Laurus Travel offers premium escorted group tours to China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore. We also provide customized private tours for families and groups of any size travelling to the above countries plus India, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mongolia.
We specialize in Asia travel, having been doing what we love for 18 years. The company enjoys A+ rating by the BBB and has been recommended in every edition of Frommer’s China – the only Canadian tour company receiving that honour. If you find consumer reviews on TripAdvisor and customer testimonials on our website insufficient to convince you, please feel free to ask for references – we have thousands of satisfied customers across Canada, the United States and Australia ready to vouch for us.
Vancouver Sun columnist
“Jacob was superb in every way. He was organized, knowledgeable, friendly, patient, listened to particular requests, took pictures, totally reliable. David (Guilin), amazing guy. Elaine in Shanghai was a close second.
The quality of the guides on this trip – both the group leader and all of the local guides – was really wonderful. They all spoke excellent English, were highly knowledgeable and were able to answer questions well. They chose very good itineraries, made sure we had excellent food and plenty of water, and time for breaks. I can’t say enough good things about them.”
Dr. Martin Schreiber, MD
Professor, University of Toronto
“So you want to take a China tour. Family and friends have given you some leads on a possible tour company but you’ve found their recommendations to be a little too qualified with “howevers” and “buts” to instill you with confidence. So you go to the internet and find page after page of tour company listings and you begin to think that vacationing in your backyard is maybe not such a bad idea after all.
Well, before you give up, let me direct you to Laurus Travel and their comprehensive website at www.laurustravel.com. Not only can I recommend Laurus Travel without hesitation …” [full review]
Published author, Ottawa, Ontario
Price with air from Vancouver: $4875 | Price with air from Toronto: $5199
Save 10% if you sign up and pay in full by February 28!
Escorted China tour from Canada. Expert guides, small group size, inter-city travel by high-speed train, luxury accommodations, fine food, no forced shopping stops, gratuities for local guides and drivers included.
Shanghai – Suzhou – Tongli (water town) – Wuhan – Yangtze Cruise – Chengdu – Xian – Beijing
Explore China in depth with a company that has been recommended in every edition of Frommer’s China. On this grand tour, you’ll visit a multitude of UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Sites, the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Centre, hike the Great Wall, cruise the mighty Yangtze River, and savour authentic and quality Chinese cuisine.
Since we move from city to city by either deluxe motor coach or comfortable high-speed train, you no longer have to worry about air travel related hassles such as long delays and luggage damage.
- Expert guides hand-picked by company owners.
- Small group size – 20 maximum.
- Gratuities for all local guides and drivers included.
- Inter-city travel by comfortable high-speed train.
- No annoying forced shopping stops.
- Quality meals at non-tourist restaurants.
- Promenade or Bridge deck cabin with exclusive amenities during Yangtze cruise.
- Unlimited supply of bottled water during group activities.
- Free Wi-Fi in all hotels.
- Peking roast duck at a top rated restaurant.
- Visits to side chambers in Forbidden City that most tour companies pass up.
- Great Wall visit at Mutianyu with cable car.
[ full details ]
Name: People’s Republic of China
Population: 1,367,485,388 (2015 estimate), largest in the world
Total area: 9,596,960 square kilometre, 4th largest in the world after Russia, Canada and the United States.
Geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E
Time zone: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Toronto/New York during Standard Time)
23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing), and 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong & Macao)
Close to 92% of the population are Han Chinese while the rest are made up by 55 officially recognized ethnic minority groups including Zhuang, Hui (Chinese Muslims), Tibetan, Mongol and Uighur.
Over 96% of Chinese over 14 years of age can read and write. The ratio is slightly higher among males (98.2%) than among females ( 94.5%).
The written form of Chinese is the same across China as it has been for centuries. The mainland version has many simplified characters which are rejected by the traditional style currently in use in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Putonghua, literally meaning Popular Tongue, is the standard spoken form based on Beijing dialect but Putonghua is commonly known as Mandarin in English speaking world. Many ethnic groups have their own languages.
The majority of the Chinese have no religious affiliation and thus may be categorized as atheists. Buddhists account for 18%, of the population while the other religious groups are mostly Christian and Muslim. Daoism (Taoism) is one of the four major religions in China and the only one native to China. However, its believers may worship Buddha too.
Currency: Renminbi or RMB for short, literally people’s currency
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the communists under Mao Zedong established an autocratic socialist system. Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping and other leaders embarked on market-oriented economic reform beginning in 1978 and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.
Frequently Asked China Travel Questions
Q: What is the best time to visit China?
A: China is a huge country whose climatic patterns are extremely diverse, ranging from tropical in the south to sub-Arctic in the north, from some of the wettest spots on Earth to arid deserts. The question of when is the best of time to visit China really depends on where you want to go. For example, when the north gets very cold in winter, cities in the far south such as the tropical island of Hainan have very pleasant weather for vacationers. In July and August, most Chinese cities can be hot and humid; however, summer is the best season to experience Tibet, the Silk Road region, Inner Mongolia and the Northeast (Manchuria).
Most travellers going to China for the first time are primarily interested in Beijing (Great Wall, Forbidden City), Xian (Terracotta Army), Guilin (Li River cruise) and Shanghai. Some also include Hong Kong and a Yangtze cruise on their itinerary. For them, the best months to visit China would be April, May, September and October. In some regions of China, high season for tourism begins in mid-March and ends in mid-November.
Q: How do I sign up for a tour?
A: See Contact page for the three steps involved.
Q: Are there any hidden charges that are actually mandatory or else we won’t be able to enjoy the tour?
A: Absolutely not. We despise companies engaged in such deceptive behaviour and would never do this to our guests.
Q: What is the maximum group size?
A: Our group size ranges from 10 to 20 with 20 being the maximum except specials that are clearly identified.
Q: Do you include shopping stops in your tours as so many of your competitors do?
A: No, and we are proud of our no forced shopping policy.
Q: Do I need a passport and visa to travel with Laurus Travel?
A: Yes. Please see Visa page for more information.
Q: Can Laurus Travel help us obtain visa?
A: Yes. Please go to Visa page for details.
Q: Does Laurus Travel accept credit cards?
A: We accept Visa and MasterCard for deposit. No credit card of any kind is accepted for final payment. See Terms & Conditions.
Q: Does Laurus accept disabled travellers?
A: Our group tours are not suitable for travellers with mobility issues but such travellers are welcome to book private tours with us.
Q: What’s the average age of Laurus clients?
A: The majority of our travellers are Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and seniors in their early 70’s. Travellers between 35 and 50 make up 20% of our customer base but their percentage has been going up. During summer, we have many families with school-age children travelling with us.
Q: How physically demanding are Laurus tours?
A: Our tours involve lots of strenuous walking and stair climbing as mentioned in the Terms & Conditions. As a result, people with mobility issues or suffering from obesity will find it too challenging to enjoy our tours. Regardless of the traveller’s age, a high level of physical fitness is required of all customers.
Q: What kind of vaccinations do you recommend?
A: The places our tours take you to are generally safe from a health point of view. Our top concern is hepatitis A & B regardless of the country you travel to. We do not recommend shots for tetanus and rabies. Please visit a travel clinic or your family doctor or websites of U.S. CDC and Health Canada for more information.
Q: Do I need local currency before arrival?
A: Probably not, because you can easily get it on arrival and the exchange rate at destination is a lot better. If you need local currency to pay the taxi driver for your transfer to the hotel (this is necessary for guests arriving ahead of tour schedule unless other arrangement has been made), please check with us for a reliable fare estimate.
Q: What is the baggage allowance on local flights?
A: Economy class passengers are restricted to one checked piece weighing no more than 20 kilograms or 44 pounds. Certain carriers may allow the passenger to check in two pieces if the total weight is within limit. However, our policy is one checked bag per guest and we accept no exceptions. Carry-on bag is limited to 5kg or 12 lbs per passenger even though it is not uncommon to see passengers exceeding that limit to be allowed onto the plane. For luggage dimensions and packing advice please see Baggage Allowance & Packing.
Q: Do we eat local food throughout the tour?
A: Breakfast is buffet style with a huge variety. Lunch and dinner when included are local cuisine unless otherwise specified. Please see Terms & Conditions – Food & Beverage.
Q: Is Internet access available at the hotels?
A: Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby of all the hotels. Most of the hotels also provide our guests with complimentary in-room Wi-Fi.
Q: Do I get non-smoking rooms throughout the tour?
A: Yes. See Terms & Conditions for details.
Q: What about laundry service?
A: Hotels provide speedy laundry service but the prices can be steep. It’s better to bring clothing that can be worn in layers and easy to wash by hand. Unlike in Southeast Asia, it is not that easy to find retail laundry service providers outside the hotels because almost every household has a washing machine.