China's Greatest Hits Itinerary?

Jan 10th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #1  
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China's Greatest Hits Itinerary?

Could I kindly get some thoughts on my proposed itinerary for summer 09 travel to China with husband and 2 teens. We will not be going to Xian and will instead opt for Guilin/Yangshou.

Day 1 Arrive Shanghai
Day 2 Shanghai
Day 3 Shanghai
Day 4 Depart Shanghai and fly to Hong Kong
Day 5 Hong Kong
Day 6 Depart Hong Kong for Guilin
Day 7 Guilin
Day 8 Guilin
Day 9 Depart for Beijing
Day 10-13 Beijing

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. I have read some rather curt comments about avoiding some places in favor of others, but if this is the one and only time I plan on traveling to China, I want to make sure we hit all the greatest highlights, which of course I understand is a huge matter of perspective! Thanks.
shespenz is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Why not start or end in Hong Kong. Flights between China and HK are more expensive than internal flights.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 12:04 PM
  #3  
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I know, but I am using mileage and therefore, I am locked into flying in and out of Shanghai. What I have to pay for air travel within China won't even come close to what 4 business class seats would have cost me.

I haven't checked it out yet, but I understand that ctrip.com and elong.net off good deals on internal flights within China.
shespenz is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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With not that much time, unless you're really keen on visiting Hong Kong, I think you may want to skip it and save it for another trip. Go to Xian instead.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 06:38 PM
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Itinerary is ok, but remember that you need a double entry visa. Do you have exact itinerary with sights and night shows?
Chinaren is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:35 AM
  #6  
 
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Hi,
Is there a particular reason for not going to Xian?
I would probably be inclined to delete Hong Kong. You will need a double entry visa to go there if you are entering & exiting thru China as it is classed as International.
If you are going to Guilin then stay in Yangshuo as well.
I would add more days to Beijing as there is lots to see

annieandh is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:38 AM
  #7  
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OK, this is the deal with Xian...Many posts have indicated that it is a big, crowded polluted city and after seeing the terra cotta soldiers for an hour or so, there is nothing else to do (maybe Muslim quarter). I honestly think my kids would be tuning out after a couple of hours in favor of something with a little more action. On top of that, we live in Atlanta where a large exhibit from Xian will be here until April. I'm sure it's not even close to what it's like seeing it in person, but the crowds will be less and I can sleep in my own bed at night!

I don't know that I will ever be back to this region again and I can't imagine not seeing Hong Kong. My parents have been traveling to Asia on business for 40 years and they are emphatic that our trip should include Hong Kong.

Regarding the double visa, could someone kindly explain what that entails? I never even considered that Hong Kong would be "international" vis a vis China. Thanks so much
shespenz is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:33 PM
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"Many posts have indicated that it is a big, crowded polluted city and after seeing the terra cotta soldiers for an hour or so, there is nothing else to do"

Well, it is a big, crowded, polluted city - it's hard to find a Chinese city that isn't. But it's certainly not true that there's nothing to do after you've seen the terracotta warriors. Leaving aside other out of town sights:

Cycle or walk the walls
The Shaanxi museum
The Stele museum - I wasn't wow'ed by this, but a lot of people seem to like it
The Big Goose and Small Goose pagodas
The Great Mosque and the Muslim quarter - get off the main street here, as it's been taken over by Han Chinese
The Taoist Temple of the Eight Great Immortals - my favorite Xi'an sight after the warriors
Walking the back streets - I found a rather nice park doing this

Personally, I'd rather spend time in Xi'an than Shanghai - I only revisited Shanghai for the Art Museum, although I suppose you could do a day trip to Suzhou or Hangzhou - although both repay more time.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Obviously we can't do everything. I am trying to equate this to what it would be like if someone from China were to visit the US for the first time and they only had 13 days. You might suggest New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco. But what about the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Boston and LA? You have to take into account the distances between places and the essence of what you hope to grasp out of such a brief visit to a foreign land.

I guess instead of trying to focus on the things I am going to miss out on, I want to stay positive with the reality that choices must be made and whatever the outcome, a fabulous memorable trip will result.
shespenz is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 09:24 PM
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It's exactly because you're flying in and out of China (and not HK), and you have limited time, that we suggest going to Xian instead of HK for this trip.

That is, if you think you will go back to Asia again; as Hong Kong is easy to get to. And you cut travel time and cost by not going to HK on this trip.

But that's based on logistics. If you really want to visit HK on this trip, then by all means. Or you think you may not go back to Asia again. Then, sure visit Hong Kong.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:13 PM
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shespenz,
there is really nothing wrong with your itinerary. This is YOUR trip and this is what you want to see. Yes, there is much more to China than what you will see & do, but this is what you want to see. Go ahead and enjoy it.
What airline are your miles with? If it's One World, you could fly to HK with a stopover, then fly to Shanghai with Dragonair.
Shanghai - do see the Shanghai museum; kids would love a ride on the MAGLEV train.
Guilin - do a day trip to see the Longji rice terraces and cruise on the Li.
Beijing - do all the usual stuff. I prefer the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
I love Hong Kong and so will you & your family.
Just do your homework and you will get more out of your trip.
Have a great trip!
Paulchili is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:37 PM
  #12  
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Thanks Paulchili! I was starting to get the idea that I was upsetting people because WE didn't want to go to Xian! But you are right--this is out trip and we can do what we want and I am sure it will be fabulous. At lease I hope it will be!

Anyway, our miles are with Delta which is why we have to go in and out of Shanghai, so I don't think a stopover in HK is permitted. I will inquire though. Are you familiar with the double entry visa issue that this itinerary presents?
shespenz is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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You need dual entry visa for your itinerary, period.

Since the cost is the same for single, dual or multiple visa, it shouldn't matter. Just make sure when you apply for the visa, you need at least dual entries.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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shespenz,
You are welcome.
rkkwan is right about the visas (he is right a lot more times than wrong; in fact he is rarely wrong on factual matters).
Sorry, I can't help you with the Delta question, but I am sure you can ask this on airlines board and someone there could help you. Stopovers are generally permitted in the first stop of the "continet" but it's a matter of who services that area in your alliance and availability of award seats.
Have a great trip.
Paulchili is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Delta owns Northwest, and is partner with Continental, Korean Airlines, China Southern, China Airines; all of which serve Hong Kong.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 10:48 PM
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I would imagine then that one could fly NW or CO to HKG with a stopover and then China Airline/China Southern to Shanghai, Guilin or Beijing.
rkkwan - is that doable?
Paulchili is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 01:02 AM
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Everything is "possible", but the question is what award inventory is out there. No easy way to find out except to call DL Skymiles. Perhaps check the award charts on NW's Japan site as well.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Rkkwan hits the problem right on the head. Now it's a matter of inventory and reissuing tickets in different price categories. I was fortunate to get 4 business class seats in the lowest price category. So Shanghai is where it will stay! Honestly, I don't see a problem with going into HK from there and then back into the PRC as long as we get double entry visas from the outset. They cost the same amount. Thanks for all of your help everyone!
shespenz is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 03:35 AM
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Good for you. If you have the tickets don't muck around with them. It creates too much angst so stick with your plan. Coming back from Hong Kong you could catch a ferry to Shenzhen & then onto Guilin to save a bit on flights but it will probably all work out the same in the end. (Shenzhen is only a shopping option anyway).
Have fun
annieandh is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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Ferries from Hong Kong city are all gone. Only from airport now.

But there are more direct bus services to SZX than ever. More frequent and cheaper.
rkkwan is offline  
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