North-East Asia branch Frequently Asked Questions thread
Replies: 136 - Last Post: Feb 9, 2013 12:37 AM Last Post By: Glenski
May 5, 2006 5:26 AM
My husband and I recently had an interesting experience trying to see a Beijing acrobat show!
We researched, and decided the Beijing Chaoyang Theatre had good reviews.
However there appears to be a mis-print in the LP guide - it states a ticket cost 80RMB. We went to Chaoyang theatre to book the tickets ourselves, but found that actually they are 180RMB. As our hotel (Hao Yuan) were offering tickets to this theatre for 150RMB incl return taxi we decided to book through them instead.
However the taxi driver took us to an acrobat show at a different theatre - the Beijing Workers Club!
We only knew where we were by asking someone (it was written on the back of their tickets!) - there were no neon signs where the theatre name should be! The driver bought tickets for us there and then, whilst we were telling him we were not happy. The driver rang his agent, who told us the Chaoyang Theatre tickets had sold out (believe that one?!).
As we were there, we thought we'd give the Beijing Workers Club performance a try. However in our view it was a very amateurish show, more like a poor circus act. There were a couple of guys at the start who could do lots of contortions etc, but other than that it was very disappointing. The show itself was not slick, and there were even pauses whilst the troupe were getting ready for the next act etc. The theatre itself was old and tired, and certainly not full. You got the impression that people there were with tour groups and had all been conned like ourselves! It was not what we were expecting at all. There was minimal applause.
We complained to our hotel, and admittedly they were very surprised. They'd booked through an agent, who had obviously taken us to a different theatre. We only got a disappointing 60RMB refund.
Following that, we then booked our own tickets to the Chaoyang Theatre.
We paid 180RMB each for the cheapest tickets. However there are only 5 rows at 180RMB. The next few rows back are 380RMB, and then the block nearest the back are 280RMB.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Chaoyang Theatre show. It was 1 1/4 hours, with a 15 min interval.
We felt everything about the show was very professional - a very skillful troupe - lots of varied acts (contortions, tumbling, bycicles, balancing things/ each other etc), good lighting and backdrops, even the theatre itself was quite plush!
The only thing to watch out for - DVD's: after the show was over we decided to buy a DVD of the show for my young niece. I went to the theatre shop, but the DVD's they sell are 'similar' to the show ie not the actual Chaoyang troupe! I ran back inside and bought the 'real' DVD from one of the performers. The performers also sell these during the interval (50RMB).
If you book an acrobat show through a hotel/ hostel, check to see which acrobats show you'll be taken to and that it's the one you want!
Don't bother going to acrobats at the Beijing Workers Club!
Do go to the show at the Chaoyang Theatre!
May 7, 2006 8:31 AM
May 17, 2006 4:23 PM
47Can anyone tell me how long the TTB permit lasts for? I am flying to Chengdu on 20 July and plan to spend up to 26 days travelling independently in Tibet. I will get a Chinese tourist visa before leaving the UK and book my flight to Lhasa and TTB permit through an agency in Chengdu. Can they issue me with a TTB permit that will cocver my entire stay in Tibet (I will travel overland toNepal to leave Tibet), even though I will not be on a tour with the agency that arranged my TTB permit once I get to Lhasa?
May 20, 2006 5:16 AM
48Hitchhiking in Japan
There is No law for hitchhiking so it’s legal. But road regulations apply such as if you stand tollgate on expressway police ask you to leave. I never caught by police but have asked.
So Japan is hitchhike heaven if you a man.
Expressway is best bet to do hitchhiking. Find expressway entrance (interchange: IC) that able to access by public transportation.
For example going Kyoto from Tokyo.
Take JR highway bus bound for Shizuoka (Not Tomei liner nor super liner) from JR Tokyo station and get off at Tomei Muko Gaoka (450Y)
That is just past Tokyo tollgate on West bound of Tomei expressway.
Hand sign isn’t common here so you should have destination signboard plus hand sign. If driver going your destination but up to half way then ask him to drop off at service area not parking area or exit. Service area’s shop, restaurant and rest room (has bench and table) that is 24H open.
If you get off at exit or parking area that is less chance to catch next car.
And get off at Fukakusa Bus stop that is between Kyoto Higashi IC and Kyoto Minami IC. Then you can go Kyoto City center from Fujinomori Station by Keihan railway.
Usually there is public transportation to city center when you get off at bus stop on the expressway.
Also you can ask driver to drop off at train station if his destination is almost same as you.
On the way back to Tokyo from Kyoto
Go Takeda station on subway Karasuma line or Kintetsu railway then walk to Route No.1 (west from the station) then you will see Kyoto Minami IC entrance.
May 26, 2006 9:51 AM
Jun 27, 2006 1:01 PM
51NARITA AIRPORT STOPOVER for a five or six hours
June 25, 2006 All prices in Australian dollars
Use a stopover to sample traditional Japan in four hours and under $10, writes Michael Challinger.
Japan's not exactly a cheap destination. Flights via Japan, though, can be very good value. There are competitive fares through Tokyo both to Europe and North America. Japan Airlines even offers a bargain fare to Mexico through their hub at Narita.
The question is: can you afford the time and money to see a bit of Japan on the way? Well, if you've got a couple of hours between flights and 10 bucks to spare, the answer is yes.
Narita, Tokyo's international airport, has never enjoyed a good press but it's no more alienating than Sydney. The trouble is that Tokyo itself is 80 kilometres away - out of reach if you're only waiting to change planes.
But don't give up. For a sample of traditional Japan, Narita City is close at hand.
Narita is a smallish Japanese city with a famous temple. Called Shinsho-ji, the temple was founded in the year 940 and attracts 12 million pilgrims and sightseers a year. It's set in a superb Japanese garden with ponds and waterfalls, and features a splendid entrance gate and a lavish three-storey pagoda.
Purple-robed priests conduct services in the main hall several times a day and visitors are welcome to go inside and watch. Prayers are written on paper or small wooden boards and burned at the main altar.
The temple venerates a kind of Japanese version of Robin Hood called Masakado. The place is also popular with professional sumo wrestlers who turn up to a festival each February and toss roasted soybeans to the crowds for good luck. More importantly for tourists in transit, the temple is said to guarantee travellers a smooth, safe journey. Indeed, there's even a drive-in side chapel where Japanese motorists can get their Mazdas and Toyotas blessed.
To visit Narita City without missing your connecting flight, you'll need a minimum of four hours. As you leave Australia, make sure you check your luggage through to your final destination. Then, after you land at Narita, follow these instructions.
Join the arrivals queue and get yourself stamped into Japan. Even at a busy time, you won't wait more than 20 minutes. For Australian passport holders and most other Western nationalities, it's free of charge and free of hassles.
Next, get some yen. Use an ATM or change money at one of the banks on the arrival level. The rate is about 85 yen to the dollar. Changing $10 per person will give you just enough, but get more if you want to do things in style.
Go to the tourist/railway desk on the same level. Buy a return ticket to Narita City. Trains on both Japan Railways and Keisei Railways go through Narita City, with JR marginally cheaper. The helpful, English-speaking staff will tell you when the next train is due. The platform is directly beneath you. If you've got some cabin luggage and don't want to lug it around, leave it in a locker at the airport. For convenience, those on the departure level are best. They cost 300 yen for the day, about $4.
While you're there, you could check in early at the airline desk if you haven't already got a boarding pass for the next leg of your flight.
Now just take the escalator to the basement level and catch your train. They run every quarter of an hour or so and the journey itself takes about 10 minutes. Being Japan, the trains, of course, are spotless.
Narita City is the next station and is clearly marked. Cross the line and take the street called Omotesando, opposite the local McDonald's. It's easy to find: it's paved with brown stones and runs downhill. The route is lined with traditional restaurants and souvenir shops, alternating with banks of the ubiquitous vending-machines, which in Japan dispense everything from cold beer to hot coffee.
Just stroll downhill for about a kilometre. The temple entrance is on your left and impossible to miss.
Allow at least an hour to see the buildings and gardens. And remember: on the way back, get off the train at Terminal 2.
Entry permit to Japan is free.
Train from airport to Narita City and return, 380 yen ($5) on Japan Railways, 500 yen ($6.50) on the Keisei Line train.
Entrance to the temple is free.
Jun 27, 2006 1:03 PM
52Lhasa Train Schedule
Here is the latest information I have on the trains going to Lhasa. There are trains originating from Chengdu, Beijing, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining to Lhasa.
Chengdu to Lhasa
48 hours 10 minutes
Hard Sleeper bottom Y712
Soft Sleeper top Y1065
Beijing to Lhasa
47 hours 28 minutes
Hard Sleeper bottom Y813
Soft Sleeper bottom Y1262
Chongqing to Lhasa
47 hours 8 minutes
Hard Sleeper bottom Y754
Soft Sleeper bottom Y1168
Lanzhou to Lhasa
29 hours 45 minutes
Hard Sleeper bottom Y552
Soft Sleeper bottom Y854
Xining to Lhasa
26 hours 23 minutes
Hard Sleeper bottom Y523
Soft Sleeper bottom Y810
From July 1 -5 the only trains going to Lhasa are for VIP. From July 5 – 9 most of the tickets have been bought by the large travel agencies across China. After July 9th it will be a little easier for smaller travel agencies to get the tickets, though it could still be difficult. All foreigners will be required to have a Tibet Travel Permit. There were some rumors that the government would do away with these stupid permits, but it is not true. YOU WILL STILL HAVE TO HAVE A PERMIT!! You will have to go through an agency to purchase a Tibet Travel Permit. You won’t be able to do this on your own.
Also, when you take this train you will have to fill out a health form. On the form you will have to fill out your name, sex, age, address, work place and phone number. They will also take your temperature (probably something like those huge body thermometers used in places like the Beijing airport during the SARS deal). If your temperature is above 38, they will suggest that you not take the train to Lhasa.
Anyway, this information is current as of this afternoon. Things could change, but as of now this information is official and current.
Jul 5, 2006 10:30 AM
53Trains and planes
for finding trains between various Chinese cities
for finding flights between various Chinese cities
This is not a booking site, just provides timetables and prices
Jul 7, 2006 1:03 AM
54Useful information about night buses from Jacksan1
Another Tokyo-Osaka Night Bus
JR Bus Kanto has just announced a new Tokyo-Osaka night bus service called "Seishun Mega Dream-go." It's called "Mega" because the service employs an extra long, 15m-length bus to increase the passenger capacity to double the usual coach's. The one-way fare from Tokyo to Osaka and vice versa is 4,300 yen, but if you purchase at least one day in advance, that drops to 3,500 yen, space allowing. One big advantage of this service, as is true for all JR buses, is that you can book your seat at any reservation counter of JR train stations (Midori-no-Madoguchi).
The service will start on June 14. The schedule is as follows:
Depart Tokyo Station: 10:50pm Arrive Osaka Station: 8:04am
Depart Osaka Station: 10:40pm Arrive Tokyot Staton: 7:51am
On weekends and during peak periods, they will add another departure:
Depart Tokyo Station: 9:40pm Arrive Osaka Station: 6:54pm
Depart Osaka Station: 10pm Arrive Tokyo Station: 7:11am
Jul 23, 2006 11:21 AM
Sep 9, 2006 2:00 AM
Hong Kong Guide
The Budget travel basics for Hong Kong has a new url (http://chaskemp.googlepages.com/hongkongguide). The site is updated usually every few weeks.
Site includes before you go, money, cost, airfare, airport, transportation into city, places to stay (>20 guesthouse links), random tips, I have one day in HK, what next, getting around, enjoyable cheap things to do, shopping, food/water, nightlife, internet, areas of HK, Living there, Macau, China & Vietnam visas, & more photos.
Please send additional links, insights, whatever via pm.
Sep 12, 2006 12:56 AM
57Do I need an onward ticket to show immigration in China/HK/Macau, etc?
Probably not, they never asked me for one, but you WILL need one to get on the plane.
On the 29th of July I arrived at the airport in Brisbane for my around the world trip.
Malaysia Airlines refused to allow me to board because I did not have a ticket out of China.
They eventually allowed me to use the first half of the ticket to fly to Kualar Lumpar.
After getting through customs and immigration I collected my bags and headed off to negotiate with them there.
End result, I was forced to purchase a (refundable with fee) ticket from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur before I was allowed to board my flight.
I was not really in a position to argue with less than three hours between arrival and departure.
On arrival in Beijing I turned up at the Malaysia Airline office where they refused point blank to refund the ticket stating it was only refundable in Kuala Lumpar and I would have to go there for a refund. I had a chinese friend with me who spoke fluent english so there were no language problems. I eventually got them to cancel my booking and retained the ticket.
I am now back in Australia after travelling around the world. I just got off the phone to Malaysia Airline and they said I need to send them a letter with my original ticket and they will "consider" a refund. At this point I am still out of pocket about $600.
The point is that when I applied for a visa, the China Consulate asked me about my travel itinery. I had an itinery for Arrival and hotel which I gave them. They asked how I was leaving Beijing. I explained that I was flying with a small airline, Vladivostok Avia and I had a ticket waiting in Beijing. I showed them my ticket from St Petersburg to London and London to Australia and the email confirming my flight booking from Beijing to Vladivostok, they were more than happy with this and issued the visa. I could find no mention of the requierment for an exit ticket on their web site (and I looked specifically for it) and they did not mention ir when I applied for the visa. I was aware of the requirement for one from Russia so I had taken all my documentation with me in case.
Malaysia Airlines position is that it is the responsibility of the travel agent (Webjet in this case) to warn me about the need for the exit ticket and it isn't their problem.
Sep 12, 2006 1:01 AM
58Do I need an onward ticket to show immigration in China/HK/Macau, etc?
Oh, I forgot to mention, I had all this documentation with me at the airport which I showed to Malaysia Airline at both Brisbane AND Kualar Lumpar, they still made me buy the ticket, a nice little earner for them I guess.
Sep 20, 2006 3:41 AM
59Ok, I have been in contact with the Chinese Consulate here in Brisbane and spoke to Mr Wang, their head man in the visa section.
He said "Australia is in the list of "low risk" countries and as such, no holder of an Australian passport is required to have a ticket out of China to enter China. All that is required is a ticket in and a visa. If the consulate has any concerns about issueing the visa then they will ask for supporting documentation before issuening the visa such as evidence of ongoing travel, sufficient funds (via bank statement) etc at their discretion."
He stated that the consulate cannot become involved in a dispute between parties by providing a written statement but "suggested" that the airline concerned should telephone him at the consulate to clarify the situation so they can amend their procedures as appropriate to prevent any further unfortunate incidents.
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