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Travelling in China during the summer period

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Hi everyone,
I am hoping people on this forum can help with our trip planning. We are travelling to China this year, flying into Chengdu on 2nd July & flying out from Hangzhou on 15th August, giving us 6 weeks. We have previously traveled SE Asia for 3 months & also India & Nepal for 3 months, both done independently on trains & buses.The SE Asia trip, 3 weeks was planned & the rest was just as we went while the India part of our trip was all pre-planned & Nepal was just as we went, so we don't mind a mixture of both.

We are hoping to do the same in China but are a little concerned as it will be during the summer holiday period. Our main concern is whether we will need to pre-book our trains & hotels & if so how far in advance would people recommend. We will have a few days in Chengdu when we first arrive & will then take 2 weeks to travel by bus up to Xining

The trains we will be taking are
Xining to Xi'an hopefully a hard sleeper
Xi'an to Pingyao probably a day train
Pingyao to Datong also a day train
Beijing to Shanghai bullet train

We will have a couple of days in each place before leaving again so will it be feasible to book when we first arrive at that city?
With our hotels, can we have a few target hotels & just rock up ? Will that work at this time of year?

Many thanks for any help.

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