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Help with basic China travel 101
Sep 29, 2007 22:46
  • ARIES52
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I want to go to Chongquig in December to meet the wonderful lady who I have been talking with. We are both wanting to meet. So, what do I need besides pass port and a visa? I plan on making the flight arrangements here and she is setting up the hotel reservations. What other info do I need to make this come off without a problem. PLEASE, someone give me some needed information who has gone anywhere over to China by themselves or as a couple. I would appreicate it!

Sep 30, 2007 03:52
#1  
  • DESTRUCKDOZ
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Hi Arie,

One thing I will tell you is, you might need to bring your own TP. I was running around Guangzhou recently and man did it suck not having any TP, no kidding. If your a big guy, you should bring enough clothing for your trip because your not going to find anything much larger than a "large". And some cool American stuff for her and any kids that may be related to her. I brought with me a huge costco sized box of tropical tootsie pops for the kids and man did they love to hang out with me when I couldnt get out of the village. That is all I can remember now.

Danny
Sep 30, 2007 06:02
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  • DEANOUK
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Whats TP?
Sep 30, 2007 07:54
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  • SUSAN205060
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Hi,ARIES52,

Can we understand this is dating? If so, we prefer you to be honest and serious attitude to respect yourselves and others also.

Enjoy your trip!

Yours sincerely,
Susan Zheng(China Tour Guide)
MSN: hotmail.com|Susan205060
Sep 30, 2007 14:15
#4  
  • ARIES52
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Thanks for the upbeat news! I am of med. size so not a problem there. The tp is interesting. Never realize how important it is until it is toooo late!

Now is it true that you can not get the Yuan until you are in China? Can anyone answer if the amer. express can be used in China?
Sep 30, 2007 16:03
#5  
  • DESTRUCKDOZ
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Deanouk, TP is Toilet Paper.

Arie, if you live in the United States, you could get Yuan and other currencies before you depart if you have an account with a major bank such as Bank of America, its completely free. They send the currency to your home (with confirmation) or you could pick it up at which ever bank branch is closest to you which is safer, but keep in mind that you get the exchange rate the day you place the order for your currency.

To answer your question, I personally never saw American Express in anything other than one or two hotels when I was there. I am not sure if American Express does the same, but when my group and I rented a hotel room in Hong Kong, there was a surcharge of 2-3 percent for using a visa credit card abroad.

This may be a little bit too much in a post but since it sounds like your first time to china and there will be things I will do different on my next trip to china that I will tell about my trip so that you may benefit from my mistakes.

Sep 30, 2007 16:03
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  • DESTRUCKDOZ
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So being that it was my first trip to China and Hong Kong that my parents were exhibiting a lot of anxiety because I was going to be so far away and not to mention that I would be staying in a remote village among lots of aqua culture/farming/orchards for some time so my parents stuck with me C-notes anywhere they could be hidden among the Yuan and HK Dollar that I ordered. I know, it does not sound safe but before leaving, we all thought that there was not access to banks or any other financial institution because or the rural area. So you might think, where would I change a few things? Well it turns out that anybody in the village was willing to exchange there Yuan's for your C-Notes. That may not work with you but when we did reach a city such as Foshan, there are these booths where they sell smokes, phone cards and small little things. But what they do also is that they exchange currencies. We were taken there by our relatives and whats messed up is that they give a higher exchange rate, about 65 more Chinese cents. They seem to be very well known by the locals because the Taxi driver who drove us there mentioned that he takes all his foreign clients to this particular booth because of his rates. And also while I was at this Mcdonald's across the street I noticed a lot of people exchanging money as well so It seems safe. One thing though is that they wont take your 5's or 10's. It applies to a lot of exchange currency booths that they only take bills like 100 dollar C Notes or if you are coming from HK, HK 500 Bills. They will take 20 and 50 notes but they dont give you the same rate. I am not sure about the Pound currency since I didnt have any, if that is where your from. So you can get Yuan before you depart if you live in the US. There are safer methods such as Travelers Cheques and the such but for my situation it was much different. And I know, I had some relatives there that watched my back but you could possibly ask your girl if they have one of those booths around. It would be smart to have some Yuan on you before you leave the airport though.

So here are a few things I remembered while writing this post that would probably beneficial for you to know.
Sep 30, 2007 16:05
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  • DESTRUCKDOZ
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Taxi's. If you are heading to the remote area's or taking a taxi on a long trip, make sure your girl finds the taxi, she probably knows somebody. While I stayed in the village, I was dieing of bordom and so my group and I mentioned if we could get a taxi to do something like go to the towns nearby or the city. Our relatives there were pretty poor, most of the people in the rural area drive mopeds or bikes. But when the three taxi's that they usually use were not available, we were stuck. There are taxi's everywhere, there usually vans that can fit 10-15 people but be careful, it common that you could get robbed of all your belongings in the middle of nowhere once it is convienient for the driver or even far worse. Pretty serious about it because everybody in the village warned us of it after we tried to get one.

If you come from the US, you have probably tossed something that did not taste pleasant to you and if its front of other Americans, most likely no one really cares. But if you are dining with your girls family, try to finish whatever you pick onto your bowl or buy/order. I didnt know that so people saw me as a stupid American.

If they happen to serve beer at there home or if you want a beer, dont drink it out of the bottle like a 40oz even though they are the size of a wine bottle. You may be inclined to drink like four of them because they are so weak but drink it out of a cup and SHARE!!. I remember during a dinner in the village that I came in with a beer that I bought from one of the vendors so while I drank one whole bottle by myself in which my group did as well, the four other guys shared the same bottle. So you may come off as selfish if you did what I did. If you want to get sauced, its best to do it ALONE.

Sep 30, 2007 16:05
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One thing that you will find is that, at some point or another a vendor will try to rip you off by stating a higher price than what it is usually sold for. I found it easier dealing with those who displayed there prices. Usually if you are trying to buy like fake jade or vendors that are under a canopy, they have everything grouped by price which would make it easier if you wanted to haggle. On a side note, in china it seems like they calculate EVERYTHING with a simple calculator so if your good with your addition and times table, thats a plus. I found that most were honest but some would sneak in about 20 or 30 Yuan and thats serious money there even though It may be a few bucks for us.

Sickness is something you will have as well. I heard of some pills you can get through your doctor to shorten the process but it lasts like 4 or 5 days in which would suck a lot if you didn't have your TP. If you don't, you can use the adjacent hose...no kidding. Oh yeah and they usually have floor toilets so you will have to squat like on the side of the road.

I remember something that every women in china loves: Oil of Olay. That product is like the most loved feminine product. It is not like its not available, it is just that it is very expensive for them, about 70 Yuan give or take. It is probably cheaper if you get it in the states.

Oh, and if it is possible, get a seat in an area of the plane most far away from the planes engine, it is FREAKING loud.

Well, this was my experience, I have lots more I just cant remember them right now. These were mostly centered around Guangzhou. I cant seem to find where Chongquig is, maybe its misspelled?

Danny
Sep 30, 2007 16:19
#9  
  • DESTRUCKDOZ
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Two more that I just remembered:

Tips, don't even worry about it. I tipped this lady who spoke a different dialect of Cantonese which was how I got to eat in the village, ha ha. I left money on the table as a tip and she ran after me and told me I forgot my money. So tipping is not necessary, it could be even offensive.

I was told to mark my 100 Yuan notes by my relatives. There is a scam I was told of in which they have a front selling things at ridiculously low prices in which they hope your going to pay with a 100 Yuan in which they short change you telling you that Oh you have to buy 3 of the SAME item to get that price in which you don't need three fake copies of windows or something. Then when you demand your money back, your given a fake note.

Some of the things I mentioned may sound out there but they were suggestions by relatives and locals. And the saying goes, Do as the locals would do.

Danny
Sep 30, 2007 22:37
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  • ARIES52
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Destruckdoz,

Hey, thanks for the good information! I had a good laugh about the TP thing and the toliets. I remember them when I was in Japan training many years ago. I will be going to Central Chongquig city so I doubt that I will be way out in the country. This is well receive though. I will be going solo. When you read all the information on the websites, one's head starts spinning on what is allowed and not. That is interesting on what you said about the currency. I will have to check this out. In my conversations with the lady that I want to go see, Amer. express traveler checks can be exchanged in the banks over there. Her brother is a banker. What is your experience on getting in and out? Any precautions to be forwarned on? Any needed shots or proof of shots? The only problem I am having is trying to get a round trip ticket there at a decent price. Anything you try this way will be appreciated. BTW I live in Oregon near Portland. And yes, I am new at this experience but have done enough traveling in my early years to be wise to many things.

Thanks again!
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