Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for any comments or advice you can offer.
We are a married couple late 20's early 30's. Although we have done a variety of travelling before, the only Asian country we have been to is Thailand. We have never been to China. We are not museum people - although we will of course visit sites such as the great wall and the terracotta warriors! Our enjoyment mostly comes from experiencing the culture - the people, the food, the scenery (urban and rural - good and bad). We like experiencing places which some might find a bit weird such as Beijing's abandoned Wonderland, or Najiecun. We like a good mix of big city and rural country. We travel at a fast pace. We don't like lazying around. We will be travelling by bus and train only - no flying within the country, and staying mostly in hostels, or hotels in the cheaper areas.
Since booking our flight to China last May we have planned, replanned, and replanned again and again! The trouble with the internet is the overwhelming amount of information - its easy to get bogged down especially when some of the information is conflicting. But we have found the Fodor's forum's invaluable and thankyou to those contributors who have written long and detailed accounts of their travels which have really been so informative.
So as we leave in 9 days time we have finally settled on the following schedule. Any comments would be really welcome. And before anyone says it (!) we have thought long and hard about our desision to bypass Pingyao but we feel that after 5 days in and around Beijing and the fact that the next stop is Xian that we will probably have seen enough walls to keep us going. By missing it out we get more time in other places such as around Guilin.
Below is a summary of our itinerary.
Sunday 2/9/12: Arrive Shanghai Pudong Airport 15:30hrs. Evening in Shanghai
Monday 3/9/12: Shanghai - Full day
Tuesday 4/9/12: Shanghai- Full day
Wednesday 5/9/12: Shanghai to Beijing - Arrive Beijing13:48hrs.
Thursday 6/9/12: Beijing
Friday 7/9/12: Beijing
Saturday 8/9/12: Beijing
Sunday 9/9/12: Beijing & overnight train to Xian
Monday 10/9/12: Arrive Xian 08:12hrs. Day & Night Xian.
Tuesday 11/9/12: Xian - Full Day
Wednesday 12/9/12: Fast train Xian to arrive Zhengzhou 11:15hrs. Bus to Najiecun Thursday 13/9/12: Najiecun to Zhengzhou & overnight train to Guilin
Friday 14/9/12: Arrive Guillin 14.21hrs. Bus to Yangshuo (1hr). Evening in Yangshuo
Saturday 15/9/12: Yangshuo - Full Day
Sunday 16/9/12: Yangshuo - Full Day
Monday 17/9/12: Yangshuo to Longsheng (dragons backbone rice terrace)
Tuesday 18/9/12: Day around Longsheng etc
Wednesday 19/9/12: Morning in Longsheng. Overnight train from Guilin to Guangzhou Thursday 20/9/12: Arrive Guangzhou 08.42hrs. Travel to Hong Kong.
Friday 21/9/12: Hong Kong. Visit Macau in evening.
Saturday 22/9/12: Hong Kong: Depart Hong Kong Int Airport Ter 1 @ 00:35hrs 23/9/12
In regards to where to see the Great Wall we have largely decided on Huangya Guan but are open to reasons why we'd be better going elsewhere! We have chosen Huangya Guan because it is not so touristy but yet not to far from Beijing. We would prefer to go by public transport as much as possible as we prefer not to hire private drivers or go on tours.
Again thank you for any comments. We will also be keeping a video diary/blog on Travellerspoint, the link which I will share on here before we leave and which we will try and update somewhat as we travel, and will of course complete when we return so that others can learn from our trip.
Alden & Eimear
3 Weeks in China. Comments or advice on our proposed itinerary
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