked), we'd be better off with The Middle Kingdom, 5 cities in 12 days. Highlights seems awfully rushed, and I would think "first class" would be better as far as hotels, number in the tour, etc.

Actually, China's Best Treasures (14 days) would be my first choice, but it's out of our price range. (I am traveling with a friend who has more limited means than I do.)

Can anyone comment on Middle Kingdom vs. China Highlights? Thanks so much!

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1. Re: With China Spree: Middle Kingdom or China Highlights?

Most people who post on this forum will say take neither. You can do better without a tour.

However you would need to be able to do a bit of research. Get a good guidebook (I downloaded the Lonely Planet guide and printed out what we needed) and ask questions here. You can book your own flights to and within China. The subways in Beijing and Shanghai are easy to use and taxis are cheap. If you need to you can hire drivers or guides. If you stay in hostels they can organize all these for you as well as one day bus tours, etc.

If you do a search on the China forum using terms like "organized tour" or "do it on your own" you will find lots of previous posts"

However, if you must take a tour and choose between these two, I think you have already answered your own question.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: With China Spree: Middle Kingdom or China Highlights?

We recently took a trip with China Highlights (my trip report is posted in these forums). The thing with China Highlights is that you can set your own itinerary--you don't have to follow the group tours they have posted. So, if you find a tour with another company that you like, ask them to duplicate it, including the hotels. Then, you can compare the prices. I think, by the way, if you are looking to cut costs anywhere, 5 star hotels are really not necessary or even desirable. We stayed in mostly 3 and 4 star hotels--and found them more than adequate. I think a good location in an interesting walking area is the most important thing--rather than being stuck out at the edge of town and never leaving your hotel in your free time. Our guides were all proficient in English, and took very good care of us from the time they met us at the airport, checked us into our hotels, and saw us off at the next airport. They eliminated a lot of worry and stress.

Of course, you could do China by yourselves (and we've done that too), but this was much less hassle.

I'm not familiar with Middle Kingdom, so I can't comment on them.

If you really want to be part of a group, then you will have to choose the best preset itinerary. However, I bet that you and your friend could get a personalized tour for about the same price with China Highlights. That way, you could always make adjustments along the way --if you want to add something, or skip something (like a shopping stop) because you are tired, you could do that..

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3. Re: With China Spree: Middle Kingdom or China Highlights?

I am in china at the moment. This is my 3rd visit. !st trip I did via travel cpy for 10 days, from Australia. 2nd trip I used China Highlights but in this way. I chose where I wanted to go after lots of research on TA. I contacted China Highlights, told them where I needed a guide, who also arranged pickup and delivery from arrival, departure points as requested. I told them what I wanted to see in each place. There was my son and nyself. Absolutely no factories which they adhereed to. They sent me suggested hotels, again I researched and in a lot of places I organised through CTrip and Travelzen. they were very good and their help was great. This trip I have done on my own. Have got hotels through research and have slso found Agoda to be good value for money in comparison to some sites. I have organised flights etc as well within China. Have found hotels good with organising tour or event and it works out cheaper that way. The local hotels know extra things, have contacts. But best to have an idea of prices before you come. Hotels have cards with their details in English and chinese so if lost, easy to get back. My biggest hurdle was trying to get an overnight train ticket prior to arrival. But when I got to Hong Kong, went straight to China Railway office and bingo-got what I wanted. Personally, to feel attached to travel, I would do on my own and I vouch it can be done and is not daunting if you have the knowledge from research and tips from TA.

Good luck and enjoy.

4. Re: With China Spree: Middle Kingdom or China Highlights?

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