Adding a Week in China

Oct 17th, 2003, 07:49 AM
  #1  
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Adding a Week in China

I previously scheduled my trip to China for a week to see Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai. I have now extended my stay by another week and would like to add at least one and possibly two more cities to my itinerary. I think I would like to stay in Beijing for about 5 days, Xi'an for 2 and I've been told that 2 for Shanghai is plenty. I must fly into Beijing and out of Shanghai. I would like to travel within China by train. I would greatly appreciate some suggestions for perhaps making a loop around China including Xi'an at some point and one or two additional interesting places. Thank you in advance for all your help. Rick
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Oct 17th, 2003, 03:08 PM
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It's always difficult to answer a question like this without knowing more about a person's interests, but with three major cities covered, perhaps you should consider using the extra time to look at the real China--the countryside, where two thirds of Chinese still live; or at least at a smaller town or two.

Given the requirement to travel Beijing-Xi'an-Shanghai by train, perhaps the easiest way to achieve this would be to take side trips of a day or more from those places, although if a flight could be managed there'd be much more choice.

From Beijing: Chengde at least one night (not exactly the countryside, but on a far smaller scale than Beijing); day trip to the village of Chuan Di Xia (a little prepared for visitors, but nevertheless charming and rural)

From Xi'an: Xingjiao Si is a rural temple worth a day trip. Tianshui is less than a day's travel away, and the countryside offers the Maiji Shan (Haystack Mountain) caves, which pit a red, muffin-shaped hill, laced with stairs and walkways.

From Shanghai: Shaoxing is smaller town with a lot to offer, worth a couple of nights, and with easy side trips into the country to yet another "Venice of China", and some fine tombs and gardens.

Alternatively, consider a flight from Xi'an to Xiamen, and then work north up the coast (by luxury express bus rather than train) to Quanzhou, and then Shaoxing before Shanghai.

Most single-volume China guides will offer you descriptions of these places. Better ones will also tell you of a possible very rural trip from Xiamen to see the tulou (earth houses) of the Hakka (Kejia) people.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
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Oct 17th, 2003, 06:19 PM
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Last year I visited the 3 cities you mentioned plus Guilin and a YangTze River cruise. It was amazing. Although this is all I have seen of China, it felt like a good mix. Guilin has great natural scenery. We also did a Li River cruise there which takes a few hours and was very scenic. Don't know anything about train travel though - we did it all by air.
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 09:35 AM
  #4  
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Again, Peter, thank you very much. You have been extremely helpful over the last months in planning this trip. I have also learned a great deal from your book. I like the idea of including Xiamen. We can fly from Xi'an to Xiamen. I was proposing the train to see more, but the coach ride up the coast to Shanghai would be even better. Is there a specific location to inquire about the coaches, or should we just check with a local agent in Xiamen? Any other suggestions you can think of would again be appreciated.
As my Nov.1 departure approaches I would like to take a last line to "Thank You" again. It appears to me that you must spend a tremendous amount of time between here, ThornTree and your own site answering what must seem like the same questions again and again. Thank you again for your time and attention, Rick Gouge.
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 12:58 PM
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Just to be clear, although the highways are good, it's fair distance up from Xiamen to Shanghai, and you'd definitely need to break up the trip. Services across provincial borders (in this case from Fujian to Zhejiang) are also more limited.

In Xiamen the main Long Distance Bus Station is on Hubin Nan Lu, just north of downtown. (tickets from 5:30? to 10pm), but many of the best services also have agencies conveniently opposite the main ferry terminal to Gulang Yu. Try Lundu Shoupiao Chu, next to the Spring Sunlight Hotel, where several services pick up passengers, and which has a small waiting room. You can also board most bus linesservices at the Wucun Qiche Zhan, opposite the railway station and a little north. Most services starting here go on to pass through go on to the main bus station, but buses to Fuzhou and Quanzhou generally start here and may go straight out of town. There are more than 50 departures a day to Quanzhou for about Y32. The Fuzhou Express takes only 3 hours and 40 minutes to reach Fúzho[li]u (13 departures a day Y80), but Quanzhou, on the way to Fuzhou, is a far more interesting stop. Take a day out to Chongwu, a seaside town with well-preserved city walls intact.

Heading north from Quanzhou, Fuzhou is fairly ordinary, and Wenzhou (only one daytime bus--don't take the sleeper bus overnight), a rather large business town. You may have to overnight at Wenzhou before getting a direct bus to Shaoxing, in which case stay at the brand new and pretty decent four star Wanhao Grand Hotel next to the railway station, and move on the next morning, or go out to Jiang Xin island and stay in the former British consulate, now the Jiang Xin Liaoyangyuan. This is nothing like as smart as the converted American consulate on Gulang Yu at Xiamen, but certainly an unusual experience. There's a good floating seafood restaurant just east of the dock on the mainland side.

Ticketing etc. at Wenzhou is well organized and computerised--just buy at the bus station--but make sure you use the right bus station. Buses from Fuzhou arrive at a station close to the railway station past which is the Wanhao, mentioned above. For Shaoxing use the excellent Zhejiang Quik company's buses, which leave from the Xincheng Keyun Zhongxin Zhan, a taxi ride away. There's a 9.30am departure for Y108, taking about five hours.

There are dozens of buses from Shaoxing to Shanghai.

But from Quanzhou, consider taking a train (or bus) to Wuyi Shan, and then another to Hangzhou, which is a short bus or train trip from Shaoxing.

If time runs out, then all of these points except Quanzhou (use Xiamen) and Shaoxing (use Hangzhou) have airports, and you can easily make a quick hop to catch up time.

Apologies that this is all a bit sketchy, and that this isn't a detailed worked out itinerary. But it really is quite easy to make it up as you go along, and you can always spend the odd Y20 in booking fees to get your hotel to book for you if you wish. Consider Xiamen 2 days, Quanzhou 2 days, Wuyi Shan 1 day, Shaoxing 2 days, all of which is a bit of a rush, and something might need to be cut, or another flight added, but will certainly show you pleasant, smaller-scale Chinese towns which few foreign visitors ever see.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 02:57 PM
  #6  
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Ditto my last post. Many thanks, Rick.
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