China 20 day itinerary

Old Aug 28th, 2017, 03:14 AM
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China 20 day itinerary

Hi everyone.
I have the pleasure of visiting China in November this year. Unfortunately, I only have 19 days, and am feeling the strain of wanting to visit as many beautiful places as possible without rushing through them all!
I'd really love if anybody would read over the itinerary and let me know if they think I'm being far too naive/ambitious. I have already cut back on the places I've tried to squeeze in, but am willing to make more pinches if need be (as devastating as that will be!)

Hong Kong (Nov 13 - 15)
night flight to Huangshan 15-16
Huangshan (Nov 16)
train to Beijing - possibly on the 16th at night, or in the morning of the 17th
Beijing (17-20)
early train to Xi'an
Xi'an (20-22)
flight to Zhangjiajie on 22nd
ZJJ (22-25)
early flight to Chengdu
Chengdu (25-26)
early train to Leshan
Leshan (27-28)
sleeper train or late flight to Kunming
Kunming (28-29)
sleeper train/bus to Yangshuo
Yangshuo (Nov 30-Dec 1)

Any advice is welcome!
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 04:54 AM
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Far too little time anywhere, you need to cut more. For instance, you have just two and a bit days for Beijing, which is easily worth at least four.

Take a night train to Xi'an.

Drop HK and start in Beijing. Drop Yangshuo - you could go to Lijiang from Kunming if you want a touristy finish.

You don't need an overnight in Leshan, it's a day trip from Chengdu.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 05:13 PM
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Thanks for a quick reply, thursdayd!
I'm more inclined to drop Kunming than Yangshuo, because I've heard that Kunming is a bit overrun with the 'touristy' vibe you mentioned. I don't mind dealing with the that to a degree because that's just modern life (and tourism is good for the economy!), but where possible I would rather a cultural and historical atmosphere that I can explore myself. Yangshuo seems more scenic, and a good launch point for the Guangxi area at large?
Alternatively I'd considered abandoning Xi'an, but the idea of it having traces of the Silk Road seems to appealing to pass up.

Also, the only reason I'd do an overnight is Leshan is because it's just as convenient getting from there to Kunming as it would be from Chengdu, according to a friend of my who did that.
Beijing I will have four days in (day of 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th), because I'll take up the advice of taking a sleeper train to Xi'an!
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 06:12 PM
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IMO, pacing a trip is a very personal thing, as it depends so much on one’s interests and preferences and what, exactly, you want to see and do. With that preface, I will admit that this itinerary strikes me as extremely ambitious – and not just because you are trying to fit in a lot, but also because you could easily encounter some unexpected problems with logistics.

For context: I found a week in Beijing barely enough. Four days would NOT have worked for me there. I wanted 3 full days in and around Xi’an. And I, personally, would not skip Xi’an – there is a great deal to appreciate in / around Xi’an.

Rather than trying to cram a lot in (my take on your plan), my personal preference is to maximize the time I have to actually see and experience the places that I choose to see, while minimizing the time spent traveling between places. Rather than spending a lot of time getting from place to place, I choose to skip some places entirely, even if I am sure I would enjoy them.

If you haven’t already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report even though it’s a bit old, and travel in China has changed since I was there:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...na-amazing.cfm

And BTW, I would take ANYTHING thursdaysd advises under serious consideration. I don’t always agree with her, but I it’s rare that I disagree.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 08:29 PM
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> I'm more inclined to drop Kunming than Yangshuo, because I've heard that Kunming is a bit overrun with the 'touristy' vibe you mentioned.

Yangshuo is the epicentre of tourism in China. It is to real China what Disney's Epcot Centre is to real China, UK, etc. It is a re-imagined parody of what used to be there, crowded with Chinese groups looking to see how foreigners relax, as this has grown from being a backpacker drop-out point to being the tourism maelstrom it is today. If your idea of China is to sit in a café in a freshly built 'ancient' building eating something distantly resembling spaghetti carbonara while being pestered by tour guides, Yangshuo is for you.

Thirty years ago it had charm. Today it has the opposite. It isn't really China at all. It's a sort of stage set, and a very crowded one.

> Any advice is welcome!

Don't plan so meticulously. China doesn't work like this and something will almost certainly go wrong. Simply have a general set of intentions and see how far you get. Change your mind as you go. Certainly plan to see fewer places more thoroughly and spend less time travelling between them.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 09:06 PM
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And I would take anything temppeternh says as about as close to gospel as gospel gets.
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 01:33 PM
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I will preface this comment by saying that I have not yet been to China, I am going in October for the 1st time. So I cannot comment on the places that you have on your plan except to say that I am very excited about seeing the Xi'an warriors and would certainly not take Xi'an off my list.

My main comment though, is that you have several overnight trains planned. In my younger, cheaper and fall asleep anywhere days, I would have done this. However, I have difficulty sleeping now that I am older (and grouchier). I decided not to take any sleeper trains and have opted for more flights because I know that with poor quality sleep, I will not be up for a big day of touring the following day. This is a point on which I will spend more (hotel and flight) vs. save money & spend more time. This is something that you know best about yourself to make that decision.
Just something to think about....
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 02:17 PM
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I had no trouble sleeping on trains in China in soft sleeper class. I would not recommend hard sleeper. Of course, some trains will be better than others even on the same route. And the fewer stops the better.
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 03:12 PM
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I agree with thursdaysd.
But I acknowledge that some people are not "built" for overnight train trips.
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Old Aug 31st, 2017, 02:47 AM
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Thanks to everybody for commenting!
You're all pretty much confirming what I feared... hahaha. But that's awesome to know ahead of time!
I am so disappointed about Yangshuo. I suspected as much, but it's still rough.
Anyway, you're persuaded me to drop that out.
I'll start drafting an itinerary that fills in those extra few days.
Also, thank you for the input about the travelling overnight! I had a few concerns myself. However, I sleep like a log and don't really have a bad temperament even when I'm running off very little sleep (I thank uni).

I'll post a new itinerary soon.
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Old Aug 31st, 2017, 04:10 AM
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You need to study a map of China. Your sequence is not very efficient.
Where do you see night flights from HK to Huangshan? I am not aware of any such thing. Also be aware that there are no direct flights between these two cities.
No such thing as an early flight from Zhangjiajie to Chendu. Only one flight per day and it is in late afternoon.
Why are you going to Kunming for what is essentially a day. If your ultimate goal is the Guilin/Yangshuo area then just go there directly and you cut down on transportation.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 08:59 PM
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i'm back for another round of ugly truths... hahaha
13 Hong Kong
14
15
16 HK > bus and flight to Beijing
17
18
19
20 BNG > early train to Huangshan
21
22 HSN > sleeper train (if available) to Xi'an
23
24 XN > sleeper train to Zhangjiajie
25
26
27 ZJJ > afternoon flight to Chengdu
28
29
30 day trip to Leshan
1 Chengdu > early flight to Guilin
2 Guilin > Thailand
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 09:10 PM
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Are you sure you will have time in Beijing to see the things you want to see there?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 09:33 PM
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it's definitely a tough call! but i will have 4 days in Beijing, and I think i'll be able to cover most of what i'd like to in that time considering I have been to Beijing before and know which areas/sites in particular i'd like to focus on.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 06:10 AM
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Why bother with the one day in Guilin? Add it to somewhere else.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 06:12 PM
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I wish I didn't have to bother with it, but I've had my flight booked for me and that's the departure point.
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Old Sep 6th, 2017, 12:52 PM
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Hey @travelring!

congratulation for planning this amazing trip!
I've lived in China six years, and the place I'd go back for a visit are:
Dali (in Yunnan) Kunming did not impress me, but Dali..Huangshan (great choice, but in my opinion, needs two days, having an overnight on the mountain: I suggest you DO NOT go there on any Chinese holiday cause it might be packed)
Shanghai(close to Huangshan)
Hangzhou and Suzhou also worth it and Hong Kong and Xiamen
Curious abt local Chinese food? I share my mini guide:
http://picapicasdiary.net/2017/03/25/food-in-china/
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Old Sep 8th, 2017, 04:08 PM
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Thanks Picapica83.
I m glad to hear that you think Huangshan is a good place to visit. I have roughly 2 1/2 days there if all goes well.
I think that rather than consider any more other areas at this point, I should focus on cutting down and refining what I already have in mind. But thank you again! I will check out the diary.
Not to be pushy, but does anybody else have any final comments?
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 05:17 AM
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Nothing more to add. It appears that you did not check a map as I suggested. Maybe you like sitting in planes.
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 07:01 PM
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could you be more specific with where my plans are inefficient? based on your advice i altered my itinerary so that i am no longer trying to get from Hong Kong to Huangshan, and have planned to catch the afternoon flight to Chengdu from ZJJ like you suggested...
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