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India or China and Japan

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  • 26-07-2007 11:13am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭


    Hi, maybe someone could make a few suggestions for me. I have decided to take a month of work early next year, Feb, March or April. I have for years looked at India and China as places I would like to vist.
    Have you been to these places - if you had to pick one where would you go.

    I would have a decient budget as I have been saving for this for a long time. Now that it is getting nearer i am confussed as to where to aim for.

    Any thoughts would be aperciated.


Comments

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 27,195 CMod ✭✭✭✭spurious


    I haven't been to India, but February would be a good time to visit Hong Kong and southern China. I travelled up the Yangtse a few years ago and would love to go back, if only to seehow things have changed since the Three Gorges Dam.

    I'd say either place would be a great destination.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,673 ✭✭✭Miss Fluff


    Haven't been to India yet but am living in Beijing at the moment. I think it is truly amazing and a month is a nice enough spell to see everything you want to. My brother coming for 3 weeks next week, spending a fortnight in China and then a week in Japan afterwards so will let you know what he thinks. Travelling within the country is cheap and for the most part really hygenic. I'm not good with hideous smells so I think that would freak me out a bit about India, although I still obviously really want to go. April is a lovely time to come to China, not too hot but you'll still get lots of sun.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    I went to China for 2 months last year and am going to Japan in November. China was amazing, really really interesting place to visit and the food is fab.

    I'd be worried going to India for only a month, as many travellers are sick for this amount of time on arriving, the hygiene leaves a lot to be desired.

    If you were going to China for a month, I'd recommend 5 days or so in Beijing, some time in Pingyao, Chengdu, Dali, Lijiang and maybe as far as Zhongdian on the boarder of Tibet. The area around Guilin and Yangshuo is really beautiful too. I don't think you'd have any difficulty fitting all that in in a month. I'd love to go back sometime, great experience!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 44 botvot


    I lived in Beijing for a year. April will be the best month, as spring is truly a beautiful time there, and the temperatures wouldn't be spiking yet (either way). Also, China is so big, but you can really cover a lot of ground in a month.
    Haven't been to India or Japan, sorry!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    Another plus for China is the public transport.

    The overnight trains are cheap and comfortable - with clean bedding etc. I only travelled soft sleeper, but the tickets worked out at about 20-30 euro for an overnight journey.

    For a similar price you can book internal flights through www.elong.com - although wait and book them from inside the country for the best prices.

    For 7 weeks of travel (flights and trains), eating out 3 times a day (YUM), not skimping on guesthouses and doing all the touristy things, we spend 1100 euro all in. Not bad eh?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 729 ✭✭✭scruff321


    have to agree about the downsides of goin to under developed places like india, was recently in cambodia among other eastern asian countries for 6 weeks and spent 3 of those weeks on the jax! was supposed to stay for longer but in the end i got a pain in my hole (no pun intended ;) ) and came home,altho i wud like to go there myself sumday and cud be a very worth while experience like the ppl above said if ur only goin for a short while u cud catch a bad bug like i did!


  • Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭okmqaz42


    Thank you all for your comments, It is looking more and more like China. I pulled the house apart to-day and found my rough guide to China.
    South to North in spring is what they recommend and I fancy Hong Kong to Beijing with plenty in between.

    Those of you that have done this- is language much of a barrier. it is unlikley that I could learn Mandarin, even if it would be of limited use!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    We did a Mandarin course before we went, just once a week for 10 weeks. Yeah it cost a bit and was a bit of hassle, but in hindsight it was the best thing we ever did! You can definitely get around with no Mandarin, most of the people you need to speak to speak some english, and you can use hostels to book your train tickets for you for a small fee etc .... but for just the fun of trying to chat to the locals in the markets, bargaining for stuff, commenting on someones child, telling people where you're from, it was absolutely brilliant! If you have time at all to learn the basics, I'd highly recommend it! Its an interesting language too, so you might actually enjoy it!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 297 ✭✭PunyHuman


    I've been to India, China (HK) and Japan, and I recommend India. If you've got a taste for something exotic, exhilarating and completely memorable, and the best food in the world, India is the place for you. And no need to learn Mandarin because everyone speaks Hinglish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,980 ✭✭✭meglome


    PunyHuman wrote:
    I've been to India, China (HK) and Japan, and I recommend India. If you've got a taste for something exotic, exhilarating and completely memorable, and the best food in the world, India is the place for you. And no need to learn Mandarin because everyone speaks Hinglish.

    Best food in the world :rolleyes:

    Was in India for six weeks at the start of this year. Amazing place in many ways but... (no specific order)
    1. Food, I was eating Chinese by the time we were in the south.
    2. Delhi belly - Although the malaria tablets made me sick.
    3. A lot of poverty, you could give the shirt off your back and it would make no difference - Indian society is not equal.
    4. It smells pretty bad. Not an issue for me but pretty nasty all the same.
    5. People consistently try to scam you, didn't get caught but it gets annoying pretty quickly.
    6. Bad Corruption (although good if you want to commit a crime).
    7. Amazing historical sites but not maintained properly as the money goes into peoples pockets.
    8. Their idea of clean and ours are very different. (Not that personally the dirt would bother me).
    9. Why fill in one form when you can fill in three, the masters of bureaucracy.

    India should be one of the world’s great destinations but at times the fun can really be taken out of it by how things are and how things are done. There is a lot to see and do, it's very cheap and they mostly speak some amount of English so it's worth going to but I'm not sure i'd see myself going back.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 297 ✭✭PunyHuman


    @ meglome: Sorry you had such a lousy time. You may have a delicate consitution, or perhaps you just don't like curry. It also sounds as if you were following the tourist trail where the touts and beggars can be a bit overwhelming at times. Get off that trail into more rural areas and it's ten times as much fun.

    Corruption, yes; inequality, yes, but for you to say that the whole country is dirty and smelly is a massive exaggeration, and a little childish. I'll never forget the wonderful aromas of spices, flowers, incense and fireworks and the spotlessly clean but simple homes of the people who invited me to eat with them.

    In my (limited) experience, western travellers in India often tend to be a little uptight from the fear of being scammed. My approach is just to roll with it and engage with the people because it's not your country and they do things differently there. A smile and a head-waggle will get you much further than getting angry.

    Japan was great too though :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,980 ✭✭✭meglome


    PunyHuman wrote:
    @ meglome: Sorry you had such a lousy time. You may have a delicate constitution, or perhaps you just don't like curry. It also sounds as if you were following the tourist trail where the touts and beggars can be a bit overwhelming at times. Get off that trail into more rural areas and it's ten times as much fun.

    I pretty much have an iron constitution, some of the Indians we know who work in Europe were sick too, we were at a wedding. And as I say it was the weekly malaria tablets which I took on an empty stomach which made me really sick. For me it's not that Indian food is spicy it's the number of spices that the dishes contain, I can't say I’m a fan. We weren't following the tourist trail but were mostly in the cities and nearly every single person we spoke to had a agenda, which is pretty sad indeed.
    PunyHuman wrote:
    Corruption, yes; inequality, yes, but for you to say that the whole country is dirty and smelly is a massive exaggeration, and a little childish. I'll never forget the wonderful aromas of spices, flowers, incense and fireworks and the spotlessly clean but simple homes of the people who invited me to eat with them.

    The cities stink like high heaven. And some of rivers I saw flowing through the country were mank. Saying all that it a very big country so I have no doubt there are many clean areas, even if I didn't personally see that many.
    PunyHuman wrote:
    In my (limited) experience, western travellers in India often tend to be a little uptight from the fear of being scammed. My approach is just to roll with it and engage with the people because it's not your country and they do things differently there. A smile and a head-waggle will get you much further than getting angry.

    I'm a city boy so I’m used to scams of all kinds which is why we were not caught with anything. But we had people follow us for 10 of 15 minutes trying to push things on us. So while we were firm and polite in general there were a couple of times when I had to tell people in no uncertain terms to f*ck off.

    One thing that is very strange for us Westerners is the way Indian men will randomly take pictures of western women. I mean this happened to the girls that we were with on several occasions. We were at India Gate in Mumbai and this guy was walking backwards in front of my girlfriend taking her picture. At that point she'd had enough and went for him, she's a chef so she has no problem handling blokes. Jesus it was funny the guy was ****ting himself, he legged it. She was looking at me to say something to him but I just couldn't I was desperately trying not to piss myself.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 70 ✭✭folkface


    God ye paint a very dismal picture of India.

    If us working class folk who only get 2 weeks off Max which of the 2 would ye recommend visiting?.

    I was thinking about doing an escorted tour with Slatterys Travel
    It is a 15day tour costing E3000 pp.includes flights and 4*/5* hotels
    China & Yangtze River Cruise - TOUR HIGHLIGHTS Shanghai - Yangtze River Cruise - Guilin - Xi’an - Terracotta Warriors - Beijing
    http://www.slatterys.com/tours/tour.php?cPath=4&products_id=41

    Now my wife and I will be going so that comes to a total of E6000.

    Is this price justifiable?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc


    folkface wrote:
    Now my wife and I will be going so that comes to a total of E6000. Is this price justifiable?
    I would say no. you can do it a hell of a lot cheaper yourself. I spent around 1100 euro (not including flights, was on a RTW ticket) in 7 weeks in china. We soft sleeper'd and flew between places stayed in nice guesthouses and ate local. I would go back in a flash and do it all again.
    If you are short of time I would skip the warriors and probably even shanghai and get down to Lijiang or Dali or Chengdu instead.
    Avoid the 'Badaling' section of the great wall, it's incredibly touristy and rebuilt. for an extra hour on a bus you can get to Jinshangling and walk 10km along the wall to Simatai. When we did it there were only 25 of us - one tour bus.
    I hope you enjoy it.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 27,195 CMod ✭✭✭✭spurious


    folkface wrote:
    I was thinking about doing an escorted tour with Slatterys Travel
    It is a 15day tour costing E3000 pp.includes flights and 4*/5* hotels
    China & Yangtze River Cruise - TOUR HIGHLIGHTS Shanghai - Yangtze River Cruise - Guilin - Xi’an - Terracotta Warriors - Beijing
    http://www.slatterys.com/tours/tour.php?cPath=4&products_id=41

    Now my wife and I will be going so that comes to a total of E6000.

    Is this price justifiable?

    Talk to Sino-Irish travel in Donnybrook. 01 6671371/2
    They have a range of tours available.
    I don't know what their current prices are but that price seems high to me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭okmqaz42


    I had a look at some of these tours for myself. the advantage would be that you would see the "Highlights" and you dont have concerns over going to the wrong areas!
    They seem very expensive considering the amount of info that is out there you could organise something similar for less.

    Having your own guide would probaly reduce your interaction with locals, for me this is something that I would really look foward to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc


    okmqaz42 wrote:
    Having your own guide would probaly reduce your interaction with locals, for me this is something that I would really look foward to.
    I agree, it would be quite a 'sterilised' experience, staying in western style hotels, eating western food etc. Without a doubt the most enjoyable and memorable experiences I have from china are interacting with the locals; going into the local restaurants, grabbing a waitress and bringing her around pointing out things on other peoples tables that I liked the look of; trying to communicate with locals on the train or bus with the help of a little picture book and a very very limited vocabulary; practising my chinese with locals who wanted to practice their english.Fantastic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,980 ✭✭✭meglome


    folkface wrote:
    God ye paint a very dismal picture of India.

    If us working class folk who only get 2 weeks off Max which of the 2 would ye recommend visiting?.

    I was thinking about doing an escorted tour with Slatterys Travel
    It is a 15day tour costing E3000 pp.includes flights and 4*/5* hotels
    China & Yangtze River Cruise - TOUR HIGHLIGHTS Shanghai - Yangtze River Cruise - Guilin - Xi’an - Terracotta Warriors - Beijing
    http://www.slatterys.com/tours/tour.php?cPath=4&products_id=41

    Now my wife and I will be going so that comes to a total of E6000.

    Is this price justifiable?

    Don't listen to me, it's not quite as bad as I'm saying but it does get very trying at times. Although I am off Indian food for life :)

    Try Trailfinders on Dawson Street, the last few times I've gone anywhere 'exotic' they were the cheapest. The trip we're hoping to do in March is Australia via Tokyo on the way out and through Bangkok on the way back. They’re quoting €1200.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 297 ✭✭PunyHuman


    I agree, Trailfinders has always given me the best deal. €650 return to Hyderabad via Amsterdam and €850 return to Tokyo via Heathrow.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 70 ✭✭folkface


    PunyHuman wrote:
    I agree, Trailfinders has always given me the best deal. €650 return to Hyderabad via Amsterdam and €850 return to Tokyo via Heathrow.

    Thanks for your suggestion.
    BUT trailfinders works out at E3366 PP for the exact same tour around China.
    Thats a difference of over E700 for my wife and I. :eek:

    See for yourself:
    http://tours.trailfinders.ie/tailormadetours.nsf/8eed18a4cb5c9f4980256fa8004d62f1/83DE3F32A68E49DD80257130003C1FB6/$file/ww06_chinagrandtour.pdf


    I and i taught slatterys was over priced.
    I wonder could i just buy the flights myself and try to research enough about China and do it ourselves. We only have about 15/16 days Max. And as another poster said we can't afford to waste time taking a wrong turn or missing a flight/cruise/bus/train not to mention searching for accomadation.

    We'd love to have the time to explore at our leisure because as another poster said thats how you experiance the real country/people/culture not just wham bam thank you mam, sight seeing. i.e next/next/next.

    Any suggestions? Or are we destine for the tourist trap experiance either ways?
    But E6000 for a two week holiday does sound a bit excessive :eek:


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc


    I really think it is very possible to do yourself.
    if you want to fly everywhere you can use elong.net to book the tickets. they're cheaper from inside china than outside, but you pay for the convenience of having the flight dates fixed. trains can only be booked 3 or 4 days in advance.
    have you looked at intrepid travel? they are supposed to be good, if you want a tour. they have a 14 day best of china.
    WRT 'searching for accomodation' there's little need. the guesthouse touts come and meet you at the train stations/bus stations.
    I'd recommed getting a rough guide and having a look through it. don't be afraid - seriously, I was terrified of going to china, and I absolutely loved it once I got there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    I definitely think you should go it alone, it's a lot more fun and rewarding to do it that way. Contrary to what you might think, it's not a difficult country to travel through, there is a definite tourist trail and accomodation is dead easy to find.

    However if you're still interested in a tour, this was just emailed to me - 12 nights for 1749

    http://www.thetraveldepartment.ie/holidaydetails.aspx?id=1567


  • Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭okmqaz42


    I picked up the lonely planet guide to China, using this and my rough guide I have found plenty of info to convince me that I could organise my trip by myself.

    I think the real problem is going to be deciding were to visit! It all looks fantastic.


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