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China Itinerary for solo traveller

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In light of the advice and comments I have received, notably from PeterN_H, Nywoman and KJA, I have decided to spend more time in less places on my six-week trip. I am beginning to lose my fear of a quite different country (language,communication, size and transport) and have been spending an enormous amount of time reading and making notes.

Not really interested in tours, guides, factory/shop visits, Yanghste cruise - prefer to "go with the flow" as much as possible.

I have revised my original trip quite a bit as follows:

10 May 2 nts in Shanghai – stay in Blue Mountain Bund Hostel

12 May train to Beijing for 7 nights – (maybe 1 nt in Chengde if poss) - stay in Happy Dragon Hostel in Beijing

19th May - train to Datong - Pingyao and Xian - 7 nights

Accommodation possibilities: Howard Johnson Jindi Plaza – Datong

Pingyao Yide Hotel – Xian – Accomm - 7 Sages International Youth Hostel

25th May - fly to Jiuzhaigou from Xian - 3 nts – not sure where to stay

28th May - Sichuan - fly from Jiuzhaigou to Chengdu - 6 nts to include Emei Shan/Leshan and Zigong

Sim's Cozy Garden Hostel in Chengdu – not looked at other accommodation yet

3rd June - Yunnan- 7 nts - Fly from Chengdu to Zongdian - then Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Dali and Kunming

10th June - 8 nts in Guanxi to see Wind and Rain bridges - Sangiang Dong Villages - Longsheng - Yangshuo (The Giggling Tree) - Li river raft trip - on to Guilin

18th June - Fly from Guilin to Shanghai and then train to Suzhou

18th - 2 nts in Suzhou and Tongli

20th June - 1 nt in Shanghai

21st June - fly back to London

Questions - Flights from Xian to Jiuzhaigou - where to book it?

Flight from there to Xian - same question as above

Where to stay in Jiuzhaigou and Xian?

Does train to Xian stop at Datong and Pingyao or do I have to go direct to Xian and then backtrack?

How soon in advance can I book train from Shanghai to Beijing and what is the best method of doing this.

Thanks for all help.

Brigid

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