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Free day in Shanghai - want to see village life

Free day in Shanghai - want to see village life

Jan 22nd, 2014, 10:37 AM
  #1  
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Free day in Shanghai - want to see village life

We (my husband and 2 teenagers) are visiting Shanghai in April. We will have a guide to visit the Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden, Old town and Zhujiajiao Water Village. We will be visiting Xian for 2 days and Beijing for 5 nights. Almost all of this is city sightseeing. Is there anywhere we could travel to outside of Shanghai on our own by train that might give us a better understanding what village life is? My guide recommended Hanghzou but thought we would really struggle with the language getting around. Ideas? Thoughts?
ccarlson is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #2  
 
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Hangzhou is not a village.

I speak zero Mandarin and managed fine with a guidebook with place names in characters and a good phrase book (characters, not just pinyin) and pattern matching skills. And that was before the Olympics, I gather that the east coast cities are much more English-friendly these days.

I'm sure peter will have better input on the village question but I wouldn't get my hopes up. I don't think you'd find an actual rural village very interesting, in any case.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:47 AM
  #3  
 
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Guides always think you'll struggle to get around. Then you'll need to pay them for assistance. Yet tens of thousands of people without two words of Mandarin to rub together get themselves all over China independently every year (and a great deal more cheaply, too).

Hangzhou is about as much a village as Shanghai is, and very busy and crowded, so you'd need to be proceeding further still from there, and the surrounding area is occupied with a lot of industry and heavily touristed areas. Further out around Shaoxing might suit you, but that could make for a long day.
temppeternh is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:59 AM
  #4  
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Do you recommend going to Hangzhou or just spend another day in Shanghai?
ccarlson is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 01:32 PM
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I am not a big fan of Shanghai. Great for shoppers and fans of modern architecture, one very good (for China) museum. I enjoyed Hangzhou (even though I was there at THE most crowded time of year), and also Suzhou. Hangzhou has a good, big temple and the lake and islands; Suzhou has fascinating gardens - I am not a gardener and I still enjoyed them - and silk embroidery.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 06:08 PM
  #6  
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Someone recommended Guilin. Any thoughts on that area?
ccarlson is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 06:13 PM
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How long do you have? Good scenery, heavily touristed.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 06:15 PM
  #8  
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Full day. We would take train out there?
ccarlson is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 07:07 PM
  #9  
 
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It's not a day trip place. Anyway, the train from Shanghai takes at least 19 hours, a flight two and a half hours plus waiting time.

Have you read any guidebooks? Looked at a map?
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 08:00 PM
  #10  
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Yikes. No didn't look at a map. Was on the phone with someone who was telling me to look at it when I typed that to you....

This day trip idea just came up today to get out of Shanghai.
ccarlson is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 06:02 AM
  #11  
 
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You have to get quite far from Shanghai to get to a "village".
JPDeM is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 08:08 AM
  #12  
 
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Suggest you move Zhujiajiao to your free day, the watertown is touristy but at least you get a peek of country life on the bus there. Then add some other activities to the first day such as a museum, the Bund and Pudong area.

Frankly, from your several topics, I'm not impressed with your guide(s), whoever they are, their recommendations, and the fees they charge. You can easily do Shanghai by yourself without a word of English.
Shanghainese is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 06:22 AM
  #13  
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Ok - decided to go to Suzhou. Anyone know of a local tour guide that can show/tell us the sites? I inquired at www.synotrip.com bu I haven't received too many responses. Or maybe we just need a car/driver? We always like to hear about the local history though.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 07:04 AM
  #14  
 
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You are better off with a good guidebook and taxis. Just show the drivers the name of your destination in Chinese characters - don't buy a guidebook unless it has the names in characters.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Get an early start, you can easily get to Suzhou by train, pre-select a few gardens/sites to visit, then take a bus or taxi to watertown Tongli for lunch and a boat ride along the canals. It can be done in a day.
Shanghainese is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 06:55 AM
  #16  
 
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i recommand guangxi.

btw,shanghai is close with suzhou and hangzhou and wuzhen.if you would go to shanghai,you can also go to suzhou,hangzhou or wuzhen. it takes 20 to 30 minutes to go suzhou from shanghai by train,and about 1 hour from shanghai to hangzhou.t ickets cost little,too.
suzhou-Zhuo Zheng Yuan,Liu Yuan,Shi Zi Lin,etc.
hangzhou-Xi Hu(west lake)
wuzhen-exactly, is a small village of water
Tiilll is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 07:02 AM
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Try some of the water towns just outside Shanghai and between Suzhou. JinXi is my favorite but there are many others like Zhouzhang and Tongli but both are a bit touristy. JinXi is the best I have found besides Qibaozhen and Luzhi You will get a real sense of Old China. These water towns were small villages at one time where Officials from Shanghai went during the hot summers.
ChinaDave1 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 10:49 PM
  #18  
 
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Is there any authentic villages around Shanghai? If you do want to visit the anthentic village, it should be the remote areas such as Guizhou, Guangxi, etc. You will experience different daily life of the local people such as the Miao, the Dong, etc.
guizhou_ethnic is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 11:02 PM
  #19  
 
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water towns in Suzhou or Hangzhou would worth exploring, which is around 0.5 hour away from Shanghai by high speed train.
AnnaS4 is offline  
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