Travelers Notes
Asia: other area
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Request from ITIS Travelers(
Are you travelling in Asia or planning to travel there soon? If so we would really appreciate it if you sent us information from your trip or were willing to join our On The Road team - sending emails while on the road. Please email us if you can help.

? Dec. Jan Dockalek, e-1-mail
China to India overland:
Looking for info about china - way of life, travelling, hotels etc. Travelling there.,

I Dec 5, 98, Richard Thomson (
Sanjiang to Kaili via Rongjang
There's little info. on this route in the Lonely planet guides (even in the new one to SW China) so I thought I'd add a bit. As the guides suggest, you'll meet very few other tourists. And it's good.
Sangiang Accommodation: Starting at the wind and rain bridge outside Sanjiang: there's a new hotel, the Dong Village hotel (4 rooms, very squeaky doors, bikes for hire, good food) where English is very much spoken. At the hostel nearby communication in English is via the lonely planet Mandarin phrasebook. The
competition introduced by the Dong Village hotel provides an
interesting example of capitalism in China. Suffice it to say that the hostel does not like the new hotel - not many people come here so it's a bit of a fight for tourists. You may well find yourself touted on the bus to the bridge (2.90 yuan) by a representative of one or other of the hotels.
There's also another hotel/restaurant being built by the bus stop. Someone will try to charge you 5 yuan just to be in the area. Pay if you like.
Transport to Congyian: The 07.30 bus from the bridge connects with a bus to Fulu (dep. 08.30 arr 11.45). From Fulu there's a bus to Congjan at 12.00-12.15. The guy at the Dong Village hotel wrote down the Chinese characters for asking for a boat at Fulu (mentioned in LP) but no one in the village agreed that there would be one. The 12.00 (approx) bus from Fulu gets to Congjian around 14.15, just missing a bus onward to Rongjian.
Accommodation in Congyian: There are (at least) 2 hotels in Congjian, both charging around 160 yuan for an overpriced room. These are the only English signs in town I saw. One hotel is on the
way in before the bridge (there's also a CITS office there); the other is just up from the bus station.
Transport to Rongjian: If you don't want to stay, there is a bus to Rongjian at 16.00, arriving at 19.45.
Accommodation in Rongyjan: There's a big sign in Rongjian on the way in, advertising the Rongjian hotel: this is new and expensive and was even full. No English spoken. I was eventually
shown to a hotel nearby (no English sign, overpriced at 65
yuan) by helpful locals. Sign language can get you what you
Transport to Kali: From Rongjian there are hourly buses in the morning to Kaili at 06.30, 07.30 and I think 08.30. It's 8 hours, up and down 2 mountains at least, and 20 yuan. It's an excellent trip.
My bus broke down completely just 8K from Kaili. I was the
only one able to afford to pay again for the trip into town on another bus. The rest stayed for the long wait; I couldn't imagine the bus would move again for hours and hours.
Sights: Kaili market is on a Sunday and is enormous and unmissable. It fills the whole town. The market at Chong An (spelling?) is not weekly/Friday as listed in LP - it's on a five day
cycle, as therefore are many others in the area.
Restaurants: I'd like to plug a new restaurant in Kaili as the food is good and clean and the service wonderful: it's on the right after leaving the CITS/hotel compound going towards the night market. I'm told it's called 'guan guan chicken bu pin', not that you can tell that if you can't read the Chinese characters. But it now should have a menu in English after they copied out pages and pages from my LP China guide.
None of the buses on the route to Kaili wait until they're full, they depart to a timetable. They were only full for short periods - minorities going to market etc. Most of the time they were at leadt half empty. Delays were caused by punctures, markets (couldn't pass through them easily on the narrow roads), the need to clean the thick dust off the buses occasionally), another vehicle falling off the road in the dark, pigs falling off the roof of a bus, the need to pull an abandoned wrecked lorry tyre into a bus, completely
blocking the entrance/exit door etc. Some parts of the roads on this route are also little more than dried mud, so it may become much slower in the wet season.
Trip Highlight: Outside Kaili, about 90 minutes on foot from the nearest bus stop in Paiyang (one hour from Kaili on the road to Taijang), I found the highlight of my trip. I simply followed a man who did one of those Asian drop-hands at me - 'come here'. I thought something might happen and it did. He took me to his Miao village where they were holding a festival to honour their ancestors. It only happens once every 13 years. I went back the next 2 days also. Wonderful costumes. Things like that seem to happen in the more obscure parts of a country. As LP suggests, southern China is not just Yangshou to Kunming to Lijiang.
A final word - on Longshen: the teacher who runs the Riverside hotel (a true dump with lorries pounding on one side and karaoke wailing on the other) has become a bit too proud of dominating the western tourist industry in town. She points to the new hotel opposite her's with scorn: no Westerner goes there! The information office mentioned in LP has closed down, so she's the only source of information in English in town. The government hotel has not one word of English, but singles are only 60 yuan. I had the temerity to stay in the government hotel. Teacher Li saw me arrive there from her classroom (which just happens to be next to the hotel), and wasn't best pleased. The maps she provides
don't really deserve the name - little more than a few squiggles and dots. Less use than a Miro painting. But she can hire you a guide up the rice terraces (unmissable) if you feel more comfortable with one. There are also now hotels in the minority villages as you climb the terraces. Don't bother looking for a (semi-)cold beer outside the Riverside hotel. The fridges in town contain little but dogs.

? Dec. 98 SGAIKWAD V.W.e-1-mail
Info on Japan travel:

Answer from ITIS Travelers
Hi Saikvad,
Sorry that we don't have any information about Japan on the site at the moment, however as we live here if you have any specific questions we probably could answer you.
The following sites have quite good information:
Lonely Planet:
The Japan Tourist Office:
Japan Web Guide:
Rob's FAQ's - mainly for people wanting to live in Japan
Good luck with your search for information on Japan.

I 98.11.1: sigetch(
To Travelers heading to Tibet from China
There are two ways to go to Tibet, from Golmud by bus and from Chengdu by plane, but if you don't use non-public bus, plane is the right way to go because official bus, CITS's fare is as expensive as plane and it takes time for 30-60 hrs from Golmud to Lhasa. You have to cross 5000  high mountains twice. So if you think you may get high altitude sickness, you better not take it unless you rest in Golmud for a few days to adjust . I attempted the route Dunhuang-Golmud-Lhasa then I tried to buy a ticket to Golmud by unofficial bus, but I was refused. This office has a connection with CITS and they know that all foreignerd who go to Golmud are heading to Lhasa by the cheap bus so they force us to buy a ticket all the way to Lhasa, seat-1590 yuen, sleeper-more than 2000yuen If you refuse and try to buy only to Golmud, you have to pay 300yuen permit. I don't have such money. If you don't have money or don't want to pay for, head to the road, just cross the bridge and try to catch a bus, you can get a bus with local price. you can find unofficial bus from Golmud to Lhasa for 300 yuen.
From editor
This is an experience of a Japanese and it may not apply to Western travelers.

I BoraNet Travel: Email:
Air Fares from Korea
Following are the economy-return prices departing from Seoul (USD 1 is equivalent to 1,350 Korean Won approx. You can check all prices and make a realtime reservation in our homepage(
1. North America
Los Angeles/ San Francisco/Vancouver 560,000 Won (JAL)
Los Angeles 550,000 Won (VASP/NW) 744,000 Won (Delta) 510,000 Won(Varig), San Francisco 480,000 Won (Singapore Air),New York 725,000 Won (NW) 810,000 Won (JAL) 790,000 Won (ANA),New York & Eastern Area 870,000 Won (United)
Vancouver 560,000Won (Sing.Air) 540,000Won (Can. Air)
Toronto 770,000 Won (Canadian Air)
* Special prices of Canadian Air departing on Tuesday, Thurs.and Sun.)
2. South-Eastern Asia
Tokyo 300,000 Won (ANA) Fukuoka 230,000 Won( JAL)
Osaka 260,000 Won (Asiana) Bangkok 300,000 (Asiana)
3. Australia and South Pacific
Sydney Anesett(550,000Won) 565,000 Won(JAL/hotel) 570,000Won(Cathay )
Auckland : 670,000 Won(Thai) 700,000 Won(NZ Air) 730,000Won(Singapore )
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Passengers flying to Europe or Australia can get one night hotel just for 1 dollar, and 50%
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III. Travel Hints on Saving Money
Due to a big airfare difference between Korea and Japan, you can save travel cost if you buy ticket from us and start a travel from Korea. Major carriers departing from Seoul are stopping at Narita or Osaka in Japan on the way to the US, Canada, Australia and Europe.
Since you have to start from Korea, additional cost would be oneway ticket price from Japan to Korea. When you return to Japan, you can get off in Japan.
In case that you spend a night in Korea for connection, We will arrange hotel and others for the convenience.
For frequent commuters between Japan and Korea, set your starting base Seoul. You will save money as much as half of price, compared with fare starting from Japan.
Boranet is a travel agency providing the real-time air reservation on internet with consolidated price in Korea. As the Korean agent of TISS booking Engine (powered by SABRE reservation system), we are providing not only about airline information including discounted air fares, routing fares and round-the-world tickets departing from Korea but the world-wide consolidated prices.
BoraNet Travel
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I 98.10.8: tom<>
I visited China for 2 weeks from the end of August. Since it was the first trip to china for me, it was very enjoyable even though there are a few negative incidents.
I Traveled though Xian, Shenyang, Shanghai by train.
Many people think goods are cheap in China, but there is no standard prices in China. They put different prices according to buyer's nationality. The prices is sometime 10 times more than local prices. I had hard time to get a right prices. Not only I put effort to bargain, I paid attention to how much local people are paying. For example, drinking water costs from 3 Yukon to 100 Yukon in town. In tourist town, it costed 500 Yukon. Hard bargain is necessary. Be careful.
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? 6 July 98: Matsumoto (e-1-mail to
China to India overland:
Please tell me how to cross this border?
Is it possible, difficult, etc.?
Thank you very much.

? 4 July, 98: ingeborg(
Boat from China to Japan?
Do you know anything about taking a boat from China (probably Shanghai) to Japan (probably to Fukuoka)? Is itpossible? I heard there are some cheap AND luxureus boats, is this true? Do you know how much a one way tichet costs? Any other tips about this route? Thanks a lot. I'll be looking forward to your answer!

I 31 May, fiona (
I lived in Beijing for a year and so I did most of the temple bashing stuff. The Temple of Heaven is the best, and there is a really good market (indoors) right by it.
Try and make it to the Summer palace and when visiting the Wall try and avoid Badeling, and go for Mutiyanu ( different areas of the Wall) as the first has been restored to look like some lego brick wall.
One brilliant thin is to go on a bike ride around the city and you get to see all the Hutongs where the normal non show Chinese live. There is a gorgeous muslim quarter near Tiannenmen square wich also has to be seen!!
When going around Beijing there are three types of taxi- the Miyandi which is called that as it looks like a loaf of bread and then two types of salon car taxis. They vary in price as they vary in comfort, and make sure that you get the meter on or be sure to agree with a price before you go.
It is quite safe for foreigners as you tend to stick out like a sore thumb. In Beijing it isn't too bad, but other places a foreign face will get a few stange looks.
If you need any more info, don't hesitate to email.
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I Jun 5,98 From various media
Heat waves keep attacking India, more than 50 C everyday, killing hundreds people.

? May 15,98 Glenn Brooks(
China, N.India, Vietnam
We are interested in an independent trip to China and northern India, perhaps with a stopo in Vietnam, in Sept-Oct, 98, at moderate expense. Specifically, we want to travel to Beijing, Xian, Kunming, Kathmandu, Delhi--and possibly return to Colorado Springs via Paris or London. This is still flexible. Cost is a consideration. ThanksJune

? Feb 10, 98 ? Info on Korea
Can anyone help me with information South Korea ?
A Answer: Info on Korea from Bruce
September is a good time to visit Korea. In Korea, budget hotels are called yo-gwans, and they are very common in parts of downtown Seoul. Tourists are not steered to them and some managers don't know English. They usually have a sign that says "yo-gwan" in Korean (ask a Korean to write it down in Hangul so you know what to look for) and a logo that depicts steam rising from a bath. Some are fancier than others, with beds and attached baths, others are just part of a family's home, with sleeping mats and shared bath. Even in the 'fancy' ones check the room carefully before accepting in. It is not customary to change the sheets between customers! You can even bargain a little on the price, but September is the high season. Even cheaper accomodation are called yo-in-sook, but these usually are in the short-time working-girls business

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