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Whatever you do, stay far, far away from the Badaling section. That is unless you want to see what a Disneyland version of the Great Wall looks like. This restored part of the wall comes complete with a cable car and a neverending stream of tourists. Better yet, why not bring your tent and camp on the Great Wall?

In my six years of living and traveling in China, nothing even comes close to that. While the hordes of pushy tourists can diminish the experience a bit, all you have to do is venture off on one of the trails to escape them. Artists from all over the world flock here to craft massive sculptures out of the ice and snow.

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In typical Chinese fashion, the ice sculptures are packed with plenty of neon lights to make for quite the trippy experience. Ice castles full of lasers in Harbin.

Yangtze City Tours & Cruises

These massive circular structures are basically an entire village. Fewer and fewer people are living in them today, as the rush to modernize has led many to move into bland high-rise buildings. The hike takes days depending on your speed, and it passes by some of the most stunning scenery China has to offer. If you care for a toke, you can pick up a bag from the nice grannies along the trail.

They even have bananas and Snickers for when you inevitably get the munchies. Views along the trail. Few countries can compete with China when it comes to train travel. The country is building high-speed rail lines at a rapid pace, adding more and more connections with each passing month.

Forget making the trek out to airports on the outskirts of the cities, and stick to the impressive rail network. China is home to three different Buddhist grottoes — Longmen, Yungang, and Mogao.

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Visit one of these sites to see the impressive Buddhist carvings in the caves. These are considered to be some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art, and they really are an incredible sight to behold. The amazing Longmen Buddhist Grottoes. By visiting the Yungang Grottoes in Datong , you can also check out the awe-inspiring Hanging Monastery to make for an awesome short trip.

Yes, this is one of the most touristy places in China. Yes, it can kind of be a pain in the ass getting there. None of that matters. Just imagine how much effort went into the construction of this massive tomb full of life-sized warriors and chariots, all of which was done to appease the first emperor of China as he neared the end of his life.

Share your Shanghai Trip Experience

Get out there and explore Yangshuo. Tell her the Grateful Gypsies sent you. Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Backpack. Check out this post to read our full review! Get your copy here. Lost on Planet China : When I first moved to China in , my mom bought me this book as a going away present.

With its four tones and thousands upon thousands of characters, Chinese is definitely an intimidating language. How much is it? There are tons of articles on vocabulary and grammar as well as Chinese culture. Generally speaking, China is a very safe country to travel in.

My wife always likes to comment to people that she felt safer stumbling down the streets of Beijing alone and drunk at 3AM than she does going downtown in my hometown of Detroit for a concert. Fair point, Rachel. Of course, you have to exercise a bit of common sense when backpacking China just like any country.

Travelling in China Independently: You Need To Read This

Despite what my wife says, bad shit definitely can and will happen in the middle of the night, especially in bar districts. One of the biggest safety concerns in China is drunk locals trying to pick a fight. Sadly, this sometimes leads to confrontations. Plus, as a foreigner, you will immediately receive the blame and be the one who spends the night in a cold, miserable jail cell. Pickpocketing is an issue in crowds like these. Photo By Sasha Savinov.

5 Days Shanghai & Suzhou Highlights Tour with Tongli

Just like many places around the world, pickpocketing is a huge concern in China. Be mindful of your things on public transportation and at crowded tourist sights. I once had a guy pick my wallet, grab the cash, and drop it on the ground in the blink of an eye when stepping off a bamboo raft in Yangshuo. These people are pros, so you have to be vigilant at all times. For many travelers to China, the air pollution is a major concern. For more information and safety tips, check out Backpacker Safety for tips and tricks to stay safe whilst backpacking China.

Pick yourself up a backpacker security belt to keep your cash safe on the road. I strongly recommend travelling with a headlamp whilst in China or anywhere really — every backpacker should have a good headtorch! We use it on our own adventures to purify often nasty looking water and it does a beautiful job — we have yet to get sick! When it comes to strong stuff, China is all about baijiu. This spirit that is distilled from sorghum tastes somewhat like rocket fuel, and it could probably power your car if you ran out of gas. Some dude said you have to try the stuff times or so to finally acquire a taste for it.

I never made it that far and I doubt you will, either. One thing about drinking in China is that things tend to escalate quickly think the news team battle in Anchorman. Drinking is somewhat a competitive sport in China, as men love to go glass for glass until one of them inevitably passes out. Drugs in China is definitely a grey area. When we lived in China, people back home were always so surprised to hear that we still puffed tough. You name it, they got it. Our 3rd eyes were opened once or twice in China. Get insurance!

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Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Travelling without insurance would be fucking stupid. I highly recommend World Nomads. Definitely be sure to bring a good pair of hiking boots and some activewear for your adventures on the Great Wall and Tiger Leaping Gorge. This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside — you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off. This is hands down the best way to hide your cash. AR bottle are tough, lightweight and maintain the temperature of your beverage — so you can enjoy a cold red bull, or a hot coffee, no matter where you are.

Scam #2: Transportation Scams in China

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if needs be.

Shanghai Guide 2018 by Shanghai Vlogger

Even if you only end up using it once, a decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.