Advice on a route through China

Jun 9th, 2015, 12:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 34
Advice on a route through China


My partner and I are 8 months into a 2 year around the world trip and currently planning our route through central asia and into China.

We should arrive in China at the start of August, entering overland from Kazakstan, we are only over landing, no flying is allowed.

We are trying to study and learn about Permaculture as we make our way around the world, volunteer where projects are of interest to us, love nature and learning about new cultures. Where possible we strive to stay in Eco friendly places, eat organically and seek places where we can escape the monetary system through skill exchange.

Does anyone have any suggestions for places to stay and visit in China that would suite our criteria, know of any good environmental volunteering projects or better still Permaculture projects.

We will spend upto 60 days in china and are undecided on our exit point, but it is most likely to be into SE asia.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and please feel free to take a look at our blog via our profile to get a better feel for what we are seeking/trying to achieve from our travels.
theecoquest is offline  
Jun 9th, 2015, 05:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,448
Can't help with your Permaculture interests. Would not have thought China an especially eco-friendly destination, although in the more remote countryside you will find plenty of small, intensive, farms.

If you are coming in from Kazakhstan presumably you'll be going through Urumqi rather than Kashgar and will miss the Sunday market (although it's probably pretty touristy by now).

The rail system is very good - take a look at for info on using it. Going south I took the train from Nanning to Hanoi but I just checked seat61 and see that the route from Kunming via Lao Cai has finally reopened (except you need a taxi across the border), and I would certainly take that route if I were traveling now. The area south of Kunming is (or was) good for getting off the beaten track.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 10th, 2015, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 427
How good is your Mandarin?
JPDeM is offline  
Jun 10th, 2015, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,448
You do not need Mandarin to travel in China. You do need a good guidebook and a good phrasebook - with characters, not just pinyin.

Forgot to ask - do you have your visas? Also, be aware that hotels etc. that do not expect foreign visitors (i.e. the cheaper ones) may refuse to admit you because they do not want to have to deal with registering you with the police. (Helping them to register you online is one time when having Mandarin would be necessary.)

Also, bargain.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 10th, 2015, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 447
All NGOs in China highly suspect, by govt dictate. Westerners likewise. In Xinjiang you might hook up planting trees to combat desertification but how to find news...?? Organic food possible in big city, most folks in China, esp in rural, more concerned with quantity, not quality. Most likely working, even volunteering, not permitted, even for barter. Seems to me your best opportunity might be at nearby Univ. College of Ag. Univs will have English speakers, teachers may have some ideas.
All recent reports from China indicate western ideas of any kind contribute to decay of Communism, hence forbidden. Transport: go close to the earth. eg on the bus not train nor plane. If not speaking mando, then simply enjoy the journey and be sure to try the Hami melons from the desert. The chinese people nice, the govt not.
jobin is online now  
Jun 11th, 2015, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 427
I agree that one does not need Mandarin to travel in China but to go to remote places and try to interact, work and study with Chinese, it will be nearly impossible without some mandarin. This question is not about regular tourism.
JPDeM is offline  
Jun 11th, 2015, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,448
Unless the OPs manage to acquire the correct visas, I suspect that there will be little, if any, working and studying.
thursdaysd is offline  

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