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Traveling in China Where to Go and What to See Presented by Danielle Rinke Traveling in China Where to Go and What to See Presented by Danielle Rinke and Stephen Kushner, C 12’s

Topics for Discussion • Traveling Cheap • Safety & Tips • Trip Suggestions Galore Topics for Discussion • Traveling Cheap • Safety & Tips • Trip Suggestions Galore

Traveling Cheap • A budget is defined by YOU, the individual (i. e. what Traveling Cheap • A budget is defined by YOU, the individual (i. e. what luxuries can you live without) – Private hotel room/bathroom – Food – Alcohol – Souvenirs – Transportation – Travel Itinerary

Chinese Hotels • Don’t be afraid to stay at local hotels - sometimes they’re Chinese Hotels • Don’t be afraid to stay at local hotels - sometimes they’re cheaper than Hostels • Do you need a private bathroom? – Bring a small wash cloth, ask for a water basin, and kaishui – Are you okay with a squat toilet? • Do you need a private room? – Often times at Chinese hotels you will end up by yourself in a dormitory style room • Always ask to see the room before paying • Sometimes a triple is cheaper than a double • Bargain for rooms. The prices listed are always more expensive • NOTE: If a PCV lives in the area, give them an email or call, even if you don’t know them well. Most likely, they’ll be happy to host you and help save you a little money

Hostel Hotel Websites • Tip: Search for the hotel on the internet to find Hostel Hotel Websites • Tip: Search for the hotel on the internet to find a phone number. Do your reservation by phone and save yourself online and cancellation fees – www. hihostels. com – www. hostelworld. com – www. hostels. com – www. hostelz. com

Food • How important is that western meal to you? A cup of Starbucks? Food • How important is that western meal to you? A cup of Starbucks? – Prioritize what western food you really crave and must have. Deny yourself! You’re in China for only two years, then you can gorge back home in America – Limit how many Chinese dish restaurants you go to - they add up – Eat simple to-go meals - dumplings, noodles, local street vendors, etc – A local grocery can be your best friend for small snacks and fruit – Pack your own food and avoid tourist restaurant venues when seeing sites

Alcohol • How much is enough? – Limit your intake – Can you settle Alcohol • How much is enough? – Limit your intake – Can you settle with a Chinese beer or do you want a western cocktail? – Get a better drink first, then go cheaper as you drink - you won’t taste the difference – Drink with the locals. It’s fun and they usually insist on paying (don’t feel guilty)!

Souvenirs • You may despise doing this, but bargain! – Locals like it when Souvenirs • You may despise doing this, but bargain! – Locals like it when you bargain – Don’t buy the first thing you see or from the first vendor – Think…do I really want or need this? – Be cutthroat about prices - “low-ball them”. You won’t offend the seller and it will quickly give you an idea of a final price – Have patience! If you lose this, you’ll pay a lot more – If you’re staying for a couple days, walk away and come back another time

Transportation • Be flexible! • Traveling gets to be expensive. Think about all your Transportation • Be flexible! • Traveling gets to be expensive. Think about all your options. Consider time and methods – Around town, do you really need a taxi? Or could you take the bus or walk? • Look at how much travel time you have. This will determine what kind of transportation you may take – If no immediate hard sleeper tickets are available, will you consider other alternatives? • Some places can only be reached by bus, especially remote areas – Can you handle bumpy roads or a sleeper bus? – Some places can’t be reached by train or plane

Transportation Websites • Train: – www. travelchinaguide. com/chinatrains/index. htm – www. chinahighlights. com/chinatrains/index. htm Transportation Websites • Train: – www. travelchinaguide. com/chinatrains/index. htm – www. chinahighlights. com/chinatrains/index. htm • Plane: – www. elong. net – www. airasia. com – ticket. 9588. com

Using: www. elong. net • If you have a debit card or credit card, Using: www. elong. net • If you have a debit card or credit card, you can order an e -ticket online without having to go to a travel agency – This is great for those who don’t live in major metropolitan areas and can’t get access to paper tickets – Very small international transaction fee • Print out the reservation number just in case • Show your passport at the airport check-in • Elong. net is what Chinese tourist agencies use and set prices by • Search on a daily basis. Sometimes you can get the cheapest price prior to 15 days before flying. However, 15 days is typically the magic number for the cheapest price, along with what day you choose to leave during the week • You may not get a confirmation email or phone call, so check your credit/debit card account online to see if the transaction went through. The in-country phone number provided on the website also works well and the telephone receptionists speak good English

Travel Itinerary • Use common sense, plan your trip accordingly • Plan a route Travel Itinerary • Use common sense, plan your trip accordingly • Plan a route that flows, not one that discombobulated – Don’t backtrack if you can avoid it – Travel by region • Stick to your schedule when possible • Evaluate how many days you are willing to use traveling versus time saved by spending a little more money – Sometimes flying is more, but you save days and hassle, while only paying a little bit more • Be flexible! Sometimes you find you may want to stay at a place longer, can’t see a location, or want to add a new side stop to your itinerary. Don’t worry, just let the office know if you make a major change • TIP: If obscure, less traveled locations are your thing, check out the Lonely Planet website Thorn-tree posts or this site as a starting point for ideas: – http: //www. holachina. com

Safety • Keep all PC numbers on-hand, all the time, along with PCV friend Safety • Keep all PC numbers on-hand, all the time, along with PCV friend numbers • Keep your passport handy • Let others know, besides the PC Office, where and when you’ll be gone (i. e. family, friends, & school) • Travel with a buddy • Money – Don’t put all your money in one place – Don’t use a wallet. Thieves can see it in your pocket – Keep big bills in one pocket, smaller ones in another (when people see bigger bills, they’ll try to make you pay more) – Go to a bank teller window and ask for smaller denominations before traveling – Keep your money in your front pockets

Safety • You hear this all the time, but watch how much you drink. Safety • You hear this all the time, but watch how much you drink. Know your drinking limit, don’t push it • Trust your gut instinct, it’s usually right – If it doesn’t look safe, it probably isn’t – If you feel uncomfortable, leave! • Don’t stay out too late in unfamiliar places • Traveling with less means you are less likely to be robbed – Take less valuables (i. e. laptop, jewelry, etc) – In crowded places, keep an eye on your bag. Have a firm grip on it or wear it in front of you – Keep your valuables in hard to reach places • Leave your luggage or expensive items at the front desk when leaving your hotel room • Don’t be too paranoid. China is safer than many other countries, and a lot of locals ARE trustworthy

Additional Tips • Have a photocopy of your passport & visa with you • Additional Tips • Have a photocopy of your passport & visa with you • Bring any photo ID to use for student discounts • Travel light! There’s a reason why HCNs only have one small bag - adapt! – Re-wear clothing and layer! You don’t need a million outfits – Hand wash your clothes. This service is expensive at hotels • Make a small travel medicine kit of the essentials you know you’ll use • Pack ahead of time OR make a list of things you need. Otherwise, you’ll forget something or pack something you don’t need • Bring a book to read, there’s a lot of down time • Don’t over plan your trips, it’s nice to have some R&R time

Additional Tips • Plan your day appropriately for YOU – If you like to Additional Tips • Plan your day appropriately for YOU – If you like to sleep in, make sure you get to where you want or need on time, otherwise you waste days – Keep in mind temples/museums open early and close early. Try to start your day early, and chill in the evening (i. e. many places close by 5 PM) – Many buses only run once a day, usually mornings • Keep TP/tissue & hand sanitizer handy at all times • When traveling in cold weather, keep batteries near your body. Your body heat helps them last a lot longer • Try to have your travel arrangements to the next location prepared at least one day in advance – Many hostels can book for you in larger cities – When traveling during major holidays, being able to purchase a return ticket one day prior to the holiday beginning saves a lot of stress

Additional Tips • Turn off all outlets in your home before leaving (i. e. Additional Tips • Turn off all outlets in your home before leaving (i. e. water heaters, computer, etc) • If you have plants, water before leaving and find a responsible person to care for them while gone • Clean your home before leaving to travel. It’s nice coming home to a clean house • Have someone check on your place while you’re gone. Thieves love the holidays since they know people travel - especially during Spring Festival • Having a cell phone, if only for traveling, can be a lifesaver • Bring a small flashlight & ear plugs • Have enough money on-hand when traveling to more remote areas. There won’t always be a bank • Don’t always rely on LPG. Do some research on the internet, there a lot of cool places not mentioned in guide books

Trip Suggestions Galore • • • Northern Xinjiang Southern Xinjiang Xizang (Tibet) Qinghai Gansu Trip Suggestions Galore • • • Northern Xinjiang Southern Xinjiang Xizang (Tibet) Qinghai Gansu Xi’an Ningxia Northern Sichuan Western Sichuan Chengdu and vicinity Chongqing Fenghuang, Hunan • • • Guizhou Kunming Northern Yunnan Southern Yunnan Hainan Guilin (Yangshuo) Southern Treaty Ports Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Shandong Beijing

Northern Xinjiang • Time: Allow 9 -10 days total • Places: Urumqi, Tian Chi, Northern Xinjiang • Time: Allow 9 -10 days total • Places: Urumqi, Tian Chi, Turpan, Kashgar, Karakul Lake • Getting There: Trains leave from Chengdu, Xi’an, Chongqing, or anywhere along the railroad in Gansu province to Urumqi NOTE: The sun is more intense, sunscreen is highly recommended in this area. Outside of summer, evenings can also become very cool being a desert climate

Urumqi • Why: To get anywhere in Xinjiang, you must pass through this provincial Urumqi • Why: To get anywhere in Xinjiang, you must pass through this provincial capital • Hotel: Ya’ou Binguan - next to train station. Dorms are bare essential and grim, but you’ll most likely get the whole threebed room to yourself (Y 40). No shower available for a dorm must upgrade to a twin room. Front desk safely holds luggage while out. Kongque Dasha has also been highly recommended, but is more expensive • Time: 1 day or layovers for next stop • Things To Do: – Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Museum (Y 30) - a must if you like Silk Road history and want to see mummies – People’s Park (free) - relaxing, fun to watch/join local Uighurs dancing, see local artists paint, and watch old men fish – Wuyi Night Market - mutton kebobs, shao kao bread, and keg beer are tops – Pick up a bottle (or two) of Lou Lan wine - best wine for the buck in China (Y 37 -40) and is only available in Xinjiang

Tian Chi (Heaven Lake) • Why: Beautiful lake nestled in pine covered mountains, to Tian Chi (Heaven Lake) • Why: Beautiful lake nestled in pine covered mountains, to sleep in a yurt! – If you do not mind being rushed on a day trip and can get away from the hordes of Chinese tourists, the lake is a scenic walk along the waterfront in either direction – Make the climb up (unless you want to save time by taking a lift) and save yourself money – Bring warm clothes - the elevation makes it cold • To/From: North gate of People’s Park in Urumqi. Tour buses leave between 9 -9: 30 AM (Y 50/person roundtrip). Bus leaves park 4 -4: 30 PM. If you want to stay the night, you may have to pay for another ticket on a return bus the next day • Hotel: A yurt! Don’t worry, Rashit will find YOU and his English is excellent (Y 40 including meals) – Rashit’s yurts are tucked away around a bend about a quarter away around the right-hand side of the lake • Entrance Fee: Y 90/person • Time: 1 -1. 5 days

Turpan • Why: Second hottest and second lowest land depression in the world, imagine Turpan • Why: Second hottest and second lowest land depression in the world, imagine bustling cities while meandering through ruins, Uighur minority • To/From: Urumqi nanjiao bus station. No train station near Turpan and it’s easier to go back to Urumqi to catch a train • Hotel: Jiaotong Binguan - next to bus station. You won’t find cheaper rooms in town (Y 25). Dorms are very clean and there are hot showers down the hall • Hire a private car through an agency (there a few in the bus station lobby). CITS tours take you on a whirlwind showcase of 8 stops with little time at each one. Private car should be Y 100 -150/person all day – Tuyok - a must see! Old Uighur community, dried grapes, and Buddhist grottoes – Gaochang Ruins - best parts are in the back and far corner of ruins away from tourists – Flaming Mountains - have the driver slow down, it’s not worth paying for a ticket for only a few pictures

Turpan • Jiaohe Ruins – Roundtrip taxi for under Y 50. Couldn’t find place Turpan • Jiaohe Ruins – Roundtrip taxi for under Y 50. Couldn’t find place to rent bicycles – Well preserved ruins – Once entering the gate into the actual ruins, take a harp sharp off the main path. You can get a much better view of the ruins away from tourists. Eventually a worker may see you and wave you down • Emin Minaret – One of the most amazing mosques in all of China – It’s a short nice walk on the edge of town. Locals don’t speak Chinese, so show a picture of it from your LPG they’ll point you in the right direction – Try to go in the morning for best picture light • Entrance Fees: All places are Y 30 -40 • Time: 2 days • Other Things To Do: Food (pilo (pilaf), nan, etc), relax and watch a water show at the city square at night

Kashgar (Kashi) • Why: Great vibe in a laid back Uighur environment, completely different Kashgar (Kashi) • Why: Great vibe in a laid back Uighur environment, completely different from the rest of China, the Sunday Market, its Old Town section • To/From: 30+ hour train ride from Urumqi - hard sleeper tickets are limited. Overnight bus is a shorter journey, more buses are available daily, and ride on a paved highway (International Bus Station in Kashgar; nanjiao in Urumqi) • Hotel: Seman Binguan - cheapest place (Y 20) foreigners and is a nice walk across town. Dorms are very basic. Tiannan Fandian is across from the local bus station, but will set you back Y 100 for a double • Time: 1. 5 -2 days • Things To Do: – Id Kah Mosque - one of the best mosques in China – Old Town - enter the larger section from the Night Market and you’ll get to see the area for free – Sunday Market - great to wander about on any day, but swells up to 50 K on Sunday – Livestock Market - best day to go is Sunday – Window/Stall shop for instruments, carpets, fabrics, etc • NOTE: Local time is two hours behind Beijing time

Karakul Lake (Kara Hu) • Why: Breathtaking scenery along the Karakoram Hwy, solitude next Karakul Lake (Kara Hu) • Why: Breathtaking scenery along the Karakoram Hwy, solitude next to a stark lake and snow capped peaks • To/From: Long distance bus station (Y 37) in Kashgar. One bus leaves 10: 30 AM, local time. Catch a morning bus going to Kashgar alongside the road (Y 40). Private taxi can be hired for a day trip (Y 200) • Hotel: Yurt (40 Y including meals) • Time: 1. 5 days • Entrance Fee: None - locals may try to make you pay for a “ticket”, but most yurt owners will tell you it’s free • Bring warm clothing - it gets cold and windy! • Bring extra water if you don’t want to drink kaishui • Peaceful hikes/walks can be found everywhere

Southern Xinjiang • Time: Allow 7 days total • Places: Yengisar, Yarkand, Karghilik, Hotan Southern Xinjiang • Time: Allow 7 days total • Places: Yengisar, Yarkand, Karghilik, Hotan • Getting There: Trains leave from Chengdu, Xi’an, Chongqing, or anywhere along the railroad in Gansu province to Urumqi. From Kashgar, bus to Yengisar. From Urumqi, bus to Hotan NOTE: The sun is more intense, sunscreen is highly recommended in this area. Outside of summer, evenings can also become very cool being a desert climate. There is a good chance that time will be local, not Beijing time - ask before purchasing tickets

Yengisar (Yingjisha) • Why: Knife shops and see where Uighur knives are made, split Yengisar (Yingjisha) • Why: Knife shops and see where Uighur knives are made, split up the short ride to Yarkand • Getting There: 1. 5 hr bus ride from Kashgar • Hotel: Ask or look around to possibly find one, but most likely you’ll only spend several hours before getting on another bus to Yarkand • Time: . 5 -1 day • Things To Do: – Shop around for knives - prices are similar to that of Kashgar, but you can soak in the local flavor – Knife factory - watch knives being handmade in primitive fashion • Chinese - xiaodaochang • Uighur - pichak chilik karakhana

Yarkand (Shache) • Why: To relax and enjoy the character of this small town, Yarkand (Shache) • Why: To relax and enjoy the character of this small town, local Sunday market • Getting There: Bus from either Kashgar or Yengisar • Hotel: Sache Binguan (Y 240) - expensive as heck but it’s only the place that foreigners are currently allowed to stay in. The hotel is about 1. 5 km from the bus station • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Walk around - old town can be difficult to find, but is worth seeking out. LPG doesn’t cover much on this place, which means there is more to explore on your own – Altyn Mosque complex (Y 10) - use this site as a means to find old town, and check out a local mosque – Tombs - great area to reconnoiter as there also walks outside of town – Sunday market - smaller than Kashgar’s and Hotan’s market, but still fun to shop around

Karghilik (Yecheng) • Why: To break up the journey to/from Hotan, explore local markets Karghilik (Yecheng) • Why: To break up the journey to/from Hotan, explore local markets and old town • Getting There: Bus from either Yarkand or Hotan • Hotel: Jiaotong Binguan (Y 40) - next to bus station and local police tend to ‘encourage’ foreigners to stay here • Time: 1 day • Things To Do: – Explore - of course, that is what this journey is about. So check out the old town and Friday Mosque (Jama Masjid), a 15 th-century mosque surrounded by a bazaar – Charbagh – nearby town (short taxi ride) Karghilik has a decent market

Hotan • Why: A Sunday market that rivals Kashgar’s, carpet and silk factories, ruins, Hotan • Why: A Sunday market that rivals Kashgar’s, carpet and silk factories, ruins, to cross the famed Taklamakan Desert • Getting There: Bus from Karghilik, or sleeper bus to/from Urumqi (20 -25 hrs, Y 330 -220 respectively). Try to time the departures so you can see the desert (i. e. the slower bus may be better for this). Stock up on snacks and water for this long trip • Hotel: Happy Hotel (Y 30) - best place due to location and owners are really nice • Time: 3 days (including desert bus journey) • Things To Do: – Sunday Market - obviously the best day to go is Sunday, but any day is still worthwhile. Less toured by Chinese and foreigners – Silk and Carpet Factories - interesting to watch locals produce their trade. Some places can be reached via taxi or bus in/outside town. Check your LPG – Yotkan Ruins (Y 15, Y 30/roundtrip taxi) & Melikawat Ruins (Y 10, Y 75/roundtip taxi) - both offer remnants of ancient cities – You may have to pay a small fee to take pictures at the ruins

Xizang (Tibet) • Time: Allow 10 -11 days total • Places: Lhasa and area, Xizang (Tibet) • Time: Allow 10 -11 days total • Places: Lhasa and area, Nam-tso, Reting Monastery, Drigung Til Monastery, Tidrum Nunnery • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, Chongqing, or anywhere in Gansu province, to Lhasa NOTE: Bring sunscreen, higher elevation makes the sun more intense! Pack according to the season, it can be cool in the evenings

Lhasa • Why: Holiest place in all of Tibetan Buddhism, see thousands of Tibetans Lhasa • Why: Holiest place in all of Tibetan Buddhism, see thousands of Tibetans make a holy pilgrimage, to participate in a kora, active monasteries • Hotel: There are many places to choose from, but the most liked by PCVs have been Yak Hotel, Banak Shol, and Snowlands (Y 20 -25). The IYH can book train tickets. Book your stay ahead of time since places fill quickly • Time: 5 -6 days • Being at a higher elevation, take it easy the first few days and drink lots of water to become acclimated • Things To Do: – Explore - there are many smaller monasteries/temples throughout the Tibetan quarter outside the main Barkhor circuit. These are the real gems of Lhasa that are often overlooked by tourists and offer a warm welcome being smaller monasteries/temples – Lingkor Kora - circuit that follows Old Lhasa. Great way to get used to the elevation. There are wonderful old rock carvings off the path, so keep your eyes open – they are at the base of the hill and covered in prayer flags

Lhasa – Barkhor - recommended first circuit to hit for all the imagery, sounds, Lhasa – Barkhor - recommended first circuit to hit for all the imagery, sounds, and bargaining markets. It’s the heart of Lhasa – Jokhang (Y 70) - heavily toured, but it’s the most revered religious building in all of Tibet – Potala Kora - the inside of the palace feels empty and exploited, so taking in the views is best recommended on a circuit around it – Food - chang (barley beer) and cha ngam (sweet tea much different from yak butter tea) are locals drinks to check out. Keep an eye out for shops overlooking the Barkhor, opposite the Jokhang - great people watching opportunities – Folk Music Bar - just outside Banak Shol, is a nice place to listen to Tibetan musicians during the evenings. Pick up an instrument and accompany the artist • Sera Monastery (Y 35 with ‘student’ ID): Another large monastery with a wonderful kora, and spectacular views of Lhasa, Potala, and Sera itself at a statue of Tsongkhapa, a climb behind the monastery

Lhasa Getting There: Take minibuses No 502 or 503 • Pabonka Monastery & Chupsang Lhasa Getting There: Take minibuses No 502 or 503 • Pabonka Monastery & Chupsang Nunnery - both are less than an hour walk from Sera and are both well worth the visit to see places less visited. Arrive around noon at Chupsang and listen to chanting at the main hall – Getting There: Take minibuses No 502 or 503 to Sera. Just before the military hospital, near a bend, get off the bus • Drepung Monastery (Y 45 with ‘student’ ID): See at one time what was the world’s largest monastery – Getting There: Get on a minibus from Barkhor Square for Y 2 – If looking for a different experience, hop a wall to the left of the entrance at the parking lot. About another 200 m forward, jump another wall and go to a rocky ravine. Climb the crease (it’s not an easy climb), and eventually you will make it to a sun-drenched grassy clearing that has a small waterfall at the end of it. Go for a dip, dry in the Tibetan sun, and have a snack

Lhasa • Ganden Monastery (Y 25 -40): A must see for Lhasa with a Lhasa • Ganden Monastery (Y 25 -40): A must see for Lhasa with a scenic kora. Ganden is the first Gelugpa monastery and is the seat of this Buddhist order – Getting There - Pilgrim buses leave Barkhor Square from 6: 30 -7 AM, and return at 2 PM (Y 20/return). Get there early if you want a seat or buy your ticket the day before at a ticket kiosk on the south side of the Jokhang • Samye Monastery (Y 40) - see where the Buddhist faith first settled down and grew roots – To understand the design of Samye, one needs to climb the hill behind it to see the 3 -D mandala – Getting There: Y 40 bus from Barkhor Square at 8 AM. Drops you at the ferry (Y 3 -10 depending on ‘foreigner’ price), and then jump on a truck or tractor (Y 3) for a 9 km trip – NOTE: Permits are impossible to get unless going through an agency. You may or may not get caught. Just play stupid and be nice, and you can bargain it down a lot • There are monastery guesthouses available at both Ganden and Samye (Y 20 -40) if you choose to stay for an evening

Five-day Land Cruiser Trek • Why: – Nam-tso - beautiful turquoise lake with 7000 Five-day Land Cruiser Trek • Why: – Nam-tso - beautiful turquoise lake with 7000 m snowcapped mountains as a backdrop – Reting Monastery - where the Dalai Lama would retire upon his return to Tibet – Drigung Til Monastery (Y 25) - better preserved monastery following the Cultural Revolution and head of the Kagyupa order – Tidrum Nunnery (Y 5) - wonderful hot-springs to bathe in • Getting There: Hire a Land Cruiser for ~s. Y 2800 (~Y 550/person) – Inspect the vehicle before leaving (i. e. is the 4 -wheel drive and differential lock okay? Is there a spare tire? Does it leak gas? Etc. ) – Make sure everything is clear in the contract and whether the total cost includes entrance fees, special permits, etc – Above all, meet with the driver beforehand treat him with respect. Be friendly and include him on stuff, it’ll only make your trip that much more enjoyable • Hotels: Discuss accommodations with your contractor • Time: 5 days

Qinghai • Time: Allow 10 days total • Places: Xining, Ta’er Si, Qinghai Hu, Qinghai • Time: Allow 10 days total • Places: Xining, Ta’er Si, Qinghai Hu, Tongren, Yushu, Nangchen • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, Chongqing, or anywhere in Gansu province, to Xining, using Xining as the start/finish point – The trip can also be done one-way to Chengdu or Xining via bus, but will take around 11 days from start to finish NOTE: Again bring Sunscreen. Sunburns are the worst when traveling.

Xining • Why: Must pass through this city to go anywhere in Qinghai, a Xining • Why: Must pass through this city to go anywhere in Qinghai, a balance between Han, Hui, and Tibetan peoples • Hotel: Post Hotel (Y 10 -14) - cheapest in town and near both the train and bus stations. If booked full, there are hotels down from the longdistance bus station (Y 20 -30) • Time: 2 days • Ta’er Si - very touristy, but nice to stroll around, especially around the kora above the complex. Don’t bother buying the entrance ticket, there are many other buildings you can enter without it and you will see better temples – Getting There: Near the West Gate are taxis (Y 6/person). Same fee for return • Qinghai Hu (Y 40 with ‘student’ ID) - EXTREMELY full of Chinese tourists, but bird island (niao dao) is peaceful to walk around once away from people. Don’t bother going to the observation deck – Getting There: Y 100 on a tour group. You spend very little time at the lake/island, but it’s the only way to get there cheaply. Book a ticket at a hotel • Other Things To Do: Qinghai Provincial Museum (Y 15) - great exhibits; city square - near the West Gate and full of tulips; browse through Shuijing Xiang Market or the market across the long-distance bus station for trinkets

Tongren • Why: Wonderful Buddhist complexes, watch masters and students study and paint thangkas, Tongren • Why: Wonderful Buddhist complexes, watch masters and students study and paint thangkas, to purchase a thangka where they’re made • Getting There: 4 hr bus from Xining (Y 30) • Hotel: Sanxin Binguan or Huangnan Binguan (Y 15) - town is pretty small and easy to navigate for either place. The prior offers cheap singles (Y 60) with hot water • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Bring a book to read and relax, in any one of the monastery complexes – Rongwo Gonchen Gompa - wander through a giant maze of buildings, listen to monks debate, watch monks go about their daily life, sit and chat - they’re very friendly in this monastery, especially the keeper of the main hall a top the hill – Wutun Si - complex is currently adding more structures and is nice to walk about. This is where thangkas are painted and you can watch students at work • Prices: Small two/three tone (Y 300), small many tone (Y 1000), large two/three tone (Y 400), large many tone (Y 1200), small gold tone (Y 900), large gold tone (Y 1200); with silk border add Y 200 -300 • Getting There: Taxi can be hired for Y 10 at most, one-way

Yushu (Jyekundo) • Why: See where Princess Wenchang married King Songsten Gampo, local gov’t Yushu (Jyekundo) • Why: See where Princess Wenchang married King Songsten Gampo, local gov’t supports local Tibetans, watch Tibetans bully Han and Hui, buy an aphrodisiac worm, see a community alive with Tibetan culture, monks, and nuns, one of the biggest statues you will ever see, fantastic scenery on the bus ride • Getting There: 20 hr dirty and cold sleeper bus from Xining. Buy your ticket one day in advance to/from (~Y 160) • Hotel: Labu Monastery Hotel (Y 20) - receptionists are friendly and rooms are simple. Very hot, private showers are available for free in the hotel courtyard • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Walking around - soak in the Tibetan environment in this Amdo region. The streets are covered with Tibetans, monks, and nuns on cell phones, motorcycles, running machines, etc. The monasteries feel alive, not empty – Jyekundo Dondrubling Monastery - it’s a climb, but the complex gives wonderful panoramas of Yushu. Monks are very friendly and there’s a kora behind the buildings – Sengze Gyanak Mani - the world’s largest pile of prayer stones, over 2 billion! Catch bus No 1 or 2 to get there (Y 1)

Yushu (Jyekundo) – Princes Wenchen Temple: Impressively carved statues in the mountainside and prayer Yushu (Jyekundo) – Princes Wenchen Temple: Impressively carved statues in the mountainside and prayer flag covered canyon pass. The monastery is a small school and full of young studying-to-be monks who are extremely friendly and talkative. Class begins by blowing a conch shell • To/From: Minibus near the bus station (Y 4/way) leaves around 10 AM, returns around 1 PM. If you’re lucky, the monks there may give you a ride back into town, while making quick stops at the two temples along the way • Go for a walk behind the temple in the pastures. You’ll eventually come to a small Tibetan school with children ranging from 5 -15 yrs old. The teachers are happy to see foreigners and talk to you – Zhira Gompa - about a 30 -minute walk back up the road to a small monastery backed into cliffs and carvings, with stunning mountain scenery in the background – Trangu Gompa - small temple with many pagodas covering its hillside. • To/from: Catch the return bus back to town from Zhira Gompa to the complex. Taxi is Y 50 back to or roundtrip from town, no less

Nangchen • Why: A remote Tibetan town that most foreigners will never see, back Nangchen • Why: A remote Tibetan town that most foreigners will never see, back entrance into Chomdo region (eastern Tibet), wonderful vibe from the town and locals, breathtaking vistas along the ride • Getting There: 5. 5 hr minivan ride (Y 40) outside Yushu bus station. Get there around 8 AM • Hotel: Nangqian Binguan (Y 30) - only hotel in town foreigners • Time: 1. 5 -2 days • Things To Do: – Explore! This is really the only thing to do in town. Everywhere the town is alive with Tibetans – Watch locals play billiards in town across from the drop-off point for minivans – Stroll along the river and watch families do laundry – Meander about the many rebuilt and new temples in town – Gander at locals piling new prayer stones – Amble about the edge of town in the countryside for stunning scenery

Gansu • Places: Tianshui, Xiahe, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang • Time: Allow 10 -11 days Gansu • Places: Tianshui, Xiahe, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang • Time: Allow 10 -11 days total • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, or Chongqing to anywhere in Gansu province. Most places in Gansu can be reached by overnight train/bus

Tianshui • Why: One of China’s largest grotto complexes, to see a long forgotten Tianshui • Why: One of China’s largest grotto complexes, to see a long forgotten time in China • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing or Xi’an, or bus/train from Lanzhou • Hotel: Dianxin Zhaodaisuo (Y 30) - clean rooms right next to the train station • Time: 2 -2. 5 day • Maiji Shan (Y 35 with ‘student’ ID) - the temple complex has grottoes over 1500 yrs old, and much more freedom to walk around that other grottoes – They have guides to hire but save the money and do it on your own. If you can convince your group, or if you’re willing, you can pay (upwards of Y 500) to see almost all the caves - a luxury you won’t get elsewhere – Getting There: Minibus 34 (Y 4) leaves from Tianshui train station, where you’ll have to hitch a ride on either a tractor or minivan (Y 2) • Water Curtain Caves (Y 11) - sandstone cliffs, lush foliage, temples aplenty describe this secluded place to explore – To/From: There a couple early morning buses and trains to Luomen. Leaving, catch a bus to Longxi for trains/buses – Hotel: Luomen Binguan (Y 30) - only place to stay • Things To Do: Fu Xi Temple (Y 30), Nanguo Temple, Antique Market

Xiahe • Why: Amazing Buddhist temples, grasslands to roam aimlessly about, friendly monks and Xiahe • Why: Amazing Buddhist temples, grasslands to roam aimlessly about, friendly monks and nuns, home of the Gelugpa (yellow hat) order • Getting There: Mornings bus from Lanzhou • Hotel: Tara Guesthouse (Y 15 -25) or Labrang Baoma Hotel (Y 25) cheapest places in the area and bicycle rental is available • Time: 2 -2. 5 days • Labrang Monastery (Y 40): Start walking along the outside and make your way around. Stop to look at all sorts of things along the way. This part of the trip is cheap and could easily take over half a day • Sanke Grasslands: Rent a bike, and go on your way. The grasslands aren’t so much to look at but the bike ride there and back is nice – Pack a lunch and have a picnic once you get there. – Make sure you read the signs and ride all the way to the top • White Rock Cliff: A cave that you can go in with a guide. It’s about 34 km outside of Xiahe and takes awhile to get to – Plan a whole day for this. If you are on a budget this might also be out of your price range because transportation there is not cheap • Other Things To Do: Eat local dishes, go to the souvenir shops, and explore alley ways in the town

Zhangye • Why: Small lively town with blue skies and a great vibe • Zhangye • Why: Small lively town with blue skies and a great vibe • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, or anywhere along the train line in Gansu province. Take a bus up from Lanzhou and you’ll get to ride through and along the Great Wall • Hotel: Liangmao Binguan (Y 18) - dirt cheap, clean, and near the Drum Tower (5 -minute walk east) • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Big Buddha Temple (Y 41) - has the largest reclining Buddha in China. Buddha is under construction – Mu Ta (

Jiayuguan • Why: End of the Great Wall, camels rides, to climb a glacier Jiayuguan • Why: End of the Great Wall, camels rides, to climb a glacier • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, or anywhere along the train line in Gansu province • Hotel: Jinye Binguan (Y 60) - next to bus station, clean, and can bargain down price up to 40% • Time: 2 days • July 1 st Glacier (Y 45): Can only go during summer. Hike along the glacier and even down to it – Make sure you start the day early and budget plenty of time so that you can walk on the glacier – Warm clothes are a must - it snows on the mountain in summer. Watch out for heavy downpours that can cause mudslides on the road – Taxis can be hired for about Y 350/roundtrip from Jiayuguan • Jiayuguan Fort (Y 50 with ‘student’ ID, high-season): See what most people imagine a western fort in China looked like. The Great Wall ends here and runs into the

Jiayuguan snowcapped Qi’lian mountains – Back of the fort, you can ride a camel Jiayuguan snowcapped Qi’lian mountains – Back of the fort, you can ride a camel (Y 10) and make sure to go to the museum, a must see – Off-season, prices are half cost – To/From: ~Y 10 taxi/way • Overhanging Great Wall (Y 10 with ‘student’ ID): A very interesting part of a Ming-dynasty section of the wall that’s cheap to see. – Getting There: ~Y 20 taxi ride from the fort • Jiuquan: A nearby town known for its oil and rockets, has many nice parks to visit. Some are free and others can cost up to Y 30 foreigners. The town is a nice place to walk around and fairly clean. Stop at a local beer garden in the evening for a drink or shao kao – Getting There: Take a taxi from Jiayouguan (Y 7/person). Taxis must be green and white. The other taxis in Jiayuguan/Jiuquan are used for getting around locally. You can also take the bus, but it is less inconvenient

Dunhuang • Why: Sand dunes, World Heritage site, grottoes and Buddhist art • Getting Dunhuang • Why: Sand dunes, World Heritage site, grottoes and Buddhist art • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, or anywhere along the train line in Gansu province • Hotel: Feitian Binguan (Y 20 -30) - cheap, clean, and roomy dorms • Time: 1. 5 -2 days • This tourist town can be expensive, especially during peak season. Be prepared to spend some money and drink lots of water • Mogao Caves, et al (Y 100): Despite the caves being rotated and more caves closing every year, the site itself is pretty impressive. It’s impossible to take pictures unless you sneak a pocket camera and don’t use a flash. It’s recommended bringing a flashlight – If you want to see more caves, prices are Y 100 -500 extra

Dunhuang – Getting There: Take a minibus (Y 10/way) from Mingshan Lu (Feitian Binguan), Dunhuang – Getting There: Take a minibus (Y 10/way) from Mingshan Lu (Feitian Binguan), 8: 30 AM. Buses leave at noon. If you want more time, hire a taxi for half a day (~Y 70) • Western Thousand Buddha Caves (Y 20 with ‘student’ ID): Not as impressive as Mogao Caves, but it’s virtually empty of tourists. Taxi (Y 60/roundtrip) is easiest way to get there • Crescent Moon Spring/Singing Sand Dunes (Y 80): Massive dunes that fantastic views of the desert and lush pond below. Great place to come to during the evening for cooler weather and breathtaking sunset – Getting There: Minibus 3 (Y 1), 20 -30 minute bike ride, or taxi (Y 10/way) – Once there, expect to spend at least Y 100. This is a good place to take your own meal. There are many other things to do like riding the sand dunes (Y 10) or riding camels (Y 60) • Other Things To Do: Walk about town, eat western food, visit the White Horse Pagoda

Xi’an • Why: China’s first ancient capital, home of countless warriors, great preserved city Xi’an • Why: China’s first ancient capital, home of countless warriors, great preserved city walls, Muslim quarter, silk market, Asia’s largest fountain, one of five Taoist holy mountains • Getting There: Via train from any major city • Hotel: Bell Tower IYH (Y 30) – spotlessly clean rooms with hot showers in a great central location. Decent in-house food • Time: 3 -4 days • Getting Around: Most things are within walking distance • Things To Do: – Army of Terracotta Warriors (Y 45 with ‘student’ ID) – some people love it, some don’t. It’s a must see if you’re in China and it’s recommended to go there not during nat’l holiday – City Walls (Y 40) - impressive structure that provides a nice 14 K walk or tandem bike ride – Muslim Quarter – superb shopping, delicious food, and a vibrant atmosphere make this a must see place. The Great Mosque (Y 12) can be tricky to find – Bell & Drum Towers (Y 30/combined) – wonderful views of Xi’an and can even take a whack at the drum – Forest of Stelae Museum (Y 30) – Confucius temple housing many tablets, scriptures, and holds the record for world’s heaviest museum

Xi’an – Big Goose Pagoda (Y 25, plus Y 10 with ‘student’ ID to Xi’an – Big Goose Pagoda (Y 25, plus Y 10 with ‘student’ ID to climb) – full of temples and relaxing, with good views a top the pagoda. At 9 PM, see Asia’s largest light and water fountain show. From the South Gate, take bus 609 – Temple of the Eight Immortals (Y 3) – Taoist temple that is less visited and empty in the morning. Take Bus 502 from the South Gate – Qin Jin Tang Silk Factory – it’s a tourist trap along the way to see the warriors, but if you want guaranteed high quality silk, shipping to America, and the use of a credit card, this factory is worth a visit – Hua Shan (Y 100) – highlight for many, there a variety of ways to ascend this mountain and can be done at a variety times. Hua Shan does have accommodations on top, so take your pick, especially if you want to see an early sunrise • Pack your own food and water, there’s not much food wise while climbing, and the higher up you go, the more expensive things get • Can be reached via private bus (Y 25 from train station), train (Y 31), or hire a taxi. Bus and train won’t take you directly to Hua Shan village. Taxis should be Y 10 -15 depending where you’re coming from

Ningxia • Why: Hui minority in a more undisturbed, environment, non-Han dynasty tombs, to Ningxia • Why: Hui minority in a more undisturbed, environment, non-Han dynasty tombs, to see a location not many Westerners or Chinese visit, if you’ve already seen many of the highlights in China • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, or Lanzhou to Yinchuan • Hotel: E’erfuosi Dajiudian (Y 55/dbl) - near the bus station and cheapest rooms in town. You should be able to bargain down the prices around 25% • Time: 5 days • Things To Do: – Take a walk - amble around the Drum Tower, Old Town, Nanguan Mosque markets, Ningxia Provincial Museum (Y 12 with ‘student’ ID), and Zhongshan Park, to get a feel for the older part of city – Helan Shan & Western Xia Tombs - entrance fees range from Y 10 -40 depending on ‘student’ ID prices. Western Xia Tombs houses many interesting structures in addition to the tombs. Helan Shan is a great place to get some nice views of the surroundings and go hiking • Easiest way to see it all is hire a taxi for about 200

Ningxia – Bayan Hot - small town in Inner Mongolia that is a nice Ningxia – Bayan Hot - small town in Inner Mongolia that is a nice day trip. Yanfu Si, a small active temple, and Sanguankou section of the Great Wall can be found here • Take a bus from Yinchuan’s long-distance bus station early morning • Zhongwei - laid-back town on the edge of Tengger Desert – Getting There - bus or train from Yinchuan, or train from Lanzhou – Hotel: Xingxiang Binguan (Y 20) - this place is all about being cheap – Gao Temple (Y 20) - a threesome religious temple with a Cultural Revolution bomb shelter beneath the main temple hall • Shapotou (Y 65) - it screams Chinese theme park, but it can be pretty fun with sand dunes and the Yellow River as scenery – Getting There - bus (Y 4) outside Zhongwei long-distance bus station – From camel rides to dune sledding (Y 20), bungy jumping (Y 120) to yangpi fazi rides (Y 60) down the Yellow River, the cheesiness can be riot

Northern Sichuan • Time: Allow 6 -7 days total • Places: Songpan, Huanglong Nat’l Northern Sichuan • Time: Allow 6 -7 days total • Places: Songpan, Huanglong Nat’l Park, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve • Getting There: Chengdu Chadianzi bus station. All buses leave in the morning to Songpan or Jiuzhaigou NOTE: The sun is more intense at higher elevations, sunscreen is highly recommended in this area

Songpan • Why: Horseback riding, camping, beautiful scenery, and a friendly town atmosphere • Songpan • Why: Horseback riding, camping, beautiful scenery, and a friendly town atmosphere • Hotel: Songzhou Jiaotong Binguan (Y 20/person) - attached to bus station. Convenient and simple - community showers with tepid showers. There are many other options nearby • Happy Trails Horse Trek: – Contact: Rick Chen - 0837 -7231064 – Hot Springs and Ice Mountain (2 or 3 days respectively, Y 250 -450) are the two most popular treks. If you don’t want to travel in a big group, opt for a different route – Wear old warm clothes. You will get dirty and it is very cold in the mornings and evenings (stars are spectacular!), even in summer – Pack light! Bring lots of water, a flashlight, and sunscreen • Other Things To Do: – Emma’s Kitchen - cheap decent Western food and Emma is full of helpful information – Tibetan and Chinese massages – Old town wall, tourist shops, and tea houses

Huanglong Nat’l Park • Why: Beautiful multi-colored calcium deposit pools and streams amidst pine Huanglong Nat’l Park • Why: Beautiful multi-colored calcium deposit pools and streams amidst pine covered mountains • Getting There: Easy from Songpan, there’s a direct morning bus that will drop you off about ten minutes before the park opens. Get the earliest bus available • Getting Back: More tricky – Public bus directly back to town is unreliable – You can hire taxi, but it’s expensive – Or, outside the park entrance to the right are parked tour buses. Tell the drivers you want to get back to Songpan and a bus will take you most of the way. From there, outside the bus station, along the road are private mianbao taxis to catch. Otherwise, you can go to Jiuzhaigou, but there’s no place to store your belongings while in the park • Entrance Fee: Y 150 with ‘student’ ID • Time: Half a day. Get there when the park first opens, it will be virtually empty. After 11 AM, the park becomes extremely crowded and hard to walk in • Bring your own snacks, there are few food stalls

Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve • Why: Hero, a clean, natural Chinese environment, stunningly blue waters Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve • Why: Hero, a clean, natural Chinese environment, stunningly blue waters and beautiful waterfalls • To/From: Chengdu or Songpan. Take earliest bus from Songpan • Hotel: Jiutong Binguan (Y 30/person) - attached to bus station. Hotels are expensive and are booked quickly. Short 10 -15 minute walk to the park. Showers aren’t the best • Entrance Fee: Y 170/2 days with ‘student’ ID. Highly recommend purchasing a park bus ticket (Y 90/day). Don’t sneak on the buses, most people get caught • Time: 1 -2 Days. Can be done in one day with a bus pass • Arrive at the park when it opens and take the bus to the top right side of the park. This part is the most beautiful area • The park is empty in the early morning. Chinese only ride the buses and stop at major points of interest alongside the road • Use plank walkways the entire way down. They are empty, more scenic, and provide many missed views from the road • Bus pass can then be used to go up the left side of the park to Long Lake and other areas • Bring plenty of food and water! • Other Things To Do: Shopping, waterfront restaurants and bars near the hotel

Western Sichuan • Time: Allow 9 -10 days total • Places: Kangding, Luhuo, Ganzi, Western Sichuan • Time: Allow 9 -10 days total • Places: Kangding, Luhuo, Ganzi, Dege • Getting There: Via bus on the Sichuan-Tibet Hwy (these are some of the worst roads in China) from Chengdu’s Xinnanmen bus station. Expect to pay between Y 550 -600/roundtrip on bus fares. Pack snacks and water for this long journey – You can also backtrack to Manigango, to continue northward to Xining, Qinghai NOTE: Bring sunscreen, the sun is much more intense at higher elevations

Kangding (Dardo) • Why: A small town that mixes Western and Tibetan Culture • Kangding (Dardo) • Why: A small town that mixes Western and Tibetan Culture • Getting There: Morning bus from Chengdu’s Xinnanmen Bus Station • Hotel: Chezhan Luguan (Y 20) - next to the bus station. Further in town on a hill is the Black Tent Guesthouse (Gonggashan Lushe Y 20 -30). If it’s full, there’s another hostel behind it, up an alley with nicer accommodations for less (Y 15) • Time: 1. 5 days • Paoma Shan: Makes for a nice morning hike, plus you can go up one side and come down the other, stopping at a lamasery. Bring a ‘student’ ID just in case you decide to enter the tourist temple complex up top (Y 25) • Nanwu Temple: an important governing post to the Potala in its day and provides nice views of the area • Other Things To Do: From the mountain you can see Dorje Dra Gompa and Nanjiao Temple. These are nice to visit and can fill an afternoon. Mugecuo Hu is about 30 km out of town and a taxi must be hired (~Y 175/roundtrip), but it’s nice if you have the extra time

Luhuo • Why: Fun for an afternoon and evening, overnight stay to Dege • Luhuo • Why: Fun for an afternoon and evening, overnight stay to Dege • Getting There: Via morning bus from Kangding • Hotel: If you are a no frills kind of person, stay at the bus station hotel (Y 30/dbl). Grab a room quickly, they’ll be several buses fighting for rooms and the hotel staff is friendly if you attempt a little Chinese • Time: Overnight to/from Dege • Bring a jacket, it can get chilly in the evening at this elevation, or a sudden storm can hit • Things To Do: – Explore the town - there’s a decent size monk and nun population in town (several hundred). The edge of town is nice to stroll about and sometimes there are local events to go to – Walk up to the Monastery - fairly large and active complex with beautiful views over the surroundings – Hike around the hills - it can be a tricky climb, but the hills behind the monastery are peaceful with horse paths to guide you and are on fire with wild flowers of all colors

Ganzi • Why: Full of temples and monks to explore, picture perfect • To/From: Ganzi • Why: Full of temples and monks to explore, picture perfect • To/From: Buy a ticket to Ganzi from Dege when returning back to Kangding. Buses leave for Kangding early morning - 6: 30 AM • Hotel: Jinmaoniu Jiudian (Y 30) - rooms aren’t the best, but it has the cheapest dorms. If you’re looking for a single, check out Chengxin Binguan (Y 60) - nicer rooms • Time: 1. 5 days • Things To Do: – Walk around the countryside and soak in the fresh air and vibrant environment – Visit with locals and talk with monks – Ganzi Temple (Y 15) - shimmering golden roofs and the region’s largest monastery (over 500 monks) – Visit local lamaseries via taxi (~Y 20) - Beri Gompa, Dagei Gompa, and Hadhi Nunnery • NOTE: On your way to Dege, passing through Manigango, you will pass a glacier and go through Chola Mountain Pass. It’s over 20 K ft above sea level and there is a good chance you will experience altitude sickness for a short period

Dege (Derge) • Why: Ancient Buddhist scriptures, Tibetan atmosphere • Getting There: Continued bus Dege (Derge) • Why: Ancient Buddhist scriptures, Tibetan atmosphere • Getting There: Continued bus ride from Kangding-Luhuo. Trip takes two days overall from Kangding • Hotel: The easiest hotel to find and one of the cleanest is at the bus station. A 3 -person room is 60 kuai. Public bathrooms and showers that you must pay for. • Time: 1. 5 days • Things To Do: – Bakong Scripture Printing Lamasery (Y 25): Chambers house up to 70% of all Tibetan scripture. Prints can be bought here (Y 535), and the printing and binding procedures can be watched through a guided tour – Buy souvenirs - Dege has some of the coolest around. Across from the lamasery local carve out wooden blocks for printing. Pieces can be bargained for – Get lost exploring the town on the hill side while enjoying the fabulous weather. Homes and monasteries form endless passage ways leading to hidden temples and new sites – Have tea with local Tibetans in their brightly colored homes, or walk with monks while having a conversation with them on their way to class

Chengdu and vicinity • Time: 7 -9 days • Places: Chengdu, Emei Shan, Leshan, Chengdu and vicinity • Time: 7 -9 days • Places: Chengdu, Emei Shan, Leshan, Zigong • Getting: If you can’t figure this one out, you shouldn’t be a PCV in China

Chengdu • Why: A fun and modern city, passing through point, because you’re at Chengdu • Why: A fun and modern city, passing through point, because you’re at IST, PST, or PC office for medical reasons • Hotel: Traffic Hotel (Y 30) - directly behind Xinnanmen bus station and facilities are very nice. Take bus No 55 from the train station • Time: 3 days or spare time from trainings • Things To Do: – Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (Y 30) - walkways with red and giant pandas to gawk at throughout the park. Try to go on a cooler day and in the morning when the pandas are more active • Getting There: It’s a pain getting there unless you know the bus system and then take a taxi. It’s a lot easier going through a hostel for Y 50 (including entrance fee) • Time: Half-day – People’s Park (Y 2) - nearby Tianfu Square is a wonderful place to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy a cup of tea at Remin Teahouse. The park is full of people exercising, playing games, and people feeding koi

Chengdu – Tianfu Square - one of the better city squares at night and Chengdu – Tianfu Square - one of the better city squares at night and you get to see one of the largest statues of Chairman Mao in China – Antique Market - Qingshiqiao Market and Songxinqiao Yishucheng are both fun bazaars to shop and bargain at – Monastery of Divine Light (Y 5) - old temple complex filled with unique Buddhist statues and paintings. Music can be heard at certain times of day • Getting There: Bus to monastery near the train station, or pile into a taxi (Y 30) • Time: Half-day – Duijiangyan Irrigation Project (Y 60) - an engineering feat done during the 3 rd century BC, that allowed a river to be controlled and land to be irrigated • Getting There: Via bus from Chadianzi bus station • Time: Half-day – You’ve lived here during PST, if you can’t figure where to get food and Western commodities, you’re on your own

Emei Shan • Why: One four holy Buddhist mountains, temples, lush scenery and streams, Emei Shan • Why: One four holy Buddhist mountains, temples, lush scenery and streams, breathtaking views, monkeys, to say you’ve climbed the stair-master from hell • Getting There: Morning bus from Xinnanmen bus station in Chengdu. Take a taxi from Emei town to Baoguo village (Y 20) • Hotel: Teddy Bear Hotel (Y 20 -30) - the owner is extremely nice and the facilities are very nice. If you choose to stay in Baoguo, this is the place • Time: 2. 5 -3 days • Emei Shan can be done year round and is fabulous at any time. Certain seasons though provide a better sunrise viewing opportunity • Cable cars (use them when available, they’ll save time and there’s not much to see during these parts) and buses can be taken at any time • Stop to look at the temples along the way, each has their own personality. The farther you can hike the first day, the more likely you will see a sunrise, if it is present • You will see many monks and lamas doing pilgrimages • Watch out for the monkeys! They can be vicious since tourists feed them. Hide any flashy objects from them

Emei Shan • This area is beautiful during daylight hours. Be prepared for snow. Emei Shan • This area is beautiful during daylight hours. Be prepared for snow. Pack cool and warm clothes, a flashlight, lots of water, and a book • Recommended Trek: – Take a bus from Baoguo bus station to Jingshui (Y 40). From there, hop on the cable car (Y 40) and pay the entrance fee (Y 60 with ‘student’ ID) – Hike up to Jieyin Hall (20. 5 km) and buy a roundtrip cable ride (Y 50) to Golden Summit Temple where you can spend the night (Y 15 -40). Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise – Alternatively, stay the night at Elephant Bathing Pool (Y 20) and wake up extremely early (3: 30 AM) to hike to the top to enjoy the sunrise – On the way down, use the 99 switchbacks towards Yuxian Temple. The hike down is gorgeous. Be careful! The steps are very slick and steep – Spend the night at Venerable Trees Terrace (Y 20 -30), or better yet Pure Sound Pavillion (Y 15 -20), with its lovely sounding streams to put you asleep – The next day you can either hike to Wuxiangang to catch a bus back into town, or hike all the way back to Baoguo

Leshan • Why: The world’s biggest sitting Buddha, fun pathways, temples, and grottoes to Leshan • Why: The world’s biggest sitting Buddha, fun pathways, temples, and grottoes to explore • Getting There: Take an early morning bus from Xinnanmen bus station in Chengdu • Time: Day trip • Entrance Fee: Y 35 with ‘student’ ID • Once at the bus station in Leshan, hop bus No 3 to Dafo Temple • Make sure you see some other things besides the Grand Buddha. The grounds are very nice as well • Get there early so you don’t waste all you time standing in line to see the gargantuan statue • Pack plenty of water for the day • You can also pay Y 50 to ride past the Buddha in a boat if you are short on time • Other Things To Do: See temples in town (see your guidebook for details) and go window shopping. The town has tons of little shops everywhere

Zigong • Why: Home of dinosaur fossils and more • Getting There: Take a Zigong • Why: Home of dinosaur fossils and more • Getting There: Take a bus from Chengdu. To get to the center of town, take bus No 1 • Hotel: Do not stay near the bus station, it is too far away to do anything conveniently. Any hotel in the downtown area is fine. Pick something you can live with (Y 60 -150). Also expect to be hassled when you get off of the bus • Time: 1 -2 days • Things To Do: – Dinosaur Museum (Y 30): A neat museum with plenty to see inside and out. Look everywhere carefully or you will miss something • Getting There: Take buses No 3 or 35 and ride it to the end of the line (~40 minutes). The building is a giant dinosaur – Xinhai Drilling Well (Y 20): Coming back from the museum, this is a worthwhile stop as the process of making salt can be seen. At first it looks like there is not much there, but if you keep going along, the whole ordeal can be seen • Getting There: Take either bus No 3 or 35 back and get off when you see a giant, old well – Guild Hall - the structure is full of interesting architecture – Wangye Miao temple, now a teahouse up the hill from the Shawan Hotel, is a relaxing place to unwind – Take a walk up and down the river front in the evening

Guizhou • Time: Allow 9 -11 days total • Places: Kaili, Xijiang, Zhaoxing, Chishui, Guizhou • Time: Allow 9 -11 days total • Places: Kaili, Xijiang, Zhaoxing, Chishui, Anshun • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, or Chongqing to Guiyang

Kaili and village hopping • Why: Fun and quiet town, stopover on the way Kaili and village hopping • Why: Fun and quiet town, stopover on the way to minority villages, Miao and Dong minorities • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu or Chongqing, or bus/train from Guiyang • Hotel: Shiyou Binguan (Y 26) - not the best by any means, but it’s the cheapest in town. Book ahead, it fills quickly • Time: 1 -1. 5 days • Things To Do: – Walk around town - there’s plenty to see at the local markets, in the new district, and a small mountain to climb in town – Food - food is different in the south, so explore the street vendor food and markets strewn about Kaili • NOTE: Bus rides to minority villages may cause motion sickness, so bring medicine if this is a problem, and reap the reward of these two cultures • Xijiang - the largest Miao population is located here and is a great place to observe their daily lives – To/From: Bus station across from Kaili College. Buses usually leave around 12 -2 PM. Morning buses from Xijiang return daily – Hotel: A place is located directly across the performance platform for relatively cheap and watch performances a top the roof. Alternatively, you can stay with family for Y 40 (including a meal)

Kaili and village hopping – – Time: 1 -1. 5 days Food is limited Kaili and village hopping – – Time: 1 -1. 5 days Food is limited and served only during certain hours, be flexible There is no bank in town, so have enough cash on-hand Things To Do: Watch performances, souvenir shops, stroll around town, enjoy a sunrise hike among paddies, and relax! • Zhaoxing - small town where Dong minority culture can be seen, surrounded by spectacular structures – Getting There: Bus from Kaili to Congjiang (8 hrs). If this is not available, take a bus to Rongjiang, to catch a bus to Congjiang. Most likely you’ll have to spend the night in Congjiang and grab a morning bus. Take your pick from any cheap Chinese hotel. The following morning, get on a Zhaoxing bound bus. Not all buses go directly to the village, so you may have to do a 45 minute hike (extremely hot during summer) or try to find a taxi along the way – Hotel: Wood Guesthouse (Y 30) or take your pick from any other cheap stay in town – Time: 3 -4 days (including travel time) – There is no bank in town, so have enough cash on-hand – Things To Do: Enjoy cultural performances, check out the local bar scene, pick up more great souvenirs, and most important, some R&R

Chishui • Why: Very chill atmosphere, almost zero tourists, light on the wallet overall Chishui • Why: Very chill atmosphere, almost zero tourists, light on the wallet overall • Getting There: Via bus from Guiyang. Buses are also available if coming from Zigong, Sichuan • Hotel: Being no foreigners, you’re only option is a local Chinese hotel. For nice accommodations, ask a tour group where they are staying or have a taxi take you • Time: 2 -3 days • Things To Do: – Shizhangdong Falls (Y 60 with ‘student’ ID) – this waterfall is not as quite as big as the one in Anshun, but has a lot less tourists • Getting There: Not easy, but the main bus station can take you there. Buses leave early morning or late afternoon. Ask ahead of time when buses will leave. Make sure to find out when the bus will return, or you may be stuck overnight. • Sidonggou (Y 30) – this pristine location sports four waterfalls, lovely scenery, and great walking paths the entire way • Getting There: Local taxis around the bus station fill up with passengers and leave for the location – Promenade along the water front and stop along to have teas, juices, and other local beverages – Explore the few nice parks in town

Anshun • Why: Beautiful waterfall and scenery, massive caves • Getting There: Via train Anshun • Why: Beautiful waterfall and scenery, massive caves • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu or Chongqing, or bus/train from Guiyang • Hotel: Ruofei Hotel (Y 40) or Anju Binguan(Y 20) - prices keep going up in both places, so don’t be surprised if you pay more • Time: 2 -3 days • Things To Do: – Huangguoshu Falls (Y 135) - Thundering falls with billowing mist that provides a wonderful view to take in. There are lots of Chinse tourists • Getting There: Buses leave from the long-distance bus station in Anshun – Longgong Caves (Y 120) - cheesy music and colorful lights accompany the boat ride through the caves • Getting There: Via bus from Anshun’s west bus station – Zhijin Cave (Y 120) - biggest cave in China that rivals Mammoth Cave, and is covered in calcium deposits • Getting There: Bus from Anshun’s north station. Then hop on a rickshaw to the second bus station in town for a transfer bus to the cave (Y 3) • Other Things To Do: In town, check out Xixiu Mountain Pagoda and Heavenly Star Bridge District

Chongqing • Why: Hotpot, rivaling Buddhist grottoes, the Three Gorges Damn, passing through point Chongqing • Why: Hotpot, rivaling Buddhist grottoes, the Three Gorges Damn, passing through point for a cruise • Getting There: Via train from any major city in China • Hotel: Perfect Time IYH (Y 30) • Time: 4 -5 days • Dazu Grottoes: – Treasured Summit Hill (Y 80) - grottoes were designed to fit in with the scenery between 1179 -1249 with a 1000 arm Avalokiteshvara – North Hill (Y 60) - location of most of the grottoes and statues – Getting There: Day trip from the long-distance bus station. Grab an early bus. At Dazu, either walk or Y 5 minibus depending on the site • Three Gorges/Yangzi River Boat Ride: – Do your research beforehand for itineraries and prices online or from a guidebook (www. cqpits. com. cn) – Typical trip is 3 -4 days, and best during off-season for a Chongqing-Yichang – Second class cabins can be booked for around Y 500 or less – Make sure you know what the total price includes since the tours stop along at sites of interest

Fenghuang, Hunan • Why: River town exploding with personality and uniqueness, Miao and Tujia Fenghuang, Hunan • Why: River town exploding with personality and uniqueness, Miao and Tujia minorities, few western tourists • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Chongqing, or Guiyang. From Huaihua, frequent buses can be caught to Fenghuang’s Minsuyuan bus station • Hotel: Fenghuang (Phoenix) IYH (Y 15 -20) - next to Tuo River, across from the action in the center of town • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Wander - there alleys, shops, temples, and old buildings galore to explore for free – Through Ticket (~Y 100) - covers a good chunk of the sites to see in town – Southern Great Wall (Y 45) - runt of the family, but still pretty cool nonetheless • Getting There: Bus from the west station (old town) in town – Huangsi Bridge Old Town - similar to Fenghuang, but smaller • Getting There: Bus from the west station (old town) in town

Kunming • Why: Big city with a chill atmosphere, base camp location to traverse Kunming • Why: Big city with a chill atmosphere, base camp location to traverse around Yunnan, get lost in the Stone Forest, pirated camping gear, and good food • Getting There/Around: By train via Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, or Guiyang. Most local sites are within walking distance • Hotel: The Hump (Y 25) – very clean, great downtown location, and easy access to transport hubs. Great environment and offers all basic services, including ticket booking • Time: 3 days • Things To Do: – Pirated Camping Gear – much higher quality copied outdoor clothing and equipment than many other places in China. You can bargain down with some work – Food – lots of local treats, so try to stray away from your normal dishes. Check out the chocolate youtiao and guoqiao mixian. If you’re craving western food, look for Donna's Donuts and Salvador's Coffee Shop – Some of the better places to visit tend to be outside of Kunming proper. Take your pick from any guidebook or online and hop on a bus at the station • Stone Forest (Y 100 with ‘student’ ID) – spend a day trip on hours exploring stone trails that create a giant labyrinth to get lost in. Get off the main trail for best spots and some solitude – Getting There: Kunming long-distance bus station near train station (Y 30 -40)

Northern Yunnan • Time: Allow 9 -10 days total • Places: Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Northern Yunnan • Time: Allow 9 -10 days total • Places: Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Zhongdian (Shangri-La) • Getting There: Starting from Kunming, take a bus north. Coming back, either fly out of Zhongdian or Lijiang, or take an overnight bus back to Kunming NOTE: Bring warmer clothing during the winter, it gets cold at night. Days are usually fine

Dali • Why: An ancient town nestled between snowcapped mountains, a scenic park with Dali • Why: An ancient town nestled between snowcapped mountains, a scenic park with three infamous pagodas that symbolize Dali, wonderful vistas of a tranquil lake, Bai minority • Getting There: Bus from Kunming • Hotel: MCA Guesthouse (Y 20) – located outside the South Gate, extremely friendly staff, quiet location, and clean environment. Dbl/Triple rooms are a bit more, but are superb • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Three Pagodas (Y 62 with ‘student’ ID) – take time to roam around the park for a nice half day well spent. There are great temples and views everywhere. If you want the LPG perfect water reflection shot, go to Chongshen Si closeby – Dali Old City Wall (Y 2) – for decent views of the city and landscape, walk along the wall – Zhonghe Temple (Y 15 with ‘student’ ID) – it’s cheap if you choose to hike up. Affords fantastic views of Erhai Hu and its surrounding vistas along the pathway – Bai Minority Tea – 3 -course tea that offers a relaxing and enjoyable cultural experience (Cafe Bamboo – on Renmin Lu)

Lijiang • Why: Meander about small corridors in the Old Town, enjoy pristine mirrored Lijiang • Why: Meander about small corridors in the Old Town, enjoy pristine mirrored views while hiking around the grounds, rambunctious ‘pirate’-like nightlife, Naxi minority, what you imagined China to be • Getting There: Via bus from either Dali or Kunming • Hotel: Mama’s Naxi Guesthouse (Y 15) – family-run guesthouse in Old Town that literally makes you feel like one of the clan. Mama offers an 8 -dish dinner (Y 10) and fabulous breakfast (Y 5). Luggage storage and taxi service for Tiger Leaping Gorge (Y 20/person/way) • Time: 2 -3 days • Must buy an Y 80 ticket to enter into any attraction around or in Lijiang, excluding Old Town, on top of any entrance fees • Things To Do: – Shopping – great Naxi buys left and right. Bargaining is key and everything is handmade – Old Town – stone streets surrounded with traditional Naxi festivities, lined with red lanterns, lined with small canals, and where most shopping will be done. Main drag can be touristy – wander off! – Mu Family (Y 20 with ‘student’ ID) – pricey to get into, but the complex is worth the entrance fee for its gardens – Black Dragon Pool – stunning scenery in every direction around the lake and Yulong Xueshang as the backdrop – Frescoes (Y 30) – in Baisha beautifully painted frescoes dating back to the 15 th and 16 th centuries can be seen – Jade Peak Monastery (Y 10 with ‘student’ ID) - camellia shrub trunks crafted for almost 600 years – overlooks the countryside

Tiger Leaping Gorge • Why: One of the deepest gorges in the world, go Tiger Leaping Gorge • Why: One of the deepest gorges in the world, go ridge hiking along one of China’s best trails, to see it before the gov’t gets its hands on it for hydroelectric power • To/From: Lijiang to Qiaotou – Y 15 bus passing through to Shangri-La. Tina’s GH IYH to Qiaotou – Y 15 private car/bus. Daju to Lijiang – Y 20 passing through to Lijiang. OR, Mama’s Naxi Guest House can arrange one-way for Y 20 • Hotel: Bendiwan Village – Halfway Lodge (Y 20) is a nice place if ending at Tina’s. Walnut Garden – Sean’s Spring Guesthouse, Chateau de Woody, or any other local guesthouse around this spot (~Y 15/dorm) • Time: 1. 5 -2 days • Jane’s GH provides good hand-drawn maps of the hike and good food prior to starting the hike • Wear shoes with better support and grip as the trail can become washed out or slippery • Depending on the season you are hiking the gorge, dress appropriately, it still can get cool in the summer due to the elevation • Bring and drink plenty of water • If you’re feeling really adventurous, trails and roads can even lead you as far as Shangri-La

Zhongdian (Shangri-La) • Why: The name alone says enough, entry way into Chomdo region Zhongdian (Shangri-La) • Why: The name alone says enough, entry way into Chomdo region of Tibet, to see some Tibetan culture in Yunnan, good exploring and hiking around the countryside • Getting There: Bus from Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, or Qiaotou • Hotel: Diqing Tibetan Area IYH (Y 20) – has bathrooms and internet. It gets cold at night – space heaters are for rent (Y 20) • Getting Around: Most things to see are outside the town and will require a taxi or private car • Time: 2 -3 days • Bring warmer clothing, it’s cool or cold year round • Winter is much colder, but is more likely to be void of tourists • Things To Do: – Ganden Sumtseling Gompa (Y 30) – largest active monastery in Yunnan with wonderful views over the town. Take Bus 3 along Changzheng Lu to get there – Explore what’s in town, it’s small enough to view little parks, temples, etc. all near Old Town – Emerald Pagoda Lake (Y 60) – beautiful lake with hiking, horseback riding, and boating opportunities. Can take a bus pass the entrances to the lake, but getting back via taxi is expensive (~Y 300)

Southern Yunnan • Places: Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Xishuangbanna • Time: Allow 9 -11 days Southern Yunnan • Places: Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Xishuangbanna • Time: Allow 9 -11 days total • Getting There: Day or overnight bus from Kunming NOTE: The sun is more intense, sunscreen is highly recommended in this area

Yuanyang Rice Terraces • Why: Amazing sunrises and sunsets over rice covered terraces, lazily Yuanyang Rice Terraces • Why: Amazing sunrises and sunsets over rice covered terraces, lazily wander about markets and villages • Getting There: Morning or overnight bus from Kunming • Hotel: Yuanyang Chenjia Fangshe (Y 20) - family run, simple, great views, and cheap • Getting Around: Best way to get around is via Pedi cab. You can either cram in with Chinese tourists or find your own group of people to charter a minibus. Chartering may be better if you want to go at your own pace, but it’s easier doing the latter • Time: 2 days • Things To Do: – Rice Terrraces - logistically it’s best to view a sunrise from Duoyishu, and sunsets at either Bada or Laohuzui. Terraces are stunning year round – Stroll in local villages and markets between terrace viewpoints

Jinghong • Why: To see palm trees and feel warm, hiking in jungles, biking Jinghong • Why: To see palm trees and feel warm, hiking in jungles, biking through villages, minorities, a laidback vibe • Getting There: Kunming - 9 hr sleeper bus. Yuanyang - more tricky. Easiest is to go back to Kunming and catch a sleeper bus. For bumpy roads, spectacular scenery, and a challenge, catch buses in this route, Yuanyang - Luchun - Jiangcheng (stay in hotel attached to station - Y 10) - Jinghong • Hotel: Banna College Hotel (Y 15) - cheapest, some staff speak English, and bike rental is available. However, it’s out of the way from things • Time: 3 -4 days • Things To Do: – Tropical Flower & Plants Garden (Y 20 with ‘student’ ID) fantastic gardens packed with all kinds of plant life – Blind Massage School (Y 40) - hour long massages – Rent a bicycle (Y 20) - the charm of this area comes from tossing away the LPG and exploring minority villages via bike. If you have time, consider spending the night at a local village – Sanchahe Nature Reserve - plenty of places to hike for a halfday trip. You can also see elephants for Y 40, but some say it’s a ‘hit or miss’. Catch an early morning bus to Simao (Y 12). Buses return at 2: 30 PM (Y 10)

Menghan (Ganlanba) • Why: To get away from the hustle of Jinghong, Dai minorities Menghan (Ganlanba) • Why: To get away from the hustle of Jinghong, Dai minorities • Getting There: Microbus from Jinghong’s No 2 bus station, or make a day trip by bicycle • Hotel: Dai home (Y 20 w/o meals). It’s worth the experience • Time: 1 -1. 5 days • Dai Minority Park (Y 50 with ‘student’ ID) unfortunately you have to pay to see this part of town, but you can then partake in water-splashing shows and enjoy the local architecture

Xishuangbanna Trekking • Why: Because you love the outdoors and hiking, to see a Xishuangbanna Trekking • Why: Because you love the outdoors and hiking, to see a different aspect of China by walking, to soak in the sun, great experiences shared with local minorities • Getting There: Via bus, depending on where you are going. If doing the LPG Damenlong-Bulangshan hike, grab the earliest bus to Damenlong from Jinghong No 2 bus station • Hotel: Minority family homes, unless you choose to use an outfit to plan a trip. Including a night’s rest and meals, expect to pay around Y 50 for three people • Time: 3 days • Trekking is changing as more roads are being built. The Damenlong-Bulangshan excursion is non-existent, but there are plenty of other treks west of Xiding • There are other hikes to do, but you will need to do some research, feel adventurous, and be flexible if planning your own trip. The experience and the hitches that come with planning, is worth the memories alone • In Jinghong, the LPG gives great recommendations of places to check out info at: Mei Café and Mekong Café. Also, check out Forest Café (Sara - 6918985122) for info and trek tours (website: www. forest-cafe. org) as a starting point • Don’t flash your money and expensive items around

Hainan • Why: To get away from the cold, lay on nice beaches using Hainan • Why: To get away from the cold, lay on nice beaches using RMB, hairy fat Russians, jungle hiking, minorities • Getting There: Flying can be expensive, even with a discount. Your best bet is via train from any major city to Guangzhou. From there, a once-a-day boat can be taken to Haikou. Or, take a sleeper bus to Hai’an from Guangzhou’s long-distance bus station, and then catch a ferry • Time: 5 -7 days • Haikou - provincial capital of Hainan which is a passing through point – Hotel: Haikou Banana IYH (Y 35) - the price is right since the whole island is more expensive. Book ahead of time, especially during holiday seasons – Haikou Park - wonderful park to people and activity watch. Go early morning or late afternoon when the heat is less strong • Sanya - if the beach is what you’re craving in China, this is the place to come to – Getting There: From Haikou, go to the south bus station and hop on a 3 hr bus to Sanya

Hainan – Hotel: Sanya Lama Temple IYH (Y 50) - good location, many services Hainan – Hotel: Sanya Lama Temple IYH (Y 50) - good location, many services available, and cheap. Book ahead of time, places fill quickly – Dadonghai - main beach and the more affordable one. Yanlong Bay is also very nice and less crowded, but is covered with ritzy hotels that PCVs can’t afford – Food - lots of local dishes, Russian cuisine, and seafood to choose to from, but seafood can be more expensive – Jianfengling Nature Reserve (Y 40) - peaceful jungle and some nice areas to hike about • Getting There: Long-distance bus station to Basuo. Since we can’t ride a motorcycle, you’ll have to look for a minibus (Y 1) – Wuzhishan (Tongshi) - delightful area to go hiking up Wuzhi Shan, and exploring in Li and Miao minority villages • Getting There: Via bus from Sanya’s long-distance bus station • Hotel: Jinyuan Dajiudian (Y 100/dble) - cheapest place in town and low season you can bargain

Guilin (Yangshuo) • Why: The 20 RMB note, one of two most visited places Guilin (Yangshuo) • Why: The 20 RMB note, one of two most visited places by Chinese, some of the most beautiful topography you’ll ever see, the ‘love’ tree, swimming in a mud pool • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, Chongqing, or Guiyang. May be cheaper to fly if coming from Lanzhou. From Guilin, buses leave both from the main bus station and the train station to Yangshuo • Hotel: Guilin - Guilin Flowers YH (Y 30) - cheap and location is the name of the game for this place if passing through. Yangshuo this is backpacker central and cheap places can be found everywhere for as low as Y 25 on Xi Jie. May want to reserve online or via phone during the summer season • Time: 3 days • Things To Do: – Wander! - the town itself has a ton of fun things to meander about. There are countless shops to bargain for souvenirs all along Xi Jie. Yangshuo Park is a pleasant place to relax at. Fun spins on western cuisine (including a killer margarita pizza and fantastic vegetarian cuisine) can be found down any side street off of Xi Jie. Beer fish is a local specialty and tastes

Guilin (Yangshuo) – Rent a bicycle - Yangshuo countryside is a spectacular place to Guilin (Yangshuo) – Rent a bicycle - Yangshuo countryside is a spectacular place to explore. Bike rentals start from Y 10 and make sure it is okay before taking off on an excursion down a warn dirt path along rice fields and past small villages – Yueliang Shan (Y 9) - Moon hill is a good climb and hike to the peak, and will give you the best views of the landscape around. It’s a nice morning hike since it does get warm later in the day • Getting to the mountain is a causal bike ride – Big Banyan Tree - see what the locals call the ‘love’ tree, a 1500 -year-old banyan tree the size of a football field • Makes for a nice trip after lunch via bicycle – Water Cave (Y 70, or bargain cheaper) - popular with foreigners and a blast to explore - it’s pretty safe, don’t worry. Bring your bathing suit, for there is a mud hill and pond to play and get dirty in • Bike is cheapest, but taxi may be easier – River trek - whether by bike along a river or raft on a river, it’s worth looking into both. Ask your hotel for tours and info • Bring water! Local women will sell water fairly cheap, but make sure the cap is sealed since some try to reuse bottles

Southern Treaty Ports • Time: Allow 6 -7 days total • Places: Guangzhou, Macau, Southern Treaty Ports • Time: Allow 6 -7 days total • Places: Guangzhou, Macau, Hong Kong • Getting There: Via train from Chengdu, Xi’an, Guiyang, Chongqing, or Lanzhou to Guangzhou. If time is a problem, flying is highly recommended. It’s usually cheaper traveling to Guangzhou than directly to Macau or Hong Kong

Guangzhou • Why: Cheaper and easier getting to Macau and Hong Kong from here, Guangzhou • Why: Cheaper and easier getting to Macau and Hong Kong from here, local dishes, fun bars and clubs • To/From: Train or plane from any major city. From airport (subway currently not finished yet), take bus to the China Hotel • Hotel: Guangzhou YH (Y 50) - Shamian Island. It’s an expensive town and doesn’t get much cheaper than this. Clean larger dorm rooms with hot showers, free internet, and AC. Location is extremely relaxing with coffee shops nearby • Time: 1 -2 days • Getting Around: Subway is great and cheap! Local buses work well and the city is easy to walk around with a map • Things To Do: – Shamian Island - colonial architecture of old consulate offices – Xingping Market & Shang Jiulu - local food/markets to one of the nicest neon lit walking-shopping streets in China – Yuexiu Park (Y 5) - Big park to walk around, see monuments, and people watch – Any temple/church in the LPG (Y 5 -10/ticket) - Great way to kill time, and see local religions (first Muslim mission in China) – Clubs and Bars - some of Guangzhou’s hippest near the Guangzhou Holiday Inn

Macau • Why: Portuguese architecture and food, World’s tallest commercial bungee jump, casinos that Macau • Why: Portuguese architecture and food, World’s tallest commercial bungee jump, casinos that rival Las Vegas • Getting There: Guangzhou - buses leave from China Hotel (Y 60) to the Macau customs building. Hong Kong - high speed ferry (HK 125 Kowloon ferry pier) to Macau Ferry Terminal • Hotel: San Va Hospedaria (MOP 70) - single rooms are very small and have no windows, but the price and location are both great, along with having hot showers • Time: 2 days • Things To Do (everything is within walking distance): – Architecture - see the old government buildings, churches, etc! It’s a scenic change from the rest of China – Food - unique tastes to this city only. Lots of locally run desert and coffee shops to relax in – Gambling - compare the casino life to that of Las Vegas – Macau Tower - take a ride up to the observation deck (MOP 70) or take a dive on a bungee cord (MOP 888) – Guia Hill - nice walk up and around the hill (with a great running path) and views of the city – Monte Fort & Macau Museum - learn about the local history and enjoy the backdrop of Macau

Hong Kong • Why: Big city with one of the world’s best lit up Hong Kong • Why: Big city with one of the world’s best lit up skylines, food, shopping, you won’t find a cleaner city in China! • Getting There: Guangzhou - east train station to Hung Hom in Kowloon using HCR East Rail (HK 190). Macau - high speed ferry (MOP 125) to Kowloon pier • Hotel: Take your pick of the countless run hostels in either the Chungking or Mirador Mansion blocks in Kowloon. These are the cheapest in town and you may want to research online to book a place - they fill up quickly • Time: 3 days • Getting Around: Between the subway system and ferry boats, Hong Kong is one of the easiest cities to navigate • Hong Kong Island: – Victoria Peak - hop on a tram for great views of the city, have some fun at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, or stroll among the various gardens and walking trails around the peak – Man Mo Temple - interior décor and aroma is intoxicating with the entire ceiling covered with large incense coils – Victoria Harbor - take a ferry tour (or get on any ferry) of the harbor after dusk and enjoy the light show

Hong Kong • Kowloon: – Food - great Indian cuisine, specialty bread shops, coffee Hong Kong • Kowloon: – Food - great Indian cuisine, specialty bread shops, coffee houses, and just about anything else you crave can be found along Nathan Rd – Shopping - tailored clothing by Indians, expensive retail, electronics. Everything can be found here, including things not sold in the states – Kowloon Park - It’s free and is a nice place to walk around and relax. If you happen to have a bathing suit, they have a very nice pool complex (< HK 20) – Bars and clubs - soccer bars, pubs, and posh lounges. They’re a dime a dozen and worth every penny – Harbor view - at night till 10 PM, behind the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, is one of the world’s best night skylines • Lantau: – Tian Tan Buddha Statue - it’s big and cool to see. Around the statue area is the Lantau Trail with some nice paths to hike on, including the biggest peak in the Hong Kong area – Po Lin - nothing great, but the monastery is next to the statue – To/From: Pier 6 from Hong Kong Island, both a slow ferry or high speed are available. Get on the No 2 bus to the monastery

Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou • Time: Allow 6 -7 days total • Places: The Bund, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou • Time: Allow 6 -7 days total • Places: The Bund, the French Concession, Shanghai city, West Lake and area, Suzhou gardens • Getting There: By train from any major city in China

Shanghai • Why: A paradox to communist China with its glistening skyscrapers, great views Shanghai • Why: A paradox to communist China with its glistening skyscrapers, great views at night from the Bund, Shanghai Museum, architecture and art, bars and clubs • Getting There: By train from any major city • Hotel: Captain Hostel (Y 60) - great location on The Bund with fantastic views from the rooftop bar. Very clean dorms, lockers in room, ticket booking, internet (Y 20/hr), front desk holds extra luggage for Y 1/bag. One of the cheaper places to stay considering everything is really expensive in Shanghai. Another alternative, Shanghai City Central Int’l Hostel (Y 50/dorm), has similar facilities and cheaper internet (Y 10/hr), but is not in a central location like the Captain Hostel • Time: 3 -4 days • Getting Around: Subway system is great, along with walking and an occasional city bus. Keep Y 1 coins handy, subway ticket machines often run out of change for bills • Things To Do: – The Bund - stroll along the riverfront night (lights till 11 PM) or day to soak in the atmosphere of either the neoclassical architecture or lit up skyscrapers of Pudong

Shanghai – Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar - just south of the Bund in Old Shanghai – Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar - just south of the Bund in Old Town are beautiful gardens and cheesy shopping to be done. Good place to grab a bite to eat and observe Chinese tourism at one of its worst – Jinmao Tower - take a lift up to the bar, and for a little bit more money versus the observation deck, enjoy a nice drink with your view. Cheapest and easiest way to get across is via subway – French Concession • walk down side streets to see a hodgepodge of building styles, including Sun Yatsen’s home. • Try some trendy and healthy western cuisines at Xintiandi after stopping to see where the 1 st National Congress of the CCP met (Y 3) • Walk through Fuxing Park (which has bars/clubs on its back side) on your way to visit the Tiakang Lu Art Centre and the many boutiques (jewelry, art, trinkets, etc) that surround this alley • Huangpi Nanlu is the best subway stop to get off of if starting at Xintiandi area

Shanghai – Nanjing Donglu - a gigantic walking-shopping street with lots of places to Shanghai – Nanjing Donglu - a gigantic walking-shopping street with lots of places to window shop at. It also connects the Bund and Remin Park/Square areas – Remin Park/Square - free & relaxing with skyscrapers as a backdrop – Shanghai Museum (Y 20) - one of the best museums In all of China, containing rooms full of Chinese cultural relics – Jade Buddha Temple (Y 20) - touristy but well kept. There is a good, cheap vegetarian restaurant on the premises. • Watch a master artist do his specialty landscapes - it’s a little more expensive than other places, but all donations go to a Buddhist orphanage • See coy fish that are over 100 years old • It’s a good 20 min. walk from the closest subway station – Longhua Pagoda/Temple (Y 10) - less visited and empty, but the vibe is nice in such a high pace city. This temple is also a good 20 min. walk from the nearest subway station – Bars & Clubs - they’re expensive but fun. Check out the Cotton Club for jazz, or Zapato’s for ladies night

Hangzhou • Why: Of the many ‘West Lakes’, this is the famous West Lake, Hangzhou • Why: Of the many ‘West Lakes’, this is the famous West Lake, beautiful manicured gardens, lawns, and walkways, one of two most visited places by Chinese • Getting There: From Shanghai, any major bus station (~Y 60). Recommend taking the earliest bus available and tickets can be bought 1 -2 days in advance. A train ticket can be bought but the times are much more limited. Hangzhou can be reached directly via train, but it is probably easier to use Shanghai as a base getting to/from Hangzhou • Hotel: Hangzhou IYH (Y 30/dorm) - great location on the lake at the right price. Bicycles can be rented here which is a nice way to travel around the lake • Time: 2 days • Getting Around: Take either the No 2 or K 7 bus to get to the lake, from there a taxi can be gotten easily around the north part of West Lake to get to the hostel (or you can walk) • Bring plenty of snacks and water to save money, food stalls and restaurants can be pricey • Bring a book! This is a great place to relax anywhere

Hangzhou West Lake – Use the boats on the NW part of the lake Hangzhou West Lake – Use the boats on the NW part of the lake to island hop on the lake (~Y 35) – Stroll along both Sudi and Baidi Causeways, and enjoy a nice sunset – Red Carp Pond and Liulang Weng Park (Both Y 5 -10) for a fair share of fish and willows • Botanical Gardens – It’s pretty big and a nice way to spend a couple hours – No K 7 bus ought to get you near the park. Get on the bus near the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei • Lingyin Temple – Very touristy but the halls are gigantic and impressive – There are some grottoes and paths to walk around to get away from the crowds – Unfortunately, you must buy a ticket to get into Lingyin Park (Y 30) just to see the temple (Y 20), but the park is pleasant with its caves, ledges, and foliage – No K 7 bus will get you to/from the temple. Get on near the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei •

Suzhou • Why: Zen-like gardens that are World Heritage Sites and what Suzhou is Suzhou • Why: Zen-like gardens that are World Heritage Sites and what Suzhou is known for best, to see the ‘Venice’ of China • Getting There: From Shanghai, any major bus station (Y 30 -50). Recommend taking the earliest bus available since some places close earlier. Tickets can be bought 1 -2 days in advance • Time: Day trip from Shanghai • Getting Around: Walking can be much quicker due to certain parts of town having horrendous traffic. However, it’s a long day of walking since the parks are far apart • Entrance Fees: Range from Y 30 -70 • Things To Do: – Gardens - a must see, and each is unique and complex in its use of space. Highest recommended seem to be Garden of the Master of the Nets and Garden for Lingering In – Visit the canals throughout the city - a nice area is at the intersections of Changxu Lu, Fengqiao Lu, and Dong Zhongshi – North Temple Pagoda (Y 10) - near the train and bus stations. Tallest pagoda south of the Yangzi River with great views • Bring a book! Relax at the gardens or the canals • Bring snacks and water. Food can be bought fairly cheap at local shops around town

Shandong • Time: Allow 5 -6 days total • Places: Tai’an/Tai Shan, Qingdao, Qufu Shandong • Time: Allow 5 -6 days total • Places: Tai’an/Tai Shan, Qingdao, Qufu • Getting There: From any major city in China, take a train to Ji’nan, the capital of Shandong, and hop a hard seat or bus to your location

Tai’an • Why: See where the world was created according to Chinese legend, scale Tai’an • Why: See where the world was created according to Chinese legend, scale the mountain all new emperors of China climbed to solidify their rule, visit an impressive Taoist complex in its original state • Getting There: Direct train from Shanghai. Train or bus from Ji’nan. Train arrives around dawn from Shanghai. Extra luggage can be left at the station check-in for cheap • Time: 1. 5 -2 days • Dai Temple (Y 20): – Upon arriving, take a taxi (< Y 10) to the temple - opens at 7: 30 AM. It’s empty and peaceful during this time – Temple complex has numerous large courtyards and buildings covered in moss, stone scriptures and cypress trees everywhere, and a massive hall not renovated in typical ‘new’ fashion, with peeling frescos inside. All this with the back drop of Tai Shan. It is one of the best Taoist complexes in all of China

Tai Shan • Tai Shan – Entrance Fee: Y 50 with ‘student’ ID – Tai Shan • Tai Shan – Entrance Fee: Y 50 with ‘student’ ID – From Dai Temple, it is a straight walk up hill to the entrance – Drink lots of water! You’ll need it and will sweat a lot in the summer heat. Bargain for water with the vendors, it adds up and they try to rip you off – Scenic climb with Taoist temples dotted up the entire climb up – Hotel: Shenxiu Gong Hotel (Y 30) - half-way up the mountain at the Midway Gate to Heaven and by far the cheapest place to stay on Tai Shan and in Tai’an. Food can be bought fairly cheap here – Taoist monks love talking, shaking hands, and giving hugs to foreigners climbing the mountain – Take the time to explore on top of Tai Shan (near the top, the steps are steep!), there’s a lot to see. A decent sunrise/sunset can be seen a top the summit

Qingdao • Why: See where Beijing summer vacationers go, enjoy the ocean breezes and Qingdao • Why: See where Beijing summer vacationers go, enjoy the ocean breezes and sunrises/sunsets, Tsing Tao beer festival and brewery, German architecture • Getting There: Direct train from any major city in China. In town train station ought to be reopened before the Olympics. If it isn’t finished, you’ll have to take a taxi into town from the temporary station • Hotel: Any Ma & Pa home-run hostel (Y 40 single/dbl) anywhere along or around Mengyin Lu • Time: 2 -3 days • Things To Do: – No 6 Bathing Beach - there are other beaches, but the atmosphere is nice and is nearby many hostels. If you bring a bathing suit, you can go for a dip. The Zhan Qiao pier and Huilin Pavilion are pleasant to stroll along – German Architecture - everywhere the German influence can be seen. Whether it’s old hotels, consulate offices, homes, or churches, the scenery is dubbed the ‘Switzerland’ of China:

Qingdao • St Michael’s Catholic Church (~Y 10) - it’s big and a top Qingdao • St Michael’s Catholic Church (~Y 10) - it’s big and a top a hill, you can’t miss it • Protestant Church (~Y 10) - nice views of the bay and an interesting clock tower to view from inside • Qingdao Ying Binguan (Y 15) - see where Mao Zedong stayed and why the opulence of it got a governor fired. Can be tricky to find – China Naval Museum (Y 15) - explore the naval history of China, real life planes, tanks, ships, and missiles China used. Area may be reopened for the Olympics, but you can also go aboard ships and submarines to explore – Lighthouse (Y 15) - next to the museum is the bridge to walk to the lighthouse on Xiao Qingdao – Tsing Tao - If you come during August, you can enjoy the Tsing Tao beer festival. Beer is super cheap - large plastic bag, Y 2 -3; large pitcher near the beach, Y 10. If you want to learn more about the history of the beer on premises, take a tour of the brewery (Y 30)

Qufu • Why: To see the birthday place of Confucius, where the inspiration of Qufu • Why: To see the birthday place of Confucius, where the inspiration of Taoism began, see feng shui at its best while soaking in the aura • Getting There: Train or bus from Ji’nan • Hotel: Qufu IYH (Y 30) - conveniently located dorm rooms in the center of town, near the Yan Temple. Other local hostels can also be found down the road from Y 20 -40 • Time: 1 day • Entrance Fees: Range from Y 30 -60 • Confucius Temple, Mansions, Forest: Too much to write. Enjoy the distinct designs and simplicity of Taoist complexes, which are unique and different from Buddhist temples • Yan Temple (Y 10): Often overlooked but worth a trip, especially for the price for this small compound

Beijing • Why: For obvious reasons • Getting There: By train in any major Beijing • Why: For obvious reasons • Getting There: By train in any major city. The walk stinks to the nearest subway stop, or you can hop on a city bus which will take you on a roundabout way to a subway stop • Hotel: There’s a host of hostels to choose from any guide book or online, most starting from Y 45. All have basic services, including ticket booking • Getting Around: Many locations can be reached by subway, the bus system is also pretty good. The city is set up in a NS-EW grid system around the Forbidden City, so it’s easy to navigate • Time: 5 -6 days • Don’t cram too much in, the city can be done at an easier pace in 5 days, or 6 if you choose • Pack your own water and snacks when possible, it’ll save you a lot of money • Restaurant food isn’t anything great or distinct compared to western China, and Beijing Duck is extremely expensive • Street or hutong food is great and cheap, keep your eyes open

Beijing • Day 1 (take your pick): – Tiananmen Square - it’s a cement Beijing • Day 1 (take your pick): – Tiananmen Square - it’s a cement block and not beautiful, but impressive for its shear size. The Front Gate, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, and Monument to the People’s Heroes (all free) are within the great square – Great Hall of the People (Y 15 with ‘student’ ID) - see where the ‘elected’ NCP convenes. West side of Tiananmen Square – China National Museum (Y 30) - was under renovation, but ought to be reopened before the Olympics. East side of Tiananmen Square – Hutong - see the ‘real’ Beijing on the back side of Tiananmen Square either walking or hire a rickshaw for a tour - they’re quickly disappearing, and ones reappearing for tourist ones, not the real thing – Imperial Archives - can’t go inside but you can see the building where important documents were kept. Within the complex are a few art galleries to walk about. Off of Nanchizi Dajie – China Art Gallery (Y 5) - concept of modern art is more conservative in Beijing, but it’s cheap to get into and new displays are often rotated in

Beijing • Day 2: – Forbidden City (Y 60) - arrive when the complex Beijing • Day 2: – Forbidden City (Y 60) - arrive when the complex opens to get ahead of the mobs of Chinese tourists. On your way in, you’ll see the Gate of Heavenly Peace with an enormous picture of Chairman Mao on its facade – Lama Temple (Y 25) - after the Forbidden City, take the subway to Yonghegong station. The temple compound is very touristy, but the detail and ornate ness of it is impressive – Confucius Temple & Imperial College (Y 5 with ‘student’ ID) much more simple, but it’s nearby and is worth a quick trip – Instead of taking a taxi or bus, mosey over to Behai Park. Walk south towards Dongzhimennei Dajie, and head west (turn right) till you hit the Bell and Drum Towers. Near the towers you can walk south along Qianhai Lake. Eventually you’ll get to the north entrance of Behai Park – Behai Park (Y 10) - the park is great to walk around sunset. The White Dagoba can be seen from the Forbidden City, and is impressive to see up close. Xitian Fanjing and Nine Dragon Screen are both worth stopping to see in the park

Beijing • Day 3: – The Great Wall - there are many parts to Beijing • Day 3: – The Great Wall - there are many parts to go and see, but if you’re looking for less Chinese tourists and souvenir stalls, along with a nice hike on un-restored sections (however, this could change any day), it’s a worthwhile journey from Jinshanling to Simatai – Bring lots of water and snacks; wear shoes with support – Porter women will follow you part way with water & trinkets. Once you show any inclination of them, they’ll want you to buy something - you can bargain big time – Jinshanling (Y 40), Simatai (Y 20 with ‘student ID) - you’ll have to purchase the ticket en-route on the walk – Dongzhimen long-distance bus station - bus 980 (Y 10) to Miyun. From there, hop on a mini-bus or private taxi (~Y 20/person) – Once arriving at Simatai, you’ll see a zip-line (~Y 40) to get down the hill or you can walk. You’ll have to bargain to get back to Miyun with a taxi (~Y 25 -30/person), and then hop onto bus 980 (Y 10) to get back into Beijing

Beijing • Day 4: – Summer Palace (Y 50) – where emperors retired to Beijing • Day 4: – Summer Palace (Y 50) – where emperors retired to from the Forbidden City heat. The whole complex is impressive and one can easily spend a whole day here. Make an effort to walk along the causeway – it’s copied from West Lake the walk around Kunming Lake is very nice – Getting There – can be tricky if you don’t want to pay for a taxi. Take the subway to Xizhimen station. Around this intersection, local buses can be taken there. Don’t be afraid to ask a local which bus will get you there – Try to arrive at the palace close to opening time, many tourists come to this place – Brings lots of water and snacks – both are expensive inside the park – Bring a book, there are many shaded, more empty/private areas to sit and relax along the causeway and Xi Lake – Old Summer Palace (Y 10/15) – time permitting, it’s worth making a trip to these overgrown gardens and European ruins (which is the nicer part). There are two ticket sections, and buses 331/801 will go to the palace from the Summer Palace

Beijing • Day 5: – Temple of Heaven Park (Y 25 with ‘student’ ID) Beijing • Day 5: – Temple of Heaven Park (Y 25 with ‘student’ ID) – a very lively park with expansive lawns and bold colored temples. It is easy to find personal space here. Try to arrive earlier morning, there are many fun watching and participatory activities to do • Tiantandongmen subway stop ought to be open by the Olympics, if not, hop on a bus heading south from Chongwenmen stop – White Cloud Temple (Y 10) – large Taoist temple complex with countless courtyards to wander about. Extremely peaceful and quite • You’ll have to walk from either Nanlishilu or Muxidi subway stops to get there – Markets – Pearl Market (near Temple of Heaven Park) or Silk Street (Yonganli subway stop) both have tons of fun, rowdy bargaining opportunities for any souvenir one may want from China - suitcases can be bought to carry all the junk purchased • Just north of the Silk Market is where many embassies are located if you want to take a stroll in that area • Good vendor food can also be found behind the Silk Market

Beijing • Day 6: – If you want to experience anything else for one Beijing • Day 6: – If you want to experience anything else for one more day, take this day to do things you couldn’t do on this sample itinerary, or whatever you find or fancy from a guidebook or the internet • If you have a free evening, take the time to see a Beijing Opera, or an Acrobatics & Martial Arts show. They can be kind of pricey, but it’s something to do if you aren’t too tired from all the walking. Take your pick from any guidebook or the internet

PCV Travel Pictures • Stephen Kushner (Gansu 12) – http: //www. flickr. com/photos/spkushner/ • PCV Travel Pictures • Stephen Kushner (Gansu 12) – http: //www. flickr. com/photos/spkushner/ • Danielle Rinke (Gansu 12) – http: //picasaweb. google. com/danielle. rinke • Matt Scranton (Chongqing 12) – http: //www. flickr. com/photos/mwscranton/ • John and Erin Townsend (Gansu 12) – http: //www. flickr. com/photos/johnanderin/ • Kari Hatfield (Gansu 12) – http: //www. flickr. com/photos/[email protected] 00/ • Kristen Rush (Gansu 12) – http: //www. flickr. com/photos/china-travels/ NOTE: Firefox (recommended) or a proxy is needed to view photos on Flickr. To view photos on Flickr using Firefox, download and install the following link: – https: //addons. mozilla. org/en-US/firefox/addon/4286