China is one of the cheapest and most travel-friendly countries in the world. Only not many people know about it. While independent tours to Europe are no longer a rarity, China remains a country where travel agencies run. At the same time, 4 and 5 star hotels are often offered for accommodation, which increases the price of the tour several times.
The tourist season in China starts in April and ends at the end of October. It was at this time that the cost of hotel rooms and entrance tickets to tourist areas increase significantly. At the same time, to see at least some of the sights of the region alone, you will need at least an individual tour, which, as you know, costs a lot of money. And here the prospect of a self-planned holiday arises, with all the ensuing pleasant consequences.
Now I will surprise you. In China, you can find a sleeping place on the coast of the sea for 150 rubles per day with breakfast. A twin room for two adults and a child with breakfast will cost about 500 rubles (minimum rates are given for August 2012). Moreover, it will be quite a tolerable hotel with a hearty breakfast. You can book a room in advance on the website.
Almost every major city has its own international airport. Direct flights to China from Yekaterinburg are operated by Ural Airlines and S7. Travel time from 5 h. 45 min. Prices from 24 thousand rubles. There and back again. It should be borne in mind that the hardest time to buy tickets is in the early and late summer and for the New Year holidays, when a large number of Chinese students abroad are flying on vacation or returning to their universities.
Address of the Chinese Consulate General in Yekaterinburg:
Yekaterinburg, st. Tchaikovsky, 45
Opening hours: 09:00 – 12:30 and 15:00 – 18:00
Reception: +7 922 619 33 99
Documents required for a visa:
1. A valid passport.
2. Completed visa application form.
3. One color photograph 3 * 4.
4. Reservation of tickets for the entire route.
5. Hotel reservation, or an invitation from the Chinese side.
Single entry visa cost:
Regular visa – 1500 rubles.
Urgent visa – 2400 rubles.
Express visa – 3600 rubles.
The main currency in China is the yuan. 1 yuan costs about 5 rubles. The current yuan exchange rate is here. The exchange can be made in the main branches of the bank, international airports, in large shopping centers. When exchanging currency, you will be given a check, which must be kept, it can be useful when exchanging yuan for another currency. It should be especially noted that counterfeit bills are quite common in China (most often it is a 100 yuan bill); some merchants may refuse to accept this money for payment.
State shops are usually open from 9.30 to 20.00, private shops are open to customers from 9.00 to 21.00, sometimes even later. The market can work both from 4 in the morning and from 7.00. But at 12 noon, you won’t find a single merchant there.
In China, it is customary to bargain, and the final price will be one third less than indicated on the price tag. Many Russian tourists, when bargaining, use a calculator or just a piece of paper and a pen to indicate the desired price. That being said, the Chinese love emotional bargaining, and the more noise you make, the lower the price will be. My friend told how she loudly and with expression read excerpts from “Eugene Onegin”, while writing the desired numbers. As a result, under such pressure, the Chinese sold her the necessary thing with great respect for her price and presented an amazing statuette of an elephant.
When I started collecting information about Chinese toilets, all the excitement about the low prices for the trip disappeared somewhere. More recently, only one type of toilet was distributed throughout the country. This is a hole in the ground where people should have relieved themselves. Moreover, until now, the Chinese toilet often does not have doors, the toilet bowls can be replaced by one large gutter, where the Chinese defecate en masse. There is also no washout in the European sense. Often there is no water or soap to wash your hands. Smell and unsanitary conditions prevail in many Chinese toilets. At the same time, in expensive hotels, well-known tourist places, there are still toilets and booths familiar to Europeans, toilet paper, a hairdryer for drying hands.
Taxis in China are quite affordable (from RMB 1.2 per km). The car can be caught on the street or called by phone. Moreover, all taxi drivers work only with a state license. All taxis are equipped with a meter. Be sure to check that the driver lowers the counter cover when starting to drive. After showing the address to the taxi driver, ask – “Membai?” the 5-star is obliged to speak English, but unfortunately this is not always the case.
An international driver’s license in China is not valid. Therefore, car rental is only possible with a driver.
The most economical means of getting around China is by rail and intercity buses.
The level of prices for food in China will delight our Russian wallet. Therefore, it makes no sense to look for a supermarket with the cheapest prices for groceries. The main difficulty in the Chinese store, perhaps, will be the identification of the goods. About 70% of the products presented on store shelves will remain a mystery to the tourist. As experienced tourists say, the main thing is not to know what it is made of.
Approximate prices for a number of products:
Bread (grain) – 15 rubles / 400 gr.
Cucumbers – 20 rubles / kg.
Potatoes – 10 rubles / kg.
Apples – 20-30 rubles / kg.
Pineapple – 30-40 rubles / pc.
Milk – 35 rubles / liter
Pork (tenderloin) 120-150 rubles / kg.
Beer – 15 rubles / 0.7 l.
There are practically no dairy products in China. Soy milk, cheeses, cottage cheese, cream are real delicacies.
In China, like in no other country in the world, the cult of food is widespread. The Chinese eat anytime, anywhere. Even when greeting, they ask not “how are you?”, But “how did you eat?”. Therefore, it is not surprising that in China there is a huge number of restaurants and restaurants, cafes, bars, and small glass street stalls where you can easily fry a cow’s udder. Even in a very expensive restaurant, you will leave no more than 500-1000 rubles per person (without drinks). The average bill for two in a mid-level restaurant will be 300-500 rubles, while on your table you will have various seafood delicacies, meat, soups, salads, fruits, sweets. In general, you can eat in China for 25 rubles, in a small cafe – “chi fan”, which are in every home.
It is recommended to visit restaurants that have a special license to serve foreign tourists, it is usually posted at the entrance and written in English.
An independent trip to China without “claims” can cost the following amount:
Hotel – 500 rubles per day
Airplane – 25,000 rubles / round trip
Visa – 1500 rubles.
Pocket expenses – 1000 rubles / day
Total: A ten-day trip to China with pocket money will be approximately 41,500 rubles… It will be more profitable to travel for a longer period. So in 20 days you will spend about 55 thousand rubles.
Photo: Vladimir Kozionov