Happy Year of the Snake from China International Travel CA! Big thanks to all of our valued clients and travel partners for your friendship and support through this last year and into the new year! We wish you wealth, good health, and success in all your undertakings.

恭喜發財!身體健康!萬事如意!

In Shanghai, there was a special pre-New Year treat—snow on the ground:

Shanghai - February 2013 Chinese New Year snow
Shanghai - February 2013 Chinese New Year snow 2 - small - CIT - 400 x 300

And as you can see, the traditional Chinese New Year revelry continues in 2013, with a fortune in fireworks set off on New Year’s Eve in one spot in Shanghai alone:

Shanghai - Chinese New Year fireworks - rocket burst
Shanghai - Chinese New Year fireworks - rocket burst overhead
Shanghai - Chinese New Year fireworks - rocket burst overhead 2
Shanghai - Chinese New Year fireworks - rocket burst overhead 3
Shanghai - Chinese New Year firework remnants

For more photos (and video clips) of Chinese New Year fireworks, see our post from last year.

Read on for specific information about the China tour discounts we’re offering in 2013. We hope these special offers will help you realize your dreams of traveling to China! 觀看中文版

Like these offers? Share the news with your friends!


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Early Bird Discount: Customers who book a 2013 standard tour and pay by 1/31/13 will receive a $100 discount! (Tour must be booked 90 days or more before departure date.)

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2013 Discounts: Seniors (age 60 and up) and Snakes (customers born in 1953, 1965, 1977, etc.) will receive a $50 discount on standard tours departing in 2013!

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Group Discount: In 2013, groups of 6 or more who book a standard tour together will continue to receive a discount of $50 per person!

Please note:

  • “Standard tours” are our Mainland China tour packages, tour codes CIT001 through CIT012.
  • China International Travel CA’s discount offers may not be combined and may only be used once per tour participant per tour.

Early bird icon image credit: Unit66

When you travel to a faraway, fascinating land, you want to make the most of the experience. China, in particular, is a country both so rich in culture and history and so different from Western nations that engagement with the Chinese language opens up vast new possibilities for your journey—plus, speaking Chinese is just plain fun.

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Homework on vacation? YES.”
Ok, we know this isn’t for everyone,
but learning Chinese is truly rewarding.

As a serious student of Mandarin and a frequent traveler to China, I’ve always been frustrated by the lack of tools available to properly pursue this kind of immersive travel experience. On all the trips I’ve taken there, I’ve wished that I had detailed resources to tell me the Chinese names of the places on my itinerary, along with related historical events and figures; provide me with relevant vocabulary to enrich my conversations during the trip; and, most uniquely, make it convenient for me to study this information so that I could remember it and really put it to use. While a lot of websites and books provide detailed information about China and its tourist destinations, I haven’t seen anything ready-made to enhance a specific tour experience that is also presented in a convenient (and easily portable) format for learning.

Now China International Travel CA is making materials like this available to you.

Whether you’re a tourist simply seeking the correct pronunciations of names on your itinerary or a student of the language who wants to be able to converse with the people you encounter on your tour, these learning resources will help you achieve your goal:

In the future, we will be adding further information and features to the existing pages, as well as resources for more itineraries and more of the destinations featured on our tours.

How to use these resources: Given that our clients and visitors to this website will have widely varying goals for their study of Chinese, we have put together a brief guide for three basic levels of ambition.

Study Plan A: The Curious Tourist

If you just want to learn a little Chinese to enhance your trip, consider these suggested steps:

  1. Learn how to read and pronounce Hanyu Pinyin*: Since learning how to read and write Chinese characters is a very time-consuming process, don’t worry about that if your time is limited. Stick with pinyin, which will enable you to engage in some spoken communication and read many signs and names written in pinyin. Our Resources for Learning Pinyin section will help you understand how to pronounce Mandarin words.

  2. Consult phrase guides for travelers: See the “pocket guides” (books and downloadable documents), which include useful phrases and everyday vocabulary, in our Basic Resources for Travelers section.

  3. Read our Language and Culture Learning Resources pages: Learn about the destinations featured on your tour, including their Chinese names and related Chinese terms. If you can’t read pinyin, simply click the pinyin pronunciation for each name or expression to hear what it sounds like.

  4. Use the vocabulary lists on our Quizlet page: Each page and section of our Chinese Language Resources has links to individual lists. You can also import our lists (which have pinyin-only versions) into your Quizlet account or Quizlet-compatible app and simply delete any terms you’re not interested in reviewing. If you’d like, create your own lists with additional words and expressions you want to memorize. If you can’t read pinyin, Quizlet and some Quizlet-compatible apps (such as Quizlet’s own app and Flashcards++) have audio pronunciation features.

  5. Use an electronic dictionary to facilitate communication and study: The Pleco Chinese Dictionary, available for both Apple and Android mobile devices, is a thorough, well-designed, and free dictionary that allows you to make flashcards out of words that you look up. If you can’t read pinyin, you can purchase an audio pronunciation add-on for the Pleco dictionary; you might also try the $4.99 Qingwen dictionary, which has audio pronunciations as a standard feature.

* Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to learn how to read pinyin, you can still follow steps 3-5 above since they all involve audio pronunciation options.

Study Plan B: The Novice or Casual Student

If you already have some experience with and understanding of the language, but you are either a beginner or just a casual student, consider these suggestions:

  1. Make sure you have a solid understanding of pinyin.  Review or practice with the resources listed here.

  2. Give yourself a good foundation in understanding written Chinese.  If you are learning how to read and write characters, consider using the resources in our Resources for Learning Chinese Characters section to help in memorizing individual characters and basic vocabulary. Also check out the sections on Chinese-English dictionaries and vocabulary building tools.

  3. Choose a systematic curriculum to follow.  If you are not taking a Chinese course in school, consider using one of the courses introduced in our Courses of Study for Students of Chinese section.

  4. Read our Language and Culture Learning Resources pages: Before (or during) your trip, learn about the destinations featured on the tour, including their Chinese names and related Chinese terms. Use our Quizlet lists and/or a compatible mobile app to facilitate retention of this information.

Study Plan C: The Budding Scholar

If you’re a serious, experienced student with an intermediate or higher level of proficiency, you should be able to skip some of the above steps and proceed directly to using our lists. Consider these suggestions:

  1. Explore our Chinese Language Resources page: With the wealth of information we’ve provided, you’re sure to find helpful new tools and materials with which to supplement your study. The Chinese Vocabulary Building Resources and Resources for Intermediate and Advanced Students sections should be particularly helpful.

  2. Practice, practice, practice: Make sure you avail yourself of every opportunity to actually put your knowledge to use. Through online communities like those at Livemocha, ChinesePod, and Chinese-forums.com, you can engage in discussions with people online and find language partners to practice with.

  3. Read our Language and Culture Learning Resources pages: Learn more about the destinations featured on your tour so that you can discuss them in detail during the trip. Use our Quizlet lists and/or a compatible mobile app to facilitate retention of this information.

If you have any questions about these Chinese language resources or about our tours, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or e-mail. Happy studying!

group discount icon - 75 x 75 Group Discount: Groups of 6 or more who book a 2012 standard tour together will receive a discount of $50 per person! Please note: “Standard tours” are our Mainland China tour packages, tour codes CIT001 through CIT012; China International Travel CA’s discount offers may not be combined and may only be used once per tour participant per tour.

We’ve made some additions and revisions to our China travel brochure. Download it today and enjoy browsing through photos and detailed descriptions of the fascinating places our China tours will take you to!

CIT Digital Brochure Cover with pages - 215 x 275 Download this PDF for a convenient introduction to us and our services:

  • All of our standard Mainland China tour packages in one file
  • Complete, detailed itineraries
  • A wide array of beautiful photographs
  • Complete booking information and forms
  • Optimized for the iPad, with internal links for easy navigation
  • Perfect for offline browsing, anytime, anywhere
  • Share it with friends and family
  • Get it today and start planning your dream vacation!

For information about our specials and tours outside Mainland China, please visit the pages in the navigation menu above.

We pride ourselves on offering our clients exceptional value. These new discount tour packages will take you to some of China’s greatest wonders for an especially low cost:

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Jiangnan + 5-Star Yangtze Cruise + Chongqing
11-Day Discount Tour (CITC11)

Departing on May 18, 2012

Enjoy all of these tour features for the low, all-inclusive price of only $1980:

  • Visit these popular destinations: The Yangtze River’s Three Gorges and Chongqing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, and Shanghai
  • Travel through the spectacular Three Gorges on a 5-star cruise ship
  • Indulge in the comfort of deluxe 4-star hotels for the entire trip
  • Avoid wasting your time with a frustrating, ultra-cheap shopping tour: A limited, reasonable number of well-chosen shopping stops

Open our CITC11 tour information page to find out more!
打開 CITC11 的中文行程

Please note: As a limited-departure discount tour, CITC11 will be conducted in Chinese, and the tour guide may not be fully proficient in English. This tour is recommended for Chinese speakers or people traveling with Chinese speakers.

Beijing + Jiangnan + Yellow Mountain
11-Day Discount Tour (CITS11)

Departing on June 15, 2012

Enjoy all of these tour features for the low, all-inclusive price of only $1899:

  • Visit many of the favorite destinations of China travelers: Beijing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Yellow Mountain (Huangshan), and Shanghai
  • Witness the grandeur of Yellow Mountain firsthand
  • Indulge in the comfort of deluxe 4-star hotels for the entire trip
  • Avoid wasting your time with a frustrating, ultra-cheap shopping tour: A limited, reasonable number of well-chosen shopping stops

Open our CITS11 tour information page to find out more!
打開 CITS11 的中文行程

Please note: As a limited-departure discount tour, CITS11 will be conducted in Chinese, and the tour guide may not be fully proficient in English. This tour is recommended for Chinese speakers or people traveling with Chinese speakers.

Image credits (top to bottom): Dave Lau, Tan Wei Liang Byorn, Gustavo Madico, Curt Smith, and J. Aaron Farr

Read on for specific information about the China tour discounts we’re offering in 2012. We hope these special offers will help you make your China travel dream a reality!

early bird icon - Unit66 - 75 x 75

Early Bird Discount (extended to the end of February): Customers who book a 2012 standard tour and pay by 2/29/12 will receive a $100 discount! (Tour must be booked 90 days or more before departure date.) Image credit: Unit66

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2012 Discounts: Seniors (age 60 and up) and Dragons (customers born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, etc.) will receive a $50 discount on standard tours booked in 2012!

Please note:

  • “Standard tours” are our Mainland China tour packages, tour codes CIT001 through CIT012.
  • China International Travel CA’s discount offers may not be combined and may only be used once per tour participant per tour.

Creative Commons photos icon - 75 x 75Our company and this website have benefited enormously from the generosity of Flickr users (and photographers on other sites as well) who have made their photos freely available for our use through either a Creative Commons license or the special permission they have given us. We’d like to express our gratitude for their generosity and “pay it forward” by licensing a number of our own China travel photos for noncommercial use. The slideshow below features a few samples, but many more of our photos are available in our Creative Commons Flickr set, and more will be added soon and in the more distant future. We hope that people out there will be able to put some of our photos to good use. And although the license is a noncommercial license, we will gladly consider requests for commercial use too—just contact us by e-mail and let us know what you have in mind. If you’d like to use any of our photos, just credit them to China International Travel CA, and link to our homepage (www.chinatravelca.com) where possible. Thank you, and thanks again to the many generous photographers out there!

[slickr-flickr type=”slideshow” search=”sets” set=”72157628946766605″ items=”10″ align=”center” captions=”off”]

Photos of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) and Shanghai, China

Beijing + Jiangnan + Yellow Mountain
15-Day Tour (CITS15)

Looking for a unique way to spend your Christmas this year? Get away from all of America’s commercialized Christmas craziness and spend your holiday season in China! Enjoy all of these tour features for the low, all-inclusive price of only $1899:

  • Visit many of the favorite destinations of China travelers: Beijing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Yellow Mountain (Huangshan), and Shanghai
  • Witness the grandeur of Yellow Mountain firsthand
  • Indulge in the comfort of deluxe 4-star hotels for the entire trip
  • Relax in your Huangshan hotel‘s extensive hot springs
  • Enjoy two free days in Shanghai to visit friends and family or explore this fascinating city independently
  • Avoid wasting your time with a frustrating, ultra-cheap shopping tour: A limited, reasonable number of well-chosen shopping stops
  • Escape the holiday madness and have a relaxing vacation

Open or download a PDF version of the tour itinerary to find out more!

Please note: As a limited-departure discount tour, CITS15 will be conducted in Chinese, and the tour guide may not be fully proficient in English.

The majestic peaks and unique pine trees of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), China The sea of clouds and snow-covered mountain scenery of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), China, in winter
Enter the fairytale world of Yellow Mountain,
the inspiration for countless poems and paintings
A winter wonderland: snowy peaks
and Huangshan’s sea of clouds

If you would like to see more spectacular photos of Yellow Mountain, please visit our Huangshan Photo Gallery.

CIT logo

Welcome to the new home of China International Travel CA!

We have redesigned our website to make it more attractive, easier to navigate, and more informative.  Changes and new features include the following:

  • Each of our standard tours has its own page featuring representative photographs and complete tour information, as well as links to PDF itineraries (English and Chinese), photo itineraries or galleries, a “place page” for each destination on the tour, and the tour’s Chinese information page
  • Chinese- and English-language pages have been separated into distinct subdomains to reduce clutter and improve readability
  • Our new “place pages” feature useful information about the destinations on our tours, in addition to the existing photo galleries:
    • A description of each place, with basic information and a map showing its location
    • Our photo galleries and photo itineraries now load much faster than before and feature sharper-looking images
    • Coming soon: Links to related blog posts and other sources of more detailed information
    • Coming soon: Tips and info for travelers specific to each place
  • FAQ: Answers to questions often asked by our clients and China travelers in general
  • The left-hand navigation menu has been replaced with drop-down options in the main menu to increase available space for content
  • Search box: The new search function gives you a new way to find the content you’re looking for
  • Coming soon: Our blog is being rebuilt, with new posts, reformatted and updated old posts, and improved navigability
  • Coming soon: Comment forms on selected pages to allow you to ask questions, post reviews of places and attractions, and add your own observations and tips

We hope you will find our new website both useful and enjoyable!  Please let us know if you have any questions or are unable to find something from our old site.

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