Ever since the postponement (and possible cancellation) of Tokyo 2013 & the NATAS Fair, I’ve been simply browsing around for future trip ideas. Nothing intensive. Just looking @ the itineraries of the tour packages that some tour agents offer,some casual googling of certain places for more information, and of cos… looking at options for Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), where I’ll be going in May.
Anyway… I took a closer look at the 10D China Trip, offered by Chan Brothers Travel, that my dad was interested in. The package, according to the brochure, is 10D Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟), Mount Emei (峨嵋山), Huanglong (黄龙) & Leshan (乐山) coach tour. During NATAS, the price quoted to me was like S$1.3k++ for the entire thingy on our selected departure date, inclusive of taxes. SilkAir flights to & fro. The agent did mention that post-NATAS prices will be slightly higher at +S$100 per person, so am just gonna take S$1,500.00 as an estimate. At first glance, it looks decent, considering it includes return flight, accommodation at 4 & 5 star hotels and most meals.
The thing about packaged tours is that, should you go for the exact same flights, select the same hotels & have the same meals, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be paying less on your own… pretty sure the airlines & hotels give special prices to tour agencies that purchase in bulk. Also, everything is “done” for you. There is no need for planning, no need for coordination, and no need for airport pick-up arrangement. All you gotta do is pack your bags and go. Plus from my dad’s point of view, it’s also safer travelling in a group with experienced tour guides.
Looking @ the itinerary next, the main touristy areas are all covered, so to be fair… this will probably satisfy an average tourist (i.e. my parents)… but for me, it just doesn’t quite cut it? Judging from how it is scheduled to fit in all those places, most of the time will probably be spent on the coach travelling from one place to another. Am certain that the actual time spent AT the sight-seeing spots are gonna be like 1-2hrs at the max (shorter for some), and that kinda sucks. This is why I’ll never go on a packaged tour if I can help it. Only one day at Mt Emei? And that’s like just taking the cable car to the summit? Really? Zzz. I rather have the flexibility of spending more time at certain places, less time at some and skipping some totally. Like seriously, I have zilch intention of visiting a pearl store or a highland bee farm (read – the shopping area only). Clearly precious time wasted :O
The above is what I found on China Tourist Maps, on Mt Emei. There’s so much to see! With the limited time offered by the tour, it would feel like shortchanging myself eh? Not to mention, I would love to hike up the mountain & rest for the nights at the monasteries on the way – would be an awesome experience.
Haha, ok, I admit one reason why I’m so anal regarding spending only one day at Mt Emei is cos I’m pretty intrigued by the mountain to begin with… I did grow up watching time period kungfu drama afterall. Mt Emei, Mt Wudang, the Shaolin Monastery… etc. those are places frequently mentioned that I’ve always wanted to go visit and see with my own eyes. Then there is also the Five Great Mountains of China: Tai Shan (泰山), Hua Shan (华山), Heng Shan – Hunan (衡山), Heng Shan – Shanxi (恆山) and Song Shan (嵩山). And of course, there is the Great Wall of China that beckons.
Nonetheless, despite whatever I think, this trip is for my parents who will definitely be more comfortable with a packaged trip than going free & easy. Old people… /sigh. Heh, that’s assuming my dad will even go anywhere to begin with. He’s so full of hesitations that will cause him to take forever to make up his mind, I won’t be surprised he ends up going nowhere… again. Perhaps a staycation in Sentosa would work better for them, or a cruise to somewhere nearby like Redang or Penag. LOL :Þ
Speaking of cruise. Maybe I should go for one too… so many places, so little funds, so limited time. RAWRR!!!