Zyzyfer wrote:I was surprised to read this comment. How did you get between the cities? Trains? I realize this was like 15 years ago and times have changed, but when I traveled there in 2002 I found it difficult to get around. They had this weird policy in place where foreigners had to go to a specified rail station in order to purchase train tickets. It was a little intimidating, haha.
I imagine to keep costs down, it becomes more time-intensive in the process, yeah?
Mostly trains, though sometimes the long-distance coaches are more comfortable. I took a couple of flights but would not
recommend the Chengdu-Xi'an flight; there was so much turbulence, people were screaming, cups were flying off the air stewardess's trolley, I really thought it was the end!
Everything's standardised now, with no special requirements for foreigners. You just need to show your passport when buying a ticket between cities (even then, I don't remember doing it all the time). I even pre-purchased tickets on-line and then collected them from a ticket booth (saves having to wait in those queues that are so long they put the Great Wall to shame).
I spent about four months tracking down all the places and ended up spending (including accommodation - usually 3-4 star, meals, transport, etc.) less than AUD $5,000.
It would be great to get a group together, especially if there are some of us who speak and read Mandarin proficiently. Would certainly keep costs down.