Ever driven from Xi'an to Guilin?

Aug 4th, 2010, 03:55 AM
  #1  
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Ever driven from Xi'an to Guilin?

Has anyone ever driven from Xi'an to Guilin? What can we expect to see? What type of accomodations will we find?
Ladouca is offline  
Aug 4th, 2010, 05:44 AM
  #2  
 
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Xian to Guilin? Why do you want to do that? Do you mean you have a Chinese driver license and driving yourself? Or hire a car/driver?

Anyways, what you expect to see depends on how much time you have and which route you take. You can stick with the expressways down through Wuhan, Changsha and don't see much. Or you can go through Yichang in Hubei to visit the Three Gorges Dam, then western Hunan province to visit the very scenic Zhangjiajlie National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You can find very reasonable and clean hotels (private baths, seated toilets, satellite TV, perhaps ethernet) if you stick with staying in the bigger cities or at least the various county seats. You don't want to stay at places smaller than county seats. In Zhangjiajie, they have luxury resorts there.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 4th, 2010, 09:52 AM
  #3  
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We have lots of time so we would like to hire a driver and guide and drive down - total time 7 days. What itinerary would you recommend for this trip?
Ladouca is offline  
Aug 4th, 2010, 11:11 AM
  #4  
 
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I don't know exactly the road conditions, but here are the places I'll visit if I have that week and a car/driver.

Hubei:

- Wudang Shan, the mountain famous for its Tao monasteries and martial arts.

(- Xiangfan, historical city that has seen many battles through the years).

- 3 Gorges Dam just west of Yichang, whether one agrees with its construction or not.

Hunan:

- Zhangjiaje, incredible scenery

- Fenghuang, a small town that's still has all the old buildings. Super beautiful.

And then, you'll go through Longsheng in Guangxi before getting into Guilin. Lots of people visiting Guilin go there to see the rice terraces.

That should be enough to do for 7 days, plus the traveling.
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Aug 4th, 2010, 04:58 PM
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Do be aware that you'll be taken for every penny on this arrangement, paying for all accommodation of guide and driver, and a mark-up on both their hotel rooms and your own. Also the guide will offer you little accurate information about his/her home starting point, let alone about the rest of the route, which will quickly extend beyond his/her experience. If you want accurate information you'll need to bring it with you. You'll also be paying for the return journey, and indeed you may find it hard to find a company willing to offer this service beyond the incredibly rapacious CITS.

I'm all in favour of people getting off the usual conga line routes discussed here, and driving will certainly let you see something of China's realities (as long as you get off the highways) but the guide will try to avoid letting you seeing anything of this, if he or she actually has much of a clue as to where he or she is.

You'd be better to use public transport and guide yourself.

Peter N-H
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Aug 4th, 2010, 06:47 PM
  #6  
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'beyond the incredibly rapacious CITS.' what does this mean?
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Aug 5th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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Briefly, the Chinese travel industry has always been exploiting foreign fears of difficulty in making arrangements (initially not even permitting independent travel at all) to provide sub-standard services for sums vastly in excess of real costs. Originally three nominal separate organisations made arrangements (CTS, CITS, and CYTS), with CITS dealing with the majority of foreigners not of Chinese descent (those of Chinese descent got a better deal) and also performing the role organised tourism for foreigners within China still does, that of purveying the messages about China ancient and modern that the government (but probably no one else) considers the 'right' ones.

Much of this has been dismantled, but still the only organisation with a really significant national network is CITS, units of which (or nominally independent former offices of which) provide much of the ground services for foreign tour companies, with disastrous results. In general, a tour company in Xi'an deals with Xi'an, and will unable to conceive of going beyond the range of its own network of kick-backs, etc. You may find someone willing to make the arrangement you require, but it's likely either to be effectively an up-market foreign-run operation with a Chinese base, which will simply get CITS or similar involved and charge you a huge mark-up in addition to CITS' rapacious rates, or you'll end up dealing with CITS either by name or in this disguise. Either way, you'll be overcharged for all elements of the tour, and your tour guide will purvey the official line, while quickly getting out of her depth at intermediate less well-visited spots.

Guilin/Yangshuo is about as Chinese as a hamburger (and about as nourishing--see other posts on this topic), and if you really want to see rural China almost any other destination would be better. It would also be even worse to use the services of a tour company from there to pick you up (you're going to have to pay the return costs in either direction, obviously) as there really are no holds barred to the rip-offs in and around Guilin.

Peter N-H
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Aug 6th, 2010, 07:30 AM
  #8  
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SO FAR THIS IS PLANNED FOR 9 DAYS - DO YOU THINK IT IS FEASABLE?

xIAN GUIZHOU KAILI
KAILI SHIQIAO MATAN KAILI
KAILI - LEISHAN - RONGJIANG
RONGJIANG - XHONGJIANG
XHONGJIANG - ZHAOXIANG
ZHAOXIANG - SANJIANG
SANJIANG - LONGJI
LONGJI - YANGSHUO
YANGSHUO
YANGSHUO - GUILIN
Ladouca is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 08:26 AM
  #9  
 
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You may want to start a new thread about Guizhou Province.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 12th, 2010, 11:29 PM
  #10  
 
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If you have a personal car, you can drive it to anywhere. It is no problem. What you want to do is to pay the entrence fee when you drive into the new county or province. It is a long way.
kimtonone is offline  
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