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Most disabilities shouldn't stop anyone from traveling. There are more options and resources out there than ever before. China has more citizens with disabilities than any nation on Earth. Despite the fact that some efforts have been made to address their needs (spearheaded for several decades by the son of former Supreme Leader Deng Xiaoping, who is in a wheelchair as a result of persecution during the Cultural Revolution), Chinese with disabilities are still largely hidden from public view, while specialized facilities for them range from sporadic to nonexistent. The situation is fractionally better in Shanghai: Sections of some major sidewalks are now equipped with "raised dots" to assist the blind; modern buildings and some major tourist sites have elevators; and a handful of top hotels have wheelchair-accessible rooms, but the bottom line is that Shanghai is a city of long stairways (even at most subway stations) and crowded, crumbling sidewalks. Even so, most disabilities haven't stopped travelers from making their way through the Shanghai obstacle course and enjoying its many sights.

To minimize the difficulties of navigating a place like China, it's best that you travel with a specialist group (such tours to China are rare, but are slowly starting to catch on). One outlet offering such customized tours to China is Flying Wheels Travel (www.flyingwheelstravel.com), which organizes escorted private tours in minivans with lifts. Access-Able Travel Source (www.access-able.com) offers extensive access information and advice for traveling around the world with disabilities.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.