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Thinking about a trip to China....

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My new job is definite and I'll be starting at the end of August; I now have to be thinking in 2 week increments for my vacations; those former 3-week vacations are history. I had been planning on going to Indonesia but now think it's not really a good plan as we live in NYC and there's too much time lost in travel, and the 27+ hour return trip will be a very difficult transition to return from. So I'll leave that till I retire (3+ years from now). You folks on the west coast definitely have an easier trip to Asia!

While I'm also considering other regions, I'd dearly love to go back to Asia. From my research, it looks like the traveling to and from China would be one of the least difficult trips to Asia from the East Coast. While not on the top of my "Asia" list, it seems more doable than other locales. In 2 weeks (14-15 nights) I'm thinking about the following itinerary: Beijing>Xian>Guilin/Yangshou>Hong Kong. Ideally, we'd do this trip in April, which looks like a good time of year to go. Does this sound doable? It's of course very early planning (I can't very well start a new job and start talking about my vacation!), but like many others here, I love to be planning far ahead!

If there is one part of the itinerary that I'm a little unsure about, it would be the visit to the Guilin/Yangshuo area. I'm very interested in getting into some rural part of China -- I don't want it to be all urban -- and the vistas of the karsts on the Li River (Guilin to Yangsho ride) and the rice terrace vistas of Longji and other sites are stunning, which appeal to me a lot. But I also have been reading how these areas are overrun with tourists. So, my questions -- is this true and if so, how much would it undermine a visit? Is it possible to experience these sites without the hordes of tourists? And if it is unpleasantly overtouristed, are there other places to go that would give us similar experiences without overwhelming crowds within the time frame? We'd also prefer to end in Hong Kong and pass up Shanghai, much as I'd love to include both.

I'm also considering Sicily/Naples, but that's for the other board. And certainly a lot easier to manage the trip!

Many thanks for the feedback -- plans are very much a work in progress now and may change a lot (have already!), but I value the opinions on this board a lot.

Paule

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