I must say I was disappointed to see so many tourist traps around so many amazing historical sites. Even though I was tempted to check out the items they were selling, I was repelled by the fact that as soon as we stepped off the us, they started to yell at us and ring bells like we were deaf. I think that there are many tourists that respond to that - I suggest you don't. There are many places that sell the same souvenirs...and I prefer to go to the ones that don't yell at me.
Second to be aware of is that if you go on a tour - you will likely end up going to places not listed on your original itinerary - like a jade factory or rug factory or things like that. Likely they are friends of the bus driver. First thing is that items for sale in these places are usually overpriced so purchase with care. Secondly these stops are not necessarily mandatory - we ended up asking our tour guide to not stop anywhere the third day because we were really tired of them. The bus driver wasn't happy but we got to do what we wanted.
I had prebooked a hotel through the tour operator who ripped me off with the Trans Mongolian train ticket (see Moscow page) which meant that as I paid for extra nights, they were half what I had paid to the tour operator!!
I jumped onto a minibus to the Great Wall, didn't know that besides went to the Great Wall, it is a one day tour. This is one of a funny stupid stop called 'ghost fantasy land', very dirty and old outlook. We refused to go in, the guide turned black face without selling the entrance tickets.
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