Tips for Travelling To China on a Budget
Image by norsez via Flickr
Are you worried you won’t survive backpacking around China or travelling on a tighter budget? Don’t worry, you can do more than survive; you can even have an unforgettable adventure as you explore both infamous attractions and hidden gems. In reality, China is a wonderful destination for backpackers and budget travellers, largely because of affordable hostels or hotels, overnight trains and street food.
Below are some tips for travelling to China on a budget, including how to backpack through the country.
- Figure out your budget. Pick a few regions of China that are located near each other and opt to spend at least a few weeks there. This way, you’ll save money on airline fees, as well as the cost of overnight train tickets. If you stay in Chinese hostels and only splurge on nicer accommodations a few nights, you’ll save a lot of money too. You can keep it as low-cost as you need to, but remember that attractions and transportation add up. The best way to save money is to take advantage of budget China tours.
- Select a good time of the year to go. Avoid any major holidays, especially Chinese New Year as everyone heads over there then. In addition, try these tips , such as flying in the middle of the week to get better airfare, and staying at the same hostel or hotel for multiple dates to get a discount.
- Eat like a local in China. Avoid buying food from every tourist attraction and you’ll save lots; and instead, save your money for the real authentic cuisine. Lots of the locals love Chinese street food, or if you’re travelling in a larger group, order many different dishes and share amongst yourselves. Even better, while you’re meeting people, try and dine with a Chinese couple or family as they will know the absolute best dishes to try. Above all, try a Chinese Hot Pot, which features dipping thinly sliced meats and vegetables in a bubbling broth as it’s an authentic dish.
- Explore some great sights cheaply. You can explore some county parks and even see locals practicing Tai-chi for free. Some cities like Lijiang are easy to bike or walk around and explore the cobblestone roadways. Take advantage of any free days at any museums or local attractions but don’t be afraid to splurge on important attractions like the Forbidden City or the Terra Cotta Warriors.
- Hike different sites, such as the Tiger Leaping Gorge to get the real experience. Located by the Yangtze River, this two-day hike is for moderate and experienced hikers, so much so that donkeys help you up the first part and follow you. This is in case it becomes too difficult and you need assistance. However, if you make it to the top, you can stay in a guest house and stay up conversing with other backpackers before seeing waterfalls and other sights the next day.
If you’re determined to backpack around China, remember to fill your pack not only with clothes but strong bug spray, granola bars to help settle your stomach, and your driver’s license, which may get you some discounts.