and I'm going with my girlfriend. We plan to go to South East Asia for 3 months and China for 3 months (but this thread is just about China!) and we want to leave in September. We'll have a budget of around £6500-£7000 including fares.
Basically, I want your opinions on when and where to go and how much we'd money we'd need for 3 months in China.
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Feb-2013, at 13:46 by the_melted_cow ]
£6500-£7000 is over 62,000RBM which is enough for your to stay three months in China.
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Feb-2013, at 22:49 by gracefan ]
Three months is quite a long time, so you can plan it carefully to work out what you want to see... obviously you'd have a list of the 'must sees'
- Great Wall
- Terracotta Warriors
- Forbidden City, etc
So if you map them out, you can see where you'd like to spend more time and what's around.
I would suggest visiting:
- Yunnan province
I have lived in Shanghai for nearly 5 years and done a lot of trips visiting discrete regions of China and returning to Shanghai, but if you have any further questions or specifics... let me know and I'll try to help!!
Thanks, guys. I think I typed the OP wrong. I have £6500-£7000, but that needs to last 3 months in SE Asia and 3 months in China. So, I guess around £3250-£3500 for China.
^Thanks for the locations, I'll look at how long to spend in those places and how much I'd need.
£6500-£7000 is over 62,000RBM which is enough for your to stay three months in China.
I saw the original post - thanks for all the detail. I plan to leave from here (England) in September. I've heard China is best in Autumn and Spring.
The hardest part is deciding where to go, how long to spend and how much it'll cost me.
￡6500-￡7000 is over 62,000RBM which is enough for your to stay three months in China.
The best time to visit China is in warm spring after April or cool autumn after September.
If you enter China from Shanghai, you can start your journey here. Shanghai and its nearby provices like Jiangsu and Zhejiang should be included in your journey. Jiangsu is famous for its classic traditional Chinese gardens and Zhejiang is famous for its watertown, west lake, Qiandao Lake and so on. Then you can take bullet train to Beijing. In Beijing, some famous attractions like Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, must be included in your journey. Besides, some attractions outside Beijing cities like Great Wall and Ming Tombs should not be missed. After visiting Beijing, you can take the night train to Xian. You can arrive in Xian in the following morning. Then you can take the coach bus in the eastern Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army and it takes you about 40 minutes to get to Terracotta Army. After Terracotta Army in the morning, you should have a short rest in the hotel. If the hotel you plan to book near Bell and Drum towers, you can stroll along Muslim Quater Street behind Drum Tower after rest. In the second day in Xian, you can visit Bell and Drum towers and then visit Shaanxi Historical Museum which are free of charge but need valid passport or visa. Shaanxi Historical Museum is about 10-minute-walk to Big Wild Goose Pagoda. There is a large music fountain in the north square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Two days is enough for you to pay a visit to the essence in Xian. Some other less famous attractions like the Forest of Steles and Yangling Emperor Mausoleum of the Han Dynasty can be optional.
After visiting Xian, you can choose Silk Road adventure or Tibet. Silk Road adventure will pass through Ningxia, Gansu, part of Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces and the journey will take you about two weeks. If you want to visit Tibet, you have to apply for Tibet travel permit beforehand.
Finishing your Silk Road adventure or Tibet travel, you can choose to visit Chengdu and Chongqing where you can embark Yangtze River cruise ship passing through Wuhan, Nanjing and Shanghai. Nanjing is the capital city of Jiangsu province. You can choose disembark at Wuhan and visit attractions in Hubei. The most splendid attractions in Hubei is Shennongjia where ape-man was once found. Yunnan and Guangxi will be included in your final part of your journey. You can leave China from Hong Kong.
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Feb-2013, at 22:10 by gracefan ]
I think if you are prepared to live on a strict budget, you have enough money to last you the trip, but I suppose it depends on how much you end up spending on flights. Also, don't forget to factor in things like health insurance, vaccinations, guide books, backpacks (if you don't have one), good shoes etc... These can add up and eat away at your budget before you even start.
For China, your budget will also depend on where you spend more of your time. The big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and especially Hong Kong, can be very expensive - just as expensive as England at times. Eat at restaurants catering to expats and tourists and you'll really pay a premium. But once you get into the countryside, you'll find everything from food to accommodations to be much cheaper and your budget will go further. So if you plan to spend most of your time in the cities, you'll really have to consider how long you can go for.
I haven't seen as much of China as I would have liked, but of what I've seen, here's my thoughts:
Hong Kong: An absolute must-see city, and very different from the rest of China due to it's colonial history. You have time, so find the cheapest hotel you can, and spend a week here. If you can plan it right, it's nice in the middle of your trip to escape the insanity of the rest of China and come back to the Western world for a bit.
Shanghai: Ok city. Lots of modern flash some interesting sites to see. The Bund and French Concession are pretty cool, as are the views from the Oriental Pearl Tower. But really I wouldn't spend more than a couple days there.
Beijing: Not the most pleasant city in the world (smog and crowds), and I don't think I'll be rushing back. But historically speaking it's a gold mine. There is so much to see, and it'll take several days to see it. I imagine it was already on your itinerary, but if not, definitely add it.
Guangzhou: Interesting city and I really like it (my wife did not), but not nearly as much to see as Shanghai and Beijing. If you are going to HK and Macau, than it's worth stopping by for a couple days to see the subtle differences between the Mandarin and Cantonese culture.
Macau: Something very different in China - an old Portuguese colony that makes a unique stop. Great food, historical center, and gambling on the side if you're interested. If you are in HK, make sure you stop by Macau as well.
Guilin/Yangshuo: Here's China at it's best. DO NOT MISS IT. Guilin is a typical Chinese city, but nearby Yangshuo is a beautiful country town with amazing scenery, friendly folks, and lots to see and do. The town itself is rather touristy these days, but hop on a bike and get out of the town to see the real highlights.
Yunnan Province: I've gone back to this area a couple times over the years and I think it's an absolute must see in China. It's also really cheap and easy to get around. Start with Yuanyang, my highlight of China, for cool rice fields, interesting minority groups, and the feeling that you've stepped back 100 years. Don't miss the markets. Lijiang is really really touristy, but still worth the stop for the history and scenery. Dali is a slightly less touristy town than Lijiang and therefore also a bit more enjoyable. The laid back backpacker atmosphere is fading, but it's still there. Tiger Leaping Gorge is a must if you are a hiker. I haven't been to Shangri-la in about 10 years, and but these days its getting more and more on the tourist route and probably worth a stop.
Another thing to note is about Visa's. I'm not sure what your options are if you want to go for 3 month, but if you do manage to get one for that long, keep in mind that you have to cross the border to get into Hong Kong and Macau and it ends your visit to China. If you have a double entry, so can only leave china once, you can visit both HK and Macau on the same trip without having to go back into China, and therefore only using one exit.
Overall, my personal opinion is that you are planning too long in China. It's a great country to travel in, but I feel that after 2 months you might find you've had enough. Unless of course you have special interest in a particular aspect of China, like the language, and want to dig deeper into it. But that extra month could be spent in much more varied and cheaper South East Asia.
If you have 3 months in China, you can see more than just the usual tourist places. I'd recommend taking a few weeks out in the northwest: Gansu and Xinjiang. There's lots to see out there, and the culture and scenery is somewhat different from the rest of China. Places like Kashi are more Central Asian than Chinese.
If you make it to northeastern China, I'd recommend visiting Dandong, which is on the North Korean border. You can stare across the river at N. Korea, or take a river cruise near the N. Korean shore. And you can visit the 'Museum of American Aggression' for the Chinese version of the Korean War. Harbin, further north, holds a huge ice festival every winter, which is truly spectacular.
Just a couple of hours from Shanghai is the small city of Suzhou, which is very picturesque- lots of canals and bridges, old city walls, old houses, etc. If you are in Shanghai, take a day to see Suzhou. (At night, it's even prettier)
Gracefan's advice about when to visit China is right. Avoid late June to early September, as it is unbearably hot in most of China- even in northern China. December to February is very cold in northern and western China. The best time is April-May or late September-mid November.
Also, avoid the holidays, when it is difficult/expensive to travel. The first week of May, the first week of October, and around Chinese New Year (it changes from year to year). If you must travel during that time, forget trains and simply fly.
Except during holidays, trains are a great way to get around China. 'Hard sleeper' is your best bet for trips over 6 hours. (The beds aren't really hard.) Bus trips over 6 hours are for those who enjoy self-torture.
A word of advice: take tissue with you wherever you go, as most washrooms in China don't provide it.
well, according the the living standard of China and the SE Asia, you budget is enough to support your 6-month long travel in Asia. When you are in China, do drop by the Great Wall, the Summer Palace in and the Terracotta Army as well as Shanghai Bund.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]