China Independent Travel

Old Nov 28th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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China Independent Travel

My wife and I (late 30's) have some questions about China travel for April 2007. We will be in China about 12-13 days, not counting travel time:

(1) How long to stay in Beijing? Most people seem to stay 3-5 days. However, we like to slow travel and see more of one place and get used to it rather than rush around. We spent 10 days in Kyoto and 14 days in Florence (with day trips) and both times were too short. Is 12 days in Beijing with day trips too much? Are there some good mountain/countryside daytrips that one can do from Beijing with a car and driver, that are not in the standard Fodor's guidebooks?

(2) Most people with 2 weeks seem to go to at least 3-4 different places (Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Lijiang, Guilin, etc.) I don't quite see how this works in a country as big as China. If one checks bags doesn't this create a high possibility of lost luggage? Isn't there a long wait each time in airports? Or is there no real security check in like in the US and it just all happens like taking Amtrak?

Thank-you for helping us plan our trip.

Jeffrey is offline  
Old Nov 28th, 2006, 09:00 PM
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1. Most people don't have the time and money to spend that much time in one single place. But there are more stuff to see in Beijing and surroundings than Kyoto or Florence. So, if you wish, you can definitely spend all your 12-13 days in Beijing alone.

For example, at your pace to see everything slowly and in detail, you can spend 2-3 days in the Forbidden City alone.

As for daytrips, the West Hill and Fragrance Hill areas to the West of Beijing are worth going. Or the West and East Ching-dynasty Tombs (which are much more worth going than the Ming Tombs). And so on...

2. No, checking bags on domestic Chinese flights are fine. Since most of those flights will be non-stop, the chance of losing luggage is small. And airports aren't as busy as those in the US.

One has to wait in line for check-in, but security line usually isn't that long. Yet, security is very tight. You first hand your ID, boarding pass and plane ticket to a uniform officer behind a desk; before even getting to the screener. The metal detector always beeps, so you'll get wanded every single time.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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Lots to see in and around Beijing. If you can spend 14 days in Florence, Beijing will certainly keep you busy. You can do a day/2 day plane trip to Xian (terracotta warriors, etc), using Beijing as your base. Not really that much in the other places if you don't have the time.
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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Guilin and Yangshuo is a worth visit city and you must do it. waiting in the airport is about one hour.
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 03:23 AM
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we did beijing,xian,guilin and shanghai in 2 weeks and did not find it too rushed.but i would leave shanghai out and spend more time in beijing.we had fixed everything from airport pick ups to tours from india thru an agent.almost nobody speaks english and the sights have another chinese word for them which u need to write down in chinese if u want someone to not soo easy to sightsee and everything has more than 1 price !
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 04:24 AM
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My wife and I did a trip to China a few years back. You can see the trip report on

We had about 6 days in Beijing and the rest of the time was spent in Xi'an and Hong Kong.

Gard - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
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