Except for the visa (here's how to apply), the above mentioned cost included everything: 2 plane tickets (Manila-Hong Kong, Guanzhou-Manila), terminal fee (P750), Philippine travel tax (P1,620), 3 hard-sleeper trains (HK-Beijing 24hrs, Beijing-Xi'an 14hrs, Xi'an-Guanzhou 29hrs), accommodations, cab fares, MTR rides, countless bowls of instant Chinese noodles, cups and cups of instant Xiang Yue pearl drinks, a bottle of Harbin Beer (the only alcohol we bought!), souvenirs, and visits/admission fees (and a couple of booked tours) to the following:
1. Victoria Harbour
2. Tian Tan Buddha
3. Ocean Park
4. Victoria Peak
2. Forbidden City
3. Yonghe Temple (popularly the Lama Temple)
4. Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest)
5. Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
6. Great Wall of China
1. Bell Tower and Drum Tower
2. Great Mosque of Xi'an
3. Muslim Quarter
4. Terracotta Army Museum
1. Guangzhou Orchid Garden
2. The Nanyue King's Tomb Museum
Not bad, ei? We could have explored more places in China had it not been -1°C every darn day, and -7°C at night. We were always back at the hostel by 4PM. Such wussies, I know.
Winter is an off-peak season, so most of the accommodations offer a discount. Even admission fees to tourist spots are slashed. Try to sniff your way to shops and restaurants that locals patronize, so you can buy goods at a reasonable price. Even Beijing can be affordable if you're shrewd.
More cheap recommendations coming up as I post my China blogs in the coming days.
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