i'm planning a trip to hong kong and china for january and was wondering whether i'm mad being in china during their new year? will i find accomodation? will it be safe being a solo traveller?
also, what sort of weather can i expect from january to march? i plan on covering quite a bit of ground, i.e looping from hong kong up to beijing and down towards yunnan.
also, ive been travelling in south east asia for a good few months. how does china compare in terms of costs?
any help would be great
Reasonably safe, yes. Watch out for thieves and pickpockets. Plan ahead for your transport tickets, please, and also for your cheap accommodation unless you don't mind shelling out more when you can't find anything cheap and decent enough.
Northern China is pretty gloomy and dismal, and also quite polluted sometimes due to the soot of the coal burnt for heating purposes. I did a loop this Jan-Feb starting from Shanghai, going up through Beijing and NE China before coming down to Henan province and Xi'an and back to Shanghai.
China in new year...hmm, yes you are quite mad (but I will be in China then too, so I know the feeling)
Expect hotels to be full, constantly. Somehow it seems that the population of every city grows without any shrinking in return. With advance planning, you should be able to get something, though you can expect to pay more than normal (100USD a night or up, unless you are: lucky, speak chinese, prepared well in advance, or some combination of the three).
Jan to March is the most bitterly cold part of the year in the north - in most of the south it is some of the most pleasant, though. China can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, especially in the big cities. If you follow the natives for food and transport, expect to only need about 10-20 USD a day for food and transport, unless you are taking taxis alot and eating in nicer or western restaurants. If you speak chinese and/or find night markets, street vendors, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants (which are often very good, if you can get over their outward appearance) you can easily eat two to three good meals for about $5-$10 US. When I live in China for any extended period, and cook for myself, I can eat to exploding for about $3 US a day.
China is extremely safe in most places. The real trick is to use common sense - avoid getting into vehicles that aren't obviously taxis or public transport, don't invite strangers to your hotel (or even tell them where you are staying), don't wander into back streets if you don't know the area (or are with someone you trust who does), basically all the ABCs of traveling. The hardest part about traveling solo in China will be eating. It is assumed that you will have two to four people at minimum at any given meal (except maybe breakfast). So unless you have a huge appetite, don't mind waste, or are content ordering just one dish at a restaurant (which will bring raised eyebrows for sure), I recommend doing your best to find people to eat with. Offering to buy dinner is a good way to make friends, and usually won't cost alot more than eating by yourself.
Hope this helps - anything more detailed and I'd have to charge you for the service
Yes, as Chinahat mentioned, you should pay more attention on the transport during the Chinese New year. It shall be a peak season in about thirty days (the begining was assumed on 2006-1-17), speciallly in the south and the east of China. But, it also is a good chance to enjoy the Chinese culture.
I think Shanghai is worth travelling as it's one of the most thriving and prosperous city.
Just been to Beijing. Stayed at the Saga International Youth Hostel in the dorm - which was pretty cheap. (booked thru this site) they have good facilities and very central to Forbidden city etc. But be prepared for the cold, it just snowed on me on the Great Wall yesterday...and I was wearing a stack of clothes, and was still cold. Also if you dont get the shuttle bus from the airport, make sure you get a licenced taxi with meter. Dont get hustled like I did. It should cost no more that Yeun 150 from the airport to centre of Beijing.
I hear of a few people doing China at Xmas/NY, I suppose it depends what you want out of it I guess.
Im in HK now and I would choose this place out of everywhere in China to be during the festive period - at least these guys give a shit about you...their Chinese cousins are possibly the most obnoxious Ive ever met, plus they only want you for your money! I can imagine HK is a wonderful place to be at a festive season. Its lovely being here now - alone!
i think if u go to Shanghai,just do remember to come to Zhejiang Province which is just beside Shanghai City,because its beautiful and rapidly developing.Generally i recommand western parts because less people are there,but if u come during Spring Festival on purpose,then u have a good chance to know How chinese normal people act and how many people living in China...hoho if u come to west and east area,especially railways,i guess it could be a unique experiance in ur life.No matter what,i hope u can enjoy u trip to China,and i think a good decision before a tour is very very very important.