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Old 01-09-2014, 05:30 AM
 
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It sounds like a good deal to me. As already posted there is less smog in summer than in the winter which is better for your health.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:13 AM
 
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DIY is not really convenient for most people, especially because few Chinese are fluent in English. Many people don't want to spend a lot of time figuring things out for honeymoon either.
I think the price is reasonable.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
DIY is not really convenient for most people, especially because few Chinese are fluent in English. Many people don't want to spend a lot of time figuring things out for honeymoon either.
I think the price is reasonable.
Not too hard if you're just going around the big cities or going between them, but would be tougher if you wanna go to much of China which still isn't that tourist friendly if you don't know at least some basic Mandarin. At least in 2006 in some towns along the Yangtze, I'm talking no signs/hardly anyone speaking English.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:42 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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Thank you so much for all the great replies, even the ones that are critical, as they open different perspectives.

My fiance and a group of 5 other friends pulled off a 'Do it yourself' for our Europe trip, so it's not something we don't have experience with. In fact, it was me and my fiance who developed the whole itinerary. For 17 days, we visited Dublin, London, Brussels en route to Amsterdam, Cologne, Paris, Cannes en route to Nice, Monte Carlo, Rome, and Barcelona. We did virtually all of the touristy things and ended up spending about $3,500 each for everything, including flights and the Eurail passes.

For China, my fiance and I decided to just pay for a pre-determined itinerary, which DOES include the cost of airfare... so about $3,000 for each of us. We just thought the deal was too good to pass up and everything is already set, including flights and ground transportation. We know what to expect... that mainland China industrial cities are dirty. But that's part of the experience. Monsoons would also be an experience. We expect Hong Kong and Macau to be very clean. We get bored with the same sunny weather all year round in San Diego, although we would never trade it, lol.

Several of you provided excellent tips as well that we will employ. Thank you so much all!!
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Sounds like you've thought it through! I guess it's reasonable if it's a good tour. HK still has some parts which are a little gritty, but yeah nothing really squalid.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:29 PM
 
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Beijing can be dusty, by not dirty in the same way as parts of New York for example. On the main streets, you don't see big chunks of trash especially because some workers pick up things immediately.

Beijing is not a walkable city. The places of interest are far from each other and the roads often have 8 or 10 lanes. All the other cities are much better in this aspect. Even in Shanghai, you can easily wander around without getting bored or endangered.

All the cities have subways, and the tickets are not pricey.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eskercurve View Post
Do bring masks, lots of them.
I lived in China (Shanghai/Hangzhou) for 8 years and never owned a mask the entire time.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:31 PM
 
Location: NYC
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Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Sure, if you live in a beautiful place with great weather, why not go to a triad of crappy industrial cities with sunless yellow skies and smog so thick you can't see across the street.

If you can, I'd change your tickets to go to a nicer metropolis like Bangkok, Taipei, or at least Hong Kong.
If the goal is to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the terracotta warriors, how does substituting a nicer metropolis make sense? That's like telling someone who wants to visit the Pyramids in Giza to go to the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas instead because of the amenities.
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adhom View Post
If the goal is to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the terracotta warriors, how does substituting a nicer metropolis make sense? That's like telling someone who wants to visit the Pyramids in Giza to go to the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas instead because of the amenities.
That's not the goal. Read the OP's post.

Quote:
we enjoy bustling cities, and so we booked an itinerary that includes big cities in China. We live in San Diego, and so we're use to nice weather and beaches already, why would we want to do that somewhere else?
If the goal is bustling cities, Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo, maybe Jakarta, and maybe Hong Kong are better targets.

As others have said; Beijing is not walkable, and I wouldn't call it "Bustling". More like gridlocked and smog blanketed. If it's not bad in the summer, I can't imagine what winter is like. We were there in July 2009--right after the Olympic "clean up" initiative, and it was twilight at midday with yellow smog so thick you literally couldn't see skyscrapers 2 blocks away.

Shanghai is better. Xi'an is pretty sleepy, but the food is good. If you want to see a concentration of famous Chinese sights, then Beijing is a good target. But it's still a miserable place. DaLi, Kashi, Guilin, and a bunch of other cities and towns come to mind as being much more pleasant and interesting.
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
That's not the goal. Read the OP's post.



If the goal is bustling cities, Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo, maybe Jakarta, and maybe Hong Kong are better targets.

As others have said; Beijing is not walkable, and I wouldn't call it "Bustling". More like gridlocked and smog blanketed. If it's not bad in the summer, I can't imagine what winter is like. We were there in July 2009--right after the Olympic "clean up" initiative, and it was twilight at midday with yellow smog so thick you literally couldn't see skyscrapers 2 blocks away.

Shanghai is better. Xi'an is pretty sleepy, but the food is good. If you want to see a concentration of famous Chinese sights, then Beijing is a good target. But it's still a miserable place. DaLi, Kashi, Guilin, and a bunch of other cities and towns come to mind as being much more pleasant and interesting.
China is very humid in summer. Even Beijing, which is "very dry" compared to southern cities, have 75+% humidity in July and August on average. Just to give you an idea, New York City is 64% in July, and Atlanta 74%,
Relative Humidity in July at US Cities - Current Results
With such humidity, it is actually hard to have clear days, unless it is an island like Hawaii. Pollution makes it even worse.
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