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 MDNinja
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 1
ChinaPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I am traveling to china in the fall. I did a search on this topic and could not find it.

I am considering biking from city to city, but I cannot find a map that shows me the distances between the cities I want to visit. If someone could post a link to one, that would be great.

Also any other tips for travel will be much appreciated.


Thanks.
 MDNinja
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 2
China
Posted: 1/20/2007 2:50:10 PM
I am planning on visiting Beijing, yangzhou and shanghai, and I am not sure what other places.

Right now I am not an advid cyclist, but I think that it is a good goal to train for. I think it would be an interesting an inexpensive way to see the country.

Thank you.


Ps, I can only afford to stay in hostels. No expensive places. ;)
 huixin
Joined: 11/22/2007
Msg: 3
view profile
History
China
Posted: 7/1/2008 7:02:07 PM
1.What map do you need? the detaild,please. can email them what you need to you.
2.what type of cities you want search? China is large with different minorities who speak different languages. I send useful message soon.
3. anythingelse? Pictures of places of interest?
My emial is 520meetxin@163.com
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 4
China
Posted: 10/16/2008 9:39:55 PM
How difficult is it for a foreigner with no Mandarine knowledge to travel alone outside of the bigger cities and less travelled area ? I'm thinking about places like Leshan Giant Buddha, The Great Wall (ok maybe that one will be easy lol), Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Mount Huangshan, Xuankong Si the hanging monastery to named the most well known ?

I can imagine the problem to find an hotel, toilet or restaurant, bus station destination and so on if it's not written in western alphabet, or ordering the food. Yikes !
 SoLongThanksForAllTheFish
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 5
China
Posted: 10/17/2008 7:48:01 AM

How difficult is it for a foreigner with no Mandarine knowledge to travel alone outside of the bigger cities and less travelled area ? I'm thinking about places like Leshan Giant Buddha, The Great Wall (ok maybe that one will be easy lol), Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Mount Huangshan, Xuankong Si the hanging monastery to named the most well known ?


That depends on what you consider difficult. You might not find many people who can speak English, but Chinese people in general are infinitely willing to make do with sign language, pointing at translation cards, or whatever else needs be done. In some restaurants you can just go in back and point to the food you want.


I can imagine the problem to find an hotel, toilet or restaurant, bus station destination and so on if it's not written in western alphabet, or ordering the food. Yikes !


You'll learn to recognize some of the most common and needed characters quite fast - especially those for "men" and "women." :)
 huixin
Joined: 11/22/2007
Msg: 6
view profile
History
China
Posted: 10/19/2008 1:43:48 AM
Hi,MDNinja
I may send you a map of China (but in Chinese).
There are many real fun places except the cities what you say .May I send you pics of famous palces ,please? My mail is 520meetxin@163.com


Anyway,driving-car travel is not good inChina you have to pay high Roadtax.
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 7
China
Posted: 10/19/2008 9:08:51 AM
huixin, can you name a few interesting places that shouldn't be miss according to you ? I would love to research these destinations. Any comment on my little list I posted above?
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 8
China
Posted: 10/19/2008 9:16:03 AM
Hi TravelerSEB, I'm sure Chinese people are extremely kind and helpful. I'm just afraid to lose too much information and not really being able to appreciate in its entirety the places I visit if I understand close to nothing of what I see and "read". For bathroom signs, I use to travel to places where there are no bathroom, so if they have a sign on a door and a toilet with paper, wouhou that's luxury. lol

Hum, maybe I should visit Vietnam first as an introduction to Asia, French and English must be more common and I can read the alphabet at least.
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 9
China
Posted: 10/19/2008 1:33:38 PM
Thanks IPFreak, I know the Thorn Tree forum, I even use to post there under the same handle as here lol. I am just playing with the idea of going to China so far but I'll definilty go to LPTT when it will materialised more as a short term project.

Nice pics from Tibet on your profile. Are the falls from Iguazu or it's also a place in China ?
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 10
China
Posted: 10/20/2008 9:12:00 PM
I'll pay attention. So what's the name of the falls ?
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 11
China
Posted: 10/20/2008 9:53:31 PM
PS-go to Daytong for one day you will not regret it.


Xuankong Si the hanging monastery in Datong. It's on the list.

Any other place you would consider must see ?

Snow, you've been there alone and had no trouble with language and reading characters ? If all hostel have the word hostel written in western character, it sure help. Is it like that ? I'm sure it's OK in large cities, what I wonder is out of the beaten path, assuming there's such a thing in such a populous place.

I always use LP as my guide. Have you heard recently the Chinese authority confiscated the LP guide at the border because LP show Taiwan as a different country on the colour map? Some people say if you tear down the map, you should be fine. Anybody has experienced that?
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 12
China
Posted: 10/21/2008 10:59:25 AM
Ah a picture book, what a very neat idea ! Plus a list of places I want to see written in Chinese characters. Plus of course a little phrase book so that they could have a good laugh at my pronunciation. Huhum, project taking shape here.

LOL I'm not surprise for the price things. OK for the rest, that is predictible.

Thanks for the picture book idea. Happy I won't have to do my infamous train, chicken, toilet and bus station dances.
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 13
China
Posted: 10/22/2008 7:47:15 AM
Ah Victoria falls, I was influenced by all the other pics on your profile. It made me think it was in China or Asia.

Great idea about that electronic dictionary. Thanks, I feel I don't need a Chinese travel partner as much as before. I have been influenced negatively by a few people I met, and now I see that it finally won't be really much more harder than any remote place I ever been in South America or Middle East. Just hope they have western writing in museums, probably not outside of foreign tourist areas I assume. Still, I think I will miss a lot of the experience.

I know already hello and thank you in practical Mandarin. lol. All the rest is useless unless I want to get married.
 Hobbes.Nova
Joined: 10/8/2006
Msg: 14
China
Posted: 10/24/2008 7:55:46 PM
OP and others,

I lived in China for a year, from '03-'04. I *highly* recommend buying the Lonely Plant Guide to China. We tended to call it "The Book of Knowledge." It had everything in it from places to stay to sites to see, everything. It had advice on how to get tix and day-to-day living tips and its written for the Laowai traveler who speaks no Mandarin.

For train travel, try for soft-sleeper if you can afford it. You won't be a jammed in. Failing that, buy the hard sleeper tickets and ask for the middle bunk (of 3). The top one is close to the ceiling and the bottom one (on either side) is the seat for everyone in your 6-person compartment!

As for biking from city to city, I would recommend against it unless you have a *really* good road atlas of China. Plus, Chinese roads can be quite dangerous; trucks and farm equipment barreling down the roads at high speed. And I can't say I saw a bike on a train while I was there, so I'm not sure where they put them (or if they didn't allow them for some reason). I know that I wasn't allowed to bring my bike into my apartment building; I had to lock it up outside. Most hotels/hostels will be the same. Which reminds me; bring two really good bike locks. Bike theft is really high in China, particularly if you have a good mountain-bike.

On places to go, I really like Dali and Lijiang in the South West (just east of Tibet). It was really nice and not too touristy. Do be aware that a lot of the 'pre-planned' tours will take you out for the day and you'll spend 2 hours at the cultural site and 6 driving from over-priced jade shop to over-priced jade shop. The tour operators and drivers get a cut of any sales. You're a *lot* better off going by yourself or having a taxi take you where you want to go. Heck, we hired a driver at the hotel to take us to the Simatai section of the Great Wall for the day and all it cost us was about US$80 for three of us.

Hope you enjoy your trip!
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 15
China
Posted: 11/1/2008 9:35:23 AM
Hobbes Nova, I just checked some pictures of Li Jiang and Dali, it's beautiful ! I'm not surprised about the tour bringing you to shops and stores, it's typical in tourist areas. I had to suffer the same situation in Egypt, despite the fact I took a taxi to reach on my own all the most important pyramid sites in a day, the driver brought me anyway to a "papyrus institute". How annoying it was, especially after I told him first thing in the morning not to make me waste my time there. GRRRRR !

IP freak, 5 to 10 $ a night in an hostel is a good price. Were these dormitory type rooms or individual occupation?

Anybody has other good places to recommend to visit in China ? It's inspiring.
 Hobbes.Nova
Joined: 10/8/2006
Msg: 16
China
Posted: 11/1/2008 4:00:50 PM
Manatenish,

That's why I suggested hiring a car. Heck, you might be able to get a regular taxi driver to take the day, particularly if it's on a weekend and he's not getting a lot of fares.

Other places I liked were Yangshuo and the Li River cruise. Unfortunately, Yangshuo got really touristy the last time I was there. Used to be a hidden backpacker mecca. Now, not so much. way too many touts. I could also recommend Kashgar (Kashi in Mandarin), tho you'd have to fly out there. Old Silk road trading post that got turned into a city. Recommend the animal market for an interesting slice of real life out there. Did I mention Xi'an before? Terra Cotta warriors and the Tang Dynasty Museum. Most excellent. I could spend a week there. :)
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 17
China
Posted: 11/2/2008 6:55:15 AM
Thanks Hobbes and Thinking, I'm googling these names now and it's great to finally put some names on those famous places, especially Yangshuo and the rice terraces of the Guilin area.
 Hobbes.Nova
Joined: 10/8/2006
Msg: 18
China
Posted: 11/2/2008 6:17:26 PM
Thinking is absolutely correct. That area is just gorgeous. However, from my perspective, having been in China for a while by the time I went there, I was just a little tired of being treated like a walking wallet. Some of those folks just wouldn't take "No" for an answer. Doubly-so when they find out you speak Mandarin. Just be prepared is all I'm saying. :)
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 19
China
Posted: 11/2/2008 6:37:38 PM
lol thats why I still hope to go with a Chinese. China just look like Egypt to me. Same attitude which destroy the fun of traveling. Do you still think it worth the effort to go solo ? I know that photography wise it will, but when I went to Egypt, at the end I thought maybe it would have been the only country I ever been that would have worth going with a group and relax by keeping a low profile, using the other travelers as chaff and flares against the touristic sharks

After all, I was in a crowd all the time, and I assume China will be the same. ;-(
 Hobbes.Nova
Joined: 10/8/2006
Msg: 20
China
Posted: 11/3/2008 2:51:29 PM
The thing you're going to run into, tho, is that most (OK, nearly every single person) who comes up to you and speaks English will be trying to sell you something. So if you go solo, you'll be relying on those people to help you find things or go places. Not the best situation to be in. Not that it's dangerous, don't think that. They will be very polite, but very persistent.

I don't want to wave you off going solo, 'cause it can be done. It's just hard. I had a classmate who went from Beijing to the Shaolin Temple all by himself and he spoke pitiful Mandarin. But he did everything from buy his own train tix to taking the bus from the train station to the temple. And after he got there, and met the monks, *they* put him up in the home of a nearby family. But that's *not* the norm.

If you're going to try to solo it, the Lonely Planet guidebook to China is indispensable. Use it to plan your trip. Just be flexible on the number of days and don't pre-buy tickets; you'll never know when you're going to catch General Cao's Revenge and you *don't* want to be getting on the train the next morning when *that* happens.
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 21
China
Posted: 11/3/2008 3:24:32 PM
lol, it's OK, I know what to (unfortunately) expect now. I was kidding about going in a group, I think I prefer to suffer (still) Have you ever been to Egypt ? I wonder if it could be worse. I doubt. Amazing how many perfume or whatever sellers there invited me for tea in their shop located a few streets away just because they had a cousin living in my hometown...
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 22
China
Posted: 11/4/2008 6:40:02 AM
Good to hear TAIIV ! The touts better walk fast with me
 Kekun
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 23
China
Posted: 1/23/2009 2:05:29 PM
That problem exist with all tourist guides, including Lonely Planet, and indeed this is probably more true in a rapidly changing country like China.

The not so funny part is when you're not sure if the person from the place is not working on commission and you don't know if he/she just lie to you about the place you're looking for by saying it no longer exist just because he/she wants to bring you somewhere else.
 mickeydee302
Joined: 12/28/2008
Msg: 24
view profile
History
China
Posted: 1/24/2009 12:09:28 AM
I am currently living in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. If you are in the area, I would suggest Dandong as it is right on the North Korean border and it also a less tourist frequented part of the Great Wall. My personal favorite is Qianshan National Park and the Jade Buddha Temple. Both are close to Anshan, Liaoning (which is about an hour outside of Shenyang). Qianshan has some incredible mountains which houses many Buddhist monasteries. During the Spring, Summer and Fall, many Chinese go there for vacation, but there are not a lot of Westerns who vacation there. During those times, sky cabs take visitors up to many of the summits. If you go in the non-tourist season (like I did) you will have to hike up the mountains, but you will have the place almost to yourself. You could easily spend several days running around Qianshan.

As far as guidebooks, look at the most recent date published. I bought Rough Guide for China because it was more current than LP, when I visited the Ukraine, I bought a Brandt guide for the same reason. Generally, the most recent ones are the best ones.

Also, you could check couchsurfing.com to find couches or rooms that people will let you sleep in for free. I have used it a few times and have met some lifelong friends from the experience. Just something to consider.
 aussieinchina
Joined: 3/12/2008
Msg: 25
view profile
History
China
Posted: 2/21/2009 10:09:53 PM
Would recommend 2 - 3 places - Yellow Mountains - just beautiful - great for hiking but there are cable cars too on some mountains - near Nanjing. Bamboo forests like in crouching tiger hidden dragon movie.
Love Guilin - the boat ride to Young... yes it is VERY touristy though - was very disappointed - there is a place to stay out of town a bit on the river - a retreat - run by australians - great. Town full of bars - depends what you like - had my camera stolen there so may have clouded my perception. Qingao a surprising place to see on the coast, north of Shanghai - great eating places, german architecture and old homes to view, near a national park with famous temple - 1,000 year old trees. And of course Nanjing - old capital - Ming Dynasty Tomb - fantastic sculptures.
Have been here 3 years, only have basic chinese, get by on role play!! Good luck
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