Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Overview of our trip to China

Hal and I are back safely and soundly from our amazing trip to China. It seriously was one of the best trips that we've ever been on. We had a blast the entire time!

I'll definitely do individual posts for all of the things we did, but I thought I'd do a brief overview in case you're wondering what to do on your trip to China, with some helpful tips.

Day 1: Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square
Day 2: Train Station and Olympic Buildings
Day 3: Summer Palace and Pearl Market and travel to Xi'an
Day 4: Terracotta Warriors
Day 5: Sleep In and Wander around Xian and travel back to Beijing
Day 6: The Great Wall at Mutianyu and fly home

1. Chinese don't like lines. If you don't fight to hold your spot in line you'll definitely get pushed out of the way and be the last one anywhere.
2. Buy your train tickets days in advance, and if they try to sell you a train ticket without a seat number, that means you're standing, so don't do it and get another train. We are poor and didn't went to the station ourselves to save money, but pay the extra $5 and have someone book them for you, and then you can make sure they're booked early. And get to the station early!
3. Look everything up before you go. Their internet is filtered, and google is so hard to use when you find the link for the information you need, and the page won't load because it's blocked.  Look up all of the routes and information you might need ahead of time.
4. You might want to bring a scarf or something to cover your face with sometimes. Everyone smokes, and I got really tired of smelling it all of the time (especially on the train)
5. Chinese people spit (read hawk loogies) all the time. beware of the spit.
6. If you're concerned about finding where you're going, find a way to get it written in Chinese to show to people on the street, or the bus, or wherever you are.
7. Take local transport over doing group tours. It will save you so much money! Our hotel charged $53 to go to the wall. We payed around $12 round trip(including the ticket to get onto the wall). You also get a little more of the real Chinese experience this way.
8. Beware of people who approach you at popular tourist destinations and speak English. They are usually trying to scam you.
9. Eat street food and eat yogurt you see in little brown ceramic jars everywhere. They're delicious!
10. Always barter. They start real real high, so my biggest tip is to pick how much you want to pay and don't budge from that number. If you start coming up then they know you're willing to pay more. Hal bartered for some chopsticks, the lady wanted 150 RMB for them, Hal said 40. He said 40 for probably close to 10 minutes before she agreed, and then he only had 35 RMB on him, and she gave it to him for 35 RMB. Stick to your guns, and they'll come way down.

And now I will awe you with beautiful pictures of China.


Ashley said...

China? Wow!!! I love your list. Maybe I need to visit...I don't like lines either :-)

Torrie said...

Fun post! I've always wanted to go to China, but I'm worried because I don't know the language. But now, seeing these pictures...I might just have to get over my fear of not being able to communicate :)

Amy Hansen said...


Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

The photos look amazing!!

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