First China Trip -- Advice Needed

Old Feb 11th, 2009, 09:23 PM
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First China Trip -- Advice Needed

My wife and I are planning a fairly short (9 days) trip to China in mid April, and I could use some advice from the experts. We're thinking we'll fly in to Beijing and out of Shanghai, but I'm struggling with the in between. We like cities, and will want to spend a decent chunk of time in both, but might also like to see something less urban/more scenic. Guilin seems to be the spot of choice, but it also seems like a long and expensive trip for a couple of days. (And I'd prefer to avoid spending the whole trip enroute). So any suggestions? Should we just split the time between Beijing and Shanghai and get to know the cities better? Are any of the more rural areas close by them particularly noteworthy? Or should we bite the bullet and fly to Guilin (or Xiamen)? As an aside, we're pretty sure we don't want to hit Xian or HK on this trip (although I'd be happy to hear why I'm wrong). Thanks much.
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 03:30 PM
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WE did this trip last year, spending five nights in Beijing and four nights in Shanghai and we had no trouble filling our days with things to do. Both are such huge and fascinating cities that I think you need at least that to do them justice: in Beijing alone, a proper trip to the Great Wall will take up almost an entire day. Even then, we left both feeling that there were things we'd have liked to do and see but hadn't had time.

If, as you suggest, you plan to return to China in the future, perhaps you could explore some of the countryside then. China is a remarkable place but there's no point rushing around trying to see everything at once, tiring yourself out and not having much of a holiday.

Incidentally, I don't know what your transport plans are, but we flew into Beijing and out of Shanghai with Emirates and booked our internal flight through Expedia. Economy was around £85 each and First Class £120, so we splashed out on First - possibly the best extra £70 we've spent in our lives.
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 04:00 PM
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I agree..with only 9 days (better than 8 days!!) spend them in the two cities--I, too, had no trouble filling that amount of time in Beijing and Shanghai--

If you want to get out into the countryside a bit, you could make a day trip to one of the "water towns" near Shanghai. (I visited Xitang with a driver)
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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To do BJ, SH plus Guilin in 9 days is too much, GrahamC's itinerary is excellent, from Shanghai you can take sidetrips to Hangzhou, Suzhou and/or a watertown for a different flavor from mega cities.
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 05:51 PM
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I take a 9 days tour last year for Shanghai, Beijing, Xian. Each for three days. I have visited the most important attractions in each city and the time is enough. So if you don't want to go Xian, you can spend two or three days in Guilin. Guilin is famous for its picturesque image and nature view. A visit to the city will leave you a lifetime memory. For the day by day itinerary, you can visit here:
http://www.chinatravel.com/china-tours/cht-63/
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 07:46 PM
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First posting. Grammatical errors that might be expected of a Mandarin speaker. Main purpose to drive you towards a highly avoidable Chinese website that, coincidentally, has been recommended frequently recently by others with only a couple of posts to their name, all recommending the same site.

In short, spam.

And yet further evidence, if any were conceivably needed, that tour companies and guides in China are to be avoided.
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 09:18 PM
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If you want to see the rural area, you can do some hiking in the suburban area of Beijing. For example, hike from Jinshanling Great Wall to Simatai Great Wall. It offers beautiful scenery.
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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This is the second warning to Mikkey.

Refrain from posting link to your travel agency or risk a very expensive fine. Crackdown is taking place.
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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> we flew into Beijing and out of Shanghai with Emirates and booked our internal flight through Expedia. Economy was around £85 each and First Class £120, so we splashed out on First - possibly the best extra £70 we've spent in our lives.

It's probably worth pointing out that Expedia is completely unaware of most Chinese domestic flights, and that far cheaper prices are available if tickets are bought on arrival. There will, of course, be seasonal variations, but I've flown that route for half the quoted price. On another route I've seen Expedia qoute three times the price I actually paid once in China.

Peter N-H
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Peter: Waiting is all well and good for those who can take the chance of not getting on a flight that day. Or the next. But perhaps I worry needlessly.

If someone is traveling to China from Europe, or the US, and has only a limited amount of time and set-in-stone return tickets, and assuming that one wants to save money as much as the next person, would it still be smart to wait until arrival in China to book domestic flights? (Assuming the person will be in China during non-holiday periods, such as the mid-April the OP mentions.)

I am interested because I hope to return to China next year in March or April.
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Old Feb 16th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Thanks very much for the input, all - I think we're going to follow your advice and keep it to the two cities, with perhaps a few local side trips. Which opens up the new question of where exactly(Suzhou? Hangzhou?) and whether an overnight is merited. Any additional thoughts would be great. - and thanks, Graham, for the point about the 1st class -- I would never have thought to look, but found the upgrade for a relative song. Ken
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