The initial idea of a holiday to China started with discussions among friends in 2006 . The initially planned date was the 2008/2009 holidays, as this gave us ample time to book annual leave well in advance and save up for it.
It was a long time to wait, and as a result those that had forced annual leave (including myself) got impatient, and the holiday was moved to the 2007/2008 holiday season. September 2007 was when we initially started discussing hotels and airfares.
I would have liked to have included all of our decision making process in this post, but there was too much discussion, with thousands of emails sent, MSN group chats and numerous group get togethers. I will briefly outline the key choices we made, and alternatives that could have been made.
We initially spent most of the time looking for the cheapest flights between cities. Taking the train was also considered but declined due to travelling time of half a day or more between distant cities.
It was also realised that flying directly from Hong Kong to China cities would be relatively more expensive due to being classified as an international flight. The alternative option was to take a ferry to Schenzhen and fly to any China cities for there. Again this method was unfavourable due to wasted time through customs, and being close to Christmas it could be worse.
Booking domestic flights was quite a challenge with many of the internet sites not in English, and those that were when it came time to pay did not accept foreign credit cards. In the end we went through a Hong Kong travel agent that gave us a good price on flights.
The following sites where used for flights and trains:
China Domestic Airline Codes
Train travel in China
yoee – Online China Airline tickets
ctrip – Online China Hotels and Airline Tickets
eLong – Online China Hotels and Airline Tickets
China Ticket Master
Ticket 9588 – Discount China Air Tickets
After the group decided they did not want to stay at Hostels, a 3 to 4 star hotel range was set. Factors that were taken into account when choosing the hotels were distance to public transport, distance to attractions and the general interior look of the rooms. The overage price per night was $82 AUS for a double room.
The following sites where used to book hotels, they all accepted foreign credit card as payment:
Hotel.com.au (We strongly advise not to use hotel.com.au do to our unfortunate bad experience.)
A lot of hotel reviews can be found on the internet simply by googling the hotels name.