Logistics of Beijing to Hong Kong with maximum freedom
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Sep 13, 2012 6:00 AM Last Post By: SadisticToaster
Sep 10, 2012 8:00 PM
15It's not over-the-top at all, and I say this as somebody who rents cars and self-drives in other countries of developing Asia. The majority of people experienced in China would agree with me, not you. I also know plenty of foreigners who drive in China, but the difference is they aren't here on a lark as tourists, and are familiar with the situation.
I repeat, for this sort of visitor to China, a self-drive road trip is a dangerous idea indeed. There's another point to be made: few visitors can truly enjoy a China trip if their entire concentration is basically on 1) just staying alive and 2) finding your way. That breezy feeling of freedom you get when on the open road in the USA is not replicable in that many places in China, particularly not in the Eastern part.
Sep 10, 2012 8:21 PM
16Wow, wow, it's gonna be a great trip but challenging. Gotta visit Chengdu, I will buy you beers.
Sep 10, 2012 8:33 PM
17Considering the poster has not even been out of the USA, I suspect he would find China a very strange place to drive, and everything he has learned, may as well go out the window. Heck, Americans driving in Costa Rica freak out...
I have never witnessed more moronic driving than in China, and I thought Vietnam was nuts.
Speaking as a SCCA member qualified to race sports cars on race tracks, as well as an avid touring motorcyclist, I would not find China that attractive to drive around in, mainly due to the liability a foreigner would face, and the odds of a incident. Damage to my car would be the least of my worries.
Sep 11, 2012 9:00 AM
18Quite a lot of people bike through China and camp as they go. Is that something the you'd be up for OP? I've been reading a blog recently written by a guy who was going from Chengdu to Turkey. He's all the way to Kazakhstan now so it certainly is possible.
I don't think doing a road trip through China would be much fun, and since the OP wants to do things on the cheap, I think it is pretty much out of the question, since cars and budget travel tend not to go hand in hand in this country.
That said, you can have a lot of freedom in your travels in China even without a car. It is entirely possible just to show up at a train or bus station and get tickets onward if you are not picky about where you go or how you get there. While sleeper train tickets can sometimes be hard to get, seats and standing room tickets are almost always available. Bus tickets rarely sell out. You can usually rock up in a town or a city and get a hotel/hostel room if you accept the possibility of perhaps having to wander around looking for an hour or so. People who are flexible and who don't really require a certain standard of comfort can definitely travel without set plans.
That all said, the reason people traveling internationally tend to post itineraries and such is because usually people have a fixed timeframe and budget, plus they tend to have an idea about what they want to see. When you're dropping a lot of money to travel overseas to a country you might not ever get a chance to return to, it makes sense to have an idea of where you want to go. It isn't really about being chained to a plan, it is about maximizing your limited time in a place that is very far away. In China especially, a lot of medium sized Chinese cities are not particularly interesting or unique, especially to a foreign traveler that doesn't speak the language. If you have unlimited time sure, whatever, see them all, but if you have limited time and limited funds, it is best to have a plan.
Sep 13, 2012 6:00 AM
19Are you sure about driving through Hong Kong? A driving holiday there would be rather like a driving holiday through Manhattan ( only without their grid street plan ). Plus they drive on the left. This is assuming there's no issues with taking rented cars across the border.
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