Following Travelling... Page 22

  • BinaryBob101 10 May 2018 15:03:23 26,551 posts
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    @RyanDS Phuck Phuket, just get your mate to meet up with you in Krabi, it's much nicer and cheaper too. Railay would be my destination of choice, but it's more expensive than it used to be, although there are still some budget offerings - if that's what you're after - on the sunrise mangrove side. If you're looking for a nice beach (I've been to a few here and there) then Railay is one of the nicest in the world.



    Still only accessible by boat from Ao Nang I think and that makes it a bit special. More stunning than Phuket and not as busy.

    Edited by BinaryBob101 at 15:08:12 10-05-2018
  • Armoured_Bear 14 May 2018 22:11:21 23,665 posts
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    We are thinking of going to Japan again in September (Hokkaido mostly) and I've found stupidly-priced flights (equivalent of 400 quid) with Air China.
    I could fly to Beijing, spend 3-4 days in Beijing, get a taste of China then fly to Sapporo, spend 2 weeks there, a few days in Tokyo at the end then fly back via Beijing for less than 500 quid for all flights. Seems a shame to pass through Beijing and not visit a bit.

    Does that sound like a decent plan?
    I know you could spend much, much longer but the focus of the trip is Japan and it's like a little bonus.

    I expect it to be polluted, people to be rude and unfriendly, plenty of getting scammed, some great food and amazing sights. Fair?

    Thoughts?

    We could just fly straight to Japan but it would cost more and not include the China visit.
  • FWB 14 May 2018 22:34:34 55,047 posts
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    Got to experience China.
  • Load_2.0 14 May 2018 22:49:20 27,277 posts
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    I had never seen anything like a Chinese city, flying over them gives you sense of scale but they are mindbogglingly massive.
  • Trafford 15 May 2018 03:15:24 8,066 posts
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    And you don't need a visa if stopping in the major gateways for up to 72 hours.
  • Tonka 15 May 2018 07:56:36 28,047 posts
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    @Armoured_Bear

    Beijing is one of my favorit places to visit. Let me know if you want some general pointers.

    You could easily fill 3-4 days wit stuff to do. Just the main attractions would keep you busy enough.
  • Armoured_Bear 15 May 2018 16:11:15 23,665 posts
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    Tonka wrote:
    @Armoured_Bear

    Beijing is one of my favorit places to visit. Let me know if you want some general pointers.

    You could easily fill 3-4 days wit stuff to do. Just the main attractions would keep you busy enough.
    Cheers Tonja, Iíll def take you up on that if I get it booked.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 15 May 2018 16:41:27 3,124 posts
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    Trafford wrote:
    And you don't need a visa if stopping in the major gateways for up to 72 hours.
    This is key.
    I did it when I flew to Cambodia via Shanghai and had a 16 hour transfer, seemed a much better idea to just stay for 72 hours which I did on the way. I don't know how flexible the routes are but if you can get a different return route via Shanghai you get a potential second Chinese city to spend 72 hours in. Personally I would have preferred Beijing but enjoyed what I did in Shanghai.
  • Vortex808 15 May 2018 17:05:35 12,500 posts
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    One_Vurfed_Gwrx wrote:
    Trafford wrote:
    And you don't need a visa if stopping in the major gateways for up to 72 hours.
    This is key.
    I did it when I flew to Cambodia via Shanghai and had a 16 hour transfer, seemed a much better idea to just stay for 72 hours which I did on the way. I don't know how flexible the routes are but if you can get a different return route via Shanghai you get a potential second Chinese city to spend 72 hours in. Personally I would have preferred Beijing but enjoyed what I did in Shanghai.
    Oh. Now that's a handy tip to file away for future reference. I fancy a trip to Japan at some point, and a stopover or two on the way there and back would be rather nice.

    Thanks chaps.
  • Armoured_Bear 15 May 2018 17:40:06 23,665 posts
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    One_Vurfed_Gwrx wrote:
    Trafford wrote:
    And you don't need a visa if stopping in the major gateways for up to 72 hours.
    This is key.
    I did it when I flew to Cambodia via Shanghai and had a 16 hour transfer, seemed a much better idea to just stay for 72 hours which I did on the way. I don't know how flexible the routes are but if you can get a different return route via Shanghai you get a potential second Chinese city to spend 72 hours in. Personally I would have preferred Beijing but enjoyed what I did in Shanghai.
    The cheapest flight is over 72 hours but I just discovered there is also a 144 hour visa exemption.
  • Dirt3 15 May 2018 17:41:00 358 posts
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    The 72 hour visa knowledge is useful - never knew that.

    Used to work a lot all over China. Not so great as a tourist destination IMO, but on a 72 hour stop to Beijing you should be able to view Forbidden City and Tian An Men. Seem to remember there are some tombs and a restored bit of the wall, but a bus ride away, on which you will get endlessly told about how to spot the right sort of jade, followed by tourist visit to the jade factory.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 15 May 2018 17:46:58 3,124 posts
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    The 144 hour one must be new. I remember the 72 hour one as long as it was a transit flight was valid in four cities including Shanghai and Beijing. Some of the temples and water villages were nice in Shanghai so it was worth seeing and not just metropolis. Beijing remains on mytodo list.
  • Armoured_Bear 15 May 2018 17:52:37 23,665 posts
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    One_Vurfed_Gwrx wrote:
    The 144 hour one must be new. I remember the 72 hour one as long as it was a transit flight was valid in four cities including Shanghai and Beijing. Some of the temples and water villages were nice in Shanghai so it was worth seeing and not just metropolis. Beijing remains on mytodo list.
    Yep, was only available in the Shanghai region but since Dec 2017 also in Beijing .
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 15 May 2018 18:28:38 3,124 posts
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    If you have the time I would give a stopover (or two) a go. There will be plenty of choice of stuff to do. Seems an odd time of year for Hokkaido (for me Hokkaido had to be visited in February in the midst of winter as nonsnowy Hokkaido doesn't compute ;) (see also, Siberia)). Any idea where you are planning to visit in Hokkaido? Jigokudani was nice and I was going to mention Porotokotan (the Ainu ethnographic museum) but it seems that has closed and new one will open in 2020. I visited Otaru but that was for the snow festival so less relevant in September.
  • Load_2.0 15 May 2018 19:44:38 27,277 posts
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    I had some issues with the no visa thing.

    One visit I had no problems and it took a matter of minutes to go through the passport line.

    On another occasion I spent 4 hours in the airport waiting for my 72-Hour Visa-free Transit stamp as that line wasn't available. Chinese bureaucracy is something to behold. They genuinely couldn't give less of a fuck.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 15 May 2018 20:42:36 3,124 posts
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    When I went on the 72 hour visa I was told to specifically tell my airline that I would be doing it so the process would be straight forward. It worked fine, but then again I could have just been lucky.
  • cjb_bjc 16 May 2018 06:49:11 1,967 posts
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    One thing is recommend with China is to find a private room in a hostel rather than pick a hotel. Smaller, friendlier, nicer, easier, etc. But yeah, not sure why China gets a bad rap, it's a wonderful place with lovely people.
  • Tonka 16 May 2018 07:10:51 28,047 posts
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    Good point about finding smaller places to stay. We've been living in some really nice smaller private hotels/hostels. It helps that my wife is native so she can track them down on Chinese sites and make reservations etc.

    Sadly I don't have any boutique hotel tips for Beijing as I've mostly stayed in big ones. One of them was close(ish) to the big ass shopping street that's only of interest if you want to buy Chinese books or paintings.

    It was next door to an excellent street food breakfast place though.

    Is it getting a bad rap as a tourist destination? Everyone I know that's been there have been very pleased.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 16 May 2018 09:49:48 3,124 posts
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    cjb_bjc wrote:
    One thing is recommend with China is to find a private room in a hostel rather than pick a hotel. Smaller, friendlier, nicer, easier, etc. But yeah, not sure why China gets a bad rap, it's a wonderful place with lovely people.
    This is what I did in Shanghai. Nice big (if oddly shaped room with lounge area, bed area (above the bathroom) and bathroom). Was fairly cheap and near the metro system. No idea about Beijing though.
  • Tonka 16 May 2018 10:29:39 28,047 posts
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    Just be carful so you don't end up with one of the mysteriously common
    fish tank toilets.
  • Armoured_Bear 16 May 2018 13:02:29 23,665 posts
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    @Tonka
    The bad rap seems to be due to lots of scams and rude an aggressive people.
    I always take these things with a pinch of salt though.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 16 May 2018 15:54:22 3,124 posts
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    I would imagine Shanghai is scam central and it was simply a case of use common sense. Don't follow strange ladies to places or get invited anywhere and ignore touts. Communication in some of the less central places can be more of a challenge (knowing Japanese I could at least make myself understood in a basic form through writing) and using a bus for transport for fun (I had no local simcard and the hostel had the China restrictions for things like Google) but I got by pretty easily.

    I am sure most of that transfers to Beijing too. Plan things like the great wall before you go so you know what needs doing at the time (as I didn't get to Beijing I can't offer advice but I imagine it is easy enough to reach). I found Russia worse for avoiding scams if you don't plan ahead (hint get hotels to send taxis for pickup every time)

    People didn't seem any ruder than Korea where I was living at the time ;)
  • Tonka 16 May 2018 19:58:17 28,047 posts
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    Going to the wall is ascamtastic experience from what I've heard.

    My trips have always been work a private driver, as opposed to with a tour bus. The tour buses are so bag and scammy even the Chinese get ripped off.

    Number one priority is to never ever go to the bit called badaling. Everyone I've met who has been disappointed with the wall have five to the badaling bit.

    Simatai or Jinshanling are further away but well worth it. I'd also try and get a private driver.

    It's well worth a lot of money of you ask me. I've been thrice and I've been equally gobsmacked each time.
  • Armoured_Bear 16 May 2018 21:48:31 23,665 posts
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    So, seems that if we skip Tokyo, we could add Taipei or Seoul in for the same price and see new cities.
    e.g.
    Zurich -Seoul (1h30 Beijing Stopover)
    3 days in Seoul
    Seoul - Sapporo
    2 weeks in Sapporo
    Sapporo - Beijing
    3 days in Beijing
    Beijing - Zurich

    Same with Taipei, very tempting....
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 16 May 2018 23:08:26 3,124 posts
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    I know nothing ablut Taipei but you could see a fair bit of what Seoul has to offer quite easily (it is far from my favourite Korean city but obviously you are too time limited to travel around Korea). You would have to say what sort of things you like doing on holiday for me to be able to offer any advice though (most of my few trips to Seoul when I lived on the south coast of SK I tended to prioritise visitng a south african restaurant as it was the only place with real sausages in the country and I missed them after a few years living there). Some of the palaces are quite nice and you can see at least one of the 'old style' villages within the city. I wonder if Yongsan still has the weird shopping arcade full of gaming stuff (new and retro including Korean only console knockoffs that I hadn't even heard of). The underground system is fairly easy to use and not too badly priced there as well.
  • beastmaster 17 May 2018 09:13:18 18,550 posts
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    Anyone been to Chicago?
  • DaM 17 May 2018 09:52:56 17,124 posts
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    beastmaster wrote:
    Anyone been to Chicago?
    Yes, years ago! Stayed in a hostel which was actually in the basement of a homeless shelter which led to some interesting interactions.

    Ignored advice on how to get to a museum, and had to exit a train station past armed guards (automatic rifles IIRC), then walk along past groups of "homies" through the "ghetto". I was with some Dutch and Belgian folk, so we didn't really blend in.

    Went round a few open mike blues clubs (on of the hostel inhabitants had sold everything he had to try and make it as a mouthorganist).

    John Hancock tower is one of my fav buildings.

    Trips were a lot different in those days!

    Edited by DaM at 09:53:23 17-05-2018
  • GarlVinland 17 May 2018 10:27:41 3,416 posts
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    One_Vurfed_Gwrx wrote:
    I know nothing ablut Taipei but you could see a fair bit of what Seoul has to offer quite easily (it is far from my favourite Korean city but obviously you are too time limited to travel around Korea).
    What is your favourite Korean city out of interest? I'm probably going there in autumn, would be my second time. Only visited Busan and Seoul the first time, enjoyed both although being really into seafood I enjoyed visiting the markets in the former more. People talk up Jeju Island but otherwise, not sure what else to do while I'm there.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 17 May 2018 11:20:33 3,124 posts
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    @GarlVinland I never made it to Jeju in the end (something went wrong each time I planned it).

    If you want to see historic stuff Gyeonju (accessible from Busan) is nice as the old capital of Scilla. I always liked Busan more than Seoul. I may be biased as it was the city I lived in but a lot of friends who lived elsewhere (including Seoul) really enjoyed visiting but I liked Yeosu (you can get KTX from Seoul in three hours or a flight from Gimpo), has a nice mix of historical stuff like Hyangiram (cliffside temple at the tip of an island), Jinnamgwan (an old pavilion) and the replica turtle ship on Dolsan. You also have the old World Expo site (2012) which has a nice aquarium. Lots of hiking trails and beaches if you like that sort of thing.

    If you branch out ti neighbouring Suncheon there is Naganeupseong maeul (Nagan district fortress village)) whichthe best historic village I visited in SK (including the more famous Jeonju and Seoul ones which weren't even close to the quality of Nagan). The historic film set (used as a replica of 60's Seoul was quite interesting too). There is a cool ruined Japanese castle nearby but it is very hard to find without your own car and a lot of luck (took me and a friend living locally a few trips to find it as signposting was poor)

    You can also get a ferry to Geomundo and Baekdo
    (this island is a ferry trip around it from Geomundo) from Yeosu which is a really nice little island halfway to Jeju. Has a few historic anomalies like a British war cemetery there too. Much closer from Yeosu is Sado island, which is onown for its dinosaur footprints and is a nice day out regardless.

    As for your seafood love, there is a ton of it in Yeosu (seaside city) which was unfortunate for me as I have a seafood intolerance but would suit you. You can also visit the fish markets there too. You still get (or still did when I keft in 2014) very traditional pavement markets in Yeocheon (one area of the city) where old ladies just set up shop under a parasol along the side of the pavement selling fruit or seafood they have gathered.

    There were some other places like Jinju which was quite nice too. And Jeonju isn't too bad for a visit but most go for the historic village and as said before it doesn't match up to Nagan. Hopefully that gives you a few more ideas anyway.

    Edit - Late edit, Yeosu (Dolsan island) also has a cool tiny museum dedicated to one exhibit, a North Korean semisubmersible they torpedoed a while ago. Interesting to see if you catch it open.

    Edited by One_Vurfed_Gwrx at 02:45:45 19-05-2018
  • GarlVinland 17 May 2018 12:17:01 3,416 posts
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    @One_Vurfed_Gwrx thanks for the tips! That's excellent, I'd be going with my gf and I'm pretty sure she's never heard of any of these, and she's Korean.
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