China Itinerary Help Wanted

Aug 22nd, 2005, 01:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 8
China Itinerary Help Wanted

Hi all,

I'm heading to Beijing with my mom for a 14-day adventure trip that we're planning on our own. I've used this site for great advice on where to go, and now have some specific Q's on travel within China and timeframes. Any help would be greatly appreciated as we're leaving Oct. 1st.

The places and things we are most interested in include Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Huangshan, and Shanghai. Want to do some hiking, biking, river, rural travel as well as cities. I'm feeling pretty secure about what to do in each place, it's just getting to and from in an easy, timely, and economical manner, and without being too rushed. Advice on how long to plan for each destination would be great, too.

We're flying into and out of Beijing. Any advice on travel between these places, and if it's too tight or just too far? I'm willing to pare it down, but looking for recommendations. My mom wants to do a Yangtze Cruise, but it's 3 days at minimum, kinda pricey, and I haven't read very many good reviews. Li River sounds much better, but the travel may be too far to get there?? Any thoughts on choosing for Guilin and Li River vs. HuangShan?

And lastly, about booking before we go. I like to purchase once I arrive, making only Beijing hotel reservations beforehand. I know it's National Day week holiday. Will we have trouble booking hotels, flights, or rail travel as we go?? Advice on which legs to fly and which to train?

I'm also a fan of getting local guides as you arrive. Sounds fairly easy from what I've read. Any suggestions/recommendations in any of these places?

Thank you!!
yocd is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 7
A lot of businesses shut down during the National holiday, and there will be lots of Chinese tourists.

Huangshan was about a 2-day bus ride from Shanghai in 2003 (winding two-lane roads), but they should have finished building the highway, so it's probably faster now.
mw is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
There is now an airport at the City of Huangshan, which is still some miles from the mountain. Not too frequent flights - about one daily from Beijing, two from Shanghai, one from Guangzhou, etc... Will save you some travel time, however.

I will echo what mw says. 1st week of October is really a terrible time to visit China.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:38 PM
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Posts: 8
Thanks for your replies.

We may have a bit of flexibility on arrival/departure dates. Is it really that terrible during National week? In crowds or transporation and lodging, or all of the above? We don't get in until Oct. 3rd. but would be in Beijing for the first few days and then want to travel on. Any further advice?

yocd is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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All 3. But if your dates are set, then make sure you have a hotel booked in Beijing for those first few days and get your ticket (air or train) to Xi'an ASAP. The rest should be okay.

You just have to deal with the crowds in Beijing.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I'll be in Shanghai on Oct 10. Decided to visit Guilin first, then 10/15 Huangshan.

maybe we can meet in China?
MichelleNguyen is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 10:38 AM
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If we book a train from Beijing to Xian first thing, we can do Beijing at the end to try and avoid the crowds. Will National week crowds be mostly in the cities or everywhere?

Thanks for the option to meet, but I know our schedule is going to be tight. If I was solo I would for sure, but have Mom in tow!
yocd is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Crowds everywhere. At least most tourist places. Chinese are getting affluent, and have money to travel to the same places you are going. And first week of October is one of the two times a year to go.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:23 PM
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I checked (great!) for info on Beijing to Xian trains to head straight out same day. Only concern is our flight arrives at about 1pm and the train leaves at 8pm. What to do for 7 hours with bags in tow b/t airport and train station and no place to go (and surely quite tired)?

Would we be best to stay a night in Beijing despite the National crowds, and take the evening train the next night?

Other Q was about Yangtze river it worth it? Read 3 gorges was good and terrible.
yocd is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Well, I really suggest you stay put in Beijing for the first few days. Yes it'd be crowded, but so is Xi'an and elsewhere. This way, you don't have fight with others at the train station, etc...

Or, get your ticket here and fly same day to Xi'an, and book your hotels there.

It would be hard for you to get train tickets Beijing-Xi'an during those few days, and the train station will be crowded.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 8
I'm now also interested in the Yunnan Province as it sounds "less traveled", but I'm worried it's too far and too much travel time. Does the following itinerary sound feasible and/or practical?

October 3-15:
3-4 Beijing
5 Xian
6-10 Kunming/Dali/Lijiang
11-12 Shanghai
13-14 Beijing
yocd is offline  

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