So three days to go before our arrival in Beijing and we’ve already crossed quite a few hurdles to get there. Who knew that this trip would take more organising than previous Asian journeys, that Visas would be a harder than normal process, that the language barrier would have already caused issues and some funny moments.
Most people travel to China on a tour, which obviously takes the hassle out of it, but I love a challenge, particularly when it comes to itineraries, transport and sightseeing. Independent travel is our preference and even in China it is possible, it just takes a little more planning! The thought of a prearranged “follow the flag” tour is our living hell on holidays. Travelling through China is perceived as a challenge, but I think this is mainly due to the language barrier.
We will still be travelling as we have always done. Backpacks and public transport. How hard can it be? The kids will just become very good at Charades again.
China and Google – well lets just say they don’t get on very well. So if I am to keep everyone updated and be able to answer the odd email, a VPN is a must. Apparently there is a whole world of VPNs to choose from that will work just fine, and at minimal cost. Not only that, but I’ve learnt to Wechat and WhatsApp in preparation, seeing these are the 2 main communication tools most used in China. Now if only I’d spent some more time learning Mandarin!
The Visa is relatively easy to get once you get your head around the process and have mourned a few trees inevitable death, with the bundle of documentation required. Luckily my hoarding ways have been useful for once. Who knew you’d need those old cancelled passports! We only needed a single entry, as we are heading home through Hong Kong, which relieved us of some extra paperwork.
So we are packed and ready – next stop Beijing!