Trip Planning for China | Qinghai, China

Last Updated on January 11, 2018 by Christine Kaaloa


I have a special announcement.

Firstly, I’ve been blown away by the response you’ve given to some of my India videos.  Basically , my travel survival series.  I’m grateful you guys are watching it. I have a lot of videos on India. It’s a country I love and I spent good a whole month in it.

 My whole idea is to show you the culture shock up front so that when you actually experience it you’l be like, “Oh yeah, I already saw that in Christine’s video.  And it will be nothing to you.

But while I’ve got the juices rolling and you guys are watching these videos…I have to dig out and hit some other destinations.  I also have  exciting news!

I’m traveling to Qinghai China!

Trip Planning my first trip to China

I’m invited by the Qinghai Tourism Board to experience the Qinghai region in China.  They will be flying me out to experience the region of Qinghai.  This will be strictly for their tourism board and their profiles and stuff. So I’ll be taking two cameras with me– one for their promotion and one just because I want to YouTube it.

 I have around two weeks at the most to expedite my Chinese visa.

1.  Getting a Chinese Visa from America

The trick about getting Chinese visas within America, is that unless you’re living in a state where there’s a Chinese Embassy (I’m in Hawaii; No Chinese Embassy here), then you need to find a way to hand-deliver your passport to the embassy. Hand-deliver.  This  means you need a courier service. I’ve decided to use (fingers crossed!).  This means extra money.

 The China tourist visas for Americans are also not cheap. They usually cost around $140. That gargantuan price is the reason  I’ve not traveled to China yet .

However, the China visa allows you multiple entries and they last for like 10 years. So it’s especially worthwhile if you plan to travel to China a lot and last minute travel is generally how I travel.

However, getting it couriered and then, express delivered to Hawaii (4-6 business days) because I got my flight tickets late, extended that total to $389.  Not a cheap affair.

My second reason for not traveling there is their  public squat toilets! Apparently, some restrooms have toilets that have a low partition where you can see other people doing their business).

2.  Trip Planning for Qinghai, China

Trip planning for Qinghai will and won’t be easy.

I’m guessing Qinghai is open to tourism or going to be open to tourism soon, because there’s not much mentioned about it online. I Googled it and found that being part of the Kunlun Mountain range (a holy area of worship for Buddhists) and the Tibetan plateau, the region is known as the Rooftop of the World.  How exquisite!  The region has  Tibetan, Mongolian and Muslim influences, spanning from  monasteries to mosques.   I’m stoked about this. This is going to be an adventure for me and probably a bit outside my comfort zone.

Luckily, the tourism board sent me preparatory information to me for my packing .

Qinghai Lake, Qinghai, Qinghai China
Qinghai Lake, Photo taken by NASA from space


Climate/Geography: Qinghai is dry, at a fairly high altitude of 4000 meters above sea level with 70% Oxygen of average level. (I might encounter some Altitude Sickness). Dust and sunlight will be strong.

Tip: Bring sunscreen (I’m definitely taking my Coppertone Sport Stick SPF 55 to keep reapplying throughout the day), lip balm, a sick mask, a scarf, diarrhea pills and heart medicine (if you have a condition). Drinks lots of water and keep from strenuous exertion.

I experienced altitude sickness when I was in Ladakh. My body felt it and my movement felt weighted; my heart rate raised and my breath was deeper. I was breathing harder. Activities and sightseeing  were still enjoyable. I just had to pace myself and wait for acclimation to set in.

Weather: I’m traveling in the summer. Daytime is hot. Meanwhile, evening time is likely to be an autumn cold. I’ll need to pack for two types of weather– summer and autumn.

Conversion plug:   220V  (2 prong plug; standard to the U.S. and/or a 3 pinned plug). Tip: Just bring a universal plug adapter!


3.  VPN & The Great Wall of Internet Censorship in China

China is a communist country; thus,  accessing internet may pose some issues. No Google (and Gmail), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… or YouTube. VPN is Virtual Private Network and it will help you get through that wall undetected.  However, there are times your VPN will work and won’t work.

There are three VPN recommendations I’ve gotten from expat friends and travel bloggers — Witopia, Express VPN, and  VYPR VPN. Those are generally paid services.

There’s two free ones for your mobile called Betternet and Master VPN (for iPhone). This is the one I’m definitely going to download..  I want to be prepared.

Hopefully upload some stuff to my social media accounts so I can let you into my journey.

Follow my journey and stay tuned. I’ll  be uploading photos to my Instagram and Facebook accounts and YouTube videos weekly. I’ll be covering Qinghai and China after I return home.

Travel safe smart and fun and may the GRRR be with you!

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Trip Planning, China, News Updates, Videos


  • I am SOOO excited for your new trip, Christine! I just love all your videos, and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on how the VPN works when you are in China. I have some friends I want to visit in Guangzhou, and your experiences will definitely help me! Have a safe and fun trip!!!!

    • Christine Kaaloa
      June 10, 2016 11:20 am

      @Jay Dollarhide Thanks so much! I’m excited too. Wasn’t sure how I was going to make travel content for you all this year. I’m not sure what the internet situation will be and how much support we’re given by the tourism board yet but I’ll definitely try my best to test things out as a soloist so I can report back on it. =) I thin Guangzhou is close to this region.

  • Congratulations on your China trip! I’ve been twice but never that far inland. Wow.

    I have an idea to share with you (assuming you haven’t already thought of it). I travel with only a carry-on and have never allowed myself the luxury of a neck pillow. It dawned on me to buy one with a removable/washable pillowcase and gently stuff it with clean clothes. Its not as comfy as the original foam, but its not bad either – and I haven’t sacrificed any space. (I recommend against filling it with used socks. Eww.)

    Be safe and have fun.

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