Sadly, my semester is almost over, and I admit the best part has been the traveling. During my adventures, I’ve learned far more than I ever imagined about the culture, people, history, politics, geography, and food of this amazing country. In this blog post, I will talk about the convenience of traveling in China, places I visited, and some helpful travel tips.
Before getting to China, I was informed that I would need to apply for a re-entry visa if I wanted to visit any other county. This would be the only way to re-enter China after leaving during your exchange. At first, I was extremely bummed out about this; however, looking back, I am so thankful because it really gave me the opportunity to travel within China and see what this massive country has to offer.
China has everything from megacities to the countryside, from oceans to lakes, from caves to mountains and forests to desert with camels! It's quite amazing to think about. This made it so I truly didn’t need to go anywhere else. All these places are embedded with Chinese culture and are rich in history. My favorite cities in China were Xian for its history and night market, Wuxi because it is so close to Shanghai and has much fewer people, and Yiwu for its food and massive wholesale markets. Many of my friends went to the Yellow and Wuyi Mountains, and they have some breathtaking photos. I highly recommend going there. I made friends with a local, and he invited me to his home in the countryside of Linxia. This was by far the best part of my trip because I had the opportunity to experience the day to day of the locals of a non-touristic city. I could write a book on things to do in China so just do some homework on where you would like to go, and I’m sure you will have an endless list.
Even though I was not solely focused on traveling, I still found myself in six different cities within the first two months of my trip. This was because of how easy and affordable it was to get around. You can get almost anywhere in China using the high speed trains and don’t worry, all the signs are in English. One-way train tickets will only cost between $5-150. The most I ever spent was $100 when I went to Xian from Shanghai, but all my other trips were under $30. I recommend going to several cities in one provenance if you have the opportunity. When I was in Xian, I went to three neighboring cities and made the most out of my ticket to that provenance. Another option could be to fly, and you should always check the cost of flights. Sometimes, you can get a flight for the same amount as a train ticket and in that case, it could be a better option. Like everything else, you can use WeChat to book all your train and plane tickets. Another alternative is to use Trip.com. Always remember to bring your passport when traveling because you will need it to board the planes and trains!!!
Finally, hotels are usually very cheap and many are conveniently located. If you are in a touristic city, it will cost you about $30 a night for a nice hotel; otherwise, you can get a room for $10-20 in smaller cities. Once again, you will need a passport to check into any hotel, so be sure you and whoever you are staying with have it. In China, there is a law that requires landlords to register all their guests. This means that you can only check into hotels that have the ability/ know-how to register you. I booked a hotel using a Chinese app and once I arrived at the hotel, they immediately turned me down and said that I could not stay there. To get around this and make sure this does not happen to you, book through trip.com or have someone who speaks Chinese call the hotel and see if they are able to accommodate foreigners. If they are on trip.com you will surely be able to stay in those hotels and the cost is almost always less than the walk-in price.