No matter how hard it might seem to plan a week long trip to East Asia or how many unfriendly tips you may hear about China, if you can get your hands on decently priced tickets, come check this country out! I’ve been here for less than 24 hours and it already feels worth the long journey we took to get here. Want to know how?
Well, first of all, this trip (just like another one you probably read from me before) starts one sunny afternoon in July 2013, back when the austrian.com website decided to have a small glitch in its system (a so-called error fare) that allowed me to book two tickets from Geneva-Vienna-Beijing and Beijing-Vienna for 250 Euro each. Yes, you heard it right, China was less expensive than a ticket from Vienna to my hometown Sibiu that lie about 800 km away from each other. Even if this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, I highly suggest you check out cool deal websites such as exbir.de (where I found this offer), urlaubshamster.at or even my Facebook page, since we all regularly post ticket prices you wouldn’t find if you are not obsessed with booking – I am and I can gladly help you out :).
From that point on, I had to solve some simple stuff to make my trip towards Beijing more pleasant: I got the tourist visas (60 Euro each from the Embassy in Austria, even if we are both Romanian citizens living here – we just needed our Meldezettel), the ride from Vienna to Geneva by train and a night at a lovely Airbnb in Geneva near the center of everything (totalling 85 Euro per person). I also reserved a place to stay in Beijing (which I managed to find quickly on Booking.com using a system that never failed) for 5 nights and 90 Euro per person…in an interesting Hutong (old part of the city, quite close to the center). That plus what we spent in half a day in Geneva plus all the rides with buses from and to the airports plus the five hours we spent in the Viennese airport makes about 500 Euro to get a week into a country that I never thought I could have the money to visit during my student years.
Yes, I was tired upon arriving here. But believe me, living this experience makes all the fatigue go away. Once we served our first Chinese meal at a restaurant near our hotel in Beijing, the spices of a country that is so different from what we are used to kicked in. And that was just the first in a series of events we were about to witness…
[stay tuned for more]