Here are three important things I learned in preparing for my China trip.
1. The most useful site I used for research: Seat61. It mainly contains information about trains, such as time tables, description of the classes, where to get tickets, etc. I'm counting 18 Asian countries in the index, and the other continents are also represented, with an emphasis on Europe. While it's mostly about trains, other information for each country is also summarized, such as visa information, currencies, etc. There are links to many other informational sites, including embassies and booking sites.
2. Using an agency for getting the Chinese visa. At the consulate, I was blocked by onerous documentation requirements. They wanted to know my booking arrangement for each day and night I will spend in China, something that would have been literally impossible in my case, since land-based traveling can only be arranged within a few weeks of the local trip. After a recommendation from some friends, I used the agency instead and it was smooth sailing.
3. Vaccinations: If you want inoculation against Hepatitis B, start more than one month before the trip. It's a three-step vaccination process, and the second injection needs to be administered one month after the first. Getting just the first injection does not give any immunity, from what I was told.
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