The best way I can see to describe the comparison is that China is the equivalent of America to Vietnams Western Europe. The scale of things in Vietnam seems tiny with small old streets, stylish architecture and small towns with a population of 100,000 being considered places of note. In China it is a tough challenge to find anywhere with a population of less than a million.
After two months in China Vietnam is a refreshing change, the streets are full of independently owned little stores and in my 10 days here so far I have only come across one American chain, that being a single KFC in the capital of Hanoi. Read More »
As a first time backpacker I found it hard to find much useful information online
about travelling in China and thought I would put a brief guide on here of the
things I hadn’t expected or been aware of before coming.
Hostels can vary between £3 and £8 a night depending on where you are and how touristy the area is. The most expensive place for me was Wuhan as there wasn’t much anticipation for non-Chinese tourist and what was on Hostelworld was very limited. Booking in advance wasn’t particularly necessary however I find it easier to know where I’m heading from the train station. Places such as Fenghuang were heavily geared towards tourism and the local rooms to pay for were a far better deal than the hostel so sometimes it’s worth only booking the hostel for one night then finding something local. I personally get quite moody when I’m carrying my backpack in the heat and so wouldn’t want to deal with looking around whilst carrying it. Read More »
Often referred to in semi irony as the bible, The Lonely Planet for any country can be seen grasped in backpackers hands as they make their way through the streets, looking for a second opinion on any shops and restaurants before taking the courage to step through the doors. 40 years ago I can understand how Lonely Planet would have been essential for finding places to go and the tourism highlights a country has to offer. The present day traveller has internet access in nearly every hostel allowing the usage of wikitravel and hundreds of travel blogs to gain a wider scope and a variety of opinions on what is and isn’t worth visiting or paying the entry fee. Read More »
Before setting off on my travels Shanghai seemed like an exciting hyper city whereas Hong Kong seemed nothing more than a dirty has been city. I have now learnt that my preconceptions were about as wrong as they could be.
Shanghai is very much standard mainland China, just it happens to have had a technological boom. There are numerous high end shopping streets and
touristy shiny areas but turn down the wrong side alley and the usual China toilet smell wafts into your nostrils. Because the business side of the city has risen so rapidly it is very segregated and perhaps false looking compared to the majority of the city. Although very tall and impressive, the skyline is but one small cluster of high rise buildings still fashioning their Disneyesque gleam as though they may not really be there at all.
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