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China

Posted on 4 Aug 2013 | 0 comments

Route

We are meeting 4 other couples at the Lao – China border on 8 May to share the cost of a guide in China:

  • Rob & Robyn
  • Guy & Cheryl
  • Miles & Marina
  • Phil & Mads

Unfortunately it is not allowed to drive your own vehicle through China without a guide which makes it rather expensive and a long process as you need to decide on an itinerary first before the travel agent can organise all the necessary permits to drive on those roads… Send us a message with any questions and we’ll do our best to tell you what we know if you want to travel through China with your own vehicle.

This is the route we drove in China. If you are interested, you can click on this image below and it will take you to the actual Google Map online. You can then zoom in (or out) to have a more detailed look.

our route in China - click on this image for the interactive Google map

our route in China – click on this image for the interactive Google map

We might show our campsite locations on here too at some point if we have time to get that organised.

Visa

After some research I found there was a Chinese visa application centre right here in Brisbane, so Jon visited a few times in his lunch breaks with questions to make sure we had the right things before applying.

Apply for visa in Brisbane 6 months before entry. Submit application form (and supplementary application form for me as I will be applying with my Dutch passport) plus flight itinerary and hotel booking and pay $128.50. Four days later you have your visa.

My visa was actually a little cheaper as I have a foreign passport. I applied for mine on Tuesday 4 December and Jon was able to pick it up on Monday 10 December. Jon however wasn’t that lucky, as his Australian passport was still in Singapore (for the visa for Kazakhstan), he tried to apply with his UK passport. But as there is no proof in that passport that he is allowed to stay in the country they wouldn’t except it. Now he will have to wait until the passports are back from Singapore, hopefully on time to apply for his Chinese one before we leave to Europe (update: it didn’t arrive on time, so he will have to apply for it when we get back. Passports only came back on Wednesday 12-12-12 from Singapore…luckily just in time before we fly out!).

Jon dropped off his application as soon as we were back from our xmas break in Europe and picks it up 4 days later on Friday 11 Jan – easy.

Visas for China – tick!


This is the information I found on the web before discovering there was an application centre in Brisbane:

single entry visa $60, double entry visa $90.

Visa Application Service Centre in Kuala Lumpur (CVASC) Address: 2nd floor, Plaza OSK, 25 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Office Hours: Application Submission: 9:00-15:00 Monday-Friday Payment and Passport Collection: 9:00-16:00 Monday-Friday
Tel: +60-3-21758888, 21757888 Fax: +60-3-21756888 Email: klcentre@visaforchina.org Website: http://www.visaforchina.org

This is the ONLY place where we can pick up Chinese visas in South East Asia. I also found these phone numbers: +60-3-21636815 (Ext. 102, 103, 104, 105, 106), 21636814 Monday-Friday 9:00-11:45

1. Fill in the visa application form (attached – I am sure we can fill them in with help from NAVO to avoid certain issues like Tibet as recommended)
2. Fill in the supplementary application form (attached) – only needed when applying for a visa in a country you don’t have the nationality of. So, if we can apply in Australia only I will have to fill this one in. If we apply in Kuala Lumpur we will all have to fill this one in.
3. Make an appointment to hand in your visa application (in person). The appointment can be made online.
4. Pick up your passport 4 days later (you can pay extra to pick it up in one business day)

Reading the information it seems we can only apply about a month in advance (up to 3 months maximum) for a single entry visa which will only be valid for 3 months. So we would have to wait until 29 Feb (doesn’t exist in 2013 so assume 1 March for that reason) before we could apply to enter on 29 May. I wonder if we can use the double entry visa to get around that as they are valid for 6 months… (update: yes you can! We applied for a double entry visa and were therefore able to apply before leaving Australia).

Also, I found an address for a visa application centre in KL, but when I look at the online appointment system I cannot pick KL to hand in my application.

Border crossing from Lao into China

Please read about this border crossing on the Laos page.

Border crossing from China into Mongolia

Please read about this border crossing on the Mongolia page.

Sim card

We bought a China Mobile sim card. As nobody in the shop spoke English it was a bit tricky to get what we wanted. We think we have bought a sim card with 1Gb of data for 1 month and we can buy top-ups for 1Gb when it finishes. We had to show our passport again just to buy a prepaid card. Surprisingly, China doesn’t have a lot of 3G and if you want to buy a sim card that will allow you to receive 3G speeds you need to pay a lot more, so we opted for 2G instead. It works for downloading emails ok, but nothing more exciting than that.

Again we are not able to create a local hotspot with our iphone, although the Samsung from Cheryl is able to create a hotspot. Not sure why.

In China it’s possible to view our blog (wordpress with our own domain name), we can receive comments and reply to comments (we used the iPhone WordPress app), but we can’t log in to the admin part of our blog to make any changes or add a new post. We also can’t access You Tube, Google or Facebook and are looking into either vpn or a web proxy to allow us to access these again.

Our phone number is: +86 187 8795 7720

NOTE: Be aware when you are going to buy your top-up, that you can only buy these in the same province as where you bought the sim card… We don’t know if you can buy it before you leave the province and then activate once you are in a different province as we couldn’t test this (as we had already left the province where we bought the card before we wanted to buy a top-up).

We ended up buying a new simcard with data once the month ran out. The sim card itself wasn’t expensive so it didn’t really matter.

Web proxy

I bought 2 months access via a webproxy for $12 so we would be able to access our blog, youtube (to upload videos) and facebook. It all seemed to work fine until we tried to actually upload photos for our blog on wordpress and a new video we made to youtube. Turns out you can’t use a webproxy to upload photos and videos, or at least not the one we used (Securitales).

I do recommend them if all you want to do is access blocked sites like facebook and youtube, but if you need to upload things to youtube or wordpress you might have to look further. We heard people talk about ‘strong vpn’, so check them out. We gave up and decided to wait until we are in Mongolia so we can access it all again.

Planned itinerary

Below is our planned itinerary, we cannot deviate from this route, but we are allowed to go faster or slower through the route (as long as we make it out on time!). Unfortunately we had to cut out Tibet and Everest Base Camp as some of the vehicles in our group are not able to go to those altitudes 🙁 But nevertheless we are looking forward to experiencing China.

1 Thu 9-May-13 Mohan磨憨/ Entry入境/ Mengla勐腊 32 650-1000m Enter China, and deal with the related procedures at border. Drive to Mengla
2 Fri 10-May-13 Mengla勐腊/ Mengxing勐醒/ Jinghong景洪 200 540m Finish the rest procedures at Mengla and then drive to Jinghong. Visiting options: Ganlanba Dai village, Menglun Tropical Botanic Garden;
3 Sat 11-May-13 Jinghong景洪/Pu’er普洱/Jiangcheng江城 270 1200m Drive to Jiangcheng. Enjoy the ethnic scenery along the way
4 Sun 12-May-13 Jiangcheng江城/Luchun绿春/Laomeng老勐 220 1300m The road condition is not good but with beautiful scenery
5 Mon 13-May-13 Laomeng老勐/Yuanyang 元阳 80 1500m Drive to sightsee Yuanyang Rice Terraces.  Picture hilltop villages, the only things visible above rolling fog and cloud banks; an artist’s palette of colours at sunrise and sunset; spiritrecharging treks through centuries-old rice covered hills, with a few water buffalo eyeing you contentedly nearby.
6 Tue 14-May-13 Yuanyang元阳/Jianshui建水 90 1300m Although little Km, while most are mountain road.  Jianshui is also an ancient town which is worth visiting
7 Wed 15-May-13 Jianshui建水/Kaiyuan开远/Mile弥勒/Shilin石林 220 1700m Drive to Shilin, if you are interested in, can have a stop in Mile to visit Mile Temple.
8 Thu 16-May-13 Shilin石林/Kunming昆明 120 1900m In the morning, visit the Stone Forest (Shilin), a conglomeration of utterly bizarre but stunning karst geology. After that, go to Kunming
9 Fri 17-May-13 Kunming昆明 1900m You can do some shopping or easy walk these days, or can go to explore the city, such as Dian Lake, Golden Temple, etc.
10 Sat 18-May-13 Kunming昆明 REST AND MAINTENANCE DAY
11 Sun 19-May-13 Kunming昆明/Fumin富民/Luquan禄劝/Yuanmou元谋 230 1000m Drive along the provicial road, feeling the local Yi ethnic culture. On the way, to vist the old Cliff with Yi language, and Ape-man fossil site around Yuanmou.
12 Mon 20-May-13 Yuanmou元谋/Anle安乐/Mouding牟定/Nanhua南华/Midu弥渡/Nanjian南涧 280 1900m Drive to Nanjian
13 Tue 21-May-13 Nanjian南涧/Weibaoshan魏宝山/Weishan 巍山/Dali 大理 100 2000m Visit Mt. Weibaoshan with most time of the day which is about 6 km far from Weishan county; then drive to Dali city and stay overnight in the acient town.
14 Wed 22-May-13 Dali大理 2000m Visit options in Dali: Three Majestic Pagodas, Zhonghe Temple etc.
15 Thu 23-May-13 Dali大理/ Yunlong云龙/ Nuodeng 诺邓 165 2000m Drive to Yunlong county and Dengnuo village, visit Dengnuo Salt wells. Guests decide to camp in Dengnuo village or back to Yunlong county (6KM from each other)
16 Fri 24-May-13 Nuodeng 诺邓/ Madeng马登/ Lijiang丽江 213 2400m Drive to Lijiang by county and village road.
17 Sat 25-May-13 Lijiang丽江 2400m Visit and have fun in and around Lijiang ancient town. Optional: Yufeng Temple, The Stockaded Village of Bai Minority, the Mural-paintings in Basha grotto, Collection of ancient Naxi hieroglyphics and musical scores etc.
18 Sun 26-May-13  Lijiang丽江/ Tiger Leaping Gorge虎跳峡 80 3300m Drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge, around 1-2 hours, based on the traffic condition (a lot of cars and bus go through this road in the morning). Trekking in the gorge and guests could decide how many days they spend inside. We plan the 1 day and a half here temporary.
19 Mon 27-May-13 Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡 3300m One full day visiting and trekking in Tiger Leaping Gorge.
20 Tue 28-May-13 Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡/ Baishuitai 白水台 (2400M)/ Shangri-La香格里拉 180 3300m Drive to Baishuitai then to Shangri-La, enjoy the Baishuitai on the road. Get to Shangri-La and stay overnight.
21 Wed 29-May-13 Around Shangri-La 3300m Drive to Great Treasure temple (15Km from Shangri-La), after visiting drive to Tianshengqiao (10Km from Shangri-La); back to Shangri-La and stay overnight.
22 Thu 30-May-13 Shangri-La REST AND MAINTENANCE DAY
23 Fri 31-May-13 Shangri-La/Lijiang丽江 175 2400m Visit and have fun in and around Lijiang ancient town. Optional: Yufeng Temple, The Stockaded Village of Bai Minority, the Mural-paintings in Basha grotto, Collection of ancient Naxi hieroglyphics and musical scores etc.
24 Sat 1-Jun-13 Lijiang丽江/Ninglang宁蒗/Lugu Lake泸沽湖 220 2600m Drive to Lugu Lake, and you can camping by the lake. Although it is only 220km from Lijiang to Lugu Lake, while you may drive 5-6 hours since the road condition from Lijiang – Ninglang will be not good,most are mountain road.
25 Sun 2-Jun-13 Lugu Lake泸沽湖/Yanyuan盐源/Xichang西昌 270 1500m Around 6 hours driving along the mountain road from Lugu Lake to Xichang, and enjoy the nature scenery on the way. After arrive in Xicang, feel the culture of local Yi minority. If still have time, can pay a visit around Qiong Lake. The Space sport is around 70km far away from Xicang City, but currently, it is not open for the public.
26 Mon 3-Jun-13  Xichang – Meigu – Mabian 270 750m Drive from Xichang to Mabian. Not long distance, but the road condition is not good, especially from Meigu to Mabian
27 Tue 4-Jun-13 Mabian – Dafengding Nature Reserve 800m-4042m Drive to the entrance of Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve. You can do some trekking, photography there, and enjoy the amazing beauty gifted by the god. If you are lucky enough, except for other wild animal, you can also meet the wild Pandas.
Currently, it is not full-open to the public, visitors should obey the regulation there. Besides, the tourism facilities of the reserve is still under the construction, accommodation and restaurant are incomplete, but just coz of this, the reserve still keep it nature. When you visit there, you can take some food and water.
28 Wed 5-Jun-13 Dafengding Nature Reserve – Mabian -Emei Shan 224 480m Can continue to stay in Dafengding Nature Reserve. After that, drive to Emei Shan.
29 Thu 6-Jun-13 Emei Shan 500m Hike/tour Emei Shan
30 Fri 7-Jun-13 Emei Shan – Ya’an – Chengdu成都 205 500m Drive to Chengdu
31 Sat 8-Jun-13 Chengdu成都 REST AND MAINTENANCE DAY – Free day. You can drive to visit typical Jinli Street, Panda base, and other sightseeing places that you are interested in.
32 Sun 9-Jun-13 Chengdu/Daying/Gaoping/Linshui/Dianjiang 390
33 Mon 10-Jun-13 Dianjiang/Wanxhou/Fengjie/Wushan 309
34 Tue 11-Jun-13 Wushan Yangtze Gorges
35 Wed 12-Jun-13 Wushan/Gaoyangzhen/Sandoupingzhen 262 150m Drive to Yichang, where you can find the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest due to length rather than height. It is not the most spectacular, but it is worth a peek
36 Thu 13-Jun-13 Yichang宜昌/Zigui秭归/Gaoyang高阳/Muyu木鱼/Shennongjia神农架/Fang房县 320 900m Drive from Yichang to Fang county, passing Shennongjia, which is famed for its medicinal plants and legendary ape-man.
37 Fri 14-Jun-13 Fang房县/Shiyan十堰/Shanyang山阳/Lantian蓝田/Xi’an西安 420 800m Head to Xi’an, from Fang to Shiyan, some section are mountain road.
38 Sat 15-Jun-13 Xi’an西安 800m Visit Terracotta Warriors,  Wild Goose Pagoda,etc
39 Sun 16-Jun-13 Xi’an西安 800m REST AND MAINTENANCE DAY
40 Mon 17-Jun-13 Xi’an西安/HuaShan 120 800m Travel to Hua Shan, spend day climbing, sight-seeing
41 Tue 18-Jun-13 HuaShan/Weinan渭南/Luoyang洛阳 260 350m Head to Luoyang, visit Baima Temple; etc
42 Wed 19-Jun-13 Luoyang洛阳/Pingyao 426 In the morning, go to visit Longmen Grottos, 13 Km south of Luoyang. It is a priceless Unesco World Heritage Site, the ravaged grottoes at Longmen constitute one of China’s few surviving masterpieces of Buddhist rock carving.
43 Thu 20-Jun-13 Pingyao Ping Yao is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/812
44 Fri 21-Jun-13 Pingyao/Datong 384 Drive to Datong in the morning and visit the Datong Grottos in the afternoon
45 Sat 22-Jun-13 Datong大同 Drive to Hunyuan for the Hanging Temple which is a miracle in ancient Chinese construction, the whole temple was built on the mountain cliffs.
46 Sun 23-Jun-13  Datong大同/Changping 307 Visit Ming Temples in afternoon
47 Mon 24-Jun-13 Changping – Beijing北京 VISA DAY
48 Tue 25-Jun-13 Beijing北京 Day trip. Optional: Imperial Palace, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven
49 Wed 26-Jun-13 Beijing北京
50 Thu 27-Jun-13 Changping/Great wall 八达岭长城 REST AND MAINTENANCE DAY
51 Fri 28-Jun-13 Changping/Great wall 八达岭长城
52 Sat 29-Jun-13 Changping/Erenhot二连浩特 658 Head to Erenhot, will be a long driving day
53 Sun 30-Jun-13 Erenhot二连浩特/Exit Exit process, and finish your China part, go on to drive to next destination

Animals

We saw heaps of animals in China, including a red panda in the wild which has just made us so incredibly happy! Here are some of the other animals we saw… and I couldn’t resist and add a few of pandas as they are so cute!

sun bear, I won't get into its living environment here...

sun bear, I won’t get into its living environment here…

another cute squirrel

another cute squirrel

not a living animal, but a pretty cool one!

not a living animal, but a pretty cool one!

gorgeous little lizard in the desert sands near the border with Mongolia.

gorgeous little lizard in the desert sands near the border with Mongolia.

stick insect on Mt Huashan

stick insect on Mt Huashan

cute squirrel

cute squirrel

looks cute, but are seriously aggressive as they want food

looks cute, but are seriously aggressive as they want food

water snake with a full belly (frog)

water snake with a full belly (frog)

lazy water snake sunning itself

lazy water snake sunning itself

cool water snake

cool water snake

giant squirrel

giant squirrel

beautiful snake

beautiful snake

water buffaloes are still used for ploughing the rice paddies

water buffaloes are still used for ploughing the rice paddies

cute little pup

cute little pup

they had a piggy too

they had a piggy too

common hoopoe, I like his funky headdress

common hoopoe, I like his funky headdress

our favourite doggie of the trip: Pupster - walked with us for 2 days!

our favourite doggie of the trip: Pupster – walked with us for 2 days!

yaks in the Yak Meadow

yaks in the Yak Meadow

love the bright red beetles, no idea what it is, but it sure was a cool little critter

love the bright red beetles, no idea what it is, but it sure was a cool little critter

favourite animal of the trip!

favourite animal of the trip!

munching bamboo

munching bamboo

they have the cutest faces don't they?

they have the cutest faces don’t they?

play time!

play time!

I just love this photo!

I just love this photo!

gotcha!?

gotcha!?

seriously adorable

seriously adorable

stealth panda

stealth panda

he looked very grumpy...

he looked very grumpy…

she looks like Tesla, Gert-Jan's old dog!

she looks like Tesla, Gert-Jan’s old dog!

shooting ducks?

shooting ducks?

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