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October 23, 2005 – A journey to Beijing, China in Asia

Taking A Local Tour Geared Towards Foreigners

Before going to China, I was strongly advised to go on a tour geared towards foreigners, so I can escape the pains of organizing everything on my own. So, I took one. All I can say is one is enough to taste, but never again.

130 yuan + 90 yuan hidden fee = 220 yuan total (about $27.50 USD) gets you:

a 15-minute fast tour through Ming's Tomb (this is the "entrance")

an 1 1/2 hour stop at an overpriced, traditional Chinese medicine shop

a 2 hour stop at an overpriced Jade gallery shop, cheap lunch included in their adjoining restaurant

a 2 hour stop at the Badaling portion of the Great Wall

with a forced 90 yuan ride up a part of the section of the Great Wall (to save time so we can go to other souvenir stops)

a 1 1/2 hour stop at an overpriced tea shop

If you want to experience what a local tour is like, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, it's a complete waste of time and experience, and isn't as cheap as you think. After all, you're only at those sites once in Beijing, right? In the end, it actually costed more than hiring a taxi (around 400 yuan for 8 hours with a group of up to 4 people) to go to Ming's Tombs and the Great Wall. Wished I did some more research or even took the bus from the city center instead. O well. Never again!

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