Beijing or Shanghai?

Old Dec 19th, 2002, 07:09 PM
  #1  
Dale & Kathy
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Beijing or Shanghai?

We anticipate visiting Hong Kong in the Fall on some free Delta miles (I've still got more than 800,000 miles to spend). We're considering a stopover or open jaw itinerary so we can visit a second city. We'd like the total trip to be about 10 days or so and anticipate spending about 7 days in HK. We've outgrown the "see everything, do everything in record time" phase and are more interested in a leisurely, enjoyable vacation.

Kathy would like to see the Great Wall (to me it's just more rocks) but it's not mandatory. Overall, would we be better off coupling our Hong Kong stay with a few days in Beijing or Shanghai?

Is there a significant advantage in stopping off at the other city on the outbound or return leg?

And, finally, I'm presuming Beijing or Shanghai would be more enjoyable than Seoul, which is an easy stopover on Delta (actually, Korean Airlines). Has my presumptuousness prompted a wrong decision?

Thanks.
 
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 09:06 PM
  #2  
Peter N-H
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Most people would probably consider that seven days in Hong Kong, even if taken in the most leisurely manner conceivable, is at least two days too long, whereas three days is inadequate for enjoying Beijing even going pell-mell. I'd suggest a slight reallocation of time, especially if you want to visit one of the sets of 'rocks'.

Beijing has a great deal more to see than Shanghai, and offers more variety to boot. It also has considerably more to offer than Seoul, although that city is pleasant enough. Old Beijing is disappearing very fast, and will almost entirely have vanished by 2008, so you should take this opportunity while you can. I've visited the city five times this year, and each time have encountered whole city blocks missing which were there before. The transformation to an ersatz modernity is relentless.

I usually fly into Hong Kong and out of Beijing, but that's mainly because Chinese visas can be easily and cheaply obtained there. Hong Kong is considerably cleaner, politer, and more efficient than Beijing, so if such things matter to you, then you might want to begin in Beijing. If shopping interests you, then I'd simply go last to the place where you feel you will be most likely to shop. For departures, Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok, with its down town check-in facilities (although whether Delta has these I don't know) and high speed rail connection, is easier to deal with than Beijing, with its crawling traffic.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
 
Old Dec 20th, 2002, 07:45 AM
  #3  
Dave
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I agree that 10 days in HK is too long. A few days in each of Beijing and Shanghai should be considered, but if you want only one place, then I would vote for Beijing. Flying from one place to the other is easy, and Shanghai is on the way to Beijing.
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2002, 08:39 AM
  #4  
Dale & Kathy
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Thanks for the information. We had planned on just getting our visas a few months before we left - are you suggesting that getting them in HK is a better approach? Also...if we do a side trip to Macau by ferry from HK, will we need a multiple-entry China visa?

Thanks.

Dale & Kathy
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2002, 12:20 PM
  #5  
Peter N-H
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Generally speaking you must enter China within 60 days of the date your visa has been issued, so 'a few months before' will be too soon.

It's cheaper and quicker to get the visa in Hong Kong, and the validity is always three month. But if you are only in HK for a short time, why waste some of it on delivering and collecting your passport? It's up to you.

Macau is like Hong Kong--your passport will be stamped upon arrival, and the Macau SEZ is still treated as foreign territory with a border, issuing its own visas. So this won't count as a trip into Chinese territory and your Chinese visa won't be activated unless you cross the border into Zhuhai.

Generally, when you return to Hong Kong your new Hong Kong visa stamp will expire on the same date as your previous one, going to Macau not counting as going abroad for the purpose of starting a new visa. But since these are valid for three months (six months if you are British), that's a technicality.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2002, 12:55 PM
  #6  
Louis
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Within the last 2 years, I got single entry tourist visa 3 times to China on my US passort. Each time the visa was good for 90 days (not 60 days) from date of issuance. That means you have 90 days to enter China (not HK or Macau).

The Chinese Embassy in DC maintains a good website (Go to Google and input Embassy of Peoples' Republic of China) as far as visa application is concerned. I was unsuccessful in dowloading the visa application form from that website. I sent them an email, and within a few days I got my application form in the mail. They tell you where you should send your completed application to depending on which state you live in. It cost $30 or $35 per application for a single entry application (different fees are listed on the website) plus a $5 handling fee per mailing package. Of course you pay cost of mailing both ways. I found the Embassy (Kentucky is under the Embassy) to be very prompt in returning my passport and visa. By the way they don't accept checks or credit cards, only money orders.
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2002, 07:31 PM
  #7  
Peter N-H
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Louis is quite right. Usually I get six month multiple entry visas, but my last two tourist visas (neither issued in the US) both gave me 90 days to enter the country--I hadn't noticed the change. Apologies.

Visas in HK cost a little under US$20 (although some agencies charge considerably more), and are ready the next day for that price--the same day for a little more. And of course you have no mailing or courier costs.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 08:21 AM
  #8  
Ginger
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Visit Beijing, definitely. Beijing is a good place to visit, not just the Great Wall here, Summer Palace, Jingshan Park, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, the Beijing Zoo, Temple of Heaven, Temple of the Earth, Temple of the Sun, the Russian area, Sanlitun expat and embassy area for great nightlife, Haidian area by all the universities for more night life, and the Ming Tombs. The best part of the Great Wall is Simatai, although farther, more dangerous and colder, it has beautiful scenery and less crowds. Badaling Great Wall is closer. I happen to live in Beijing. You can visit my Web site at www.virtualniche.net/beijing/ for pix of Beijing.

Shanghai has the Bund, Yu Yuan Park and the Oriental Tower. Great place to live, not so great to visit.

If you visit Seoul, you can visit Gyeongbukgung Palace, Namsan Tower, the World Village, Kyobo bookstore and Grand Park. Go skiing in the mountains. Go to www.seoulsearching.com for more info on that.

Happy trails!
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 12:34 PM
  #9  
SandraT
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I just returned this weekend from a trip to Hong Kong/Beijing/Shanghai. Like you, I used Delta miles. One suggestions if you can do it is to use your Delta miles for a business class seat on Singapore airlines. The award only requires 90,000 miles and Sing Air is fantastic. We took Delta flights from NYC to Las Vegas and Sing Air direct from LV to Hong Kong.

We purchased packages through Dragon Air to Beijing and Shanghai. I would definitely pick Beijing over Shanghai and agree that 7 days in HK might be a bit much.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 04:10 PM
  #10  
dan
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I was in Shanghai last month and was quite suprised to how similar on the surface it is to Hong Kong (at least in the centre). However Nanjing is a 2 hr train journey from Shanghai and is a far more pleasent stop. Although whoever says that 10 days is too long for Hong Kong can't have been there. If you feel the city gets to busy just go to the new territories of visit the black sand beaches in Ko lo an in Macao.
They are very remote.
 
Old Jan 8th, 2003, 11:05 AM
  #11  
Richard
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Agree with SandraT. Take Singapore Airlines. If you depart from San Francisco, it makes a stop in Hong Kong, so you can stopover there and then continue on to Beijing. That way you would only need to use the one reward to go to both cities. I would recommend 5 days each.
 
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