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Any one day tours of China (from Hong Kong)

Any one day tours of China (from Hong Kong)

Old Oct 31st, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Any one day tours of China (from Hong Kong)

I will be staying in Hong Kong for 10 days and although there is plenty there to keep us happy, I was wondering if there were any "one day day trip" into China (besides Shenzhen). Are there any tour groups that do a one day tour of one place in China like Beijing, Great Wall, or Xian? I think you need to have a VISA to go to China, but have heard that some travel agent can arrange that.

I think it's totally unlikely there is anything, but can't hurt to ask my fellow Fodorites!
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Old Oct 31st, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Many times when I've arrived at HKIA, I'll check out the tourist info booth and there are quite a number of travel agencies on the arrivals level that I think offer daytrips or overnight trips so it shouldn't be a problem. But it might be less expensive to find something in Hong Kong too rather than at the airport.
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Old Oct 31st, 2009, 05:03 PM
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Beijing is a three hour flight from HK. It is too far to travel to on a day trip.
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Old Oct 31st, 2009, 05:19 PM
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Yes, you do need to have a visa to visit China. It's an expensive visa ($130), and more expensive if you have an agency arrange it. A day trip is not worthwhile IMO (and you can't really go to any of the places you listed in a day trip). But you could take a couple of days to Beijing or Xian, for instance.
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Old Oct 31st, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Xian is not even possible, as there is only one non-stop flight a day from HKG. Which departs at 6pm.

Unless you fly into and out of SZX, which adds another 1.5 hours.
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Old Nov 1st, 2009, 04:34 AM
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You can do Canton/Guangdong in one day from Hong Kong. When I did it years ago, the tour operators had a group visa and we were not allowed to leave the group.
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Old Nov 1st, 2009, 08:46 AM
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I've been to Canton/Guangzhou ( for a week) and would not recommend it as a day trip. It's a huge, industrial city. The Chinese Embassy website says they do still do offer group visas at $110 per person. But the combination of the enforced group tour and the destination sound just ghastly to me. The one thing I loved in Guangzhou was the Han dynasty tomb discovered in the city.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Beijing is a 3 hour flight from Hong Kong, not counting the time needed to get to and from each airport, check-in, and Immigration; so I am not sure that a “day trip” is even possible. It also would be quite a waste of time and money, IMO. Beijing is chock a block with sights, so you really should spend time there, as it really does not lend itself to trying to “see” anything of it in a day. While Xian is smaller, I would also say the same for a day trip from Hong Kong, and as noted above, I am not sure it is even possible to do it. I think you will find the same with Guilin, in that the non-stop flights depart and return in the late afternoon/evening. But even just a night in any of these places is a lot of time, effort and expense to go to.

If you want to see “traditional” China, please stay in Hong Kong!! We have active temples, hidden monasteries, little villages surrounded by farmers fields, toothless old ladies wandering around bow-legged in their pajamas arguing with vegetable sellers in the street markets. You don’t have to go very far at all to find all this, and with 10 days you have plenty of time to do so. If you were willing to spend the money on a day trip to the PRC, then you could even hire a car and driver to get out to remote areas more quickly than by public transport (which will take you virtually everywhere, even to the most remote tiny villages and frankly is part of the fun.) There are ferry rides to little islands or to see the fjord-like beauty of the Tolo Harbour. My list is endless and becoming longer each time I go to a new place here even after 9 years. (Just went to the Ho Hai Marine Reserve this weekend, scuba diving in Hong Kong; even I would not have thought it possible. But there it is; it ain’t the Maldives but it’s also only about an hour from Central.)

If you have a spare US$800-1,000 (which I think is about what the round trip airfare will cost you for 2, plus visa, and other travel expenses to say Beijing for the day) then please hire a boat for the day and go out to the stunning Sai Kung area (do this on a weekend, and I will come along too at no charge for the guide service…hah hah! See http://www.saffron-cruises.com/). But you can also see much of this area by public ferry and on foot.

Now that I have calmed down a bit, some other thoughts are that you could of course go to <i>Macau</i>, which does not require a visa and is a perfectly fine day trip or overnight trip, especially if you don’t go on a weekend or public holiday (and IMO if you avoid the casinos). There is a little bit of colonial charm left in the old town area and I like Colonae a lot as well.

Two other places to consider just over the border are the <i>Crosswaters Lodge</i>. This is an “eco lodge” outside Huizhou, which is about 70 miles from Hong Kong. You can take a car or train (a bus may also be possible). It’s in a lovely mountain area with birding, hiking and visits to local Hakka villages. (There is some air pollution, but you will find it all over the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong and Macau). Quite interesting and pretty and very, very untouristed. Huizhou is a largish city, with some pretty areas along the river. For the lodge, see http://www.crosswaters.net.cn/.

Another possibility is <i>Kaiping</i> which is an area in the Pearl River Delta abut 85 miles southwest of Guangzhou, where you can see the <i>diaolóu</i> (often called somewhat erroneously “watch towers”, they really are fortified homes). These were built by returning overseas Chinese, primarily from the US and Canada, in the early part of the last century and are quite something. You can bike around the area and look at them, you can only go in one or two, but even the outside views are wonderful indeed (and due to the lack of preservation, actually more interesting than the inside). It’s quite interesting. Some articles and photos can be found at http://www.kaiping.gov.cn/test/diaolou/eng; http://www.history.cuhk.edu.hk/new/p.../index_en.htm;
http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_cu...ent_79330.htm; and http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1688 . You can take a ferry to this area from Hong Kong in about 3 hours, but because of the return ferry schedule, a trip there requires an overnight stay. (Hiring a car and driver would also be possible but more expensive, but probably then doable as a day trip with an early start.) I think you would find this area quite rural and traditional and you would get to see the diaolóu, which not a lot of people have seen. I understand that it is also possible to get to the Kaiping area from Macau, which may be possible and/or easier than from Hong Kong. According to an NY Times article I saw, you can take a bus from Macau in 2.5 hours to Kaiping (the bus goes from Zhuhai Gong Bei which is at the Macau/PRC border).
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Old Nov 2nd, 2009, 07:02 PM
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> diaolóu (often called somewhat erroneously “watch towers”, they really are fortified homes).

Since it's not a one-day trip there's not really much point in mentioning Kaiping. But I believe it was I who first suggested Kaiping on this site a few years ago and well before its unfortunate UNESCO listing, and since I wrote the material only now slightly adapted for the New York Times entry mentioned above, I should point out that if tone-marking is to be given that's diāolóu not diaolóu, and the reason they are referred to as 'watchtowers' is because defence against bandits was the original reason they appeared. Many of the around 1833 still standing are still nothing more than that (such as the amusing 'Leaning Tower of Nan Xing'), and other earlier ones were intended as places of refuge for entire villages, otherwise doubling as storehouses, and were not residences either. Photography does, however, tend to concentrate on the more palatial pseudo-European towers, but anyone travelling in the area and just glancing around see many more variations than that.

Ferry service timetable here: http://www.cksp.com.hk/eng/ship_schedule/main.html for anyone who does have two days to spare.

Peter N-H
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Old May 7th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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bookmarking. Thanks for the information...
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