China on a budget, cheap
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Jul 18, 2012 6:30 AM Last Post By: pratyeka
Jul 10, 2012 8:33 PM
China on a budget, cheapTaking a train from Russia into China. I will have 17 days in China before my flight home. Unfortunately, I can't spend a lot of money while I'm there. Looking for some things to do, or places to go that are cheap. I don't care about seeing every touristy thing in China. Looking to relax and pass the time without spending too much. Any suggestions? I will be arriving in China by train from Heihe. I'll pass through Haerbin on my way down south. My flight home is from Beijing. Any suggestions? Is Haerbin nice in the summer for a few days? Can ShangHai be done on a budget? It would be cool to see some Kung Fu at the Shaolin Temple...
Jul 10, 2012 8:59 PM
1In China, accommodation is usually quite cheap (particularly if you stick to places that have youth hostels with dorm rooms), and food can be very cheap. The thing that tends to unavoidably eat into your budget is transport, and also admission prices (prices for tourist sites in China are ridiculously expensive: an entry ticket to the Shaolin Temple probably costs something like 20 USD, for example). If you're really keen on spending money, then you won't want to move around the country too much. Train and bus tickets will quickly eat into your budget (the one exception to this is hard seat on the trains: these are usually quite cheap, but they are very uncomfortable if you're traveling over-night).
Shanghai can certainly be done on a budget - you can get a dorm bed in Shanghai for 10USD or slightly less, cheap food can be found quite easily, and there are enough free attractions in the city to give you at least a couple of days sight-seeing. Your main budget concern will be getting there. It will be difficult to find cheaper tickets on the Beijing-Shanghai route.
My advice to you would be not to travel too much. There's plenty to see in Manchuria: Harbin is a massive, industrial city, and while there's some nice old architecture in the city centre, it's not really a relaxing place. Some of the China-North Korea border areas are quite interesting to visit (though well off normal tourist paths), and Dalian is a rather funky city, as far as Chinese cities go anyway. You can also take a boat from Dalian to Tianjin (near Beijing) which you might enjoy. But at any rate, if you want to save money, I would advise you not to try and travel too much within China: plan a route from Harbin to Beijing, leave yourself a few days to appreciate Beijing, and save places like Shanghai and Shaolin (neither of which I would particularly recommend) for when you have more time and money.
Jul 11, 2012 10:33 PM
2Harbin is quite nice in the summer. Remember Harbin is one of the group of Chinese cities that developed far more quickly than the rest, owing to the long ago foreign prescence influence (like Qingdao, Tianjin and Shanghai). An example of that is Harbin had trolley cars and street lighting early on.
Shanghai is far more expensive. Why not stop by Harbin and then check out Beijing?
Jul 17, 2012 7:06 AM
3Thanks for the tips! We're going to go from Haerbin, to Changchun, Shenyang, Dalian, then Beijing. My old lady wants to see Shanghai. There is enough free stuff to do there to keep us busy. Shanghai might be cheaper than paying for all the fees at touristy places! I'm a sucker for Kung Fu... going to hit up Hunan Province as well.
Jul 17, 2012 8:23 PM
4Aside from the Puyi palace museum, I wouldn't waste time visiting Changchun (unless it was the last Chinese city on earth). It's a dirty backwater city. Enjoy yourself in Harbin and Shenyang. Harbin's fairly easy to figure out. The people are laid back friendly, and the Russian architecture in the Daoli district is very cool (like Shanghai's 1920's western architecture on the bund and within the French Concession). For the newby, it helps to know someone in Shenyang that can steer you along (to maximize your time there).
I'll never understand Dalian. Everyone wants to go there, Chinese and foreigners alike, because its at the ocean. But in fact, there isn't that much to do there and it doesn't have miles of nice sandy beaches to head to.
Jul 18, 2012 6:30 AM
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