China Travel Guide
There's no doubt that obtaining a visa for travel is a headache, and for a long time Chinese visas were among the worst. There was the price ($140), the consular visits, the being separated from your passport during processing, and then the frustration that all that work only resulted in a visa valid for one year.
Then, in early 2013, the rules eased when China began allowing for 72-hour visa-free visits. Quick visits for business, shopping, or just taking advantage of great airfare sales to China became possible without the need to plan far ahead and fill your passport with visa pages.
Today brings more excellent news, as applications are open for a 10-year China visa. The move was only announced a few days ago, while President Obama was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting. Citizens of the US and China have similar visa rules thanks to reciprocity, whereby one country applies the same limitations and requirements as the other. Reciprocity continues with this new announcement, as visas to the US for Chinese citizens will also enjoy the decade validity.
Universal Studios / China Travel / Beijing Travel / Theme Parks / Roller Coasters / Amusement Parks / → All Tags
Pack your best roller coaster riding pants, as China is all set to welcome the thrills and chills of a major new attraction. The folks over at Universal Studios have been running the numbers, preparing the PowerPoint presentations, and now it’s time to start about building a new park over in Beijing.
The opening date of the park hasn’t been announced, but you can bet on it being a few years from now; the bulldozers haven't even arrived on scene yet. The planned park will take up around 1,000 acres, and will likely feature all kinds of superheroes and movie favorites from Spider-Man to Transformers.
The last news from the folks over at Six Flags was all about their plans to bring plenty of roller coasters and other amusements over to Dubai, and now it sounds like the company is on the move once again.
Six Flags just announced plans to partner with a company over in China to open up a few parks here and there over the next decade or so. Right now details are limited, so maybe wait on packing your bag and applying for that visa.
Travel News / Security Checkpoints / Train Travel / Subway Travel / Beijing Travel / China Travel / → All Tags
Just as we were praising train travel for its ease of access and lack of frustrating security checkpoints, China has beefed up security to the point that it resembles a TSA checkpoint on its subway in Beijing.
Minor security measures date back to the 2008 Olympics, but things got serious at the beginning of 2014 when six checkpoints were opened across 200 stations that required passengers to show their personal belongings before entering the subway. Last weekend, three more were opened in response to the terror attacks in Xinjiang that killed 31 people. Now, instead of simply opening their bags, passengers must go through metal detectors and other heightened security measures, resulting in the massive queues you see in the photos of this post.
Air China / WiFi / In-Fligh WiFi / Airlines / Airline News / China Travel / → All Tags
If you’re looking for access to WiFi on your next journey there’s a new carrier bringing in-flight connectivity to 35,000-feet. Air China just completed a couple test runs of their new travel technology, and it sounds like it may be worth a try from on high.
A pair of flights between spots like Beijing and Chengdu are part of the test, and the connection trials passed with flying colors. Passengers were encouraged to fire up mobile devices and computers, and you can probably guess how the rest of the story goes.
Beijing might not be the next Orlando, but it looks like they are on schedule to get one heck of a theme park if things go according to plan. The suits behind the Universal Studios empire are looking in their direction, and it sounds like the bulldozers will start moving some earth sooner than later.
Nothing has been confirmed from the folks at the Universal Studios camp, but the Los Angeles Times is now reporting that it’s only a matter of time. This will be park number six for the company and the theme park family, as there are four already doing their thing with one opening in South Korea in 2016.
Travel Pitfalls / What Not To Do / China Travel / Great Wall of China / Beijing Travel / Mutianyu Travel / → All Tags
At first, some of the headlines surrounding the announcement that China will allow graffiti on the Great Wall sound like a nightmare turned reality. Really, we can write on and deface this incredible icon? This is one of the traps of journalism in today's world, the fact that if you're just skimming headlines, you're bound to get the wrong idea. China's decision has nothing to do with wanting more graffiti on its historical fortification. In reality, it's trying to reel it in.
Every day, tourists walk the Great Wall and, like many places around the world, feed the desire to leave their mark, despite the fact that common sense tells us it's an awful, terrible thing to do to something we're trying to preserve. We're sure China would love to ban it entirely, but with no way to really police it, the country has decided to designate a section of the Wall at Mutianyu outside of Beijing where people can feel free to draw or write on it. This section was specifically chosen because it is mostly a reconstruction of the Wall, so the graffiti wouldn't be ruining the "real thing."
SkyCouch / China Airlines / China Travel / 777-300ER / Air New Zealand / Economy Class Travel / Airline News / Airlines / Seats / → All Tags
An idea from Air New Zealand that practically revolutionized economy class travel is now being licensed out to different airlines to tempt flyers to book long-haul flights. China Airlines liked the kiwi airline's SkyCouch so much, they arranged to have it on its newest planes.
China Airlines, the first airline to agree to (what we can only imagine) a hefty licensing price-tag, will now include the roomy row of economy seats to its newest delivery of 777-300ERs. The keys to these new birds should be handed over by September of this year, so if you've got plans to spend some time in the air over the Pacific on one of these planes, you might get lucky.
Mount Hua, or Mount Huashan, in Shaanxi isn't exactly the tallest mountain in the world (about 7,000 ft), but it definitely houses one of the more "exciting" hikes we've come across in terms of climbs that have popular public trailheads.
There are various trails that lead to the top that require various levels of
cajones courage, including incredibly steep staircases and the now-infamous "plank trail" you see in the photos. The daredevil trek takes you across a "boardwalk" and up a series of "ladders," ultimately ending at a Taoist teahouse. Man, that must be some good tea!
We’ve featured all the fun stuff that the airlines are doing to celebrate the season both inside and outside of the airport. However, at this point we kind of consider WestJet to be the winner when it comes to the holiday hijinks. If you haven’t seen their action during the holidays, be sure to head over here and take a minute to see their viral video.
This week we’re back in the airport, as plenty of Cathay Pacific employees have gotten into the fun over at Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong. This time it’s not just flight attendants and ground crew, as it looks like they’ve finally dragged the pilots into the fun as well.
Airports / Airport News / DCY / China Travel / Air China / → All Tags
We’ve got a new airport to add to our travel to-do list, as one of the world’s newest airports is now open for business. Not only does it have that new airport smell, but this place is also the highest civilian airport in the world as well.
The security lines are now open for business in China, as the airport is now doing its thing in the Tibetan region of southwestern Sichuan province. Daocheng Yading Airport which does its thing in Garzi sits at just around 15,000-feet above sea level. That makes us wonder if we can use our electronic devices right from the runway, as technically we’re already well above 10,000-feet.
You know we’re all about roller coasters, theme parks, and all the other rides and attractions that come with them. This week there’s some new theme park news, as it sounds like there’s a park in development to be dedicated to one man and one man only.
Apparently it’s Jackie Chan who will soon be having business lunches with Mickey Mouse to discuss the amusement park business, as there are plans to hook him up with his very own park. Roller coasters, martial arts stuff, and plenty of t-shirts have already been planned, as the park—JC World—is scheduled to open over in Beijing.