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47

Stairs are easier to walk than rocky paths. In ancient times they allowed royalty more leisurely access to sacred mountains symbolizing their high rank in society, while commoners were likely restricted to walking older foot paths (if they were even allowed on top). Today all 'pilgrims' are afforded the ease of stairs. In Europe a lot of mountain top ...


32

To add to the other answers, some paths my be susceptible to soil erosion - from foot traffic and rainfall. This eventually makes some sections almost impassable for some people, as well as damaging the terrain and surrounding vegetation. I have seen this first hand in Hong Kong. For example: So in many places, steps are built. In HK these were ...


14

When many people climb the same path every day, natural rocks become smooth, slippery and dangerous. An example in Europe is the path to Château de Montségur in the french Pyrenees. Stairs are less prone to such wear over time.


12

I would not go as far and call this a scam, it is a stylized fact of the Google search algorithm. The official Guangzhou airport homepage is horribly slow to load (it took 10 minutes for me to load right now) and no better to navigate as I can tell from past experience. The first hit you mention instead does provide little information and apparently mostly ...


11

From my recent experience with the official Toronto processing center (an efficient 15th floor operation which has been separated from the consulate for some time, thank goodness). There is basically one price, which varies only with processing time request and if it needs to be shipped back to you. The 10 year business (M) visa requires an written ...


10

You can walk the entire Ming Dynasty Great Wall it's only 6000 kilometers give or take a few and doesn't even take two years: On Dec 2, 601 days after departing from the Wall's westernmost terminus, Gansu province's Jiayuguan, the 42-year-old stomped over the final brick of the final eastern watchtower, Liaoning province's Hushan.


9

European point of view: Back in the times (or what I was told many years ago by some locals) is that they would let a donkey lead the group to find the path of least resistance. The natural instincts of the animal would find the best path for climbing (wonder what IQ is required ... as opposed to humans :) Considering they used the mules and such for loads/...


9

I know you've already traveled, but for anyone else with the same question in the future, I'd like to give an answer. Beijing is huge and the Beijing Capital Airport is located on the north-east side of town. Tianjin is just 100 km east of the Airport; or about a 1.5 hour taxi ride. Beijing south railway station is on the opposite side of Beijing; to go ...


9

Can I apply for UnionPay card while traveling for China? Yes you can. And it seems easier than I thought. How? Read on... Is it a good idea for a traveler to do so? Likely not. Most of China runs on cash. You have to open a bank account. In China. It is not as hard as it sounds but be warned: First, I would not recommend opening a bank account in ...


7

Officially, or at least from Wikipedia: As of June 2006, the card has been interchangeable with the Wuxi Tai-Lake Transportation Card, and can also be used in Suzhou. So it can be used in at least one other major city. It doesn't look like it'll work in Beijing, however.


7

I went to the Chinese consulate and they asked me how I was able to go for 90 days as a tourist. I've explained that I've quit my job and am still doing notice for 2 more weeks. She told me to choose 'unemployed' instead of 'employed' and that I also have to provide: The related C4 document; A statement of my leave written & signed by my company; A ...


7

The answer by @mts gives a good guide on how to get a UnionPay card while inside China. However there's an easier alternative back if you live in the US: apply for a Discover card. Wiki mentions that: In May 2005 Discover Network announced an alliance with China UnionPay Network. The two companies have signed a long-term agreement that allows acceptance ...


7

Much of this is answered on this FAQ of a visa company. It is not official info but it looks good to me. Also it seems to apply for US citizens only, but I assume similar for the other nationalities you list. Are there any special requirements for a 10-year visa? No. The requirement for a 10-year visa are the same as that of a 1 year visa. [...] ...


7

I'm very familiar with the European alps, but not at all familiar with the sacred mountains in China. So I can only address why stairs are rare in the alps: You mentioned hiking up the sacred mountains. The peak isn't that important in the Alps, so paths rarely take the shortest route to the peak. Instead you have a whole network of paths that link various ...


7

I've gotten Chinese Visas 3 or so times and recently helped my family get them too for a trip. This advice applies to the SF consulate, the only office I've visited. We had no problem getting the visas added to our new passports. Do you have to travel to China a few times on ordinary visas first? Generally not. Applying through a processing service ...


6

I have another possible explanation that I cannot corraborate with online sources at this time. I visited Japan several years ago, and as one does (and should definitely do), I visited many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines while there. I believe it was a Buddhist temple (as opposed to a shrine) where I first noticed two sets of stairs. There was a ...


5

I wanted to leave this as a comment but it's running long. I ultimately decided not to go to see the sunrise. It seems the best option for doing so is to stay overnight on or near the wall (perhaps staying at Mu'tian'yu Great Wall [暮田峪长城]). A few tidbits of further advice that I picked up in the process of coming to this decision: My initial enthusiasm ...


5

It's true that there's been a lot of issues with security in Xinjiang over the past 10 years or so. There's always been a bit of tension between the Han Chinese people and the Uyghur people, but it wasn't until 2008 when things started to really boil over. The fact is, however, that as a traveler it's really not a big risk to travel to Xinjiang. Having ...


4

I'm chinese, and I went to the Great Wall last year. I believe you can go to the top. But people mountain, people sea. Also, if you do not know the specific way to the great wall, you will pay at least 150 CNY from the last metro or bus station. But it seems there is a train which is fast and cheap and convenient to the great wall directly. The first time, ...


3

The post you link to says about exchanging money right after hotels: [...] Mostly people will go to banks. Remember to take your passport, which need to be presented when converting currency in the country. [...] On another page of the same site I find bank branches listed in Pudong airport: For your banking convenience, banks are located in the ...


3

All of your questions regarding hotel bookings have already been covered here: Do you need to submit an itinerary to get a Chinese visa? And do you have to stick to it? and in the answer by @JoelDamien. Regarding the visa type to apply for, note that in any case you will apply for a L tourist visa. As you note for purpose of trip you can either tick "...


3

There is definitely no exit visa required for Chinese citizens. The immigration control checks if a traveler has the visa for the destination solely. If a Chinese citizen go to the visa-free countires, like Thailand, Indonesia, Jeju-island of S. Korea, Morocco, Maldives..., a passport is enough.


3

Generally no. HK$ in Hong Kong. RMB in China. However, there are plenty of ATMs where your normal bank card should be able to get you cash at a reasonable rate. Some banks have "no-fee" agreements with partner banks in China. For me that's Westpac in AUS and China Construction Bank in mainland China.


2

From Wikivoyage on Badaling: The hike is a challenge with plenty of steep hills, so once you get a bit into the wall the crowd thins quickly. It takes ~2-3h to hike the whole wall depending on your fitness/weather/crowd.


2

I can not find any mention of card expiry on both official and unofficial websites nor in the rules. Likely you will be able to use your cards even coming back after years but I have yet to personally confirm this (I must have some 2-3 old cards lying around somewhere). A local friend I asked also supposes that the card does not expire. However user @...


2

I would say just based on the photos (and I realize they are just examples) that whether or not you build stairs or switchbacks would depend entirely on the landscape, the composition of the mountain, and surrounding vegetation. If I were to try to plan a path to the top of the mountain, I would look at what I had to work with. If I had the real estate to ...


2

For starters obtaining a visa under false pretenses is grounds for arrest once you are in the country, fines and deportation. It is far better to obtain a tourist visa for as long of period as offered, then limit your travels to that length of time. But addressing the visa differences ... most non tourist visa types require documentation appropriate to ...


2

I would not worry too much about it. The holiday you refer to is listed as "Mid-Autumn Day" on Wikivoyage and it is three days, which is not enough for major travels and I have not personally experienced anything crazy going on in Shanghai during that time, Beijing is likely similar. If you do want to travel out of Beijing on those days, you might still ...


1

Perhaps it isn't legal, and not even the best way to do things, and might get denied anyways. It isn't that hard (for US citizens) to get a 6-month multi-entry tourist visa for China. And if you want to stay longer, it is easy to go for a day trip to Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong every 5.5 months. I think it is even possible that the local police can ...


1

Probably yes, but ... I put in my visa application today. I ticked the box for multiple-entry 12 month visa. I had a printout for a flight into Guangzhou and out again just under two months later. I also had a printout for one week of accommodation in Guangzhou. In fact I was told I must have these things the first time I went to the Chinese visa office ...



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