China in January - crazy???

Oct 22nd, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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China in January - crazy???

Hi guys,

Doing some preliminary research about China.
We are thinking of going there in January (we have some free time and have found a great deal on airfares) for about a month, probably stick mostly to the bigger cities on the East coast (Shanghai, Beijing etc.) but may venture inland a bit.

How cold will it be?
Will everything be closed?
Is it expensive??? We only have about $3000USD each person (there are two of us) for the whole trip (not including airfares or spending money but including accomodation, food and internal transport). We are not fussy at all about accomodation - as long as it is clean and central than that is fine. Will eat cheaply too. If this is too little, how much do you think we would need??

As you can see, this potential trip has not been researched much yet at all! Any enlightenment on a) weather and b) cost would be great!

cookies companion
cookiescompanion is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:55 AM
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crazy? No, just cold.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:57 AM
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It gets quite cold in the north. For Beijing, average high is 34F, average low is 15F in January. And while you'll find heat everywhere, it's often not as uniform as here - like some hallways in buildings or museums may be colder than you'll expect here in the US indoors.

You can find very decent accomodations for about US$70-80 per night. Away from the major cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Xian, and it'll be cheaper still.

You can eat for $2-3 a meal once you step out of your hotel.

Internal Chinese flights are relatively inexpensive, but not necessarily CHEAP. For most domestic flights in the eastern part of the country, expect to pay about $100 a leg, average. On some routes, it makes sense to take the overnight trains - like Beijing-Shanghai, and Beijing-Xian. Save you a night of hotel.

Don't overlook the admission cost to many attractions. At some national parks, admissions can run US$20-30 per person.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Just adding to the 2 expert responses, weatherwise depends on where you will be, Beijing will be freezing lakes freeze over), Xian and Shanghai will be cold too. It will be warmer in the southern cities such as HongKong. The sightseeing attractions will not be closed no matter how cold the weather is. As an example the Great Wall will be frigid to climb.

As for expenses, $3,000 for a month means $100 per day, it will be enough if you plan carefully. I suggest you start researching where you'd like to visit, the more cities/areas you go, the more you spend on internal transportation.
Shanghainese is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:46 AM
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cookies pal:

I agree with all of the assessments above..but would suggest, that with that much time, you could visit Guilin, Yangshuo and the rural villages thereabouts. An entirely different "take" on China.

I was in Beijing in late October, early November back in '84, and it was frigid..snow and ice on the wall. Recently there in late March of this year...rather mild but occasional cold snap and winds.

Don't hesitate, if this is your only chance to visit, do it!

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:59 AM
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cookiescompanion -- sorry to do this, Towers, when are you coming north? We were at Mangia Mangia on Sunday and I'm leaving for China Thursday, can't wait!
Shanghainese is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Oops, meant Tower with no "s" ...
Shanghainese is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Thanks guys for your help. I am really really keen to go, but will have to do some more research re costs etc.

Anyone else got anything to offer?
cookiescompanion is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:32 PM
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we will be leaving for China in ten days for a month as well, flying into BJ and out of Shanghai, had a lot of help form this board, rkkwan and many others, you can also learn a lot here.
According to LP, mid-range comfort can be bought in China for $60.00p.p. a day, that still leave you with $40.00.
I think you are fine with $100.00 a day. We are acting on advice not to book any hotel/flight ahead, you get the lowest rate this way.
I have been tracking cost of domestic flights on elong, some prices have dropped at much as 50% from a month ago, it would still cost 70-100 for most flights which is reasonably cheap.
go for it!
samuell is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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cookies companion:

Just a little tip regarding can certainly buy on the spot at probably the lowest rates...but if you want just a bit more peace of mind I suggest calling a eputable company like WACTS..based in Chicago and 708-409-1244 and ask for Kay. We made reservations through her and she suggested we wait until a few days before we left USA...we did, and she had the Beijing office deliver our tix for us which we paid by CC on the spot at very favorable rates.

Just for the heck of it I checked at the aiport on the first flight five days later, to Xian, and I could've bought tix for 50 RMB cheaper...that amounted to $6 USD less at that time...for that, I would much rather have had the peace of mind, tix in hand and paid for.

Shanghainese: Will probably be in Berkeley (El Cerrito)last week in December...hopefully we can get together. Have a great, meaningful fun experience on ytour trip to China!
Stu T.
tower is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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You may want to consider going to Harbin for the Ice and Snow Festival as it runs from Jan to early Feb. We went last year and thought it would be colder than it was. We wore ski clothes and were not cold. You'd never dress like that for Shanghai though as it's a lot warmer there. When we lived downtown our neighbors didn't have heat and slept with their windows open. I found that crazy as it certainly gets down past my definition of cold!

I recall having visitors in Shanghai in early February a few years ago and everywhere we took them was open. Probably can get good hotel rates as I would think there's lots of vacancy in January.
nagiffag is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Thanks guys, this is great information!

I am quickly firming up to the idea (the seats are being held for us so we have a bit of time before we have to confirm with payment).

I will probably bombard you all with more questions soon!
cookiescompanion is offline  
Oct 27th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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tower -- I'll be in NJ and NYC last week of Dec and planning to get together with EK, ggreen and others.

Have been in Shanghai for 24 hours, ate myself silly already, going to a wedding tomorrow and have a GTG on Fri. See you sometime in the New Year!
Shanghainese is offline  
Oct 27th, 2007, 07:42 AM
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A few thoughts. First please consider trains for your east coast travels. The overnight ("Z") and day ("D") trains are new and better than Europe's trains. Clean, comfortable, on-time and convenient, taking you into the city, rather than a long and expensive taxi ride from the airport. See:

Take at least one "D" day train, up to 155 mph, to see a lot of Chinese countryside as well as towns and cities. The prices are apt to be lower than air, especially for night trains when you figure the room costs you save. The airfare for two plus hotel room rate are always more expensive. Splurge if you like one or two nights in the deluxe two-person Z train compartment.

Next, find hotels on to get great-reviewed value-oriented hotels. For example, my favorite hotel in Shanghai, The Asset Hotel, is a bit out of the way (but near subways) and a great clean modern room is $33 and the luxury junior suite is $73. The city is very affordable at these rates, including free internet and free (basic) Euro-type breakfast room. The Shanghai Museum, perhaps the finest collection in the country, costs just $7 for admission.

These are examples to whet your appetite. Do not worry, you can do it for $100 per person per night. And please think about getting to warmer (76F-53F in Lijiang) Yunnan Province during your trip. It's a whole different country.
rploehn is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 04:11 AM
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thanks again! any other contributions guys?
cookiescompanion is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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China was one of my earliest trips overseas. We went to Beijing in January, and I learned the hard way how essential timing your vacation can be.

The winds were certainly whipping atop the great wall.

I couldn't feel anything below my knees as we tramped around the forbidden city where the workers would huddle around portable heaters and stomp to keep warm.

Our guide refused to get out of the car at Tiananmen square.

I'm the first to admit I'm an awful wimp when it comes to the cold, but even my hardy friend described the winds as 'brisk'.

I'm glad we went, I just wonder how much more enjoyable it might have been.
Femi is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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how did you go about booking your hotel, or do you just show up and ask for the best daily rate as some has suggested?
how about train tic and air?

we are leaving for China in a week.


samuell is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Are you comfortable with the responses on weather and costs? The weather won't change, the costs you can control. Rploehn' Asset Hotel choice in Shanghai is a good one, I stuck my head into Motel 168 last night and it's clean and decent, for a room with private shower in Jan you are looking at less than $25 and they are all over the city in good locations. There are nicer hotels in the $40-$55 range if you're not looking for luxury -- Jingan, Bailemen, East Lake (Donghu) to name a few.

As for food, yesterday I attended a wedding banquet lunch with 22 dishes (not kidding!)that could easily run $40 per person without the liquor and cake (my family gifted the wedding cake. Shared a late evening snack with DS of xiao long bao (shanghai steamed soup dumplings), sauted greens with mushrooms and a bowl of red and white soup which came to $4.50 for both of us.

Don't wait, cookies, China is beckoning at you!
Shanghainese is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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yes it will be freezing cold, but there was something really beautiful when i look back at my pictures of the forbidden city and the great wall covered in snow. Just make sure you dress appropriately.

for hotels, my friend who's based in beijing recommended using for booking.

dailln4n4 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 04:03 AM
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thanks so so much everybody!
You have convinced me!
I booked and paid for my ticket today!
Fly into Beijing on the 22nd January.
Fly out of Beijing on the 21st February.

Now i get to plan an itinerary! (expect many more (probably stupid) questions!)

cookiescompanion is offline  
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