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sssteve Feb 18th, 2007 10:34 PM

China itinerary
We are planning a trip to China for 15 days at the beginning of April. We will be arriving in Hong Kong and leaving from Beijing.

We are active veteran travelers who usually travel by ourselves with itineraries designed by ourselves, but this is our first trip to China (and probably our last) so we decided to use a company like China Highlights to design a tour and provide guide services on the ground. We enjoy smaller towns and cities and the countryside rather than spending too much time in big cities.

I would appreciate comments on the proposed itinerary.

Day 1: arrive in Hong Kong in the afternoon
Day 2: sightsee in HK and in the evening flight to Guilin
Days 3-4: Guilin (visit Guilin and Yangshuo)
Day 5: morning flight to Shanghai
Day 6: Shanghai
Day 7: Morning flight to Xian
Days 8,9, Xian, afternoon train to Luoyang on day 9
Day 10,11: Luoyang, Zhengzhou, overnight in Zhengzhao on day 11
Day 12: Morning,Zhengzhou; late afternoon flight to Beijing
Days 13,14,15 Beijing (late night flight home on day 15.

I think that this itinerary is too crowded but I'm not sure what to cut out or change. Also, Please don't suggest changing the arrival and departure cities (Hong Kong - Beijing), because I can't change them.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

rkkwan Feb 19th, 2007 05:22 AM

Your itinerary is mostly big cities, which is exactly what you don't want.

And I don't know why you're spending almost a day in Zhengzhou, a place without nothing to see. Skip that altogether, and either fly or take overnight train directly from Luoyang and Beijing.

I know you can't change Hong Kong and Beijing, but ask yourself if you really want to see Shanghai, an even larger city than the other two. If not, that saves you several days you can spend perhaps in Yunnan Province or in Sichuan Province, to tour the areas outside Chengdu.

sssteve Feb 19th, 2007 08:36 AM

rkkwan - Thanks for your input.

Regarding Shanghai - It never occured to me to skip it altogether. Everybody says it's a must! While we will be there, I had intended to make a day trip to the water towns in the Suzhou area, so that would only leave a day and a half to visit Shanghai.

Regarding Zhengzhou, there aren't many flights from Luoyang to Beijing, so the intention was to visit the Yellow river and other places in the general area and get to Zhengzhou at the end of the day. Anything else to see in the Zhengzhou area?

What should I see in the Chengdu area if I manage to free up a couple of days? Is 2 days enough?

rkkwan Feb 19th, 2007 11:51 AM

Take a look at this page:

Most of those sites mentioned can be done in about 2 days from Chengdu.

albaaust Feb 20th, 2007 01:30 AM

If you are used to organising your own travel itinerary I cannot see why you would not be able to do the same in China. Having just been to China and doing independently ourselves I can recommend it!! I agree with rkkwan -I would leave Shanghai out- very modern city (out of all the places visited last on my list).Why not fly from Guilin to Xian? don't know much about Zengshou and haven't been to Chengdu but from other posts it sounds like a place to visit. I have put info on Guilin etc on virtualtourist.

sssteve Feb 20th, 2007 02:27 AM

which do you think is more interesting to visit - Hong Kong or Shanghai?

naumannsara Feb 20th, 2007 03:34 AM

I happened upon your post while i was searching for info on Sapa, Vietnam (we're headed there tomorrow). I happen to live in Shanghai and write for's China site( Sorry, I'm not plugging but I've got some good itineraries for both Shanghai and Zhengzhou. The others are correct, there's virtually nothing to see there but it IS a great place to see the Yellow river (tho' i'm not sure I'd do that), the Shaolin temple (home of Zen Buddhism and Kung Fu) as well as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Long Men Grottoes. Shaolin and the grottoes can be done in a day trip from either Luoyang or Zhengzhou. I personally (maybe b/c it's my home town now?) feel that Shanghai is still a must see -- yes, it's a big city, but there are still laneways to explore and fascinating remnants of the foreign concession period that you can do with a walking tour. Hong Kong and Shanghai are completely different, but I love both cities, they have a completely different vibe and i think you'll enjoy comparing them. I personally wouldn't try to add anything to your itinerary, you've got TONS packed into these very few days. If anything, shorten your time in Henan to one full day and spend more time in one of your other destinations. Expect some delays with flying -- if you spend so much time in airports and train stations, why not limit your stops and really dig in.

Anyway, there are my 2 cents. You'll have a fabulous time wherever you go. Best of luck to you!

rkkwan Feb 20th, 2007 04:58 AM

Longmen Grotto is just outside Luoyang, and Shaolin Temple is also closer to Luoyang than Zhengzhou.

There are Chinese sayings that a "Han" Chinese should see the Great Wall and Yellow River in their lives, but the river is NOT interesting at Zhengzhou. Just a broad muddy river with no features there.

Marija Feb 20th, 2007 05:19 AM

We spent three nights in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. They are different enough to warrant visiting both. I'm glad I didn't follow the advice to skip Shanghai. It's an interesting city and we had no problems keeping ourselves amused.

sssteve Feb 20th, 2007 10:45 AM

Thanks to everybody !!!

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