Document Sample
travelinginchina-w-o-pics-revised-2-22-08 Powered By Docstoc
					          Traveling in China
            Where to Go and What to See

Presented by Danielle Rinke and Stephen Kushner, C12’s
     Topics for Discussion
• Traveling Cheap
• Safety & Tips
• Trip Suggestions Galore
          Traveling Cheap
• A budget is defined by YOU, the
  individual (i.e. what luxuries can you
  live without)
  –   Private hotel room/bathroom
  –   Food
  –   Alcohol
  –   Souvenirs
  –   Transportation
  –   Travel Itinerary
               Chinese Hotels
• Don‟t be afraid to stay at local hotels - sometimes they‟re
  cheaper than Hostels
• Do you need a private bathroom?
   – Bring a small wash cloth, ask for a water basin, and
   – Are you okay with a squat toilet?
• Do you need a private room?
   – Often times at Chinese hotels you will end up by
     yourself in a dormitory style room
• Always ask to see the room before paying
• Sometimes a triple is cheaper than a double
• Bargain for rooms. The prices listed are always more
• NOTE: If a PCV lives in the area, give them an email or call,
  even if you don‟t know them well. Most likely, they‟ll be
  happy to host you and help save you a little money
      Hostel Hotel Websites
• Tip: Search for the hotel on the
  internet to find a phone number. Do
  your reservation by phone and save
  yourself online and cancellation fees
• How important is that western meal to
  you? A cup of Starbucks?
  – Prioritize what western food you really crave
    and must have. Deny yourself! You‟re in
    China for only two years, then you can gorge
    back home in America
  – Limit how many Chinese dish restaurants you
    go to - they add up
  – Eat simple to-go meals - dumplings, noodles,
    local street vendors, etc
  – A local grocery can be your best friend for
    small snacks and fruit
  – Pack your own food and avoid tourist
    restaurant venues when seeing sites
• How much is enough?
  – Limit your intake
  – Can you settle with a Chinese beer or do you
    want a western cocktail?
  – Get a better drink first, then go cheaper as
    you drink - you won‟t taste the difference
  – Drink with the locals. It‟s fun and they usually
    insist on paying (don‟t feel guilty)!
• You may despise doing this, but bargain!
  – Locals like it when you bargain
  – Don‟t buy the first thing you see or from the
    first vendor
  – Think…do I really want or need this?
  – Be cutthroat about prices - “low-ball them”.
    You won‟t offend the seller and it will quickly
    give you an idea of a final price
  – Have patience! If you lose this, you‟ll pay a lot
  – If you‟re staying for a couple days, walk away
    and come back another time
• Be flexible!
• Traveling gets to be expensive. Think about all
  your options. Consider time and methods
   – Around town, do you really need a taxi? Or
     could you take the bus or walk?
• Look at how much travel time you have. This will
  determine what kind of transportation you may
   – If no immediate hard sleeper tickets are
     available, will you consider other alternatives?
• Some places can only be reached by bus,
  especially remote areas
   – Can you handle bumpy roads or a sleeper bus?
   – Some places can‟t be reached by train or
    Transportation Websites
• Train:
• Plane:
• If you have a debit card or credit card, you can order an
  e-ticket online without having to go to a travel agency
    – This is great for those who don‟t live in major
      metropolitan areas and can‟t get access to paper
    – Very small international transaction fee
• Print out the reservation number just in case
• Show your passport at the airport check-in
• is what Chinese tourist agencies use and set
  prices by
• Search on a daily basis. Sometimes you can get the
  cheapest price prior to 15 days before flying. However, 15
  days is typically the magic number for the cheapest price,
  along with what day you choose to leave during the week
• You may not get a confirmation email or phone call, so
  check your credit/debit card account online to see if the
  transaction went through. The in-country phone number
  provided on the website also works well and the
  telephone receptionists speak good English
               Travel Itinerary
• Use common sense, plan your trip accordingly
• Plan a route that flows, not one that discombobulated
   – Don‟t backtrack if you can avoid it
   – Travel by region
• Stick to your schedule when possible
• Evaluate how many days you are willing to use traveling
  versus time saved by spending a little more money
   – Sometimes flying is more, but you save days and hassle,
      while only paying a little bit more
• Be flexible! Sometimes you find you may want to stay at a
  place longer, can‟t see a location, or want to add a new
  side stop to your itinerary. Don‟t worry, just let the office
  know if you make a major change
• TIP: If obscure, less traveled locations are your thing, check
  out the Lonely Planet website Thorn-tree posts or this site as
  a starting point for ideas:
• Keep all PC numbers on-hand, all the time, along
  with PCV friend numbers
• Keep your passport handy
• Let others know, besides the PC Office, where and
  when you‟ll be gone (i.e. family, friends, & school)
• Travel with a buddy
• Money
   – Don‟t put all your money in one place
   – Don‟t use a wallet. Thieves can see it in your
   – Keep big bills in one pocket, smaller ones in
     another (when people see bigger bills, they‟ll try
     to make you pay more)
   – Go to a bank teller window and ask for smaller
     denominations before traveling
   – Keep your money in your front pockets
• You hear this all the time, but watch how much
  you drink. Know your drinking limit, don‟t push it
• Trust your gut instinct, it‟s usually right
   – If it doesn‟t look safe, it probably isn‟t
   – If you feel uncomfortable, leave!
• Don‟t stay out too late in unfamiliar places
• Traveling with less means you are less likely to be
   – Take less valuables (i.e. laptop, jewelry, etc)
   – In crowded places, keep an eye on your bag.
     Have a firm grip on it or wear it in front of you
   – Keep your valuables in hard to reach places
• Leave your luggage or expensive items at the front
  desk when leaving your hotel room
• Don‟t be too paranoid. China is safer than many
  other countries, and a lot of locals ARE trustworthy
             Additional Tips
• Have a photocopy of your passport & visa with you
• Bring any photo ID to use for student discounts
• Travel light! There‟s a reason why HCNs only have
  one small bag - adapt!
   – Re-wear clothing and layer! You don‟t need a
      million outfits
   – Hand wash your clothes. This service is expensive
      at hotels
• Make a small travel medicine kit of the essentials you
  know you‟ll use
• Pack ahead of time OR make a list of things you
  need. Otherwise, you‟ll forget something or pack
  something you don‟t need
• Bring a book to read, there‟s a lot of down time
• Don‟t over plan your trips, it‟s nice to have some R&R
              Additional Tips
• Plan your day appropriately for YOU
   – If you like to sleep in, make sure you get to where
      you want or need on time, otherwise you waste
   – Keep in mind temples/museums open early and
      close early. Try to start your day early, and chill in
      the evening (i.e. many places close by 5PM)
   – Many buses only run once a day, usually mornings
• Keep TP/tissue & hand sanitizer handy at all times
• When traveling in cold weather, keep batteries near
  your body. Your body heat helps them last a lot
• Try to have your travel arrangements to the next
  location prepared at least one day in advance
   – Many hostels can book for you in larger cities
   – When traveling during major holidays, being able
      to purchase a return ticket one day prior to the
      holiday beginning saves a lot of stress
             Additional Tips
• Turn off all outlets in your home before leaving (i.e.
  water heaters, computer, etc)
• If you have plants, water before leaving and find a
  responsible person to care for them while gone
• Clean your home before leaving to travel. It‟s nice
  coming home to a clean house
• Have someone check on your place while you‟re
  gone. Thieves love the holidays since they know
  people travel - especially during Spring Festival
• Having a cell phone, if only for traveling, can be a
• Bring a small flashlight & ear plugs
• Have enough money on-hand when traveling to
  more remote areas. There won‟t always be a bank
• Don‟t always rely on LPG. Do some research on the
  internet, there are a lot of cool places not mentioned
  in guide books
      Trip Suggestions Galore
•   Northern Xinjiang      •   Guizhou
•   Southern Xinjiang      •   Kunming
•   Xizang (Tibet)         •   Northern Yunnan
•   Qinghai                •   Southern Yunnan
•   Gansu                  •   Hainan
•   Xi‟an                  •   Guilin (Yangshuo)
•   Ningxia                •   Southern Treaty Ports
•   Northern Sichuan       •   Shanghai
•   Western Sichuan        •   Hangzhou
•   Chengdu and vicinity   •   Suzhou
•   Chongqing              •   Shandong
•   Fenghuang, Hunan       •   Beijing
          Northern Xinjiang
• Time: Allow 9-10 days total
• Places: Urumqi, Tian Chi, Turpan, Kashgar,
  Karakul Lake
• Getting There: Trains leave from Chengdu,
  Xi‟an, Chongqing, or anywhere along the
  railroad in Gansu province to Urumqi

NOTE: The sun is more intense, sunscreen is highly
recommended in this area. Outside of summer,
evenings can also become very cool being a
desert climate
• Why: To get anywhere in Xinjiang, you must pass through this
  provincial capital
• Hotel: Ya’ou Binguan - next to train station. Dorms are bare
  essential and grim, but you‟ll most likely get the whole three-
  bed room to yourself (Y40). No shower available for a dorm -
  must upgrade to a twin room. Front desk safely holds
  luggage while out. Kongque Dasha has also been highly
  recommended, but is more expensive
• Time: 1 day or layovers for next stop
• Things To Do:
   – Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Museum (Y30) - a must if
      you like Silk Road history and want to see mummies
   – People‟s Park (free) - relaxing, fun to watch/join local
      Uighurs dancing, see local artists paint, and watch old
      men fish
   – Wuyi Night Market - mutton kebobs, shao kao bread, and
      keg beer are tops
   – Pick up a bottle (or two) of Lou Lan wine - best wine for
      the buck in China (Y37-40) and is only available in Xinjiang
          Tian Chi (Heaven Lake)
• Why: Beautiful lake nestled in pine covered mountains, to
  sleep in a yurt!
   – If you do not mind being rushed on a day trip and can
     get away from the hordes of Chinese tourists, the lake is
     a scenic walk along the waterfront in either direction
   – Make the climb up (unless you want to save time by
     taking a lift) and save yourself money
   – Bring warm clothes - the elevation makes it cold
• To/From: North gate of People‟s Park in Urumqi. Tour buses
  leave between 9-9:30AM (Y50/person roundtrip). Bus
  leaves park 4-4:30PM. If you want to stay the night, you
  may have to pay for another ticket on a return bus the
  next day
• Hotel: A yurt! Don‟t worry, Rashit will find YOU and his
  English is excellent (Y40 including meals)
   – Rashit‟s yurts are tucked away around a bend about a
     quarter away around the right-hand side of the lake
• Entrance Fee: Y90/person
• Time: 1-1.5 days
• Why: Second hottest and second lowest land depression
  in the world, imagine bustling cities while meandering
  through ruins, Uighur minority
• To/From: Urumqi nanjiao bus station. No train station near
  Turpan and it‟s easier to go back to Urumqi to catch a
• Hotel: Jiaotong Binguan - next to bus station. You won‟t
  find cheaper rooms in town (Y25). Dorms are very clean
  and there are hot showers down the hall
• Hire a private car through an agency (there are a few in
  the bus station lobby). CITS tours take you on a whirlwind
  showcase of 8 stops with little time at each one. Private
  car should be Y100-150/person all day
    – Tuyok - a must see! Old Uighur community, dried
      grapes, and Buddhist grottoes
    – Gaochang Ruins - best parts are in the back and far
      corner of ruins away from tourists
    – Flaming Mountains - have the driver slow down, it‟s not
      worth paying for a ticket for only a few pictures
• Jiaohe Ruins
   – Roundtrip taxi for under Y50. Couldn‟t find place to
     rent bicycles
   – Well preserved ruins
   – Once entering the gate into the actual ruins, take a
     harp sharp off the main path. You can get a much
     better view of the ruins away from tourists. Eventually a
     worker may see you and wave you down
• Emin Minaret
   – One of the most amazing mosques in all of China
   – It‟s a short nice walk on the edge of town. Locals don‟t
     speak Chinese, so show a picture of it from your LPG -
     they‟ll point you in the right direction
   – Try to go in the morning for best picture light
• Entrance Fees: All places are Y30-40
• Time: 2 days
• Other Things To Do: Food (pilo (pilaf), nan, etc), relax and
  watch a water show at the city square at night
                   Kashgar (Kashi)
• Why: Great vibe in a laid back Uighur environment, completely
  different from the rest of China, the Sunday Market, its Old Town
• To/From: 30+ hour train ride from Urumqi - hard sleeper tickets are
  limited. Overnight bus is a shorter journey, more buses are
  available daily, and ride on a paved highway (International Bus
  Station in Kashgar; nanjiao in Urumqi)
• Hotel: Seman Binguan - cheapest place (Y20) for foreigners and
  is a nice walk across town. Dorms are very basic. Tiannan
  Fandian is across from the local bus station, but will set you back
  Y100 for a double
• Time: 1.5-2 days
• Things To Do:
    – Id Kah Mosque - one of the best mosques in China
    – Old Town - enter the larger section from the Night Market and
       you‟ll get to see the area for free
    – Sunday Market - great to wander about on any day, but
       swells up to 50K on Sunday
    – Livestock Market - best day to go is Sunday
    – Window/Stall shop for instruments, carpets, fabrics, etc
• NOTE: Local time is two hours behind Beijing time
     Karakul Lake (Kara Hu)
• Why: Breathtaking scenery along the Karakoram Hwy,
  solitude next to a stark lake and snow capped peaks
• To/From: Long distance bus station (Y37) in Kashgar.
  One bus leaves 10:30AM, local time. Catch a
  morning bus going to Kashgar alongside the road
  (Y40). Private taxi can be hired for a day trip (Y200)
• Hotel: Yurt (40Y including meals)
• Time: 1.5 days
• Entrance Fee: None - locals may try to make you pay
  for a “ticket”, but most yurt owners will tell you it‟s free
• Bring warm clothing - it gets cold and windy!
• Bring extra water if you don‟t want to drink kaishui
• Peaceful hikes/walks can be found everywhere
          Southern Xinjiang
• Time: Allow 7 days total
• Places: Yengisar, Yarkand, Karghilik, Hotan
• Getting There: Trains leave from Chengdu, Xi‟an,
  Chongqing, or anywhere along the railroad in
  Gansu province to Urumqi. From Kashgar, bus to
  Yengisar. From Urumqi, bus to Hotan

NOTE: The sun is more intense, sunscreen is highly
recommended in this area. Outside of summer,
evenings can also become very cool being a
desert climate. There is a good chance that
time will be local, not Beijing time - ask before
purchasing tickets
        Yengisar (Yingjisha)
• Why: Knife shops and see where Uighur knives
  are made, split up the short ride to Yarkand
• Getting There: 1.5hr bus ride from Kashgar
• Hotel: Ask or look around to possibly find one,
  but most likely you‟ll only spend several hours
  before getting on another bus to Yarkand
• Time: .5-1 day
• Things To Do:
   – Shop around for knives - prices are similar to
     that of Kashgar, but you can soak in the local
   – Knife factory - watch knives being handmade
     in primitive fashion
       • Chinese - xiaodaochang
       • Uighur - pichak chilik karakhana
           Yarkand (Shache)
• Why: To relax and enjoy the character of this small town, local
  Sunday market
• Getting There: Bus from either Kashgar or Yengisar
• Hotel: Sache Binguan (Y240) - expensive as heck but it‟s only
  the place that foreigners are currently allowed to stay in. The
  hotel is about 1.5km from the bus station
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Walk around - old town can be difficult to find, but is
      worth seeking out. LPG doesn‟t cover much on this place,
      which means there is more to explore on your own
   – Altyn Mosque complex (Y10) - use this site as a means to
      find old town, and check out a local mosque
   – Tombs - great area to reconnoiter as there are also walks
      outside of town
   – Sunday market - smaller than Kashgar‟s and Hotan‟s
      market, but still fun to shop around
        Karghilik (Yecheng)
• Why: To break up the journey to/from Hotan,
  explore local markets and old town
• Getting There: Bus from either Yarkand or Hotan
• Hotel: Jiaotong Binguan (Y40) - next to bus
  station and local police tend to „encourage‟
  foreigners to stay here
• Time: 1 day
• Things To Do:
   – Explore - of course, that is what this journey is
     about. So check out the old town and Friday
     Mosque (Jama Masjid), a 15th-century
     mosque surrounded by a bazaar
   – Charbagh – nearby town (short taxi ride)
     Karghilik has a decent market
• Why: A Sunday market that rivals Kashgar‟s, carpet and silk
  factories, ruins, to cross the famed Taklamakan Desert
• Getting There: Bus from Karghilik, or sleeper bus to/from Urumqi
  (20-25hrs, Y330-220 respectively). Try to time the departures so
  you can see the desert (i.e. the slower bus may be better for this).
  Stock up on snacks and water for this long trip
• Hotel: Happy Hotel (Y30) - best place due to location and owners
  are really nice
• Time: 3 days (including desert bus journey)
• Things To Do:
   – Sunday Market - obviously the best day to go is Sunday, but
      any day is still worthwhile. Less toured by Chinese and
   – Silk and Carpet Factories - interesting to watch locals
      produce their trade. Some places can be reached via taxi or
      bus in/outside town. Check your LPG
   – Yotkan Ruins (Y15, Y30/roundtrip taxi) & Melikawat Ruins (Y10,
      Y75/roundtip taxi) - both offer remnants of ancient cities
   – You may have to pay a small fee to take pictures at the ruins
             Xizang (Tibet)
• Time: Allow 10-11 days total
• Places: Lhasa and area, Nam-tso, Reting
  Monastery, Drigung Til Monastery, Tidrum
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi‟an,
  Chongqing, or anywhere in Gansu province, to

NOTE: Bring sunscreen, higher elevation
makes the sun more intense! Pack
according to the season, it can be cool in
the evenings
• Why: Holiest place in all of Tibetan Buddhism, see thousands
  of Tibetans make a holy pilgrimage, to participate in a kora,
  active monasteries
• Hotel: There are many places to choose from, but the most
  liked by PCVs have been Yak Hotel, Banak Shol, and
  Snowlands (Y20-25). The IYH can book train tickets. Book your
  stay ahead of time since places fill quickly
• Time: 5-6 days
• Being at a higher elevation, take it easy the first few days and
  drink lots of water to become acclimated
• Things To Do:
    – Explore - there are many smaller monasteries/temples
      throughout the Tibetan quarter outside the main Barkhor
      circuit. These are the real gems of Lhasa that are often
      overlooked by tourists and offer a warm welcome being
      smaller monasteries/temples
    – Lingkor Kora - circuit that follows Old Lhasa. Great way to
      get used to the elevation. There are wonderful old rock
      carvings off the path, so keep your eyes open – they are
      at the base of the hill and covered in prayer flags
   – Barkhor - recommended first circuit to hit for all the
      imagery, sounds, and bargaining markets. It‟s the heart of
   – Jokhang (Y70) - heavily toured, but it‟s the most revered
      religious building in all of Tibet
   – Potala Kora - the inside of the palace feels empty and
      exploited, so taking in the views is best recommended on
      a circuit around it
   – Food - chang (barley beer) and cha ngam (sweet tea -
      much different from yak butter tea) are locals drinks to
      check out. Keep an eye out for shops overlooking the
      Barkhor, opposite the Jokhang - great people watching
   – Folk Music Bar - just outside Banak Shol, is a nice place to
      listen to Tibetan musicians during the evenings. Pick up an
      instrument and accompany the artist
• Sera Monastery (Y35 with „student‟ ID): Another large
  monastery with a wonderful kora, and spectacular views of
  Lhasa, Potala, and Sera itself at a statue of Tsongkhapa, a
  climb behind the monastery
     Getting There: Take minibuses No 502 or 503
• Pabonka Monastery & Chupsang Nunnery - both are less than
  an hour walk from Sera and are both well worth the visit to
  see places less visited. Arrive around noon at Chupsang and
  listen to chanting at the main hall
    – Getting There: Take minibuses No 502 or 503 to Sera. Just
       before the military hospital, near a bend, get off the bus
• Drepung Monastery (Y45 with „student‟ ID): See at one time
  what was the world‟s largest monastery
    – Getting There: Get on a minibus from Barkhor Square for
    – If looking for a different experience, hop a wall to the left
       of the entrance at the parking lot. About another 200m
       forward, jump another wall and go to a rocky ravine.
       Climb the crease (it‟s not an easy climb), and eventually
       you will make it to a sun-drenched grassy clearing that has
       a small waterfall at the end of it. Go for a dip, dry in the
       Tibetan sun, and have a snack
• Ganden Monastery (Y25-40): A must see for Lhasa with a
  scenic kora. Ganden is the first Gelugpa monastery and is
  the seat of this Buddhist order
   – Getting There - Pilgrim buses leave Barkhor Square from
      6:30-7AM, and return at 2PM (Y20/return). Get there early
      if you want a seat or buy your ticket the day before at a
      ticket kiosk on the south side of the Jokhang
• Samye Monastery (Y40) - see where the Buddhist faith first
  settled down and grew roots
   – To understand the design of Samye, one needs to climb
      the hill behind it to see the 3-D mandala
   – Getting There: Y40 bus from Barkhor Square at 8AM. Drops
      you at the ferry (Y3-10 depending on „foreigner‟ price),
      and then jump on a truck or tractor (Y3) for a 9km trip
   – NOTE: Permits are impossible to get unless going through
      an agency. You may or may not get caught. Just play
      stupid and be nice, and you can bargain it down a lot
• There are monastery guesthouses available at both Ganden
  and Samye (Y20-40) if you choose to stay for an evening
  Five-day Land Cruiser Trek
• Why:
   – Nam-tso - beautiful turquoise lake with 7000m snowcapped
     mountains as a backdrop
   – Reting Monastery - where the Dalai Lama would retire upon
     his return to Tibet
   – Drigung Til Monastery (Y25) - better preserved monastery
     following the Cultural Revolution and head of the Kagyupa
   – Tidrum Nunnery (Y5) - wonderful hot-springs to bathe in
• Getting There: Hire a Land Cruiser for ~sY2800 (~Y550/person)
   – Inspect the vehicle before leaving (i.e. is the 4-wheel drive
     and differential lock okay? Is there a spare tire? Does it leak
     gas? Etc.)
   – Make sure everything is clear in the contract and whether the
     total cost includes entrance fees, special permits, etc
   – Above all, meet with the driver beforehand and treat him
     with respect. Be friendly and include him on stuff, it‟ll only
     make your trip that much more enjoyable
• Hotels: Discuss accommodations with your contractor
• Time: 5 days
• Time: Allow 10 days total
• Places: Xining, Ta’er Si, Qinghai Hu, Tongren,
  Yushu, Nangchen
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi‟an,
  Chongqing, or anywhere in Gansu province, to
  Xining, using Xining as the start/finish point
   – The trip can also be done one-way to
     Chengdu or Xining via bus, but will take
     around 11 days from start to finish

NOTE: Again bring Sunscreen. Sunburns are the
 worst when traveling.
• Why: Must pass through this city to go anywhere in Qinghai, a
  balance between Han, Hui, and Tibetan peoples
• Hotel: Post Hotel (Y10-14) - cheapest in town and near both the train
  and bus stations. If booked full, there are hotels down from the long-
  distance bus station (Y20-30)
• Time: 2 days
• Ta’er Si - very touristy, but nice to stroll around, especially around the
  kora above the complex. Don‟t bother buying the entrance ticket,
  there are many other buildings you can enter without it and you will
  see better temples
    – Getting There: Near the West Gate are taxis (Y6/person). Same
      fee for return
• Qinghai Hu (Y40 with „student‟ ID) - EXTREMELY full of Chinese tourists,
  but bird island (niao dao) is peaceful to walk around once away
  from people. Don‟t bother going to the observation deck
    – Getting There: Y100 on a tour group. You spend very little time at
      the lake/island, but it‟s the only way to get there cheaply. Book
      a ticket at a hotel
• Other Things To Do: Qinghai Provincial Museum (Y15) - great exhibits;
  city square - near the West Gate and full of tulips; browse through
  Shuijing Xiang Market or the market across the long-distance bus
  station for trinkets
• Why: Wonderful Buddhist complexes, watch masters and students
  study and paint thangkas, to purchase a thangka where they‟re
• Getting There: 4hr bus from Xining (Y30)
• Hotel: Sanxin Binguan or Huangnan Binguan (Y15) - town is pretty
  small and easy to navigate for either place. The prior offers cheap
  singles (Y60) with hot water
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
    – Bring a book to read and relax, in any one of the monastery
    – Rongwo Gonchen Gompa - wander through a giant maze of
      buildings, listen to monks debate, watch monks go about their
      daily life, sit and chat - they‟re very friendly in this monastery,
      especially the keeper of the main hall a top the hill
    – Wutun Si - complex is currently adding more structures and is nice
      to walk about. This is where thangkas are painted and you can
      watch students at work
        • Prices: Small two/three tone (Y300), small many tone (Y1000),
           large two/three tone (Y400), large many tone (Y1200), small
           gold tone (Y900), large gold tone (Y1200); with silk border
           add Y200-300
        • Getting There: Taxi can be hired for Y10 at most, one-way
            Yushu (Jyekundo)
• Why: See where Princess Wenchang married King Songsten
  Gampo, local gov‟t supports local Tibetans, watch Tibetans bully
  Han and Hui, buy an aphrodisiac worm, see a community alive
  with Tibetan culture, monks, and nuns, one of the biggest statues
  you will ever see, fantastic scenery on the bus ride
• Getting There: 20hr dirty and cold sleeper bus from Xining. Buy
  your ticket one day in advance to/from (~Y160)
• Hotel: Labu Monastery Hotel (Y20) - receptionists are friendly and
  rooms are simple. Very hot, private showers are available for free
  in the hotel courtyard
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Walking around - soak in the Tibetan environment in this
       Amdo region. The streets are covered with Tibetans, monks,
       and nuns on cell phones, motorcycles, running machines, etc.
       The monasteries feel alive, not empty
   – Jyekundo Dondrubling Monastery - it‟s a climb, but the
       complex gives wonderful panoramas of Yushu. Monks are
       very friendly and there‟s a kora behind the buildings
   – Sengze Gyanak Mani - the world‟s largest pile of prayer
       stones, over 2 billion! Catch bus No 1 or 2 to get there (Y1)
        Yushu (Jyekundo)
– Princes Wenchen Temple: Impressively carved statues in the
  mountainside and prayer flag covered canyon pass. The
  monastery is a small school and full of young studying-to-be
  monks who are extremely friendly and talkative. Class begins
  by blowing a conch shell
     • To/From: Minibus near the bus station (Y4/way) leaves
       around 10AM, returns around 1PM. If you‟re lucky, the
       monks there may give you a ride back into town, while
       making quick stops at the two temples along the way
     • Go for a walk behind the temple in the pastures. You‟ll
       eventually come to a small Tibetan school with children
       ranging from 5-15 yrs old. The teachers are happy to see
       foreigners and talk to you
– Zhira Gompa - about a 30-minute walk back up the road to a
  small monastery backed into cliffs and carvings, with stunning
  mountain scenery in the background
– Trangu Gompa - small temple with many pagodas covering
  its hillside.
     • To/from: Catch the return bus back to town from Zhira
       Gompa to the complex. Taxi is Y50 back to or roundtrip
       from town, no less
• Why: A remote Tibetan town that most foreigners will never see,
  back entrance into Chomdo region (eastern Tibet), wonderful
  vibe from the town and locals, breathtaking vistas along the ride
• Getting There: 5.5hr minivan ride (Y40) outside Yushu bus station.
  Get there around 8AM
• Hotel: Nangqian Binguan (Y30) - only hotel in town for foreigners
• Time: 1.5-2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Explore! This is really the only thing to do in town. Everywhere
      the town is alive with Tibetans
   – Watch locals play billiards in town across from the drop-off
      point for minivans
   – Stroll along the river and watch families do laundry
   – Meander about the many rebuilt and new temples in town
   – Gander at locals piling new prayer stones
   – Amble about the edge of town in the countryside for
      stunning scenery
• Places: Tianshui, Xiahe, Zhangye,
  Jiayuguan, Dunhuang
• Time: Allow 10-11 days total
• Getting There: Via train from
  Chengdu, Xi‟an, or Chongqing to
  anywhere in Gansu province. Most
  places in Gansu can be reached by
  overnight train/bus
• Why: One of China‟s largest grotto complexes, to see a long
  forgotten time in China
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing or Xi‟an, or
  bus/train from Lanzhou
• Hotel: Dianxin Zhaodaisuo (Y30) - clean rooms right next to the train
• Time: 2-2.5 day
• Maiji Shan (Y35 with „student‟ ID) - the temple complex has grottoes
  over 1500 yrs old, and much more freedom to walk around that other
   – They have guides to hire but save the money and do it on your
      own. If you can convince your group, or if you‟re willing, you can
      pay (upwards of Y500) to see almost all the caves - a luxury you
      won‟t get elsewhere
   – Getting There: Minibus 34 (Y4) leaves from Tianshui train station,
      where you‟ll have to hitch a ride on either a tractor or minivan
• Water Curtain Caves (Y11) - sandstone cliffs, lush foliage, temples
  aplenty describe this secluded place to explore
   – To/From: There are a couple early morning buses and trains to
      Luomen. Leaving, catch a bus to Longxi for trains/buses
   – Hotel: Luomen Binguan (Y30) - only place to stay
• Things To Do: Fu Xi Temple (Y30), Nanguo Temple, Antique Market
• Why: Amazing Buddhist temples, grasslands to roam aimlessly about,
  friendly monks and nuns, home of the Gelugpa (yellow hat) order
• Getting There: Mornings bus from Lanzhou
• Hotel: Tara Guesthouse (Y15-25) or Labrang Baoma Hotel (Y25) -
  cheapest places in the area and bicycle rental is available
• Time: 2-2.5 days
• Labrang Monastery (Y40): Start walking along the outside and make
  your way around. Stop to look at all sorts of things along the way.
  This part of the trip is cheap and could easily take over half a day
• Sanke Grasslands: Rent a bike, and go on your way. The grasslands
  aren‟t so much to look at but the bike ride there and back is nice
    – Pack a lunch and have a picnic once you get there.
    – Make sure you read the signs and ride all the way to the top
• White Rock Cliff: A cave that you can go in with a guide. It‟s about
  34 km outside of Xiahe and takes awhile to get to
    – Plan a whole day for this. If you are on a budget this might also
       be out of your price range because transportation there is not
• Other Things To Do: Eat local dishes, go to the souvenir shops, and
  explore alley ways in the town
• Why: Small lively town with blue skies and a great vibe
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi‟an, or
  anywhere along the train line in Gansu province. Take a bus up
  from Lanzhou and you‟ll get to ride through and along the Great
• Hotel: Liangmao Binguan (Y18) - dirt cheap, clean, and near the
  Drum Tower (5-minute walk east)
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
    – Big Buddha Temple (Y41) - has the largest reclining Buddha in
      China. Buddha is under construction
    – Mu Ta (<Y20) - wooden pagoda gives a great view of the
      town once you get to the top
    – Mati Si (Y45) - go hiking in the mountains and spend the rest
      of the day in a yurt, among flower covered hills. During the
      colder season, temples are closed and it‟s free, but the area
      still provides good trails to ramble on
        • The bus system for getting there only runs in the summer
            and sometimes then it is still in frequent. Your best bet is to
            rent a taxi with some friends for 200 kuai for the whole day
    – Wander about - go to the Muslim market, the food market
      with silly „Chinglish‟ signs, or just roam around town
• Why: End of the Great Wall, camels rides, to climb a
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi‟an,
  or anywhere along the train line in Gansu province
• Hotel: Jinye Binguan (Y60) - next to bus station, clean, and
  can bargain down price up to 40%
• Time: 2 days
• July 1st Glacier (Y45): Can only go during summer. Hike
  along the glacier and even down to it
    – Make sure you start the day early and budget plenty of
      time so that you can walk on the glacier
    – Warm clothes are a must - it snows on the mountain in
      summer. Watch out for heavy downpours that can
      cause mudslides on the road
    – Taxis can be hired for about Y350/roundtrip from
• Jiayuguan Fort (Y50 with „student‟ ID, high-season): See
  what most people imagine a western fort in China looked
  like. The Great Wall ends here and runs into the
  snowcapped Qi‟lian mountains
   – Back of the fort, you can ride a camel (Y10) and make
      sure to go to the museum, a must see
   – Off-season, prices are half cost
   – To/From: ~Y10 taxi/way
• Overhanging Great Wall (Y10 with „student‟ ID): A very
  interesting part of a Ming-dynasty section of the wall that‟s
  cheap to see.
   – Getting There: ~Y20 taxi ride from the fort
• Jiuquan: A nearby town known for its oil and rockets, has
  many nice parks to visit. Some are free and others can
  cost up to Y30 for foreigners. The town is a nice place to
  walk around and fairly clean. Stop at a local beer garden
  in the evening for a drink or shao kao
   – Getting There: Take a taxi from Jiayouguan (Y7/person).
      Taxis must be green and white. The other taxis in
      Jiayuguan/Jiuquan are used for getting around locally.
      You can also take the bus, but it is less inconvenient
• Why: Sand dunes, World Heritage site, grottoes and
  Buddhist art
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing,
  Xi‟an, or anywhere along the train line in Gansu
• Hotel: Feitian Binguan (Y20-30) - cheap, clean, and
  roomy dorms
• Time: 1.5-2 days
• This tourist town can be expensive, especially during
  peak season. Be prepared to spend some money and
  drink lots of water
• Mogao Caves, et al (Y100): Despite the caves being
  rotated and more caves closing every year, the site
  itself is pretty impressive. It‟s impossible to take pictures
  unless you sneak a pocket camera and don‟t use a
  flash. It‟s recommended bringing a flashlight
    – If you want to see more caves, prices are Y100-500
   – Getting There: Take a minibus (Y10/way) from Mingshan Lu
      (Feitian Binguan), 8:30AM. Buses leave at noon. If you
      want more time, hire a taxi for half a day (~Y70)
• Western Thousand Buddha Caves (Y20 with „student‟ ID): Not
  as impressive as Mogao Caves, but it‟s virtually empty of
  tourists. Taxi (Y60/roundtrip) is easiest way to get there
• Crescent Moon Spring/Singing Sand Dunes (Y80): Massive
  dunes that fantastic views of the desert and lush pond below.
  Great place to come to during the evening for cooler
  weather and breathtaking sunset
   – Getting There: Minibus 3 (Y1), 20-30 minute bike ride, or
      taxi (Y10/way)
   – Once there, expect to spend at least Y100. This is a good
      place to take your own meal. There are many other
      things to do like riding the sand dunes (Y10) or riding
      camels (Y60)
• Other Things To Do: Walk about town, eat western food, visit
  the White Horse Pagoda
• Why: China‟s first ancient capital, home of countless warriors,
  great preserved city walls, Muslim quarter, silk market, Asia‟s
  largest fountain, one of five Taoist holy mountains
• Getting There: Via train from any major city
• Hotel: Bell Tower IYH (Y30) – spotlessly clean rooms with hot
  showers in a great central location. Decent in-house food
• Time: 3-4 days
• Getting Around: Most things are within walking distance
• Things To Do:
   – Army of Terracotta Warriors (Y45 with „student‟ ID) – some
      people love it, some don‟t. It‟s a must see if you‟re in China
      and it‟s recommended to go there not during nat‟l holiday
   – City Walls (Y40) - impressive structure that provides a nice 14K
      walk or tandem bike ride
   – Muslim Quarter – superb shopping, delicious food, and a
      vibrant atmosphere make this a must see place. The Great
      Mosque (Y12) can be tricky to find
   – Bell & Drum Towers (Y30/combined) – wonderful views of
      Xi‟an and can even take a whack at the drum
   – Forest of Stelae Museum (Y30) – Confucius temple housing
      many tablets, scriptures, and holds the record for world‟s
      heaviest museum
– Big Goose Pagoda (Y25, plus Y10 with „student‟ ID to climb) –
  full of temples and relaxing, with good views a top the
  pagoda. At 9PM, see Asia‟s largest light and water fountain
  show. From the South Gate, take bus 609
– Temple of the Eight Immortals (Y3) – Taoist temple that is less
  visited and empty in the morning. Take Bus 502 from the
  South Gate
– Qin Jin Tang Silk Factory – it‟s a tourist trap along the way to
  see the warriors, but if you want guaranteed high quality silk,
  shipping to America, and the use of a credit card, this factory
  is worth a visit
– Hua Shan (Y100) – highlight for many, there are a variety of
  ways to ascend this mountain and can be done at a variety
  times. Hua Shan does have accommodations on top, so
  take your pick, especially if you want to see an early sunrise
     • Pack your own food and water, there‟s not much food
       wise while climbing, and the higher up you go, the more
       expensive things get
     • Can be reached via private bus (Y25 from train station),
       train (Y31), or hire a taxi. Bus and train won‟t take you
       directly to Hua Shan village. Taxis should be Y10-15
       depending where you‟re coming from
• Why: Hui minority in a more undisturbed, environment, non-Han
  dynasty tombs, to see a location not many Westerners or Chinese
  visit, if you‟ve already seen many of the highlights in China
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi‟an, or Lanzhou to
• Hotel: E’erfuosi Dajiudian (Y55/dbl) - near the bus station and
  cheapest rooms in town. You should be able to bargain down
  the prices around 25%
• Time: 5 days
• Things To Do:
   – Take a walk - amble around the Drum Tower, Old Town,
       Nanguan Mosque markets, Ningxia Provincial Museum (Y12
       with „student‟ ID), and Zhongshan Park, to get a feel for the
       older part of city
   – Helan Shan & Western Xia Tombs - entrance fees range from
       Y10-40 depending on „student‟ ID prices. Western Xia Tombs
       houses many interesting structures in addition to the tombs.
       Helan Shan is a great place to get some nice views of the
       surroundings and go hiking
          • Easiest way to see it all is hire a taxi for about 200
   – Bayan Hot - small town in Inner Mongolia that is a nice day
     trip. Yanfu Si, a small active temple, and Sanguankou section
     of the Great Wall can be found here
        • Take a bus from Yinchuan‟s long-distance bus station
          early morning
• Zhongwei - laid-back town on the edge of Tengger Desert
   – Getting There - bus or train from Yinchuan, or train from
   – Hotel: Xingxiang Binguan (Y20) - this place is all about being
   – Gao Temple (Y20) - a threesome religious temple with a
     Cultural Revolution bomb shelter beneath the main temple
• Shapotou (Y65) - it screams Chinese theme park, but it can be
  pretty fun with sand dunes and the Yellow River as scenery
   – Getting There - bus (Y4) outside Zhongwei long-distance bus
   – From camel rides to dune sledding (Y20), bungy jumping
     (Y120) to yangpi fazi rides (Y60) down the Yellow River, the
     cheesiness can be riot
        Northern Sichuan
• Time: Allow 6-7 days total
• Places: Songpan, Huanglong Nat‟l Park,
  Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve
• Getting There: Chengdu Chadianzi bus
  station. All buses leave in the morning to
  Songpan or Jiuzhaigou

NOTE: The sun is more intense at higher
elevations, sunscreen is highly
recommended in this area
• Why: Horseback riding, camping, beautiful scenery, and a
  friendly town atmosphere
• Hotel: Songzhou Jiaotong Binguan (Y20/person) -
  attached to bus station. Convenient and simple -
  community showers with tepid showers. There are many
  other options nearby
• Happy Trails Horse Trek:
   – Contact: Rick Chen - 0837-7231064
   – Hot Springs and Ice Mountain (2 or 3 days respectively,
      Y250-450) are the two most popular treks. If you don‟t
      want to travel in a big group, opt for a different route
   – Wear old warm clothes. You will get dirty and it is very
      cold in the mornings and evenings (stars are
      spectacular!), even in summer
   – Pack light! Bring lots of water, a flashlight, and
• Other Things To Do:
   – Emma‟s Kitchen - cheap decent Western food and
      Emma is full of helpful information
   – Tibetan and Chinese massages
   – Old town wall, tourist shops, and tea houses
            Huanglong Nat‟l Park
• Why: Beautiful multi-colored calcium deposit pools and streams
  amidst pine covered mountains
• Getting There: Easy from Songpan, there‟s a direct morning bus
  that will drop you off about ten minutes before the park opens.
  Get the earliest bus available
• Getting Back: More tricky
   – Public bus directly back to town is unreliable
   – You can hire taxi, but it‟s expensive
   – Or, outside the park entrance to the right are parked tour
       buses. Tell the drivers you want to get back to Songpan and
       a bus will take you most of the way. From there, outside the
       bus station, along the road are private mianbao taxis to
       catch. Otherwise, you can go to Jiuzhaigou, but there‟s no
       place to store your belongings while in the park
• Entrance Fee: Y150 with „student‟ ID
• Time: Half a day. Get there when the park first opens, it will be
  virtually empty. After 11AM, the park becomes extremely
  crowded and hard to walk in
• Bring your own snacks, there are few food stalls
       Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve
• Why: Hero, a clean, natural Chinese environment, stunningly blue
  waters and beautiful waterfalls
• To/From: Chengdu or Songpan. Take earliest bus from Songpan
• Hotel: Jiutong Binguan (Y30/person) - attached to bus station.
  Hotels are expensive and are booked quickly. Short 10-15 minute
  walk to the park. Showers aren‟t the best
• Entrance Fee: Y170/2 days with „student‟ ID. Highly recommend
  purchasing a park bus ticket (Y90/day). Don‟t sneak on the
  buses, most people get caught
• Time: 1-2 Days. Can be done in one day with a bus pass
• Arrive at the park when it opens and take the bus to the top right
  side of the park. This part is the most beautiful area
• The park is empty in the early morning. Chinese only ride the
  buses and stop at major points of interest alongside the road
• Use plank walkways the entire way down. They are empty, more
  scenic, and provide many missed views from the road
• Bus pass can then be used to go up the left side of the park to
  Long Lake and other areas
• Bring plenty of food and water!
• Other Things To Do: Shopping, waterfront restaurants and bars
  near the hotel
          Western Sichuan
• Time: Allow 9-10 days total
• Places: Kangding, Luhuo, Ganzi, Dege
• Getting There: Via bus on the Sichuan-Tibet Hwy
  (these are some of the worst roads in China)
  from Chengdu‟s Xinnanmen bus station. Expect
  to pay between Y550-600/roundtrip on bus fares.
  Pack snacks and water for this long journey
   – You can also backtrack to Manigango, to
     continue northward to Xining, Qinghai

NOTE: Bring sunscreen, the sun is much more
intense at higher elevations
            Kangding (Dardo)
• Why: A small town that mixes Western and Tibetan Culture
• Getting There: Morning bus from Chengdu‟s Xinnanmen Bus
• Hotel: Chezhan Luguan (Y20) - next to the bus station. Further in
  town on a hill is the Black Tent Guesthouse (Gonggashan Lushe -
  Y20-30). If it‟s full, there‟s another hostel behind it, up an alley
  with nicer accommodations for less (Y15)
• Time: 1.5 days
• Paoma Shan: Makes for a nice morning hike, plus you can go up
  one side and come down the other, stopping at a lamasery.
  Bring a „student‟ ID just in case you decide to enter the tourist
  temple complex up top (Y25)
• Nanwu Temple: an important governing post to the Potala in its
  day and provides nice views of the area
• Other Things To Do: From the mountain you can see Dorje Dra
  Gompa and Nanjiao Temple. These are nice to visit and can fill
  an afternoon. Mugecuo Hu is about 30km out of town and a taxi
  must be hired (~Y175/roundtrip), but it‟s nice if you have the
  extra time
• Why: Fun for an afternoon and evening, overnight stay to Dege
• Getting There: Via morning bus from Kangding
• Hotel: If you are a no frills kind of person, stay at the bus station
  hotel (Y30/dbl). Grab a room quickly, they‟ll be several buses
  fighting for rooms and the hotel staff is friendly if you attempt a
  little Chinese
• Time: Overnight to/from Dege
• Bring a jacket, it can get chilly in the evening at this elevation, or
  a sudden storm can hit
• Things To Do:
    – Explore the town - there‟s a decent size monk and nun
        population in town (several hundred). The edge of town is
        nice to stroll about and sometimes there are local events to
        go to
    – Walk up to the Monastery - fairly large and active complex
        with beautiful views over the surroundings
    – Hike around the hills - it can be a tricky climb, but the hills
        behind the monastery are peaceful with horse paths to guide
        you and are on fire with wild flowers of all colors
• Why: Full of temples and monks to explore, picture perfect
• To/From: Buy a ticket to Ganzi from Dege when returning back to
  Kangding. Buses leave for Kangding early morning - 6:30AM
• Hotel: Jinmaoniu Jiudian (Y30) - rooms aren‟t the best, but it has
  the cheapest dorms. If you‟re looking for a single, check out
  Chengxin Binguan (Y60) - nicer rooms
• Time: 1.5 days
• Things To Do:
   – Walk around the countryside and soak in the fresh air and
       vibrant environment
   – Visit with locals and talk with monks
   – Ganzi Temple (Y15) - shimmering golden roofs and the
       region‟s largest monastery (over 500 monks)
   – Visit local lamaseries via taxi (~Y20) - Beri Gompa, Dagei
       Gompa, and Hadhi Nunnery
• NOTE: On your way to Dege, passing through Manigango, you
  will pass a glacier and go through Chola Mountain Pass. It‟s over
  20K ft above sea level and there is a good chance you will
  experience altitude sickness for a short period
                 Dege (Derge)
• Why: Ancient Buddhist scriptures, Tibetan atmosphere
• Getting There: Continued bus ride from Kangding-Luhuo. Trip
  takes two days overall from Kangding
• Hotel: The easiest hotel to find and one of the cleanest is at the
  bus station. A 3-person room is 60 kuai. Public bathrooms and
  showers that you must pay for.
• Time: 1.5 days
• Things To Do:
   – Bakong Scripture Printing Lamasery (Y25): Chambers house
      up to 70% of all Tibetan scripture. Prints can be bought here
      (Y5-35), and the printing and binding procedures can be
      watched through a guided tour
   – Buy souvenirs - Dege has some of the coolest around. Across
      from the lamasery local carve out wooden blocks for printing.
      Pieces can be bargained for
   – Get lost exploring the town on the hill side while enjoying the
      fabulous weather. Homes and monasteries form endless
      passage ways leading to hidden temples and new sites
   – Have tea with local Tibetans in their brightly colored homes,
      or walk with monks while having a conversation with them on
      their way to class
    Chengdu and vicinity
• Time: 7-9 days
• Places: Chengdu, Emei Shan,
  Leshan, Zigong
• Getting: If you can‟t figure this one
  out, you shouldn‟t be a PCV in
• Why: A fun and modern city, passing through point, because
  you‟re at IST, PST, or PC office for medical reasons
• Hotel: Traffic Hotel (Y30) - directly behind Xinnanmen bus
  station and facilities are very nice. Take bus No 55 from the
  train station
• Time: 3 days or spare time from trainings
• Things To Do:
   – Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (Y30) - walkways
      with red and giant pandas to gawk at throughout the
      park. Try to go on a cooler day and in the morning when
      the pandas are more active
        • Getting There: It‟s a pain getting there unless you know
          the bus system and then take a taxi. It‟s a lot easier
          going through a hostel for Y50 (including entrance fee)
        • Time: Half-day
   – People‟s Park (Y2) - nearby Tianfu Square is a wonderful
      place to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy a
      cup of tea at Remin Teahouse. The park is full of people
      exercising, playing games, and people feeding koi
– Tianfu Square - one of the better city squares at night and
  you get to see one of the largest statues of Chairman
  Mao in China
– Antique Market - Qingshiqiao Market and Songxinqiao
  Yishucheng are both fun bazaars to shop and bargain at
– Monastery of Divine Light (Y5) - old temple complex filled
  with unique Buddhist statues and paintings. Music can be
  heard at certain times of day
    • Getting There: Bus to monastery near the train station,
      or pile into a taxi (Y30)
    • Time: Half-day
– Duijiangyan Irrigation Project (Y60) - an engineering feat
  done during the 3rd century BC, that allowed a river to be
  controlled and land to be irrigated
    • Getting There: Via bus from Chadianzi bus station
    • Time: Half-day
– You‟ve lived here during PST, if you can‟t figure where to
  get food and Western commodities, you‟re on your own
                      Emei Shan
• Why: One four holy Buddhist mountains, temples, lush scenery
  and streams, breathtaking views, monkeys, to say you‟ve
  climbed the stair-master from hell
• Getting There: Morning bus from Xinnanmen bus station in
  Chengdu. Take a taxi from Emei town to Baoguo village (Y20)
• Hotel: Teddy Bear Hotel (Y20-30) - the owner is extremely nice
  and the facilities are very nice. If you choose to stay in Baoguo,
  this is the place
• Time: 2.5-3 days
• Emei Shan can be done year round and is fabulous at any time.
  Certain seasons though provide a better sunrise viewing
• Cable cars (use them when available, they‟ll save time and
  there‟s not much to see during these parts) and buses can be
  taken at any time
• Stop to look at the temples along the way, each has their own
  personality. The farther you can hike the first day, the more likely
  you will see a sunrise, if it is present
• You will see many monks and lamas doing pilgrimages
• Watch out for the monkeys! They can be vicious since tourists
  feed them. Hide any flashy objects from them
                     Emei Shan
• This area is beautiful during daylight hours. Be prepared for snow.
  Pack cool and warm clothes, a flashlight, lots of water, and a
• Recommended Trek:
   – Take a bus from Baoguo bus station to Jingshui (Y40). From
      there, hop on the cable car (Y40) and pay the entrance fee
      (Y60 with „student‟ ID)
   – Hike up to Jieyin Hall (20.5km) and buy a roundtrip cable ride
      (Y50) to Golden Summit Temple where you can spend the
      night (Y15-40). Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise
   – Alternatively, stay the night at Elephant Bathing Pool (Y20)
      and wake up extremely early (3:30AM) to hike to the top to
      enjoy the sunrise
   – On the way down, use the 99 switchbacks towards Yuxian
      Temple. The hike down is gorgeous. Be careful! The steps
      are very slick and steep
   – Spend the night at Venerable Trees Terrace (Y20-30), or
      better yet Pure Sound Pavillion (Y15-20), with its lovely
      sounding streams to put you asleep
   – The next day you can either hike to Wuxiangang to catch a
      bus back into town, or hike all the way back to Baoguo
• Why: The world‟s biggest sitting Buddha, fun pathways,
  temples, and grottoes to explore
• Getting There: Take an early morning bus from Xinnanmen
  bus station in Chengdu
• Time: Day trip
• Entrance Fee: Y35 with „student‟ ID
• Once at the bus station in Leshan, hop bus No 3 to Dafo
• Make sure you see some other things besides the Grand
  Buddha. The grounds are very nice as well
• Get there early so you don‟t waste all you time standing in
  line to see the gargantuan statue
• Pack plenty of water for the day
• You can also pay Y50 to ride past the Buddha in a boat if
  you are short on time
• Other Things To Do: See temples in town (see your
  guidebook for details) and go window shopping. The
  town has tons of little shops everywhere
• Why: Home of dinosaur fossils and more
• Getting There: Take a bus from Chengdu. To get to the center of
  town, take bus No 1
• Hotel: Do not stay near the bus station, it is too far away to do
  anything conveniently. Any hotel in the downtown area is fine. Pick
  something you can live with (Y60-150). Also expect to be hassled
  when you get off of the bus
• Time: 1-2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Dinosaur Museum (Y30): A neat museum with plenty to see inside
      and out. Look everywhere carefully or you will miss something
         • Getting There: Take buses No 3 or 35 and ride it to the end of
            the line (~40 minutes). The building is a giant dinosaur
   – Xinhai Drilling Well (Y20): Coming back from the museum, this is a
      worthwhile stop as the process of making salt can be seen. At
      first it looks like there is not much there, but if you keep going
      along, the whole ordeal can be seen
         • Getting There: Take either bus No 3 or 35 back and get off
            when you see a giant, old well
   – Guild Hall - the structure is full of interesting architecture
   – Wangye Miao temple, now a teahouse up the hill from the
      Shawan Hotel, is a relaxing place to unwind
   – Take a walk up and down the river front in the evening
• Time: Allow 9-11 days total
• Places: Kaili, Xijiang, Zhaoxing,
  Chishui, Anshun
• Getting There: Via train from
  Chengdu, Xi‟an, or Chongqing to
    Kaili and village hopping
• Why: Fun and quiet town, stopover on the way to minority villages,
  Miao and Dong minorities
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu or Chongqing, or bus/train
  from Guiyang
• Hotel: Shiyou Binguan (Y26) - not the best by any means, but it‟s the
  cheapest in town. Book ahead, it fills quickly
• Time: 1-1.5 days
• Things To Do:
    – Walk around town - there‟s plenty to see at the local markets, in
       the new district, and a small mountain to climb in town
    – Food - food is different in the south, so explore the street vendor
       food and markets strewn about Kaili
• NOTE: Bus rides to minority villages may cause motion sickness, so
  bring medicine if this is a problem, and reap the reward of these two
• Xijiang - the largest Miao population is located here and is a great
  place to observe their daily lives
    – To/From: Bus station across from Kaili College. Buses usually leave
       around 12-2PM. Morning buses from Xijiang return daily
    – Hotel: A place is located directly across the performance
       platform for relatively cheap and watch performances a top the
       roof. Alternatively, you can stay with family for Y40 (including a
    Kaili and village hopping
    – Time: 1-1.5 days
    – Food is limited and served only during certain hours, be flexible
    – There is no bank in town, so have enough cash on-hand
    – Things To Do: Watch performances, souvenir shops, stroll around
      town, enjoy a sunrise hike among paddies, and relax!
• Zhaoxing - small town where Dong minority culture can be seen,
  surrounded by spectacular structures
   – Getting There: Bus from Kaili to Congjiang (8 hrs). If this is not
      available, take a bus to Rongjiang, to catch a bus to Congjiang.
      Most likely you‟ll have to spend the night in Congjiang and grab
      a morning bus. Take your pick from any cheap Chinese hotel.
      The following morning, get on a Zhaoxing bound bus. Not all
      buses go directly to the village, so you may have to do a 45-
      minute hike (extremely hot during summer) or try to find a taxi
      along the way
   – Hotel: Wood Guesthouse (Y30) or take your pick from any other
      cheap stay in town
   – Time: 3-4 days (including travel time)
   – There is no bank in town, so have enough cash on-hand
   – Things To Do: Enjoy cultural performances, check out the local
      bar scene, pick up more great souvenirs, and most important,
      some R&R
• Why: Very chill atmosphere, almost zero tourists, light on the wallet
• Getting There: Via bus from Guiyang. Buses are also available if
  coming from Zigong, Sichuan
• Hotel: Being no foreigners, you‟re only option is a local Chinese hotel.
  For nice accommodations, ask a tour group where they are staying
  or have a taxi take you
• Time: 2-3 days
• Things To Do:
   – Shizhangdong Falls (Y60 with „student‟ ID) – this waterfall is not as
      quite as big as the one in Anshun, but has a lot less tourists
        • Getting There: Not easy, but the main bus station can take
          you there. Buses leave early morning or late afternoon. Ask
          ahead of time when buses will leave. Make sure to find out
          when the bus will return, or you may be stuck overnight.
        • Sidonggou (Y30) – this pristine location sports four waterfalls,
          lovely scenery, and great walking paths the entire way
        • Getting There: Local taxis around the bus station fill up with
          passengers and leave for the location
   – Promenade along the water front and stop along to have teas,
      juices, and other local beverages
   – Explore the few nice parks in town
• Why: Beautiful waterfall and scenery, massive caves
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu or Chongqing, or bus/train
  from Guiyang
• Hotel: Ruofei Hotel (Y40) or Anju Binguan(Y20) - prices keep going up
  in both places, so don‟t be surprised if you pay more
• Time: 2-3 days
• Things To Do:
    – Huangguoshu Falls (Y135) - Thundering falls with billowing mist
      that provides a wonderful view to take in. There are lots of
      Chinse tourists
        • Getting There: Buses leave from the long-distance bus station
           in Anshun
    – Longgong Caves (Y120) - cheesy music and colorful lights
      accompany the boat ride through the caves
        • Getting There: Via bus from Anshun‟s west bus station
    – Zhijin Cave (Y120) - biggest cave in China that rivals Mammoth
      Cave, and is covered in calcium deposits
        • Getting There: Bus from Anshun‟s north station. Then hop on
           a rickshaw to the second bus station in town for a transfer bus
           to the cave (Y3)
• Other Things To Do: In town, check out Xixiu Mountain Pagoda and
  Heavenly Star Bridge District
• Why: Hotpot, rivaling Buddhist grottoes, the Three Gorges Damn,
  passing through point for a cruise
• Getting There: Via train from any major city in China
• Hotel: Perfect Time IYH (Y30) -
• Time: 4-5 days
• Dazu Grottoes:
   – Treasured Summit Hill (Y80) - grottoes were designed to fit in
      with the scenery between 1179-1249 with a 1000 arm
   – North Hill (Y60) - location of most of the grottoes and statues
   – Getting There: Day trip from the long-distance bus station.
      Grab an early bus. At Dazu, either walk or Y5 minibus
      depending on the site
• Three Gorges/Yangzi River Boat Ride:
   – Do your research beforehand for itineraries and prices online
      or from a guidebook (
   – Typical trip is 3-4 days, and best during off-season for a
   – Second class cabins can be booked for around Y500 or less
   – Make sure you know what the total price includes since the
      tours stop along at sites of interest
          Fenghuang, Hunan
• Why: River town exploding with personality and uniqueness, Miao
  and Tujia minorities, few western tourists
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, or Guiyang.
  From Huaihua, frequent buses can be caught to Fenghuang‟s
  Minsuyuan bus station
• Hotel: Fenghuang (Phoenix) IYH (Y15-20) - next to Tuo River,
  across from the action in the center of town
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Wander - there are alleys, shops, temples, and old buildings
      galore to explore for free
   – Through Ticket (~Y100) - covers a good chunk of the sites to
      see in town
   – Southern Great Wall (Y45) - runt of the family, but still pretty
      cool nonetheless
        • Getting There: Bus from the west station (old town) in town
   – Huangsi Bridge Old Town - similar to Fenghuang, but smaller
        • Getting There: Bus from the west station (old town) in town
• Why: Big city with a chill atmosphere, base camp location to
  traverse around Yunnan, get lost in the Stone Forest, pirated
  camping gear, and good food
• Getting There/Around: By train via Xi‟an, Chengdu, Chongqing,
  or Guiyang. Most local sites are within walking distance
• Hotel: The Hump (Y25) – very clean, great downtown location,
  and easy access to transport hubs. Great environment and
  offers all basic services, including ticket booking
• Time: 3 days
• Things To Do:
    – Pirated Camping Gear – much higher quality copied outdoor
      clothing and equipment than many other places in China.
      You can bargain down with some work
    – Food – lots of local treats, so try to stray away from your
      normal dishes. Check out the chocolate youtiao and
      guoqiao mixian. If you‟re craving western food, look for
      Donna's Donuts and Salvador's Coffee Shop
    – Some of the better places to visit tend to be outside of
      Kunming proper. Take your pick from any guidebook or
      online and hop on a bus at the station
• Stone Forest (Y100 with „student‟ ID) – spend a day trip on hours
  exploring stone trails that create a giant labyrinth to get lost in.
  Get off the main trail for best spots and some solitude
    – Getting There: Kunming long-distance bus station near train
      station (Y30-40)
          Northern Yunnan
• Time: Allow 9-10 days total
• Places: Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge,
  Zhongdian (Shangri-La)
• Getting There: Starting from Kunming, take a bus
  north. Coming back, either fly out of Zhongdian
  or Lijiang, or take an overnight bus back to

NOTE: Bring warmer clothing during the
winter, it gets cold at night. Days are usually fine
• Why: An ancient town nestled between snowcapped mountains,
  a scenic park with three infamous pagodas that symbolize Dali,
  wonderful vistas of a tranquil lake, Bai minority
• Getting There: Bus from Kunming
• Hotel: MCA Guesthouse (Y20) – located outside the South Gate,
  extremely friendly staff, quiet location, and clean environment.
  Dbl/Triple rooms are a bit more, but are superb
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Three Pagodas (Y62 with „student‟ ID) – take time to roam
      around the park for a nice half day well spent. There are
      great temples and views everywhere. If you want the LPG
      perfect water reflection shot, go to Chongshen Si closeby
   – Dali Old City Wall (Y2) – for decent views of the city and
      landscape, walk along the wall
   – Zhonghe Temple (Y15 with „student‟ ID) – it‟s cheap if you
      choose to hike up. Affords fantastic views of Erhai Hu and its
      surrounding vistas along the pathway
   – Bai Minority Tea – 3-course tea that offers a relaxing and
      enjoyable cultural experience (Cafe Bamboo – on Renmin Lu)
• Why: Meander about small corridors in the Old Town, enjoy pristine
  mirrored views while hiking around the grounds, rambunctious
  „pirate‟-like nightlife, Naxi minority, what you imagined China to be
• Getting There: Via bus from either Dali or Kunming
• Hotel: Mama’s Naxi Guesthouse (Y15) – family-run guesthouse in Old
  Town that literally makes you feel like one of the clan. Mama offers
  an 8-dish dinner (Y10) and fabulous breakfast (Y5). Luggage storage
  and taxi service for Tiger Leaping Gorge (Y20/person/way)
• Time: 2-3 days
• Must buy an Y80 ticket to enter into any attraction around or in
  Lijiang, excluding Old Town, on top of any entrance fees
• Things To Do:
   – Shopping – great Naxi buys left and right. Bargaining is key and
       everything is handmade
   – Old Town – stone streets surrounded with traditional Naxi festivities,
       lined with red lanterns, lined with small canals, and where most
       shopping will be done. Main drag can be touristy – wander off!
   – Mu Family (Y20 with „student‟ ID) – pricey to get into, but the
       complex is worth the entrance fee for its gardens
   – Black Dragon Pool – stunning scenery in every direction around
       the lake and Yulong Xueshang as the backdrop
   – Frescoes (Y30) – in Baisha beautifully painted frescoes dating
       back to the 15th and 16th centuries can be seen
   – Jade Peak Monastery (Y10 with „student‟ ID) - camellia shrub
       trunks crafted for almost 600 years – overlooks the countryside
         Tiger Leaping Gorge
• Why: One of the deepest gorges in the world, go ridge hiking
  along one of China‟s best trails, to see it before the gov‟t gets
  its hands on it for hydroelectric power
• To/From: Lijiang to Qiaotou – Y15 bus passing through to
  Shangri-La. Tina’s GH IYH to Qiaotou – Y15 private car/bus.
  Daju to Lijiang – Y20 passing through to Lijiang. OR, Mama’s
  Naxi Guest House can arrange one-way for Y20
• Hotel: Bendiwan Village – Halfway Lodge (Y20) is a nice place
  if ending at Tina‟s. Walnut Garden – Sean’s Spring
  Guesthouse, Chateau de Woody, or any other local
  guesthouse around this spot (~Y15/dorm)
• Time: 1.5-2 days
• Jane’s GH provides good hand-drawn maps of the hike and
  good food prior to starting the hike
• Wear shoes with better support and grip as the trail can
  become washed out or slippery
• Depending on the season you are hiking the gorge, dress
  appropriately, it still can get cool in the summer due to the
• Bring and drink plenty of water
• If you‟re feeling really adventurous, trails and roads can even
  lead you as far as Shangri-La
     Zhongdian (Shangri-La)
• Why: The name alone says enough, entry way into Chomdo
  region of Tibet, to see some Tibetan culture in Yunnan, good
  exploring and hiking around the countryside
• Getting There: Bus from Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, or Qiaotou
• Hotel: Diqing Tibetan Area IYH (Y20) – has bathrooms and
  internet. It gets cold at night – space heaters are for rent (Y20)
• Getting Around: Most things to see are outside the town and will
  require a taxi or private car
• Time: 2-3 days
• Bring warmer clothing, it‟s cool or cold year round
• Winter is much colder, but is more likely to be void of tourists
• Things To Do:
   – Ganden Sumtseling Gompa (Y30) – largest active monastery
      in Yunnan with wonderful views over the town. Take Bus 3
      along Changzheng Lu to get there
   – Explore what‟s in town, it‟s small enough to view little parks,
      temples, etc. all near Old Town
   – Emerald Pagoda Lake (Y60) – beautiful lake with hiking,
      horseback riding, and boating opportunities. Can take a bus
      pass the entrances to the lake, but getting back via taxi is
      expensive (~Y300)
          Southern Yunnan
• Places: Yuanyang Rice Terraces,
• Time: Allow 9-11 days total
• Getting There: Day or overnight bus from

NOTE: The sun is more intense, sunscreen is highly
recommended in this area
    Yuanyang Rice Terraces
• Why: Amazing sunrises and sunsets over rice covered
  terraces, lazily wander about markets and villages
• Getting There: Morning or overnight bus from Kunming
• Hotel: Yuanyang Chenjia Fangshe (Y20) - family run, simple,
  great views, and cheap
• Getting Around: Best way to get around is via Pedi cab.
  You can either cram in with Chinese tourists or find your
  own group of people to charter a minibus. Chartering
  may be better if you want to go at your own pace, but it‟s
  easier doing the latter
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do:
   – Rice Terrraces - logistically it‟s best to view a sunrise
      from Duoyishu, and sunsets at either Bada or Laohuzui.
      Terraces are stunning year round
   – Stroll in local villages and markets between terrace
• Why: To see palm trees and feel warm, hiking in jungles, biking
  through villages, minorities, a laidback vibe
• Getting There: Kunming - 9hr sleeper bus. Yuanyang - more tricky.
  Easiest is to go back to Kunming and catch a sleeper bus. For
  bumpy roads, spectacular scenery, and a challenge, catch
  buses in this route, Yuanyang - Luchun - Jiangcheng (stay in hotel
  attached to station - Y10) - Jinghong
• Hotel: Banna College Hotel (Y15) - cheapest, some staff speak
  English, and bike rental is available. However, it‟s out of the way
  from things
• Time: 3-4 days
• Things To Do:
    – Tropical Flower & Plants Garden (Y20 with „student‟ ID) -
      fantastic gardens packed with all kinds of plant life
    – Blind Massage School (Y40) - hour long massages
    – Rent a bicycle (Y20) - the charm of this area comes from
      tossing away the LPG and exploring minority villages via bike.
      If you have time, consider spending the night at a local
    – Sanchahe Nature Reserve - plenty of places to hike for a half-
      day trip. You can also see elephants for Y40, but some say it‟s
      a „hit or miss‟. Catch an early morning bus to Simao (Y12).
      Buses return at 2:30PM (Y10)
    Menghan (Ganlanba)
• Why: To get away from the hustle of
  Jinghong, Dai minorities
• Getting There: Microbus from Jinghong‟s
  No 2 bus station, or make a day trip by
• Hotel: Dai home (Y20 w/o meals). It‟s
  worth the experience
• Time: 1-1.5 days
• Dai Minority Park (Y50 with „student‟ ID) -
  unfortunately you have to pay to see this
  part of town, but you can then partake in
  water-splashing shows and enjoy the
  local architecture
          Xishuangbanna Trekking
• Why: Because you love the outdoors and hiking, to see a
  different aspect of China by walking, to soak in the sun, great
  experiences shared with local minorities
• Getting There: Via bus, depending on where you are going. If
  doing the LPG Damenlong-Bulangshan hike, grab the earliest bus
  to Damenlong from Jinghong No 2 bus station
• Hotel: Minority family homes, unless you choose to use an outfit to
  plan a trip. Including a night‟s rest and meals, expect to pay
  around Y50 for three people
• Time: 3 days
• Trekking is changing as more roads are being built. The
  Damenlong-Bulangshan excursion is non-existent, but there are
  plenty of other treks west of Xiding
• There are other hikes to do, but you will need to do some
  research, feel adventurous, and be flexible if planning your own
  trip. The experience and the hitches that come with planning, is
  worth the memories alone
• In Jinghong, the LPG gives great recommendations of places to
  check out info at: Mei Mei Café and Mekong Café. Also, check
  out Forest Café (Sara - 6918985122) for info and trek tours
  (website: as a starting point
• Don‟t flash your money and expensive items around
• Why: To get away from the cold, lay on nice beaches using
  RMB, hairy fat Russians, jungle hiking, minorities
• Getting There: Flying can be expensive, even with a discount.
  Your best bet is via train from any major city to Guangzhou.
  From there, a once-a-day boat can be taken to Haikou. Or,
  take a sleeper bus to Hai‟an from Guangzhou‟s long-distance
  bus station, and then catch a ferry
• Time: 5-7 days
• Haikou - provincial capital of Hainan which is a passing
  through point
   – Hotel: Haikou Banana IYH (Y35) - the price is right since the
      whole island is more expensive. Book ahead of time,
      especially during holiday seasons
   – Haikou Park - wonderful park to people and activity watch.
      Go early morning or late afternoon when the heat is less
• Sanya - if the beach is what you‟re craving in China, this is the
  place to come to
   – Getting There: From Haikou, go to the south bus station
      and hop on a 3hr bus to Sanya
– Hotel: Sanya Lama Temple IYH (Y50) - good location, many
  services available, and cheap. Book ahead of time, places
  fill quickly
– Dadonghai - main beach and the more affordable one.
  Yanlong Bay is also very nice and less crowded, but is
  covered with ritzy hotels that PCVs can‟t afford
– Food - lots of local dishes, Russian cuisine, and seafood to
  choose to from, but seafood can be more expensive
– Jianfengling Nature Reserve (Y40) - peaceful jungle and
  some nice areas to hike about
     • Getting There: Long-distance bus station to Basuo. Since
        we can‟t ride a motorcycle, you‟ll have to look for a
        minibus (Y1)
– Wuzhishan (Tongshi) - delightful area to go hiking up Wuzhi
  Shan, and exploring in Li and Miao minority villages
     • Getting There: Via bus from Sanya‟s long-distance bus
     • Hotel: Jinyuan Dajiudian (Y100/dble) - cheapest place in
        town and low season you can bargain
             Guilin (Yangshuo)
• Why: The 20 RMB note, one of two most visited places by Chinese,
  some of the most beautiful topography you‟ll ever see, the „love‟
  tree, swimming in a mud pool
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi‟an, Chongqing, or
  Guiyang. May be cheaper to fly if coming from Lanzhou. From
  Guilin, buses leave both from the main bus station and the train
  station to Yangshuo
• Hotel: Guilin - Guilin Flowers YH (Y30) - cheap and location is the
  name of the game for this place if passing through. Yangshuo -
  this is backpacker central and cheap places can be found
  everywhere for as low as Y25 on Xi Jie. May want to reserve
  online or via phone during the summer season
• Time: 3 days
• Things To Do:
    – Wander! - the town itself has a ton of fun things to meander
       about. There are countless shops to bargain for souvenirs all
       along Xi Jie. Yangshuo Park is a pleasant place to relax at.
       Fun spins on western cuisine (including a killer margarita pizza
       and fantastic vegetarian cuisine) can be found down any
       side street off of Xi Jie. Beer fish is a local specialty and tastes
             Guilin (Yangshuo)
   – Rent a bicycle - Yangshuo countryside is a spectacular place
      to explore. Bike rentals start from Y10 and make sure it is okay
      before taking off on an excursion down a warn dirt path
      along rice fields and past small villages
   – Yueliang Shan (Y9) - Moon hill is a good climb and hike to the
      peak, and will give you the best views of the landscape
      around. It‟s a nice morning hike since it does get warm later
      in the day
        • Getting to the mountain is a causal bike ride
   – Big Banyan Tree - see what the locals call the „love‟ tree, a
      1500-year-old banyan tree the size of a football field
        • Makes for a nice trip after lunch via bicycle
   – Water Cave (Y70, or bargain cheaper) - popular with
      foreigners and a blast to explore - it‟s pretty safe, don‟t worry.
      Bring your bathing suit, for the there is a mud hill and pond to
      play and get dirty in
        • Bike is cheapest, but taxi may be easier
   – River trek - whether by bike along a river or raft on a river, it‟s
      worth looking into both. Ask your hotel for tours and info
• Bring water! Local women will sell water fairly cheap, but make
  sure the cap is sealed since some try to reuse bottles
        Southern Treaty Ports

• Time: Allow 6-7 days total
• Places: Guangzhou, Macau, Hong Kong
• Getting There: Via train from Chengdu,
  Xi‟an, Guiyang, Chongqing, or Lanzhou
  to Guangzhou. If time is a problem, flying
  is highly recommended. It‟s usually
  cheaper traveling to Guangzhou than
  directly to Macau or Hong Kong
• Why: Cheaper and easier getting to Macau and Hong Kong
  from here, local dishes, fun bars and clubs
• To/From: Train or plane from any major city. From airport (subway
  currently not finished yet), take bus to the China Hotel
• Hotel: Guangzhou YH (Y50) - Shamian Island. It‟s an expensive
  town and doesn‟t get much cheaper than this. Clean larger
  dorm rooms with hot showers, free internet, and AC. Location is
  extremely relaxing with coffee shops nearby
• Time: 1-2 days
• Getting Around: Subway is great and cheap! Local buses work
  well and the city is easy to walk around with a map
• Things To Do:
    – Shamian Island - colonial architecture of old consulate offices
    – Xingping Market & Shang Jiulu - local food/markets to one of
      the nicest neon lit walking-shopping streets in China
    – Yuexiu Park (Y5) - Big park to walk around, see monuments,
      and people watch
    – Any temple/church in the LPG (Y5-10/ticket) - Great way to
      kill time, and see local religions (first Muslim mission in China)
    – Clubs and Bars - some of Guangzhou‟s hippest near the
      Guangzhou Holiday Inn
• Why: Portuguese architecture and food, World‟s tallest
  commercial bungee jump, casinos that rival Las Vegas
• Getting There: Guangzhou - buses leave from China Hotel (Y60)
  to the Macau customs building. Hong Kong - high speed ferry
  (HK125 Kowloon ferry pier) to Macau Ferry Terminal
• Hotel: San Va Hospedaria (MOP70) - single rooms are very small
  and have no windows, but the price and location are both great,
  along with having hot showers
• Time: 2 days
• Things To Do (everything is within walking distance):
   – Architecture - see the old government buildings, churches,
      etc! It‟s a scenic change from the rest of China
   – Food - unique tastes to this city only. Lots of locally run desert
      and coffee shops to relax in
   – Gambling - compare the casino life to that of Las Vegas
   – Macau Tower - take a ride up to the observation deck
      (MOP70) or take a dive on a bungee cord (MOP888)
   – Guia Hill - nice walk up and around the hill (with a great
      running path) and views of the city
   – Monte Fort & Macau Museum - learn about the local history
      and enjoy the backdrop of Macau
                    Hong Kong
• Why: Big city with one of the world‟s best lit up skylines, food,
  shopping, you won‟t find a cleaner city in China!
• Getting There: Guangzhou - east train station to Hung Hom in
  Kowloon using HCR East Rail (HK190). Macau - high speed ferry
  (MOP125) to Kowloon pier
• Hotel: Take your pick of the countless run hostels in either the
  Chungking or Mirador Mansion blocks in Kowloon. These are the
  cheapest in town and you may want to research online to book
  a place - they fill up quickly
• Time: 3 days
• Getting Around: Between the subway system and ferry boats,
  Hong Kong is one of the easiest cities to navigate
• Hong Kong Island:
   – Victoria Peak - hop on a tram for great views of the city, have
      some fun at Ripley‟s Believe It or Not museum, or stroll among
      the various gardens and walking trails around the peak
   – Man Mo Temple - interior décor and aroma is intoxicating
      with the entire ceiling covered with large incense coils
   – Victoria Harbor - take a ferry tour (or get on any ferry) of the
      harbor after dusk and enjoy the light show
                       Hong Kong
• Kowloon:
   – Food - great Indian cuisine, specialty bread shops, coffee
     houses, and just about anything else you crave can be found
     along Nathan Rd
   – Shopping - tailored clothing by Indians, expensive retail,
     electronics. Everything can be found here, including things
     not sold in the states
   – Kowloon Park - It‟s free and is a nice place to walk around
     and relax. If you happen to have a bathing suit, they have a
     very nice pool complex (< HK20)
   – Bars and clubs - soccer bars, pubs, and posh lounges.
     They‟re a dime a dozen and worth every penny
   – Harbor view - at night till 10PM, behind the Hong Kong
     Cultural Centre, is one of the world‟s best night skylines
• Lantau:
   – Tian Tan Buddha Statue - it‟s big and cool to see. Around the
     statue area is the Lantau Trail with some nice paths to hike on,
     including the biggest peak in the Hong Kong area
   – Po Lin - nothing great, but the monastery is next to the statue
   – To/From: Pier 6 from Hong Kong Island, both a slow ferry or
     high speed are available. Get on the No 2 bus to the
Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou
• Time: Allow 6-7 days total
• Places: The Bund, the French
  Concession, Shanghai city, West
  Lake and area, Suzhou gardens
• Getting There: By train from any
  major city in China
• Why: A paradox to communist China with its glistening
  skyscrapers, great views at night from the Bund, Shanghai
  Museum, architecture and art, bars and clubs
• Getting There: By train from any major city
• Hotel: Captain Hostel (Y60) - great location on The Bund with
  fantastic views from the rooftop bar. Very clean dorms,
  lockers in room, ticket booking, internet (Y20/hr), front desk
  holds extra luggage for Y1/bag. One of the cheaper places
  to stay considering everything is really expensive in Shanghai.
  Another alternative, Shanghai City Central Int’l Hostel
  (Y50/dorm), has similar facilities and cheaper internet (Y10/hr),
  but is not in a central location like the Captain Hostel
• Time: 3-4 days
• Getting Around: Subway system is great, along with walking
  and an occasional city bus. Keep Y1 coins handy, subway
  ticket machines often run out of change for bills
• Things To Do:
    – The Bund - stroll along the riverfront night (lights till 11PM)
      or day to soak in the atmosphere of either the
      neoclassical architecture or lit up skyscrapers of Pudong
– Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar - just south of the Bund in Old
  Town are beautiful gardens and cheesy shopping to be
  done. Good place to grab a bite to eat and observe
  Chinese tourism at one of its worst
– Jinmao Tower - take a lift up to the bar, and for a little bit
  more money versus the observation deck, enjoy a nice
  drink with your view. Cheapest and easiest way to get
  across is via subway
– French Concession
    • walk down side streets to see a hodgepodge of
      building styles, including Sun Yatsen‟s home.
    • Try some trendy and healthy western cuisines at
      Xintiandi after stopping to see where the 1st National
      Congress of the CCP met (Y3)
    • Walk through Fuxing Park (which has bars/clubs on its
      back side) on your way to visit the Tiakang Lu Art
      Centre and the many boutiques (jewelry, art, trinkets,
      etc) that surround this alley
    • Huangpi Nanlu is the best subway stop to get off of if
      starting at Xintiandi area
– Nanjing Donglu - a gigantic walking-shopping street with
  lots of places to window shop at. It also connects the
  Bund and Remin Park/Square areas
– Remin Park/Square - free & relaxing with skyscrapers as a
– Shanghai Museum (Y20) - one of the best museums In all
  of China, containing rooms full of Chinese cultural relics
– Jade Buddha Temple (Y20) - touristy but well kept. There is
  a good, cheap vegetarian restaurant on the premises.
    • Watch a master artist do his specialty landscapes - it‟s
      a little more expensive than other places, but all
      donations go to a Buddhist orphanage
    • See coy fish that are over 100 years old
    • It‟s a good 20 min. walk from the closest subway
– Longhua Pagoda/Temple (Y10) - less visited and empty,
  but the vibe is nice in such a high pace city. This temple is
  also a good 20 min. walk from the nearest subway station
– Bars & Clubs - they‟re expensive but fun. Check out the
  Cotton Club for jazz, or Zapato’s for ladies night
• Why: Of the many „West Lakes‟, this is the famous West Lake,
  beautiful manicured gardens, lawns, and walkways, one of
  two most visited places by Chinese
• Getting There: From Shanghai, any major bus station (~Y60).
  Recommend taking the earliest bus available and tickets can
  be bought 1-2 days in advance. A train ticket can be bought
  but the times are much more limited. Hangzhou can be
  reached directly via train, but it is probably easier to use
  Shanghai as a base getting to/from Hangzhou
• Hotel: Hangzhou IYH (Y30/dorm) - great location on the lake
  at the right price. Bicycles can be rented here which is a nice
  way to travel around the lake
• Time: 2 days
• Getting Around: Take either the No 2 or K7 bus to get to the
  lake, from there a taxi can be gotten easily around the north
  part of West Lake to get to the hostel (or you can walk)
• Bring plenty of snacks and water to save money, food stalls
  and restaurants can be pricey
• Bring a book! This is a great place to relax anywhere
• West Lake
   – Use the boats on the NW part of the lake to island hop on the
      lake (~Y35)
   – Stroll along both Sudi and Baidi Causeways, and enjoy a nice
   – Red Carp Pond and Liulang Weng Park (Both Y5-10) for a fair
      share of fish and willows
• Botanical Gardens
   – It‟s pretty big and a nice way to spend a couple hours
   – No K7 bus ought to get you near the park. Get on the bus
      near the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei
• Lingyin Temple
   – Very touristy but the halls are gigantic and impressive
   – There are some grottoes and paths to walk around to get
      away from the crowds
   – Unfortunately, you must buy a ticket to get into Lingyin Park
      (Y30) just to see the temple (Y20), but the park is pleasant
      with its caves, ledges, and foliage
   – No K7 bus will get you to/from the temple. Get on near the
      Mausoleum of General Yue Fei
• Why: Zen-like gardens that are World Heritage Sites and what
  Suzhou is known for best, to see the „Venice‟ of China
• Getting There: From Shanghai, any major bus station (Y30-50).
  Recommend taking the earliest bus available since some places
  close earlier. Tickets can be bought 1-2 days in advance
• Time: Day trip from Shanghai
• Getting Around: Walking can be much quicker due to certain
  parts of town having horrendous traffic. However, it‟s a long day
  of walking since the parks are far apart
• Entrance Fees: Range from Y30-70
• Things To Do:
   – Gardens - a must see, and each is unique and complex in its
      use of space. Highest recommended seem to be Garden of
      the Master of the Nets and Garden for Lingering In
   – Visit the canals throughout the city - a nice area is at the
      intersections of Changxu Lu, Fengqiao Lu, and Dong Zhongshi
   – North Temple Pagoda (Y10) - near the train and bus stations.
      Tallest pagoda south of the Yangzi River with great views
• Bring a book! Relax at the gardens or the canals
• Bring snacks and water. Food can be bought fairly cheap at
  local shops around town
• Time: Allow 5-6 days total
• Places: Tai‟an/Tai Shan, Qingdao,
• Getting There: From any major city in
  China, take a train to Ji‟nan, the
  capital of Shandong, and hop a
  hard seat or bus to your location
• Why: See where the world was created according to
  Chinese legend, scale the mountain all new emperors of
  China climbed to solidify their rule, visit an impressive Taoist
  complex in its original state
• Getting There: Direct train from Shanghai. Train or bus from
  Ji‟nan. Train arrives around dawn from Shanghai. Extra
  luggage can be left at the station check-in for cheap
• Time: 1.5-2 days
• Dai Temple (Y20):
   – Upon arriving, take a taxi (< Y10) to the temple - opens
      at 7:30AM. It‟s empty and peaceful during this time
   – Temple complex has numerous large courtyards and
      buildings covered in moss, stone scriptures and cypress
      trees everywhere, and a massive hall not renovated in
      typical „new‟ fashion, with peeling frescos inside. All
      this with the back drop of Tai Shan. It is one of the best
      Taoist complexes in all of China
                      Tai Shan
• Tai Shan
   – Entrance Fee: Y50 with „student‟ ID
   – From Dai Temple, it is a straight walk up hill to the
   – Drink lots of water! You‟ll need it and will sweat a lot in
      the summer heat. Bargain for water with the vendors, it
      adds up and they try to rip you off
   – Scenic climb with Taoist temples dotted up the entire
      climb up
   – Hotel: Shenxiu Gong Hotel (Y30) - half-way up the
      mountain at the Midway Gate to Heaven and by far
      the cheapest place to stay on Tai Shan and in Tai‟an.
      Food can be bought fairly cheap here
   – Taoist monks love talking, shaking hands, and giving
      hugs to foreigners climbing the mountain
   – Take the time to explore on top of Tai Shan (near the
      top, the steps are steep!), there‟s a lot to see. A
      decent sunrise/sunset can be seen a top the summit
• Why: See where Beijing summer vacationers go, enjoy the
  ocean breezes and sunrises/sunsets, Tsing Tao beer festival
  and brewery, German architecture
• Getting There: Direct train from any major city in China. In
  town train station ought to be reopened before the
  Olympics. If it isn‟t finished, you‟ll have to take a taxi into
  town from the temporary station
• Hotel: Any Ma & Pa home-run hostel (Y40 single/dbl)
  anywhere along or around Mengyin Lu
• Time: 2-3 days
• Things To Do:
   – No 6 Bathing Beach - there are other beaches, but the
      atmosphere is nice and is nearby many hostels. If you
      bring a bathing suit, you can go for a dip. The Zhan
      Qiao pier and Huilin Pavilion are pleasant to stroll along
   – German Architecture - everywhere the German
      influence can be seen. Whether it‟s old hotels,
      consulate offices, homes, or churches, the scenery is
      dubbed the „Switzerland‟ of China:
    • St Michael‟s Catholic Church (~Y10) - it‟s big and a
      top a hill, you can‟t miss it
    • Protestant Church (~Y10) - nice views of the bay
      and an interesting clock tower to view from inside
    • Qingdao Ying Binguan (Y15) - see where Mao
      Zedong stayed and why the opulence of it got a
      governor fired. Can be tricky to find
– China Naval Museum (Y15) - explore the naval history
  of China, real life planes, tanks, ships, and missiles China
  used. Area may be reopened for the Olympics, but
  you can also go aboard ships and submarines to
– Lighthouse (Y15) - next to the museum is the bridge to
  walk to the lighthouse on Xiao Qingdao
– Tsing Tao - If you come during August, you can enjoy
  the Tsing Tao beer festival. Beer is super cheap - large
  plastic bag, Y2-3; large pitcher near the beach, Y10. If
  you want to learn more about the history of the beer
  on premises, take a tour of the brewery (Y30)
• Why: To see the birthday place of Confucius, where the
  inspiration of Taoism began, see feng shui at its best
  while soaking in the aura
• Getting There: Train or bus from Ji‟nan
• Hotel: Qufu IYH (Y30) - conveniently located dorm
  rooms in the center of town, near the Yan Temple.
  Other local hostels can also be found down the road
  from Y20-40
• Time: 1 day
• Entrance Fees: Range from Y30-60
• Confucius Temple, Mansions, Forest: Too much to write.
  Enjoy the distinct designs and simplicity of Taoist
  complexes, which are unique and different from
  Buddhist temples
• Yan Temple (Y10): Often overlooked but worth a trip,
  especially for the price for this small compound
• Why: For obvious reasons
• Getting There: By train in any major city. The walk stinks to the
  nearest subway stop, or you can hop on a city bus which will
  take you on a roundabout way to a subway stop
• Hotel: There‟s a host of hostels to choose from any guide book or
  online, most starting from Y45. All have basic services, including
  ticket booking
• Getting Around: Many locations can be reached by subway, the
  bus system is also pretty good. The city is set up in a NS-EW grid
  system around the Forbidden City, so it‟s easy to navigate
• Time: 5-6 days
• Don‟t cram too much in, the city can be done at an easier pace
  in 5 days, or 6 if you choose
• Pack your own water and snacks when possible, it‟ll save you a
  lot of money
• Restaurant food isn‟t anything great or distinct compared to
  western China, and Beijing Duck is extremely expensive
• Street or hutong food is great and cheap, keep your eyes open
• Day 1 (take your pick):
   – Tiananmen Square - it‟s a cement block and not beautiful,
     but impressive for its shear size. The Front Gate, Chairman
     Mao Memorial Hall, and Monument to the People’s Heroes
     (all free) are within the great square
   – Great Hall of the People (Y15 with „student‟ ID) - see where
     the „elected‟ NCP convenes. West side of Tiananmen Square
   – China National Museum (Y30) - was under renovation, but
     ought to be reopened before the Olympics. East side of
     Tiananmen Square
   – Hutong - see the „real‟ Beijing on the back side of Tiananmen
     Square either walking or hire a rickshaw for a tour - they‟re
     quickly disappearing, and ones reappearing for tourist ones,
     not the real thing
   – Imperial Archives - can‟t go inside but you can see the
     building where important documents were kept. Within the
     complex are a few art galleries to walk about. Off of
     Nanchizi Dajie
   – China Art Gallery (Y5) - concept of modern art is more
     conservative in Beijing, but it‟s cheap to get into and new
     displays are often rotated in
• Day 2:
   – Forbidden City (Y60) - arrive when the complex opens to get
     ahead of the mobs of Chinese tourists. On your way in, you‟ll
     see the Gate of Heavenly Peace with an enormous picture of
     Chairman Mao on its facade
   – Lama Temple (Y25) - after the Forbidden City, take the
     subway to Yonghegong station. The temple compound is
     very touristy, but the detail and ornate ness of it is impressive
   – Confucius Temple & Imperial College (Y5 with „student‟ ID) -
     much more simple, but it‟s nearby and is worth a quick trip
   – Instead of taking a taxi or bus, mosey over to Behai Park.
     Walk south towards Dongzhimennei Dajie, and head west
     (turn right) till you hit the Bell and Drum Towers. Near the
     towers you can walk south along Qianhai Lake. Eventually
     you‟ll get to the north entrance of Behai Park
   – Behai Park (Y10) - the park is great to walk around sunset. The
     White Dagoba can be seen from the Forbidden City, and is
     impressive to see up close. Xitian Fanjing and Nine Dragon
     Screen are both worth stopping to see in the park
• Day 3:
   – The Great Wall - there are many parts to go and see, but if
     you‟re looking for less Chinese tourists and souvenir stalls,
     along with a nice hike on un-restored sections (however, this
     could change any day), it‟s a worthwhile journey from
     Jinshanling to Simatai
   – Bring lots of water and snacks; wear shoes with support
   – Porter women will follow you part way with water & trinkets.
     Once you show any inclination of them, they‟ll want you to
     buy something - you can bargain big time
   – Jinshanling (Y40), Simatai (Y20 with „student ID) - you‟ll have
     to purchase the ticket en-route on the walk
   – Dongzhimen long-distance bus station - bus 980 (Y10) to
     Miyun. From there, hop on a mini-bus or private taxi
   – Once arriving at Simatai, you‟ll see a zip-line (~Y40) to get
     down the hill or you can walk. You‟ll have to bargain to get
     back to Miyun with a taxi (~Y25-30/person), and then hop
     onto bus 980 (Y10) to get back into Beijing
• Day 4:
   – Summer Palace (Y50) – where emperors retired to from
     the Forbidden City heat. The whole complex is impressive
     and one can easily spend a whole day here. Make an
     effort to walk along the causeway – it‟s copied from West
     Lake - the walk around Kunming Lake is very nice
   – Getting There – can be tricky if you don‟t want to pay for
     a taxi. Take the subway to Xizhimen station. Around this
     intersection, local buses can be taken there. Don‟t be
     afraid to ask a local which bus will get you there
   – Try to arrive at the palace close to opening time, many
     tourists come to this place
   – Brings lots of water and snacks – both are expensive inside
     the park
   – Bring a book, there are many shaded, more
     empty/private areas to sit and relax along the causeway
     and Xi Lake
   – Old Summer Palace (Y10/15) – time permitting, it‟s worth
     making a trip to these overgrown gardens and European
     ruins (which is the nicer part). There are two ticket sections,
     and buses 331/801 will go to the palace from the Summer
•   Day 5:
     – Temple of Heaven Park (Y25 with „student‟ ID) – a very
       lively park with expansive lawns and bold colored temples.
       It is easy to find personal space here. Try to arrive earlier
       morning, there are many fun watching and participatory
       activities to do
          • Tiantandongmen subway stop ought to be open by
             the Olympics, if not, hop on a bus heading south from
             Chongwenmen stop
     – White Cloud Temple (Y10) – large Taoist temple complex
       with countless courtyards to wander about. Extremely
       peaceful and quite
          • You‟ll have to walk from either Nanlishilu or Muxidi
             subway stops to get there
     – Markets – Pearl Market (near Temple of Heaven Park) or
       Silk Street (Yonganli subway stop) both have tons of fun,
       rowdy bargaining opportunities for any souvenir one may
       want from China - suitcases can be bought to carry all the
       junk purchased
          • Just north of the Silk Market is where many embassies
             are located if you want to take a stroll in that area
          • Good vendor food can also be found behind the Silk
• Day 6:
   – If you want to experience anything else
      for one more day, take this day to do
      things you couldn‟t do on this sample
      itinerary, or whatever you find or fancy
      from a guidebook or the internet
• If you have a free evening, take the time
  to see a Beijing Opera, or an Acrobatics
  & Martial Arts show. They can be kind of
  pricey, but it‟s something to do if you
  aren‟t too tired from all the walking. Take
  your pick from any guidebook or the
         PCV Travel Pictures
• Stephen Kushner (Gansu 12)
• Danielle Rinke (Gansu 12)
• Matt Scranton (Chongqing 12)
• John and Erin Townsend (Gansu 12)
• Kari Hatfield (Gansu 12)
• Kristen Rush (Gansu 12)

NOTE: Firefox (recommended) or a proxy is needed to
view photos on Flickr. To view photos on Flickr using
Firefox, download and install the following link:

Shared By: