7 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Travelling in China

7 Essential Apps Enhance Your Experience in China

7 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Travelling in China

 

The mobile age has made international travel more accessible than ever. This is especially true in China, where the right apps can make all the difference as you explore teeming cities. Not sure where to start? Download these essential apps:

1. WeChat (微信 Wēixìn)

Boasting over one billion monthly active users, WeChat is China’s go-to solution for keeping in touch. This popular messaging app helps you keep in contact with hosts, new friends, and fellow travelers.

Feeling homesick? Chat with loved ones via voice or video. Group video calls allow you to conduct business or keep in touch with several people at once. If you’re struggling with directions, harness the power of WeChat’s real-time location tool — an especially valuable option if you plan to meet up with friends or acquaintances in a crowded area.

7 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Travelling China

 

2. Baidu Maps

Google Maps may be your top navigational tool at home, but in China, Baidu Maps reigns supreme. It’s particularly valuable as you attempt to navigate infrastructure that sprawls vertically as much as it does horizontally. The app’s 3D search function helps you locate businesses situated on upper levels. You’ll also gain valuable insight into public transit schedules and current traffic conditions.

Baidu Maps is a non-negotiable if you’re hoping to check out the Forbidden City or the Temple of Heaven. It provides a detailed overview of large tourist destinations, highlighting the specific locations of temples, restrooms, and more.

7 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Travelling in China beijing

 

3. Metro China Subway

You might be intimately familiar with subway systems around the world, but China’s transit is a whole new challenge. The Metro China Subway app can guide you through this complicated network by providing essential information regarding routes, schedules, and fares.

From Beijing to Shanghai, this essential app will get you where you need to go, no matter the crowds. Outside of China, it can be used to navigate subway systems in Tokyo, London, and several other cities.

metro man china

 

4. Pleco

Every international tourist needs a quality mobile dictionary. In China, your best bet is the Pleco app, which instantly processes results from a variety of licensed dictionaries. Look up words with a helpful handwriting tool or tap on them within the document reader. Improve your Chinese vocabulary rapidly with help from the app’s customizable flashcard system.

pleco app

 

5. TripAdvisor

An essential for travel in just about any country, TripAdvisor is particularly valuable in China, where it offers detailed insight into a variety of accommodations, activities, and dining establishments.

Close-up of an unrecognizable woman using the TripAdvisor App on her Lenovo A916 Android smartphone in a Renault car. TripAdvisor is an American travel website company providing reviews of travel-related content.

 

6. China Train Booking

Experience the legendary transit of China with none of the usual stress of navigating a foreign transportation system. The China Train Booking app allows you to check availability and book tickets instantly. Present e-vouchers to collect tickets effortlessly. In-app notifications keep you in the loop regarding booking status.

China Train Booking

 

7. Waygo Translator

From signs to menus, the language divide can be a huge challenge when traveling in China. The Waygo Translator can help, particularly if you struggle to type or draw characters. Simply take a picture — the app will provide an instant translation. Say goodbye to translation nightmares, especially as you explore hidden gems.

Waygo Translator

 

Final Thoughts

Stress-free travel is well within reach when you harness the power of mobile. Experiment with China’s top travel apps to get a better sense of the country’s transit system and top attractions; you’ll be glad to have powerful mobile tools in your corner.

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10 of the Best Non Touristy Things to Do in Beijing

Top 10 Alternatives to Touristy Beijing Attractions

Great Wall at beijing,china

 

Looking to live like a local during your next visit to Beijing? Do you want to get off the beaten track and meet real Beijingers? It’s not hard once you know where to go! Here are some of our favorite non-touristy things to do in Beijing to help you get off the beaten track and explore Beijing like a local.

Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Coming to Beijing without going to the wall?  The Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Hike is perfect for hikers of all abilities including children and seniors. Start here and ease yourself into the rest of your hike.

Explore Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

The Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian is an archeological site of great importance. Here is where the first Homo erectus specimen, aka Peking Man, was unearthed.

Hike Jinshanling to Jinshanling East Great Wall

Jinshanling  is excellently restored with towers, battlements and all that you expect. The history, the beauty, the surrounding views are all incredible. Jinshanling to Jinshanling East one-day hike that is one of the most popular. The hike will take you 7 kilometers for 3 to 5 hours of hiking.

Try Acupuncture and Other TCM

There are several traditional Chinese medicine or TCM hospitals and clinics throughout Beijing. Some of the most popular Chinese medicine hospitals in Beijing you can visit include:

  • Dongzhimen Hospital of Beijing at the University of Chinese Medicine
  • Guang’anmen Hospital of China at the Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences
  • Beijing Hospital of TCM at Capital Medical University

A TCM hospital is invested in the understanding and application of traditional Chinese medicine. This includes the practice, teaching, and scientific research of types of TCM including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Cupping
  • Food therapy
  • Medicinal herbal remedies

At these clinics, you have access to more than 70 different types of TCM therapies and treatments.

10 of the Best Non Touristy Things to Do in Beijing China

 

Check out Liulichang Cultural Street

Along Liulichang Cultural Street is where you can buy ancient Chinese artwork. From curios and calligraphy to paintings and pottery, it all can be bargained for here.

Visit Shilinxia Glass Platform

At the Shilinxia Glass Platform, you get the rare eagle’s eye view of Beijing from the world’s highest glass sightseeing platform. The platform is suspended 400 meters, which is 1,312 feet, above the ground of the gorge beneath it.

Visit Eastern Qing Tombs

The Eastern Qing Tombs are located in Zunhua, Hebei. Here are the imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Today the location is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is open to visitors.

Walk Around Wudaoying Hutong

Wudaoying Hutong in Dongcheng District of Beijing is a hot spot for travelers and locals alike. Here you can visit coffee shops and Tibetan artisans while exploring the historic walking area. Rickshaw rides are available in this traditional section of the city.

10 of the Best Non Touristy Things to Do in Beijing in China

 

Hang Out on Fragrant Hills Park and Beijing Botanical Garden

The Fragrant Hills Park and Beijing Botanical Garden are located near each other and offer a wonderful outdoor experience. Fragrant Hills also known as Xiangshan Park was previously an imperial garden. Stroll through Beijing Botanical Garden via walking trails and explore diverse plant life in China.

Participate in Tai Chi

Tai chi ch’uan, also known as taiji and tai ji quan, involves the concept of ying and yang. The actual art of tai chi incorporates slow-motion movements. Harvard Women’s Health Watch reports that tai chi is a safe and effective low-impact form of non-strenuous exercise.

At the Temple of Heaven, you can participate in the martial art practice of tai chi, dancing, calligraphy, and singing, as well as play chess with the locals.

10 of the Best Non Touristy Things to Do in Beijing

 

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How to Train for Long Distance Great Wall Hikes

Efficient Training Tips for Long Distance Great Wall Hikes

sporty fitness woman trail runner running up to the top of great wall on mountain

 

You are ready for your first Great Wall hiking trip of the year. You have organized well and done your research. You know daily distances and elevation gains. You purchased a good pair of boots and know what you are going to put in your pack. But are you really ready?

Great Wall of China hiking is not a walk in the park. Is your body trained for the rigors of a rugged trail?  Without adequate physical training and preparation, your hiking excursion can turn into a torturous and exhausting grind.

The Importance of Fitness for Great Wall Hiking

Why fitness so important? There is a direct relationship between your level of physical fitness and your enjoyment of the Great Wall hiking experience. It does not matter what distance you are planning to hike, if you are not fit, you are going to hurt.  When you hurt, you can’t have fun.  It’s as simple as that.

The Focus of Hiking Training

“Long distance” Great Wall hiking means different things to different people, but training principles will be consistent regardless of the length of the hike.

The most effective training focuses on attaining peak fitness for a specific event or activity. The long distance hiker must focus on four important fitness areas.

  1. Lower Body Strength (Legs and Glutes)
  2. Core Muscle Strength
  3. Cardiopulmonary
  4. Getting Comfortable with Your Gear
How to Train for Long Distance Great Wall Hikes

 

Training Program for Hikers

Most hikers try to keep a reasonably high level of fitness all-year, and kick it up in the weeks before the Great Wall hiking trip. For example, if you have planned a trip to Gubeikou & Jinshanling that will include one day-hike of 14 to 15 miles you should step up or begin a training about 10 weeks prior to the trip.

The primary objective of my training is to get my body in shape to handle long climbs on steep mountain trails. The ideal training regimen will simulate the conditions I will encounter during my hike.  If there are no hills nearby, you may have to improvise.

Walking: Start Slowly and Build Up

Your training schedule and walking routine should start slowly with low mileage walks.  Gradually increase the walking mileage as the weeks go by.

During the first two weeks of training, walk three days each week (you should also exercise two additional days per week. More on that later). The first two walking days are 2 to 3 mile jaunts at a moderate pace. Increase the mileage to 4 to 5 miles on the third day.

The third and fourth weeks of training continues with two 3 mile walks. But the long walk day is increased to 6-7 miles. By week eight you will still walking three days each week with a long walk of 8 to 10 miles once a week.

To further condition your legs, add a few exercises such as lunges, burpees, body weight squats and pushups at various points during the walk.

Continue this routine until a few days before the first big hike. Then take a couple days off from training to ensure your body is well-rested for the challenges of the trail.

 

Sporty fitness woman runner running on mountain top

 

Improvising Hills

If you have hills where you live, include as many of them as possible in your training walks.  Many people do not have that option.  Sometimes waking will have to do.

The planned hike example includes thousands of feet of elevation gain, but there are no big hills nearby to use for training. If you live in an area where there are multi-story buildings that means there are stairs. If so, find the building and walk the stairs once a week.

The goal should least 50 flights each session.  If it is a ten story building, ascend and descend the stairs 10 times. It is not enjoyable but it works. Climbing stairs will burn your legs up and give you an incredible cardio workout at the same time.

Getting Comfortable with Gear

Getting your body accustomed to gear is an often overlooked part of training for a long Great Wall hike.  Walking with a heavy pack on your back will tax your core, back, shoulder and leg muscles.  It will exhaust you if you are not prepared.

Your pack for a long day Great Wall hike will weigh about 10 to 12 lbs, including water, food, rain gear, other clothing, and survival kit.

Start wearing the pack on your walks starting in week five of my walking training. Doing this conditions muscles for the added weight and different weight distribution. It also toughens the shoulders and hips which will bear the load of the pack straps.

In the Gym

While training for hiking, adjust your gym routine to condition your body for the upcoming trek. Do high-intensity cardio exercise on an Arc trainer or elliptical. Increase the incline and speed on the treadmill. Do the hard things now. It will make the hike much easier.

If you do weight training, focus on your, legs, back, and core muscles.  A twice-a-week kettlebell routine is perfect. Create a routine incorporating high-intensity, high-repetition sets of kettlebell swings, woodchoppers, cleans, upright rows and squats with minimal rest between sets. An added bonus of this high-intensity workout is its tremendous cardio benefit.

Everyone trains differently.  A routine like this will get you in peak condition for a three day high-mileage hike.  Make sure you stick with conditioning program you choose, even on those days you don’t feel like it.

Getting in shape for hiking can be hard work and tedious at times. Standing on a summit taking in a 360 degree panoramic view with 100 mile visibility makes it all worthwhile.

How to Train for Long Distance Great Wall Hikes beijing china

 

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Why A Trip to China is Expected to Get More Expensive

5 Unique Reasons Why Travel in China Will Become More Expensive

Why A Trip to China Is Expected to Get More Expensive Beijing

 

Are you planning a trip to China? You might be surprised at the price tag for admission to some of the sites on your itinerary—especially if you visited China a decade ago. Learn more about these reasons why China travel is so much more expensive these days.

Value of the Renminbi

The Renminbi or Yuan is the official Chinese currency. Since 2005, the Renminbi has appreciated nearly 30 percent. As a result of the Renminbi appreciation, the US dollar is no longer as valuable in the Chinese market. What does this mean for you? You will have to pay more for accommodations and dining.

Increased Cost of Admission

The cost of admissions to the different sites around Beijing, China continues to rise. Throughout China, more than 20 of the top tourist destinations have upped the price tag for visitors.  This is in direct relation to the rising cost of living and inflation in certain areas. In addition, some tourist-friendly activities and programs have increased the price of admission to help increase services.

Rising Price of Fuel

The price of fuel is such a volatile one that every major economy from the US to China is affected by fluctuations. Whenever the cost of crude oil increases, this affects every aspect of an industry. For the travel industry, for example, you are faced with rising fuel costs for airplanes, trains, and automobiles.

In addition, all of the food you eat is transported via these modes of transportation. Freight providers who transport this food in China are faced with fuel surcharges and rising fuel costs. These costs are tacked onto the food products and passed right along to the consumer, which in this case is you, the visitor. Everything else from the hotel linens you use to the souvenirs you buy while in China also comes with increased price tags due to fuel price increases.

Kaohsiung's famous tourist attractions

 

Rising Wage in China

In China, the annual wage is on the rise. This is great for tour guides and other workers in the tourism industry. However, someone has to pay the price tag—and in this case, it is you, the tourist. In the last 10 years, China has seen the annual wage increase by 14 percent in value. Part of this is due to the increased value of tour guides and workers in the industry.

Price Per Great Wall Section

Another reason why a trip to China is expensive—period—is because you have to pay for each section of the Great Wall of China when you go hiking there. For admission to hike Jinshanling Great Wall is 65RMB or $10.4 in the summer per person. Yes, that is for just one section. When you visit the Great Wall, you want to see as much of the terrain as possible. So you can anticipate the cost of actually hiking the wall to rise once you arrive if you are not prepared for the price of admission.

Final Thoughts

Now it is the best time to carry out your China travel plan, before it’s getting more expensive. To make sure you have enough money in your travel budget to cover any rising costs when in China, contact the travel pros.

Why A Trip to China Is Expected to Get More Expensive China

 

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Four Helpful Tips For Traveling in China While Pregnant

China Pregnancy Travel Tips

Four Helpful Tips For Traveling In China While Pregnant

 

Traveling can be a somewhat stressful experience at the best of times. However, traveling while pregnant provides a whole new set of challenges. If you and your baby bump are planning on taking a trip any time soon, you may find the following stress-reducing tips helpful:

1. Pack Enough Water and Snacks

Water is one of the most important aspects of your diet when pregnant. Women should drink between eight and twelve glasses per day to replenish their amniotic fluid and to reduce instances of nausea and dizziness. Alongside your water, you should also remember to pack plenty of healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up.

Pregnant women are a lot more likely to get food poisoning, particularly listeriosis and it can be really dangerous. Avoiding uncooked stuff (like salads) would be wise. Scrupulous hand washing and frequent antibacterial wipes.

2. Time Your Travel

The first trimester is usually the hardest, with cases of morning sickness and nausea quite common. The third trimester is the most sensitive, where any kind of stress may have a negative effect on your health – and potentially a premature birth.

As a general rule, the second trimester is considered to be the best time to travel. Of course, each and every pregnancy is different so you should be sure to consult with your doctor on the specifics of your case before you make any bookings.

Pregnant woman traveling with airplane. Close up.

 

3. Avoid High Altitude Destinations

Some pregnant women should be especially careful when traveling to high altitude locations. Avoid high altitude destinations like Tibet and parts of Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan. If you have hypertension, preeclampsia, or any other high-risk pregnancy condition, high altitudes may make your condition worse. Also avoid high-risk activities and instead opt for slow walks, low-intensity swimming, and yoga.

4. Take a Road Trip

This may come as a surprise, but a road trip is one of the most comfortable ways to travel when you are pregnant. Traveling by car allows you to take frequent stops, stretch, grab a snack, and even visit a medical care facility if the need arises.

In case of nausea, you can stop and take a breather. Rather than take a one-hour flight, it is often better to take a three or four-hour road trip. However, you should try to avoid any trip that will require you to be on the road overnight.

In Closing

Traveling in China while pregnant can certainly be a little challenging, but it is by no means impossible. By following the advice contained in this article, you can ensure that your trip is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Four Helpful Tips For Traveling In China While Pregnant great wall

 

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