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Budget China Tours

We design 2019/2020 cheap China tours for travelers who are on a limited budget to enjoy the fun of a hassle free trip and still being affordable. In our budget friendly tours, we offer guided tour services to some must-see sights that are not easily accessible in each city, and arrange some free days for you to explore the urban scenic spots at your own pace. Our well located hotels will bring you much convenience.

Cheap China Tours for Budget Travelers

China In-depth Budget Tours

Budget Group Day Trips

The above routes do not meet your requirements? Please click Tailor My Trip

Independent Travelers

With practical advice on places to go and the appropriate means of transport, our China backpacking routes tell you how to take cheap local bus, taxi, subway and even a certain exit of a metro. We are also ready to support you with our service for flight/ train bookings!

Independent Train Travel

Traveling in China by train can be the cheapest and the best way to experience the real China with a lower budget.

More Cheap China City Tours

FAQs on Independent Travel

Is it possible to travel in China without a guide, especially for first-time visitors? Is it safe?

An independent tour to China is totally workable. With our comprehensive information, hundreds of thousands of independent travelers have successfully taken budget tours to China from US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, German and many others. You can arrange the itinerary based on your own preferences and the convenient public transport can make your trip easy and efficient. China is one of the safest countries in the world, but you still need to avoid taking private cars or going to undeveloped sites.

Can you recommend top 3 independent tour itineraries?

B-101: Beijing - Xian - Shanghai
B-103: Beijing - Shanghai - Xian - Guilin - Yangshuo - Guangzhou - Hong Kong
B-106: Beijing - Xian - Lijiang - Kunming - Guilin - Yangshuo - Guilin

Are the above routes all self-guided? Can you help me book train tickets or flights?

You can travel on your own following any of our independent cheap tours to China, and we can book train tickets or flights, and do airport and train station pick-up for you with minimum service fee. If you want guided day trips, you can also feel free to contact us.

Which is more convenient for intercity travel, train or flight?

It is suggested you take a high speed train if the travel time is less than 5 or 6 hours, as the trains between major cities are frequently scheduled and the railway stations are usually in the downtown area with easy access. However, for a longer journey, a flight is more convenient to save you from the long-time fatigue you may experience on a train.

How far in advance should I book the tickets for trains, flights, or buses?

For train tickets, the answer is 'as early as possible', for there is usually a ticket shortage especially during holidays. If you book with an agency like us, you can submit the reservation once your travel date is decided; even if it is months or a year later. If you want to buy the tickets on your own, note that sales on the official website starts 30 days before the train's departure date, and at the railway stations 28 days before.
It is suggested that flight tickets are bought one month before when there is usually a discount. Generally, bus tickets are easy to buy at the bus station, so a reservation is not necessary.

How about the urban public transport? Which is better, subway or bus? Are taxis convenient and affordable?

Public bus is a common vehicle reaching every corner of the city. In big cities, subway is more convenient to avoid traffic jams and save time. Sometimes when there is no direct bus or subway to your destination, taxi is a wise and affordable choice – CNY8-15 for the first 2 or 3 kilometers and about CNY2 for each extra kilometer.

Is it easy to find a hotel or should I book in advance?

It is quite easy to find star-rated hotels, chain hotels, hostels, and inns in most cities. Even in some rural areas, you can find family hostels to spend the night. A reservation is not a must on ordinary days, but you can book one week in advance to ensure a room with satisfactory conditions. An early reservation is terribly necessary during holidays, especially the National Day Holiday from Oct. 1 to 7.

I cannot speak Chinese. Is it ok? Do Chinese people understand simple English?

It is ok for non-Chinese speakers. You can see English instructions at airports, train stations, subway stations, road signs, and scenic areas. Most young people in China can speak simple English. You can ask them for help if needed. Some translation apps can also be helpful.

How much does it cost to travel in China? Where can I exchange money? Is it common to pay by cash or credit card?

For a budget independent traveler, a daily cost of USD120-150 is needed to cover the expense of sightseeing, dining, transportation, and accommodation. It is suggested you exchange for CNY at Bank of China or airports as attractions, hotels, and restaurants in China don't accept foreign currency. You can withdraw cash either at the bank counters or ATM machines which have the same symbols as your card. Union Pay credit cards are widely used in China. In some large shopping malls in major cities, credit cards of Visa and MasterCard are acceptable.

Where are the best shopping places, for clothes, electronic devices, and specialties like silk?

Beside branded products in big department stores, it is also a good choice to go to shopping streets, such as Wangfujing Street in Beijing, and Nanjing Road in Shanghai. Guangzhou is a famous wholesale center for clothes, shoes, and bags; Yiwu has China's largest small commodity market; Shenzhen and Hong Kong are best places to buy electronic products; Hangzhou abounds with traditional Chinese silk products.
  • Customer Reviews
  • Questions & Answers
    4.85 Reivews
    Matteo & Laura
    Posted on January 04, 2019
    Everything went really well. We are overall very pleased about the whole vacation! Meals were usually very fine. We had many and picking just one up would be difficult, also because at this point I would risk to mix them up. As for the guides, some were better some a bit less, but overall communication was quite OK at all times. We understand how difficult is for Chinese people to speak such a different language. We personally really enjoyed the attitude of Connie. Even though you could see she was not the most expert among the guides, she was surely sincerely helpful and extremely kind and gentle. I cannot forget that. We would appreciate if she could understand how much we appreciated her. Cars were very clean and drivers always helpful.

    In conclusion, the trip was absolutely fantastic and we really enjoyed it! We did not have a single problem, not a single one, which means Travel China Guide has done a great and meticulous job in organizing it. Thank you very much!
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    Dennis Martin
    New Zealand
    Posted on January 01, 2019
    We had the most wonderful time in China made special by this organization. We were met promptly by very professional guides - the drivers were very careful and very considerate of the road rules.

    The guides were very knowledgeable and we found the whole experience fantastic. We intend to visit China again sometime in the future and travel along the Silk Road - I would certainly contact TCG to assist us in our travel arrangements. The meals they arranged for us were first class and very enjoyable - the only criticism I would have is there was too much food!!!!!!!

    Their email service was first class. We are just sorry Xiahe was closed but were not disappointed with the change in arrangement - The Hanging Monastery was amazing.
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    Virginia Ford
    Posted on December 27, 2018
    I was astounded at how well organised TCG is - our whole vacation ran smoothly and happily. Our guides were charming and enthusiastic, and really reliable. We specially appreciated Anna (Beijing) and Nancy (Datong). All our guides were sensitive to the needs of our children, and were very willing to change plans to accommodate them. Our drivers were reliable, courteous and our mini-buses were clean and comfortable. Most of our meals were really good. Our favorite was our "special" a la carte dinner in Shanghai, with musicians on traditional instruments. The only meal we didn't like was on the Bund (after the water village). Our accommodation in Wutaishan and Datong was terrific. Xian hotel was not so great, but acceptable. We would certainly use their service again. We felt we really got value for money. ... More
    Ruth M Bird
    Posted on December 16, 2018
    I found everyone of the guides brilliant. They all went out of their way to ensure I had a super time. Both Winny and Kathy found extra things that were absolutely Brilliant. With Kathy I went to an extra embroidered art exhibition, the end of which is enhancing my bedroom. And Kathy took me to the Three gorges museum, the markets and a super supper place not scheduled but helped me fall in love with Chongqing. All the guides were very knowledgeable. The service of Carol was not as good as the guide in Chongqing because I hadn't slept a wink on the train and I was not at my best fit the heavy schedule the next day and would rather have had a day to recover from Xian dragged and it rained and I did feel very much on my own and is probably why I thought the two in Chongqing were so good. Throughout the chauffeurs were excellent and I admired and needed the car journeys to catch up on energy. I could really have done with 3 days in Shanghai. It was such a lovely city I would have liked much more time there with my friend, which was really the main purpose of the visit and I just managed one evening meal.. ... More
    Paul Cockburn
    Posted on November 23, 2018
    All our arrangements in all our cities we visited including Xian were great, everything went exactly to plan and we could have not been happier.

    The meals were all of a high standard, the cars great and the guides were extremely helpful, hard working and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the country and the locations we visited. All guides went the extra mile to ensure that we made the most of our holiday.

    We would like to pass on our special thanks to Julia our guide in Guilin and Selina our guide in Beijing who really made our holiday just that extra special. Travelled with our 2 daughters aged 10 and 14, both guides treated them like sisters and made effort to ensure that they got the most out of the holiday, which in turn meant that we got the most out of the holiday.

    Once again thank you for such a great trip and we would highly recommend TCG to anyone considering a holiday in China. Using the internet and TravelChinaGuide was safe, easy and very cost effective.
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