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An Adventure in China
Independent China Travel

Independent China Travel. This is a tricky one… as traveling independently in China can be difficult.

The first thing I think you need to understand is that things are likely to be frustrating and difficult; however just relax and deal with everything that comes, in a smiling… cool as possible… manner.

It does help to learn a bit of Chinese before you come, even if it is just “Hello” and “Thank You”

The tour information for independent China travel in the major cities around China is actually very good.

Beijing for example, gets millions of visitors every year so the city is well set up for the foreign independent China travel.

Beijing is big…very big and very spread out. It cannot be walked and there are only a few sites where you can walk form one site to another. You will need to take the subway metro.

Time and patience is required to get around this city; rush it and you will get lost.

Click here for a Beijing City Map and a Beijing Subway Map both of which will come in handy.

The China rail system is extremely good and you can get all over the country this way, although it can be difficult to purchase tickets.

The two times of the year to avoid is the last week of April/first week of May, and the last week of September/first week of October as there will be millions upon millions of Chinese traveling all over the country during these periods, by train, car, plane, bus, donkey, etc, you name it - they will be on the move. 

These are the two big national holidays and most Chinese working in other cities all over China will be traveling home to see their families.

Planes, trains, hotels, buses, donkeys are never discounted over these holiday periods.

I have a special page for Train Travel in China... check it out for more information.

Shanghai , is well set up also, you can get around relatively easily, all the hotels, places to go and sites to see, are well sign posted.

He is a Shanghai City Map and a Shanghai Subway Map that may come in handy.

In Shanghai and in Beijing , finding all the pubs and clubs is easy as well, the best local magazine to pick up for the nightlife and restaurants would be “That’s Shanghai” or “That’s Beijing”

These restaurants will not be the cheapest, however will have English menus, if you need to eat cheap, there are thousands of local places to eat.

I have made a menu of safe Chinese food that most westerners will like, its easy to use at local places; contact me if you would like me to send it to you.

Independent China Travel Menu.

Xian another popular place to go, everyone just has to see the Teracotta Warriors

Xian is a little harder to get around, however can be done, with some time and patients.

Independent China Travel... Out of the Major Cities

The further away from the major cities you go the harder it becomes to move around and communicate.

Yes its difficult... however it be can be done and is a lot of fun, frustrating at times, but still fun and I did it 10 years ago.

There are many very low budget hostels, hotels, around China, set up for independent China travel.

Some will have a dormitory style set up, others are like a hotel.

It pays to check the room and the sheets, for cleanliness before you pay, most places will let you inspect the room first.

These places are low budget, electricity, water, this sort of thing, will not always work, and remember this is part of the adventure of Independent China Travel.

If you travel China on a budget that is very low, these places can be bad, to say the least, if you pay that few dollars more, your resting and traveling experience will be so much more pleasurable.

At very low budget, many things with the hotel or hostel that you will expect to work or be in the room etc, just will not work or not be there, and you will not get any help to fix it... or find it…... That’s China.

• All the places , wherever you go, weather it be a big city or a small town, will have the persistent Hotel sellers, Taxi drivers, Map sellers… hassling you at all the train and bus stations.

You will just have to get used to it.

• Taxis in China… I would always use registered taxis; see my China Travel Tips page for some useful tips and tricks.

• You will get ripped off, or end up paying way to much for something, just take a deep breath and say you will be more careful next time.

Just stick to you own fairness understanding of a good price or service, and you will be ok, the Chinese, or any seller for that matter will want to get the highest price possible, where as you will want to get the lowest price possible.

Bargaining can be fun, relax and go with the flow.

If you think the price for something is fair at the time you buy it, well then it is a fair price.

• I have not heard of any problems with personal safety, anywhere in China.

You always have to be aware and be alert and not silly, always use your common sense, however I live in Shanghai and I think this is the safest city I have even lived in and I have lived in many big cities all over the world.

I have even been told by western women living here, at networking evenings, etc that they feel that Shanghai and China is the safest place they have ever lived or been to.

• In the major cities, there are banks everywhere, this means lots of ATM’s if you go out of the major cities into the countryside, you will not find many, if you do, they may not work.

It’s easy to cash travelers cheques in all the banks.

China is really a cash society, so you will need to carry cash.


Hotels in China can be an interesting experience, I have detailed some important points that Ithink you will appreciate. Click here for more details.

When it comes to low budget accommodation within China , most Agents will not wish to handle this due to no money in booking andprocessing low budget accommodation.

I have a page for this, I have found a very good, proven Hostel / Budget accommodation network that you can book and put in place before you go, this saves a lot of time when you arrive at new places searching for somewhere to stay. Click here for more details

For Shanghai, I have found brand new small of the main track, Chinese Business hotel,and its 5 minutes from the most famous Xintain Di area in Shanghai, right in the heart of downtown. Double, Single, Large rooms are all available at a very good rate.

The Hotel does not do breakfast , however there is a supermarket next door and 10 minutes walk up the Rd is a “All you can eat” western breakfast buffet for RMB28 in a French restaurant serving a large serviced apartment complex.

Please contact me if you would like to stay here, its very good value


If you plan to independent China travel on a time restraint, it can be frustrating and difficult as a bus or train, or a flight just happens to have problem messing up your timing. If you have no time restraints, Independent China Travel is so much fun, if a bus or a train does not come, it just does not matter, another will be along tomorrow.

Independent China Travel can be so rewarding.

The further out into countryside or no-mans land you go, the harder the traveling becomes, however even more rewarding

Have Fun and Enjoy China

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