AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

7 Months of Travelling

Today is the day that we have been travelling for 7 months! Nice huh? We didn’t know if we’d last this long but we are starting to get into the swing of things now. We are learning what we do and don’t like and what our limits are. Three days on a Chinese tour is beyond our limits!

Hindsight is a great thing. We can look back on much of this trip and see where we went wrong, or at least could have done it better/more efficiently. But, we had to learn and often the only way to learn is to try it and find out. Right now we regret not staying longer in Beijing last November. We spent two days there when we should have stayed for about five days!

Today we attempted to book our next move, which was planned to be Beijing. The idea was we’d travel up from Chengdu to Xi’an then to Beijing in a diagonal line from the south west to the north east(ish). Then go direct to Hong Kong on a high speed train to get a new visa for China (the Tibetan visa cannot be extended as it’s a special type of visa) and then work our way up the pacific coast. But, today that plan was wrecked. It appears that this is holiday season in China and the prices have jumped in response. The hostel here in Xi’an is costing £20 per night, far more then what we’ve paid almost everywhere else on this trip (a treat at Christmas, one night in Bangkok and Manila are the exceptions) and Beijing is even more expensive. Most hostels are charging £50+ per night! Not much less than big branded hotels. But most are full and those remaining are (according to the reviews) dirty, dark, smelly, bad staff, out of the way, etc. Put bluntly, too much dollar for crappy rooms! In addition the trains are packed. No hard sleeper beds left on any train between Xi’an and Beijing on the day we went. We either pay double for soft sleeper (£40 each) or take the fast day train and pay even more.

The new plan is to skip Beijing and go direct to Hong Kong. We booked the train earlier, it’s pricey but it’s a high speed train. It covers 2,200km in a bit over 9 hours with 13 stops! We have also booked a hotel/apartment. It’s expensive, but cooking our own food is both a treat as we get to eat old favourites and also saving some money from not eating out. Maybe Beijing will be cheaper at the end of June? Maybe there’ll be more choice then? We’ll see…

In the longer term the weather in South Korea is looking dodgy at the end of June. There’s one time of the year that it’s recommended to stay away, and that’s the end of June and early July. We’ll have to play that one by ear too. Bad weather and we avoid going, looking OK and we get in and out to Japan quickly. Japan also isn’t perfect weather. Hot and humid and plenty of rain. But it’s also trekking season and Mt. Fuji is open for climbing in July!

These problems are mainly caused because we spent longer on Nepal than planned. Should we have spent less time there and had possibly better weather or lower tourist numbers across the rest of our trip? Maybe, maybe not… Like I said, hindsight is a great thing to say what we should have done.

We may not have enjoyed parts of this trip but for all our complaining we are at least glad we’re giving it a go. The last few days have been especially trying. After the Chinese tour, then the snorer on the train, made worse by the hostel in Xi’an having very slow internet and all Google services are blocked (at the ISP or hostel is unknown). Google maps is an integral part of the blog so I can hardly use the blog. Every hotel site uses Google maps for showing locations so we can’t pinpoint hotel locations and incredibly slow internet makes hotel searching so slow! We’ve also found out how superior Google is to the alternatives!

The next few days should be good. Wandering Xi’an, then visiting the Terracotta warriors then the high speed train to Hong Kong. Good food, nice city and lots to do there. It’s looking positive! Let’s hope that the majority of the rest of the trip is the same.

Posted from here.

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