a VirtualTourist member
Hi travelling with husband and 8 year old child initially to beijing and then on to either chengdu or guilin in may. have booked first 2 nights accomm - how easy is it or realistic is it to book accomdation when there or should we really think about pre booking before we leave uk?
It all depends on when you travel. It is always good to pre-book during high season. There are lots of choices, hotels, guest houses, hostels etc.
It is quite important for you to book hotel in advance before you visit China especially you travel with a 8 year old child. Why?
1) It is more expensive to walk-in to a hotel.
2) Sometimes you get a cheaper rate to book online few months ahead of time, cause in some good hotel the rate will go more expensive last minute due to good crowd.
3) There are many lousy hotels in China, could avoid getting into one of those hotels, book hotel with good reviews.
4) In China, not all hotels can cater foreigner. Only hotels with special permit can cater foreign visitors.
5) I usually book my hotel in advance thru local booking website. www.elong.net, you don't need to pay anything in advance. Some hotels require you to use your credit card to secure your room, but they won't charge you anything. You only pay them during check-in. If you wish to cancel your room, just call them or cancel online 24 hours in advance.
5) Most hotel staffs don't speak Englsih except those foreign-chain 5 stars hotels. You can always call elong with English speaking staffs if encounter problem regard your hotel and booking. They will slove the issue for you without any cost.
Alternatley, www.ctrip.com is another reliable hotel booking website in China.
Good Luck and Have a Great Trip!
Booking in advance saves you from unwanted trouble. Moving with luggage and a child to find an acceptable place may become a big trouble if your first trials are not successful. reading the comments of the guests of the hotel gives you a good idea. For example, we stayed in a comfortable room and we had a great location close to Forbidden City, but I can't imagine myself looking for a hotel with our luggage after a long flight. You can check my Beijing page for some useful tips and you can try agoda.com for a brief search for hotels. We stayed in Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel in Beijing.
With a child always book in advance. When we visited in May 2011 we stayed in the Doubletree by Hilton $100 per night room with breakfast for 2.
Most taxi drivers do not speak English. When we went out for the day the hotel consierge would give us a hotel card and write in Chinese where we wantd to go, and the card had the hotel address in Chinese.
otherwise you may get lost.
I would suggest pre-booking. Booked via Agoda the first time then booked directly with hotel (with discounts) eversince. Been going back and forth since then. Let me know if you need help, I can recommend you to a hotel that is a block away from Forbidden Palace-East gate and Wangfujing.
Orbitz covers all of the major cities in China. It may not give you the best rate, but it is simple and convenient. We have used it to book rooms a couple of days in advance.