I know what I'm after when it comes to the visas, the 12 month, multi-entry tourist (L) visa seemed like the most sensible and cost effective way to go. It's one of the cheaper necessities of the trip, however (and I have looked all over the Chinese-Australian consulate's site to no avail) there are certain 'rumours' I've read on various travel sites about gaining entry. For example, mandatory HIV tests to acquire 12+ month visas and travellers being denied access to the country without return airfares.

The test (if there's any truth in this) is not so much a worry as a bother; and if need be I can buy a return ticket, but would rather go one way which gives me a little bit more flexibility.

You said you'll be in Thailand in March, will you be training or visiting Dengfeng on your trip?

The return trip ticket is a NECESSITY visa wise for many Asian countries. Don't expect to go with a one way ticket. Purchase a round trip (they are cheaper) and make it valid for one year.

I'm going to Thailand because it is my second home. Decheng is coming to visit as he visits me every year; this time is special because my wife and I are having a child. He wants to be there for that. We'll train, of course. he might be looking at it for a long term thing also, as I have a school in Phuket that teaches Muay Thai and occasionally gong fu. I think he's interested in other options as he gets older, and one option I've always presented to him was doing somethign together (again)

Thanks for the advice, I'll make sure I book a return flight! Need to make a call to the consulate before I pay them a visit to check a couple of other unanswered queries.

Sounds like you've got a busy couple of months ahead of you. And also from what you've described, a very rich friendship with DeCheng. I wish you all the best with the wife and baby for the year to come, sounds like they're safe hands. Though I have to say I'm left with a very alternate impression from the bachelor lifestyle shown on the Shaolin Ulysses doco.

Does Decheng do a lot of travelling abroad? and when he is away who takes his classes? What I'm getting at is that I'm curious to know if DeCheng take classes at his school? and if so, does he also teach the foreigners?

It's funny you mention Muay Thai, it was something that I was considering doing during the Winter months when the humidity and heat are considerably cooler. But one thing at a time!

I'm sorry you won't be coming to Dengfeng, it would have been great to meet you in person; the internet's one thing but no substitute for the real deal.

Be in touch

Don't believe what you see on TV, LOL.... Especially that shit documentary. Remind me to write about that sometime.

Decheng and I are like family. We are very close. We spend every winter together, and this year, he changed his plans so he can spend time with the baby. he's a character, one that you most definitely have to meet one day.

If you want to train in MT, come on down to Phuket and work out for a month. We'll take care of you.

Agreed. I think I must have ordered and rented every Shaolin doco I could find on the subject and generally I would watch the lot including every special feature on the disc; this was the exception. Don't get me wrong, I think what you had to say about the training and the temple was relevant and articulate (apart from the hooters girl one-liner haha) but on the whole not anything I would be recommending anytime soon.

How long will you be spending in Thailand? I don't suppose you be out that way in October? Do you stay at your school when you're in the country?

There is a very good chance I will be in Thailand at some point next year, to catch up with my family. I think a month or so of Muay Thai training could be a realistic possibility and I will let you know if I'm inclined to do so. I briefly checked out a few MT training camp sites, they certainly have a different look to them compared to the gong fu schools in Dengfeng; the price is also encouraging (as well as the Thai women!).

Regardless of what happens with gong fu schools, my plans in China, etc I will keep you updated and write a journal for the site. I've got some numbers for Tagou which are reasonable, but as I said, it's not where my preferences lie.

If I do end up at DeCheng's and stay for a couple of months, is there a possibility he will be back in China teaching?

Decheng should be back sometime, however, he does travel to Europe in the spring, tending to be in China during the summer months when foreign training tends to be higher.

I tend to spend half the year in Thailand, half in Las Vegas. October is a horrible month to be in Thailand; monsoon season is harsh. Avoid Sept and October here.