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sujeto

Once in Beijing, how can I travel to Harbin?

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abcdefg

International FedEx ("economy rate") from Caracas to Harbin for a 20 kg package costs $216 (USD.) That seems like an avoidable expense.

 

https://www.fedex.com/ratefinder/standalone?method=getQuickQuote

 

Furthermore, China customs can be a hassle, sometimes causing delivery delays and sometimes levying import duties you did not anticipate.

 

I agree with the others above that it's much better to just take checked luggage on your flight. Your international ticket probably allows you to take two checked bags (see the specific airline for details.)

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abcdefg

Glad that the currency situation/exchange rate will work in your favor.

 

Hope you have a trouble-free trip. 一路顺风!

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Lu

I don't think chinese gov charges me with taxes for bringing used clothing for personal use, and If they does, my family could pay it in advance, again at official rate in Bolivars which is unexpensive

Don't know about the relevant Chinese situation, but when a friend sent up some of his things to my home in Holland once, he had to pay import taxes over it, even though he already owned those things and they were used. If this is also the case in China, will you understand the tax bureau when they contact you to tell you this? And given the currency situation in your home country, are you sure they can send out the money?

True, you're not sure where to go, so worst case scenario you'll have to carry a big suitcase further than you'd like. The downside of that is that the suitcase will be big, but I'm assuming your suitcase has wheels. The upside is that you know exactly how to do that and you won't need any Chinese skills for it.

Scenarios:

Plane:

- Arrive at Harbin airport. Put luggage on cart.

- Find bus. Take luggage off cart, put on shuttle bus.

- Arrive at bus stop. Take luggage off bus, take it to metro. Hopefully there will be escalators, if not you'll have to haul it downstairs, which is not a great passtime but doable.

- Arrive at stop. Drag luggage from metro stop to university. Possible problem: you get lost. This would mean you need to carry your luggage further, which is tiring but still not that big a deal.

Train:

- Arrive at Beijing airport. Drag luggage to metro, take metro to Beijing station. This involves some changing trains, which is not ideal, but doable (I've done this during rush hour, which is not recommended, but still doable).

- Arrive at train station. Bring suitcase upstairs on escalator. Be overwhelmed with size and Chinese-ness of the place. Drag suitcase around until you find the right ticket window.

(- If no same-day ticket: take metro to previously-booked hostel. Drag luggage from metro station to hostel.

- Next day, drag luggage back to metro station and then back to train station.)

- Sit on luggage until train arrives, haul luggage on train.

- Arrive in Harbin, haul luggage off train, drag out of train station. Take metro, see above.

If all else fails, try to take a taxi. Since you're a big guy, the driver probably won't help you put the luggage in the trunk, so you'll need to do that yourself. If you need to take a bike at some point, something has gone wrong. If you need to take a bus that the luggage doesn't fit into, try taking a taxi instead.

Anyway. I'm not going to debate you on this any further. I think carrying a suitcase is a bit of a hassle, but not nearly as big a hassle as trying to get it Fedexed to you. If you do decide to take the Fedex route, do come back to let us know how it went.

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tysond

Sounds like you want to go the fedex route...  so tell us how it goes.  Either it will go smoothly or you will have a good story.

 

It's not the end of the world if there are problems... just make sure your backpack has everything you need for a few weeks of survival.

And make sure you have access to enough money to survive winter even if you have to buy some more clothes because the fedex thing doesn't work out.

 

I've been to Harbin in winter.  It is terrifying.

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ChTTay

How heavy can suitcase full of clothes be??

I don't see the hassle in having everything you need right with you. If it is just clothes and it does have wheels... No worries. You aren't going off road... Are you?

Sounds like you have decided on FedEx already. It's not the way i'd go. Get that $200 and spend it on some worthwhile experience... How about 3 nights in Beijing??

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abcdefg

@sujeto_1 -- It seems this conversation has developed an odd pattern.

 

Starts with you saying you have zero experience with international travel, first time ever away from home, and you ask for other forum members help in planning your trip.

 

Now, I gotta say; I haven't went out of my country ever in my life before, in fact, I have not any experience even travelling inside my own country (Venezuela, Southamerica), I never travelled alone further than my own State, this always was with a group in a bus. So this will be my very first experience travelling completly alone.

 

Several people with personal experience make clear suggestions in an attempt to answer your questions. You disregard what they say and argue with them, continuing to cling to a plan that has serious flaws and drawbacks. One which is not likely to work out well. 

 

None of us here really know you, having just recently met on the internet. I, for one, cannot help but wonder if such stubbornness is a personality trait which will turn out to be helpful in your China adventure.

 

I certainly don't mean to be rude, but it would be easy to think "Sujeto knows nothing, but he is still sure he knows best." It would be easy to walk away and just let Sujeto do whatever he wants since he may be someone who must learn everything in life the hard way, through mistakes.

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OneEye

You certainly have some very odd ideas about "Americans, Europeans, and Australians."

 

I'm looking forward to hearing how everything goes.

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grawrt

Now that you're finally taking your luggage with you, try and find out which campus you're supposed to go to. Like I said before, HIT has two campuses in different locations.

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Lu

That countries are rich doesn't mean everyone from there can always stay in the Hilton. When I went to study in Beijing I had a scholarship, much as you do now, and that was it. I couldn't afford to rent my own room, fortunately a shared room on campus was included in the scholarship. I certainly couldn't, and still can't, afford to spend 200 dollars to send myself a box of clothes. I sympathise with your currency situation, but don't think you're the only person with little money. Poverty is relative.

I think I addressed your luggage on bus/on metro issues in my previous post. Yes you can take your luggage on the metro, even during rush hour, although it will get you some annoyed looks. You can also get your luggage on the shuttle buses to/from the airport. Getting it on a regular city bus can be a bit of a hassle, so consider taking a taxi there. Taxis are usually not that expensive. If you're afraid you'll lose your luggage, well there I can't help you, you just need to pay attention.

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prateeksha

Very constricted and self-depreciating opinion being presented here. I have been to the PRC twice - once to study for a year, once to attend a school for a month. I come from India. I do not have travel insurance. I always travel on a shoestring budget. My currency does not enjoy international acceptance either. And THESE are the reasons why we should listen and learn from other people's advice. Perhaps your distorted view of people from "first-world" countries and "third-world" countries is because you have never traveled abroad, but very soon you will see for yourself how these "first-world" people also face similar problems - not all of them are loaded with cash to sleep in 5 star hotels, not all of them shop in swanky malls of Sanlitun, and many of them work very hard along with studies to make a living while in China. These are the people who are urging you to save your precious money by taking a little extra effort, so I don't see how you can arrive at the conclusion that they-have-lots-to spare-and-my-scenario-is-different. 

 

People are advising out of personal experiences - the routes they have taken, the problems they have faced, the ground realities in China v/s pre-assumed notions. But I recall from a previous thread about "seeking" opinion about choice of school and the way the conversation followed, so I guess this thread is predictable too.

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Johnny20270

Whats the issue with the currency anyway sujeto_1? Aren't you just bringing USD? Is it, that the VEB to USD rate is too expensive?

 

Also, do you have other means of payment, like a Credit Card or an ability for your parents to send you money.  You will want something in-case you lose your cash.

 

Oh, and I'd advise that get a local SIM card. They are always invaluable in any country for internet usage.

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ChTTay

What? hang on a second ... you mean I'm the only one doing the Hilton hotel tour of China??? :shock:

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abcdefg
If I lose the USD I have that's it, game over.

 

I would suggest getting a money belt that you can wear under your shirt. Every big city has pickpockets, and Beijing is definitely no exception. 

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Lu

- Can you get traveller cheques? Or if those are also affected by the currency problem, perhaps you can buy them in Paris during your stopover? At least that way you're insured if you lose your money. But also try a money belt, as abcdefg suggests. Better to not lose money in the first place.

- Your plan looks sound! I'd make some slight adjustments to your plan B though: if I were you, I'd find a hostel in advance. Perhaps even book it, by email or over the phone. If you get a train ticket right away, excellent, call or email the hostel and cancel. If you can't get on the train the same day, you'll have a place to go. Taxi drivers won't speak English and if they can recommend you a hotel, it's unlikely to have a good price/quality ratio. Write down the address (preferably in Chinese, it'll be on their website) and phone number of the hostel, in case you need to ask the way.

- If you're going from the train station to a hostel, I'd advise you to take the metro. It's next to impossible to get a taxi from the Beijing train station.

Edit: Here is a good thread on how to find a hostel.

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ChTTay

If you are trying to save cash, I would take the subway from the airport to whereever you are going. You can easily take the airport express then change to whatever line you want.

I wouldn't count on anyone speaking English. However, they do sometimes have an English speaking window at bigger train stations. There level of English may not be that good but workable. Otherwise, it might be worth writing where you want to go and that you want to take the bullet train there. Just to be safe.

I agree with Lu above. Book a hostel just incase and have the details/directions to it ready. If you really can't book it then still pick one and print out directions/address in Chinese. That way, you can at least go there to try get a room. If they happen to be full, they usually can point you to another place nearby. It would also be cheaper than a hotel and likely nicer than a cheap Chinese hotel too.

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Johnny20270

and if your stuck, don't be afraid to approach people in their 20's. You will get someone eventually who speaks English. Lots are just shy and feel their English is too bad but it probably isn't as bad as they think it is  !

 

I have had this in many countries, don't give up just because the first few you approach don't speak English. In a store like Starbucks, if you talk to one of them and they can't speak English, you may find that they will quickly run off to find the best English speaker (if there is any)

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