Journey Woman

Practical China Tips From Women Worldwide


Insider's excursion suggestions...
I just returned last year from living in Shanghai. I did a lot of travelling while I was there, both with my husband and kids and a couple of trips with girlfriends. I'd like to share some of these extra-special trips I've done with other JW readers. Perhaps they'll be tempted to try some of these ideas as well:
A girlfriends' trip to the tropical island of Hainan in the South China sea including a beautiful beach that only the locals know about which you will mostly have to yourselves since the Chinese don't like the strong tide here.
A 52-hour train ride all the way across China (with my twin 3-year-olds) to the western cities of Kashgar and Turpan, then the (limited access) overland crossing through the mountain pass into Kyrgyzstan.
The small town of LinHai south of Shanghai, which has a "great wall" around the city, which was built as a prototype for the famous great wall of the north. Not many tourists ever learn about this place.
Hangzhou many, many times -- our favorite weekend jaunt. Don't miss the night market. It is the best one in all of China!
Barb, USA

Religious services in Beijing...
If you want to attend church, Beijing Int'l Christian Fellowship has two services Sunday morning, but you must bring your passport to prove that you are a foreign citizen. You can visit their website at: http://www.bicf.org/. There are also Jewish Friday Sabbath services in Beijing. See: http://www.sinogogue.org/.
Julie, San Francisco, USA

I suggest you pack...
I'm an American living and teaching in China and you're all going to love it. Here are some things I suggest you pack when coming to this part of the world...
Reading material -- unless you like classics and Sherlock Holmes.
English magazines -- these make interesting reading material on the plane coming over and also great gifts to pass on to Chinese friends who speak English
Cough and cold medicine -- the coal dust is thick (especially in the winter) and highly irritating.
Herbal/flavored tea -- you can get green tea and jasmine tea and others, but if you have to have your orange spice or Tazo chai, etc. bring it with you.
Coffee -- Maxwell House and Nescafe instant coffee is readily available, but it is nearly impossible to find beans or ground coffee. I travel with a mini French press, but I can't get coffee for it and I hate instant. Good news is, most restaurants and hotels use brewed.
Finally, pack patience and a sense of humor -- the pace is slower here and there is sometimes a lot of pushing and shoving and cutting in line that can wear your patience thin in a hurry. Have a great trip.

Carolyn, an American living in China

Ed. note: I found a clean, bright, comfortable Starbucks in Beijing. It's located a few blocks from the Silk Market coming from the direction of the Jinglun Hotel.

More thoughts on coffee...
If you can't start your day without coffee then you better take your own to China. When I was touring with an organized group, Nescafe is the closest we were ever served and it was awful! I made "coffee teabags" from flat filter paper which I sewed right on my sewing machine. I enclosed enough of my own brand of coffee so I could make an individual serving in an 8 ounce cup of boiling water. I also took a baggy of powdered creamer because pasteurized milk is not always available on the road. I wished I had had enough to share because the other coffee drinkers on our tour were very envious.
Crystal, Columbus, USA

Taxi trouble in Beijing...
When hailing a taxi, make sure that the car is authentic -- one of those hundreds of yellow minis whizzing about town. One day as I emerged from my hotel, a couple of Chinese men said "taxi? taxi? I speak English!" Ignoring the gesticulations of my doorman, who spoke not a word of English, I hopped in and off we went to the Forbidden City. When we arrived the fellow who had ridden in the back with me, trying out his linguistic skills, leered at me and grabbed my breast right through my raincoat. I yelled, pointed to a police car, and took off ASAP. So did they.
Margaret, Ottawa, Canada

Ed. note: Hm-m-m-m...two men, one taxi ...never a good idea.

For more about sightseeing, a Beijing spa, telephone tips, click here...


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