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It’s your call whether you prefer a shopping or no-shopping tour. There are many tours in China in both the high and low price brackets but the visiting route is the same. Is it really the same? Of course, not.  Keep in mind a famous phrase in China: "The higher the price, the better the quality of the merchandise".

What the Differences Are

This table shows the specific differences between the two types of tour.

Tour Duration Shopping time Waiting time Visiting route Experience
Cheap shopping tour About 3 hours About 3 hours About 2 hours No creativity Tiring, uncomfortable, and a waste of tour time
No shopping tour About 6 hours N/A About half an hour Well planned Relaxed and pleasant
An Example: One-Day Beijing Tour

We have compared two different tours in Beijing. One is a cheap shopping tour to visit the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall at Badaling. The other is a no-shopping mini group tour to visit the Forbidden City and the Great Wall at Mutianyu.

Cheap Shopping Tour in Beijing

The day before your tour, your guide will call you to confirm the collection time. Your driver will collect you from your hotel at 6:30am. The first stop is the Ming Tombs, which is an hour’s drive away. However, the group consists of 40 to 50 people. You are the first group to be collected in the morning and you travel on the bus as your driver collects other members of the tour group. This takes from 6:30am to 8:30am.

  • From 8:30 am to 9:10 am, you are driven to the Ming Tombs.
  • From 9:10 am to 10:10 am, you visit the Ming Tombs.
  • Next, you are driven to the first shopping point and go shopping from 10:40 am to 11:40 am.
  • Have lunch from 11:45 am to 1 pm.
  • Go ahead to the Great Wall at Badaling, traveling there between 1:10 pm and 1:50 pm.
  • Visit the Great Wall at Badaling from 1:50 pm to 3:50 pm.
  • Visit the second shopping point from 4:10 pm to 5 pm.
  • Return to your hotel.
No-Shopping Mini Group Tour in Beijing

Your guide will call you to confirm that he/she will be waiting for you in your hotel lobby at 7:30am. Your guide arrives on time and, as it’s a mini group tour, it takes no more than 30 minutes to collect the other three people in your tour group.

  • 8am to 8:30am: Visit Tian'anmen Square.
  • 8:30 to 11:30am: Visit the Forbidden City.
  • 11:30am to 1:30pm: Drive to a restaurant near the Great Wall at Mutianyu and have lunch.
  • 1:30pm to 4pm: Visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
  • 4pm to 5pm: Return to your hotel.
Travel Experience

We joined each of these trips and have detailed our experiences below.

Cheap Shopping Tour in Beijing

Our guide was friendly. She didn't force us to buy souvenirs and didn't make us feel uncomfortable. However, we almost fell asleep during the trip as most of the time was spent driving or shopping and we didn’t have enough time to visit the attractions we wanted to. We are Chinese, so we know all the traps encountered on shopping tours. We didn't buy anything and felt the whole trip was a complete waste of time.

No-Shopping Mini Group Tour in Beijing

We got up later, at about 7am, having had a good sleep. It's amazing to be able to visit the Forbidden City and the Great Wall in the same day. We had 3 hours to spend at each attraction, which is plenty of time. We took many photos and the other three members of our tour group were friendly. They were from England and were curious about Chinese culture and history, and we were happy to chat with them.

Which One Suits You?

The type of tour that suits you will depend on your reason for booking it:

  • Just to travel: No shopping. If you love traveling, you will dislike wasting your time on unworthy experiences.
  • Depends on the price: A shopping tour. If you just want to see a particular city but don't want to spend too much money, a shopping tour is sufficient.
  • Fastidious: No shopping. If you are fastidious about everything, a shopping tour won’t agree with you.
  • History or culture: No shopping. You will have more time to learn about the local culture and history. Your guide will be patient because his/her bonus won't depend on how much you purchase from the shops.
  • Newcomers: No shopping. The tour you join will form your impression of a city. Join a better tour and discover a charming, more interesting city.

Recommended Tours With Trippest

Whether your time is limited or you just want to experience the most authentic history and culture, Trippest has prepared some boutique tours (mini group tours with no more than 6 travelers) for you:

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