April 03, 2007

You are on the invidual archive page of Lijiang. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.

We're thinking of visiting world-famous Lijiang sometime soon, but we might take our time with finding a tour guide. The (very brown these days) SCMP reports:

A 15-year-old Anhui youth who was visiting the world-renowned ancient town of Lijiang, in Yunnan province, was still in serious condition yesterday after sustaining brain damage in an attack on Sunday by his knife-wielding tour guide. The tour guide, identified as Xu Minchao from Jilin's Rime Travel agency, wounded 15 tourists and five city residents in the attack - two of them seriously - but the motive for the violence was unclear.
But in a second article, the motive is already made clear (mind the terrible pun at the start of the article):
Cutthroat competition in the travel industry led to Sunday's attack in Lijiang, according to industry insiders. Lijiang tour guide Li Ge said most tour guides in the city received no salaries or benefits from their employers and relied solely on commissions from shops.

"Normally the tourist shops offer guides good commissions based on the number of tourists the guides bring in," Mr Li said. But he said the commissions had been eroded as agencies took a bigger cut of the shop proceeds and more guides competed for money...Mr Li said Lijiang was a well-known travel destination with few other industries and fights frequently broke out between guides over their share of the commissions...Lu Yuzhen , from GZL International Travel Service, said competition was so tight that a six-day package tour to Lijiang from Guangdong cost just 2,500 yuan.

The same tour trick often happens in Hong Kong, with groups locked into shops and forced to buy shoddy goods at inflated prices. But if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Tour guides can be tricky to deal with. On our recent trip to Harbin, the clueless Helen was completely flummoxed when we heard her planned itinerary and decided to make some changes. That we were the paying customers didn't seem to be a consideration. Helen eventually came around to our revised plan, but then she had to battle with the driver, who was mightily put out that we were going to be crossing the river not ocne but twice under our revised plan.

So does anyone know of reputable tour guides in Lijiang?

posted by Simon on 04.03.07 at 11:59 AM in the China category.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.


I usually go in with night-vision goggles, a vest and some canned food.

No need for tour guides.

posted by: doug on 04.03.07 at 12:48 PM [permalink]

I've been to, or passed through Lijiang four times. You really don't need a guide. A Lonely Planet Guidebook is enough.

There are plenty of guesthouses in the old city itself and flashier hotels in the new town.

It's very touristy and artificial, but a good base to see some "real" villages nearby.

posted by: john H. on 04.03.07 at 05:09 PM [permalink]

But John, then I might miss my chance to buy "antiques" or "Chinese crafts".

posted by: Simon on 04.03.07 at 05:54 PM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?