Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

China - The Internet Travel Guide (FAQ) (part 2/3)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Houses ]
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: Text/Plain; charset=US-ASCII

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Archive-name: travel/china-guide/part2
Posting-Frequency: quarterly

CHINA - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

China is a superb tourist destination with a rich history and an
enormous number of sights. Home to numerous different ethnic groups,
it offers a cultural variety that is not found elsewhere. China's
major cities Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Guangzhou are all worth a
trip alone.

Check out these exciting China tour packages at
or plan your own China trip at

But China is not only a giant of tourism, it is in the middle of an
economic boom that makes China one of the leading nations in the

 Chang Cheng (Great Wall)
 Chang Jiang (Yangtse)
 Dong Guan
 Forbidden City
 Guangzhou (Canton)
 Haikou (Hainan Island)
 Huang Shan
 Shaolin Monastery

General Information
 Border Crossing
 Geographical Information
 Internet Access


CHINA - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2005, Peter M. Geiser



New series by Peter M. Geiser and Sibylle Dussy, with many photos:

"Classics", FAQ of

Hotel guides



For books, please have a look at the online version at



Shanghai is the new rising star in the East. It is a gigantic bustling
city with a lot of cunning entrepreneurs. Being the largest city in
China, it hosts over 16 million inhabitants. It's famous Nanjing Lu is
the best known shopping street in China.

The center is dominated by colonial buildings, culminating in 'The
Bund'. Shaghai is in the process of rebuilding itself. More than
15. million construction workers help to shape the city into one of
the world's most modern cities with dozens of the latest-fasion
high-rise glass and steel buidings of the same internationality found
all over the world.

To glimpse an excellent view into Shanghai's history, read


The Old City
The old part of the city was the Chinese part during the occupation
and during the daytime is transformed into a market selling everything
that a tourist might want to buy. Recently, it has been renovated.

Yu Yuan
The Yu Yuan is probably the most beautiful and certainly the most
famous of all the gardens in China. Address: 132 Anren Street in the
heart of the old Chinese city. Opening hours: 8:30 - 17:00. In front
of it is the famous tea house in the middle of a small, artificial

The Bund
The Bund is the beautiful waterfront dominated by the huge buildings
of the banks and former trading houses. Get a view of it in the
evening when it is beautifully lighted and the river front bustles
with live.

Nanjing Lu
This is the street where all the posh shops of Shanghai are. The road
starts right at the bund, and runs on to the People's Park.

Peace Hotel
The Peace Hotel is at the beginning (or the end) of Nanjing Lu,
right at the bund. You ask which side of the road? Well, on both sides
of course ;-) The Peace Hotel is easily distinguishable by its tower
with the pyramidal roof. Since the beginning of the century, it is the
most distinguished place to be. During World War II, the partying
continued, even when Shanghai was under siege. The Westerners did not
believe that something could ever happen to them. This all changed,
when a bomb was dropped on the hotel, whether by a Japanese or a
Chinese plane was never really clear.
During Communist times, the Peace Hotel remained the place for
distinguisehed guests. When the stock market reopened in 1990, trading
took place in one of its rooms. Probably the most famous feature of
the Peace Hotel is its Jazz-Band playing in the beautiful
English-style bar. Some of the band members have been playing for more
than 60 years and have even witnessed the Japanese invasion.

Jade Buddha Temple
There are two reasons to visit this temple: its two white Buddha
figures, and the active community of monks. There are two while Buddha
figures, a small reclining one, and a large, 19 meters high, complete
with robes and precious stones, and imported from Burma. During the
Cultural Revolution, a clever abbot saved the temple by hanging
pictures of Mao a the bolted gates. In order to enter, the Red Guards
would have had to tear down the pictures, a political crime that would
have been punished by death. Interestingly enough, except in the Jade
Buddha's room, photography is permitted. There is a vegetarian
restaurant. Address: 170 Anyuan Road, Opening Hours: 8:00 - 12:00 and
13:00 - 17:00.

People's Park
The People's Park started its carreer as the race course, before horse
races were considered bourgeois. While the park itself is not exactly
nice, you'll meet literally dozens of people wanting to practice their
language skills on you at the English Corner.

The Red Dream Mansion
Located in the suburb of Shanghai, it is a theme park for the
classical novel "The Red Dream Mansion". Characters, scenes, and
buildings from the book are on display.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Former Residence
The founder of the Repoublic of China lived with his wife in Shanghai
from 1918 to 1924. In his home he has not only written many works that
establish him as the father of modern China, but has initiated the
first co-operation betwenn the Chinese Communist Party and the
Guomindang. His house has been kept as it was and has been turned into
a museum. It is open from 9:30 - 11:00 and 14:00 - 16:30. Address: 7
Xiangshan Road.

Yangpu Bridge and Nanpu Bridge
Only recently finished, they are the world's fourth longest and
largest cable-stayed suspension bridges. Both of them have sidewalks
and elevators for sightseers. Opening hours: Yangpu Bridge: 8:30 - 18:30,
Nanpu Bridge: Jun - Sep: 8:30 - 22:00, Oct - May: 8:30 - 18:30.

Pamela Yatsko describes the renaissance of Shanghai and its incredible
change over the last few years.


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 average  C   3.5  4.9  8.2 13.7 18.6 23.4 28.0 27.6 23.5 17.8 12.5  6.5
          F  38.3 40.8 46.8 56.7 65.5 74.1 82.4 81.7 74.3 64.0 54.5 43.7

 min      C  -9.4 -7.9 -5.4  1.1  7.0 12.5 19.4 19.6 12.5  1.7 -3.8 -6.2
          F  15.1 17.8 22.3 34.0 44.6 54.5 66.9 67.3 54.5 35.1 25.2 20.8

 max      C  19.8 22.9 27.6 31.7 33.1 36.9 38.3 38.9 37.3 29.3 28.0 23.3
          F  67.6 73.2 81.7 89.1 91.6 98.4  101  102 99.1 84.7 82.4 73.9

 Rain    mm    44   63   81  111  129  157  142  116  146   47   54   39
         in   1.7  2.5  3.2  4.4  5.1  6.2  5.6  4.6  5.7  1.8  2.1  1.5
 Rainy days     9   11   13   13   15   14   12   10   12    8    8    8


On 1 October 1999, fitting for the 50th birthday of the People's
Republic of China, the new PuDong airport went operational. It is
located about 45 km East of the city center. It has a 4000 x 60 m
runway. The old airport, the Hongqiao Airport is about 6 km West of

Traffic in Shanghai is one enormous nightmare! Traffic jams are
frequent, so reserve enough time to go to some place.

There are two kinds of Taxis. The smaller version is not
air-conditioned, and has anti-robbery partitions. The larger, more
comfortables have air-conditioning. Prices range from USD 0.15-0.20
per kilometer. It definitely helps if you know where you want to go
and can give the driver directions (use a map!)

A taxi from the Hongqiao airport to Nanjinglu or the Bund costs about
USD 5 (if you take a red mini-cab instead of a Volkswagen Sedan.)


There are many shopping facilities in Shanghai, and the selection of
available goods is nearly the same as that of any international city.
Nanjing Lu, China's best known (and arguably most worthwile) shopping
street cuts from East to West through Shanghai and offers everything
imagineable. Many bookstores can be found parallel to Nanjing Lu, in
Fuzhou Lu.

If you are more into kitsch and souveniers, you definitely have to go
into the old city, near Yu Yuan. Well worth a visit and often good for
a bargain are the numerous department stores, and for more expensive
products, there are also shopping centers, operated by international
companies like Carrefour or Makro. However, the best place to buy the
best and freshest food, or just to satisfy your curiosity, one should
definitely visit the street markets.

Reserve your hotel online at


A good place to look for restaurants is in the small streets just
north of Wusong River. Another place is Hankou Lu, just north of the
Park Hotel.

Generally recommended is the 50 Hankou Road Bar and Restaurant. It
serves neoclassical continatal cuisine in a very unique ambience.

Seafood is famous in Shanghai, so don't miss it. Try Fortuna Seafood
Restaurant at 3F 111 Tian Mu Xi Lu, East China Hotel. Tel 6317 5999.

The largest aquarium at Shanghai is to be seen at the Forum Palace
Seafood Restaurant at 4F 188 Huai Hai Zhong Lu. Tel 6382 608,
Fax 6358 5377.

To sample Dim Sum, have a look at Fu Lin Xuan Restaurant at 37 Si Nan
Lu. Tel 6358 3699, 6372 1777.

Hot Pot is served in Meiqi Restaurant at 210 Wu Lu Mu Qi Zhong Lu.
Tel 6433 5985.

A real Chinese restaurant where you even have to order in Chinese
(well, you could just point out the most beautiful characters) is the
Lulu Restaurant at 69 Shi Men Lu. Tel 6258 5645.

The Gap (Ground Floor, Jing Ming Building, 8 Zun Yi Nan Lu, Hongqiao,
Tel 6278 2900, 6278 0248, 6278 0249) and the Gap II (127 Mao Ming Nan
Lu, Tel 6433 9028) serve good Chinese food in nice surroundings. They
feature live music on weekends.

The first Indian restaurant in Shanghai, the Tandoor Restaurant serves
authentic traditional Indian food. Adr: Jin Jiang Hotel, 59 Mao Ming
Nan Lu. Tel 6258 2582-9301, 6472 5494.

Favored by many foreign student of Fudan University is Mister Pizza at
260 Zheng Tong Lu. Tel 6549 2381.

One of the best Italian restaurants (two in fact) with decent prices
is the Pasta Fresca da Salvatore. There are two outlets, one at 115
Chang Shu Lu, Tel 6248 1705 and the other in the Hongqiao Friendship
Shopping Center at No. 6 Zunyi Nan Lu, Tel 6270 4693.

The Jurassic Pub features a Tepanaki grill. It also has a good bar.
Address: 8 Mao Min Nan Lu. Tel 6258 3758.

Germans might prefer Ch Euro's which serves German dishes. There are
many special events. Inquire. Location: 1800 (S2) Zhng Shan Lu.
Tel 6439 6010, Fax 6439 6285.

The small, but nice Red Rhino is a French-style bistro, serving both,
French and Chinese dishes. Adr: 1354 Yan'an Zhong Lu, Tel 6217 4021.

For authentic Mexican snacks and decor, have a look at Ay Caramba, at
280 Cao Xi (N) Lu. Tel 6438 6700 ext 503.

Another Mexican restaurant is the inexpensive Badlands, at 939 Yanan
Zhong Lu. Tel 6273 9334.

The Viva Elpopo also serves Mexican food. Adr: 12, Lane 19. Gubel New

An American Restaurant specializing in spare ribs is the Tony Roma's
in the Shanghai Center at 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu.

Of course there is also a Hard Rock Cafe in Shanghai. It serves dinner
until 10 pm. There is also a bar and a disco. Address: Shanghai Center
Retail Plaza, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu.

Bars and Pubs

The most famous place is the Old-Time Jazz Bar of the Peace Hotel,
where the same band still plays after many decades! This place should
not be missed.

My favorite place is Sally's at 4 Xiang Shan Lu. The former English
pub is now more of an American bar. You can play darts and pool and in
the basement a life band is playing and there is a small dance
floor. Drinks are not exactly cheap though, a small beer sells for
CNY 35 and a large one for CNY 80. Tel 6327 1859.

One of the first international bars, opened in 1994, is Malone's
American Cafe at 257 Tong Ren Lu. It is very popular. Tel 6247 2400.

For good live music go to Blues and Jazz at 44A Si Nan Lu.
Tel 6327 2474, Fax 6358 9735. Open every Friday and Saturday night
from 9:30 pm.

The O'Malley's Irish Pub at 42 Tao Jiang Lu is typical Irish with a
beer garden and daily live music. Rob, who runs the show, formerly
operated Shanghai Sally's. Tel 6437 0667.

Judy's Too, at 176 Mao Ming Nan Lu is a colonial style restaurant with
music and dance on weekends.

The Long Bar in the Shanghai Center is very American. A good place to
start the evening, it features live Jazz music every Sunday afternoon.
1276 Nanjing Xi Lu.

Rick's Cafe at 2F Yan An Xi Lu also serves curry dishes. Tel 6283 2638.

The Manhatten Bar, at 231 Hua Shan Lu. is preferred by some to be
visited before the Sunday Brunch in the Hilton...

Tequila Mama, 24A Rui Jin Road, Tel 6433 5086.

Penthouse Bar, top floor of Shanghai Hilton, Tel 6255 0000.

Cotton Club, corner of Huaihai Lu and Fuxing Lu.

There are several breweries in Shanghai that have their own restaurant
and bar where you can taste their own fresh brew.

The newest and most authentic is the Paulaner Brauhaus at 150 Fenyang
Lu. It has three floors, with the upper two being galleries where you
can look down onto the stage where a Phillippine band is performing.
There is a small dance floor. The beer is brewed in traditional German
style by a German brewmaster. It also serves German food and for a
snack you should try the Bretzel. Tel 6474 5700.

The Shanghai Bavaria Brauhaus Co. Ltd. is at No. 66-68 Xinhau Lu.
Tel 6280 2364.

The Babylon Fresh Beer City at 168-172 Yuyuan Lu also serves food and
has a disco.


The most trendy disco in Shanghai is the New York Disco at 140 Hu Qiu
Lu. Entrance is CNY 35 during the week and CNY 70 on weekends, when a
drink is included. Tel 6321 6097.

Another trendy disco is the L. A. Cafe at 5F, 188 Huai Hai (M) Lu.
Tel 6358 097, Fax 6358 5377.

Time Disco, 550 Huai Hai Zhong Lu, Tel 6327 5566, Fax 6327 9205.

Ying Yang, Basement, 125 Nanchang Lu, Tel 6431 2668.

A late night place (after midnight) is D.D's Club at 298 Xing Fu Lu.
Tel 6280 8670.



The Shaolin monastery is said to have been the home of monks that
developed the Shaolin Kung Fu. Nowadays it is one of the big tourist
attractions with Chinese spurred on by recent movies set in this

Nowadays, there is a school for martial arts in the surrounding
buildings. When I was there, I was astonished at the huge number of
classes full of eager students learning martial arts. There must be
several hundreds, if not thousands, at any one time.

The easiest way to go to this monastery is to use one of the many tour
busses from Zhengzhou.

Reserve your hotel online at



Shenzhen is Chinas boomtown with a growth rate of over 40%. While it
had only 30'000 people a few years ago, it boasts of a population of
over 2 million! It is the fastest changin city in China and the
Chinese have even coined the phrase "Shenzhen Speed" to replace "speed
of lightning"!

The most famous building of Shenzhen is the Diwang Building with about
80 floors. It contains some exclusive shopping arcades.

Reserve your hotel online at


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     13   14   18   22   26   27   28   28   27   24   20   15
        F     55   57   64   71   78   81   83   83   81   75   68   59

 Rain  mm    152  203  254  279  381  508  457  406  330  203  152  127
       in      6    8   10   11   15   20   18   16   13    8    6    5


If you use a taxi, make sure the meter is turned on. If you leave the
town, however, you must negotiate the price.

A taxi to Guangzhou costs about CNY 300 and takes about 2 hours. In
the evening, many taxis from Guangzhou will return home, so you can
bargain quite a bit. These taxis gather on Nanhu Lau, near Jiabin Lu.

There are many coaches between Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Departure is
next to the train station.



Also called 'The Venice of China', this town of 2500 years indeed
resembles its counterpart in Italy. There are many canals laid out in
checkerboard style throughout the city.

Suzhous main attraction are its many beautiful gardens. Some of the
biggest and  best known are: Zhouzheng Yuan (a humble administrator's
garden), Shizilin (Lion's Grove), Changlangting (Surging Wave
Pavilion), Yiyuan (Garden of Harmony), Hanshan Si (Cold Mountain

North Temple
Located in the north of the old part of Suzhou is the North Temple
with its nine story pagoda. There is also a museum of traditional

Silk Factory
Suzhou is famous for its silk production. It is possible to visit a
factory and see how the silk is processed from the silk worm to the
final woven cloth. At the end of the tour you'll be able to buy the
final products in the factory shop. Make sure you check the prices,
they indeed have special prices as announced, but especially high for

Reserve your hotel online at


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     -1    2    8   14   19   25   27   26   19   14    7    1
        F     30   35   47   56   67   77   80   78   66   56   44   33

 Rain  mm     76   76   76  102  152  203  305  254  178  152  102   76
       in      3    3    3    4    6    8   12   10    7    6    4    3



Tianjin is a huge coastal city with a lot of industry. It is located
some two hundred kilometers souht-east of Beijing.

Reserve your hotel online at



Urumqi is a boom town profiting from the railway. There are no big
sights, but the city itself has a unique atmosphere. Apart from the
Han Chinese, Urumqi is also home to the Uygurs.


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C    -15  -12    1   11   19   23   26   24   17    8   -3  -12
        F      5   10   33   51   66   74   78   75   63   47   27   10

 Rain  mm     15    8   13   38   28   38   18   25   15   43   41   10
       in     .6   .3   .5  1.5  1.1  1.5   .7  1.0   .6  1.7  1.6   .4

Reserve your hotel online at



The capital of Hubei province, this city actually composes of three
former cities, Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang, divided by the Chang Jiang
and the Han rivers and linked by the big Yangtse Bridge in 1957.

Sun Yatsen Park (Zhongshan Yuan)
Opened from 5:00 to 19:30, this park offers relaxation as well as
entertainment. There are several small lakes and a public swimming
pool. The small zoo is home to more than 60 rare species, including
the giant panda.

Guiyuan Buddhist Temple
Dating from late Ming, this temple has a large 105-ton Buddha
sculptured of white stone. The Buddha was a gift from Burma in 1935.

Gui Shan (Tortoise Hill)
This hill offers a good view over the Yangtse.

Reserve your hotel online at


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      3    5   10   16   21   26   29   28   24   18   11    6
        F     37   41   50   61   70   80   84   83   75   64   53   42

 Rain  mm    152  152  203  279  305  381  254  203  178  178  152  127
       in      6    6    8   11   12   15   10    8    7    7    6    5



The region of Xian has been inhabited as far back as 6000 years. At
that time the now rather barren plains were much greener and ideally
suited for farming. The first emperor of the unified China, Qin
Shihuang founded the capital of Xianyang, which is a bit west of Xian.
Following the Qin was the Han dynasty that moved the capital further
east, to the plain where Xian now is. In 528 the Sui built the new
capital of Changan that was to ecome the greatest city in the world at
that time, with about 2 million people. It was enclosed by a wall
stretching 8 km north-south, and nearly 10 km east-west.

Nowadays it is only a small part of its former self. As a reminder of
the old importance as a center of commerce with many trading partners
as far west as Persia and the Arabian world, there are still many


Bell Tower
Originally from the 14th century, this huge tower was relocated in
1739. It is possible to go to the top.

Drum Tower
Smaller than the Bell Tower, it is just near the Great Mosque and
marks the entrance to the Muslim quarter.

Great Mosque
One of the largest mosques in China, this building dates back to the
18th century. The mosque is still regularly used, with several prayer
services each day.

City Walls
Built on the remains of the Tang's Forbidden City during the Ming
dynasty, the wall has a total length of 14 km. It is about 12 m high,
and about the same width at the top.

Big Goose Pagoda
A bit south of the city wall is the Big Goose Pagoda. It was built in
652 after the holy monk Xuan Zhang returned from his journey to India
where he fetched the holy scriptures. This journey has found its way
into the great Chine classic 'The Journey to the West'. Xuan Zhang
translated the whole scriptures into 1335 volumes of Chinese text. It
is 64 m high and built out of wood and brick. It is possible to climb
to the top.

Little Goose Pagoda
With 43 m high smaller than it's big brother, the Little Goose Pagoda
is not far away. It was built in 707, also to hold holy scriptures
brought back by another monk. Although its top has been destroyed by
an earthquake in the 16th century, it is still possible to climb to
the top.

Banpo Neolithic Viallage
Discovered in 1953, the remains of a village inhabited at the time of
about 4500 BC to 3750 BC by the earliest settlers in the area are
beautifully displayed with labels in both, Chinese and English.
A trip to this village is often combined with a visit to the
Terracotta Warriors.

Terracotta Warriors
In 1974, some peasants digging a well by chance uncovered one of the
greatest archaeological sites in the world. During his reign (from 247
BC until July 210 BC), Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China built
himself a mausoleum with more than 8000 terracotta warriors guarding
his dead body, not two of them looking the same.
There were two walls around the mausoleum, the inner was 1355 m long
and 850 m wide, with a circumference of 3870 m. Originally a hill of
150 m, the mausoleum itself is now (2200 years after it has been
built) still 50 m high. It covered an area of no less than 350 x 345 m².
There are three main pits with terracotta warriors inside.
Pit 1 is 230 m long and 62 m wide, and is the main battle formation.
Pit 2 is in the shape of an L, 96 long east-west and 84 m long
north-south, making up another battle formation of mixed arms. Pit 3
is U-shaped. It is generally believed that pit 3 is the commando post
for the battle formations of pit 1 and 2.
A fourth pit has been found during June and July 1978. It is shaped in
the fashion of the Chinese character zhong (middle). In December 1980
two bronze chariots with four horses has been found. They are half
life size, with one chariot being 3.17 m long and 1.06 m high. It
weighs 1241 kg and is made of 3462 components, of which 1742 are of
bronze, 988 of silver and 732 of gold, and is beautifully painted. The
horses are 91 and 93 cm tall and 110 to 115 cm long.
There are four main category of figures, chariot warriors, infantry
men, cavalrymen, and horses. There are generals, middle ranking
officers, lower ranking officers, ordinary soldiers and armoured
warriors. The latter can be further divided, according to their
headgear into warriors with a square scarf, a cylindrical bun, a flat
bun and kneeling warriors (crossbowmen). All in all, there are over
130 battle chariots, more than 500 chariot horses and some 116 cavalry
horses. The horses are 2 m long and 1.72 m high.
The entrance fee is exorbitantly high (for Chinese prices), but still
worth it. It is possible to buy small replica of the figures for a
couple of Yuan. Remember to barter.

There are several good articles with beautiful photographs in
magazines of the National Geographic Society, the latest October 1996.
Order your free issue from Magazine Outlet. 
See also the section on Literature.


Many hotels offer tours to the Terracotta Warriors and other sights
around Xian. However, prices differ considerably, as does quality. Ask
if the entrance tickets to the sights are included or not. Also, be
careful if the guide offers to buy tickets for you, since some try to
charge you more than what you would pay at the ticket booth. Of
course, you may be lucky, and the guide buying you Chinese tickets
saves you some money.


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     -1    2    8   14   19   25   27   26   19   14    7    1
        F     30   35   47   56   67   77   80   78   66   56   44   33

 Rain  mm     76   76   76  102  152  203  305  254  178  152  102   76
       in      3    3    3    4    6    8   12   10    7    6    4    3

 days rain     3    5    7    8    8    8   11   11   12    8    6    4

Reserve your hotel online at


One of Xian's specialities are the excellent dumplings. There is a
famous restaurant at Jiefang Road. Or then, of course, you could try
the food stalls located at Dong Shi Er Dao Xiang (the 12th Lane East.)



Reserve your hotel online at



Yangshuo is located some 90 km south of Guilin. It is a small town
located in the midst of one of the world's most stunning
landscapes. Whereas Guilin is a big expensive city, Yangshuo is the
backpacker hangout, with a Western orientation and few rip-offs
(people there know that most travellers know the prices and wouldn't
buy at their place anymore.)

Moon Hill
Some km south of the town is a strange mountain with a big hole right
through its middle. This shape gave it its name, Moon Hill. There is a
footpath to the top, and the view from the top is breathtaking.
When I was there, an old woman was selling drinks. Of course, I was
thirsty. As soon as I had taken the first couple of gulps, I noticed
the sweat pouring out of my pores. I was so occupied by the view that
I simply forgot that I was dehydrating.


 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      9   10   13   19   24   24   28   28   27   22   16   11
        F     49   49   56   66   75   75   83   82   80   72   60   52

 Rain  mm     33   56   97  160  206  193  160  178   84   43   38   38
       in    1.3  2.2  3.8  6.3  8.1  7.6  6.3  7.0  3.3  1.7  1.5  1.5



Zhengzhou is located quite centrally in China. Consequently, most of
China's major railways pass through it.

It is conveniently located for a daytrip to the famous Shaolin Monastery.

Reserve your hotel online at



Local and foreign currency up to the equivalent of USD 5000 may be
imported or exported. It is advised (or sometimes even enforced) to
declare your valuable goods, like cameras, video recorders, money,

Hong Kong

An easy way to cross into China is by way of Hong Kong. There are
several possibilities: by plane, by train, by bus of by boat. There
are four planes daily that take 35 minutes and cost HKD 500. The
trains take some 2.5 hours, while the bus need 4.5 hours. Between
Shenzhen and the border is the KCRC, a kind of subway. It costs HKD
35. Get off at Lo Wu and walk 5 minutes to Shenzhen.

There are several boats between Hong Kong and the mainland. Two boats
to Gunagzho are available, a jetfoil (3 hours), and an overnight ferry
(about HKD 300.)

There is a boat between Shanghai and Hong Kong. It takes three days
and provides relaxation between two bustling cities.


There is a ferry between Inchon and Tianjin. It runs on the 2, 7, 12,
17, 22, 27 th every month from Inchon and 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 th
from Tianjin. It costs one way about USD 115-220 for second class and
USD 250 for first.

Between Inchon and Weihai the ferry takes 17 hours. It departs every
Wednesday and Saturday on 16:00 from Inchon and on 17:00 every Monday
and Thursday. Prices are USD 90 economy, USD 110 for second class, and
USD 130 for first.


There is a ferry service between Nagasaki and Shanghai. The ferry
doesn't run every day.

Leave Nagasaki      10:00
Arrive Shanghai     16:00 Next Day
Leave Shanghai      11:00
Arrive Nagasaki      9:00 Two Days Later

The fares for one way and one person are per berth:

Special A class   JPY 41000
Special B class   JPY 37000
1A class          JPY 30600
1B class          JPY 25200
2B class          JPY 20700

Another ferry service runs from Kobe to Tianjin. It leaves every noon
and arrives at 2 pm two days later. The cheapest berths cost USD 200.

There is also a ferry between Kobe and Osaka and Shanghai.


It is possible to cross from Vietnam at Ping Xiang. The railway
doesn't run through, however, so you have to walk or take a short ride
on a motorcycle until you reach the train station at Ping Xiang.

From Kunming there is a train to Hekou where you can cross the bridge
(by foot) to Lao Cai. The train leaves at 14:45 and arrives the next
morning at 7:00 in Hekou. There you will have to wait until the
customs office opens at 8:00.

Another open border station is DongXing / Mong Cai. To enter Vietnam,
you will have an international vaccination book or pay a small
surcharge. You will have to get off the train, cross the border, and
get on again.

Myanmar (Burma)

The border from/to Myanmar is open for travellers, but you'll probably
still have to convince the officials to let you through.

Presumably it should be possible to enter Myanmar without having your
passport stamped by both the Chinese and the Burmese. Of course, this
means that you'll have to return to China again (and only need one
visa). Of course, this is completely illegal, and I'm not sure how the
officials might react.


The border from /to Kasachstan is open for travellers.


The border from /to Kirgistan is open for travellers.


It is possible to enter China by way of the Khunjerab Pass. Take a
local bus and be at the border before 6 pm.



China is a huge country with a big variety of local climates. There is
not really a 'best' time to visit.

The north is rather dry, and quite cold in the winter.

In the south, the summers are hot and humid. The rainy season is
between July and September. There are even occasionally typhoons.

For average temperatures and rainfall, see in the section for the
appropriate destinations. Temperature and rainfall charts are
available for the following cities:

Emei Shan
Huang Shan



For technical reasons, this has not been converted into text format.



Below I have listed several events, some traditional and held since
thousands of years, and others that are quite new. The list of events
is by no means complete, but the most important ones are listed.
Although they are generally ordered according to their place in the
Western calendar, there may be some deviations from this rule since
many festivals follow the lunar Chinese calendar.

Guangzhou Flower Market
This colourful market is held each year during the last three days of
the Chinese year (i.e. three days before Chinese New Year).

Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) occurs according to the old
Chinese calender which follows the lunar year. It usually is held at
the end of January or the beginning of February (see blow). New Year
is the most important of all Chinese festivals and has a very old
tradition. The origin date back to at least the Xia-dynasty (21st to
16th centruy BC).
It officially lasts for three days, but many people take off the whole
week. Preparations to the festival include memorials for the ancestors
and displaying new-years-pictures and -scrolls. Main activities during
the New Year celebrations are frightening away the ghosts with as many
firecrackers as possible and visits of relatives and friends. Dragon
and lion dances and Yangge dances are performed and there are lantern
exhibitions. The traditional food are Jiaozi (Chinese Ravioli) and
moon cakes, together with New Year's wine.
Hotel rooms will get very scarce and expensive.
The last few and the next Chinese New Years will be:
 5 February 2000  Saturday   Dragon   Geng-Chen
24 January  2001  Wednesday  Snake    Xin-Si
12 February 2002  Tuesday    Horse    Ren-Wu
 1 February 2003  Saturday   Goat     Gui-Wei
22 January  2004  Thursday   Monkey   Jia-Shen
 9 February 2005  Wednesday  Cock     Yi-You
29 January  2006  Sunday     Dog      Bing-Xu
18 February 2007  Sunday     Pig      Ding-Hai
 7 February 2008  Thursday   Mouse    Wu-Zi
26 January  2009  Monday     Ox	      Ji-Chou
14 February 2010  Sunday     Tiger    Geng-Yin
 3 February 2011  Thursday   Rabbit   Xin-Mao
23 January  2012  Monday     Dragon   Ren-Chen
10 February 2013  Sunday     Snake    Gui-Si
31 January  2014  Friday     Horse    Jia-Wu
19 February 2015  Thursday   Goat     Yi-Wei
 8 February 2016  Monday     Monkey   Bing-Shen

Lantern Festival
Held two weeks after New Year. Although not a public holiday, it is
celebrated all over China. It marks the end of the New Year's
celebrations. Since the time of the Song dynasty, Yuanxiao (cakes made
of sticky rice with sweet stuffing) are eaten.

Hainan Coconut Festival
Held in the first decade of April on Hainan. This festival was held
the first time in 1992 to promote Hainan's coconuts.

Guanyin's Birthday
Moon based Buddhist festival, late March to late April.

Boat Meeting in Qintong
4 - 6 April, in Yangzhou in Jiangsu province. During the festival,
boats meet on Qinghu lake. People dress in traditional costumes. A
dragen boat race is held as well.

Water-Splashing Festival
Helad annually during 13 - 15 April, this Buddhist festival is held in
Jinghong, Xishuangbana, Yunnan. It is the new year celebration of the
Dai minority. According to the legend, a long time ago a fire demon
wanted to force seven Dai girls to be his wives. Being a fire demon,
everything he touched cought fire. So the seven girls extinguished the
fire with water, killing the demon.

Ching Ming
The Tomb Sweeping Day is held in April. Chinese families tend
the graves of their ancestors.

International Labour Day
1 May

Mazu's Birthday
Moon based Buddhist festival, May or June

Dragon Boat Festival
Observed primarily in the south-west of China, the Dragon Boat
Festvals are staged usually at the 5th day of the 5th lunar month
(June). Particularly colourful is the one in Hong Kong.

Anniversary of the Communist Party
1 July

Anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
1 August

Ghost Month
Buddhist festival held around late August to late September.

Birthday of Confucius
28 September. In Qufu, the birth place of Confucius, there is a large
Confucius festival held from 26 September to 10 October. The great
philisopher and pedagoge was born in 551 B.C. and has made an impact
that lasts until today.

National Day
1 October. The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
Buddhist festival held in October



China has a variety of different local cuisines. It can be categorized
into the following main areas: Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan and
Cantonese. Shanghaiese and Cantonese are dominated by sea food,
whereas the northern Beijing style is leaning more towards
noodles. Sichuan is very spicy.

Huo Guo
The Mongolian Firepot is available in Sichuan and in the north. It is
really hot (spicy), and certainly worth the experience.

China has some of the best yoghurt I ever had. They are sold on the
street in glasses and you drink (!) them with a straw. Make sure to
return the glass.

Don't drink tap water. Even in the smallest guest houses in the
remotest villages there are thermos bottles with boiled water. It is
used to drink tea. Instead drink tea, mineral water, or soft drinks.
Apart from the well known American products like Coca Cola, Pepsi
Cola, etc. there are many local versions of sweet lemonade. They are
much cheaper and cause no health problems.

There are numerous local brands available, the most famous being
Tsingdao. They are not only cheaper than the foreign ones, but most of
the time even better. Some brands I liked most: Yanqing, Nanqing,
Emei. Avoid 'Pacific Ocean'; personally, I would prefer the real thing
(i.e. the Pacific Ocean water).



Area          9'596'960 km²
Capital       Beijing
Borders       Afghanistan (76 km), Bhutan (470 km), Hong Kong (30 km),
              India (3380 km), Kazakhstan (1533 km), North Korea
              (1416 km), Kyrgyzstan (858 km), Laos (423 km), Macao
              (0.34 km), Mongolia (4673 km), Myanmar (2185 km), Nepal
              (1236 km), Pakistan (523 km), Russia (northeast)
              (3605 km), Russia (northwest) (40 km), Tadshikistan
              (414 km), Vietnam (1281 km)
              coastline 14500 km
Islands       over 5000, the largest Hainan in the south.
Highest point Zhumulamafeng (Mt. Everest), 8848 m
Rivers        over 1500, Changjiang 6300 km, Huanghe 5464 km

Time          GMT plus eight hours

Measures      Metric
Electricity   220 V, 50 Hz

In the Web-version of the Internet Travel Guide at there would be a map right here.

There is another map of China, much larger (1062 x 1054, 323 kB)
and in colours.


CHINA - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2005, Peter M. Geiser



New series by Peter M. Geiser and Sibylle Dussy, with many photos:

"Classics", FAQ of

Hotel guides


User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

Part1 - Part2 - Part3

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
", Peter M. Geiser"

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM