China - Final thoughts, Costs & Awards !!!!

Trip Start May 10, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mingtown People's Square

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Sunday, July 31, 2011

What can I say the time has flew by and we have finished our month in China, its been amazing we both really loved it - at times without a doubt been challenging due to the language barrier - mainly in booking those dam train tickets though!!  

Costs - Our Daily Budget in the end was £52 per day for 2 of us
- Cost of double rooms vary from £6 in small town of Yangshou to £24 a night in Beijing
- Average cost of a hard sleeper train ticket was £25, soft sleeper is £45 but hard sleepers are more than fine for travelling on
- When haggling for anything take the price you give you and divide by 4 at least- always check a few diff stalls and also shop at the higher levels in the big stores as the higher up the floors you go the cheaper things get.
- Defo do the great wall tour at Mutianyu section its amazing and wasn't too touristy 
- Cost of street food meals would be around £1-£2 for a stir fry or rice dish each & in restaurants you could get a meal and a beer for around £3-4 each depending on what you ordered 
- Large bottles of local beer were £1 and a packet of 20 cigs of the local brand ranged from 19p in some areas to 50p

 And finally one other thing I have battled with ... You hate everything you bring with you on a RTW trip. No matter how useful it is, it´s heavy !!!!!  I spend half my time trying to look for things to offload - we have 50L packs and they are more than enough to carry when full !

I hijacked this idea from another blog - thought it might be worth a wee laugh - here is our awards for China !

Best Hostel: Monkey Jane's, Yangshou cause it was party central with good staff
Worst Hostel: Leo Hostel Beijing the service, damp rooms & mice sucked

Worst toilet: :
Marc: Zhangjiajie bus station - mouldy shit up walls, flies, no lights, no door handle and it stunk
Amanda: Definately the trough type no door sqats at bus stations

Closest Near-Death Experience
Marc: Falling off his bike on the city walls in Xi'an
Amanda: My old flip flops were death traps around water (Marc promptly bought me a new pair)
Worst Sickness: 
Amanda: Diarrhea in Yangshou (only squats available which I had so far avoided for this)
Marc:  Throwing up noodles whilst steaming drunk at Monkey Janes
Most Hilarious Fashion On Locals: The slogan T-shirts they wore with bad translations
Most Hilarious Fashion on Travellers: A chinese tourist with a mexican hat in Tiannamen Square ??

Drunkest Moment: 
Marc:  Yangshou - drinking games and falling over !!
Amanda:  CC Club in Chengdu I was reeking after all that whisky

Earliest Wakeup: 6am for the Great wall tour

Worst Bus/train journey: 
Marc: A "Hard seat" overnight train journey from Lizou to Zhangjiajie due to fully booked trains
Amanda: Close call with the hard seat but the sleeper with the spoilt annoying kid came close

Most ´Interesting´ Journey:
Marc:  First sleenper bus from Shenzhen to Yanghsou - no english except the songs they were playing that were filthy rude old english party tunes neck, my back, lick my ?? then my ?? so funny they were trying to sing along.
Amanda: The high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing just for the geek factor !
Biggest Regret: 
Marc: Not staying for longer
Amanda: Mine is the same we loved it there be great to spend longer
Most Amazing Sight: 
Marc:  Great Wall
Amanda: Li River in Yanghshou came a close second

Best Experience:
Marc:  DJ'ing in Hong Kong and Chengdu
Amanda: Great wall &  Zhangjiajie National Park was great
Favourite Animal Seen: 
Marc: the Pandas
Amanda:  Pandas defo 

Biggest WTF Am I Doing Here Moment: 
Marc:  Sitting in Liuzhou train station no ticket and no english...Lost in Transit entry
Amanda: Definately the same the place wasnt even in Lonely Planet
Biggest Idiot: 
Marc:  Receptionist at Leo Hostel - she was terrbile 
Amanda: The spoilt kid on the train kicking my bunk and keeping us awake (maybe thats more the parents fault)

Worst Scam Fallen For: Buying Terracotta Warrier souvenir statues for £5 when they were only £1 nearer the gate haha

First thing we did in China:  get a beer while waiting on the bus at Shenzhen
Funniest Translation: "Manual Dumplings" sign on a cafe - think it was meant to say Home made Dumplings

Favourite Place:. 
Marc: Shanghai, great food & skyline was amazing
Amanda:  Yangshou as it was small enough to walk round and the scenery was stunning
Worst Food: 
Marc: None he loved it all - typical lol
Amanda: Finding a cow eyelid with hair on in my noodles at some train station !!

Best New Food: 
Marc:  NOODLES IN YANGSHOU for 30p soo tasty
Amanda:  Defo the noodles but the dumpling were tasty too

Worst Sleep:
Marc: Hard Seat overnight train - sleep was not possible !
Amanda: Defo the same
Best Sleep:
Marc: Zhangjiajie the hostel & bed sheets were great 
Amanda: Defo same
Most Useless Item Brought with us: 
Marc: Cannot think of nothing !
Amanda: My hoody !! Its only been on twice

Most Useful Item Brought: 
Marc:  Swiss Army knife :-)
Amanda: My geek shoes they are just sooo comfy we have done soo much walking about !
Most Missed Item: 
Marc:  Macbook Pro laptop
Amanda: Strongbow!!
Biggest Achievement: 
Marc: Getting a DJ gig in every country so far - Goa, Hong Kong & Chengdu
Amanda: Getting the train tickets booked for every destination in China haha - Language barrier!

Things we will miss the most:
- Without a double the street food mainly the noodles
- Just not knowing what the next place would be like everywhere was so different
- Hotpots in Chengdu
- The scenery in so many places was amazing
- The inquisitive nature of the people we met that did speak some English - they were fascinated by us it was so nice to talk with them and see how happy they were just to speak to us
- Having boiling water on tap on trains and in hostels for our instant noodles, tea n coffee

Things we will not miss at all:
- The language barrier & booking train tickets
- The sheer rudeness of people as a whole they just barge by you, step on you, don't queue for anything but individually they were all really nice and polite. 
- Squat toilets without doors
- The spoiled noisy hyperactive kids 
- Having to haggle for absolutely everything
- Slow internet connections that mean you cant skype properly
- Most of all the huge Chinese tour groups and their leaders microphones in your ears

Some tips and costs for other travellers!
- Train tickets go on sale 10 days before your departure date so book asap
- Make sure your taxi always uses the meter
- Get a International Youth Hostel card it saves a fair bit on rooms
- Eat the street food its amazing
- Learn the basic phrases for food and things e.g beef noodles not only are you guaranteed to be able to eat when no english menu but they love it when you try to speak chinese it will cause instant giggling from the staff which is hilarious caue

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marilyn on

now that makes for very interesting reading full marks to you both

sara on

Great post! My husband and I are thinking of going to China but are afraid of the language thing too. What app or book did you use? How did you book train tickets, in person or online?

Gadgie on

A Swiss Army Knife is ALWAYS a good purchase!

mandibee on

The app that we used was called Lingopal & the other one was ktdict-c-e - they were just free apps but they were useful for finding the loo and using one words lol

Always remember to lift a business card of your hotel so you can show the taxi drivers to get back

charliekelli on

I like the awards... we did that on our blog too. did you steal it from us?

Alissa on

What type of bag do you have? What brand and size? Does it have wheels?

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