Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong

Jan 7th, 2018, 01:52 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 8
"I see both points about 3 cities vs 2 cities and I am torn but sometimes I worry about being sick of the same place/hotel/people for more than 3 nights...however the airport back and forth, security, potential weather delays is a real issue to think about."

I absolutely understand, I can be the same way with hotels.

Security. It may sound daft to say, but don't worry about it, really. One of the things I truly like about living and travelling in China is that it's astronomic safe, even compared to the US.

Airports. This is definitely one of the reasons people will wince a little when reading about all the flying you're doing. In China, most of the airspace is not open to commercial flying like it is in the 'western world'. In fact, very little of the airspace is open to commerce with the lion's share being set aside and used by the military. This causes notorious delays and headaches, especially around Beijing and Shanghai. I don't know the actual stats, but there's no question most of my flights get delayed in China. It's just part of TIC, or 'this is China' as we say. (BTW, the high speed trains, and there's multiple kinds and speeds, are really great.)

Hotels, and particularly Hong Kong. Have you give any thought to staying in two different hotels in Hong Kong? I know it sounds odd, but it's something I personally recommend. Spending a few nights on the mainland side, in Kowloon, then doing the same on Hong Kong Island itself. When flying out of Hong Kong it can really be good for limiting headaches. Stay in Kowloon side at first, explore the area, see the sights and so on. Then head to the island to stay. This alleviates having to go back and forth across the harbor and saves a lot of time. It also puts you closer to the airport for when you leave, which personally I find is really nice. If I'm coming to Hong Kong from Shenzhen (by land from mainland China) I love to stay in Kowloon for a night or two, then on the island for a night or two, and having a much quicker and easier trip to the airport.

Just some thoughts.
ExpatPhotograph is offline  
Jan 7th, 2018, 07:29 AM
  #22  
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sorry for responding and starting a debate about smugness, etc. I know sometimes humor doesn't translate well in print and i may be overly sensitive due to other attacks in other fodor forums. so if no ill intent I am sorry for bringing it up.
so to move on.

due to china visa issues that seem very complex and $280 min for 2 people we are leaning toward 4 nights in Beijing, then 5 nights in HK and save Shanghai for another time. (a future trip may be shanghai and then on to Tokyo/Osaka)

my understanding is the 4 night in Beijing/5 nightsin HK will only require a US passport with no additional prep or paperwork? if anyone has any other info about this that i may be missing let me know.

i do like the idea of 2 hotels on each side of the bay in HK, will help with a 5 night stay in HK.

thx
jp4120 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2018, 08:28 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 597
Shaping up to be a really nice trip for you. If you do split the nights in HK, please report back how you liked it. HK is on our radar right now and this seems like a nice idea via ExpatPhotograph.
Lolazahra is offline  
Jan 7th, 2018, 09:20 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 388
> my understanding is the 4 night in Beijing/5 nightsin HK will only require a US passport with no additional prep or paperwork?

US citizens are not required to obtain a visa in advance for HK.

For Beijing you have 144 hours with a transit visa obtained at a desk on the way to immigration at Capital Airport. The conditions are that you already have a ticket (not an itinerary) demonstrating departure to a third overseas place (so NOT back to HK) within 144 hours which you show to the officer.

> i do like the idea of 2 hotels on each side of the bay in HK, will help with a 5 night stay in HK.

Although you might care to note that it's Kowloon that's closer to the airport, not Hong Kong Island. If you're travelling by car/taxi that matters as you skip a tunnel with the attendant travel time, traffic queues, and toll. If you're travelling by Airport Express it only makes a few minutes' difference whether you board at Hong Kong Station or Kowloon Station.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:25 AM
  #25  
kja
 
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Thanks for your graciousness.
Enjoy your trip!
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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:27 AM
  #26  
 
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Incidentally the 144-hour period may now be spent anywhere in Beijing, Tianjin, or Hebei Province, which together offer weeks of sightseeing. For a glimpse of just how much there is in Beijing and nearby parts of Hebei alone, see:

http://bit.ly/2jldqHZ
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Jan 7th, 2018, 10:53 AM
  #27  
 
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That was a nice response jp4120. Yes -- tone can be difficult on-line.
janisj is online now  
Jan 7th, 2018, 01:52 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Just clarifying: if you land at Beijing first, a ticket on to HK counts for claiming the 144-hour period in Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei. In the immi/emigration sense, HK remains 'overseas'.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 02:29 PM
  #29  
 
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I like Shanghai a lot. Still, I would keep this to two cities.

BTW, there are only a million other places to go on the Eastern Seaboard, Shanghai is not the only choice aside from Beijing and Hong Kong.... did you choose it because you are interested in something in particular, or simply because it is such a large city?

I went to Shanghai becasue I could fly home from there and I had already been to BJ and HK. But for you, if you are considering going there in the middle of your stay, you then could visit any number of places instead.
shelemm is offline  
Jan 7th, 2018, 05:43 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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"Although you might care to note that it's Kowloon that's closer to the airport, not Hong Kong Island."

Temppeternh is correct of course, pardon the brain fart. I had assumed you were trying by car/taxi, so as temppeternh was saying, you can skip a lot of the car travel headache that can accompany leaving the island.

Just as others have said, you get 6 days to 'transit' through Beijing with just an American passport. With all the hotels, restaurants, and sites of interest, it should be quite the fun 'transit'.

The hard part is going to be trying to see how much you can fit in during your stays. Beijing is a massive city with a massive history. It really is amazing how much there is to see in Beijing. Hong Kong second, my guess, you'll appreciate as a fellow American as it's easier to pamper yourself in Hong Kong.

And don't forget the shopping in Hong Kong, it's fantastic!
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Apr 8th, 2018, 04:15 AM
  #31  
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Hi all
we are leaving on our trip in less than 30 days - vacation trip for married couple late 50's - 5 nights in Beijing - staying at the Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing
flying to Hong Kong - 4 nights in Hong Kong at the Mira Moon Hotel main island.

any tips about best way to get from airport to hotel in each city (leaning toward convenience vs saving $ at least in Beijing
i am also curious if any thoughts on setting up excursions ahead of time.


thx
jp4120 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2018, 04:41 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 276
Taxi is always best. If there are two of you, taking the airport Express and subway in Beijing would only save a marginal amount of money and be much more inconvenient, especially during busy hours. Have you hotel name and address in writing in Chinese (you can get this from the hotel website).
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Apr 8th, 2018, 08:26 AM
  #33  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Given the traffic in Beijing, I'd seriously consider the subway.

No need to take excursions, let alone to set them up in advance. You can easily see things on your own, with much greater freedom and at far lower cost.
kja is offline  
Apr 8th, 2018, 10:25 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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As two changes of subway line are required in Beijing to reach that hotel from the airport and still leave you with modest walk, unless your bags are light you'll probably want to take a taxi, although be prepared for a long trip depending on the time of arrival. Get Chinese money from an ATM in the terminal (many choices).

You'll need these character to show to the taxi marshal at the airport and to the driver. (Go to the rank, and do not go with anyone who approaches you inside the terminal.)

北京金茂万丽酒店, 王府井大街


Check that the meter is only started as you pull away (da biao). Hold a map or mobile device to give the impression you know where you're going. Nine times in ten you'll have no problem. Ask for a receipt on arrival (fa piao) as should you forget anything in the cab this will give you a good chance of getting it back. Let the driver see that you've closely examined the notes you hand over (probably two 100 bills) so as to avoid him returning one (which he has actually swapped) as a fake. In general for all future taxi use you want to have a pocketful of 10 notes. The drivers hate giving change for larger bills, and this also reduces the opportunity for cheating. Wait for your change. Do not tip. Note your bill, in addition to what's on the meter, will include the road toll, for which a receipt will also be given. Total cost likely around 150, depending on assorted variables.

In Hong Kong take the Airport Express line directly from the departure lounge to Hong Kong Station, and join the taxi line specifically for Island side taxis. Dead easy. Acquire Hong Kong dollars from ATMs in the airport.

It's less necessary to have the characters in Hong Kong, but doesn't hurt:

問月酒店, 香港銅鑼灣謝斐道388號

Again ask for a receipt. Tip the loose change if you wish.
temppeternh is offline  
Apr 9th, 2018, 04:08 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 276
"... Hold a map or mobile device to give the impression you know where you're going...." - actually, if you knew where you are going, you would not need a map. It actually confirms that you are clueless. In any case, taxi drivers are generally honest in Beijing.
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Apr 9th, 2018, 05:07 PM
  #36  
kja
 
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There is, of course, a BIG difference between holding a map as though trying to figure out where one might possibly be and holding a map as though monitoring whether the driver is taking you in the right direction.

My limited experience with taxi drivers in Beijing included a few who were very helpful and seemed honest, and a few who were clearly NOT above-board. In particular, many taxi drivers at the main train station in Beijing refused to use a meter, even when I insisted upon it, and they lied about how much the trip would cost. As noted in my trip report, "Once in Beijing, it was incredibly difficult to obtain a metered cab. Even if I hadn’t been armed with PeterN_H’s warnings, I’d like to think that I would have asked myself why so many taxi drivers were willing to offer me such “deep” discounts off the metered rate, and why they would then protest so vehemently if I insisted on using the supposedly more expensive meter. The metered cab that I finally found (after an official intervened) cost 29 yuan – a far cry from the “discounted” rate of 150 to 250 yuan the drivers of the non-metered taxis tried to convince me to take."
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Apr 9th, 2018, 06:03 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by jp4120 View Post
Hi all
we are leaving on our trip in less than 30 days - vacation trip for married couple late 50's - 5 nights in Beijing - staying at the Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing
flying to Hong Kong - 4 nights in Hong Kong at the Mira Moon Hotel main island.

any tips about best way to get from airport to hotel in each city (leaning toward convenience vs saving $ at least in Beijing
i am also curious if any thoughts on setting up excursions ahead of time.


thx
Right on, congrats!

This is a beautiful area of Beijing. Absolutely go to the Wangfujing hutong, you can easily walk there from your hotel. It's a touristy area, no doubt, but still very cool. The first time you're sitting at a table in the Wangfujing hutong, enjoying some good northern Chinese food and you hear some of the guys singing Tuvan, Mongolian throat singing, it will be something you'll never forget the rest of your life.

Oh, cab it from the airport in BJ. Setting aside debates over convenience and money, just look at the surroundings. It's just so different from the western world, literally see as much as you can in BJ.

Lots of good advice people are posting here. I will really just add, relax and enjoy. This is one of the safer places you'll ever visit, and most people you will meet, even in famously 'cold-hearted' Beijing, will be honest, helpful and want you, as a foreigner, to enjoy their country.
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Apr 9th, 2018, 06:31 PM
  #38  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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ExpatPhotograph continues to surprise me: Are there are still any real hutong in Wangfujing? Even in 2010, I found the area absurdly Westernized. I can understand that many people find it a convenient place to stay, but I wouldn't describe it as you do.

And the only things I saw on my very long ride from the airport into Beijing were rings upon rings of rather unattractive new high-rises. That said, I'd definitely take temppeternh's advice -- if he says take a taxi, take one!
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Apr 10th, 2018, 04:14 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Tons of hutongs around Wangfujing.
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Apr 10th, 2018, 05:55 PM
  #40  
kja
 
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Interesting -- thanks! To me, "Wangfujing" means just that stretch of Western / Westernized hotels, restaurants, and shops along and immediately adjacent to Wang Fu Jing Da Jie (but I could easily be mistaken in what the area is understood to include), and "in" is not the same to me as "around" -- but if there are still traditional hutong "around" Wangfujing, I'm sure they are worth roaming!

If I were returning to Beijing, I'd check out some of the hutong covered here:
Hútòng Walking
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