China’s Great Wall – it’s visible from space!

China’s Great Wall – it’s visible from space!
Photo by: Sandra Kühr (Stock Exchange)

Howdy, all!

It’s time once again to take an exciting trip on the Disabled Travelers blog. This time, we’re returning to our destination-by-destination accessibility guides to take our first look at China!

I’ve been excited about this one, and pretty soon we’ll be moving on to Beijing and other major sites including the Great Wall.

But for now, let’s take a look at some of the top tour providers around the country. I can’t wait!

Now, much of Asia can be tricky when it comes to handicapped travel, and both you and your travel companions would benefit from some basic language skills: when you’re exploring destinations that use an unfamiliar alphabet, a little reading knowledge is particularly useful, so you can decipher signs. This is less important if you’re going to be traveling with a tour group or guide, but you never know when you might want to venture out alone for a quick meal or a look around, so still recommended.

Accessible tour groups take a lot of the mystery out of going to China, but remember: these are just an introduction, so make sure you contact an agency and get complete details before selecting a tour, and definitely before paying for your voyage! It can be hard to settle disputes when a business is based all the way in your destination, as most China tour operators are! But worry not; local businesses are preferable here, because they have the inside scoop on regulations, safety, and the best local sights.

Accessible Journeys is on the case here, offering several China tour packages. These include both a 13-day full tour and an eight-day “sampler.” There’s even an eight-day option that brings you through amazing Hong Kong by way of Seoul, South Korea. Accessible Journeys is a very well-established handicapped travel company and has been featured on Disabled Travelers pretty regularly for its other great trips around the globe.

Access Travel is a Chinese company that focuses specifically on disabled travel. In addition to a fantastic variety of tours including Great Wall and Olympic, they also provide medical equipment rentals from in-country, including wheelchairs, scooters, ramps, lifts, and even oxygen. Arranging medical rental can be difficult in a foreign country, especially in rural China, so definitely something to consider. Visually and hearing-impaired travelers are also warmly welcomed!

China Personalized Travel also leads customized tours for disabled travelers. In addition to accommodating wheelchair users, they have experience with interpreting for deaf travelers. Their “theme tours” include classic tours from four to an astonishing 48 days, as well as photography, culture, ecology, and Tibet tours. There’s even a golf tour! It seems most of these can be adapted to serve your needs. Unfortunately, some parts of the website are a little bit outdated, so proceed with caution.

Warrior Tours provides a number of tour packages. including one where you can follow the historic Silk Road through China — or even meander the Yangtze River in a boat tour that includes the world famous Three Gorges dam and hydroelectric plant. Once again, there is no specific “disabled traveler” itinerary. Let them know your needs and you can work out something great. Their accessible travel page offers a few good tips, and there are some more detailed pointers available from China Travel Guide.

Long-term China tours make for a great travel experience, but maybe you want a more focused trip. If China’s capital city of Beijing is on your itinerary, the place to start may be Tour Beijing. Specialty tour options include a culinary tour, spa tour, bird watching, and a number of seasonal tours built around annual festivals and other cultural events. They also include information for disabled travelers, such as which portion of the Great Wall has been modified for wheelchair access. You might also be interested in the Beijing Senior Travel and Tours page.

Next time on Disabled Travelers, we’ll dip in deeper and learn about Beijing: its accessible landmarks, disabled hotels, and a whole bunch more. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you next time!

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