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Budget China Tours

We designed 2019/2020 cheap China tours for travelers who are on a limited budget so they may enjoy the fun of a hassle-free trip that is 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 provide great convenience.

Cheap China Tours for Budget Travelers

China In-depth Budget Tours

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    Budget Group Day Trips

    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
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      4.893 Reviews
      Mary Andell
      Canada
      Posted on November 03, 2019
      The rainy day discounted our happiness on our China tour! But except for the bad weather, we were pleased with this tour. It was so convenient for us just to enjoy the trip and leave all the detailed things to the guides and travel agency TravelChinaGuide. It was very cost-effective!
      John Patel
      USA
      Posted on October 20, 2019
      We had harvested a lot for the first trip to China. There were marvelous ancient buildings in Forbidden City, the great and vivid soldiers in the Terracotta Army Museum, crystal water in the Li River and lovely pandas in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. All of them were so awesome! I was very satisfied with this China tour!
      Isabel Shiu
      Australia
      Posted on October 07, 2019
      Our China tour was absolutely over with a happy ending! All the guides on our tour were excellent and tried their best to make us enjoy the trip, providing us the high-level service. The schedules worked out smoothly, too! I just wanted to say that their hard work was not in vain and we obtained a wonderful trip! Thank them for giving us such a great China tour!
      Tiffany
      Australia
      Posted on September 24, 2019
      The guide Tracy in Xi’an was very nice!!! We left our package on the bus and she was kind enough to send it back to the hotel. Thank you so much! Also, she was so qualified and professional and had a rich knowledge reserve that exceeded our expectations! We were deeply impressed! I loved this China tour!
      Stephen Jessel
      UK
      Posted on September 13, 2019
      This was our fourth trip with tcg in six or seven years, which speaks for itself. All three guides were quite acceptable. Shirley in Guilin was wonderful. Excellent English, helpful, delightful person. Charity in Suzhou was very helpful and pleasant. The English of the guide in Hangzhou was not as good as that of the guides in Guilin and Suzhou. Shirley (Guilin) spoke excellent English. They all seemed to know their subjects. In general all the meals were fine. We looked after ourselves for dinner and had breakfast at the hotel. The lunch on the boat in Guilin is nothing special but they had warned us about that. Lunch on Day 1 in Suzhou was especially good. All were satisfactory. Cars were all clean. The drivers in Guilin and Suzhou (especially) were excellent. All the hotels were clean and service seemed fine. The hotel in Guilin was very good: on a lake, within walking distance of centre. Good breakfast. We didn't like the hotel in Hangzhou. Not really aimed at Western tourists: no Western TV channels, Chinese breakfast. A long way out of town. The hotel in Suzhou was outstanding. Very central, free computer access, excellent breakfast. The hotel in Shanghai is central but computer access is very expensive. Thank you. ... More
      Graeme
      USA
      Posted on September 09, 2019
      Booking procedure first class. All queries were answered within 24 hours. Everything ran very smoothly and was done for you.
      Stephen, Richelle, Andrew and Carol
      US
      Posted on September 09, 2019
      John is a fantastic guide and we thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days we spent with him. Taking us to the railway station and making sure we got onto the train ok were excellent service. If he hadn't we could have had a major problem as one of our group's ticket was left at the passport check by mistake, but John was able to ask around and we finally got it back...it could have been very different if he hadn't waited. The day to Mutianyu Great Wall was also a very memorable day. Susan was also a very good guide; we just didn't spend as long with her in Xian. The drivers were always very helpful and the vehicles very tidy. In terms of time and things to see, we would have preferred to have had an extra day in Shanghai, rather than an extra free day in Xian. Although it would have made for a long day, we would have been quite happy to be returned to the train station after visiting the Terracotta Warriors, the Wild Goose Pagoda and the City Wall, and then catching the train to Shanghai. The restaurants that John took us to for lunch in Beijing were fantastic - great food, probably the best we had on our tour. It would be good if similar ones could be recommended in the other cities, even if they don't form part of the organized tour. Overall the tour was excellent. ... More
      Noel
      Posted on September 04, 2019
      We enjoyed our visit very much. The meal was nice. Even though the buffet wasn't available, there was a good variety of food provided. There was enough and more was offered if we wanted it. The guide was efficient and prompt. The driver was helpful in opening doors and helping with the seats. He also did well in helping us to find the hotel we were leaving after the tour (we met at the metro station, so this was his first time having to find it) and taking us to our new hotel. He was gracious about it. The vehicle was very clean and nice. Thanks for your excellent service. ... More
      Daniel Petty
      United States
      Posted on September 02, 2019
      I'm writing to say that our guide Brian was everything that we could have asked for. He was professional. And our driver Mr. Wang was also good, his car was very clean, he drove in a safe and professional manner, and most importantly he never kept us waiting. We have used numerous guides since we moved to Shanghai and also in our travels to Beijing, Seoul, and Hong Kong. Brian was by far our favorite. We will gladly recommend him and your company to any of our friends.
      Felicia
      Posted on August 26, 2019
      We had the most memorable time with you.
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