Have You Ever Considered China For A Romantic Getaway or Wedding Destination?
Today sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Shelley Jiang, editor of LET’S GO CHINA, 6th Edition, one of 57 guidebooks published by the bestselling budget series from LET'S GO PUBLICATIONS.
Norm Goldman, editor of Bookpleasures.com and Sketchandtravel.com, conducted the following interview. Norm is also a regular contributor to lovetripper.com.
Good Day Shelley and thank you for accepting our invitation to be interviewed.
NORM: Please tell our readers something about yourself and your expertise pertaining to China.
SHELLEY: Born in China, I spent the first six years of my life in Beijing, the city that I will always think of as my first home. Though I moved to America and attended school there, I remain deeply connected with China through books, news, movies, family, and spending summers there every two or three years. During these summer trips, I often travel around the country and have visited many of the places in Let’s Go: China.
NORM: Would you consider China a good choice for a romantic getaway or wedding and honeymoon destination? Why?
SHELLEY: China is vast enough to offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a fast-paced weekend in Shanghai, a trip into China’s gorgeous outdoors, or an immersion in centuries of tradition and history. But don’t come expecting Paris or the Caribbean—China isn’t your average romantic getaway, but a destination for the free-spirited and adventurous. No resorts or pampering here—part of the excitement and romance of a vacation in China is experiencing a new culture and taking in the grit as well as the beauty.
For those willing to ditch the conventional and leave the beaten path, breathtaking natural sights and unique cultural experiences await. Otherworldly landscapes familiar from many a martial arts film (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero) can serve as the backdrop for your personal love story as well. Ancient palaces, pagodas, and temples invites travelers to step back into a past that stretches more than 5000 years. Cities like Beijing and Shanghai proudly showcase their past alongside their future, with skyscrapers rising one after another and an urban culture to rival those of any American or European city.
NORM: What is the best time to visit China from the point of view of weather, costs, crowds, and the availability of flights from the USA, Canada and Europe and Australia, etc?
SHELLEY: China’s peak travel times are around Chinese New Year (some time in Jan.-Feb., depending on lunar calendar), May 1st, July-August, and the first week of October. The best time to visit would be from late-April through June, when the weather is warm, students are still in school, and many establishments are still on low season pricing. The fall is also a pleasant time to travel without the crowds (but avoid the Oct. 1st holiday week) and see beautiful foliage, especially in the north.
Airfares to China are most expensive between June and September. Even flying on May 31 instead of Jun. 1st will get you a cheaper flight. Flying September-May will get you much cheaper flights. Plan ahead—the cheapest tickets for summer flights to China sell out by early March.
NORM: Could you give our readers an idea of the costs involved if travel originates from the USA, Canada and Europe and Australia?
SHELLEY: China is a budget traveler’s dream come true—with the exception of the airfare, which can cost anywhere from US$600-1500. It’s cheaper to fly from September-May. The best places to find low-fares are Chinese-run travel agencies in Chinatown—check the local Chinese newspaper or ask around to find their listings.
The budget-conscious can often spend anywhere from US$2-10 per night for lodgings in a hostel or basic room, depending on destination. Food can cost as little as US$4 per person per day for meals from street vendors and small family-run restaurants.
Of course, splurges and treats are everywhere. A comfortable hotel room will cost around US$25-50 per night, and lavish suites range from US$60-150 per night. For US$8-25, a couple can dine at fancier restaurants serving distinctive, gourmet cuisines.
The cheapest and most convenient way to get around China is via rail. Short journeys can cost around US$5-12 for a one-way ticket, while longer journeys will cost up to US$50. Expect to pay more than US$100, however, for a private sleeper compartment for two people.
The number of domestic flights in China is on the rise. One-way fares range US$90-200; round-trip fares are always double the one-way fare.
NORM: If you had to choose 3-5 unequalled venues in China for a romantic getaway, honeymoon or wedding destination, what would they be and why?
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