China ?

Reply

May 8th, 2004, 07:14 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 140
China ?

Hi. We would like some assistance for our upcoming trip to China in October.
1) With regards to lodging, how competitve and accurate is a site like www.asiahotels.com? Or are we better off calling the establishments ourselves for the best rate? Can anyone recommend any solid picks in Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Guangzhou for around US$85/night or so?

2) As for air travel within China, is it less expensive to book now thru the Internet or just wait until we get there? What are some of the more reputable Chinese carriers?

3) We understand there is an express train between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Are there frequent runs daily? Again, book now or there?

4) We are thinking of joining a tour for the Great Wall. Would a personal guide have access to parts of the Wall that a big group wouldn't?

Thanks in advance for everyone's time and input...
dinks is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 8th, 2004, 08:22 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
1. Prices from sites like asia-hotels.com are reasonable, but you should be able to get even better rates through a travel agent or through the hotel itself. Stick with an foreign-branded hotel if you're not sure about the quality of others. Peter on this board can give you better details.

2. It's definitely cheaper to book intra-China flights after you get to China.

3. Shenzhen is just across the border from Hong Kong. There's no such thing as an express train there. The regular KCRC train from various points in Hong Kong run to Lo Wu on the Chinese border EVERY FEW MINUTES. [Just make sure you get on a train that goes to Lo Wu, not Sheung Shui or anywhere else.] Whole journey takes <40 minutes from Hung Hom in Kowloon. You just go buy a ticket from a machine at any KCRC station.

If you're thinking about going to Guangzhou, on the other hand, then yes there are several "through trains" a day, run by both Chinese and Hong Kong companies. Unless it's a major holiday, you don't need to purchase in advance, but you can get the ticket once you arrive in Hong Kong. The fare is always the same.
rkkwan is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 9th, 2004, 01:45 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 90
Welcome to China!

hotels: I am a local but I find the location of the Grand Hyatt to be most convenient. It is a 10 minute walk to Tian An Men square/forbidden city, 2 minute walk to famous shopping area Wang Fu Jing and has an award winning restaurant called Made in China (best Peking duck award!)
I think it costs more than $85 but not that much more. Also try expedia.com

air travel in China: usually there is a list price and then agents usually have discounts for the popular routes like to shanghai, xi'an etc. there is also an over night train from beijing to xi'an, it is of course rougher than flights but I think it is an interesting way to experience china and it's cheaper too. agencies sell train tickets too.

The great wall is infested with merchants and tourists, unfortunately really detracting from teh whole experience. I have heard of people taking a hiking tour with cntravel.com that takes you to the non touristy segments of the great wall which is lovely. But you need to be able to walk a bit. October weather should be great for that.
btw
avoid first week of Oct. as it is golden week (national day and we all get a week off) in china and locals will inflate the tourist bulge even more. tickets will be harder to come by and hotels more expensive.


weiwei22 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 9th, 2004, 08:51 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,778
1) If you want a Western-brand hotel, the policy of several major names with properties in China is that the best price they make publicly available can be found on their own websites. If you find a lower price with an agent, usually like is not being compared with like.

Chinese-run hotels will not give foreigners a decent price in advance through any booking mechanism. 'Discount' websites only appear to be able to offer big discounts because the actual price paid by those who walk in is considerably less still; automatically 10% less than published prices, standardly 30% less, commonly 50% less, and sometimes more. My record this year for a Chinese four-star was 75% less than the published rate.

4) There is no advantage whatsoever to taking a guide to the Great Wall. Guides are the last people to know any place out of the ordinary, or anywhere less profitable to themselves, and have no special access. Despite recent publicised alterations in regulations (pure window-dressing), you can climb onto the Wall anywhere you can find it. The officially open parts, rapidly growing in number, are merely those which have been rebuilt at a point where the local township can put up a ticket booth to make some money to pay for the rebuild, and then some. However, those on organised tours (which includes the overwhelming majority of Chinese visitors) have neither the time not the inclination to go far from the point at which they mount the wall. Walking along it even at the most popular points quickly leaves the crowd behind and brings you to sections of genuine antiquity, in a ruined state.

If you want to try going something a little different with someone who really knows about the Wall, one pricey but worthwhile option can be found here:

http://www.wildwall.com/

Once in the site, click on 'my services'.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
PeterN_H is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 10th, 2004, 03:41 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 173
1.The White Swan in Guangzhou is nice but its a good distance from the Convention Center if thats why your going there.
2.Check several sites on the hotels. There are huge differences in prices. 3.For travel with in china just book it through the hotel or a travel agent once your in China. We got the same price through them as through Expedia. Also, if you've never been to China before you have to pay an airport construction fee. Make sure you find that booth before you go through security.
4.There is a 30 min train ride from Hong Kong to ShenZhen but be careful getting out of the train station once you go through Customs. Its insane there and dangerous if you aren't paying attention. Its like taking a metro ride.
5. One other tip, not sure if they still do it, but if you buy the express train from Hong Kong Airport into either Kowloon or Hong Kong, if you buy them at the desk vs the machine, they are sometimes cheaper becuase your buying more than one. It saved 40HKD each way.
cf5657 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 10th, 2004, 11:43 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 9
I would not reserve through www.asiahotels.com. I tried reserving them one time, and they told me the hotel is full AFTER I phoned them, when asked why they didn't come back to me ASAP on the availability (made me nervous because they required credit card info at the time of booking), they didn't give me a satisfying answer. However, later when I tried to book through another website on the SAME hotel, SAME date and SAME room package, the 2nd website was able to get me a room. So I don't think asiahotels.com is reliable.

You may want to try booking through www.ctrip.com, a chinese based website (just click on English at the homepage) that gives about 50% off the rack rate. They are the most sucessful e-travel agent in China, recently listed on Nasdaq.

Air travel within China, you can also try calling Ctrip too, they have competitive pricing for air tickets.

balienquiry is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 11th, 2004, 08:43 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,778
70% of Ctrip's business is hotel bookings. Anything it can get from the familiar Western names you can usually beat--it is increasingly the policy of the better-known hotels that their cheapest published prices are on their own web sites. The discounts shown on Chinese-run hotels are just the standard over-the-counter offers from fictional first asking prices which no one ever pays, and which you can undercut further (often considerably further) yourself.

In short, do not book hotels in China through 'discount' web sites.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
PeterN_H is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:30 PM.