For anyone who loves to ditch the map and experience a country on your terms, a group journey might not be on your travel radar. Yet when it comes to China—and you’re looking to travel the fine line between luxury and off-the-beaten-path—a group trip might be the best way to experience this enormous country.
Just make sure that “small” means small because no one wants to be bussed around with 30 other tourists in baseball caps, or embarrassingly follow a tour guide with a megaphone! For discerning travelers, small should mean from around 5 to 12 people, not including the expert or guide dedicated to ensuring you get the most out of your trip. Here are five reasons why small groups work really well in China and why it’s such a benefit, especially for first time visitors:
When you sign on to join a group journey, it’s EASY. There’s no debate about whether you have enough time to get from Shigatse to Lhasa before your flight—logistics no longer have to fall on your shoulders, which is great because China is huge, and making those decisions and confirming reservations, drivers, and transportation for every leg of your trip can be draining. If you don’t want to spend weeks before your trip planning, and the precious days during your journey making sure things go according to that plan, small group travel is right up that alley.
2) Interesting travel companions
China is a different sort of travel destination that attracts a different type of traveler. It isn’t a week on the beach in Mexico…and this is why people come—because it’s a fascinating place to visit. Meeting others who want to explore such an off-beat destination is part of the fun of traveling China, and at the end of a day, when there’s a lot to process, a lot to be curious about, and a lot of surprising experiences and interactions, discussing with other travelers at the end of the day is sure to enhance you experience.
3) More great food
Eating in China is always a group affair, with large round tables and lazy-susans heavy with the weight of dishes. Some call it “family-style”, others call it “Chinese-style” but dishes are ordered for the whole table and then shared. A basic rule of thumb when eating in China is to order one dish per person at the table—and then throw in a couple extra to make sure no one goes hungry. This is great news for groups because the more people at the table, the more food you get to try and taste.
4) Better value
Traveling with a group means that you’re splitting all the mundane costs like vehicles and logistics with other travelers. It also means you can experience things that might have been too big of splurge if you were traveling on your own – like a famous expert guide to personally explain their area of passion, or a special private lesson on Chinese art. This is great news for those who want a rich, multi-layered trip to China.
5) Unexpected experiences
Traveling with a group is like ordering the chef’s recommendation for the evening. It takes a step of faith, but the outcome is almost always the same: a new and delicious eating experience! Here at WildChina, we constantly hear great feedback from travelers who say there was something on the trip that they wouldn’t have chosen for themselves, but that they ended up loving. It’s all part of traveling to a new place taking the step towards new experiences that will stretch and delight you.
The key to China travel euphoria is simply to remember the golden rule and join a very small group…that really is our best advice! Our upcoming Chinese Treasures trip accepts a maximum of 12 travelers to ensure that everyone enjoys the best experience possible. If you have any questions, or want to learn more about your options for visiting China, do let us know, we’d be happy to hear from you!