2 weeks in China - help with itinerary

Old Jul 16th, 2011, 07:10 PM
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2 weeks in China - help with itinerary

My friend and I (30 year old girls) will be going to China from September 10th - September 24th. We will be going to Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guilin/Yangshuo and Hong Kong

I have a rough itinerary but welcome all suggestions and comments. I just want to make sure we can fit in everything we would like to see.

10th - arrive in Beijing at 12:00pm. We are staying at the Emperor's Guard Courtyard Hotel. Relax, walk around Wangfujing Street, and go see Bird's Nest/Water Cube at night.

11th - Temple of Heaven in the morning, Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City

12th - Summer Palace, Lama Temple, Beihai Lake

13th - Great Wall (tour with Great Wall Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu) Sleeper train to Xi'an at 8:00pm.

14th - Arrive in Xi'an (need help with these two days. Would like to see Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter, Bell & Drum Tower. Any other suggestions, ideas on places to stay)

15th - Xi'an

16th - flight from Xi'an to Chengdu 7:40am, arrive in Chengdu at 9:05am. (already booked) Haven't booked a hotel yet. Want to see Pandas, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Wenshu Temple.

17th - Chengdu (either going to fly out to Guilin at 9:05pm this night or 11:00am on the 18th) Possible to see everything in less than 2 days if we do the 9:05pm flight??

18th - Guilin / Yangshuo ( I haven't looked at things to do yet here so please let me know your suggestions/area to stay)

19th - Yangshuo

20th - Yangshuo

21st - This is where I need help again. Should I take the sleeper train from Guilin to Shenzhen at 9:48pm on the 20th and then on to HK or fly from Guilin to Shenzhen at 8am on the 21st. Want to make sure we have enough time in both cities. And also probably want the cheaper option as well.

22nd - Hong Kong

23rd - Hong Kong

24th - depart Hong Kong at 1:05pm

As you can see, I have really only detail planned Beijing so any help for other places is greatly appreciated.
linskiti is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2011, 05:52 AM
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There are two excellent museums in Xi'an that you shouldn't miss in addition to the awesome Terra Cotta Warriors..Shaanxi History Museum and and The Forest of Stelae. Also in Xi'an, walk the city walls, one of the few old walls that Mao didn't tear down.
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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There are plenty of historical and cultural sites in and around Chengdu. If you want more of that rather than just natural beauty (and relaxing), then spend more time there compared to Guilin/Yangshuo.

The overnight train from Guilin to Shenzhen is quick enough that you really don't lose much time compared to flying. I think it's a wash. You may decide after your first sleeper train trip from Beijing to Xian to decide if 1) if you can actually sleep on the train, and 2) whether you really want to try it again.
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 10:28 PM
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>Arrive in Xi'an (need help with these two days. Would like to see Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter, Bell & Drum Tower. Any other suggestions, ideas on places to stay) ...

I agree with HappyTrvlr about Xi'an's museums- The Shaanxi History Museum is outstanding, and the Forest of Stelae is well worth a visit. I was less impressed with the city walls than most other posters, but I agree that it is worth visiting at least briefly. Plan your days around opening/closing times. And note that although the Great Mosque in Xi'an is only open to tourists during limited hours, the Muslim Quarter itself if an open area and is quite vibrant well into the night.

Your "11th" day seems a bit busy to me. Depending on what you want to see and experience, the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City could each take much longer than you are allotting. If you maintain this plan, pay attention to the time so you are on pace for your preferences.

I posted a very, very (VERY) long report that included Beijing and Xi'an that you might find helpful; if interested, click on my name to find it.
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Old Jul 19th, 2011, 03:10 AM
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Take a 2 hour Hutong rickshaw tour in Beijing, that's the living side (compare to the royal)of the city.
A couple hours of biking in Yangshuo is unforgettable experience. Be careful with Li river cruise in Guilin. Check out the food supplied on the cruise before you go on board.
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 08:04 AM
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Thanks everyone for your replys.

HappyTrvlr, We will definitely go see the Shaanxi Museum and if we have time, The Forest of Stelae. I think we will bike around the city walls!

rkkwan, We will plan on doing the train from Guilin to Shenxhen then. Unless of course, we have a horrible trip from Beijing to Xi'an. Then we will book last minute flights.

kja, Thanks for the tip about opening and closing times. I havent even thought about that. I will be sure to write them all down and plan around that.

We will be doing a tour on the "11th" day to see the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City, so we will really be at their mercy. Its a good tour company so hopefully they will allow us enough time at each (I thinks its a 9 hour tour).

I have also just read your trip report and did find it very helpful. I have bookmarked it so I can refer back to it before my trip.

wwwtravel3, how do you take a rickshaw tour of the hutong's? This sounds very interesting. We will definitely do some biking in Yangshuo. I think we are going to skip the Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo all together. I heard it was very expensive and not really worth it. We will do the bamboo rafting one day though.

Thanks again!
Tiffany
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 09:31 AM
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Just want to add that unlike the overnight train from Beijing to Xian, the one from Guilin to Shenzhen will NOT have deluxe soft sleeper - the one with only 2 berths in a cabin. So, you'll be sharing the cabin with others.
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 09:32 AM
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"how do you take a rickshaw tour of the hutong's?" - simply show up north of the Forbidden City and bargain. Or arrange it through your hotel. But you can just as easily walk it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 10:56 AM
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rkkwan, ok thanks for the tip about the train. Have you had any experience on these trains before? How is it sharing a cabin?

thursdaysd, thanks! I have seen a few examples of good walking tours through the hutong's so maybe we will just do that.
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 12:40 PM
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I travel solo so I always wind up sharing a sleeper on the trains. Chinese soft sleeper is fine, I've never had any problems. One time I found out I was sharing with the president of a university in Xi'an and his wife, and they wanted to give me a ride to my hotel.
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 02:34 PM
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I just posted a report on a trip we took in June with almost exactly your itinerary and time frame. Perhaps it can help you with your planning. Kami
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 02:53 PM
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thursdaysd, I dont think I will mind sharing. Plus from what you said, maybe I will meet some interesting people as well.

kami, I will check out your trip report. Thank you!!
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 03:38 PM
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There's no problem with sharing a cabin with strangers on the train. I have even done the hard-sleeper and that's okay too. Of course, there's more privacy if you can have the whole cabin.
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 05:39 PM
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> We will be doing a tour on the "11th" day to see the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City, so we will really be at their mercy. Its a good tour company so hopefully they will allow us enough time at each (I thinks its a 9 hour tour).

Both sites are easily visited on one's own. Just watch the time so you can decide for yourself what to see and when!
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Old Jul 21st, 2011, 09:37 PM
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Forgot to say: Glad you found some helpful info in my trip report!
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