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First trip to China - Itinerary advice please!

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Hi

Myself and a friend plan on traveling to China this May for the first time. We enjoy traveling and seeing different places and cultures but don't want to fit too much in and arrive back feeling exhausted and that we had seen nowhere properly. We had originally intended on using sleeper trains but think we will now fly so as to make the best use of our time (and get a good night's sleep!).

We want to get a good feel of China as a country - the countryside and cities and the Chinese culture. Day 1 - 13 are on a private tour and we will then spend the remainder in Hong Kong by ourselves. I know that there is no need to do a tour in China but given the amount that we want to fit it and our limited time, we want to take a tour.

Fodors has been very helpful in the past in informing my itinerary and I would appreciate any help you could give us on this.

(I have included the accommodation if anyone has any feedback on that - we want clean safe 3* - 4* hotels)

The itinerary that we are now planning on following is as set out below:

Day1 Arrival/Beijing
Arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.

Accommodation:Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhimen ( 3 star)

Day 2 Beijing
Full day trip to the Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven.

Accommodation:Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhimen ( 3 star)

Day 3 Beijing
Full day trip to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. Enjoy a famous Peking Duck Banquet for dinner.

Accommodation:Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhimen ( 3 star)

Day 4 Beijing/Xian by flight
Visit The Summer Palace. After the tour, fly to Xian.

Accommodation:Citadines Central Xi'an (3 star)

Day 5 Xian
Visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum,the Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Accommodation:Citadines Central Xi'an (3 star)

Day6 Xian /Chengdu by flight (Breakfast)
Visit The Ancient City Wall . After this, transfer to the airport and fly to Chengdu. Arrive in Chengdu and visit Jinli Old Street.

Day7 Chengdu/Leshan/Mt.Emei
Drive about 1.5 hours to Leshan to visit Leshan Giant Buddha. After the this, drive to Mt. Emei and visit Baoguo Temple. Stay overnight at the foot of mountain.
Accommodation: Century Sunshine Hotel (4 star)

Day 8 Mt.Emei/Chengdu
Continue to visit Mt. Emei, the Wannian Monastery. Drive back to Chengdu and stay overnight here.

Accommodation: Enjoyable Stars Hotel (3.5 star)

Day9 Chengdu/Guilin by flight
Pick you up at your hotel. Visit Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, Wenshu Temple, Teahouses. Fly to Guilin.

Accommodation:Jing Guan Ming Lou Holiday Hotel (3 star)

Day10 Guilin/Yangshuo by ship
Drive about 40 minutes to the pier and board the ship to start theLiRiver cruise. Free at leisure on West Street.

Accommodation:Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (3.5 star)

Day11 Yangshuo
Ride a bicycle to visit the beautiful countryside of Yangshuo. Then have a bamboo rafting tour on Yulong River.

Accommodation:Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (3.5 star)

Day 12 Yangshuo/Longsheng
Drive back to Guilin(about 1.5 hours ride) and visit Reed Flute Cave. After this, drive to Longsheng(about 2.5 hours drive per way.). Explore the local villages here by about 2.5 hours. Stay overnight in Longsheng Ping'an Village.

Accommodation: Longji Star-wish Resort

Day13 Longsheng /Guilin by private car Guilin/Hong Kong by flight (Breakfast)
A half day tour to LongjiRice Terraces. After the tour, drive back to Guilin (about 2.5 hours ride) and transfer to Guilin airport to take the flight to Hong Kong.

Day 13 - 17 Hong Kong

Thank you!

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