Hi, I'm planning to backpack China for about a month during December alone but have been told by so many about how dangerous it is being a girl all by myself in China.
I was planning to catch buses and trains, making my way from Beijing - Xian - Shanghai - Guilin - Hong Kong. And also planning to stay in hostels or budget hotels.
Has anyone else travelled China alone? Any insights into the danger levels?? Or what precautions I should take??
This is also my first time backpacking and travelling alone.
Thanks for any advice!
I also travelled in China alone. I dont know why people told u it would be dangerous. Any trouble i had was very minor. During daylight hours people did not bother me at all. After dark, men tended to believe i was out, looking to meet them. But it was not that bad. Just them calling me and offering to buy me drinks.
People tend to give little or no privacy, in China. It is not unusual for hotel staff male and female to walk into your room unanounced, in the mornings. So, dont sleep naked, on top of the covers. They just want to ask various questions, which u will not understand, unless u speak Chinese. Questions like if u are staying another night etc.
If anything, people are nervous around foreigners. Both male and female foreigners.
Lone female travellers can backpack without any problem in mainland China.It is perfectly safe even in the night!I know a few female foreign travellers who backpacked in mainland China.In fact chinese people will be very willing to help/ assist a foreigner.
Having said that it does n't mean that you should throw all the reasonable precautions in the air. As a traveller, follow the normal basic precautions.
Just be careful of your personal things/belongings specially in crowded places like railway/bus stations stations as you will be a potential target for pickpockets/petty thieves.They think that foreigners visiting China have lots of money and easy targets. You should be more cautious if you are going to south china (example Guangzhou city is really bad).
There are some touts calling themselves as students who may approach you to show you their paintings or offering free service.There are canvassing taxi drivers who approach you at bus and railway stations. You should keep off from these people or otherwise you will be surely ripped off.
Have a nice time in China.
Excellent advice, citybell! I couldn't have said it better. The route that mishmish is planning is well traveled and there will be many people for her to meet along the way to share some touristing.
Mishmish, you are better off finding hostels in China rather than budget hotels. The hostels will have other travelers more like yourself, the hotels will cater to Chinese tourists....you'll feel a bit more comfortable in the hostels. Besides, they are usually cleaner and better than the hotels - they are run by students and they will have facilities geared toward the western traveler. This doesn't mean that you should isolate yourself from the locals, it's just more conducive to chilling out after the day's activities.
Here are some good hostels:
Beijing - Downtown Backpackers Hostel
Xian - Bell Tower Hostel
Shanghai - Hiker Youth Hostel
Just google them and you'll find booking info.
Did not go to Guilin so don't have a recommendation there, and when I was in HK I lived there & never stayed in a hostel or hotel.
Good luck & have fun,
Yes..agree with Martha that hostels are a lot better for a backpacker.The staff managing the hostels not only speak in English but also can give lots of information about sight seeing, train/bus timings/bookings etc. The hostels are not only cheaper but also have all conveniences that are taken care of (mostly)without extra costs.Plus you have a high possibilty of meeting either your own people or a companion.
Suggest that long journies(example Beijing to Shanghai)be made by trains which are quite comfortable. You can make train resrvation 60days in advance(pls check latest as rules change often).Short journies of about 3-4 hours are best by bus depending on the route.
It is strongly advised to have a little handy phrase book English-Chinese book that will be highly useful when you travel to small towns in China.
Thank you to you all for the replies! Its put me at much more ease.
Hopefully it'll go ahead!
Travel in most places of China is very safe,in some sense countryside is safer than cities.Chinese people are very friendly.But another thing you should know is that it is free but not cheap,for many Chinese believe the foreigners are richer than them, so maybe they will ask higher price for you than Chinese. So when you travel in China, maybe you can get a good price for hotels and planes from local travel agency!If you visit Beijing, you can visit -snip-, for they can provide DIY trip with a good price. You can find many friends in China, enjoy your trip there.
[ Edit: No promos allowed. ]
Thanks adam for that advice also! This is so great with all the advice and support. Each time someone tells me i'm gona have my insides cut now, I just tell them at least I'm dying happy!
Now I just need to save save save for a few months!
If anyone happens to be going to china in dec also, please let me know!
Hey, I'll be still studying in Shanghai in Dec. Drop me a line if you'd like to meet up for a chat/tea/meal here when you come by.
Train tickets is very important part of you travel, i suggest you contact with the local trave agency so as to make the process easier. May be the following site can give you some helphttp://www.travelchinaservice.com/html/Transportation/index.html