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chinese_chicken Sep 11th, 2010 09:10 AM

First time in China, how does my itinerary look?
Hey guys, I've already got a lot of great information out of other's travels and specifically from PeterN_H. Just wanted to share my itinerary, of course its not set in stone. Packing super light, mostly just camera gear & underwear. If anyone will be in these areas and want to meet up send me a message. Will report back when it's done.
Thanks for everyone's advice!

BEIJING: 9 days (9/18-9/26)
- Forbidden City
- Great Wall
- Panjiayuan Market
- Summer Palace
- Tiannamen Square
- Jingshan Park (dancing)
- Olympic Park
- Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
- Hutong Tour + Cycle Rickshaw Ride
- 798 Fine Art District
- Nanluoguxiang (rickshaw)
- Bei Hai Park

DATONG (9/27)
- Suspended temple 40mi SE
- Yunhgang Caves

PING YAO (9/28)
- Ancient City

??- The next 2 I'm curious if it's possible to do both in 1 day? I may not do either cause I'm concerned about making it to Xi'an before the National Day traffic begins?

- Shaolin Temple
- Sung Shan Mountain
- Longmen Grottoes (Caves)

??- Should I arrive in Xi-an on the 29th? or if I find an early train on the 30th will I beat whatever crowds going there? I could just go here first and take day trips out to Zhengzhou

XI'AN (9/30-10/3)
- Terracotta Army
- city wall bike ride

CHENGDU (10/4-10/11)
- Wolong Nature Preserve (Giant Pandas)
- Mt Qingcheng
- Mt Emei (giant buddha)
- hero fight scene
- rice patties
- monkeys
- Dazu Rock Carvings

?? - I'm wondering If I should spend more time in the Yunnan areas and just skip Guizhou & Sanjiang altogether?

YUNNAN (10/12-10/14)
- old town of lijiang
- stone forest

GUIZHOU (10/15-10/16)
- Ethnic village
- Karst Mtns
- authentic chinese town

HONG KONG (10/17-10/23)
- Karst Mountain (Yangshuo, s of Guilin)
- Historic Center of Macao
- beautiful archiecture, Diaolou and Villages
- Historic circular dwellings, southern area
-horizontal skyscraper (Vanke Center in Dameisha)

??- Is by train the only way to travel inbetween HK & Shanghai? Air China definitely had no flights whatsoever around these dates. I have no problem taking an 18hr train ride, just thought a flight would be much quicker and not much more money.

SHANGHAI (10/24-10/30)
- Tian Zi Fang (historic street)
- Mount Huangshan (yellow mountains)
- Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun
- Sun Yatsen Mausoleum
- Purple Mountain
- Confucian Temple

This is my first trip to China, which is why there are so many major tourist things listed, but my whole purpose is for photography, so I dont need much rest or relaxation. If you have a can't miss spot in any of these areas, let me know cause I will definitely make every attempt to see all I can. Will be updating my trip here if anyone is interested:

rkkwan Sep 11th, 2010 09:52 AM

I don't quite understand the last part of the trip, where you said "Hong Kong 10/17-10/23". For one, you don't commute back and forth between HK and China. Second, the circular dwellings in southern Fujian is fairly far from the HK and the Pearl River Delta area. With transportation, you need 3 days just to get there and have some time to actually visit the villages.

There are about 30 flights a day from HKG to PVG, on Cathay, Dragonair, HK Airlines, HK Express, China Eastern and Shanghai Airline. China Eastern and Shanghai airlines also have a flight each to SHA, and probably more when you fly.

Or you can cross back to Shenzhen and fly from SZX, where fares are lower, and you have another 24 flights a day to SHA and 11 to PVG on various airlines.

chinese_chicken Sep 11th, 2010 02:00 PM

thanks alot rkkwan. i do have a multiple entry visa so I didnt think it was an issue. I can always do that area on another trip. Fujian doesnt look that far away on a map but i believe you when you say it can days to get there. The flight information is extremely helpful!

rkkwan Sep 11th, 2010 03:41 PM

It makes no sense to base in Hong Kong and then commute back and forth to China. Not about visa, just the time and cost. Just get yourself to Guangzhou or Shenzhen, visit Kaiping, then head down to Macau, and finally to HK, before flying back to Shanghai.

When you travel in China, you need to look at time required for travel, not distance. You can be traveling at 350km/h on the high speed rail between Wuhan and Guangzhou, and then stuck at 3km/h on the expressway between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, for example.

Also, leave some spare days in your itinerary for catching up. With such a long and complex itinerary, you may be delayed somewhere and may have to switch things around. Right now, your itinerary looks too packed already. For example, you want to cover so many things and places in Sichuan Province and Chongqing in a week, which I think is impossible. Jiuzhaigou is a 3-day trip. Emei/Leshan another 3 days. Oolong at least a full day, likely 2. That's eight already and haven't even gotten to Dazu yet.

chinese_chicken Sep 12th, 2010 07:05 AM

That all makes sense. Of course this was just a best case scenario but as you said the commute time can make it impossible. Most likely cut the Yunnan/Guizhou portions out to give me more time. Thanks

rkkwan Sep 12th, 2010 07:20 AM

Further thoughts. I would cut 2-3 days in Beijing and make the next few days through Shanxi more leisurely. You don't need that much time in Beijing. On the other hand, if you like photography, you may want to do an overnight trip to Chengde. The Tibetan monasteries there are quite remarkable, and you won't see anything like those other than in Tibet and surrounding areas.

And I agree you should finish the Henan part and get to Xian before the 10/1 holiday. Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang is very popular and you definitely don't want to go there during the holidays.

chinese_chicken Sep 12th, 2010 09:17 AM

After reading many other trip reports, and especially thanks to you rkkwan, I'm thinking about narrowing my trip just to the northern/central areas. Still visit Chengdu, but probably take my time heading west to shanghai and try and visit much smaller villages. Take a separate vacation next year to Hong Kong and travel the southern border to yunnan. I could stay an extra month in china to see everything, but I dont want to give up my time in japan.

rkkwan Sep 12th, 2010 09:41 AM

Good idea. There are lots of see in Sichuan. Spend more time in Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong, and spend more time on Emei Shan. Don't rush it.

And since you're going to Shanxi already, you should go to Wutaishan.

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