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Doable from Shanghi to Beijing then on to Hong Kong on our own?

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Oct 20th, 2006, 10:48 AM
  #1
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Doable from Shanghi to Beijing then on to Hong Kong on our own?

Does is sound doable to leave the cruise ship we'll be on in Shanghi (been there), fly to Beijing for 2-3 nights (never been there) see the Great Wall and other sites , then fly to rejoin our ship again in Hong Kong (been there) ?? We'd only be missing a sea day.

Could you recommend a guide to meet us at the Beijing airport and spend the next 2 days with us?
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Oct 20th, 2006, 06:17 PM
  #2
 
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Our guide in Beijing was Jerry at
[email protected]
He speaks good English and has a comfortable car. I highly recommend him.
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Oct 21st, 2006, 09:06 AM
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petlover:
What you are thinking of sounds very doable.

1) You can go to http://english.ctrip.com/ to find a domestic one-way Shanghai - Beijing flight. 2 day in Beijing is a rush.. but netherless you will be able to cover Great Wall, Ming Tombs and Forbidden City in 2 full days.

2) The cheapest way to go from Beijing to HongKong would be to buy a 1 way fare from Beijing to Shenzhen. (I assume you would have minimal lugggage since you can leave them on the cruise ship). The difference in cost between doing it this way (vs buying a 1 way ticket from BJ to HK would be around $ 500 between the 2 of you). From Shenzhen airport, you can either way take a bus directly to HK (signs posted when you exit into the main arrival lobby) or take a ferry ride (again, signs are there).

Hope this helps
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Oct 21st, 2006, 10:12 AM
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Thank you both! GlobalFootsteps, I tried this website but am having difficulty...keeps not recognizing Shanghi as a city to depart from? Also, it wants delivery city...not sure what this means. I would need tix fed'xed to USA.
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Oct 23rd, 2006, 08:38 PM
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petlover,
You will need book using this itin.. you have also misspelled Shanghai .
Shanghai -> Beijing
Beijing -> Shenzhen
Just follow the spellings above and you should be fine
Don't worry about getting your tics fedex to US. A few of the airlines now do E-tics.. you don't need to have them couriered to the US
Or call them @ 86-400-820-6666 to speak to a rep. Reminder, there's a 13 hour time difference to EST.
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Oct 24th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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Yes this is doable but please disregard the commercial promotion above and get independent travellers' advice.

For starters, consider another section of the Great Wall such as Mutianyu, which I can recommend enthusiastically, or more distant areas recommended by others who had good experiences.

Look at a relaible guidebook and decide which of the city sights you want to see rather than chasing out to the Ming Tombs on two days. You will want to see Tianemen Square, the Forbidden City (or the parts of it that aren't covered in scaffolding), the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the Lama Temple, for example. Beihai Park and the back lakes area is charming for an outdoor stroll. Just know that Beijing is a huge city and traffic congestion is terrible so you will move slowly.

Beijing is very different from Shanghai -- enjoy!
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Oct 26th, 2006, 10:36 PM
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I personally would give the Ming Tombs a miss entirely, there are one of the view things that I think are actually uninteresting in Beijing. I have been back to the wall have a dozen times but never been back to the Ming Tombs. With that short space of time, there are many other things to see, i.e. the Summer Palace. With regard to the wall, I totally agree on going to the Mitianyu section of the wall versus Badaling, as the latter is one of the closest access points from Beijing (just under an hour by taxi), so it gets all the tour buses and is very, very crowded. I don't personally think it is as enjoyable an experience with the large crowds. Mitianyu is about 1½ hours by car from Beijing. There is a cable car here so you can save yourself a long walk up and down.

I would pack a picnic lunch and have it up ON the wall, no need to have a very average meal at one of the tacky tourist places there.

For getting to Hong Kong, you might look into flying into Macau, as there are discount airlines that fly there as well. Door to door IMO it would the same, and in some cases faster, than going via Shenzhen. The other great advantage is that you can take the First Ferry boat right to the pier which is NEXT door to the pier at which your cruise ship will dock in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side. (You may even be able to get porters from the ship to come collect it for you.)

Air Macau has service from Beijing to Macau.

For info on flights into Macau, the Macau airport, transport by ferry to Hong Kong, look at
http://www.macau-airport.gov.mo/tran...on_local.phtml. For schedules for New World First Ferry, go to http://www.nwff.com.hk/. The ferry takes about an hour, you want the First Ferry service, as Turbo Jet goes to the other side (Hong Kong side) of the harbour which means you have to schlep over bag and baggage to the cruise ship which will be on the Kowloon side. Not really problem, but could be an expensive cab ride as you probably don’t want to take the MTR subway.

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Nov 12th, 2006, 09:08 PM
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Cicerone,anything that you have to say is worth topping. You helped me greatly on an idependant trip we just did to Zurich. What are your thoughts on us doing China independantly??

Getting mixed advice.....some saying we 'must' do it as a tour group (YUK) but others saying its quited dooable.

Love to hear your thoughts.
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Nov 12th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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I think China is totally doable on your own. If the advice is that you need to join a tour because China is “hard’ to do on your own, I would very strong disagree. That was the case up to maybe the late 80s or very early 90s, but is not any more. I have never taken a tour there and can’t imagine why you would need to really unless you are the kind of person that LIKES tours. (I am not). The well-beaten tourist path of Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Lijiang/Kuniming, Guilin; honestly all those places are so easy to do on your own. Cruises down the Yangtze are basically a guided tour anyway. (I would put this pretty low on the list actually, I don’t think it’s as beautiful as is was now that the dams are almost completed; boats are very average also). You can hire a guide for the day as necessary for sights; the Forbidden City has an audio guide that I think is as good or even better than a guide in some ways (you can do at your own pace for one thing). You don’t need a guide for the Great Wall, just hire a car and driver and bring a picnic lunch.

My problem with tours is that they hit just the really major sights and then only on the surface. You might spend 1.5 hours at the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square combined, yet you could easily spend an entire morning wandering just the Forbidden City. Things like the sunrise flag raising at Tiananmen Square aren’t on most tours but are an interesting experience that you might want to do. Mao’s mausoleum is so interesting for the people-watching (and fun in a gruesome way), and is again not on most tours (no time, have to get to lunch), so again this is something you would miss on a tour. The Ming Tombs are IMO a big yawn, yet every tour goes there (‘cause it ties in with the Great Wall after a stop for lunch....).

If you are doing something a bit off the beaten path like the Silk Road you might want to have a knowledgeable guide with you for the entire trip or join a university tour to get some good lecturers. But otherwise IMO if you have done a good bit of reading and understand the history, the dynasties and the culture before you go, you will be able to understand and enjoy what you are seeing.

The level of English is generally fine in the major cities and in hotels and airports, etc. For the most part it is good in restaurants too in my experience. With the explosion of really good independent restaurants in places like Beijing and Shanghai (of all cuisines), it would be a shame, IMO, to be tied to a tour which obligates you to meals in restaurants they choose for lunch and dinner. You aren’t driving yourself, so road signage is not really an issue. With the internet, you can book hotels and airlines yourself (and I believe even trains now), and gets loads of info on tour guides and suggestions for what to do in each place (i.e. biking in Guilin).

One thing tours are good at is getting good deals on airfare and hotels, so if you can find a tour that will just give you airfare, airport transfers, YOUR choice of hotels (or maybe a choice from a list which you could post here for comments) in a package that might be a good deal. What you want to avoid are the tours which spend time in “handicraft” factories which are one guy painting porcelain and 8 guys trying to sell you porcelain, and then a mediocre lunch in some huge place with lots of other bus tours.


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Nov 13th, 2006, 01:58 AM
  #10
 
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Thank you as always. I will spend sometime really researching the best way to go. I know the one or two times we have ever been part of or seen a tour.........it always looks rigid and boring.

Airfares might be a bit tricky.......but hope to have enough ff points to upgrade anyway, so not a lost cause yet.
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