March 2006

Spring Holiday 2006
Route: Beijing – Xian – Huashan Mountain – Xian – Shanghai – Beijing

This email is the trigger of my trip to China

Ronald, I’m glad I can help you with little information I have.

> 1. Have you made itenary plan before coming to China? i.e. You book
> hostel and train ticket from japan?

I made no itinerary at all. I was lucky to be with a wild friend so we could dynamically go to wherever we wanted. The original itinerary, that we knew we could change at any time as we liked was the following:

– arrive to Beijing and the morning after take train to Shanghai
– 3 days in Shanghai and go to Shaolin Temple
– 1 day in Shaolin and continue to Xian
– 4 days in Xian and train to Beijing back
– 2 days in Beijing to see the main attractions and go to Harbin
– 2 days in harbin and go back to Beijing for the last preparations to go back
– 5 days in Beijing

Finally we did not go to harbin. We were sick of those trains.

We did not know anything about hostels, hotels, or anything. We were ready to sleep in the streets or wherever we could. Actually we had in mind to sleep during nightover trains to save money of the accomodation.

> 2. How much does it cost for the plane? and total cost?

I paid, included all taxes 43,000 yen round trip 20 days fixed. Northwest airlines. Take a look to Number-One travel. There are other cheap places for sure.

Total cost, 43,000 yen + 50,000 yen = 93,000 yen
included price for entrance for main attractions, transportation (4-th class, standing in the trains), A LOT OF BEER.

> 3. Is there many coin lockers in china

I did not see anything. I recommend you to bring a backpack with the minimum. You can always buy there undies or tshirts. Take a good coat, it may be very cold.

> 4. Do you need to apply visa?

I am, mexicans we need visa. The visa took 2 weekdays and it cost me 3,000 yen single entry. The embassy is in roppongi.

> 5. How about transportation in china, is it good enough (or acceptable)?

Depends on the price you want to pay. They say local airlines are cheap. But I took 4th-class train. Night train, no seat at all, sometimes if there was available we could take. But I recommend you to pay a little extra and get a bed, shared bed.

> 6. Is there any tourist information in (or near) the main station?

There are all this services. In every major city we went we had detailed maps for tourists.

Get ready to walk, and WALK, AND WALK. I never took a local train/bus or anything. We were walking probably around 20kms every day. Those chinese cities are big.

I can bring you next wednesday information of the BEST hostel in Beijing. I’ll give you the details in person. I recommend you taht hostel, I would come back there forever. I spend the most memorable times of my trip there, drinking cheap beer.

I think I can get you also Xian hostel information.




Gua tgl 9 maret 2006 – 23 maret 2006 kemarin ke china…. pas weekend temen gua yang di beijing temenin gua jalan2….. Selama di china gua ke beijing dulu 3 hari 2 malam, abis itu ke Xian (13 jam naik kereta malam dari beijing), di xian 3 hari 2 malam (sempet ke Terakota Warriors dan Gunung Huashan 2160 dpl), abis itu ke
shanghai (16 jam dari kereta dari xian) -> tua di jalan…. disitu 3 hari 2 malam… abis itu balik lagi ke beijing naik kereta malem (13 jam) menghabiskan sisa
hari2 gua di china di beijing…. udah gitu tgl 23 gua dapet morning flight, jadi gua bermalam di bandara, tidur di bandara deh (tidur2an gitu) capek abis…… makanya kemarin malem gua tidurnya 12 jam gitu…. balas dendam…..

Kita jadi reunian kecil2an gitu di Beijing, temen SMU gua ada 4 orang lagi kuliah bahasa disana… tapi cuman ketemu 3 dari mereka. setelah bertahun2 tidak ketemu, malah ketemuan di china, bukannya di jakarta, 


Ok. tempat yang gua suka di China itu SHANGHAI, terutama daerah THE BUND, di sepanjang sungai yang membelah kota shanghai. Bangunan2 di sepanjang tepi sungai itu dikasih night illumination, jadinya bagus banget deh.
biasanya jadi tempat pacaran gitu, kalo enggak pasangan ya turis yang di situ. gelo rame banget, terutama di daerah tepi timur dari sungai, soalnya di situ banyak bangunan kuno, dan lebih lama exsistnya, lucunya di kursi2 taman, gua
biasanya liat co-ce, tapi di satu bangku, gua liat co-co, haha jadi mikir yang aneh2

Day 1 – March 9th – Narita Airport -> Beijing

Today afternoon is my flight to go to China, at 6 o’clock in the morning me, Juanda, Xiao Fei, and Thomas took the train from Chofu station. Juanda will go to Kyoto, and we will go to Narita Airport. Liu Jia has left earlier in the morning (05.30). I think for them it is difficult to say goodbye after nearly 1 year together in Tokyo. Boys cry too… Xiao Fei left and then we were waiting for our flight when we meet Anigi and Aaron. Later Anigi left, and then Thomas, and then me, Aaron had the last flight. IR801 Narita -> Beijing -> Teheran. I’d better not sleep in the plane, otherwise I could ended up in Teheran without Iran visa, and probably will have to call Suzuki Sensei emergency number. Arriving at Beijing in the night and directly going to Beijing Railway station using Airport Shuttle Bus (in yen, about 200 yen -> compare with 3200 yen from narita to chofu)

Day 2 – March 10th – Beijing
Today’s schedule is Tiannamen Square, Forbidden City, Beihai Park in the day, and Chinese Acrobats in the night. Linda, my classmate in High School will be my tour guide for today. I get my cell phone number in China today :p, good tomodachi. I tried to contact Doyot, but I can’t, maybe next week. Tiananmen is some kind of Beijing symbol, and I just know it because of what was happened in 1989. Lot of tourists, from all over China, and also from all over world. There was a count down for Beijing 2008 olympic at the eastern side of the square (in front of a Museum). Many chinese soldier there and also many china’s flag. You can find china flag everywhere. Forbidden city is big, and a little bit tired to see all of its building, so we just see the main buildings. Chinese loves red, you can see many red color everywhere. After that, we went to Beihai Park, a park north of Forbidden City. It has Beihai Lake and a “small island” that has white pagoda. At this time, I begin to realize, every tourist place has “chinese dog statue” male and female. Should ask the chinese what is it meaning.
Day 3 – March 11th – Beijing
Today’s schedule are buy ticket to Xian, Temple of Heaven, and Pearl Market, and go for night train at 6 o’clock. Buying train ticket is more difficult than I thought. That train ticket seller didn’t give me ticket to Xian, but to Cian or some city that pronounciation like Xian. DAMN. It took hours and 70 yuan “fine” to change the ticket and get the correct ticket. After that we went to TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, quite big place, in the map, it looks like that it is bigger than Forbidden Palace. Mainly it is a park with several halls, contradicts to Forbidden City that has many buildings. Well, it has Echo Wall, like what Depp said, I tried, but still don’t know the difference, maybe because too many tourists. It’s Circular Mound Altar somehow reminded me about Borobudur Temple. NEXT is PEARL MARKET, something like Mangga Dua in Jakarta. Many stuff there, electronics, bags, shoes, souvenirs, etc. I try to find chinese chess that Ramon ask for, but cannot find it. :-(. After that catching train to Xian, I almost miss the train, luckily I still can get into the train. Always giri-giri. Hard sleeper is quite nice. T41 Beijing -> Xian for 12hour 23 minutes (18.27 ~ 06.50). Untungnya kereta malam, kalo enggak bisa tua di jalan.
Day 4 – March 12th – Xian Terakota Warriors
Today’s schedule is Terakota, Drum Tower, Bell Tower. Arriving few minutes late than the schedule, I tried to find Hostelling International sign around the people outside the station. Free pick up to the hostel. :p. Met with two German traveller from Berlin who use the same train as me. After arrived at the hostel we were heading to Terakota Warriors site, about 45 km outside Xian center. A lot of souvenir booths outside the place, and it is COLDER than Beijing. I don’t know why, it should be warmer in that region, because it more south. Whatever. Inside there is a museum, and three pits. At first we went to Pit #2, and then pit #2. Pit #2 is only a hole, with  many unreconstructed terakota, you can see half of horse body there, not full. Pit # 3 has more reconstructed soldiers than Pit#2, but it was smaller. Pit #1 was amazing. This is the biggest pit, and also has the biggest collection of terakota warriors. This one surely the best among the other pit. This is also the only reason I want to visit Xian. Mission accomplished, the other attraction is only bonus for me. Later that day, I bought my train ticket to Shanghai at a Bank (true, at a BANK, not at train station – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China). This time I get the correct ticket. After that go to Bell Tower (It has a big bell inside it, that’s why the name is like that), and Drum Tower (The Tower has a lot of drums inside it). Drum tower is quite beautiful at night, especially with the illumination.
Day 5 – March 13th – Hua Shan Mountain
This day was the most tired since I come to China. Going to Huashan in the morning and back in the night, 160 km outside Xian. Hua shan is one of seven sacred mountain in China. I know this mountain from movies “To Liong To”, In the movies it has a famous kung fu school (like Shaolin) in the mountain. It was like trekking along the mountain. I was lucky in the same bus with a chinese guy from Nanning that can speak English. He explained to me several information about the mountain. Arrived around 11 o’clock, we have to be in the bus again at 5pm. This mountain is cold. Bad news for me, it has no English sign (and there are not Indonesian sign for sure). About Indonesian, I met three chinese girl who want to have picture with me because I am Indonesian…. :p They might think I am endangered species…..The one make me curious is there are many red ribbons and locks in several parts. He explains it is for something, but not in details. Trekking for almost 6 hours is tired too, we can only reach north peak, south peak, and west peak. There is no time for east peak. The only map that is available only in chinese, so I have no idea about what it said. Have to find chinese translator back in Japan. Back to Xian, I just back to hostel and sleep. It was tired day.
Day 6 – March 14th – Xian City
Today’s schedule is Big Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi Provinsional Museum, Little Goose Pagoda, Moslem’s Quarter, and Great Mosque. First thing first. I have to find Xian City Map in English, cannot find it, so I buy the chinese version. I just need the bus route. BIG GOOSE PAGODA, I still wonder why the name is like that. The scripture inside the pagoda is “Kill the goose, built the pagoda” which is still not understandable for me. I hope I can see goose statue, but I did not find one. Near this place is SHAANXI PROVINSIONAL MUSEUM. I cannot use my ISIC card here, because the price for students is only for chinese students…. Discrimination agains non-china student…. This museum is quite good actually. It “tells” story from the prehistoric period in China, until the periods of dynasty, Song -> Yuan -> Ming -> Ching. What surprises me, is there is soldiers inside the museum, and somethimes several soldiers march inside the museum. What are they doing here? And also there is 120 YUAN POSTCARD (usual price only 10~12 Yuan). Crazy…. After this taking bus to LITTLE GOOSE PAGODA. The shape is like big goose pagoda, only it might be smaller (and cheaper admission fee). After that go to MOSLEMS QUARTER to find GREAT MOSQUE. It was remotely located inside small alleys. I was wrongfully enter Prayer Hall (I thought that was the entrance), which is forbidden for nonmoslems, and find myself surrounded by several hostile white suits men with long beard (like Osama) that make me sure I was in wrong place. Langsung deh pasang tampang seperti turis tersesat (emang beneran tersesat) dengan buku Lonely Planet di tangan. Fortunately I can get out of that place, and find the correct entrance. The mosque is differs from the one in Indonesia. It looks like Chinese temple, without any dome (like ordinary mosque). Inside, many birds, and many birds shit. After this, coming back to hostel, get the stuff, and catch train to Shanghai.
Day 7 – March 15th – Shanghai
After 16 hours train from Xian, finally arrived in Shanghai, spent the first hours in Shanghai finding tourist information (damn difficult) and police station inside Shanghai station. They are more friendlier than Indonesian police :p. Finding hostel at Caoyanglu, nice place and near the subway, the roommate was a Frenchman who was looking for a job in Shanghai.
Route: Jade Buddha Temple -> People’s Square -> Nanjing Lu -> The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel -> The Bund. The price for transportation is more expensive than Beijing or Xian, but the more people speak English in Shanghai.
Outside Jade Budha Temple I found interesting and also creative “wheelchair” that is used by the bums. They cannot afford to buy a wheelchair, so they create from wheels and add a place to sit made from wood. Near people’s park is Nanjing Lu, a pedestrian street with many shop on it. It is like shopping street for me, maybe similar to Pasar Baru in Jakarta. At the end of the Nanjing Lu, you’ll find a way to the Bund.
One word for the bund, it is beautiful. In fact I like it, I visited it in three nights in a row. It is better to see it in the night, because of the illumination. It has a nice building (probably Shanghai Pudong Development Bank). For me, it is better to see The Bund from Pudong’s side, coz the you can see the illumination on the other side of the river. It also have a TV tower,  Oriental Pearl Tower, that is more beautiful than Tokyo Tower at night (in my opinion). If I came back to China, I’ll definitely visit Shanghai again.
Day 8 – March 16th – Shanghai
Route: Mao Tse Tung former residence -> Sun Yat Sen former residence -> Chou En Lai former residence -> Chinese Communist Party 1st National Congress’s Site -> French Town -> Huaihai Lu -> Old Shanghai -> Yu Gardens Bazaar -> The Bund again
Day 9 – March 17th – Shanghai
Route: Shanghai Science and Technology Museum -> Museum of Chinese Sex Culture -> Deep Sea Exhibition -> The Bund -> Catch train to Beijing
Day 10 – March 18th – Beijing
Route: Wang Fu Jing (Street food stalls and shopping centre) -> St. Joseph Church.
Day 11 – March 19th – Beijing
Route: Summer Palace all day
Day 12 – March 20th – Great Wall
Route: Hiking from Jinshaling Great Wall to Simatai Great Wall
Day 13 – March 21th – Beijing
Route: Flag Raising Ceremony at Tiananmen -> Beijing Hutong -> Drum Tower -> Bell Tower -> Tsing Hua Univ -> Beijing Univ. -> Dinner Beijing Duck with JQ, Linda, Shierly, and JQ’s friends
Today have to get up very early, because I want to see flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square. Most of them who is watching are tourists. So many tourists in Tiananmen Square, even in the morning.
Beijing Hutong was the highlight in Lonely Planet’s Beijing section. It looked like traditional houses, with small alleys, like “gang – gang kecil” in Jakarta. Linda was right, it is the same like in Indonesia. In Hutong area, there is Bell Tower and Drum Tower. I am wondering, why the towers always nearby, like in Xian. For these towers, I prefer the Drum and Bell Tower of Xian.
Next destinations are Beijing’s most prestigious univ. Tsinghua Univ. and Beijing Univ. Some of the area in Tsinghua Univ. has nice architectural building. I don’t know what style it is but it was beautiful building. I saw many people taking picture in front of a gate (which I don’t know what is it at that time), so I took my picture in front of that gate. It is Tsinghua Univ. symbol or something. Lucky. The same situation also happened in Beijing Univ’s West Gate, which is the symbol of Beijing Univ.
Because I spent too much time in Beijing Univ, I was late for the dinner. Linda (or Shierly) called me and at that time, I was still in Beijing Univ. So I rush going back to my hostel to meet them and going together to the Beijing Duck Restaurant. Unfortunately Doyot couldn’t join us. JQ and her friends already finished one duck while we arrived. Those 4 (JQ, Doyot, Linda, Marjus) was still in Beijing, while my other High School classmates were already came back to Indonesia, after learning Chinese in China.
Day 14 – March 22th – Beijing
Route: Around Tiananmen Square -> Mao Tse Tung Mouloseum -> Qian Men -> Beijing Station -> Beijing Int’l Airport
Day 15 – March 23rd – Beijing Airport -> Narita Airport
Route:  Try to sleep in Beijing Airport (IMPORTANT NOTE : Never taking early morning flights) Have to check in at 6.15 am, too early, so I decided to spend the night in the airport. Many people did the same like me too. I’ve tried to sleep, but not a good sleep, so just killing the time by watching television, a soccer game and a comedy “Just for Laugh”. Neverthelss, it feels good back to Japan again.