Backpack Adventure - 3 weeks through China by train
Published: Aug, 2020 | Travel Date: Apr - May 2019
Anyone who has always wanted to explore China - without a coach and guide but with a backpack and train - should definitely dare! Our 3 week trip to China was an adventure in many ways. We have seen and experienced so much. China was unexpectedly the absolute highlight of our 5-month trip to Asia. The country scored particularly well with its beautiful landscape and many spectacular national parks. But the Chinese culture, the food and the big cities also made this vacation something very special. Of course, it wasn't always easy: Language barriers, cultural peculiarities, toilets or even finding food made some days difficult for us. For a trip to China, you also need a visa and, with it, detailed travel planning including entry and exit documents as well as the booked hotels.
Beijing is modern, but it also has many more traditional parts of the city, which is why you can get a good insight into "old" China here. There are a lot of cultural attractions in Beijing and you should plan at least 4-5 days for a visit. In general, you can't pay with a Visa card anywhere in China, but only with WeChat, AliPay or cash. So we booked everything online in advance as best we could. E.g. Sightseeing / tours through Viator or train tickets through Trip.com. With us, withdrawing money only worked from major international banks such as HSBC (we had a DKB Visa card). In Beijing, you can get from A to B very easily by subway. A rechargeable card is available for this purpose. Generally one should avoid the holidays for sightseeing!
Liangcang International Youth Hostel, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
This hostel is located in the old town of Beijing directly on a very nice and lively street with many restaurants. We can recommend this accommodation to you.
Activities and Sights
Temple of Heaven, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Very nice temple. Definitely one of the must do's in Beijing. The entire complex is very beautiful and you can see a lot more than just the Temple of Heaven. Buy the tickets online in advance, for example at viator.com.
Forbidden City, Jingshan Front Street, Dongcheng, Beijing
The forbidden city is also one of the must do's in Beijing. Buy the tickets online in advance, for example at viator.com.
Jingshan Park, Jingshan West Street, Xicheng District, Beijing
Jingshan Park is located directly after exiting the Forbidden City. Here too you have to pay a small entrance fee. A visit to the park is definitely worth it, as it has a small hill from which you can look out over the Forbidden City and all of Beijing.
Beihai Park, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
The Beihai Park is in turn right next to the Jingshan Park. The park is very green and there is a small lake in the middle. You can easily spend several hours here.
Great Wall of China, Mutianyu Great Wall, Huairou District, China
To visit the wall, we decided on the section near Mutianyu. It's a little less going on here. We booked a bus tour to Mutianyu through Viator, so the journey was very easy. There are different ways to get "on" or "down" the wall. 1. Walk (min. 1 hour) 2. Lift / cable car: We took the cable car due to time constraints (costs extra). 3. Toboggan run for the descent. On the wall itself you have to walk a lot if you want to get away from the crowds and the descent is no picnic either.
Lama Temple, Yonghegong Street, Dongcheng, China
Interesting temple. Good for getting an insight into Chinese culture.
Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Nanluoguxiang is a narrow alley that is an old part of Beijing city center. There are numerous shops and food stalls. The street is worth a visit!
Donghuamen Night Market
Food market in central China that also has insects. Nothing for weak nerves.
Walk through the Quianmen District
Just stroll a little through the streets and try different delicacies
Wangfujing shopping street
Wangfujing is one of the most famous and important shopping streets in China
Transportation to next station
Train | 04:40 Hours | 70 USD
We booked the train tickets a few days in advance through trip.com. This bypasses the language barrier at the ticket counter. However, you have to pick up the cards at the counter. This works quite easily with a QR code. It is best to book all trains at once and then collect all tickets together. High-speed trains in China are great - clean, well-maintained and fast.
At first we were very skeptical about our 3-week trip to China. Admittedly, we were a little worried because of the large language barriers. But in the end we were able to master all of the problems and were thoroughly enthusiastic about China. The country has beautiful natural landscapes and a very interesting culture. The food is delicious and the infrastructure is great. We can recommend everyone to venture an individual trip to China and will certainly travel here again.