Friday, September 7, 2012

China Trip Prologue : The Plan, The Departure and Arrival

Actually China is not in my priority traveling list. My mother was dying to visit China. She said it’s our home country and a Chinese have to visit China, yada yada.. Things that made me  wasn’t that interested to this country :
  1. I heard and read that China is dirty especially the public toilets.
  2. The people are not kind nor friendly and most of them can’t speak English.
  3. Even if we speak Chinese but due to a different dialect, it’ll be hard to understand what they’re saying and they also hard to understand what we are saying.
  4. It was holiday season both in Indonesia and China, so the price was insanely high.
I went anyway to accompany my mother. The timing was good, Air Asia was just open Beijing route so they had a promo. My mom decided that we had to be in China for at least 10 days so we could go to other cities too. At first our itinerary was Guilin-Shanghai-Beijing. I checked China domestic flight and they had promo at that time, not too cheap but better than the normal price. I didn’t dare to book anything yet. I had to made the itinerary first and calculate how many days to stay in each city. I was totally blind about China, so it took me some time until I finish the itinerary. By the time I finished, I checked the China domestic flight again, the price was already back to normal! Messed up!! Air Asia promo period was almost end. I had mentioned in this post that I have to plan everything before traveling but in the end I booked the flight without any itinerary and that was driving me nuts!
I booked our flight about 3 months prior and got a high price IDR 5.000.000 (about USD 526) round  trip :( It was the cheapest price I could get in holiday season. Soon after I booked my flight, I started to arrange the itinerary. My mom wanted to visit Jiuzhaigou. At first I was thinking to go there by ourselves but my mom told me to looked for local tour from Beijing to Jiuzhaigou. One of our relative said that in China join a local tour is cheaper than self traveling. I searched China travel websites and that made me headache because they were only available in Chinese. Later on, I decided I had to chat with the travel agents and that made my head about to explode! Only a really few of them speak English and the ones who speak English (broken one) gave me a high tour price because they know that we are foreigner. So I had no choice than chatting with travel agents who only speak Chinese. I got really frustrated. With my very limited Chinese, I had to try to make them understand what I was talking about and tried to understand what they were talking about. AAARRGGHHH!!! That was very nerve wreaking! After chat with some agents, I decided to took a tour from one travel agent. I don’t remember the company name nor the website. I didn’t bother to remember it anyway, you’ll know the reason after you finish reading my whole China trip posts. One of my uncle had China Bank saving account so we asked for his help to transfer the payment.

Short story, we departed to Beijing via KL on August 12, 2012. The flight from Surabaya to KL took about 2.5 hours and flight from KL to Beijing took about 6 hours. As I remember from my previous trip to Korea, Juanda and LCCT airport both provide drinking water dispenser for free. But it was changed, no free drinking water in both airport. In LCCT a bottle of mineral water costs RM 2.

From KL we board on AirAsiaX to Beijing. The passengers were mostly China people. By the time I enter the plane, I was shocked. It was really loud inside, I mean reaaalllyyyy LOUD. It felt like a traditional market had moved inside the plane. I know that China people like talking and they always talk loudly, but it was tooooo loud. I had never been in that situation before. The people were not only talking but also moving around. They put their luggage in the cabin then took it off and move it to other cabin again and again. They sit but not long after, they stood up and started to walk somewhere to talk to their friends or relatives who got separate seat from them over and over again. Some people don’t sit in their seat, but took other people’s seat so the flight attendances had to disciplined them. Some children were crying, some were running in the aisle, some were trying to talk to their parents but they couldn’t hear them so the children started to talked loudly, almost screamed. Can you imagine this situation inside a plane? All I could say was Oh My God! I caught a Malaysian flight attendance was shaking her head in this chaos. Haha

When the plane is boarding, the passengers should sit right? Buuuuttt, some of them didn’t. Some were using the toilet right at the time the plane started to boarding. The stewardess knocked the toilet door many times and asked the person to get out. The more WOW-ing me was some of the passengers took off their seatbelt and started walking to the toilet or approaching other people when the plane was boarding and the seatbelt sign was still on. The flight attendance had to approach that people and told them to get back to their seat rightaway. Seriously! They never ride on a plane or what?

From the time the plane was boarding the people were keep talking loudly for couple hours. Some were moving around to find an empty seat and moved there. Seemed like the children were tired, I didn’t hear their voice anymore. maybe they were sleeping. After the adults finally got tired of talking, the children were up and they started to make some noise. OH GOD!! When will it end?? The worst thing is, my left earphone was broken so it couldn’t block the noise perfectly. I couldn’t sleep at all during that 6 hours flight. We arrived at Beijing at 01.00 am the next day. FINALLY!!

China immigration card
In flight meal : Chicken Sizhuan Rice

In flight meal : Chicken Yakitori Rice
I already booked Oriental Peace Hotel, a 3 stars hotel for our 3 nights stay from I chose this hotel because it’s located at Wangfujing area and very close to Wangfujing MRT station. I had printed the hotel name, address and phone number in Chinese just in case the taxi driver doesn’t read alphabet. We went to the hotel by taxi. If you arrived at Terminal 2 Beijing Capital Airport and you want to ride a meter taxi to downtown, you have to go outside the building. In departure hall, there are many people offering you taxi, don’t go with them. They’re black taxi and will cost you more expensive. Just go straight to the exit. Outside you’ll see a long queue of people, that’s where you have to queue for meter taxi. I queued for about 1 hour before finally got a taxi.
Taxi queue
I showed the taxi driver my printed hotel name and address. The road in Beijing was quite empty at that time. After about 20 minutes ride, the taxi dropped us off in front of a hotel. I couldn’t see the hotel name because there was a canopy above us. After I paid and he left, I just realized that it was a wrong hotel! He dropped us at Novotel. The driver read the Chinese name wrongly. My hotel’s name is Beijing Dongfang Hebing and Novotel is Beijing Hebing. Thank God, the driver didn’t go very far. He parked her taxi at the corner of Novotel way out. I got back to him and told him (with my broken Chinese) that it was a wrong hotel. He got confused. He said the only Beijing Hebing he knows is that hotel. Thank God again, he is a nice driver. He helped me called the hotel and asked for direction. I got to the taxi again and he drove me to the right one without asking any more money. Thank you, Sir!

Our hotel is located in a small alley, so the taxi couldn’t go in. He dropped us at the main road and we walked only about a minute to the hotel. It was already 03.30 am when we finally reached the hotel. The receptionist asked us whether we had book for a room or not and I said yes. I was too tired to speak in Chinese, so I asked her to speak in English instead. Thankfully she did speak English, well very broken one, but better than nothing. After she checked the booking list, she said she couldn’t find our booking. WHAAATT??!! I showed her my printed booking voucher. She looked really confused and kept telling us that there was no booking under our name. She asked us from where we did our booking and I said from the hotel website. She looked even more confused and told me that their hotel have no website. DAAAANNGGG!!! She asked me to open the “hotel website” from where I did my booking using her laptop. When I showed her the website, she was amazed and all she said was “Woaahhh! But we don’t have website” So IS FAKE!!! AAARRGGHHh!! I should’ve booked from instead. I didn’t book from ctrip because the price in the “hotel website” is cheaper. To be remember, if you want to book hotel in China, it’s better to book from or Chinese people are familiar with those sites so you won’t have any difficulties when you check in. Unless you stay in 4 or 5 stars hotel, it’s better to stay at a hostel than a 3 stars hotel. The price is much cheaper with almost the same quality, plus most of the owner can speak English well.

Now I got really confused. The thing is it was stated in the website that the payment method was pay cash in the hotel but they asked to fill the credit card number for guarantee. In case we don’t appear in the hotel, they will charge our credit card and I had fill them include the VCC number!! I was really going crazy!! She said the hotel have one room left for RMB 485/night. Expensive, but there was nothing we can do. No way we headed back to the road, dragged our luggage along tried to find other place to stay at 04.00 am plus we were tired. We took the room for 3 nights.

We got a twin bed room at the first floor. The beds are hard. Thankfully the bathroom is clean and they have hot water. They provide clean towel and a big bottle of shampoo and liquid soap. Almost all hotels in China provide a water heater in each room. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the room. For the room with that standard, the price is too high. There is no wifi in this hotel, but every room has LAN cable. I guess I was lucky, during my stay there I got wifi connection I don't know from where and it was not protected by password :p At 04.30 finally I could get some sleep.

It was a long prologue, isn’t it? But that was just the beginning of my “amazing adventure” in China. A whole new “amazing” experience that I never had on my previous trips to other countries. Btw, until I write this post, there’s no claim from that fake website in my credit card billing and I hope there won't be any.

Taxi Airport – Hotel : RMB 89


Nadia said...

Even the website can not be trusted,that's really scary. No one will think that it is a fake website. Thankfully they didn't ask you to pay some DP first when you booked a room from that website.

Christine said...

Actually I've emailed the contact in that web to ask whether they provide airport pickup. They asked me to transfer the money to their acc. Thankfully I didn't transfer anything. China is scary.

kezia Stephanie Halim said...

Sis Christine, hotelnya recommended ga ya ?

Christine said...

Hotelnya ok sich. Kamar dan kamar mandinya bersih dan lokasinya deket ke mana2. Cuman ya standard banget dan mahal. Kalo menurut aku lbh baek nginep di hostel drh Qianmen aja. Banyak hostel do sana dan bisa private room kok. Dari suasana juga aku lbh suka di Qianmen daripada Wangfujing. Harga2 di Qianmen juga lbh murah.

kezia Stephanie Halim said...

Qianmen dkt Wangfuqing ga Sis ? Soalnya istri dan anak gila shopping dan kl bs yg dekat2 gitu jd kl cape bs istirahat dulu ke hotel...hehehe...

Christine said...

Agak jauh si. Klo naik MRT transit 1x. Klo utk shopping lbh baek di drh Dong Wu Yuan (Beijing Zoo) di sana ada wholesale market underground. Ngga hrs beli byk dan murah skali harganya. Atau bisa juga di Xidan. Di sana juga murah, tp ya emang ngga branded. Klo brg2 KW di Yong An Li. Semua harus nawar. Klo di Wangfujing ngga perlu mnrt aku soalnya jg brandnya ada di Indo semua.

kezia Stephanie Halim said...

Thx Sis ! Very useful info...Gbu...

Christine said...

Sama2. GBU too :)

kezia Stephanie Halim said...

Sis, mau nanya nih, dr Wang Fu Qing ke Silk Market jauh ga ? Lg mikirin cari hotel yg dkt2 2 lokasi ini...

Christine said...

Klo ngga salah Silk MArket itu di Yong An Li. Klo bener si deket banget. Cuman 3-4 station MRT uda nyampe. Dua2nya sama2 di line 1

Arnold Haskins said...

I am definitely copying your list there. Those place are the one's that I really want to go too.
study in china

kezia Stephanie Halim said...

Thx ya !

terus jalan dan makan said...

Hi catherine..boleh tanya ya? Kamu booking ticket flight domesticnya pp melalui travel agent yg sekalian dengan tournya Ya?

Christine said...

Tournya sudah include tiket domestik pp Beijing-Chengdu. Btw namaku Christine bukan Catherine :)

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