My boyfriend and I are planning to backpack through Asia somewhere between late September - November.
We will be on a cheap budget but we do want to see a lot and experience many things.
Our must-go places include Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xian. Aside from these, we would love more of a countryside and local experience (preferably with simple transport to and from places).
We have a ridiculous list of other places we want to see but it's tough to narrow down by just reading up on the place.
I have two main questions:
(1) What are some other highly recommended places that we should go to and why - We are most interested in spectacular scenery and wildlife as well as culture (but we do not like museums).
(2) What routes did people take? We will be seeing quite a lot and covering a lot of land and I'd like to know which routes are preferable/easiest for getting around the huge place!
Any help will be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
- Yangshuo, near Guilin in the Guanxi province is spectacular with karst mountains, and has a solid backpacker/tourist trail with lots of different activities - caving, rafting, boat trips, fishing villages and a great range of Chinese and Western foods.
- Yunnan province is amazing too. Beautiful scenery, mountains, fresh air, easy to get around, nice hostels, minority tribes that you can visit. We spent 4 weeks here, and took it slowly in Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La. We missed Tiger Leaping Gorge because our kids were too little.
2. Getting around by train is good, and you can often save on accom if you travel overnight. Booking flights on ctrip.com is easy and get across the country quickly. You could look into a combination of flights, trains and even buses, although these tend to be crowded.
Shanghai and Beijing will tend to be the expensive bits, although it is possible to eat and stay quite cheaply, but big cities means things cot more!
The pandas at Chengdu and the Leshan Buddha are fabulous, and all food in Sichuan is great!!
Enjoy, great country to travel in!!
Thank you for your help, I shall add those destinations to our must-do list!
China is amazing and you will absolutely love it.
We ended our rtw trip back in 2010 with a month in China - spending a month going overland through Asia into China and flying out of Beijing. Budget-wise we also didn't break the bank but didnt feel like we missed out on anything either.
We entered via Vietnam - getting the overnight training from Hanoi into Nanning. We spent a couple of days in Nanning buying winter clothes and generally starting our love affair with China.
From Nanning we took the following route - all overland:
Nanning (train) - Guilin (boat cruise along the Li River) - Yanshou (an absolute must if you are looking for natural beauty and chinese culture) - (overnight bus) - Shenzhen - (local bus to border control) - Hong Kong - (overnight train) - Xian - (overnight train) - Beijing - train to Harbin (for the ice festival) - train back to Beijing - then home to London.
We then went back last year and flew into Shanghai from London, flew to Chengdu and finally headed to Tibet.
Being the eager beaver I was, I had noted down all the details re trains, prices (which may have changed), places and hotels/guesthouses we stayed in - all which I would highly recommend if you want to go off the beaten track.
Let me know if you would like the info and I'd be happy to share it.
As long as you have an open mind, go with the flow you will (hopefully) have an amazing time!
Thank you for your advice! I might get back to you on the extra information once I've done a bit more planning on the destinations and made some firmer decisions if that's okay. I'm also an eager beaver and have everything like that listed for our previous holidays, makes it so much easier when people need advice or if you decide to return!