China - vacation ideas

Started by yashin, June 23, 2007, 05:00:55 AM

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Thinking of going to China for my summer vacation.  Principally to go to Shanghai and Beijing - always wanted to go since i watched 'Beijing bicycle'  :)

Any tips?  Good hotels? Things not to miss?  Anything to be careful of?  I am flying from Asia so am pretty use to the heat and pollution/traffic.


Thanks MahlerTitan.  Great help


I had about three weeks there last year: actually I wasn't that taken by the country- I think it has to be said there isn't the depth of culture of many of its smaller neighbours. Get out of the cities and head for the interior smaller towns, which can be fascinating. Places I visited included Beijing, Xian, Xiahe, Hezou, Lanzhou, Kunming, Guangzhou, Kowloon & Mui Wo. Here's some notes from my files-

The Chinese cities are developing rapidly, built on giant scales to accommodate the population, and certainly much has been achieved in a short time. People there are well if uniformly and colourlessly dressed and there's a stability, uprightness and orderliness, public spaces very clean with misconduct out of the question: they're smokers rather than drinkers, despite 55% spirits selling for a pittance. However there's a sense of the harmony being coercively promoted, for instance complimented by nasty muzak and vast laterally stretched official buildings dwarfing the individual; moreover there's rough behaviour in the shouting, spitting, public defecation and lack of queuing- in practical life people still have less of a social contract than in the West. China's a somewhat soulless, passionless place, readily taking to Western materialism.

The Terracotta warriors of the first emperor near Xian may look initially like dubious if interesting extravagance, but reveal great aesthetic value, leading up the ranks to his ghostly chariots to the afterlife. Parts of central China are very dry and desolate with long stretches of grey-brown mountains, and bus travel there can be slow with poor roads going in far from straight lines- I took a flight instead, though encountering serious turbulence with the plane rolling and falling badly. Xiahe's a predominantly Tibetan town northeast of the Tibetan border with numerous temples and exotic textiles, finely detailed timber architecture and prayer wheels continuously used- they're happy people with an inner strength and assurance, and I shared the hotel room of two. From the trains between the cities are seen endless buffalo ploughs and seed scatterers, sometimes in spectacular volcanic landscapes.