How it works:
- Very cheap tours are advertised.
- Version 1: their main revenue comes from commission shops pay when they bring tourists there – you find yourself spending more time at shops than at attractions.
- Version 2: no guides provided or guides provided do not speak English.
- Version 3: poorly maintained transportation.
- Version 4: tricking you into paying much more than necessary to enter attractions.
- Version 5: bringing you to a less scenic spot of the place you want to see (e.g. Juyong Pass at the Great Wall instead of the Mutianyu section).
- Anywhere (e.g. Beijing: Forbidden City; Shanghai: People’s Square; Lijiang: Old Town of Lijiang)
What to do:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Reputable operators: some reputable local names to consider include: Taylor-Made Hangzhou Private Tour Service, etc.
- Online platforms: Klook (best day tour platform in Asia) – also has some popular tours (e.g. Huangpu River, Mutianyu Great Wall, Xi’an Terracotta Army, etc).
- Paying: avoid paying in full upfront (unless reputable operator) or off the (online) platform.