China Trip Update – my visa is here!

I have my Passport back.
I have my Passport back.

About two weeks ago, I sent my passport to Washington DC to obtain a Chinese visa. On Thursday, I was excited to receive my passport back with a brand new Chinese visa! I quickly flipped to the visa pages in my passport to check out what a Chinese visa looks like….

Chinese Visa
Chinese Visa

Since I’ve received my visa, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to spend some time talking about why China is my next destination.

Ever since I started traveling to different countries, I have always wanted to visit China. I think it has something to do with seeing things that are hundreds and thousands of years old mixed in with modern buildings and high tech things like high speed rail or the world’s largest man made dam. Last year when China hosted the Olympics and seeing the amazing structures and shows put on by Chinese, I knew I had to go to China to see and experience the sites, sounds, and culture of the Chinese. At the end of August, I will be in China for two weeks.

As I started to research what things I wanted to do in China, I realized that two weeks was not nearly enough time to see a country as large as China. Part of the decision of where to go and what to see was easy. I am flying in and out of Shanghai so it made a lot sense to spend some time in the city. I also definitely wanted to see the Great Wall of China so that made a trip to Beijing the next part of my trip. Finally, after seeing the images of the Terra Cotta Warriors during the Olympics, I had an interest in checking that out. This led me to add the city of Xi’an to my itinerary.

So far my itinerary looks something like this:

Shanghai – 6 days
Xi’an – 2 days
Beijing – 6 days

I am still researching everything there is to do in Beijing and Shanghai. I know there is the Forbidden City and Summer Palace in Beijing. I am still reading up on Shanghai and am not as familiar with the things to see and do there. I do have a couple guide books that I am going to use to give me an idea of what there is to do. I won’t necessarily do all the suggestions and will maintain flexibility to do other things once I am on ground in China.

The things I am most looking forward to are (in no particular order)

1. Train Travel in China
2. Getting to try different foods
3. Practicing my Mandarin Chinese!
4. Experiencing the friendly Chinese culture
5. Standing on the Great Wall of China
6. Seeing the Terra Cotta Army
7. Taking lots of photos

If you’ve been to Beijing, Shanghai, or Xi’an and have a suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment. I will provide a couple more updates before I leave in August.

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6 thoughts on “China Trip Update – my visa is here!

  1. Tim: In Shanghai see the Pearl Tower and take the crazy tourist tunnel underneath the river. It’s the most bizarre light show (even weirder than the Detroit airport). Nick and I walked from the Pearl Tower, did the tunnel, and walked to a garden that is escaping my mind right now… the best part of Shanghai was really wandering the streets on this long walk. It was so weird… block after block of music stores, followed by block after block of sewing/notions stores, interspersed with food places and tiny 7-Eleven type shops. It seemed like there were shopping districts/blocks associated with specialty items (like instruments, sewing, etc.).

    Incidentally, there is a museum associated with… ah… how to put this… the bedroom arts at the entrance to the tourist tunnel (Pearl Tower side). It was pretty entertaining. I would skip the other museum, the water or ocean/fish museum. Totally creepy and NOT worth it. Very few live animals. Yuck.

    If I think of other stuff I’ll let you know. Terra Cotta warriors are DEFINITELY worth the trip. Incredible.

    One other thing… this sounds weird but Nick and I went to a few Chinese versions of U.S. stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. It was really neat to compare the two stores’ appearances to what we experience back in the U.S.

    1. Gary,
      Thanks for the comment. I am planning a couple more China trip updates. At least one this week. Stay tuned!

  2. I am from China. Not sure when you will leave for China. I would not recommend going to these cities during summer as it will be super hot and humid. October will be the best time to go there. There are some tourists must go places, but if you have extra time, find a local guide and go to those less known places to have a taste what is real China society look like.

    1. Tommy,
      Thanks for your comments. August is the only time I have available to go. Perhaps for my second trip (I do plan on going multiple times), I will go in October. I appreciate your times. I am learning Mandarin right now and want to practice it while I am over there.

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