I'm off to Shanghai in April, planning to do a circular journey between there and Chengdu but no solid plans. Any advice on where to stop in between and tips for travelling in China without language skills would be helpful. Also, if anyone is going to be around I would be happy to travel with you.
I've travelled China before in a tour but I'm sure this will be completely different. I'm 27 from the UK.
Thanks in advance
Hi Sharpting, I am a Chinese in shanghai, travelling is my hobby, I know many interest place (in the journey from shanghai to chengdu) to visit, I want to know what is more attractive you , the nature landscape or the temple budde, or the food , night life in China...
If you tell me more detail of your interestes , probably we can be the travel-mates, and make a travel plan to you.
Exchange rates: xe.com
Prices in China:
- hostel bed/person in Shanghai/Beijing, other big cities along the east coast: Y50-60
- hostel bed/person in other cities: Y20-35
- hotel room (1-2 persons) in Shanghai/Beijing, other big cities along the east coast: Y200-250
- hotel room (1-2 persons) in other cities: Y50-60
- food: dumpling breakfast/noodle soup: Y4-7, main meal Y10-20
- transportation: bus a bit more expensive 5hours Y50-70, 12hours Y100-120, it depends of course on distance, so on fast highways cost/hour is higher.
- trains: sleeper recommended, see below
- public transport in cities: in general Y1-2, except shanghai (Y3-4 for a metro ride)
- admission to sights is the single most expensive thing: Y50-200
- renting bicycle: Y10-40 / day, buying one: Y100
In general, if you keep tight budget, you should be able to get by for Y100 / day / person. It depends on your needs, where you travel (shanghai or "countryside"), how long distances you cover, how many tourist sights you want to see.
You can find ATMs in any big town in China.
Recommend buying a lonely planet book (it has the town names with chinese characters too) and getting a bilingual map from any local bookshop in Shanghai. It will help you a lot when it comes to asking people, simply just pointing at the location on the map.
China has excellent bus services.
Check train on ticket schedule / price on http://www.chinatravelguide.com/ctgwiki/Special:CNTrainSearch?method=1
Note: you need to book sleeping ticket quite in advance sometimes. Although, you can be lucky. Don't take seat for long journeys, especially open ticket.
Bullet train network is rapidly expanding in china and a great way to short cut long journeys.
If you want to fly within china, book it on: ctrip or elong - one of them is a bit difficult to book with foreign credit card (i think ctrip).
Food: just follow locals, and point at the food you want. Advisable to learn some basic words, food names, so it will be easier to pick a dish. In worst case, especially in rural areas, you can always walk into the kitchen and point at the food you want.
Your phrase section at the back of your LP book will be good to start with.
Places I would (or not) recommend
In general: fujian, guanxi, guizhou, yunnan and sichuan are amongst the most beautiful provinces.
- go up to one of the two highest skyscrapers in shanghai: world financial center (bottle opener) or the otherone next to it. skip the busy tv tower.
- taking the fastest magnev train in the world to/from the airport is also an experience
Around shanghai: those "venice" style towns are undeservedly popular and crowded. I would skip all of them, even if most foreigners visit them.
However, yellow mountain is fabulous. Although, there is an alternative in north of Fujian too.
- small village (one of the most beautiful villages in china) in the southeast of the province, can't remember the name...
- taimu shan (like "yellow mountain") in the north.
- xiamen: almost the only colonial heritage in china, with one of the most amazing markets in the world
- earth houses: 30,000 round and square buldings. don't follow LP and general tourist places, just hop off at any place, and visit a building that is still inhabited by locals.
- yangshou and are (skip guilin - ugly town)
- backbone dragon rice terraces (incredible!)
- i have been only to a small ancient village near guanxi, it was amazing. a bit hard and adventures trip though on bus. but it's worth it.
- Kumning and Dali are nice
- Lijian is beautiful
- Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most amazing places in the world
- recommend taking route from Yunnan up north to the tibetan-sichuan highway, and make your way down to chengdu. It may take up to 5-7 days, thru some amazing high altitude roads and scenery and tibetan towns.
Have a nice trip in China!
I am curious to know about the most amazing markets in Xiamen, specific location?
My travel plans so far set out below:
Shanghai - Changsha - Zhangjiajie - Fenghuang - Huaihua (to catch train) - Kunming - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Leshan - Chengdu - Shanghai
I am not so much interested big cities. I would much prefer to spend most of my time in the countryside and meeting people. Also a bit of drinking too
We could definitely meet up.
Kichikacha - Thanks alot for such an in depth response. As you can see I have a pretty much packed schedule now and the south east might have to wait for next time (unless I wiz through that lot and nip down). The Tibetan - Sichuan highway sounds amazing and I will look into it.
Thanks to both for the info
Fenghuang is a very nice place, try go to a club and enjoy partying with chinese tourists. They can be very funny and welcoming when they're drunk...
Market in Xiamen is in the very center of the town, near the sea/port side. It is hard to miss it, it is a quite spreadout area. There are some highrise buildings nearby, try go there and ask if appartments are available. It is a bit pricey but you basically will get a service appartement for Y120 a night with internet, washing machine and great view over the city. It would be difficult to explain which building it is, but you will see it: just at the edge of the market there are several high rise residential buildings next to the elevated skybus platform. Just talk to the security staff they will guide you to the right place.
Have a nice trip guys!
You can climb the highest tower in Shanghai and see a different view on the top. I don't remember the name, maybe it is "mingzhu".
Come to Hainan Island! Beautiful beaches, fantastic fruit, great for cycling...