101 How To Plan For China?

Hello Beautiful People!

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.”
-Martin Buber

I just came back from an amazing but tiring 17 day trip in China! It has been a while since my last adventure, so I was ready to jump in head first to plan for my China adventure. Here are my tips for planning China!

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#1. Where?
Figure out which cities you want to go to and make yourself a list.

My list:
-Beijing
-Xi’an
-Chengdu
-Huanglong/ Jiuzhaigou
-Zhangjiajie
-Shanghai

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#2. How long?
Set yourself a timeframe how long you want to be in China for. Now revisit the list of cities you made and being realistic would you be able to see all of them? Or do you have enough time to add extra cities? I ended up being in China for 17 days.

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#3. Book your return ticket
This may seem too quick but you need to book a ticket in order to get your Chinese visa. Pick cities with a large hub like Beijing or Shanghai as tickets would be cheaper and you have more options of flights to choose from. Sky Scanner will be your best friend! You are able to see what days or months are cheaper to fly in out from. I flew with AirAsia, for Australians keep an eye out for AirAsia deals!

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#4. Apply for your visa
This is probably the most important step! You need to apply for a Chinese visa to be able to get into the country. Each country would have a different system or process, so make sure you check with the consulate. For Australians, I ended up getting a single entry visa for 30 days and it cost around $109 AUD. From my experience, you need to show them a return ticket and your “itinerary” this basically means your accommodation during your time in China. You can do a “dummy booking” just go on booking.com and book a place with a “free cancellation”, once your visa comes you can cancel your booking or if you are happy with the place, you can keep it.

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#5. How many days in each place?
The magic question now is figuring out how many days you want to spend in each city. This would give you a rough idea how realistic your trip would be.

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#6. Transportation 
Once you have decided how many days you are going to be in each city, now you need to do some research on how you are going to get there. Trains are a popular option as it is cheaper and you have a range of trains to choose from such as bullet trains or sleeper trains. Sleeper trains are one of those experiences you must try out while travelling in China. The options for sleeper trains are either soft sleeper (4 beds with curtains) or a hard sleeper (6 beds without curtains). It is also a great way to save on accommodation! Whatever your pick Ctrip will be your best friend when it comes to transportation (both flights and trains) in China!

Here is a list of train types in China

G Trains (high-speed bullet)
D Trains (CRH high-speed)
Z Trains (high-speed sleeper)
T Trains (A/C express)
K Trains (A/C fast train)
L Trains (temporary train)

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#7. Accommodation 
Personally when I’m in a foreign country and English is not the first language, I prefer to stay in a hostel where I can access local help and meet other travellers. Another thing with hostels is that they offer tours and activities at a cheap rate which can be useful. Booking my hostels was through Booking.com.

Here is the list of hostels I’ve stayed in China:
-Beijing Peking Yard Hostel
-Xi’an Xi’an See Tang Hostel
-Chengdu Chengdu Lazybones Hostel Templeside Poshpacker
-Huanglong/ Jiuzhaigou Jiuzhaigou Ink Memory Holiday Hotel
-Zhangjiajie Zhangjiajie Maosao Inn
-Shanghai Shanghai Rock & Wood International Youth Hostel

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In terms of figuring out the itinerary of what to see and do, don’t be too specific as things change and anything can happen. Keep in general with a few attractions you want to see and go along from that.

AND congratulations, you have planned your trip to China!!! Well… at least the important parts! Who said you need to be on a complete tour guide when travelling around China?!

Now it’s just packing, too easy!

Till next time, -M

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