China on my own

Aug 7th, 2002, 04:08 AM
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China on my own

Planning to travel 18 days in China (Beijing, Xi'an, 3 days on the Yangtse River, Shanghai, Guilin, Hong Kong) on our own. Any ideas of best way to do this? Air or train within cities? Can we find good, clean, English speaking hotels for around $100? Any recommendations? Ideas on the Yangtze? Where to start/end a 3 day trip? Should we book this from the states or once there? We've heard that the Li River is much more beautiful cruise, doews it make sense to go to the Litlle Three Gorges area to see that and then cruise a few days on the Li? I understand the Yangtze is hard to book (going at the end of September). Have been doing a lot of reading (Lonely Planet, Fodor's, National Geographic Travel) but seems like the more I read, the more questions I have and we really want to try this on our own, since my friend, traveling with me, and I enjoy the little out of the way places that we don't think tours offer with their tight schedules. Any way, anything will help. Thanks a lot!
Aug 7th, 2002, 07:35 AM
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Hi Juan,

A friend and I (we're both in our 50s) just returned last week from 3 weeks in China. We went on a China Focus tour for 12 days (because the whole tour was cheaper than our buying airfare alone) and then we were on our own for 9 days. CF was great, BTW.

The tour went to Shanghai, Suzhou, Qufu, Tai'An, Jin'an, Beijing. We then went on to Xian and Yangshuo independently.

It is VERY easy to travel on your own in China. It's a little daunting at first when everything you see is in Chinese characters but if you stand still for a minute, someone who speaks English will come up to you and help. And, you can always go into a large hotel and get help/answers/advice.

For $100/night, you can get 5* hotels! We had great hotels in both Xian (3*,$30) and Yangshuo (2*,$9.76) . . . our tour hotels were all really good, too, they were all 3-4* and all were less than $100, the rates we did see posted were around $65.

As our time was limited, we flew between cities. We originally had planned to take the night train between Beijing-Xian but the sleepers were sold out, flying was only $115 and took a couple of hours.

Flying from Xian-Guilin was $91 (1.5 hrs), and from Guilin-Beijing $158.

We didn't want to waste 3-5 days on a ship (we have a short attention span) so opted not to do the 3 Gorges. We did do the Li River trip and it was fantastic. The scenery is just breathtaking. We met people who had done both trips and said we didn't miss anything by not seeing the 3 Gorges.

We, too, used the Lonely Planet and it was good, as it had all sites, restaurants, hotels written in English and Mandarin.

Write me directly if you have any more questions . . . just take the nospam out of the address above.

Have a great trip!
Aug 7th, 2002, 07:55 AM
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Hi Juan
I totally agree with the above poster. We went in China on our own for 28 days and didn't have any problem for transport, hotels and restaurants. The chinese people are very friendly and they will do everthing possible to help you. yangshuo is a place not to be missed (I have the name of a local guide for a bicycle tour of the country side, if you want) and if you have time try to get to Lijiang.
Aug 7th, 2002, 09:12 AM
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Dear Juan, I hope you are taking into consideration that you might be in great shape, but I am over 50 and over weight. Make sure you choose those walking and bicycle tours that won't kill me. I am very happy that you are talking to all these nice folks that have had a wonderful experience in China. I can't wait, Lula
Aug 7th, 2002, 09:28 AM
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The terrain around Yangshuo (between the karsts) is flat, so bicycling should not be difficult, but there are other options if you don't feel up to it. You can hire a motorcycle/sidecar with guide, or a minivan and driver for just yourself and/or your group, at very reasonable prices.
Aug 12th, 2002, 04:11 PM
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Sandy, I have been trying to email you at: [email protected] This is the address you have down but it keeps coming back to me, as undeliverable. Please email me.
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