Preparation for the trip to China

Rem Sapozhnikov / October-November 2008
Why China?

I always wanted to go and see Japan and China. At first, naturally, I wanted to go to Japan — then it was the only place where there were giant fighting robots. Then gradually, the more I learned about China, the more interest to this country grew in me.

Nowadays, for a Russian person to go to China is easier than to go to Japan, - no need of prepaid booking, certificates, prearranged itineraries.

This September at the VDNKh at the book fair I bought two guidebooks of «Vokrug Sveta» (Around the World) publishers - about Beijing and China. At that time I didn't yet know that only 6 weeks later I would put then in the bag and go to China.

I have also bought a phrasebook that was of great help to me: I pointed to the necessary words. I also tried to pronounce them, but they failed to understand my Chinese. The same phrasebook stated that Chinese have already multiplied to 2.5 billion.

Interesting and useful links about China.

Big forum about China and all Asia: (Russian)

Train schedule:
At the bottom of the same page there is a link to the diagram of railroads of China.
Though I like this map more:

About Beijing:

I bought insurance in the online service of Rosno.
The visa was arranged through Quinta Tour:
Air tickets — in Air China:
Booking of hotels:

Blogs and stories: (Russian) (Russian) (English and Chinese)

Where to live?

In the stories of our travellers around China I have always come across the names of one and the same sites, through which people made advance booking in hotels. Having studied them I have selected the site and always used their service on the way. I made a booking only after I have bought the ticket to that city. That is, in Moscow, after buying the ticket Moscow — Beijing, I booked a hotel in Beijing. In Beijing after buying the train ticket to Zhengzhou, I made a reservation in Zhengzhou. Usually, the booking confirmation came to my e-mail rather quickly. So, I recommend it. Besides, there you can also buy air tickets to domestic routes.

I used cash and/or Alfa-Bank VISA card to pay for hotels and deposits.

How to get to China?

It would have been great to go to China by train. There are routes from Moscow to Beijing directly and via Mongolia, and from Almaty and Astana (Kazakhstan) to the Chinese city Urumqi (aka Wulumuqi). I would have gladly come along this route, but it all takes (if you go from Moscow) at least 5-6 days. Therefore, of course, I took a plane to China.

I had to choose between Aeroflot and Air China. From Moscow Air China only goes to Beijing, whereas Aeroflot to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, at that, the city of arrival and departure can be different, which allows you to make a more convenient route around China without necessity to return back to the initial point. But still I have preferred Air China.

Whether I grew bigger, or Boeing 777 which took me to China was totally cramped. During the flight, take-off and landing, the monitors in the plane demonstrated the pictures from the camera installed somewhere in the front-bottom of the plane. And if the departure from Moscow was in the evening and you could see almost nothing (though later you could see Moscow itself in the window!), the landing in Beijing was interesting to see.

Continuation :
High-speed trains (CRH)

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