Budget Travel Ideas in China

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Although China is increasingly becoming a First World country with its rising economy and living standards, China budget travel is very much a reality and, in some ways, the country is even cheaper than some of its Asian neighbors. 

Money Matters

Traveler's cheques tend to give you a better rate of exchange than withdrawing money from ATMs using your VISA or Cirrus cards, although certain currencies such as Russian roubles cannot be exchanged for Chinese yuan. It's always safe to have a store of U.S. dollars on your person in case you run into trouble.

Food, Drink and Accommodations

Food is relatively cheap in China, especially if you avail yourself to the delicious street food such as noodles and local beers. Accommodations can be misleading - don't be put off by the fancy facades of luxury-looking hotel complexes - they usually also contain pretty cheap dorms for shoestring travelers, thus making China budget travel feasible vis a vis accommodations. Alternatively, there is a growing number of serviced apartments especially in the big cities like Shanghai which are essentially cheaper and usually better-maintained than hotels.

Transport Issues

Train travel in China can be cheap if you know a few tricks. Because the train reservation system is so complex, you'll often find that many tickets for sleeper seats go unsold and you can only get them if you pay for a lower-class seat, get onto the train and then upgrade. This only works for 2nd class sleeper seats because 1st class ones are usually almost as expensive as a flight ticket so hardly worth the bother.

Given the strict rules and weeks of bureaucratic sorting-out, it's not worth trying to drive yourself around China by car. This would not be a good option to take if you are insistent upon China budget travel.

Things to Do

While the costs of exhibitions and monument and museum entrance fees are rather high, there are plenty of attractions that are free or at least very cheap. A must-see is Victoria Park in Hong Kong where you can enjoy a pleasant stroll and see truly panoramic vistas of the city. At night these views become particularly spectacular, especially as you look over the greener areas of Hong Kong to the west. Among all the China budget travel things to do, Victoria Park is incredibly worthwhile.

April 12, 2010 new by revjugular

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