Travel Tips

Travel and keep money in bank

If you travel in China for quite some time, you may need to carry a pretty large amount of money with you. Then you should consider opening a bank account in China so that you can deposit and withdraw money whenever and wherever you want, and no need to carry a pile of bank notes with you.

Just go to any branch of the big banks and show your passport and china visa, fill out some forms and you will have a bank account right away. You will be given a bank passbook when the account opening process is finshed. If you also want a bank card to withdraw money at ATM machines, which you should do, you can have one upon paying RMB10 (Bank of China’s charge in 2007). You will also be given a pin number for accessing your account with the card.

In other words, it is free to open a bank account in China. But if you want to have a bank card to use the ATM machines, you will need to pay a fee of about RMB10.

However, be aware of the tricks and traps. Say, if you open a bank account with Bank of China in Guangdong Province, it is all free for you to use the bank’s ATM machinese in the province. But if you want to use the bank’s ATM machine in another province, then you will be charged about RMB10 each time. If you deposit money over the bank counter, you will be charged even more – about RMB40.

Travel Tips

Flying from Macau airport

Recently I flew to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Malaysia from the Macau International Airport with the Malaysia-based low fare airline AirAsia. A return ticket (Macau <=> KK) costs only HK$1100. AirAsia also flies between Kuala Lumpur and Macau.

The Singapore-based low fare airline Tiger Airways also has operations at Macau International airport. And Air Macau has flights to China’s major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing and Xiamen.

So this post is a reminder that you can consider flying from Macau International Airport to some Asian destinations, including China – some routes offer good price.

The Macau International Airport recently introduced Express Link service, meaning that you will be exempted from normal immigration procedure and can check in at Hong Kong Shun Tak Ferry Terminal (the ferry pier to Macau in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong) for your flights from the Macau International Airport. So if you leave Hong Kong for Macau to catch a flight, the service will afford some convenience.

Check out here (Macau International Airport Website) for the details.

Transport Travel Tips

Upgraded trains between Hong Kong and Shanghai or Beijing

Starting early this month, the direct train service between Hong Kong and Shanghai/Beijing will use more modern trains. It is said the deluxe soft sleeper room has been upgraded to be like a mobile hotel, equipped with bathroom, TV with LCD high-definition monitor, sofa and wardrobe, not to mention its own air condition.

The Hong Kong MTR company (, which runs the service, is offering  discounts on this occasion of new train introduction.  If you buy the ticket in Hong Kong, you will have a 10% to 20% discount, depending on if it is a single-way or round-trip ticket. A one-way ticket for Deluxe Soft Sleeper, for instance, costs HK$1072 after discount. The offer is valid until the end of June this year.

The Beijing-Hong Kong Through Train and the Shanghai-Hong Kong Through Train operate on alternate days, taking about 24 & 20 hours respectively.

Check out here for details.

Travel Tips

The awarded cities in China

In a recent national survey, five cities in China are awarded for their distinct quality. If you are considering a visit to China and thinking about which cities to go, the survey result may be of some reference.

Dalian (大連): the most polite/civilized city

(This is true, speaking from my own experience. Dalian is probably the only China city where residents will queue up at the bus stop and do not spit on the street. The city is amazingly clean compared to other China cities.)

Shenzhen (深圳): the fastest developing city
(Evidenced by the city’s GDP growth statistics)

Tianjin (天津): the safest city (measured by residents’ feeling)
(Yeah,Tianjin is safe.)

Changsha (長沙): the most entertaining city
(Changsha’s provincial TV station has produced China’s first of its kind entertainment show – the American Idol China version, hence earning the city the award.)

Changchun (長春): the most humane city
(Changchun sounds nice, but I’ve never been there. Too cold in the winter.)

HK-Shenzhen Transport Travel Tips

Hong Kong check-in for Shenzhen flights

Hong Kong is the gateway to China and understandably there are many flights each day from Hong Kong to major China cities. But flying is not cheap. A sure way to save money is go to Hong Kong ‘s neighboring city Shenzhen and fly from there. As it now becomes the domestic flight, the flight ticket will cost a lot less.

Hong Kong Shenzhen Western Corridor

The good news is, you can now check-in in Hong Kong for flights from Shenzhen Airport. The Shenzhen Airport authority has set up a flight waiting room in the shopping mall right above the Kowloon Station of Hong Kong Airport Express. After check-in, you can just take the direct bus to Shenzhen Airport from Kowloon Station via the newly opened Hong Kong-Shenzhen Wesetern Corridor port of entry (this entry is convenient as the passport control of Hong Kong and China sides is carried out under one roof – in the same building.

The aforementioned through-bus is a new service, the first of its kind, launched at the same time as the Kowloon Station check-in service. Buses depart almost every half an hour, running from 6:15am to 7:15pm at Hong Kong side, and from 9:30am to 9pm at Shenzhen side. The whole journey costs about HK$100 and takes about 75 minutes – that is the ideal bus journey time, excluding time for immigration etc. So always allow more time for catching a flight.

For details of the direct bus service, see this post.