I spent a few days in Beijing last year, the train system within the city is pretty good. I would recommend where ever possible to take this option. The Summer Palace in Beijing is a must see but there are different prices for entry depending on how many activities you want to do within the venue, it is a huge area and you could spend days in there!
I had trouble with some of the taxi drivers also, even with a map, plus the traffic is so congested that sometimes its not even worth getting into one.
Generally I found that if you just turn up to tourist place without a guide there are plenty that will ask you if you want one when you get there, I think they are worth it they can give you some really good info and you can ask them for other travel advice along the way.
Hope this helps.
Yes China Construction Banks are quite common - they are readily available all over China too.
Look for UnionPay in a card at home because this is the international transaction system that is most common here.
thanks for this advice it's really help full.
i travelled china for a month - things to bare in mind
trains get booked up - a friend of ours (over xmas) needed to wait 2 weeks for one train and ended up flying in and out f a beijing without visiting anywhere else. you can book a few days in advance but ideally if there are holidays - get your skates on.
language isnt great but its also not as hard as we imagined. you can guage things via pictures in train stations etc. we often asked hostels to write 'i need tickets to...' in case the train ticket places werent able to understand. i found the china to be ignorant where pointing to words etc - they just respond 'no' so it did help.
they spit, sh*t and shout. toilets are awful so take hand sanitiser and toilet roll as they dont use either.
most tourist places are stupidly busy and people take a lot of pictures of you. which is good to know before handhaha.
ordering food is a nightmare and nothing like you would expect. you may order rice and get dog meat. a cheap eat is always pork filled buns. they cost us about 20p and are very filling.
i really didnt like china, that said - shanghai downwards is nice. Yangzhou is beautiful and i would definately visit it again.
they place is nice but the people arent so brace yourself! enjoy!
I was in China last June/July staying with a friend in Kunming, I was very lucky that he spoke the language though or I think we will have struggled. We went to XingPing and hired mopeds via the hostel we stayed in, and just headed off on our own - finding loads of gorgeous spots you'd probably not see if you were on a tour coach as we went down narrow winding roads. We travelled to other places too and got an overnight sleeper train (booked in advance by my friend) - warning, I found these an "experience" but TERRIBLE if you are a light sleeper. The stench from the squat loos is also not nice if your bunk is near the toilet area. On the return journey I got no sleep at all due to the driver pulling the train siren every 15 seconds thru the whole journey - sadist!
In Fuli our mopeds got a puncture and again, we were saved by my friends language skills or I don't know what we'd have done to get it fixed!
If you go off the beaten track I think you will struggle with the language as hardly anyone we met had a good grasp of English, unless they were other tourists.
Chinese roads are amazing if you are used to civilized western roads - see my album here Your text to link here... these were the roads en route to and around Tiger Leaping Gorge. I'll never complain about the state of our roads in the UK again
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Mar-2012, at 04:39 by Gixer ]