I'm looking to go to either India or China in May or June, just after my exams for 2 weeks.
I've barely planned it, so haven't got much of an itinerary, but have got something like:
Delhi (4 days)
Agra (3 days)
Jaipur (3 days)
Ahmedabad (4 days) or Mumbai (4 days) or Rajasthan (Jaisailmer, Jodhpur etc) for 4 days
Beijing (7 days), great wall for 2 days of this
Chengdu (4 days)
Xi'an or Shanghai (4 days)
This is very rough and sketchy. It's quite city based and may change as I go along but these are the areas of the respective countries I am looking to explore.
I have some questions and would appreciate any help:
1) I'm looking to travel this one on my own, literally on my own. I know a few people over there but not incredibley well. So which country would be safer for an independant traveller?? I was told India is more dangerous for a lonesome traveller if you don't know anyone. Is this true??
2)The level of English, it's important as an independant traveller that English is spoken quite well or at least I can get around as I speak none of the local languages. Would India be more preferable in this case??
3)The cost, both are quite cheap, thats why I'm going lol, but which country is generally cheaper for food, transport etc. I've heard India can be quite expensive, is China more cheaper??
4)The food in general, I'm not the biggest fan of spicy food, but I can eat some indian meals not many, is this a disadvantage if I struggle with spicy food??
It's my safety and avoiding being ripped off that most concerns me. I want to be able to get around fairly easily without getting lost and can communicate well in part with locals occasionally at least.
Can anyone offer advice (especially on safety) I would really appreciate it.
I can only tell you something about China.
China is pretty safe for foreign tourists. You can walk on the street in cities after midnight without much fear of violent crimes in general. Be careful with scams however.
Beijing/shanghai (1st tier city) much more expensive than Chengdu/xian(2nd tier city), but you can do budget travelling if you avoid living like an expat. E.g. you can have a (good) meal in a small/standard resturant in Beijing for 4/5 euros. Taxi costs 25cents per km in Beijing. Metro 25cents for a journey. Shanghai is a bit dearer.
Chinese food is diverse, you can get almost any taste in Beijing/shanghai, Chengdu is spicy.
Beijing/shanghai you have more chance of finding English speaking people, there shouldn't be a problem. Chengdu and Xian should be ok too as they are both tourist cities. If you wonder into the countryside, good luck with your sign language.
Do a 2-day wild great wall hiking in Beijing, avoid Badaling.
For general ease of getting around being understood India would be (I'm presuming having been to India but only Hong Kong/Macau) a lot easier.
Scams seem to me, a lot more prevalent in China (mates of mine fell victim to the tea-room scam where you get inveigled by English speaking "students" into going to a tea-house and get charged a huge amount for the tea ceremony).
Internal flights in India are cheap enough. I thought Kerala was really interesting.
Sorry Op are you male or Female,I only ask as India can be tough for a female solo traveler.
2weeks is not that long to visit either country,I have been to both but on long travels.
India. Pros amazing scenery,diverse country,nice beaches,food and interesting culture.
Cons.A lot of beggars in the cities,hawkers,can be a bit much at times.
Stomach ailments(guaranteed),poor sanitary,dirt and poverty.
Massive country with so much to see,great backpacking experience,nice food amazing culture/history.
A bit slippery in the cities,lots of scams.
Takes a while to get the culture,not much English outside the cities but don't worry about that,prices in cities increasing.
IMO 2 weeks is too short,if you can increase that by another 2 weeks you can keep costs down in these countries.
Forgot to say Indian weather is better
Neither is particularly dangerous as countries go but you would bevlikely to get more attention from beggars, hawkers etc In India. Nothing particularly bad just a bit of "give me money", "buy this" etc. China would allow you be left on your own a bit more.
India without any doubt, very few Chinese speak English outside any touristy spot whereas it's very widely spoken in India. Communication in China can be a problem, for travelling you would usually need the destination written in Mandarin, often handiest to get your hotel write out any instructions you need as taxi drivers etc. won't speak English. For the larger cities the Metro systems are excellent and easy to get around (English signs).
India is cheaper, the Euro isn't as strong against the Yuan so you'll get less for your money but neither is particularly expensive.
You can a lot of Indian food that isn't overly spicy, the food in the North of the country isn't as hot as the South and you can always ask the waiter to keep the food mild. Certain parts of China are known for their spicy food too like Sichuan (Chengdu), it is also harder to order as often the waiters don't speak English and the menus are in Mandarin, if you are in the bigger cities English menus are much easier to come by however.
I found China no problem in terms of taxis which are usually the biggest culprits for rippping you off, they use the meter so all was no problem there. In India an agreed price should be reached before hiring any mode of transport, this cuts out a lot of the rip off attempts. Once you get the idea of how much a trip should cost it's usually fine. You will pay more than the locals but haggle on everything. As for scams a bit of common sense goes a long way.....nothing is free. If it seems like a scam, it is.
Not in May and June it's not, it will be pushing 40 and above most days with high humidity and in a dirty overcrowded city like Delhi this will be very uncomfortable. Beijing would be about 10 degrees less, the smog in the city isn't pleasant but at that time of year China would be far more tolerable than India.
not if your hitting the beaches whilst I agree any city in India in the heat is tough you get used to it.
I've only been a solo female in India and never had any hassle. I mean, people do talk to you a lot and all, but I've never been robbed or anything. I find people generally very respectful there.
China is safer, although i am a chinese. you can spend more time in Beijing and Shanghai.
If you need my help, you can PM me.
I would tend to agree with you Jane. I lived in China for 5 months. It felt really safe there and even though there were days I met maybe only one white person I never felt any intimidation. I think if you have any sense and look after your belongings you are pretty safe. There are always going to be some peolple trying to sell you stuff, a bit of hassle that way. But I can honestly say I've never been tricked in to paying more than the price. Food, taxis etc. China is a bit more expensive I'd say but cleaner than India and a lot more developed. Some of the big Chinese cities do have a problem with smog at times. Weather was great down around Hong kong. Not bad even in winter