Monday, April 01, 2013

6 Days Winter Solo Backpacking in Mainland China

snowy escapade birthday celebration in shanghai - huangshan - beijing
january 26 -  february 01, 2013 saturday to friday

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

My 15th country to visit, 21st solo backpacking trip, 3rd visa application for tourism on entire single page, 2nd winter snow travel, 2nd birthday getaway and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure.

After four (4) attempts of planning for winter backpacking, finally I made it this January 2013. The first plan was on a flight date last Jan. 24 - Feb. 01, 2012 via Beijing-Shanghai-Guangzhou for a birthday trip. Due to change of workplace, I moved this plan to December 06-12, 2012 via Shanghai-Beijing but again not pursued due to unapproved vacation leave. I moved again this plan to Dec. 24 - Jan. 02, 2013 via Shanghai-Beijing-Xi amen but still, for the 3rd time, this trip did not worked-out due to heavy workload at office, how sad holiday celebration.

Great Wall of China Mutianyu, Beijing

Orient Pearl Tower, Shanghai

Mt. Huangshan, Anhui

And for this series of frustration, I dumped the following Cebu Pacific promo fare plane tickets just to pursue my dream to conquer Great Wall of China on winter season...

1st failed attempt - Jan.24 to Feb.02,2012 at PhP2,238.02
2nd failed attempt - Dec.06 to 12,2012 at PhP4,305.90
3rd failed attempt - Dec.24 to Jan.02,2013 at PhP9,684.10
4th successful attempt - Jan.26 to Feb.01,2013 at PhP20,550.00
Total: PhP34,481.82 ($840.02)

A nerve-wrecking and head-spinning PhP36,778.02 ($919.45) has to spend just to experience winter photo-ops in this world renowned magnificent architecture.

This another race against time, very short backpacking researched in somehow detailed manner has a compressed itinerary designed as follows: 

January 26 Saturday:
2330 ETA Shanghai Airport

January 27 Sunday (day 1): 
Shanghai day-tour
2140H ETD train bound to Huangshan

January 28 Monday (day 2): <<< my birthday
0900H ETA Huangshan
Mt. Huangshan cloud valley section (east part)

January 29 Tuesday (day 3): 
Mt. Huangshan jade valley section (west part)
2125H ETD flight bound to beijing

January 30 Wednesday (day 4): 
TOTAL BUDGET : PHP48,143 = USD1,174 (57.32% went to plane ticket)

Shanghai skyscrapers at night

SWFC Observatory

People's Republic of China is a vast country in Eastern Asia (about the same size as the United States of America) with the world's largest population. The 5000-year old Chinese civilization has endured through millennial of tumultuous upheaval and revolutions, periods of golden ages and anarchy alike. The depth and complexity of the Chinese civilization, with its rich heritage, has fascinated Westerners such as Marco Polo and Gottfried Leibniz in centuries past, and will continue to excite - and bewilder - the traveler today.


timezone - +0800H UTC
capital - Beijing City
currency - renminbi/chinese yuan 1 RMB/CNY = PHP6.5, 1USD = 6RMB/CNY
language - chinese
visa - Filipino's need to apply 1st before travel

how to apply tourist visa in China?

My 1st trip for 2013 that intended to coincide on my birthday week with 10 days before the tourist visa expires. The purpose of this expedition is due to the following;

1. conquer the Great Wall of China
2. celebrate my birthday on the road
3. experience winter trekking
4. the feeling of snow in the city

Ever since I have been traveling, I have been an avid fan of the architectural greatness of  early civilization. From Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia (2011), to the Temple of Jupiter in Balbek, Lebanon (2012), to the amazing Great Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt (2012) and down to Great Wall of China. Not only that, I experience this priceless moment of wall climbing in the peak of snowing weather.

Mt. Huangshan

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai Pudong International Airport arrival at night;

Upon exiting the immigration counter and x-ray belt of Pudong Airport Terminal arrived in the middle of the night, I first took a glimpse due to unbelievable truth I am now in the China. There is still money changer open that time so before I took midnight meal in Burger King at the left side, I exchanged my USD. To my surprise, this was my 1st time to experience that a money changer will charge a whooping 60 cny (10 usd) for every single transaction. I have no choice but to just leave it as is. Metro subway will open at 0600H so after meal, I stay in the airport, as in sleeping in available series of vacant seats until before 0600H time.

Anyways, I divided this wonderful journey into different set of posts to be more specific on its content;


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