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Touring through P.R. China, Where did you spend the night?

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Touring through P.R. China, Where did you spend the night?

Old 06-18-12, 06:37 PM
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Touring through P.R. China, Where did you spend the night?

Several years ago I took a shot at a long trip in China and it ended up getting cut short due to route plan issues. I also had a very poor plan fr where to spend the nights. The plan worked; but, I was not as comfortable doing it as I thought I would have been.

My plan, that year, was to ask at local schools, that were empty for the summer, if I could use a bunk in the dorm. What I didn't realize is that in China students do not rent a dorm bunk for a term, they rent it for the year; so, even in the summer, it is the students bunk. All of the schools gave me a place for the night; but, some places I was uncomfortable in asking (One place they even called the police to report the "spy." Apparently the police told then that they were aware of the westerner riding his bicycle in thee area.). With the amount of anti-westerner media attention, I doubt that plan would work this year.

So, all this brings me to my question, where do people normally stay when riding in China?

The standard hotels are quite expensive and no budget will stand up to staying at them for long. Camping is just culturally unheard of (I tried to sling a hammock once, on a long ride, to take a nap. It definitely did not work). While some cities have cheap hotels, the problem is often finding them. Further, I face the issue of finding cheap lodging in small towns between cities.
Be aware, my Chinese language skills are generally quite poor.
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Old 06-19-12, 07:24 AM
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you can start by reading the trip reports on crazyguyonabike, which will indicate which
small towns have lodging available. failing that, do a search on town names along your
potential route on lonely planet/thorntree forum.

there are plenty of cyclists who camp in china. i wouldn't. you'll wake up with a crowd
of curious peasants staring at your tent. hotels are cheap enough, so why carry tent and
cooking gear?

big hotels in big cities are expensive. you don't want to stay in a 'hotel.' get yourself
a phrase book/dictionary and learn the words for the cheaper options.

except in the more expensive cities, you can usually find something decent for under $10.
easiest way to find a room is to head straight for the train station or long-distance bus
station. there will be affordable rooms nearby.
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Old 06-22-12, 07:39 AM
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Loads of cheap places to sleep in China. I don't think I stayed in a hostel/hotel more than 50% in China, most locals are pretty curious and will let you stay the night with them. I don't know how I managed to do it, as my Chinese is awful as well.


One really good strategy is head for the city parks. Parks attracted everyone in China including the ones that want to practice their english. Mid day is the best time to do it, not in the evening when there are too many people around. You'll almost always be offer a free meal or sometimes a place to sleep.

There are truck stops, super cheap hotels, bus stations, and of course the wilderness. I crashed a few nights in the forest at random (always ended up with the locals taking pictures of me when I woke up). Also try you can try the Buddhist temples to stay at for the night. They monks and caretakers are usually pretty interested to have a foreigner around.

Where are you intending to go this time?

Last edited by SparkyGA; 06-22-12 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 06-24-12, 05:29 AM
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Find the signs that say

住舍 (zhsh)

These are Mom & Pop operations run out of (normally) apartment buildings. They're plentiful, increasingly willing to take in foreigners (just have your passport or a copy of it ready). They charge around 50/night in larger or more touristic cities, and much less in smaller cities.

The 7 Days Inn hotel is relatively cheap (130-200rmb a night) and increasingly present in smaller cities.
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Old 06-24-12, 05:30 AM
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Also, try getting in touch with these guys: https://shanghai-dublin.tumblr.com/ who are currently on their way through China.
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