Beware “Cheap” Shopping Tours in Thailand and Asia

July 15, 2014

People, Reviews

The Xile Holiday Travel Service don’t deliver on the bargain they promote

This is a short word of warning to any potential customers of the Xile Holiday Travel Service Co. Ltd. (Suzhou City; also trading under the name “Happiness Tours“) considering purchasing a “shopping holiday” package from them.

The advertised price of the 6 day shopping tour is $99 (includes 5 nights accommodation,food and transport, entertainment entries). Naturally, you’d expect that such a deal involves a fair bit of kick-back to the tour operators from the shopping, but one never expects the following kind of deceit:

  • Additional cost for non-Mandarin speaking passenger … $100
  • Mandatory “entry fees” … $150
  • Mandatory “tips” … $60
  • Additional ‘surprise’ package mid-trip (if you choose not to buy this, you sit around waiting) … $280

So, “$99” is really $590!

I am not so surprised that the advertised cost bears not resemblance to the actual cost – what offends me is the deceitful way it was perpetrated upon is. “Tips” for example are discretionary in nature – however, I was threatened to be thrown off the tour if I did not pay.

The Quality of Hotels and Attractions

We had one bad hotel and one good hotel. The attractions were excellent, as was the quality of the bus (though that’s about the Royal bus company). The shopping is of mild interest to most people, however the snake oil salesmen (literally!) were a little much.

Good Value Despite the Misrepresentation?

All in all, the trip was of average quality and reasonably well organised – just be aware of the hidden costs and the ‘hard sell’ agenda.


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About Justin Moss

An information and engineering technologist. Unabashedly opinionated, open-minded and an oft overthinker. Born Sydney Australia, home of the 'Southerly Buster'

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One Response to “Beware “Cheap” Shopping Tours in Thailand and Asia”

  1. Natasha Lloyd Says:

    Just randomly visited this site after a long time and was surprised to see such a recent article! 🙂 You’re in China?!

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