Sign In | Join now! It's free!Help |

China Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your China vacation


Zoesan
The Secret to a Tolerable Night's Sleep on Chinese Trains 5 stars
China is chaos, and I think travelling around it was probably one of the most stressful things I've ever done. As those of you who have been will know, the Chinese train system is completely unfathomable and designed to confuse, bewilder and frustrate you to the point of insanity. Buying tickets is it's own story all together, but as trains are extremely crowded, unless you have the luxury of being in the city you want to leave two weeks before you intend to leave it you will end up with with a standing ticket. And standing means standing - you have to fight for the space by the toilets.

Anyway, circumstance forced my boyfriend and me to buy standing tickets on a night train. I was gearing up to endure what I expected to be my worst ever night of travel, a saviour's hand grabbed me and pulled me bruskly through a seemingly endless series of overcrowded carriages. Eventually we arrived at the restaurant car and were sat down at a table and wordlessly food was shoved under our noses. In due course the food, or at least what was left of it, was removed and a nominal bill was put in its place. While all this was going on we realised that no-one else was actually eating their food, but snoozing away. This was when we realised that we'd struck lucky - all you have to do is buy a meal and you get a free seat and table for the night! On the way back we tried the same tactic and it worked like a charm.

So, if ever you are stuck standing on a night train in China seek out the restaurant car! It's your only hope!


More

ImAnExplorer
Visiting Asia 1 stars
Hi everyone! I'm planning to tour Asia particularly China and Japan next year. Anyone can give me some advice about these countries?

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – BEIJING – PEKING DUCK 4 stars
If you had the Hot Pot in Chongquing and the dumplings in Xian, then the only left for you to try is the duck in Beijing, otherwise known as Peking Duck (Beijing Kaoya). As with the other two dishes, there is a real sense of occasion when you order duck. Depending on where you go, the waiter is quite likely to bring it over to you whole and then proceed to dice it up in dramatic fashion in front of you. It was on the menu absolutely everywhere so you won’t have any trouble finding it. There are the usual accoutrements that you’d find in a Chinese restaurant at home (pancakes, spring onion etc) but I guarantee the duck will be the most tender and tasty that you have ever had. Don’t be stingy when ordering either, the bigger the better. It won’t go to waste. If you are ending your trip in Beijing then it is definitely a recommendable way to spend your last supper.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – BEIJING – GREAT WALL OF CHINA - LOO 1 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I thought it quite fitting to end my tips on China with a toilet story. I like to think of myself as a well seasoned traveller. I have backpacked round South America, had numerous visits to Africa and even lived in the Jungle in Malaysia for a while, so I am not precious when it comes to matters of sanitation. It is therefore a huge accolade to give the WORLD’S WORST TOILET award to The Great Wall of China. There is a loo at the Simatai Scenery Spot that defies belief. It absolutely reeks. I was so impressed that I actually had someone take a piccie of me outside it (which I’ll try and upload if I can work out how). So even if the Great Wonders of the World isn’t your bag, maybe the Worst Loo’s in the World is !!!

More

Moyleb33
CHINA - BEIJING – SIMATAI – GREAT WALL OF CHINA 5 stars
Wow, wow and thrice wow. Alongside the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the Great Wall was my joint favourite attraction in China. I think there are about three places along the wall that are easily accessible from Beijing. I just happened to go to Simatai which is about 110km from the city. It is supposed to be the most unspoilt section of the Great Wall around Beijing. What this means is that it’s quite a popular choice for tourists and they are well catered for with souvenir stalls and a cable car. Avoid the cable car if you can and explore the wall by foot, it’s definitely worth getting up close and personal. There are some steep climbs and although the wall is well maintained it is still crumbling in parts and the steps are falling away so be careful. There are well spaced watchtowers to stop and take-in the view. It truly is an amazing sight, watching the wall snake out along the horizon. My only advice on this particular attraction is giving yourself enough time. A full day is the absolute minimum. Two days is better, especially if you like trekking.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – BEIJING – TEMPLE OF HEAVEN 4 stars
I enjoyed the Temple of Heaven more than the busier and slightly more popular Forbidden City. Perhaps it was the time of day, I chose to go late afternoon to try and avoid some of the crowds and it obviously worked. The Temple of Heaven is on a much smaller scale to the Forbidden City and it is beautifully set in the serene Temple of Heaven Park. Legend has it that it was conceived as a meeting point for heaven and earth – how sweet is that!!. There is a stunning long drive leading up to the temple which is so secluded you could be in the middle of the countryside. This is definitely a good place to visit after a hectic, crowd-filled morning in Tiananmen Square. My guidebook said the best time to visit was in the morning when locals can be seen exercising and doing calligraphy. If you can’t make it at this time, as I couldn’t, fear not, sunset at the Temple of Heaven is a real treat.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – BEIJING – FORBIDDEN CITY 4 stars
A trip to Tiananmen Square is easily twinned with a visit to the Forbidden City and I for one would definitely recommend you make the extra visit to see it. The place is vast and so well maintained that it is like stepping back in time. Its other name, Imperial Palace, nicely sums up the regal feel of the area. I loved the stories of Eunuchs and Concubines. It was fascinating to see bedrooms of the Emperors wives, girlfriends and whores who all lived together in the Forbidden City – much more interesting than the ceremonial halls!! Even if you are a not a big historian, there are beautiful buildings with such intricately designed walls and roofs, as well as tranquil gardens, that it is still well worth a visit. As the name ‘city’ suggests, this is not a small cluster of buildings, there is a lot of walking to be done to see it all, so wear sensible shoes. Basic food shops are available inside for hot/cold drinks etc.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – BEIJING – MAO’S MAUSOLEUM 2 stars
If you are planning on visiting Tiananmen Square and you want to go inside the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall then expect to see a queue when you get there. Don’t let this put you off though, it does move nice and quickly. As you are not allowed to stop at Mao’s corpse (just walk by), it means that vast numbers of people can move through quickly. One piece of advice is to make sure you drop your bag at the left luggage office BEFORE you start queuing as no bags are allowed in the hall. Also be aware that it is free to get in the hall but you have to pay to leave your bags. It also may sound stupid but make sure you know what you are going in to see. Mao’s corpse is mechanically raised from a freezer every morning and put on display in a see-through coffin. I’m not quite sure what they were expecting but a couple of people coming out seemed quite shocked that they’d just seen a dead body! Also check opening times in advance as the whole placed shuts down at lunchtime.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA - BEIJING – TIANANMEN SQUARE 3 stars
Again this is a tough one to offer any kind of unique insight into. Home to Mao’s Mausoleum and the People’s Heroes Monument it is such a recognisable landmark that it doesn’t really hold any surprises. It is more the sense of history you get from the visit than the actual standing on the square. No matter what time of day you visit, it will be busy especially sunrise and sunset when they raise/lower the ceremonial flag. Be aware that you cannot sit or loiter in the square and any big groups will be moved on by the very efficient (and somewhat scary) police. It is not possible to go to Beijing and skip a visit to Tiananmen Square but it was by no means the highlight of my trip to China. I find the history of the area fascinating but didn’t feel the urge to linger long. Look out for the pastry seller by the subway station entrance.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA - BEIJING 3 stars
I visited Beijing in October 2006 and the city was already in the early stages of preparing for the upcoming games. What this means in reality is that if feels like the whole city (apart from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City) has been bulldozed. Outside of the central district I found boarded up shops, dug up roads and half demolished buildings everywhere. Having said that, don’t let that put you off. The subway system is second to none so it is easy and cheap to zip around the many districts of Beijing in search of something a bit more scenic. Don’t underestimate how long to allow yourself in Beijing, the wall, the square and the Forbidden City are absolute ‘must-sees’ and the temple of heaven and Summer Palace are well worth a look.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – XIAN – TERRACOTTA WARRIORS 5 stars
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the Terracotta Warriors? They really are better than expected. Actually the one piece of advice that I would give is to make sure you give yourself enough time. On the tour I was on, we were only scheduled to spend half a day at Bing Ma Yong and it takes at least an hour to get there. In retrospect I could have happily spent the whole day there. It is a massive sight to cover and there are exhibits and information notices the whole way round so there is a lot to take in. There is also an auditorium showing an old film on the history and subsequent discovery of the warriors. Although not usually my thing, I would thoroughly recommend you make time to pop in. The film itself is a very manageable 15 minutes long and totally fascinating.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – XIAN 5 stars
Loved it, loved it, loved it! Most people come here to see the Terracotta Warriors which is obviously a must, but Xian as a lot more to offer than lots of little concrete men! You can walk on the ancient city walls (about 14kms), which give great views of the city and there are bell and drum towers in the centre of town. Then if you’ve got any energy left there is a Muslim quarter which is a great place to start your souvenir shopping. I went nuts and bought about 15 tea sets and a zillion table runners. This is also a lovely place to sample a dumpling feast if you haven’t got round to it yet. Alas I found the dumplings to be bland and tasteless but the whole ceremony and serving rituals was worth the cost of the meal.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – CHONGQUING 2 stars
I didn’t feel that Chongquing had the charm of many of the other places I visited in China. It is a big city (32.5 million) and if feels just that – a big city. If you’ve been backpacking or travelling for quite a while then it is a good place to stock up on all your toiletries and do a bit of shopping but apart from that, it felt a bit like a concrete jungle, and not a very pretty one at that. It is a good place to have a night out and try the local speciality (see my separate review on Hotpot) but I wouldn’t recommend that you take up too much of your time here.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – CHONGQUING – HOTPOT 4 stars
If you’re brave enough to try Hot Pot, then Chongquing is the place to do it. There is actually a road known to tourists as Hot Pot Street (Huo Guo Jie is its real name). Apparently Hot Pot actually originated here. It is a very social way of eating as the ingredients come to the table raw and you cook them yourself in pots of hot steaming liquid. Being the chicken that I am, I opted for a mild hot pot and even that still blew me away. The more adventurous diners on my table were the colour of lobsters by the time they’d managed a few mouthfuls of their ‘hot’ hotpots. A very entertaining evening all round. Also suitable for vegetarians as you can request meat-free ingredients and all of the pots have compartments to make sure your own meal is cooked separately.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – YANGTZE RIVER - THREE GORGES DAM PROJECT 2 stars
I don’t really understand the politics behind the Three Gorges Dam Project but in my uneducated opinion there seemed to be very clear advantages and disadvantages to the ambitious plan. When finished it will be the World’s largest storage reservoir which may sound impressive but it certainly isn’t something I’d rush to see. As a tourist attraction, the electric dam looked to me like a building site, and with limited interest in how it functions; I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a ‘must-see’ on the river. What is fascinating though is the effect it is having on the local environment. Whole villages have already been flooded in the early stages of its development (see my separate review on Fengjie). When finished however it will supply a staggering 10% of China’s power needs.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – YANGTZE RIVER – WU GEORGE 5 stars
It’s not possible to get off at every village you pass on the Yangtze River, as tempting as that may seem. So make sure you know the planned stops of the boat before you decide which one to take. On the second day of my boat trip we entered Wu George at 5 o’clock in the morning. The passengers who were sensible enough to get up, wrapped up for the weather, and convened on the deck to watch the spectacular entrance. I don’t know what the weather is usually like but when I visited in October it was a lovely chilly morning with low level mist creating a lovely magical atmosphere. In a way it reminded me of Milford Sound in New Zealand. Lovely imposing cliffs on either side that seem to go on for ever (but in reality go on for 40km). This is where you’ll find Fairy Goddess Peak and the peak of the Immortals. Less impressive than their names but still definitely worth getting up for!

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – YANGTZE RIVER – FENGJIE 3 stars
The reason I found this city so interesting is because it is brand new and has been built to replace the flooded old Fengjie on the other side of the river. It is remarkable that you can still see the tops of buildings poking out of the river where the old city lays untouched, completely submerged in water (due to the three dams project). I just found it really eerie to think that we were floating over a whole village with houses, shops, temples etc and there are clearly labelled markers on the river bank to show that even at the 135 meter mark; the old buildings are still visible. It felt very strange to me so I can only imagine what the local residents of the old, and new, Fengjie, must feel.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – YANGTZE RIVER - FENGDU 3 stars
Fengdu is one of the possible stops on the Yangtze River. We were told its name translates into ‘City of Ghosts’. The temple is a nice tourist stop-off for a bit of fun. Allegedly it is the place where it is decided if your soul should be sent to heaven or hell. You are made to choose between wealth, health and longevity to decide which path you should take. Also if you’re planning a visit any time around Halloween, this is the place to do your shopping. There is an abundance of ghoulish memorabilia. On a more serious note, this is one of the small villages that will soon be underwater so it is eerily intriguing to take a peek.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA – YANGTZE RIVER 4 stars
This is one of my ‘must do’ activities in China. If you have the time, I would thoroughly recommend a two or three night cruise on the Yangtze River. It is the third largest river in the world (after the Nile and the Amazon) which in itself is damn well impressive. It is also a nice relaxing way to unwind after the frantic pace of life in a lot of Chinese towns. The boats range in quality in direct proportion to what you are prepared to pay. I plumped for a mid-range boat that had ensuite rooms and a restaurant on board. I would advise however that you stock up on snacks before you go as the quality of food isn’t always the best. They also pipe very strange and very loud music into the rooms and corridors so make sure you charge up your ipod before you go.

More

Moyleb33
CHINA - YICHANG 2 stars
I may not be the best judge of Yichang as I really only passed through. Although that in itself may be quite telling! It’s a bit of a transit town and I only stayed one night. It felt like a bit of a concrete jungle and it wasn’t very scenic. It is nice to have a stroll along the promenade early evening and watch the various locals dancing or flying kites. (Incidently the kites are beautifully handpainted and available for sale). Apart from that there’s not much to put Yichang on the tourist map. Most people use this as a stopover before boarding their Yangtze Rive cruise or tour of the Three Gorges Dam. There is an old church, a bus station and a train station but that’s pretty much it (in my limited opinion).

More


Page: [1] 2 3


About us | Terms and Conditions | Imprint

Copyright © 2006-2017 Paperball GmbH and their respective owners - All Rights Reserved.