Bronze Buddha of Taiwan

Bronze Buddha of Taiwan
Photo by: Shirley Booth (Stock Exchange)

In today’s big finale for Disabled Travelers’ China access guide, we’ll take a look back at a few other posts that might interest disabled travelers and their travel companions who are thinking about heading to this ancient and legendary land. Let’s roll, everybody!

Now, one thing I have to point out is that there’s next to nothing in the way of accessible services outside urban China. The rural countryside is just that – rural – and it’s just not known for travelers from abroad to go too far off the beaten path for too long. That said, we have made a couple of interesting discoveries, so just to recap …

Beijing: The capital of China hosted the 2010 Summer Olympics AND the 2010 Paralympics, events that drew huge international attention and got the ball rolling on a new level of barrier-free access. Though there’s still reportedly a long, long way to go, basics have improved, such as more wheelchair accessible bus and train routes. Beijing is probably the best place in the country for an accessible tour.

Shanghai: Shanghai also played host to a major event, the 2010 World Expo. As in the capital Beijing, this turned out to be good news for disabled travelers. The situation looks a little more cloudy in Shanghai, the largest city and financial capital, but improvements in transportation and a bunch of fairly recent travelogues suggest the parts of the city frequented by visitors have become a good bit more accessible.

Hong Kong: We first visited Hong Kong way back in February of last year, and it warrants mention again because it’s kind of a special case. Hong Kong was formerly a possession of the British Empire, and way up until the 1990s, it was under British administration. More than any other place in China, it’s gotten a reputation as a hot party spot and a place that welcomes international visitors – especially high rollers.

Since the British attitude toward accessibility is a little different, disabled travelers and travel companions might find Hong Kong more amenable than most other places in China for the time being. However, it’s worth noting that convenience may come at a bit of a price premium, and conditions aren’t what you would expect from Britain itself.

Taipei: Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a special case. I’ve heard a lot of worrying news about generally inaccessible, uneven paths and old-fashioned buildings with very limited consideration for disabled travelers. On the other hand, Taiwan benefits from a vibrant community of handicapped organizations that are actively pushing for better treatment and can also help visitors to plan trips and itineraries. You can learn more about that in the Taiwan post from 2010.

Because China is such a mixed bag, I stand behind my recommendation to engage a trustworthy accessible tour operator who is either local to the region or well-established in the world of accessible travel. In another post, I listed just about every accessible tour operator I could find, but you still have to do some detective work to be sure a given tour group is right for you. One thing I didn’t see much of in China was resources for the sight or hearing impaired, so be extra careful if this describes you.

Well, that’s that for China, and I hope you read something that interests you! Next up is the Disabled Travelers News Round Up for March! Pretty soon, we’ll be back on the trail with news and information from the latest and hottest travel destinations, so stay tuned!


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Comment by Myisha

Posted on March 28th, 2011

I’ve been meaning to go to China for a while now. I’m glad to know that they are working on their infrastructure for accessibility.