"CHINA, AT LAST" China by calcaf38
China Travel Guide: 29,975 reviews and 85,278 photos
I visited China for the first time in January 2005: ten days divided between Harbin and Beijing.
There were few visitors anywhere, except at the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival.
I have built separate Harbin and Beijing pages. Here are just a few general thoughts.
Don't worry if the first impression is uninviting: outer cities are just as charmless there as they are here.
Don't expect people to speak English. Some do, but few. I had studied Mandarin for two years before leaving and that improved my experience considerably.
For the "gotta go right now" crowd, there are restrooms everywhere, albeit of the Crouching Tiger variety. Do carry tissues with you at all times.
Although restaurant restrooms often have cold water only, and no hand towels, I never got sick.
China is very affordable if you stay out of the odd deluxe-Western shopping areas. Taxis are reasonable (never more than $2 for an intra-city trip).
China seemed very safe, as long as you are not foolish with your belongings. Just be careful crossing the streets (follow the natives).
The Chinese have had a tough century. Don't expect the help from strangers you get in, say, Canada! But once you connect with someone, he or she will help you very kindly. Otherwise, expect to be shoved and pushed a bit, as well as stared at.
Don't freak out when you read that everything is changing so fast that soon there will be nothing left. While it is true that you should have the most up-to-date guidebook, there is plenty of Chinese charm left if you know where to look.
- Pros:History, Monuments, People, Food...
- Cons:Looks like Jersey City at first glance.
- In a nutshell:No country is more interesting than China
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