Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This time, I'm going...

After being put on the trail of some cheap airfare thanks to Alex-sensei's knowledge of such things, my plans for a trip to China have been revived.

Ideally, here is the plan:
  • December 25th - Depart Narita airport in Tokyo bound for Beijing, China.
  • Spend 2-3 days visiting Beijing (Forbidden Palace, Temple of Heaven, Tianmen Square)
  • Take a day trip out to the Simatai Great Wall, check out some of the most rugged sections of the wall still standing in the mountains.
  • Take an overnight train out to Xian and spend a day or two putting around there. Xian is the location of the Terracotta army, which is still being excavated today.
  • Take an overnight train back to Beijing to catch my flight back out.
Seeing as the weather is "cold" in Beijing that time of year (average temp is 2 degrees, -7 overnight) it's considered low season for tourists which makes everything cheap and not crowded... two excellent reasons to visit any place in my opinion! And for us hearty Cannucks (smart enough to have packed their winter wear in anticipation of some kick-ass skiing) the weather will not be an issue! As things stand now, I am heading out alone. Some of the folks I've asked are heading home or elsewhere. BUT, Scott and Alex seem to be teetering towards joining... that would be a hell of a trip! Can't you just picture it? Slightly modify the picture below in your head... have us sitting on a bench outside a noodle shop in Beijing, slurping up amazing Chinese food... how's that?

Things I need to do:
  • First, talk to Manager-san and see if I can get a day off so I can leave a bit early and catch a cheaper flight.
  • Call the travel agency and get the details, book the flight, start them on processing my tourist Visa.
  • Get to the immigration office here and get myself a re-entry visa so I can get back in to Japan.
  • Look into booking a local tour-guide\car and driver... or wait until I get there and work it out then.
Total costs for the trip?
  • 50,000Y for the return flight (500$ CAD, less than half the price when I looked into it last August)
  • 3000Y (30$) a night to stay in a 3 star hotel in Beijing within walking (long walk... but ok) distance to the Forbidden city.
  • Whatever a train ride out and back to Xian costs, plus accomodations out there.
  • Food (CHEAP!) and miscellaneous expenses.
So that's about that... the plans now hinge on getting that day off... wonder how long it'll take to know if I get it or not... shouldn't be too much of a problem... this week on Tuesday I had a grand total of 5 students... not much to reschedule. YAY!

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