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George Parr

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I'm pulling together a rough 2.5wk itinerary for mid-October with plans to visit Shanghai, HK, Xi'an and Beijing - the usual touristy stuff.

Any P&Bers ever visited the People's Republic? Do's and Don'ts?

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Don't stand in front of any tanks.

Friends went last year, had a great time but just prepare yourself for the toilets (go and have a shit at the side of the road, toilets are worse than that) and people spitting all over the place.

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Don't stand in front of any tanks.

Friends went last year, had a great time but just prepare yourself for the toilets (go and have a shit at the side of the road, toilets are worse than that) and people spitting all over the place.

Cheers. A few Saturday night outs in Dumbarton should be ideal prep then.

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Great place,its more expensive than you think but still cheap.Try and pre book trains etc as they will ask for them when you go for your visa but the new visa place in edinburgh is a lot less hassle than the old one at the consulate

The underground in shanghai and bejing is fabulous and cheap for getting about and all the stations/machines have english signs and options

Dont go with people that will offer to take you a tea show etc as they will be rip off merchants but its generally a really safe place and try to find the german brewery pub in shanghai as it does terrific peach beer all brewed in the pub

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Was in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong 4 years ago. Absolutely loved every minute of it.

Beijing is one of the most fascinating places you will ever see. So much to do and see. Outwith all the obvious sights like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square etc Hutong village is a must. Found Shanghai slightly underwhelming as outwith the amazing skyline on the water front their ain't that much to see. Plenty shopping, restaurants, bars etc however to keep you busy.

Hong Kong is just amazing. The setting and back drop is unreal and there are plenty of tours you can do. I done a cruise around the bay at night and the views were stunning. Stayed in Kowloon where there is lots going on - so many shops packed onto that island you won't believe it.

You'll have a great time.

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I'm pulling together a rough 2.5wk itinerary for mid-October with plans to visit Shanghai, HK, Xi'an and Beijing - the usual touristy stuff.

Any P&Bers ever visited the People's Republic? Do's and Don'ts?

What sequence do you intend to do the main cities. Make sure you have enough entries on your visa if leaving the mainland to go to Hong Kong and then re-enter the mainland.

What's your preferred means of travel within China? Train tickets cant be booked more than 2 - 2½ weeks in advance. If possible, get someone to book & buy your tickets online, and then collect them all in a oner (Passport plus booking reference reqd.)

Qingdao as well as Hangzhou are well worth visiting for a day or two.

and if you have to go to the toilet, look out for the disabled one, means it will be European style as opposed to a hole in the floor. Doesn't improve the chances of there being any toilet paper, so have your own handy.

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As Hanover says, take care on your schedule, if you go to Hong Kong in the middle of the trip, it will be considered a multi-entry.

You need your passport for booking all train tickets these days.

All the places you are planning on visiting are excelletn, but if you get the chance go to Suzhou or around some of the water towns, just for something different. Feasibly you could get the train to Suzhou from Shanghai, have a day or two around Suzhou then get the bus to Wuxi (optionally go and see the giant Buda there) and from Wuxi get the High Speed train up to Beijing.

Theres plenty to do in all the cities you've listed though and the 2 1/2 weeks will fly in.

Always, always have bog roll on you and don't expect to queue for anything.

As Hanover says, get someone to book any public transport tickets (trains buses), even the hotels you plan to stay in will do that for you. it makes things easier.

The metro is decent in HK, Beijing and Shanghai, but the buses are also a good way to get around, usually 1rmb (or 2 rmb if the Aircon is on).

For site seeing, Beijing has a lot to offer, Shangahi has a decent nightlife, but not much else for it, hence the suggestion of Suzhou. Hong Kong is Hong Kong and Xi'an has the terricota warriors.

China is a fantastic country to live in (as a foreigner) and to travel in. The food is generally excellent, go as local as you can.

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I'll see if I can dig out the itinery from my trip to Beijing and Shanghai. Whata wonderful place it is. Just try to ignore things like human rights abuses etc and you'll have a surreal and enlightening trip. I've never felt so foreign as I did in China.

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Beijing's quite a difficult place to get by if you don't speak the language. A lot of the locals won't entertain you if you try to speak English. Even things like retaurant menus aren't in English so i ended up doing quite a lot of pointing and felt like a bit of a twat.

Hong Kong is nice though. If you can afford the stretch then try and go for a decent hotel. I booked a cheap one in Kowloon and it was like Nelson Mandela Tower. There's loads to see in HK. The tram up to Victoria Peak is well worth a visit for great views over the city.

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Sounds like you satyed in the infamous Chungking Mansions at the foot of Nathan Road. Anything with that address is best avoided like the plague. They are plenty of acceptably priced hotels in Hong Kong, just not in that building. Its where most of the 'looky looky' guys live.

I'd kind of disagree with the difficult in Beijing, all the street signs and Metro are in Mandarin and English just like everywhere else in China. having a little bit of Chinese, of course helps just in case you do need to speak to someone. Having tarevlled to China extensively and lived there twice I have never had a proble with communication and any time I needed help it was easily optatined even in Beijing.

On the menus, true, outside of any touristy restaurant you have littel chance of getting a menu in English, but most/many have pictures instead, its all part of the fun. Some of the best deals are in the muslim noodle shops that are nearly everywhere in China or the grill shops where you buy your own uncooked veg and rice and the cook it on the street for you, both of which are really cheap and usually really good.

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Appreciate the advice folks - keen to visit Suzhou after reading the above.

By way of update, we've binned the HK section of the trip instead spending a few days in Dubai before going direct to Beijing. Then flying home from Shanghai. It's beginning to come together, which is pleasing.

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Shame that; HK is an incredible city.

Aye, it's mainly due to avbl cash - we can get free accom in Dubai.

Perhaps next year.

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HK is no great loss if your going to Shanghai and Beijing. As a friend told me the first time I went to Asia, Hong Kong is Asia for beginners which is true, although Hong King does have some cool quirkiness. Found Dubai boring as f**k. But each to there own.

Suzhou is a cracking city. There are seversl ancient gardens, the old town is excellent and the surrounding water towns are cool.

If you do Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou, it will be a good intro to China.

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Practice grogging.

That's a sure way to impress the locals. What you really want is to be able to transcend the 'greener' and produce something more along the lines of a 'browner'. Ideally it should even have a pulse upon hitting the concrete and the guttural houwking noise should reverberate around you for several seconds.

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The memorial to the 'rape of Nanjing ' is one of the most powerful things I've ever seen.

It's mostly indoors and will fill an afternoon.

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Went for 2 weeks in September as part of a bigger trip to SE Asia. Didn't go to Beijing as the girlfriend had been there before but did Shanghai-HongKong in a GAdventures tour with time on our own at either end. Shanghai was brilliant but you really had to look for the cool stuff. Best places were the Insect Market (cricket fighting has replaced cockfighting), the Natural History Museum (took us 4 hours to find it but was worth it) and the Bund skyline. There are several "resorts" in the mountains with formulaic shops-restaurants-hotels-mountain activity in between Shanghai and HK and they were pretty interesting (it's how they holiday in the communist state, altogether on the same days) but not exactly essential.

The same can't be said of Hong Kong. What a place, stunning how the western culture is blended with the Chinese culture. The Hong Kong history museum is the best museum I've ever been to, completely encyclopaedic on every aspect of the history of Hong Kong (spoiler alert: the British are total baddies). The peak is wonderful, amazing view. The light show is so naff but it takes like 15 mins and is free so you might as well. The space museum is totally naff too, wouldn't recommend. The botanic gardens has a brilliant free zoo as well.

We were backpacking it so we never went to anywhere too expensive or high end. You'll have a great time though, you can't fail to be amazed by the differences in culture and behaviour. The food is pretty hit and miss. I have a nut allergy so was pretty careful but dumplings were always a safe bet! So tasty!!

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I absolutely loved Hong Kong. Although it takes a while to get used to the various smells  :lol:

 

I've always fancied Guilin and Yangshuo on the mainland.

Edited by S7C

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I spent two and a half months punting about China a few years ago. I was so pleased to finally get out (overstayed my visa as the border was closed due to International Women's Day) but I soon found myself longing to return. It's possibly the most fascinating country I've visited as well as the most demanding.

 

Xinjiang is great for a visit, but quite a bit out of your way. I liked Xiamen though now you've crossed HK from your itinerary it's also not so on the way. Qingdao was a great shout by German Jag, if you're missing Europe then its architecture and layout will make you feel at home, it's also got a large Korean population which is quite interesting.

 

The language barrier is a problem. Restaurant menus aren't that tricky though if you spend some time with a few index cards. Look up a few culinary words in Mandarin (noodles, rice, pork, et cetera) and write them on one side with the English on the other. Give them a five minute flick through each hour of your flight and by the time you land you'll have them down.

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