Welcome to the most populated country in the world. A billion of people, big cultural differences and hidden nature and animals are waiting for you. I traveled through China for three weeks with my mum in November 2016. It is a quite good time because it is not too hot and not in the high time for Chinese people to travel (which is 1st to 8th October, Chinese holiday) but a bit earlier would have maybe been nicer because of some clouds and rain we had.
- Best time: May to November – except 1.-8.October Chinese holiday and too hot months like July and August
- Visa: 125 Euro for German citizen
- Getting there: Many flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong or train from Mongolia/ Russia
- Must-Know: No Google (maps), Facebook or YouTube available -> install “WeChat” (Chinese Whatsapp) and “MapsMe” for Offline Maps before entering country
Our tour was self-organised and included almost all of China. Because I had to apply for the visa to do the Trans-Sibirian railway from Moscow to Beijing anyway I thought to really use the expensive visa (125€ for 30 days). Luckily I had an invitation from a Chinese girl so we didn’t had to book all accommodation beforehand but we met some travellers who just booked a hostel in Beijing for four weeks and cancelled it after applying. In general I have to say that it is not easy to travel on your own because of the language, the signs you cannot read and only a few people who speak English. There is no Google or Facebook available, so try WeChat and Baidu.
WHERE TO GO – OUR TOUR (to see my blog articles, scroll down)
- Beijing 5 days – you need at least 4 days with one day trip to the Great Wall
- Xi’an 3 days – good amount of time to see the old city center, go on the City wall and see the Terracotta Army on one day (2 hours drive by local bus, 150 Yuan entrance fee without discount!)
- Chengdu 4 days – you can stay longer if you want to hike more in the great mountains around or visit …. but we did one mountain (Qingchenshan) and visted the Pandas and the city in general 😀
- Cruise on the Yangtze River for 4 days from Chongqing to Yichang – very recommendable, only five star ships available so plan about 300€ for budget, cheaper to book in Chongqing if you travel in November (low season)
- Zhangjiajie 2 days – most breathtaking nature with Avatar Mountains, you can stay longer to use the 4-day-ticket for national park (245 Y normal, 160 Y discounted) but 2 days is good, too
- Hangzhou 1 day – nice to visit the West lake but a bit similar to Summer Palace in Beijing
- Shanghai 2 days – enough time to see the skyline, the old city and some famous streets and parks (not as much to see as in Beijing but you can always spend more time)
- Hong Kong 3 days – more expensive than the mainland that’s why people stay shorter but 3-4 days is good to see “The Peak”, Kowloon & Mong Kok and some islands like Lantau
TIP: Try to avoid too many cities after each other because they are all super big, full of skyscrapers and busy – plan a relaxing time like a national park or cruise in between!
GOOD TO KNOW
- The public transport in the cities is really cheap, about 40 cent for a single metro ticket and even less for the bus
- Travelling by train is the most convenient because of the crazy traffic and the prices are okay, try the high speed train once with 310 km/h! To fly is more expensive out of my experience
- There are many street food stands everywhere (it depends on your preferences but you won’t starve!)
If you have questions, please comment or contact through here. I am happy to help!
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