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Trip to China ,where ,need help

   Recently , My family want to go to China, but don’t know how much money I should take?where to go is best ?
   Ohhh, we have about 10 days ,now don’t know we will be able to stay longer or not.
   My friend told me about his trip to China , he went with the tour group. He said:”he learn about the ancient history,rich culture and modern miracles in one week.
   It is said that Shanghai is known as the Paris of the east. I am curious about it.So do you thing its a good place to go ?
   Can you help ?

Posted by
3392 posts

I was in China for several weeks a few years back. I went with a group but if I were going on my own, here is what I would do.
In each town you visit, stay at a comfortable hotel that can set you up with a driver. It is common to have a driver in China and it will be easier than trying to find your way by yourself. Most things are not in English so you need someone with you who can speak and read Mandarin.
Shanghai is worth seeing but it is a huge, urban city. There are parts of the city that have beautiful, old buildings but most of it is a sprawl of massive, very impressively designed skyscrapers. The Bund along the river is beautiful, especially at night.
Beijing is where you want to spend several days. Visit the Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square, tour an old hutong neighborhood, go see the Summer Palace of the emperors, and spend time in the park surrounding the Temple of Heaven on a Sunday morning if you can. It is a cultural experience! Just outside of Beijing there are several places you can go walk on the Great Wall of China.
We went to a beautiful, old village in Taiyuan province called Ping Yao. It was so remote that it was spared destruction during the cultural revolution and is quite remarkable. Near there you can drive out to some temples that hang from the side of a cliff - spectacular!
Of course, don't miss the terracotta warriors at Xian.

Posted by
9110 posts

If you want to go to Shanghai, have at it. The bund is much as it was a hundred years ago. Once you get away from the commercial area, the rest of a Shanghai is pretty close to what it was before China opened up.

Corrections to previous posts:

You no more need a guide/tour for China than you do for any other country.

You can't drive in China without a Chinese license and they're a bit of a problem to get for one trip,

Most important road signs are also in English, including much of the extreme far beyonds.

Mandarin is not spoken in many parts of the country.

Posted by
5837 posts

My son and some friends have each on seperate trips done independent Lonely Planet multi-week tours of China. Our son booked advanced hotel reservations at each end but had a flexible schedule for the body of their travels.

Our retired friends used a travel booking person to make their daily overnight arrangement but then traveled independently including riding a public bus to the Great Wall.

We on the other hand went deluxe joining a Cal Alumni tour that used China Advocates as the tour provider and threw in a retired professor for additional enlightenment. Our week plus tour started in Beijing, toured historic villages featured in the Crouching Tiger movie, a night in a Yellow Mountain top hotel, ending in Shanghai. I gained weight on that trip.

Bottom line is we each traveled differently but all enjoyed our travels. None of had a working Chinese language skill. I would say that our son's independent Lonely Planet style of travel was definetly cheaper per day and a bigger adventure than our deluxe guided tour.

The tours to avoid are the budget tours with mandatory shopping expeditions.

Posted by
14580 posts

Anyone with at least junior high school education is going to know Mandarin aside from his/her local dialect, be it Shanghainese, Szechuan, Fukien, Cantonese, Hunan, etc, etc. . Even if the person doesn't speak the national language well, you can still lessen the problem of communicating by showing on flash cards (or on some electronic equipment) the character of the "thing" you're describing. If the person is literate, he/she recognises both the old and simplified characters.

Posted by
5837 posts

Anyone with at least junior high school education is going to know Mandarin aside from his/her local dialect....

That is any Chinese Jr high schooler should know Mandarin.

We Měiguó are not as universally literate.

Carry your guide's business card or the hotel business card and a helpful local can whip out their cell and call for help if you get lost.

Posted by
1580 posts

I just have to add a funny anecdote to Emma's comment about her French not being any help at all. We took a 22-day tour of China in 2012 with a company that started in Montreal and only recently had expanded to English speaking Canada. We had to wear lanyards with our name tags everywhere, and they had the name of the company on them. It took me a few days to realize that the vendors had learned to recognize them and offered all the goods to us in French. It seemed weird to haggle on prices in French while in China. I'm certain that my rudimentary French would not have gone far with any of the Chinese, but it was funny all the same.

Posted by
11507 posts

Wow.. should talk to the new owner of our business.. She speaks only Mandarin.. no Cantonese at all.. and is presently just now learning English.. She says most people speak and understand either one of the other ... and that they are quite different langauges.. not just a local dialect...

I have no trouble suggesting that you go to the China Forums.. you will find hundreds of other posters who have travelled there.. not just a dozen or so like here.. this forum has mostly visitors experienced with Europe ( but yes.. there are SOME experienced Chinese visitors here.. but way way more on a country specific forum.. and they have individual forums for all the main cities)

Good luck. ..

PS Unless you can read Chinese characters I would suggest a tour is best for a first time visitor..

Posted by
14580 posts

"universally literate."....We ought to be, and we can certainly try.

Posted by
9363 posts

On our trip a few years ago, we found that most younger people spoke at least rudimentary English, and they are often anxious to practice it with you. I bought CDs in a small music shop in Xian with a combination of simple English and gestures to ask who was "number 1" in China. The girl in the shop asked, "Boy? Girl?", and I said "both". I came home with CDs from the top male and female on the pop charts, as well as a CD of a group.

Posted by
5697 posts

And if you want to bargain ... shopkeeper has a calculator, puts in offer price, shows it to you. You take calculator, read price and either accept or punch in your counter-offer price. Repeat as needed.
My friend and I went on a museum-affiliated group tour (for solar eclipse viewing outside Shanghai in 2009) and enjoyed seeing Beijing, Xian and Shanghai as part of an escorted group. Local tour agent was essential when my friend got flagged in the airport for running a fever (Bird-Flu epidemic) and taken off to quarantine by people whose English was "follow me" -- she was released a few hours later and tour operators got her to the hotel and even took her to a herbalist down the street for medicine.

Great Wall was a bucket-list sight. Terra Cotta warriors in Xian.

Posted by
5837 posts

Chinese merchants are pretty smart. They understand cardinal numbers (1, 2,3 etc) better than your average American and can do the calculator display trick or just writing out the number.

Learn how to say "too expensive" in Mandarin: "Tài guìle"

And I should add that you will probably still pay more than what a local pays.

Posted by
1840 posts

Why don't you do something different. Go to Chengdu. The Giant Panda Reseach Center. Stay at the Holiday Inn. Wander around and meet local people. I did and it was wonderful.