Travel Thread


Where do I start… First, if you are going to travel around a few cities, you may want to get a tour company to arrange this. I have been to over a dozen cities in China, and fortunately all my trips have been arranged by locals, but we are thinking of using Odynovo Tours [] for a longer visit.

China has 20,000 km of high speed trains, and it is better to go by train than fly if you are going between cities that are relatively close. However, for a non-Chinese person it is very difficult to get tickets. Even if you book in advance, the office to collect the tickets can be hidden away somewhere, or will take an hour of queuing up. If you don’t book in advance, the queues are even longer and the seats may well be sold out. Negotiating all this could be a challenge for a first time visitor.

Best time of year is probably what they call the “golden spring” though make sure your visit doesn’t coincide with a big national holiday, especially those when people go back to their home towns.

As to learning some of the culture and history, the BBC had an excellent series that you may be able to buy or download.

Once you get there, it is pretty easy to get around and all the cities I have been to have adequate signage in English. In the bigger cities, especially Beijing, take the subways. Beijing’s traffic is horrendous, but the subways are very easy to use and to get around most of the things you would want to see. You can buy metro cards from vending machines that have an English option. Try to avoid peak hour. The trains are always crowded, but peak hour is even more challenging.

Most cities have subways to the airport (unlike e.g. Melbourne) and these are the quickest option to take. But if you fly to Shanghai, take the mag-lev train to Pudong, where you can either stay at one of the fabulous hotels (Shangri-La is one of the best I have stayed in) or get a subway to other parts of the city.

As to what to take - a camera, obviously. Maybe get VPN for your laptop (e.g. abc news is blocked in China). Most things you can get in Australia you can get in China. The only thing I noticed that is much more expensive is wine.

The people are usually very friendly and helpful, though outside the biggest cities, most above a certain age won’t know English. Learn a few phrases - people will appreciate you taking the effort.

Someone mentioned smoking. This is now banned in hotels and (I think) in any public enclosed space including malls and restaurants. It is not much worse than here.

China is a very exciting and vibrant country to visit. I hope you have a great time!



Most decent places had soft pillows, but a few times we had these crazy ones with charcoal or seeds in them.


Just finishing off my brekky with an espresso when the waiter comes round offering a sparkling. It’s a very civilised practice and I could hardly say nein.

A glorious sunny day in Munich beckons.



What is that thing you are eating?


Just a German cake.

Google tells me it’s a marble pound cake.


Pssst… that’s not a good thing…



No, that looks like a great location. Shinsaibashi/Namba is a far more interesting area to walk around, and that accom puts you right in Amerika-Mura just off Midosuji, which is lively if that’s what you’re after.
Limousine bus looks far easier than having to switch trains, walk with luggage, buy new tickets etc. You’ll have a seat and get delivered to the door.
Nice one!


Excellent. Great to hear. Thanks for chipping in. Feel free to keep me posted with good coffee spots & eateries…


I hope you were going to the technical museum on the island in the Iser. Well worth a Captain Cook.


Sure, I’ll help where I can. I’m out in the burbs with a young family and don’t get to explore the city so much these days, but often I hear of good joints.


Had to check with my better half because my brain doesn’t work like it used to, but apparently we went in 2014 or thereabouts and if there were smoking laws they were definitely observed in the breach. If they have cracked down since, good on them but my google surfing suggests the national laws are being blocked by a powerful tobacco lobby, ring a bell?, and even Beijing, were the laws are toughest, does very little to enforce the law, which was definitely my experience. The laws may be tougher in hotels but frankly the last place I want to eat when on holiday is a hotel.
The trains were full of smokers stealing a dart in the viewing areas between carriages which ■■■■■■ me off because it was the only place I could get a decent view of the countryside.
Hope it’s better now but it was seriously shithouse in 2014. Mind you I’m allergic to ciggy smoke so I might be overly sensitive


If that was a problem in 2014 they have definitely improved now. I only got a couple of exposures to passive smoke walking around the streets on my latest visit.


Seasoned veterans to China so more than happy to offer any advice if you want.
We don’t like tours so tend to book everything ourselves and just book day tours through the hotels. Trains are your friend in China as the airlines can be fairly unreliable due to congestion and delays. You also see some excellent scenery and most stations are in the heart of the City compared to airports which can be out some distance. I prefer to carry my passport at all times as on occasions we have been stopped for a spot check. Beijing is far better than Shanghai IMO and don’t do like most tourists and head straight for the Teracotta Warriors from Xi’an. The city is worth a few days on its on and I’d recommend cycling around the old city walls.
If you have time definitely do a Yangtze River cruise and visit Guilin for some of the best scenery in China. There is far too much to do on one trip so try and concentrate on a couple of places. We have been close to a dozen times and still have barely scratched the surface. We hopefully are heading back in June/July next year


If possible we try to be in Bangkok over the weekend so we can go to the Chatuchak weekend markets. Over 17,000 stalls set across a decent area. Lots of crap like most markets but plenty of good gifts, souvenirs and cheap clothing. The street food there is simply amazing and very cheap but the best part is it’s one of the few markets in Asia where you don’t get hassled. We spent about 3 hours there and wouldn’t have got through 1/2 of the rows.


Had a 2 hour massage and my customary barber shop shave and have headed back via Tuk Tuk to the hotel. Free alcohol and snacks from 12-6pm on the 52nd floor with some pretty good views.


:slight_smile: This thread when you have a holiday booked
:slight_smile: this thread when you’re on holiday
:slight_smile: this thread when you just got back
:confused: this thread when you have to go to work tomorrow
:frowning: this thread when you wish you were traveling again


Xian is a must. Hongzhou and Guilin also recommended


To visit the Great Wall don’t go to Ba DaLing - too touristy.
Instead go to Mutianyu which is about 70kms from Beijing. It’s more authentic, less crowded and more spectacular.


Any ever travelled to Iran?