China: Cheap Flight Tickets

You know what it’s like. Stay in one Chinese city too long and you start to get the “travel bug”. China, like elsewhere in the world has websites that give you the best deals. So, if you’re looking to come to China, is the best way to find a flight to Beijing or Shanghai. Once in China however, there’s absolutely no need to use the websites you used in your own country. Sites like expedia charge over TWICE the rate than it’s Chinese counterpart charges so it’s really a no brainer to go local. One challenge of course is the language and if your Chinese isn’t up to scratch you probably feel a bit disadvantaged. There is no need to worry however cause I am more than happy to help guide you through China’s cheapest website using zilch Chinese language skills. If you are looking to travel then follow this guide and find a cheap flight to another city. If you’re planning a move to Shanghai and need to find a new home, contact me, Adrienne Farrelly at and I’ll be happy to give you a tour of our new homes.


Ctrip is probably the best choice if you don’t want to go through the hassle of looking through a Chinese website. Sure they have an English site but it often has errors.  Ctrip’s Chinese version offers direct flights between Shanghai and Beijing while the English version has none!! UGH!!


Chinese Choices

If you ask any Chinese person where they buy their inland flight tickets, the majority will say This site is not the easiest to maneuver if you cannot read Chinese but it sure holds the greatest rewards! The site not only has the lowest inland deals, but often has extremely cheap international tickets. The site often displays round trip tickets to Hong Kong for only $100 USD after taxes from Shanghai. This site often has flash deals; I once saw a round ticket to Cambodia from Shanghai for only $170 USD. The catch was the plane ticket was for the next day. This site is perfect for anyone wanting to go on a spontaneous trip.

How to use

  1. When you first arrive to the website, the top menu looks like the below options. You will choose the tab which I have highlighted
  2. Unless you view this blog right after I post it, only then you will see the same deals that are shown below.  This page has a list of international roundtrip tickets, one way international flights and inland one way flights. The prices listed below do not include tax or additional surcharges.. This site does not add the surcharges until you have selected a flight. On inland flights there is a 170 RMB surcharge for fuel, and airport fee regardless of distance. Most Airlines also offer a 20RMB insurance that you can opt to buy. International flights on the other hand have taxes. A round trip ticket to Hong Kong you will be looking at spending around 400 RMB in taxes. Which is sometimes more expensive than the flight itself.  You may be wondering what the special price button does. On the website this function is not user friendly. I would recommend downloading their app for Android and Iphone. I will discuss the app later on.imageimage
  3. If you already have in mind the city you would like to go to. You can type in the search boxes, don’t worry if you don’t have know the city’s Chinese name, the box’s recognize English; such as Hong Kong, Harbin, Seoul, Siem Reap and Macau which greatly differ than their Chinese pinyin. I am not sure why are the top they have an inland, and international flight search box. International flights can still be searched in the left box. In my case I have searched a one way flight from Shanghai to Tokyo. I choose an international flight to greater emphasize the saving that you can receive if you are flexible with the time of vacation. The below picture shows plane tickets to Tokyo for 1100+ 600 taxes. On the right hand side it shows round trip tickets than can be purchased that will save you over 800 RMB. The round trip price is 1400+Tax. However I still find this a bit too expensive let’s look at the option that I have highlighted.image
  4. After clicking on the last sections highlighted option. It brings up a calendar. On this calendar it shows the cost of the cheapest ticket on that day. You are able to scroll through and check by month. Usually plane tickets are cheapest between 8 and 12 weeks of the current date. As you see below if I choose to leave in March instead, the price of a ticket drastically lowers from 1100 to 399. The tax is usually relatively constant. There is always a different tax on tickets leaving China and coming into China, since the countries have different tax rates.image
  5. In the picture below I have highlighted an option which allows you to change which ticket you are searching for. If I clicked the option I will then be searching tickets from Japan to Shanghai. This is important if there are no cheap round trip suggestions. Round trip suggestions usually come up if it’s the same airline that offers a cheap going and return ticket; this may not always be the case. Then you can use the calendar option to find the cheapest going and returning tickets. However in my case an option came up to choose an 800 RMB round trip ticket. As shown in the bottom right hand corner.
  6. I have clicked on the bottom right hand corner 798RMB round trip ticket.  The next screen below is given. As you can see with tax the ticket comes up to 1879 RMB, which comes up to a little over 300 USD for a round trip ticket to Tokyo.
  7. After than menu I have clicked on the orange button next to the 798. The ones below are for one way tickets if you choose to buy them separately.  You will notice that the price has shot up to over 2000. This is because it includes an optional 150 RMB insurance. You can remove the insurance or keep it. The insurance includes such things as lost luggage reimbursement, if you get injured you will receive money, and for every 8 hours your luggage is delayed you will receive 500 RMB, and a few other things. This is the information that you need to put in. After this page, you will need to pay, by using a Chinese bank account.  Make sure under the Identification scroll down, you choose 护照or passport.

Air Asia

This site has an English Version, so it is easy to use. If you are looking for cheap plane tickets to Southeast Asia, this is the site for you. They offer the cheapest flights to Malaysia. I have seen roundtrip tickets from Shanghai to Malaysia for Only 1600 RMB tax included. They often have promotions on the front page of the website, for flights between certain times. These promotions can be a bit deceiving since you rarely find prices at that price. However the site still boasts some of the cheapest flights to Southeast Asia and once you are in Southeast Asia, flying city to city is dirt cheap. This site does not offer many inland China flights, but if you are looking for an out of the country excursion this is a great option


Earlier I mentioned the usage of apps to find flights. Luckily there is a qunar app, and an airasia app. The qunar app is perfect if you already have a desired city that you would like to travel to. The app will then give you the cheapest prices in the next 3 months. Then you can go to their website and purchase the ticket. The air Asia promotion app has a feature to check best prices. You input the city that you are traveling from and the city that you would like to go to. This application is in English but has some flaws. The biggest flaw is that after you select the city which you are traveling from it does not filter out cities which do not have a connecting flight with that city. I would recommend using airasia website search option in congruence with this app to find the best price. The app lists the cost of the flight to that city and from that city for a whole month; you can scroll through future months. There is no 3 month limit like qunar’s app. The second problem with the app is that you must hit a refresh button on the top left to refresh prices to this day and time, if you do not refresh this before searching it may show outdated prices.

Common City Names

Chinese Cities

  • 上海 Shanghai
  • 北京 Beijing
  • 南京 Nanjing
  • 杭州 Hangzhou
  • 苏州 Suzhou
  • 成都 Chengdu
  • 重庆 Chongqing
  • 昆明 Kunming
  • 西安 Xi’an
  • 哈尔滨 Harbin
  • 三亚 Sanya
  • 青岛 Qingdao
  • 大连 Dalian’
  • 广州 Guangzhou
  • 深圳 Shenzhen


  • 香港 Hong Kong
  • 澳门 Macau
  • 首尔 Seoul
  • 曼谷 Bangkok
  • 东京 Tokyo
  • 新加坡 Singapore
  • 悉尼 Sydney
  • 巴黎 Paris
  • 巴厘岛 Bali Island (Indonesia)
  • 吉隆坡 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  • 胡志明市 Ho Chi Minh City ( Vietnam)
  • 台北Taiwan
  • 马尼拉 Manila (Philippines)
  • 金边 Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
  • 暹粒 Siem Reap (Cambodia)

    adrienne farrelly

    Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Chinese New Year: Year of the Sheep

The Year of the Sheep will see the usual billions of fireworks set off to celebrate its arrival and as the New Year’s dawn arises, a thin haze of smoke will still remain in the streets as if there were a war the night before. This February 19th, 2015 is the Chinese New Year day and New Year’s Eve is all about family, food and fireworks!! If you currently live in China and have never experienced a Chinese New Year, you are in for one enormous treat so grab some earplugs and a camera and leave your Shanghai apartment and enjoy one of the biggest fireworks festivities you will ever see in your life.

Chinese New Year has some of the same traditions as Western New Year, just without the obligatory countdown. Most Chinese stay up all night with their family, eat loads of traditional dishes, play cards and watch popular variety styled TV shows.  Many choose to set off fireworks and firecrackers throughout the day and evening so if you live in a crowded area don’t plan on sleeping.  If you do want to get some shut eye make sure you fill your ears with a good set of plugs as the sound of firecrackers will be heard all night long and days and nights after. This holiday period is traditionally a 15 day event however the time off work is usually 3 to 7 days.


There is a story behind Chinese New Year, the legend says a wild demon named nian or (year) would come at the end of every year to terrorize the local villagers. The legend says that the villagers were able to scare off the demon by using loud noises and bright lights such as fire crackers.

New Years Eve Dinner

This is the most important meal of the year. Chinese New Year’s Eve is on January 18th. This is the holiday where everyone returns to their hometowns to have a dinner. This year is the Year of the Sheep, if you were born in the year of the Sheep you are supposed to wear all Red on this day including underwear. In Northern China, the two main dishes are fish and dumplings. The family traditionally sits together and watches TV while making dumplings. A coin is sometimes hidden in a dumpling; whoever gets the dumpling is believed to have good luck for the upcoming year. They eat fish because there is a Chinese idiom that says 年年有余 which means to have more money than you need. Fish or 鱼 and 余 have the same pronunciation. Others choose to eat noodles because the noodle is a symbol of longevity in some parts of China. At midnight the fireworks begin, the first person in the Family to set off a firework is believed to have good fortune for the year. The other belief is that setting off fireworks wards off the evil spirit. Another tradition of Chinese New year’s is to stay up all night, because of this tradition plan on hearing fireworks for the remaining of the night.


Chinese Families during this time also give the younger generation red envelops or 红包 “hongbao” filled with cash. The amount of cash ranges from a few hundred to tens of thousands depending on the families economic situation. These envelopes are usually given by adults to children. Younger generations are not expected to give money to their parents and older relatives until they are married.


Before New Year’s Chinese families will do a complete clean of their apartments. They do this to get rid of the old and welcome the new. After they finish cleaning their apartments, they put up an assortment of decorations. These decorations are always red, since red is a sign of good luck. Some of these decorations include paper cuttings, the Chinese character 福 “fu” displayed upside down and wall hangings. They put the Chinese symbol 福 upside down because the word for upside down is 倒 “dao” and it has the same sound as the word to arrive. 福 meaning is happiness, and good luck. Thus they believe that putting the symbol upside down will bring good luck and happiness. You might also want to put one on your Apartment’s door. Who knows it might bring you luck.

Unlike Westerners, the day of Chinese New Year’s and the entirety of the 15 day festival when greeting people you are expected to say Happy New Years.

The First Few Days of the New Year’s the majority of shops are closed, outside looks more like a ghost town. Do not expect on catching a taxi for a few days, they will also be taking these days off.


Most of the traditional superstitions involved with New Year’s are not widely followed however they are worth mentioning.

  • Using scissors or knives on New Year’s Day would cut off good fortune
  • New Year’s day do not wash your hair, washing you hair signifies washing away good luck
  • If you cry on New Year’s Day you will cry the rest of the year
  • Your appearance on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the rest of the Year
  • All debts should be paid on New Year’s Day, and nothing should be lent
  • Sweeping on New Year’s Day signifies sweeping away good fortune
  • It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom
  • No foul language should be used on New Year’s Day, and refrain from using the number 4 since it Chinese it sounds like “to die”
  • Consuming meat or slaughtering animals on New Year’s Day is considered bad luck
  • Preparing food on New Year’s Eve for the upcoming days signifies that you had abundant wealth that is brought over from the previous year

Days Following

After Chinese New Year’s eve the family will not throw away their trash until the second day of the New Year. If you throw away your trash it is believed that you are throwing away your households money.

The first five days of Chinese New Year families go from one relative’s house to another eating dinner.

In traditional China on the 7th day of New Years everyone was considered a year older instead of by their individual birthdays. This tradition is less practiced now since of growing importance of individualization. However some still do follow this tradition.

The 15th day of Spring Festival is also known as Lantern Festival and is a day where Lion Dances can be seen, along with some of the most fascinating lanterns. Kids walk down the streets and pull a rabbit shaped lantern down the street. This day is traditionally a Full moon making it the perfect skyline for lanterns. It is also the second noisiest night of the year when fireworks are once again let off to mark the end of the holiday season.

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Chinese Zodiac Symbols

Some people say that you are a match based on your personality and life style, while others might believe you may have been destined to be together. Chinese believe that depending on the year that you were born you fall under a certain animal. Each animal has distinct characteristics. This is one of Chinese traditional beliefs.  On this upcoming Chinese New Year, all people born under the year of the Horse should wear all red including underwear to avoid an unlucky year.


Chinese Zodiac’s were originally established in the Han Dynasty (206-220) to count years. They watched each animal’s life style and characteristics. They chose the number 12 since; there are 12 time periods in a day, 12 months in a year, and 12 full moons in a year. Each animal is also associated with an earthly branch.

There is a Chinese folk story that explains the order of the animals.  The Jade emperor announced that 12 animals would be selected for calendar signs; the first 12 animals that arrive would be selected. There are multiple versions of the story, a widely believe one is the day before the race, the cat asked the rat to wake him up early to go to the Jade Emperor. The rat forgot to wake up the cat and ran along. While on the path to the Jade Emperor, other animals started to pass up the rat. The rat saw the Ox and asked if the ox could carry him, the condition was that the rat had to sing to the Ox on the way there. While they were arriving at the Jade Emperor’s palace the rat leaped off the Ox’s back to become the first on the list. This story also explains why the cat hates the rat so much.

You can check out which animal you belong to here.

year of the sheep

Below you can check if your animal accurately describes you.


Strengths – People born during these years are usually smart, wealthy, adaptable and successful.

Weaknesses – These people are usually timid and in the need of courage.  They are not capable of taking a leader position. They are easily guided by their greed and personal interests.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility- Dragon, Monkey, Ox

Avoid – Sheep, Horse, Rabbit


Strengths- These people are most likely honest, industrious, and cautious. They are strong leaders that have dedication and like to be in charge.

Weaknesses – They are not the most sociable, and are not easily persuaded. They are often very distant.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Rat, Snake, Rooster

Avoid – Horse, Dog, Sheep


Strengths- They are usually well respected, are able to express themselves, active and love challenges.

Weaknesses- These people are often self-centered, with a short temper and do not look far into the future. They also come in conflict with authorities and seniors.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Horse, Dog

Avoid – Snake, Monkey


Strengths – These people are usually very sensitive and compassionate. They also have an extremely strong memory. They are very peaceful and hate arguing.

Weaknesses – People born under the Rabbit lack the ability to think deeply before action. They may also pass up many good opportunities.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Sheep, Pig, Dog

Avoid – Rat, Dragon


Strengths – People born under the year of the dragon are ambitious, lively, energetic, intelligent and not easily discouraged.

Weaknesses – They can often be arrogant and impatient, and not be able to control their moods.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Rat, Monkey, Rooster

Avoid – Ox, Rabbit, Dog


Strengths- People born under the sign of the snake are usually financially savvy and do not have to worry about money. They are also wise and good tempered.

Weaknesses – They often doubt others, and are very suspicious. They prefer to rely on themselves.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Ox, Rooster

Avoid – Pig, Tiger


Strengths – They have great communication skills and want to be the center of attention. They are cheery and like large groups and entertainment

Weaknesses – These people may often not listen to advice. They are also quickly to jump on the newest trends and lack a deep enjoyment. They are often wasteful and are not able to handle money well.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility- Tiger, Sheep, Dog

Avoid – Rat, Ox, Rabbit


Strengths – People born under the sign of the sheep often are clever, kind hearted, and have a deep passion for art and religion.

Weaknesses – These people are often moody and pessimistic. They can also be indecisive and puzzled about life.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility- Rabbit, Horse, Pig

Avoid – Ox, Dog


Strengths – People born under the year of the Monkey are quick witted, lively, and excellent problem solvers. Have a strong desire for knowledge and great memories

Weaknesses- They easily feel jealous and suspicious. They also are quick to look down upon others.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility- Rat, Dragon, Snake

Avoid- Tiger, Pig


Strengths- People born under the year of the rooster are quick thinkers, honest, warm hearted and capable.  They often have a quick mind and hot temper.

Weaknesses – They are often quick to change passions. They also believe they are always right. Often narrow minded and vain

Zodiac Sign Compatibility- Ox, Dragon, Snake

Avoid- Rat, Rabbit, Dog


Strengths – People born under the year of the dog are often faithful to their career and love life’s. They are able to keep secrets. They are also very straightforward.

Weaknesses – These people can be sometimes distant and cold. They are also known for their sharp tongues.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Tiger, Rabbit, Horse

Avoid- Ox, Dragon, Sheep, Rooster


Strengths – People born under the pig often have a clam appearance and strong heart. Often honest and frank and are not afraid of difficulties and problems.

Weaknesses – They are too trusting and can easily be tricked.  They are also very impulsive and not able to communicate well with others

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Sheep, Rabbit

Avoid – Snake, Monkey


When going out in China, don’t be afraid to ask them what animal they are. 你的属相是什么(Ni de shuxiang shi shenme). It just may help you find your soul mate or avoid someone that you were destined to hate.

Adrienne black top - small

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Chinese New Year in Shanghai 2015

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, has been celebrated for over 4,000 years. It is the most important and traditional festival that China celebrates each year and it can be compared to celebrating both Christmas and Easter combined into one! It is a very special time where Chinese make a great trek across the country to return to their hometowns to spend time with their families. It comes on the first day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar and lasts for half a month. This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 19th where you will hear and see millions of fireworks exploding throughout Shanghai culminating in an amazing crescendo at mid night where the city skyline literally disappears from all the smoke.

lunar new year

For Chinese New Year 2015, China will welcome the Year of the Goat (or the Sheep/Ram). Among the Chinese animals these are said to be some of the most favored because they are gentle and calm, yet very powerful through perseverance.
In order to celebrate the Year of the Goat, at Shanghai Properties we have our own “Goat Sale”. Working with OxFam Unwrapped we can help newly arrived expats AND more needy people in developing countries. Oxfam Unwrapped charity gifts transform the lives of people living in poverty by providing education, clean water and other living essentials.

When you use our agency to find your new home or refer a friend, we will use some of our commission to buy “a goat” or another precious gift of your choice from Oxfam Unwrapped to give to a family in need.

To take advantage of this opportunity just mail your housing needs and contact details directly to Adrienne Farrelly at and she’ll be in touch soon to explain how you can help the whole global community.

You can view some of the gifts to give here. These are examples of gifts to help a family in need:
– Water for a School
– Women’s Empowerment
– Water for a Family
– Hygiene Kit
– A Well
– Literacy Classes
– Orphan Care
& even more!

Adrienne and her team at Shanghai Properties wish you and your family a very Happy Chinese New Year and we hope that if you are in Shanghai during the Spring Festival, you have a great time celebrating!

adrienne farrellyAdrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties “Expat Agents Speak Your Language”.

David’s Kind Testimonial of our Services

“Shortly after arriving in Shanghai I was desperate to find a house. I used Joanna Real Estate but after being shown a few properties at a crazy high rental price (and being stood up in the middle of winter) I decided to call Adrienne at Shanghai Properties. Adrienne spent about 1 hour talking to me, asking me what I wanted, what I liked and most importantly what areas I would like to live in. We narrowed it down the The French Concession or XinTianDi.

We started at looking at a beautiful apartment in The FFC but it was far to local, with that feedback Adrienne and Lee (the consultant I dealt with) narrowed the search down to XTD. We look at small, medium and large apartments for days (spread out over a few month) and Adrienne would call me every few weeks to see how I was, and see if there was anything that I had found or areas I discovered that I would like to investigate more.

We managed to find a 225 mt2 apartment in XTD that we liked and began to start the negotiations. After a week of playing verbal tennis, we finally got the go ahead (and at 7k-10k lower than the average market price).

When we moved Lee helped me move, and even came to help me at IKEA to buy essentials.

The whole process was such an ease. Adrienne’s 20 years of living here made looking for a house so easy. She pointed me in the direction of Local food and supermarkets as well as showing me some of her favorite Shanghai places.

If I move again in Shanghai I will definitely be using Shanghai Properties and would not hesitate in recommending her to anyone else looking for a house in Shanghai.”

movinghouseThank you David for your kind words! So happy to help you find your special place here in Shanghai.

adrienne farrelly

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties