I am starting to think about my yearly pilgrimage to SE Asia.
I want to go by land just for the experience and to see some of China. So to get from Korea to Bangkok I was going to take a ferry, trains and busses.
From Korea I can get to Beijing by ferry or budget airline. I did come across trvel agents offering train trips from Beijing to Hanoi. Has anyone done this??
I would do this for the experience but am also wondering if I could save a couple of bucks this way as one way flights from Seoul to Bangkok run $500-$700.
Im not familiar with the China/Vietnam border crossing (although im sure its covered somewhere on this website). Anyway....any thoughts on a trip like this???
I've done Beijing to Guilin by train (albeit via Chengdu). The high speed sleeper train travels through some of the best scenic countryside at night (eg. Beijing to around Zhengzhao amd Wuhan to near Guilin).
There are slower (and cheaper) day trains, so one would be looking at the journey itself rather than covering distance. I'm assuming your entry to VN would be by train. If so, I understand there's only one entry.
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As for air travel, I note that Air Asia fly Tianjin (near Beijing) to Kuala Lumpur, then KL to Bangkok for around US$240 total (depending on dates).
Similarly, Air Astana and SriLankan Airlines fly Beijing to Bangkok.
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Hope this helps.
I was looking at rail to assist another, and noticed that seat61 shows the 'official' price (and timetable) for Beijing - Hanoi as app US$300. Though I don't know who would get it for you (at that price), it also suggests travel agents sell for higher. The link below indicates US$405.
Timetable & Fare:
While interesting (and on China rail, - at least as of 3 years ago, you can stopover at as many places as you like without incurring an extra fee: as long as it is pre-booked), it would be a travel destination in its own right.
heh, well I didn't drop the F bomb, just meant to say "one heck of a trip" but replace the heck with "h e l l"
A common American term, I lived in Australia in 04 and and don't remember if the Ozzies used it.
Bruce, what did you think of China? I've probably heard more bad than good but I thought it would be much better out of the major cities. Never been, something that big....huge mystery if you ask me.
Every country has its good n bad: China is no exception.
What 'got' me was the sheer scale of all things human in China. When I took a step back from where I was/what I was doing, I was constantly saying WOW!.
The urban mass was immense. The roads & rail routes didn't follow property boundaries: when the gov't wanted to build, it was an engineers delight. They just made a road/rail line as a straight line, and went through mountains and across valleys, etc.
The population density in cities was WOW: 20 story apartment buildings so so close (I think only the New Territories of Hong Kong would be more dense), but in the major cities, the tall apartment buildings just seem to go on forever.
I learnt that China is building a 1/2 million sized population city EVERY month!!! That's not only buildings for people, roads, sewers, electricity connections, public transport, the LOT!!! Every month!!!
The nation is building over 1 million cars a year - just for the domestic market.
The use of land was WOW. Everywhere, land is being utilised for something. In rural areas, people even grow personal crops on traffic islands!!!
The scale and size of the 'terra cotta warriors' at Xi'an, was WOW.
The Imperial palace at Beijing was WOW.
The Great Wall was WOW.
The Yangtze & the size of the 3 gorges dam was WOW.
The lesser 3 gorges was WOW!
The panda's at Chengdu were WOW.
The sheer beauty and scale of the karst scenery on the River Li (near Yangshao) was WOW.
I could go on and on.
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What got me also is that in urban areas, nothing ever 'sleeps'. In Beijing, people are constantly riding to/from along the roads - 24 hours a day. The only matter of interest is whether the depth of the crowd of pedestrians/cyclists is big or bigger.
The roads are now getting so clogged. 12 lane roads are parking lots.
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On my first trip, my son had spent a year there, could speak Mandarin well, so I had a good enterpreter. There are parts of China that one may not enter. There are parts of China that are just so incredibly dirty (industrial dirt). There are parts that are so beautiful.
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In regards to land mass, China is about the same size as the US or Australia. That's a huge land mass. Clearly, putting 1.4 billion people into that sized countryside is sure going to make it burst at the seams - and the urban areas do burst at the seams. But, it also makes for so many places to visit.
Given the sheer size of the cities, landscape etc., it's just not about visiting once for a month or so. That would ever only tickle the surface.
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As you've probably gathered, I love travel, engaging with people, and all that travel provides the mind. Given that, you'd expect me to write positively about any country. But, I do try and tell it like it is (or was for me).
I think those that go on organised tours for a fortnight or so, or get holed up in some little corner could talk negatively about their experience. For me, the first trip was WOW, the second trip was WOW, and I expect my venture into Yunnan next April will also be WOW.
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Living in Korea, and being so close, I think I'd repeatedly want to go and spend a fortnight in a region: see aspects in detail.
China is, without doubt, an amazing country. Given its increasing role in the global economy, if for no other reason I suggest it's worth visiting to understand 'their' perspective on social relations, etc..