3rd city in China, please

Jan 28th, 2018, 04:04 PM
  #1  
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3rd city in China, please

Hi - we're headed to Beijing and Shanghai in the autumn 2018, late Oct or early Nov. We're looking for a 3rd city for a 3 day visit between Beijing and Shanghai. We don't have a preference to which we'll start with or end with but we figured we could get a 3rd city during our trip. We would use regional airlines to get us around. We'll be using LAX as our departure/return.

We thought about Xi'an or Chengdu, either seem to kill off 3 to 4 hours for flights, which isn't terrible but then that's 1/2 day for getting there and another 1/2 to get out.

Any recommendations for other locations and why?

Or should we look to do Xi'an or perhaps, Chengdu and why?
Ret2Go is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 06:25 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Xi'an would seem worth considering, and a 3-day visit would give you a chance to see most of it's highlights. I took the overnight train from Beijing, which worked well for my purposes.

For some other options, you might take a glance at my old trip report -- just note that some aspects of travel in China have changed since I was there.
Thanks for helping make my trip to China amazing!

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 09:22 PM
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I agree with kja that Xi'an would be an excellent choice. It was the ancient capital, and the city itself and the surrounding area have many intriguing sites. We also spent a day hiking Huashan, as a day trip from Xi'an, which was an unforgettable experience. You will need two full days for the city and environs, and our concierge divided of up into the "East tour" and the "West tour." If you are hiking Huashan, then you would need a third day. The food is fabulous in Xi'an because it has a Muslim influence.

We found Shanghai to be a bit of a snooze in comparison to Xi'an and Beijing, so if you are history buffs, you might want to consider spending less time in Shanghai.

I would advise taking the latest evening flights in China. Beijing airport is famous (actually infamous), for flight delays, so that way, you don't ruin a sightseeing day. We started in Beijing, then flew to Xi'an, and then we flew to Shanghai, and onward from there to Hong Kong.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 05:35 AM
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The right answer depends on you. You should choose based on your interests, not ours.
Note that you may waste more than 3-4 hours for flights. Besides the fact that flights are usually delayed, you need to get there early, check-in, pass security and wait for your luggage at the other end. I think that most people would do Beijing-Xi'An by high-speed trains thee days. While it takes about the same time, i is more comfortable and more relaxed but also, always on time.
As said above, there isn't that much to do in Shanghai. So do not plan more than 2 days. If that gives you spare time then consider a day in Pingyao between Beijing and Xi'An.
Another possibility is that, instead of doing Xi'An or Chengdu, you can travel to places around Shanghai such as Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and one of the water towns. These are within very short train rides from Shanghai and can even be done as day trips (although on overnight would be better).
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 08:29 AM
  #5  
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@kja, @CaliforniaLady & @CanadaChinaTraveller these are all great to read about. I hadn't thought about the high speed train option, this would be a new experience for sure! We're foodies at heart and most of our travels are driven by trying new and terrific food cultures. We spent 3 days in Hong Kong last year as part of another SE Asia trip and loved trying all the different foods there and through that trip.

Understanding how other travelers respond to my question(s) helps me to build out my itinerary.
Ret2Go is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 05:39 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Ret2Go View Post
We're foodies at heart
IMO, the food of the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an is memorably delicious!
kja is offline  
Jan 30th, 2018, 05:00 AM
  #7  
 
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I am another fan of Chinese train travel, and of Xi'an. If you take the night train (I have done it twice) you will save sightseeing time.

For info on train travel in China see: https://www.seat61.com/China.htm

For Xi'an please get a good guidebook, there is a lot to see besides the terracotta warriors.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 30th, 2018, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
For info on train travel in China see: https://www.seat61.com/China.htm.
I was just looking at the Seat61 site and found it very helpful!

Having lived in Europe for a while we learned quickly how to use the trains instead of flying as it gets you from the center of a city to the center of the next city easier than dealing with airports.
Ret2Go is offline  
Jan 30th, 2018, 03:47 PM
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Xi'an is not between Beijing and Shanghai but far to the west. You might consider Qingdao, more or less between the 2 cities. Qingdao is a smaller city, only 9,000,000 people so can get around easy. Yes, that is the reality of China. Of course being on the sea side means eating plenty of seafood will be necessary. All the foods of China can be found in a city that size, including the muslim fare, and hot/spicy, very yummy, sichuan food.
I suspect a high-speed train connects from Qingdao to both Beijing and Shanghai, but you may check that out and the all the other offerings of Qingdao/Shandong province.
I note your October arrival in china means that you might be able to attend the famous Qingdao Beer festival as Qingdao was a German port city with European architecture and still excellent beer.
jobin is offline  
Jan 31st, 2018, 12:54 PM
  #10  
 
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Why are you only considering cities? The glory of China is in the countryside. You might consider visiting Cangyanshan, Longxing Temple, Yujia Village. There are many other sites near Cangyanshan, all around Shijiazhuang.
shelemm is offline  
Feb 4th, 2018, 09:41 AM
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Qufu is handily between Beijing and Shanghai (by rail).

The Confucius Mansion, Confucius Temple, and Confucius Graveyard are all worth a visit, and there are a number of other well-preserved courtyarded houses with connections to Confucius or Confucian commentators. It's been rapidly developing, but it's still on a far smaller scale than either of the other metropolises you plan to visit, and there's easy access to assorted countryside sights, including one tomb that's unique to the area.
temppeternh is offline  
Feb 5th, 2018, 10:05 AM
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Guangzhou is an interesting city but it is away from Shanghai .
sharper is offline  
Feb 5th, 2018, 10:34 AM
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Hangzhou is set on a beautiful lake and can be easily reached from Shanghai by high speed train.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Feb 5th, 2018, 10:57 AM
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by Ret2Go View Post
I was just looking at the Seat61 site and found it very helpful!
Not always up to date. And entirely misled on ticket booking. Unless you want to pay significantly more than you have to, book when in China.
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Feb 6th, 2018, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by temppeternh View Post
Not always up to date. And entirely misled on ticket booking. Unless you want to pay significantly more than you have to, book when in China.
Unless you have another suggestion, this is still the best source of information for trains in China.
I don't see where they mislead you on paying significantly more for tickets.
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Feb 7th, 2018, 06:22 AM
  #16  
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Thank you both for your insight. We tend to look at several options when booking travel and research is key to find the option that works best for us. Seat61 offered a look at how things work with regards to dealing with the station and what the accommodations look like on the trains. I found that VERY helpful.
Ret2Go is offline  
Feb 7th, 2018, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
Hangzhou is set on a beautiful lake and can be easily reached from Shanghai by high speed train.
We're looking at a couple 'Water Towns' to explore while in Shanghai. Thanks for the tip!
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