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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

Budget Group Day Trips

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    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.

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    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
      4.918 Reviews
      Minda and Masi
      United States
      Posted on March 11, 2019
      Overall, we really enjoyed our time in China. TravelChinaGuide did a great job of putting our tour together! We loved our vacation! I would suggest this company to anyone! China is a huge country and thanks to TCG, we were able to see so much in just 2 weeks!

      The meals were great. There was always plenty of food and the restaurants were always very nice. The one meal that I would recommend to my friends/family was the fried chicken, rice, soup, etc. I was impressed with all of the meals. Even the breakfasts that was provided at the hotels was always very nice. All of our guides were very professional. They were all very knowledgeable and were able to explain the history behind all of the places that we went to. I learned so much from them and was interested in everything that they told us. All of the guides were able to answer any questions that we may have had. All of the drivers were very nice and the cars were very clean.

      Thank you!
      ... More
      Posted on March 10, 2019
      We both want to comment how much we enjoyed having a guide just for the two of us. We saw many large tour groups and believe there was no opportunity for individuals in such large groups to ask questions and gain personal knowledge as we had with our guides. I most highly recommend individual tours for travelers who want to experience more than "just see the sights". I believe we came as close as anyone could in three weeks to experience and learn about the "real China" - past and present. We look forward to our next trip with this company. ... More
      Glen Brandvold
      United States
      Posted on March 07, 2019
      We enjoyed the adventure tremendously! All arrangements were in order, the guides were excellent - well-informed on the history of the areas, fluent in English, and personable. Drivers were very skilled and vehicles were clean and comfortable. I would especially like to commend guide Candy in Beijing; She was so enthusiastic and fun to be with, and so helpful in many ways. Also our guide Richard in Kaili; he was so interested in our comments and receptive to our attempts to improve his English! He knew the rural areas there so well we felt right "at home". Our guide in Guilin had only to meet us at the airport and deliver us the next morning to the Li River cruise pier. Every meal we had was a new "treat" - the restaurants were very good. The hotels were satisfactory, although the hotel in Guilin had very hard beds! All were very well located to make local sightseeing very convenient. We certainly look forward to another opportunity to use their services - certainly next time we will get to Lhasa!! ... More
      United States
      Posted on March 06, 2019
      I was generally very pleased with my visit that travelguide arranged and thanks for a wonderful vacation. Here are my comments:

      Food - this was generally good, both at the hotel as well as outside the hotel.

      Hotel - the hotel in Chengdu was wonderful. The hotel in Lhasa was acceptable. The room was clean but there was no wireless and the hot water took about 15 minutes to warm up in the morning. However, it was in an excellent location and I was very happy with this.

      Guide - Bimba was a great guide and his english was better than I expected. He was very easy to work with and very knowledgeable.

      Driver - The car and driver were also very nice. The car was clean.

      I would definitely recommend this travel agency to any friends traveling to China. Thank you for a wonderful trip.
      ... More
      Posted on March 02, 2019
      Mrs. Hughes and I have returned home to the states for several months. We want to say thank you for the excellent service and the delightful guides that met us at all points. The Victoria Cruise was wonderful and we were quite surprised to have a guide met us in Yichang and take us to the Museum and safely to that Airport. When next we have an opportunity to visit Asia we can be sure we will contact TCG again.
      Marie Pavini
      Posted on March 01, 2019
      My evaluation of our holiday in Oct. 2018 are as follows. The special offer of vegetarian meals were fantastic! Guides are all good, very knowledgeable and helpful. I appreciate having a Tibetan Guide in Tibet. The driver is Great. In Xi'an, our guide was especially helpful.
      United States
      Posted on February 28, 2019
      Our entire trip fulfilled the wonder, curiosity and brilliance of the Chinese culture, tradition and way of life. There is not one single moment we can put high up on a pedestal, as every memory, experience and snapshot of our trip will be cherished. We not only were able to experience the places that we visited with a personal guide and driver, we were able to take a custom, Asian adventure at our pace. No large groups to delay you, no guides dragging you around like it's a race back to the hotel and no set itinerary that include things you don't even want to see. Just a great way to travel, explore and enjoy. ... More
      Posted on February 27, 2019
      We wish to thank TravelChinaGuide for a truly memorable China tour. We are very happy to enthusiastically recommend TCG to our friends and family. Everything they organized for us worked like clockwork. Their friendly, efficient and very helpful preparation was very much appreciated. The communication with us was excellent at all times. Their attention to detail is superb.
      Nicole Dorey
      Posted on February 23, 2019
      Thanks for arranging such a fantastic tour for us. The meals turned out wonderfully. It was a joy to eat in very traditional restaurants, have food ordered for us when we wanted, and eliminate the travelling stress: where to eat. We really enjoyed the ultra-mod Hong Kong style restaurant for dinner in Luoyang. It was fun to have tradition fused with modern cuisine. Each guide was very enlightening, not only in the places we visited, but in the culture, tradition and way of life in the places we visited. Everyone could handle our bombardment of curiosity in the form of questions and discource. The drivers were wonderful, especially our driver in Luoyang. He pretended to be endeared by our extremely small Chinese vocabulary. It was a pleasure! ... More
      Thomas & Anne
      Posted on February 22, 2019
      The Guides were all very informative and knowledgeable about the places we visited. They were all very friendly and very willing to go out of their way to provide that extra service. I would like to recommend William (Beijing) very highly for being exceptionally good with older travelers and very generous with his time. I would like to give Linda (Xian) special thanks for taking us to the Tang Dynasty concert in her own time and for her help at the airport. Although we were only in Guilin for a short time, Azure was friendly and helpful and a pleasure to meet. All of our guides were perfect ambassadors for China and left us with a wonderful impression of a friendly intelligent and generous people.

      The meals were all far better than we expected. The environment and service at the restaurants was excellent. The drivers were very skilled in heavy traffic and looked after us with great courtesy. The cars were always clean and well looked after. The hotels they arranged for us were far better than we expected. They were all in excellent locations, close to everything. The included breakfast was a luxurious feast in all of them. The excellent laundry service in Beijing hotel was very welcome.

      I can recommend TravelChinaGuide as the right choice for a perfect holiday. They provide exceptionally good value for money and, more importantly, people there are very friendly, very generous with their time and really do make sure you are OK on every step of the journey.
      ... More
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