Beautiful China

On March 18, 2013, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Must-sees, Nature Scenery, by Sandy Li

More and more people are attracted to travel in China, a mysterious Asian country with over 5,000 years history. According to statistics, there are 57.72 million inbound visitors who spent at least overnight last year. China is a beautiful country, with plenty of tourist resources. Grap the pretty season and take China flights to explore […]

More and more people are attracted to travel in China, a mysterious Asian country with over 5,000 years history. According to statistics, there are 57.72 million inbound visitors who spent at least overnight last year.

China is a beautiful country, with plenty of tourist resources. Grap the pretty season and take China flights to explore the beauty of  China.

In general, sightseeings in China can be divided into four parts, the northern part of China, south regions of the Yongtze River, the southern part of China, and Tibet and Xinjiang. You will enjoy various China tours when you start your trips in China.

The northern part of China is often described as crude and masculine. Architectures and scenery there are of exclusively features. In Harbin, there is Ice Engraving Festival every year. Visitors would see themselves in a palace made of ice. To people who is fond of Kongfu, Henan Province shall be a great place to go. Shaolin Monastery is ranked the first Buddhist temple in China, with thick Kongfu atmosphere attracting visitors both domestic and exotic. Beijing, the capital of China, also the ancient capital of two dynasties lasting about 600 years (since 1421), reserves lots of historical sites. Standing in front of those ancient parks, temples and architectures, you would be impressed by the wisdom of people in the past.

Since we compare the nothern part of China as a masculine, then the southern regions of the Yangtze River must be a beautiful and soft girl. Suzhou and Hangzhou are said to be the paradise in real life. Plenty of beautiful and touching fairy tales are originated here. You can relax yourself under the oiled paper umbrella, along the cobble-clear river, and smelling the flowers’ fragrance. Architecture in Anhui Province has its own style, in which you may find the harmony between human and the nature.

The scenery in the region of the Three Gorges is still too great to be neglected. The sublime dam itself is a place worth to visit, not to mention those ecological parks there.

 

The third part of Beautiful China is the southern part of China. Warm in all seasons, flowers are seen everywhere. Yunnan is a place said to be the arcadia for lovers. You may wanna stay there for a couple of days with your love, with nothing to disturb you.

Lijiang and Dali are particularly beautiful and tranquil. Each year, painters, photographers, and bands would go there to find inspiration.

 

The fourth part of Beautiful China is Tibet and Xinjiang, regions with thick atmosphere of religion. You may have a glimpse of the glamourous Potala Palace, but do pay attention to the altitude reaction. The Mountain of Flames, ancient city cites, and Heaven Lake of Tianshan Mount are only instances among numerous places we strongly commend you to go. People who have ever been there are all impressed by the gorgeous and splendid scenery, as well as the special local customs. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Beautiful China is always a nice option for tourism and vacation. No matter which part of China you are interested in, there will always be surprises for you during your activities.

A Romantic Honeymoon of Swiss Groom and Chinese Bride in Xinjiang and Tibet

On January 9, 2013, in Adventure Trip, Cultural Experience, Historical Relics, Must-sees, Temples, by Sandy Li

On August 15th, 2012, Urumchi (the capital city of Xinjiang Province) witnessed a transnational wedding. The groom, Fares Abdullah comes from Switzerland, and the bride Li Miao comes from China. More and more people would choose to take China flihgts and have a wedding tour, which can be customised by the travel agency. Fares sent mails to […]

On August 15th, 2012, Urumchi (the capital city of Xinjiang Province) witnessed a transnational wedding. The groom, Fares Abdullah comes from Switzerland, and the bride Li Miao comes from China.

More and more people would choose to take China flihgts and have a wedding tour, which can be customised by the travel agency. Fares sent mails to us expressing his wish to spend their honeymoon by a Silk Road tour, or along Kashgar, Turpan, Kanas and finally to Lhasa in Tibet. There, during this China tour, in Urumchi the couple wishes to have a special wedding. 25 guests were invited to join their romantic honeymoon travel. They were his family members or friends, from Switzerland, Germany, Palestine, US and UK.

Though the local government in Tibet strengthened the restriction on inbound tourists, we successfully helped them with all required documents. They had a wonderful time in China.

 On August 5th, all the visitors took their flight to Urumqi on their own, and were picked up at the airport by the guide. After one-day rest in the hotel, we flew to Kashgar on August 6th. All people were impressed by the scenery in Dawakun desert, Kashgar. In the morning of the third day, we took the car for 3.5 hours (200 kilometers) to the Karakuri Lake, which is located 3,600 meters above sea level. Surrounded by snow mountains to the east of the Pamirs, this lake offers local herds with fertile grassland and travelers with extraordinary charming scenery. Visitors could also see the yurts, camels and horses of the Tajik people inhabiting here.

On August 8th, we had a Kashgar city tour. Firstly we visited the famous Id Kah Mosque located in the city center. On August 9th, we went to visit Turpan. Where we had our time in Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well.

August 15th, 2012 was a wonderful day. The couple had their wedding ceremony. They were blessed by everyone. Many Occidental men found their true love in China, this mysterious Asian country. They choose to hold the wedding in China, and have a better understanding of this region. Their Chinese wives could also be a nice guide to introduce Chinese culture and tradition to them. It is a very romantic journey. For many Chinese girls, planning a honeymoon trip in China is a nice gift their foreign husband can give, showing their love and respect.

The next day after the wedding, all the visitors flew to Xining from Urumqi. They came to the Jokhang Temple, the splendid Potala PalaceTibet Museum, Norbulingka Park, and many interesting places in Tibet.

On August 19th, all people were transferred to Lhasa airport and took the flight to Beijing. By then the happy couple had their unforgettable and romantic honeymoon travel. This is a happy beginning for the life of this lucky couple.

All guests who participate in this wedding trip feel incredible about beautiful scenery and holy religious atmosphere in Tibet. For some of them, this is the first time to go to China. We are also happy to help people all over the world to know better about China. In the end, we give our best wishes to this couple. We wish them good health, and happy forever!

 

Beijing starts a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries

According to Beijing municipal authorities, Beijing will start a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries from January 1, 2013. International travelers enjoy 72 hours transit visa policy based on the requirements of the Ministry of Public Security, in arriving at the Beijing Capital Airport, shall comply with the following conditions: 1) in line […]

According to Beijing municipal authorities, Beijing will start a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries from January 1, 2013.

International travelers enjoy 72 hours transit visa policy based on the requirements of the Ministry of Public Security, in arriving at the Beijing Capital Airport, shall comply with the following conditions:

1) in line with the scope of the citizens of the country, including:

— European Schengen visa agreement countries (24), Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia , Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Other European countries (7) Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine

— American States (6) United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

Oceania countries (2), Australia, New Zealand

Asian countries (6) South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar;

2)  holding valid international travel documents to prove their nationality;

3)  in line with the conditions of entry to the country or region;

4)  held by the exit from the Beijing Capital International Airport way ticket to a third country or region, or prove within 72 hours to determine the date and seat;

5) equipped with the entry and exit of airlines reporting to the border authorities.

Beijing border audited in line with the transit visa-free conditions, will be handled in accordance with the provisions of the transit procedures.

____________________________

For more information on travel to Beijing with visa free, contact us at: info@chinatraveldepot.com, or visit http://www.chinatraveldepot.com/website/beijing-transit-tour/#?utm_source=CTD&utm_medium=home&utm_campaign=72hours

 

Planning your trip to China

This article especially targets people who has never been to China. As a European girl, I realized that travelling to China needs specific preparation and most of all… time. For some of you all the tips I will give would seem quite logical to you, however I know that before leaving we always have the […]

This article especially targets people who has never been to China. As a European girl, I realized that travelling to China needs specific preparation and most of all… time. For some of you all the tips I will give would seem quite logical to you, however I know that before leaving we always have the impression that we forgot something but we don’t know what. This is a list on which you can check on before taking your China flight.

Most important things (in the order)

1. Passport
Of course without a passport you can’t travel anywhere. Make sure it will be still valid 6 months after the return date and check if there are 2 blank pages left. If it isn’t the case you must anticipate and have a new passport, in some country it can take until 2 months to do that.

2. Flights
Book a flight to China. The cheapest flights are online, try to book them several months before your departure. It will cost you between 500 and 1,000$ for an economic round-trip flight depending on the season and the duration. You will have great chances to travel with Air China, China Eastern Airlines or China Southern Airlines. All the meals and drinks are free (no additional fee) and of course you will enjoy Chinese food. Chinese and other international movies will be displayed with English and Chinese subtitles.

3. Visa


You should go to the nearest Chinese Embassy or the Chinese Consulate to have a visa. Check on their website or call them first to know all the documents they need in addition of the application form so you won’t waste your time by getting there just for that information. In general you will be given your visa within 5 work days, or if you pay to speed it up within 48 hours, yet as we are insightful people the better would applying at least 2 weeks before the departure just in case, and not 2 days before.

Other tips

Make sure that your credit card has the logo “Visa”, so you can withdraw your money on some random ATM machines once arrived and not take all the money with you. And don’t be surprised most of the shops in China don’t have card machines, so check with your bank before leaving if you have a withdrawal limit per week or months since you’ll have to pay almost everything with cash.

Bring your own cellphone or an old one, it will always be useful to be contacted and to contact other people since your sim card won’t probably work in China. A lot of people think that buying a mobile phone is quite cheap here, but I think that it’s even more expensive that in your country, it is in my case. More over the cheapest phones, the one you had like 10 years ago, will cost you 200yuan if you really need one. Besides, the sim card and calls are very cheap; with only 30RMB you can text and call for 2 weeks if you don’t have any particular big needs. And be careful once your credit is over, you can’t receive any call, you have to recharge to be contacted.

My personal advice if you can’t speak Chinese or only few words: since Chinese people are not very good in English and only few of them can speak a foreign language, take pictures of toilets, food, water, bus, bed, fork, chopsticks… before leaving. You won’t waste time to look for the word in a dictionary and pronounce it in a weird accent, pictures is a language that anyone can understand!

These were the basic things not to forget before doing China tours. I hope you to enjoy your trip the best way as possible and send us a picture of your best memories in our Facebook to share your experience!

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Hong Kong, A Very ‘Special’ Place

On July 11, 2012, in Hong Kong, More Cities, Must-sees, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997. Due to its unique history, Hong Kong’s population of almost 7 million people is a melting pot of many different cultures and personalities, from Chinese to Canadian to Portuguese to Vietnamese (although Cantonese Chinese and English are the official languages). Although now part of […]

Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997. Due to its unique history, Hong Kong’s population of almost 7 million people is a melting pot of many different cultures and personalities, from Chinese to Canadian to Portuguese to Vietnamese (although Cantonese Chinese and English are the official languages). Although now part of China, Hong Kong retains a very high level of autonomy. Hong Kong even has a separate constitution. I had the amazing opportunity of visiting in 2006 and have been dying to return ever since! If you are interested in China travel, Hong Kong provides an amazing experience by allowing a deeper look into not only Orient culture, but  the international values of a global hub. Although there are plenty of buzzing, bustling cities, a majority of Hong Kong’s geographic area is dominated by rural lands, mountains, and rocky islands. Any China tour would be incomplete without seeing this remarkable place.

Its name comes from the main British settlement of Hong Kong Island which means “Fragrant Harbor,” but there is so much more to this region than just the harbor area. The currency is the Hong Dong Dollar; bring plenty of it because this place has some of the most amazing shopping in the world! Because the climate is subtropical, most visitors prefer to avoid the hotter seasons as well as typhoon season, so optimal visiting months range anytime from January to May. Hong Kong Island is a very modern and wealthy area. Also, it’s a great place to experience some of the local fishing culture and view some distinctive waterborne life at the markets. When visiting, you absolutely must make the trip up to “the Peak,” and this is easily done via the Victoria Peak trams.

Other areas of Hong Kong include Kowloon, Lantau, and the New Territories. The New Territories, as they were christened by the British, consist mostly of rural farms and villages. Kowloon is a peninsula and the one of the most densely populated places in the world. The area is dominated by varied markets, malls, and residences. A great place to visit in this area is Temple Street, one of the largest and biggest flea markets you’ll ever experience. At Lantau, the largest outlying island, are some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful landscapes. The biggest place of interest here is the Tian Tan Buddha. There is so much to experience in this very special place called Hong Kong, so it plays an essential role in China travel. Do yourself a favor a go see for yourself!

3:10 to Shanghai

On June 29, 2012, in Cool Places, Featured China Stories, Shanghai, by Jack Li

My time in Beijing is coming to a close, and it’s time to move on with my China travel.  Beijing has been my home for the last month and I have made great friends, had a *ahem* heck of a time, and seen the sights, but it’s time to move on.  It’s time to travel […]

My time in Beijing is coming to a close, and it’s time to move on with my China travel.  Beijing has been my home for the last month and I have made great friends, had a *ahem* heck of a time, and seen the sights, but it’s time to move on.  It’s time to travel to Shanghai.  I just purchased my train ticket.  I just got my tickets, my bag won’t be packed until the last second, and I’m beyond excited to go.

The railway station is a little overwhelming; luckily I did a little research beforehand so I had a relatively painless experience.  Thankfully Beijing Rail Station is its own stop on the subway 2 line, and the exit for the station is clearly marked.  Walk past the backpackers and travelers, past the entrance to the boarding center, past the fast food restaurants, and you’ll find yourself at the ticket terminal.  There are around 40 booths, and one of them speaks English.  It’s not always open though, so look it up before you go.  You need your passport or a copy of it in order to buy a train ticket.

There are a few options for a train.  The first is the bullet train, which takes around 5 hours between Beijing and Shanghai, and is one of the fastest if not the fastest trains in the world.  It’s a little pricey though.  There are also overnight trains that offer a few options.  There is a soft sleeper, which a bed in a room of four beds that locks.  Next is the hard sleeper, which is a three tiered bunk bed that line a train car.  After that is a normal seat.  I’m in college, so I’m traveling it the seat.  I’m sure the other methods of travel are very comfortable, but I want to see the countryside from my seat at the price of a little comfort.  The overnight train also helps us save on accommodation while in Shanghai, which is a huge plus.

Shanghai is a bustling metropolis with much more western influence than my current home of Beijing.  Its skyline is dotted with skyscrapers, and is one of China’s world renowned cities.  I’ve heard it described as the New York City of Asia, and I’m ready to put those statements to the test.  It’s time for me to travel to Shanghai, and I couldn’t be more excited.  China’s bustling metropolis here I come.

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KTV True Life

On June 26, 2012, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Nightlife, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Back in the States I’ve always been a big fan on karaoke, and this past semester I was graced without Wednesday classes so every Tuesday night my friends and I would go to karaoke at our local haunt.  When I decided to travel to Beijing I was delighted to find that karaoke is extremely popular […]

Back in the States I’ve always been a big fan on karaoke, and this past semester I was graced without Wednesday classes so every Tuesday night my friends and I would go to karaoke at our local haunt.  When I decided to travel to Beijing I was delighted to find that karaoke is extremely popular here.  The first thing I did after I got off my Beijing flights after I unpacked my apartment was to check out some local Karaoke.

A bar with karaoke in The US is usually set up like an open-mic night, with a stage where anyone can sign up to sing in front of the entire bar.  This is a lot of fun, but has two major drawbacks: you have to sing in front of strangers, and strangers have to sing in front of you.  Sometimes this is great and leads to new friends and seeing amazing talent.  More often however, it’s like being forced to watch a string of rejects from American Idol.

Conversely, in China karaoke is a very intimate experience.  With KTV (Karaoke Television) you rent out private rooms for you and your friends that can range for a small room for 6-12 people, to a massive two story hall.  You are given a few microphones, and a computer terminal to the side of the room controls what songs are played.  There is a huge selection of popular Western and Eastern music to choose from.  The songs play in whatever order you choose on the screen.  In my experience everyone who wants to sing crowds around the microphones, and they are passed from person to person.  You’re all singing to each other rather than singing to an audience.

KTV is a great way to spend an evening, and to see a different approach to an international trend.  When I go to KTV I get to sing my heart out with my friends just like I would back home, but with a Chinese twist.  Karaoke is much more mainstream and popular here than it is back home where I usually found myself dragging my friends to the bar and pushing them on stage.  In China, karaoke is a small and intimate experience where everyone gets excited and  everyone participates.  As part of your China travel check out a KTV venue near you, and if you’re staying for a long time like I am invite your Chinese friends!  Nothing brings people together quite like drinks, songs, and laughter.

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Crouching Tiger Hidden Panda

On June 20, 2012, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Entertainment, by Jack Li

As part of my China travel I ventured into the depths of Houhai to catch a Kung Fu show.  A friend of mine who speaks better Chinese than I bought the tickets from an all Chinese website, and we only had a vague idea what was in store for us.  We got a little turned […]

As part of my China travel I ventured into the depths of Houhai to catch a Kung Fu show.  A friend of mine who speaks better Chinese than I bought the tickets from an all Chinese website, and we only had a vague idea what was in store for us.  We got a little turned around getting there and as a result arrived right before the show began.  When we sat down we were trapped in a sea of Panda costumes, and were worried our poor Chinese has accidentally led us to a kids show.  Once they show started, however, we realized it was anything but, and that the show was a great addition to our China tours.

Kung Fu Bandana

Kung Fu Bandanna

The show was based around two pandas traveling around China to learn about all of the different Kung Fu styles.  Each act took place in a different part of China and focused on a different style.  The acts began with the panda’s wandering through the sets acting as the comic relief clowns.  Then a large group scene would begin with many different martial artists practicing the style and the pandas getting caught in the middle of it.  Finally, a master of the style would come out and perform a much more impressive feat.  These ranged from fighting off an entire group, to breaking a stack of bricks, to fighting upside down.  Everyone in the show was in peak physical condition, and the fighting scenes were spectacular.

I came into the whole show with high expectations after having it built up to me over Skype for hours before I went, and I was not disappointed.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Kung Fu movies, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing.  When you’re on stage there’s [almost] no special effects and no safety net.  The performance was raw, entertaining, and extremely impressive.

The entire show was full of laughs, thrills, and excitement.  It was relatively inexpensive, and was a great way to spend a night.  If you’re interested the website is http://kungfushichahai.com/, it’s in Chinese though so have a friend or Google translator ready if like me your Chinese is not always up to par.  See this show or any Kung Fu show as part of your China travels.  It’s a great way to experience the people and culture of China, and see an amazing show to boot.  Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, this is not a show you want to miss.

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A Palace Playground

Would you rather live in a castle by the sea or a castle by a lake? I always thought I would want to live in a castle by the sea however, upon visiting the Summer Palace in Beijing I am thinking to changing my dream to a castle by a lake. The Summer Palace in […]

Would you rather live in a castle by the sea or a castle by a lake? I always thought I would want to live in a castle by the sea however, upon visiting the Summer Palace in Beijing I am thinking to changing my dream to a castle by a lake. The Summer Palace in Chinese is translated to Gardens of Nurtured Harmony and it could not be given a more perfect name. The summer palace is located in the far northwest of Beijing and it was well worth the taxi ride across town and the 30rmb entrance fee.  It is one of the most popular China travel destinations so be ready to fight for photos in some areas. But don’t let other tourist scare you off the summer palace is huge covering 2.9 kilometers of mountainous terrain that is mostly man made! So there is plenty of room to just hang out and enjoy the beauty of this place considering how natural it looks. Or if you are like me there is plenty of room to run around and climb up the hills, rocks and maybe one or two of the buildings for candid photos. It is one of the longest Beijing tours though so bring walking shoes, I had flip flips and I am regretting it today after the hundreds of stair I ended up treading upon. I am told by my friends that the walk we did at the summer palace is second in line to the Great Wall, if that is any indication of how large this park is.

Thankfully the summer palace is next to Kunming Lake which is a refreshing place to take a boat ride or just hang out and eat some ice cream by the water. On the tallest hill by the Temple of Buddhist Virtues is also a great place to take a break and stare out at the city of Beijing. You can even get ice-cream here, don’t ask me how the vendors get it up I could barley carry myself up this steep hill. And if you like art there are also artists at the top of this hill who will draw out your name on paper for 10rmb. The artists are my favorite because they know a bit of English and like to make jokes. For example I said to the one who drew my friends name “This is very beautiful”. She quickly replied “No bamboo E is strength not beautiful, O is Mickey Mouse means money this is beautiful”.  The people you will meet here and the beauty of this hidden palace is well worth the trip but don’t do it right after your Beijing flights land in the afternoon because it is a day trip in itself. Oh and if possible bring extra batteries there are so many photos to take my camera ran out 4 hours in. “Of journeying the benefits are many: the freshness it bringeth to the heart, the seeing and hearing of marvelous things, the delight of beholding new cities, the meeting of unknown friends, and the learning of high manners.” – Muslih-uddin Sadi

How to Succeed in Haggling without really trying

On June 15, 2012, in Beijing, China Attractions, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, by Jack Li

So you can buy Ray Ban’s for 40 RMB (about $6 US) ?[EDIT: I ended up buying them for 20RMB]  Count me in.  This weekend I’m going on a trip to the Silk Market, a world renowned Chinese market where you can buy everything from custom suits, to silk robes, to cell phones.  I recommend you […]

So you can buy Ray Ban’s for 40 RMB (about $6 US) ?[EDIT: I ended up buying them for 20RMB]  Count me in.  This weekend I’m going on a trip to the Silk Market, a world renowned Chinese market where you can buy everything from custom suits, to silk robes, to cell phones.  I recommend you make the trip as well when you travel to Beijing.  Everything can be bargained on which can be intimidating to Westerners who are used to set prices.  I learned how to haggle the hard way in Mexico, but once you get know how you can get anything under the sun for a great price.  I’ll be filling you all in on how my trip goes, but in preparation for me and to help you out with your China travel, let’s go over some haggling basics.

Don’t accept the first or second or third price.  Maybe not even the fourth.  The vendors are very experienced at bargaining, especially with foreigners, and even if an early price sounds good, it isn’t, and there is more money to save.  Don’t think in terms of your local currency, as goods are much cheaper here and anything made in China does not have the shipping costs included in Chinese goods in the West.  Think about what is a good price in China, not what is a good price back home.  Also, keep in mind that vendors will add something to the initial price for foreigners.  Don’t take this to heart though; the vendors are just trying to sell their goods at whatever they think the item is worth to you.  Do your best to keep that number low.

Start with a lower offer then you are willing to pay.  The vendor will start high, and you should start low.  You two can meet in the middle at a price that’s acceptable to the both of you.  Be patient as this will take time.  Have an idea of the maximum price you’re willing to pay for something, and don’t let yourself go over it.  Try not to get attached to any one item, the odds are someone else will have the same thing.

Turn my (Beijing) Swag on!

Don’t be afraid to walk away.  If a vendor sees you leaving and they can offer you a better price, they probably will.  Even if they don’t, another vendor will see that you’re serious about bargaining and willing to walk away, and may give you a better price.

Remember to have fun, and that the two of you are playing a game.  If they offer an absurdly high price, don’t be afraid to start with an absurdly low price and a smile.  Don’t feel bad if they say they aren’t making a profit off of you.  If they can make a sale at a profit they will, and if they can’t make a profit they won’t.  Anything they say is part of the game, you’ll be able to tell what’s true by what they do.  When you travel to Beijing Silk Market or any other market in China, keep calm and haggle on.

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