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Home > HK Guide / Resources > Traveling in Asia > China Life is short; let's living / study abroad!
China CitiesSome tips of traveling to cities in Mainland China:

Beijing
Chengde (Hebei)
Shanghai

Shenzhen (Guangdong)
Guangzhou, Kaiping, Huizhou (Guangdong)

Xi'an (Shaanxi)

Chengdu, Leshan, Emei (Sichuan)
Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan)

Jinan (Shandong)
Qingdao (Shandong)

Xiamen (Fujian)
Kaifeng (Henan)
Sanya (Hainan Island)







Beijing

So many things to see, better be there for 1 week at least. The Great Wall, the Ming Tomb, Old and New Summer Palaces, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Beijing University, the Olympic site, and the Temple of Heaven are places-you-will-be-regret if you haven't visited. Round-trip flight from HK to Beijing could be as low as US 200 and takes 3.5 hrs. Train, on the other hand, costs about US 120 and takes 24 hrs. 

Also a very cool website about Beijing - http://english.visitbeijing.com.cn/

If you are not going to stay in a hotel, make sure u go for a hostel which is also a "wu tong". They are the best hostels to stay in Beijing.

Train between Beijing and Shanghai - the express train between the 2 major cities of China will begin service on June 30th 2011. It is ~ HK$ 600 one way and takes about 4 hours to complete the journey. Cheaper and faster to travel between the 2 cities now.

Things you must try to eat: Peking Duck, Hot and Sour Soup, Mutton Hotpot, and fried Cockroach...hmm not really.





Chengde (Hebei)

Chengde was the summer resort of the royal family during Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911 A.D.). It is right outside Beijing in the North and still have a lot of well preserved historical buildings. You should go there if you have spare time in Beijing. Buses running from and to Beijing every 30 minutes to this 2 hours bus ride  city. Btw, it is a bit pricey to go to see the sights around Chengde.






Shanghai


The most modernized city in China. Have lots of avant-garde skyscrapers, but also historical buildings. A very beautiful city but a little bit expensive. Round-trip flight to Shanghai is not much cheaper than to Beijing, about US 250. Train can be cheaper but still costs US 120 and takes 20 hrs from HK to Shanghai.

If you arrive at Shanghai by plane, do try the Magnetic Train (Maglev). It goes up to 430 km / h (280 m / h) - the fastest train by far. It is RMB$ 50 one way, and RMB$ 80 two ways if you are going to use it within 7 days.


There is a hostel in Shanghai very close to the Pudong waterfront - 32 Fuzhou Road. It is an extremely convenient location to the shopping area in Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, and to see the skyline of Pudong. It costs US 8 for a dorm room and US 30 for a single. It belong to the Youth Hostel International so it is completely safe.

Train between Beijing and Shanghai - the express train between the 2 major cities of China will begin service on June 30th 2011. It is ~ HK$ 600 one way and takes about 4 hours to complete the journey. Cheaper and faster to travel between the 2 cities now.


Shenzhen (Guangdong)

(There is a special entry pass - fast pass to Shenzhen only valid for five days and one visit, available for quite a few nationals. For detail, please go down to the section about China Visa)

Shenzhen is only good for cheap food, massage and pirated DVDs - Hollywood movies, and US TV series all are extremely cheap. Its very convenient to get there. Just take any train to Lo Wu / Lok Ma Chau. Most of you will need to get a Tourist Visa to China in advance.

Be careful of buying things in Shenzhen (or many other parts of China). Some friends bought a '4GB USB drive' for HK$ 5 (sounded weird actually) in Shenzhen, and they found it did not working when they came back to HK. They cut it open and what they saw was just an empty box attached to a USB plug.

The Windows of the World, the Chinese Heritage Village, and the Book City are places you may find interesting. Other than that, those hot springs resorts are also good to try.

Massage in Shenzhen is very popular and they are all located in the East side of the city. Just go to the bottom floor of the Lo Wu Shopping Mall and you will find ton of massage places for you to choose from. Talk to a customer counter of the one you like and they will take you to the place by a shuttle van. In general, you can spend US$ 50 in return for a wonderful king-style experience. The massage place is huge and they simply have everything - massage, spa, hot tub, ice tub, restaurant, bar, karaoke, movie room, etc... no happy ending usually. Guys and girls go to separate sections and you have to prepare to get naked inside the place.


Dameisha, Shenzhen

Dameisha is one of the best resort areas in China. The best thing about Dameisha is that it is very close to HK. You don't need to take a flight which will save you a lot of money. (Airport fees for round trip anywhere from HK is about HK$ 400 as at 2012) You can simply take the East Rail Line to Lo Wu. Once you get into Shenzhen with your China Visa, it takes only 30 mins and 70 RMB for a cab from Lo Wu to Dameisha. Or, you can take a bus from Lo Wu Station to Dameisha for 6 RMB ONLY! The bus takes about an hour though.

When talking about the sun and the beach, people always think about Thailand, Philippine, Indonesia etc. It is right that you can get an amazing site there coming with excellent service. However, if you are people like me who don't require excellent service, some places in China could be a good choice. Hainan Island and Dameisha are becoming very popular for vacation in recent years. The fact is Hainan is getting so popular now and things become a little expensive. Normally, you need to fly to Hainan, or you can take a bus / train (more detail below). If you fly to Hainan, a round trip ticket will probably cost you HK$ 1,000 + airport fees HK$ 500, which is ridiculous. Dameisha, on the other hand, can be reached by road transportation for less than HK$ 100 within an hour and no additional fees is required.

Despite the inflation and the rising of Chinese Yuan, (100 RMB = 125 HKD as at 2014) things in Dameisha is still cheap. Say, a can of beer is $3 RMB, and a meal with 9 dishes is $300 at most. Facilities may not be adequate at Dameisha but if all you need is the sun and the beach, Dameisha is more than enough for you already.

When I went to Dameisha, I was staying at a hotel called Seatime Royal. It is so cheap. HK$ 500 a night for a room ~ 400 sq ft. Huge bed, living room, fantastic sea view, and the most amazing thing is - a balcony with an outdoor hot tub!

Actually, the whole Dameisha contains 3 beaches area - Dameisha, Xiaomeisha, and Dapeng. Dameisha is the most popular, whereas Dapeng is the quietest.




Bay Breeze Resort, Happy Coast

If you want to have a feeling of a resort (without a beach) while still being in the city, you may stay at the Bay Breeze Resort instead of going to Daimesha. Every room has a full kitchen and private pool. There is also a big public pool in the hotel. Room is a bit expensive, US$ 250 per night to begin with.

Close to the popular OCT Happy coast shopping center, you can find lots of restaurants and shops and an IMAX cinema there. I found out Taxi driver may not have heard about this hotel btw.




Guangzhou (Guangdong)

If you like Shenzhen, you should go to Guangzhou next time. Much more to see and shop there and also easy to get there. You can take the MTR East Rail Direct Train to Guangzhou with less than HK$ 200 one way, get on from Hung Hom Station.

The Shamian Island is probably the treasure of Guangzhou. This formal colonial district is still keeping its essence and style with beautiful architectures and relaxing-friendly people. I was staying in a hotel converted from the former customs office which is amazingly beauty. Alternatively, you can stay in the youth hostel there for cheap and get the same spirit. Shamian Island is right in the old town center so it is very convenient to go to other areas of Guangzhou.


Guangzhou countryside - Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta are also famous for its natural hot springs. It is said they are some kind of unique in the world. I went to the most famous one in Conghua town. You can take a bus from the train station to Conghua town, then take a taxi to the Hot Springs Town where you can find resorts for cheap. There is not many things to do in the town besides dipping yourself in the hot springs though.



Conghau town center > Conghau Valley View Resort > Hotel's Bubble Spring


Kaiping - Kaiping is famous for its 'fort tower' which were homes of the locals around the Japanese occupation era. They built these fort like homes to defend from the Japanese and other bandits or pirates. 5 hours bus ride from HK or Shenzhen.



Huizhou - another coastal city further away from Daimeisha Shenzhen, probably will become just another Shenzhen in 5 to 10 years time. Approximately 2.5 hours bus ride from HK




Xi'an (Shaanxi)

The Terracotta Soldiers, also known as the Qin Shi Huan tomb, and the old city which has more than 2,000 years of history. Only 1 / 10 of the tomb has been discovered so far. It used to be a colorful tomb with soldiers in shining costumes and mercury "rivers".







Chengdu, Leshan, Emei (Sichuan)

The capital of Sichuan province. Known as the Heavenly City which means the ideal place to live on Earth. It is kinda a nice place but I just don't like the fact that almost all the cities in China are looking the same now after modernization...

You got to try the real Sichuan hot pot there - the spiciest food in the world.


There is still so much more places you must go in Sichuan - Panda Park, Huanglong, just to name a few.


Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan)

Known as 1 of the most beautiful places in the world. You can now take a plane from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou which is only 40 mins. Be prepared to rise from 400 M to 4,000 M though if you are not used to that. Otherwise, you can take a bus from Chengdu and it takes 12 hours one way. So the bus could be cheaper but you will have to spend your saved money on accommodation at Jiazhaigou. So I flew early morning (7 am) and then return to Chengdu at 7 pm the same day. Anyway, this trip is totally worth doing.

I came in the Winter. I wonder how much more beautiful it would be in the Summer. And if the Terracotta Army is the 8th Wonder of the World, this Jiuzhaigou sure is the 8th Natural Wonder of the World.

(The earthquake in 2017 has basically destroyed everything in Jiuzhaigou...it is expected the natural beauty will not be restored until 5 years or more later)




Jinan (Shandong)

The hometown of Confucius and a German village in China.

The capital of Shandong, used to be a very spiritual city in the past. Now its more like another Shenzhen...It is convenient to go to either Jinan or Qingdao from Beijing by train.




Qingdao (Shandong)

The most prosperous city of Shandong, very touristic. Was a German colony in the past but now very modern. Got some interesting areas but not as good as people emphasized.




Xiamen (Fujian)

If you like Sanya but think its getting more and more expensive now after its becoming a tourist 'paradise'; and the money you would spend in Sanya may as well spend it for Thailand or Philippines instead; actually there is a place in China where you can still enjoy wonderful beach and sunshine for cheap. It is Xiamen in the Fujian Province, only 30 mins flight from HK.




Kaifeng (Henan)

South of Beijing, actually 12 hours train South of Beijing, or 2 hours flight. Kaifeng was the capital city of China between 900 - 1279 AD. It is in the Henan (South of Yellow River) province (Beijing is near the Hebei province, North of Yellow River). Kaifeng now is only a small city and it is a bit inland so it is less developed. However, because of its rich history, it is a very good place to go if you want to see what China's like before modernization. Kaifeng is getting more developed at the moment so better go there within the next couples of year! Every thing is cheap here but most people just couldn't speak English at all :)





Sanya (Hainan Island)

Hainan is known as the Hawaii of China. It is an island at the most Southern part of China (except those tiny ones in South China Sea), which makes it an ideal place for vacation. Hainan is becoming very popular now so many major international resorts have started there business in Hainan. Many of them are asking for HK$ 3,000 / night for a room with 600 sq ft at least. Some of them even have private pool inside the room.

Flight to Hainan is about HK$ 1,000 for a round trip no matter you are flying from HK or Shenzhen, yet the airport fees is HK$ 500, almost the same price of the ticket...Or, you can take a bus from Shenzhen to Hainan which is RMB $350 and takes about 30 hours. Train also goes to Hainan from Shenzhen. The train goes on board when crossing the South China Channel. It costs RMB $500 and about 12 hours.

For cheap stay, you may take a look at this one: http://www.sunnysanya.com/sanyaresort

Sanya - Below are pictures from the Pullman Resort in Yalong Bay. I was staying in a 3,000 sq ft villa with private pool and hot tub. It is actually good for 6 people to stay together because there are 3 big beds. It is HK$ 2,000 a night (I heard they charge it HK$ 5,000 a night now...). There is smaller room which is about HK$ 1,200 a night. Other hotels in the area charge roughly the same.



VISA-FREE to Haikou, Hainan - Please go down to China Visa section for detail.



Last updated: August, 2017 (Version 6.0); since January 01, 2007
Best viewed in 1024 x 768 resolution; IE 11 / Safari / Chrome / Firefox - By Lorencio H M Shiu; all rights reserved MMVII - MMXVII
       
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